AUSTIN, Texas — With mid-term elections less than a week away, immigration and border security remain foremost on Texans' minds when they think about the problems facing the state, according to the latest University of Texas / Texas Tribune Poll.
Twenty-three percent of registered voters said border security is the most important problem facing Texas today, with 18 percent naming immigration. Hot button social issues such as abortion and gay marriage registered just 2 and 1 percent respectively.
A majority of Texans — 71 percent — strongly or somewhat support the deployment of National Guard troops to the Texas border to assist with the increased flow of immigrants from Central America.
Sixty percent also strongly or somewhat agree that “undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States should be deported immediately.” Thirty-four percent strongly or somewhat disagreed with the statement.
“Border security and immigration have ranked as the top perceived problems facing the state for several polls in a row,” said James Henson, Director of UT Austin’s Texas Politics Project and co-director of the poll. “This is particularly true of Texans who identify as Republican, and likely has been reinforced by political candidates who have made border security and illegal immigration centerpieces of their political campaigns during the 2014 campaign.”
The statewide poll, conducted Oct. 10-19, surveyed 1,200 registered Texas voters and had a margin of error of +/-3.28 percentage points.
A majority of those polled also expressed a favorable opinion of Texas' voter identification law, with 66 percent saying they had a very or somewhat favorable opinion. Texans were somewhat split on the law’s perceived effect on voter turnout, with 38 percent saying the laws decrease turnout and 43 percent saying they have no effect on turnout.
President Barack Obama continues to receive low marks, with 57 percent of those polled “disapproving strongly” or “disapproving somewhat” of his job as president.
Texans appear somewhat divided on U.S. involvement in foreign affairs. Asked if the country would be better off “if we just stayed home and did not concern ourselves with problems in other parts of the world,” fifty-four disagreed somewhat or strongly, while 43 percent agreed somewhat or strongly.
“Texans were closely divided on American engagement with problems in the world at a time when many of those problems are in the news,” Henson said. “The lack of consensus among political leaders on engagement with problems like the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and the Ebola epidemic in Africa is mirrored in public opinion, too.”
This is the latest in a series of online polls conducted by the Texas Politics Project and The Texas Tribune. Comprehensive poll results, information about methodology and the survey dataset are available at the Texas Politics Project website.
I want to share with you a very important development. UT Austin recently received a research grant of $58 million to head a team studying methane hydrate, a substance found in abundance beneath the ocean floor and under Arctic permafrost. The U.S. Department of Energy is providing more than $41 million, with the remainder coming from industry and research partners. The fact that this is one of the largest research grants in the University’s history is certainly noteworthy, but the real excitement comes from the potential developments from the study itself.
Methane hydrate is an ice-like solid compound that forms in low-temperature and high-pressure environments where molecules of methane, a chief constituent of natural gas, are trapped within a lattice structure of water molecules. The worldwide energy implications are huge: within the floor of the Gulf of Mexico, where the team will be sampling, there is estimated to be 7,000 trillion cubic feet of methane hydrate, more than 250 times the amount of natural gas used in the United States in 2013. You can read more here.
With another Halloween approaching, children of all ages are thinking about what to wear to earn their treats. There will certainly be some dressed in capes and fangs as vampires, but this creature of the night has long been more than a once-a-year monster.
The vampire has historically appeared precisely at times when we most need to identify, or to put a face of horror on, that which threatens us.
The current vampire madness has given us much choice in identifying our scapegoat for the conflicts of the 21st century. For the younger consumer, there is the “starter” vampire, Edward Cullen, in Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” series. Edward’s sparkly visage is not only pinup poster fodder; it gives contemporary tweens a safe understanding of things that go bump in the night. Although he is a vampire, Edward is unthreatening in his attractiveness. Even his car, a Volvo, is safe and reliable.
Charlaine Harris’ “True Blood” series, however, places her imagining of the world of Others in the multicultural town Bon Temps, where vampires have “come out of the coffin” into the world of the living by drinking the synthetic blood, Tru Blood. Her vampires are sexual, and raise questions of social prejudice and acceptance.
My fascination with the fanged revenant began with Jonathan Frid’s portrayal of Barnabas Collins in the 1960s gothic soap opera, “Dark Shadows.” Barnabas was fodder for my childhood nightmares: refined and educated, but also ghoulishly pale and fanged.
What I failed to realize then was that the popularity of the vampire on television and in movies was a reaction to the political and cultural upheaval of the Vietnam era and culture wars at home.
Vampires at once fascinate and terrify. Their bite promises eternal life, but at what price? Once “infected,” we become parasites, undead who feed on the living. Modern images of vampires often portray them as young, handsome and often “foreign,” whether as the iconic Transylvanian count or the misfit high school student in the “Twilight” series.
Perhaps the most famous vampire, Bram Stoker’s Dracula from his 1897 novel, was portrayed as an ethnic profile of an Eastern European Jew, immediately recognizable as the pogroms in Russia forced thousands to seek refuge in Europe.
Bela Lugosi’s suave, tuxedoed count in Tod Browning’s 1931 film, “Dracula,” was the first American vampire film. His heavily accented rendition of “I never drink … wine” gave American moviegoers both chills and an escape from the Great Depression. But this Dracula was also the foreign monster, an enemy we could all identify, fear and despise.
Decades later in the 1980s, while the U.S. was in the midst of an economic recession and AIDS was threatening to become a pandemic, Anne Rice brought us the memorable vampires Lestat and Louis. Her reimagining of the vampire myth in the middle of yuppie, corporate America in “Interview with the Vampire” provided readers with an escape from the ubiquitous upsetting stories spouting from 24-hour cable news.
Again, the vampire provided us with almost human embodiments of evil, an antidote to the helplessness we felt in the face of actual threats to our security and well-being.
What does the future hold for vampires? As vampires in past decades have become able to live in daylight and withstand the sight of a crucifix, a century from now we might see the myth further transformed to describe a global phenomenon, with nations uniting against a worldwide siege.
A timeless myth, the vampire story hundreds of years into the future might depict the creature as the primary inhabitant of planet Earth.
Introducing students to historical figures such as Vlad Dracula, a medieval “Christian crusader” battling invading Muslim Turks in Wallachia, is exactly what I do in my class on vampires at The University of Texas at Austin. The course also traces the occurrence of the vampire in Russia and Eastern Europe in tandem with periods of strife. It is not coincidental that Vladimir Putin has repeatedly referred to Chechen rebels as “vampires.” Undoubtedly the need to identify our enemies as vampires will live as long as the myth.
