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UT News

In the Know

A weekly roundup of campus kudos and press mentions.

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Campus Kudos

McCombs undergraduate team takes grand prize in Net Impact Re-Source Challenge
A team of McCombs undergraduate students won the grand prize in the 2009 Net Impact Re-Source Challenge. The team shared the win with an MBA team from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Business. Bijal Mehta, Zoe Gabbard and Elaine Hsu were the only undergraduate team to enter the competition beating out more than 30 MBA teams for a spot in the finals.

Erickson honored for Excellence in Addiction Education
Carlton K. Erickson, associate dean for research and graduate studies in the College of Pharmacy, has received the John P. McGovern Award for Excellence in Medical Education. The award was presented at the November annual meeting of the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse. The honor is the highest award presented by the organization.

Electrical engineering grad student selected as 2009 Marconi Society Young Scholar
Felix Gutierrez, an electrical engineering graduate student, is one of five recipients internationally to be awarded a 2009 Marconi Society Young Scholar. Gutierrez was chosen for his exceptional class ranking, demonstration of research capabilities and commitment to the ideal of “science for the benefit of humanity.” His research focuses on wireless communications and creating new devices with data rates 1,000 times faster than current technology.

Electrical and computer engineering doctoral student receives Intel Fellowship
Muhammad Aater Suleman, an electrical and computer engineering doctoral student, is one of 26 graduate students nationwide to be awarded an Intel Ph.D. Fellowship by the Intel Foundation. Suleman was chosen by Intel Fellows for his thesis titled “Hardware/Software Symbiosis for Asymmetric Chip-Multiprocessors.”

Computer scientists honored by national computing organization
Computer scientists Chandrajit Bajaj and Nell Dale have been selected as fellows of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM), a high honor in the field of computer science. The ACM Fellows designation is bestowed upon association members who have distinguished themselves with outstanding technical and professional achievements in the field of information technology.

Engineer selected for National Academy’s first educational frontiers symposium
Jennifer Maynard, assistant professor of chemical engineering, has been selected to participate in the National Academy of Engineering’s first U.S. Frontiers of Engineering Education Symposium. The symposium brings together a select group of the nation’s best young engineers working to explore innovations in teaching and promote these advances in engineering education.

Professor receives rare honor with election to Gray’s Inn as “Honorary Bencher”
Jane Stapleton, Ernest E. Smith Professor of Law, has been elected an Honorary Master of the Bench (“Honorary Bencher”) of the Honorable Society of Gray’s Inn. Gray’s Inn is one of the four ancient Inns of Court in London. Non-members, such as distinguished judges and lawyers from other countries, may be elected by the Inn as honorary benchers but this is a rare honor given to only a few.

Professor receives honorary membership to Czech Society for Mechanics
Aerospace engineering professor Ivo M. Babuska has been named honorary member of the Czech Society for Mechanics. Babuska was recognized for his “distinctive contributions to engineering, science, research and other pursuits allied with and beneficial to the cooperation between scientific institutions and universities throughout the world.”

Marilla D. Svinicki Burnt Orange Apple Award presented to Thomas J. Garza
University Distinguished Teaching Associate Professor Thomas J. Garza received the 2009 Marilla D. Svinicki Burnt Orange Apple Award during a reception at the historic Littlefield House. The award recognizes Garza for his instructional leadership as a scholar, innovator, colleague and administrator.

Civil engineering professor receives national award
Daene McKinney, environmental and water resources engineering professor, received the 2009 Richard R. Torrens award from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). McKinney was recognized for his outstanding contributions over the last several years to the ASCE publications program as editor of the Journal of Water Resource Planning and Management.

Student receives Medal of Excellence from the American Bankruptcy Institute
Peenesh Shah, a third-year School of Law student, has been awarded a 2009 Medal of Excellence in Bankruptcy from the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI). The ABI’s Medal of Excellence Program honors top law students for their achievements in the field of bankruptcy as selected by deans and bankruptcy law faculty.

Petroleum engineering professor receives national honor
Russell T. Johns, petroleum engineering professor, received Distinguished Membership from the Society of Petroleum Engineers. Distinguished membership is limited to one percent of the organization’s professional members and acknowledges members who have attained eminence in the petroleum industry or the academic community, and who have made significant contributions to society.

Petroleum engineering professor receives international award
Mukul M. Sharma, petroleum engineering professor, received the 2009 Anthony F. Lucas Gold Medal, the major technical award from the Society of Petroleum Engineers. The award recognizes one individual every year for developing new technology and concepts and demonstrating distinguished achievement in improving the technique and practice of finding and producing petroleum.