For young vampires on Halloween, though, we can avoid their tricks with a simple treat.
Thomas Garza is a University Distinguished Teaching Associate Professor of Slavic and Eurasian studies at The University of Texas at Austin.
A version of this op-ed appeared in the Austin American Statesman.
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Share this story on Twitter:October 29, 2014
AUSTIN, Texas — U.S. News & World Report has ranked The University of Texas at Austin No. 30 in the world in its first-ever Global University Rankings, marking the fourth time this year a prestigious international group has placed UT Austin among the best international universities.
The rankings are based on 10 indicators that measure universities' academic research performance and their global and regional reputation, according to the publication. Students are encouraged to use the rankings to explore higher education options globally and compare key aspects of schools' research missions.
"This ranking confirms what we see on our campus every day: outstanding faculty teaching world-class students. We say, 'What starts here changes the world.' The world is noticing," said President Bill Powers, who will be stepping down as president next June after nine years leading the flagship university.
The ranking placed UT Austin No. 23 among U.S. universities and No. 10 among public universities in the U.S.
UT Austin has been ranked near the top globally in other recent publications, including:
- No. 28 in the world by Times Higher Education (United Kingdom).
- No. 29 in the world by the Center for World University Rankings (Saudi Arabia).
- No. 39 in the world by the Academic Ranking of World Universities, which is compiled by the Center for World-Class Universities at Shanghai Jiao Tong University (China).
The U.S. News Global Rankings are based on different criteria than the U.S. News Best College rankings, which listed UT Austin at No. 53, and annual Best Graduate School rankings, which rate individual disciplines.
The global rankings focus specifically on schools' academic research and reputation overall and not their separate undergraduate or graduate programs, according to U.S. News. And they rely heavily on metrics such as faculty publications, citations and highly cited papers, drawing on data from Thompson Reuters, the largest international organization that tracks research productivity.
The overall rankings include 500 universities in 49 countries.
A new poll from The University of Texas at Austin reveals markedly different perspectives on energy issues based on the age of voters, a finding that could help determine the outcome of next week’s elections.
The latest UT Energy Poll, conducted Sept. 4-16, shows contrasting views and preferences among consumers in numerous areas, including energy policy, preferred sources of energy and financial support from the federal government.
Varying perspectives can be traced to several demographic variables, including gender and political affiliation, but the most pronounced differences reflect the age of survey respondents.
For example, 41 percent of survey respondents under age 35 say the U.S. should permit export of natural gas to other countries, while just 22 percent of those age 65 and older support the policy.
Nearly half of the 2,105 U.S. residents surveyed (46 percent) say candidates’ views on energy issues will greatly influence their choices at the ballot box.
The online poll also corroborates a longstanding trend among likely voters: A much higher percentage of older respondents (87 percent) indicate they are likely to vote in the Nov. 4 election, compared with 68 percent of those age 35 or under.
“Consumer perspectives on energy issues continue to track political party lines, but we’re seeing a widening gulf among older and younger Americans,” said Sheril Kirshenbaum, director of the UT Energy Poll.
The generational divide surfaces in several areas, particularly the importance of environmental protection and support for renewable forms of energy:
- Fifty-six percent of younger consumers say they are willing to pay much higher prices to protect the environment, compared with only 20 percent of respondents age 65 and older.
- Sixty-eight percent of survey respondents under age 35 say they would be more likely to vote for candidates who support steps to reduce carbon emissions, compared with 50 percent of those age 65 and older.
- Support for renewable sources of energy is considerably stronger among younger consumers, with nearly 2 out of 3 (65 percent) favoring an expansion of financial incentives for companies engaged in renewable technologies. Less than half of older respondents (48 percent) say they would support candidates who endorse such incentives. Likewise, 62 percent of younger respondents favor requiring utilities to obtain a percentage of their electricity from renewable sources, versus 48 percent of older voters.
- Younger consumers also strongly support subsidies for renewable energy, with 72 percent saying they back federal government support, compared with 58 percent among Americans age 65 and older.
- Fifty-two percent of respondents 65 and older say they are familiar with hydraulic fracturing for fossil fuel extraction, compared with 39 percent of younger Americans. Among those familiar with the term, only 37 percent of younger survey respondents support its use, compared with more than half (52 percent) of Americans age 65 and older.
For complete online survey results, charts and other information, visit www.utenergypoll.utexas.edu.
Data from The University of Texas at Austin Energy Poll were weighted using U.S. Census Bureau figures, as well as propensity scores, to ensure the sample's composition reflects the actual U.S. population. The poll was developed by the McCombs School of Business to provide an objective, authoritative look at consumer attitudes and perspectives on key energy issues. It is designed to help inform national discussion, business planning and policy development. This is the seventh wave of the Energy Poll, which was launched in October 2011.
AUSTIN, Texas — Getting children who are overweight to regularly eat even just a helping or two of the right vegetables each day could improve their health in critical ways, a new study in the November edition of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reports.
School cafeterias, families, policymakers and health professionals have been looking for ways to address a growing epidemic of childhood obesity, which is three times as prevalent now as it was a generation ago. The study’s finding that even small amounts of green and orange vegetables can help the children who are most at risk — regardless of whether they lose weight — suggests selecting the right vegetables is a critical part of the puzzle.
The study found that making nutrient-rich vegetables (including leafy foods such as spinach or broccoli and orangish vegetables such as carrots) even a small part of a child’s daily diet reduced bad fats in the body. It also improved insulin levels in a group of overweight Latino children monitored by a research team from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California and from The University of Texas at Austin.
Children who regularly consumed one or two fist-size servings of these nonstarchy vegetables reduced their risk for liver problems, Type 2 diabetes and other complications of obesity. Although the children, who ranged in age from 8 to 18, continued to eat fewer nutritious vegetables than what’s recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the improvements to their health were significant.
“For a lot of at-risk children, intake of vegetables is really low,” said Jaimie Davis, an assistant professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at UT Austin and one of the authors of the study, which notes that fewer than 6 percent of children eat the USDA-recommended multiple servings of nutrient-rich vegetables most days.
“We found, though, even eating less than a full serving of these vegetables can really have a pronounced effect on children’s health. One large leafy green salad as a regular part of lunch is enough to make a difference.”
Researchers looked at the effects of nutrient-rich vegetables in the diets of 175 overweight or obese Latino youths in Los Angeles. They found differences of a quarter cup per day in consumption of nutritious vegetables could be linked to improvements in metabolic health, including lower insulin levels and fewer “bad fats” in the body: visceral fat that lingers around internal organs and liver fat. Some types of body fats are more dangerous because they can lead to serious health complications, and they send the wrong signals to the brain about when and how much to eat.
Authors of the study emphasized that the type of vegetable matters, and that starchier vegetables such as corn and potatoes did not bring the positive effects of leafy greens and orange vegetables.
In addition to Davis, the paper’s authors are Lauren Cook, Gillian O'Reilly, Michael Goran, Donna Spruijt-Metz and Marc Weigensberg, all of the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California.
The hands tied nooses and then, as eternity neared, pulled the lever. There, at the high scaffold, those hands collected the debts of hundreds of criminals. The life masks of 20th century English executioners Albert Pierrepoint and Syd Dernley seem to float, ghostlike, in their display in the Tarlton Law Library. The plaster casts are part of the Hyder Collection, given to the UT Law School Foundation in 2011.
The life masks are two of the more macabre artifacts in the Hyder Collection, which includes over 1,000 pieces of legal history. Elton M. Hyder, Jr., LL.B. ’43, together with his wife, Martha Rowan Hyder, created the collection of art and artifacts to represent the historical development of law and the growth of the rule of law throughout the world. Their goal was to create for the law library an environment reminiscent of a fine gentleman’s library. The collection was donated to the Law School Foundation in 2011 for permanent display in the law school.
The first of the two hangmen, Albert Pierrepoint, decided he wanted to enter the family business of executions when he was only 11 years old. By the time he reached 38, he was “the U.K.’s unchallenged ‘Number One,’ the unofficial title of the most senior executioner.” After WWII, he hanged 200 war criminals in four years.
The second hangman, Syd Dernley, learned the ropes from Pierrepoint. Dernley took the lives of about 20 people between 1949 and 1954, and he “remained a fierce advocate for the death penalty, and hanging in particular, until his death.”
Each of the collection’s pieces comes with an intriguing backstory and glimpse into the past. When discussing the many items, Hyder’s wife, Martha Rowan Hyder, once said, “I like to think that the ghosts of all these people are walking around the library.”
The University of Texas at Austin is a vast place, with more than 40 acres of campus containing untold collections, artifacts and treasures. Our #HiddenUT series shines a spotlight onto UT’s unheralded gems.Plaster casts of the hands of English executioner Albert Pierrepoint.
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Thousands of boys and girls across Texas are now deciding what they want to be this Halloween. Boys have a multitude of Halloween costume options this year, ranging from scary to funny and from nerdy to powerful.
Girls’ costumes, on the other hand, are limited in variety and seem to increasingly feature the same, sexy silhouette: sleeveless, fitted bodice, short skirt and high heels.
Is a young girl’s desire for a sexy Halloween costume a harmless whim or something more troubling? Should parents go along with their daughters’ requests for those sexy, and often popular, costumes? Based on studies of pre- and early-adolescent girls, we think that parents should be worried about sexy Halloween costumes and guide their daughters toward less sexually alluring outfits.
Why? Social scientists have found that the exposure to sexualized messages is associated with body dissatisfaction, disordered eating, low self-esteem and depression among adult women. Although the solitary act of wearing a sexy costume is unlikely to affect adolescent girls’ development, a generalized interest in being sexually alluring to boys does appear to be harmful.
As social scientists, we have been studying pre- and early-adolescent girls who believe that sexual attractiveness is an important aspect of their identity.
In multiple studies, we found that 10- to 15-year-old girls with higher levels of “internalized sexualization” differ from their peers in troubling ways. The first set of findings shows that such girls earn lower grades in school and score lower on standardized tests of academic achievement than their peers.
Another study showed that when young adolescent girls came into our lab to film a mock newscast, girls with higher and lower scores on the internalized sexualization measure prepared differently: girls with higher levels of sexualization spent more time putting on makeup, and less time practicing the script, than girls with lower levels of sexualization.
What this means is that those girls who believe that being sexually attractive to boys is important invested more of their time and effort into doing just that. Because everyone’s resources are limited, the investment in sexiness comes at the expense of other things, including academics.
In yet another study, we found that the more that 11- to 15-year-old girls internalize the importance of being sexually attractive to boys, the more they wear tight clothing and skin- and cleavage-revealing clothing. That’s a logical link. Although some feminists have claimed that sexual desirability might be a source of empowerment for women, we found the opposite. We found the girls with higher levels of sexualization in our study showed higher rates of body shame than their peers.
So what should parents do when their elementary- and middle-school-age daughters want a sexy costume? Parents should support their child’s choice of costume theme, and then commit to a search for a less sexualized version.
Parents could also foster girls’ creativity by encouraging them to make their own costumes. Parents can explicitly label the costume features (e.g., high heels, fishnet stockings) that they find objectionable, and explain that highlighting one’s body by wearing skin-tight or revealing clothing distracts from what’s really important about girls and women: their skills, interests and personal qualities.
Competence, rather than sexiness, is a Halloween guise worth adopting.
Rebecca S. Bigler is professor of psychology and women’s and gender studies at The University of Texas at Austin. Sarah McKenney is an evaluator at the New York City Department of Health.
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Should parents go along with their daughters’ requests for those sexy, and often popular, Halloween costumes?http://t.co/RKmUwUo42R— Texas Perspectives (@TexPerspectives) October 27, 2014
The Tower won’t be the only thing that looks a little darker than usual on Oct. 24.
The University of Texas at Austin Energy and Water Conservation (EWC) Program and the student chapter of Longhorn Lights Out is asking the campus community to turn off lights, computers and other equipment when leaving campus buildings for the weekend on Friday, Oct. 24.
Called Longhorn Lights Out, this voluntary initiative demonstrates how simple, individual actions can result in significant energy savings across campus. Since the beginning of Longhorn Lights Out in April 2013, the university has saved nearly 54,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity — the equivalent of turning off 4,153 13W compact fluorescent bulbs and removing the greenhouse gas emissions of 53,460 pounds of carbon dioxide, according to emission calculations from the university power plant.
In support of Longhorn Lights Out, the Tower will not be lit from sunset on Oct. 24 to dawn on Oct. 25. (For safety reasons, the clock faces and aircraft warning lights on the Tower will be lit.) The university will be joining Bowling Green University, University of Toledo, University of Kansas and Penn State University in turning off lights and powering down monitors in buildings — an initiative known as Campus Lights Out.
On Friday, volunteers from the student chapter and other organizations will assist with turning off lights and electronics. EWC is partnering with the student organization Texas Tower Public Relations in the Moody College of Communication to promote the event.
AUSTIN, Texas — Scientists working on islands in Florida have documented the rapid evolution of a native lizard species — in as little as 15 years — as a result of pressure from an invading lizard species, introduced from Cuba.
After contact with the invasive species, the native lizards began perching higher in trees, and, generation after generation, their feet evolved to become better at gripping the thinner, smoother branches found higher up.
The change occurred at an astonishing pace: Within a few months, native lizards had begun shifting to higher perches, and over the course of 15 years and 20 generations, their toe pads had become larger, with more sticky scales on their feet.
"We did predict that we'd see a change, but the degree and quickness with which they evolved was surprising," said Yoel Stuart, a postdoctoral researcher in the College of Natural Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin and lead author of the study appearing in the Oct. 24 edition of the journal Science.
"To put this shift in perspective, if human height were evolving as fast as these lizards' toes, the height of an average American man would increase from about 5 foot 9 inches today to about 6 foot 4 inches within 20 generations — an increase that would make the average U.S. male the height of an NBA shooting guard," said Stuart. "Although humans live longer than lizards, this rate of change would still be rapid in evolutionary terms."
The native lizards studied, known as Carolina anoles or green anoles, are common in the southeastern U.S. The invasive species, Cuban anoles or brown anoles, are native to Cuba and the Bahamas. Brown anoles first appeared in South Florida in the 1950s, possibly as stowaways in agricultural shipments from Cuba, and have since spread across the southeastern U.S. and have even jumped to Hawaii.
This latest study is one of only a few well-documented examples of what evolutionary biologists call "character displacement," in which similar species competing with each other evolve differences to take advantage of different ecological niches. A classic example comes from the finches studied by Charles Darwin. Two species of finch in the Galápagos Islands diverged in beak shape as they adapted to different food sources.
The researchers speculate that the competition between brown and green anoles for the same food and space may be driving the adaptations of the green anoles. Stuart also noted that the adults of both species are known to eat the hatchlings of the other species.
"So it may be that if you're a hatchling, you need to move up into the trees quickly or you'll get eaten," said Stuart. "Maybe if you have bigger toe pads, you'll do that better than if you don't."
Stuart's co-authors are Todd Campbell at the University of Tampa; Paul Hohenlohe of the University of Idaho; Robert Reynolds of the University of Massachusetts, Boston; Liam Revell at the University of Massachusetts, Boston; and Jonathan Losos at Harvard University.
Support for this research was provided by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University.
The kind of sports participation you engage in during childhood influences your level of creativity later in life, according to research findings from The University of Texas at Austin’s College of Education.
In a study published last month in Creativity Research Journal, assistant professor Matt Bowers found a significant negative relationship between overall creativity and hours spent playing organized sports and a significant positive relationship between overall creativity and hours spent on unstructured sports activities.
To determine whether there is a link between sports involvement and creativity, Bowers and his research team explored the amount of time their adult study participants spent in various leisure activities during childhood and their current creative aptitude. Bowers was particularly interested in the amount of time they spent playing organized sports compared with unstructured, informal, pickup sports.
Bowers began the study with little expectation of definitive findings, but the results were surprisingly clear.
According to his analysis, which included 99 upper-division undergraduate and graduate students ranging in age from 19 to 33, there is a significant negative relationship between overall creativity and hours spent playing organized sports, and a significant positive relationship between overall creativity and hours spent playing informal sports.
“We chose that age range because previous research suggests for many individuals the developmental peak in creative thinking occurs between the ages of 21 and 29, the typical range for upper-division undergraduates and most masters-level graduate students,” said Bowers, who is in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education.
To measure the relationship between creativity and childhood leisure and sport participation patterns, Bowers used two instruments: the Abbreviated Torrance Test for Adults (ATTA) and a childhood leisure activities questionnaire. The ATTA quantifies the subject’s creativity by assessing skills such as the ability to produce unique, relevant ideas, embellish those ideas with details and process that information in different ways. The childhood leisure activities questionnaire documents context-specific sport and leisure participation rates.
Researchers found that 14 percent of the difference in participants’ overall creativity could be attributed to the amount of time they spent playing organized and informal sports.
On average, study participants who spent about 2,041 hours playing organized sports throughout their childhoods and adolescence saw a roughly 10-point deduction in their creativity from the mean (a score of approximately 67 on the ATTA).
On the other hand, those who spent only about 1,264 hours playing informal sports saw a 10-point increase in their creativity. Given the ATTA scoring rubric, these standard deviations from the mean can represent the difference between those individuals displaying below-average creativity and those displaying above average.
Bowers said that although the hour totals may appear substantial, when spread over the course of an entire childhood and adolescence, they reflect moderate participation patterns.
“If the 1,264 hours are spread over, say, 12 years, only two hours per week of playing informal sports is required to see a relatively dramatic shift in creative potential,” he said.
Bowers stressed that the paper is not an indictment of organized sports. It simply highlights some of the potential value in less structured sports activities, which, according to Bowers, are rapidly disappearing from many children’s lives.
“The implications of this aren’t a complete rejection of the current sport system,” he said. “We found that it’s really about balancing the time you spend in different settings. Our results suggest that you don’t have to play exclusively in unstructured settings. If you find a balance between those and other leisure activities, that suggests a stronger connection to higher levels of creativity.”
What happened in Dallas recently is something the U.S. health system had spent the past six months preparing. Consequently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed a checklist for evaluating possible Ebola patients and distributed it to health care providers across the country.
Many clinics have prepared for patients with Ebola-like symptoms, but even the best preparation requires clear communication between caregivers and patients, and among diagnosis and treatment teams.
Although the CDC can be commended for its efforts to contain Ebola here and abroad, the effort could be improved if changes to the health and risk communication were made.
Checklists for evaluating possible Ebola patients and clinical precautions would benefit from being changed to an “active choice” format.
Like most checklists, the current form for Ebola directs caregivers to check a box when a condition is present (□ Does patient have fever, subjective or > 101.5°F?) and make no response when it is not. However, equating a negative judgment (no fever) with inaction (not checking a box) discounts the mental effort the judge uses to reach it.
A more optimal checklist format would require people to make an active choice between two options rather than just “opting in” for one. This two-option format balances the consideration people give to positive and negative assessments. In this case, having caregivers actively choose between “yes” and “no” for each Ebola-consistent symptom could enhance the calibration of their judgments.
The language used to describe the health care worker’s role in diagnosis should also be changed from passive to active. Items describing diagnosis in the CDC checklist focus on the patient’s actions, not the caregiver: Does patient have fever? Has patient traveled to an Ebola-affected area in the 21 days before illness onset?
In contrast, those about post diagnosis procedures emphasize the caregiver’s actions: Isolate patient in a single room, Notify hospital infection control program, etc.
In practice, caregivers must be as active during diagnosis as in subsequent procedures. Language that describes diagnosis in “caregiver-active” terms (Check patient for fever symptoms, Inquire about patient’s travel to Ebola-affected areas, etc.) reinforces the caregiver’s role in this process as an effortful investigator, not a passive observer.
Patients should also understand that multiple caregivers asking them the same questions is necessary. For example, an intake nurse might ask whether the patient has traveled outside the U.S. in the past 21 days, and the physician might ask the question again. Yes, this is redundant, but it isn’t patronizing or accidental.
Repetition is important for careful communication. Asking the same question multiple times gives patients time to confirm responses and serves a check-and-balance function between caregivers. If one caregiver forgets to ask the question, the next one will have a chance to catch it. Redundancy should be viewed as a reassuring medical practice.
Crisis situations are times of uncertainty for everyone involved. Crises are unpredictable, so people’s knowledge of the situation will vary widely. Caregivers will respond to diverse patient questions about the spread and containment of the disease. Furthermore, patients and caregivers might not know the latest information because crises evolve rapidly.
Social media can play a key role in spreading both accurate and inaccurate information. To ensure accuracy, people should check their information sources carefully and verify with expert health organizations such as the CDC and World Health Organization. Having patients and caregivers working together to manage uncertainty is vital.
We must make sure that patients and communities stay informed and that hospitals have the best assessment communication practices. Along with epidemiology, quarantine, diagnosis and treatment, effective communication is the heart of effective disease containment.
Matthew S. McGlone and Keri K. Stephens are associate professors of communication studies at The University of Texas at Austin. Both are affiliates of the Center for Health Communication in the Moody School of Communication at The University of Texas at Austin.
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New op-ed on TP: We need to change patient questionnaires to contain Ebola and other diseases. http://t.co/HlJ56svk2u— Texas Perspectives (@TexPerspectives) October 23, 2014
AUSTIN, Texas — The Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin, presents the exhibition “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” to mark the 150th anniversary of the publication of Lewis Carroll’s classic work. The exhibition runs from Feb. 10 through July 6, 2015.
Featuring more than 200 items, the exhibition is drawn almost entirely from the Ransom Center’s collections of art, photography, rare books, performing arts, film and manuscripts. The exhibition features two significant “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” collections at the Ransom Center: the Warren Weaver collection and the Byron W. and Susan R. Sewell collection. The exhibition will also highlight other holdings related to Lewis Carroll and his Alice stories, including letters, hand-drawn illustrations and photographs. The exhibition brings to life the history of the book and reveals how “Alice's Adventures in Wonderland” has captured our collective imagination for 150 years and how Carroll's creation has been transformed by artists, translators and filmmakers.
The Englishman who became famous as Lewis Carroll was born Charles Lutwidge Dodgson in 1832. Dodgson, a mathematician at the University of Oxford, first met Alice Liddell (1852–1934), the daughter of Dodgson’s Oxford dean Henry Liddell, in 1856. An avid amateur photographer, Dodgson photographed Alice and her siblings, as well as other children, his own family, colleagues, artists, intellectuals and celebrities of his time.
Dodgson, who had no children of his own, spent time with the Liddell children, telling stories, making puzzles and going on outings. On one of these outings, in July 1862, Dodgson began the story that became “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” In addition to Alice, the story contains references to her sisters Edith (the Eaglet) and Lorina, called Ina (the Lory).
Encouraged by friends, Dodgson developed the story into a book and funded its publication. He used the pseudonym Lewis Carroll in the interest of maintaining his privacy and distance from his professional work.
“ ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ has never been out of print during its 150 years of existence,” said Danielle Brune Sigler, the Ransom Center’s associate director for research and programs and exhibition curator. “Though ‘Alice's Adventures in Wonderland’ is very much a product of Victorian England, the book continues to appeal to modern readers around the world. ‘Alice’ is one of those books that you enjoy reading as a child but is even more wonderful when you return to it as an adult and discover all of its secrets — the puns, riddles and satire that you missed the first time around. This exhibition will delight fans of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ and introduce others to a work that is widely known but not always closely read.”
The exhibition is organized thematically, with sections that cover topics such as the history and context of Carroll’s creation of “Alice”; a timeline highlighting changes in illustration of the book over time; translations of the novel from around the world; and Alice as interpreted by artists and filmmakers.
Highlights in the exhibition include original photographs made by Carroll, including one of Liddell and her sisters; a rare copy of the first printed edition of the book; original manuscripts by illustrator John Tenniel and Carroll; a photograph of Liddell as a young woman by Julia Margaret Cameron; illustrations by Salvador Dalí and five photographs reimagining “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by contemporary artist Abelardo Morell.
The exhibition will also feature interactive sections designed for young visitors, including a reading nook, an area for a pretend tea party and an activity center with math and word puzzles. A White Rabbit stamp card encourages visitors to seek out items in each section of the exhibition. Completed stamp cards can be exchanged for a Wonderland activity guide.
“Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” will be on view in the Ransom Center Galleries on Mondays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended Thursday hours until 7 p.m. On Saturdays and Sundays the galleries are open from noon to 5 p.m. The exhibition is free and open to the public.
High-resolution press images from the exhibition are available.
From left, Dealey Herndon, Scott Caven, Karen Nyberg, Matthew McConaughey, Jody Conradt, Earl Campbell, and John Massey. (Photo by Mark Rutkowski)
This past weekend, the Texas Exes and University of Texas honored six alumni with our highest award, the Distinguished Alumnus Award, and one non-alumnus with the Distinguished Service Award. I’d like to share these short descriptions of their accomplishments. You also can watch the moving videos produced for the event by clicking the links below:
Earl Christian Campbell, BS ’79, Austin
Campbell is one of the greatest running backs to ever play in the National Football League. After becoming the first Longhorn ever to win a Heisman Trophy in 1977, Campbell was the No. 1 draft pick by the Houston Oilers and went on to be named Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player. In 1981, the legislature named Campbell an Official State Hero of Texas. After retiring from football in 1985, he became a prominent businessman in Austin and later founded Earl Campbell Meat Products, Inc. He remains actively involved with UT Athletics and was a special assistant to the vice president for student affairs. In 1991, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Watch Earl Campbell’s recipient video here.
H. Scott Caven, Jr., BBA ’64, LLB ’67, Houston
Caven is managing director of Atlantic Trust, a private wealth management firm. He was a member of the UT Board of Regents from 2003-09, including service as chairman from 2007-09. During a 32-year career with Goldman Sachs, Caven was a vice president and a regional manager. A longtime UT advocate, Caven has chaired the UT System Chancellor’s Council and the McCombs School of Business Advisory Council. He is a founding member of the executive committee of the Texas Coalition for Excellence in Higher Education. He has also chaired the board of directors of the University of Texas Investment Management Company and the Texas Growth Fund board of trustees. Caven is currently a member of the board of trustees for the Texas State History Museum Foundation. Watch Scott Caven’s recipient video here.
Dealey Decherd Herndon, BA ’69, Austin
Herndon was the executive director for the State Preservation Board of Texas from 1991-95, directing the restoration and extension of the Texas State Capitol. After the Texas Governor’s Mansion was nearly destroyed in a 2008 fire, Herndon returned to lead the restoration of the mansion. She is a longtime project manager and historic preservationist who owned the firm of Herndon, Stauch & Associates from 1995-2006, overseeing projects including UT’s ACES Building, the George W. Bush Childhood Home, the Caldwell County Historic Courthouse, and many more. Herndon is a member of the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame and is a recipient of the Texas Medal of Arts Award. She served on two advisory committees and on the Brackenridge Task Force. Watch Dealey Herndon’s recipient video here.
John H. Massey, LLB ’66, Dallas
Massey is the chairman of the Neuberger Berman Private Equity Funds Investment Committee and a member of the Co-Investment Partners Investment Committee. He has been a senior executive and director for many companies, including serving as president of two highly successful companies that were listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Massey also served on the boards of seven other publicly held companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange. He and his wife, Elizabeth Shatto Massey, BS 61, Life Member, Distinguished Alumna, are proud natives of Columbus, Texas. They have created endowments at the McCombs School of Business, the School of Law, and the College of Education, as well as three Texas Exes Forty Acres Scholarships. Massey is also the president of the Law School Foundation and a trustee of the University of Texas Foundation. He is a recipient of UT’s Presidential Citation and in 2012 was inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame. Watch John Massey’s recipient video here.
Matthew David McConaughey, BS ’93, Austin
McConaughey is an Academy Award-winning actor. He has starred in Dazed and Confused, Amistad, Contact, The Wolf of Wall Street, True Detective, and Dallas Buyers Club, for which he won the Oscar and a Golden Globe Award, both for Best Actor. McConaughey is the founder of the just keep livin Foundation, a nonprofit that empowers high school students to lead active lives and make healthy choices. He also partnered with Mack Brown and Jack Ingram in founding Mack, Jack, and McConaughey, a joint fundraising effort that benefits children. Watch Matthew McConaughey’s video here.
Karen L. Nyberg, MS ’96, PhD ’98, Houston
Nyberg is a NASA astronaut. She has logged more than 75 million miles and over 180 days in space, including the 123rd shuttle mission in 2008 and a five-month stint on the International Space Station in 2013. Nyberg received a patent in 1994 for a robot-friendly probe and socket assembly she designed while serving as an undergraduate intern at NASA, and her graduate research on the thermoregulation of spacesuits was published in four academic journals. She is the recipient of the Joyce Medalen Society of Women Engineers Award and the University of North Dakota Sioux Award. Watch Karen Nyberg’s recipient video here.
Distinguished Service Award
Jody Conradt, Austin
Conradt was the head coach of the University of Texas’ women’s basketball team from 1976-2007. In her 38-year coaching career, her players won 900 games, and 99 percent of them graduated. Among dozens of other accolades, she was named the National Collegiate Coach of the Year four times and was the second woman inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. She helped establish UT’s Neighborhood Longhorns Program, an education outreach group that helps 5,500 disadvantaged Austin children build strong academic futures. Conradt, who also served as women’s athletics director from 1992-2001, is now a special assistant to Women’s Athletics.
After coming in second place last year, a team of McCombs School of Business students won the 2014 Michigan Undergraduate Investment Conference. The Tower will glow orange on Oct. 21 to celebrate this championship.
The winning Longhorn team included Matthew Rindelaub, finance and economics junior, Vishal Bhat, business honors, finance and radio-television-film sophomore, and Connor Ruddick, finance sophomore. All are members of the University Securities Investment Team.
The Michigan conference bills itself as the largest and most prestigious stock pitch competition in the country. Each year, since 2006, the Michigan Interactive Investments student organization invites more than 20 top business schools from across the country to present stock pitches and compete for a $3,000 top prize.
The Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin, invites applications for its 2015–2016 research fellowships. More than 50 fellowships will be awarded for projects that require substantial onsite use of the Center’s collections, supporting research in all areas of the humanities, including literature, photography, film, art, the performing arts, music and cultural history.
Information about the fellowships and the application process is available online. The deadline for applications, which must be submitted through the Ransom Center's website, is Jan. 15, 2015, at 5 p.m. CDT.
All applicants, with the exception of those applying for dissertation fellowships, must have a Ph.D. or be independent scholars with a substantial record of achievement.
The fellowships range from one to three months, with stipends of $3,000 per month. Also available are $1,200 or $1,700 travel stipends and dissertation fellowships with a $1,500 stipend.
The stipends are funded by endowments and annual sponsors, including the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Research Fellowship Endowment, the Dorot Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowships in Jewish Studies, the Marlene Nathan Meyerson Photography Fellowship Endowment, the Creekmore and Adele Fath Charitable Foundation, the Robert De Niro Endowed Fund, the Woodward and Bernstein Endowment, the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, the South Central Modern Language Association, and The University of Texas at Austin’s Office of Graduate Studies, Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies and program in British Studies.
Applicants will be notified of decisions on or before March 31, 2015. Fellowship recipients and their research projects will be listed on the Ransom Center's website.
Since the fellowship program's inauguration in 1990, the Center has supported the research of more than 900 scholars through fellowship awards. In conjunction with the program's 25th anniversary, the Center seeks to raise $25,000 to establish a Fellowship Anniversary Endowment to support the growth of the fellowship program and the next generation of humanities scholars.
UT’s Dell Medical School and Seton Teaching Hospital Lay Foundation for Working Relationship in Affiliation Agreement
A landmark agreement between The University of Texas at Austin and Seton Healthcare Family sets a legal foundation for a new medical school, a new teaching hospital, a health care district in downtown Austin and greater access to health services in Travis County.
The Affiliation Agreement outlines how UT faculty members, residents and students will work, train and learn in clinical and research programs at Seton facilities, including the Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas, a new $295 million teaching hospital that Seton is building on UT-owned property across the street from the Dell Medical School.
The new hospital will replace the outdated University Medical Center-Brackenridge, which has been the principal provider of inpatient hospital services for vulnerable low-income and uninsured Travis County residents. The new hospital will house an enhanced replacement for the region’s only adult Level 1 trauma center.
“This landmark agreement paves the way for transformation of The University of Texas at Austin, our community and the future of medicine,” said UT Executive Vice President and Provost Gregory L. Fenves. “We have worked for decades to establish UT as a leader in medical education and research to benefit society. Our partnership with Seton will allow us to extend the university's mission to include the highest quality patient care.”
The Affiliation Agreement ensures that UT Austin and Dell Medical School leaders will maintain complete control over how UT medical students and residents are taught and trained. Seton — a member of the nation’s largest nonprofit health system, Ascension — adheres to the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care (ERDs), which limit certain activities within its facilities. The agreement specifies that ERD-prohibited activities will not be conducted at Seton facilities. UT students and residents will receive complete education and training at non-Seton facilities.
Seton, which owns and operates three other teaching hospitals, is building Seton Medical Center at UT entirely with money it either raises or generates, and no funding will be transferred under the Affiliation Agreement, which has an initial term of 25 years, with two automatic 10-year extensions.
“A higher standard of health care, expanded services and greater accessibility for Central Texans is on the horizon,” said Jesús Garza, Seton Healthcare Family president and chief executive officer. “Seton looks forward to building a modern teaching hospital worthy of the world-class Dell Medical School that we are working with UT to develop.”
The Dell Medical School will welcome its first class of students in July 2016. The school is currently under construction at the corner of 15th and Red River streets. The hospital will begin operations in 2017. Faculty members will be compensated by UT Austin for their teaching and research responsibilities, though they may also have arrangements with Seton so they can establish medical practices within or through the teaching hospital and provide care in the community.
“Our goal at the Dell Medical School is to change how medicine is taught and health care is delivered. This Affiliation Agreement helps us to do that,” said Clay Johnston, inaugural dean of the Dell Medical School. “It allows our students and residents to learn — and Travis County residents to be treated — in a state-of-the-art teaching hospital, and it gives our faculty the flexibility and freedom to develop innovative new models of care that will help make Austin a model healthy city.”
The agreement completes a set of contracts between UT Austin, Seton and Central Health, Travis County’s health care district. In setting the legal foundation for a new UT medical school and teaching hospital, the partnerships fulfill key pieces of the 10 Goals in 10 Years that state Sen. Kirk Watson initially proposed in 2011. Voters in Travis County embraced the 10-in-10 Goals in 2012 when they passed a proposition increasing property taxes to support the medical school and a number of other community health care efforts.
“The people of Austin and Travis County voted two years ago for something transformative. With these contracts completed, we can set about the work of really transforming how our neighbors, friends and loved ones live, work and stay healthy,” Watson said. “It’s always been a compelling vision. With this agreement, it’s a step closer to reality.”
For more on the Affiliation Agreement, go to www.utexas.edu/dell-medical-school/partners/ut-austin-seton-affiliation-agreement. You can read the full document at https://utexas.app.box.com/UT-Seton-Affiliation-Agreement.
There’s an old joke about homework. A teacher says to a student, “How do you like doing your homework?” The student responds, “I like doing nothing better.”
With the novelty of the new school year now behind us, it goes without saying that kids would rather be doing just about anything other than homework.
Every fall, the same debates persist: Is homework even effective? How much is best? In what ways should parents be involved? But the problem with homework does not revolve around these questions.
The problem with homework is motivation, or the lack thereof, because the major challenge for making homework an effective tool for learning is that even nothing often seems better.
As a researcher focused on teacher and parent practices that support student achievement, I believe that the call to action is clear: Teachers and parents must focus on motivation to make homework a valuable part of the learning process.
Teachers must put more focus on the quality of the homework. Homework is most effective when it relates to students’ existing interests, is meaningful, and is well suited to kids’ current skills. We are all familiar with this — learning is easier when the task is interesting and seems important to master.
Studies suggest that teachers who use homework to develop students’ motivation and interest in the subject have students who put in greater effort on homework and demonstrate higher achievement.
The homework itself should be short and frequent, not long and few. Every year there is inevitably a news story about overwhelmed fifth-graders who come home with four hours of homework every night.
This always amazes me because we know from research that students learn better and can maintain motivation when they space out their learning and return to it frequently, rather than attempting to learn everything in one long session.
As students become frustrated or bored with an assignment, they reduce their effort, work less effectively, or give up altogether. Assignments should be short and regular.
Structure is important too. Clear expectations and having a routine can maintain motivation.
When students leave class feeling prepared to do their homework and know what teachers and parents expect of them, they feel more competent and positive about homework.
Studies have shown students who have a clearly defined routine around homework — a set time, a set place and a set way to complete homework — are more likely to believe they can overcome challenges while doing homework and take more responsibility for their own learning.
It is critical that teachers and parents explain why even the most boring homework is important. Not all rationales are equal, but explaining how information is used by that doctor or engineer in the real world or how the homework could help the student accomplish personal goals aside from just getting a good grade can help students persist even on boring homework.
Parents should also give their kids a little freedom. When kids struggle with homework, teachers and parents sometimes have an instinct to take control by using commands, incentives, threats or just do homework themselves for their kids. These tactics may work in the short term, but they won’t benefit kids for the long haul.
A better strategy is to help kids feel autonomous by giving them some choice about homework and emphasizing that they should work in their own way.
And finally, feedback. Teachers and parents need to provide feedback about the homework product, not the student. Feedback can be tricky when it comes to motivation because inevitably, no one likes to hear about what they did not do well.
But, whatever teachers and parents say about homework, it needs to be clear that they have confidence that the student can improve with effort and that making mistakes is not only tolerated but is a welcomed part of the learning process.
Motivation plays an integral part in the overall value of homework. The sooner parents and teachers focus on strategies to foster motivation, the better. What should be clear to everyone, though, is that homework can definitely be better than nothing.
Erika A. Patall is an assistant professor of educational psychology in the College of Education at The University of Texas at Austin.
A version of this op-ed appeared in the Austin American Statesman.
To view more op-eds from Texas Perspectives, click here.
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AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas at Austin Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences (ICES) has received a $3 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to further advance the storm surge predictive simulations that have helped Texas emergency managers develop some of the country’s most successful hurricane evacuation plans.
Speed is essential for disaster planning, and the new simulations will be designed to take advantage of advances in supercomputing to convert large databases of weather and topographical data into storm surge predictions within an hour, half the current time for processing the continually changing data.
Clint Dawson, director of the ICES Computational Hydraulics Group, has been predicting hurricane storm surge for the past 15 years. Using computational methods that detail the location and depth of surges, Dawson and collaborators have helped Texas emergency managers develop hurricane evacuation plans and studied storm surges for every hurricane to strike the United States since the late 1990s.
The current storm surge prediction process relies on feeding hurricane data into a computational program called ADCIRC, which uses high-performance computers to generate data about potential outcomes.
With the $3 million NSF grant, Dawson, a professor of aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics, and collaborators at Louisiana State University, The University of Notre Dame, and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are overhauling ADCIRC into a version 2.0 dubbed STORM that’s designed to perform more efficiently across a variety of computer hardware architectures. A goal for STORM is to work twice as fast as ADCIRC, enabling storm surge predictions to be made within an hour of receiving data inputs.
“The idea is how do we keep the program up to date and modernize it for the next generation,” Dawson said.
Since first being developed in the mid-1990s, ADCIRC has been widely used by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and academic researchers to simulate and predict water flow in coastal areas of the United States. Storm surge prediction is a popular use for the program, but the governing equations describing fluid flow can be applied to investigate other research questions. During the Deep Water Horizon oil spill, for example, Dawson used ADCIRC to predict oil dispersal paths up to three days in advance.
The four-year grant pairs Dawson and ICES Research Associate Craig Michoski as co-principal investigators. They will work with research collaborators from three other universities: Hartmut Kaiser, LSU; Joannes Westerink, ND; and Richard A. Luettich, UNC-Chapel Hill.
Whatever the fluid flow problem being analyzed, the ADCIRC system works by analyzing the interaction between relatively static elements, such as coastal and undersea topography, and dynamic ones, such as how a hurricane influences water height and water velocity. ADCIRC’s computational algorithms produce a selection of potential scenarios. The most likely prediction is used by emergency response teams. In the case of storm surges, this information informs emergency response and evacuation plans and helps create maps.
The STORM program will maintain the same ADCIRC functionalities but will get a code upgrade with a completely new foundation for its algorithms, Dawson said.
The new will be written in HPX and designed to be flexible and easily integratable with other code types, and adaptable to diverse computer architectures. By rewriting the code using HPX, STORM will not only be able to run more efficiently on today’s super computing systems, but is likely well equipped to handle inevitable changes that will come.
“Where we hope to be in four years is to have a whole new code and a whole new piece of software. And it’s going to be a lot of work but it’s also necessary work if you want to keep your software useful for the next generation,” Dawson said.
At the same time, Dawson says turning ADCIRC into STORM will be an exercise in understanding the history and composition of the original code, which could help in constructing STORM, and other programs in general.
“If you don’t do these kinds of projects you lose all this memory of how you got to this point. We’re really fortunate to have this opportunity to take all the lessons that we learned and to put it into a new piece of software,” Dawson said.
Photos are available on the ICES flickr site.
(From left) Sam Gosling, President Powers, Beth Pomeroy, Doug Bruster, and Oguzhan Bayrak. Not pictured are Peter Stone and John Stanton.
On Wednesday, UT’s Academy of Distinguished Teachers inducted six new members. I’d like to share a little bit about each of this year’s inductees:
- Oguzhan Bayrak is director of the Ferguson Structural Engineering Laboratory and holds the Charles Elmer Rowe Fellowship in Engineering. He studies behavior, analysis, and design of reinforced and pre-stressed concrete structures, bridge engineering, evaluation of structures in distress, structural repair, fiber-reinforced polymers, and earthquake engineering.
- Douglas Bruster, the Moody C. Boatwright Regents Professor, is a Shakespeare specialist who also studies modern playwrights like David Mamet and David Hare. His books on Shakespeare and early modern drama include Drama and the Market in the Age of Shakespeare, Quoting Shakespeare, Shakespeare and the Question of Culture, Prologues to Shakespeare’s Theatre, To Be or Not To Be and Shakespeare and the Power of Performance. He taught at Harvard, the University of Chicago, and the University of Paris before coming to UT Austin.
- Samuel Gosling is a personality/social psychologist who researches how people select and craft the environments in which they dwell to suit their personalities; personality or temperament in non-human animals; and online data-collection methods in the behavioral sciences. His research frequently appears in the national and international media.
- Elizabeth Pomeroy is the Bert Kruger Smith Centennial Professor in Social Work and coordinator of our Clinical Social Work Concentration. Her interests include mental health, health and children and families; HIV/AIDS interventions; crime victims; interventions for offenders in the criminal justice system; and clinical social work group interventions for children, adults, and families.
- John Stanton is our George W. Watt Centennial Professor. His research group works in the area of theoretical chemistry. He focuses on developing new theoretical methods and implementing them in computationally efficient computer programs, and applying these and other methods to the solution of interesting chemical and spectroscopic problems.
- Peter Stone is the David Burton Jr. Centennial Professor and founder and director of the Learning Agents Research Group within the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in the Department of Computer Science. His application domains have included robot soccer, autonomous bidding agents, autonomous vehicles, autonomic computing, and social agents.
Members of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers are the best of the best. I’m extremely proud of these six and all of our current members.
What starts here changes the world.