Simmons advises Clinton Climate Initiative
Mark Simmons, a restoration ecologist at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, has been invited to join the technical advisory group for the Clinton Climate Initiative. The Initiative of the William J. Clinton Foundation works with governments and businesses to address climate change by looking for ways to increase energy efficiency in cities, to catalyze sources of clean energy and to prevent deforestation.

Engineering undergrad receives Radio Club of America scholarship
Carlos Esteva, electrical engineering undergraduate student, was selected for the 2009 Radio Club of America (RCA) scholarship. RCA provides a scholarship fund to “worthy students in the study of radio communications.” Esteva was recognized for his outstanding academic record and for specializing in digital signal processing along with his desire to pursue a graduate degree in the field.

Biomedical engineering student receives $33,000 Larry Temple scholarship
Natalie Craik, biomedical engineering and Plan II undergraduate student, was one of two recipients of the university’s 2009-10 Larry Temple Scholarship. Craik was chosen for her outstanding academic record including her achievement of a 4.0 grade point average during her freshman year.

Professor Ted Huston named Fulbright Scholar
Ted L. Huston, the Amy Johnson McLaughlin Professor of Human Development and Family Sciences in the School of Human Ecology, will travel to Croatia during the spring semester as a Fulbright Scholar where he will lecture and conduct research on the sociocultural foundations of personal relationships.

LBJ prof receives Lifetime Achievement Award from Society for Military Psychology
Howard Prince, LBJ School of Public Affairs clinical professor and director of the School’s Center for Ethical Leadership and Department of Psychology alumnus, was awarded the John C. Flanagan Lifetime Achievement Award by Division 19, the Society for Military Psychology, of the American Psychological Association. The Flanagan Award is presented annually to a psychologist whose lifework has significantly advanced the understanding of military psychology in America.

Article co-written by Dr. Tom Bohman receives Editor’s Award
An article co-written by Dr. Tom Bohman, “The Efficacy of Fast ForWord Language Intervention in School-Age Children with Language Impairment: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” has been selected for the Editor’s Award from American Speech-Language-Hearing Association for the language section of the Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research.

Press Mentions

Fortune: “Why ‘say on pay’ won’t work”
Nov. 16
Waiting for investors to slam the brakes on runaway executive pay? Don’t hold your breath. Although Congress may give shareholders more of a say on pay soon, big money managers seem content to keep their mouths shut. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd, D.-Conn., unveiled a financial reform plan this month that would give investors in public companies an advisory vote on pay policies starting in 2011. It’s the latest boost for say-on-pay plans, which reformers have been pushing in recent years with some notable support. But there’s a catch. The biggest investors — institutions such as mutual funds and pension funds that hold more than half of all shares — have shown little interest in playing pay watchdog. And it’s not clear that will change even if the government mandates say on pay as part of the financial reform taking shape in Washington. “We just haven’t seen a huge amount of effort being put out by institutional shareholders to affect compensation levels,” said Bernard Black, a law professor at the University of Texas. “Whether it’s because they don’t mind the pay practices or because the money managers are making millions themselves, you don’t see them jumping up and down.”

USA TODAY: “Americans Seem Angry A Lot, But It’s All in the Management”
Nov. 18
Are we bad for getting mad?
Psychologists say it’s normal to get angry. We all do it — and we need to feel anger. It’s a basic human emotion, they say. More and more, though, we see people losing their cool in public. And the kind of outbursts seen at town hall meetings on health care reform, on tennis courts, on the Internet and even during speeches by the president are increasingly a part of everyday life. “There is very little, if any, social consequence to turning on the flames,” said Art Markman, a psychology professor at The University of Texas at Austin, who has written about the anonymity of the Internet making people feel freer to express anger.

CNN: Covering Mexico’s cartel wars puts journalists in the line of fire
Nov. 19
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists reports that 26 journalists have been killed since 2005 in Mexico — most of them while covering the crime or corruption beats. By comparison, 10 journalists were killed in the same time period while covering the war in Afghanistan. “Everyone knows the rules of the game,” said Ricardo Ainslie, professor of educational psychology at the University of Texas in Austin and a member of the Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies. For the last year, Ainslie has been using Ciudad Juarez as the center for his research on the Mexican war against the drug cartels. “You can report what happens on the street, which is public domain, and sometimes they will get threats if they don’t report something,” Ainslie said. “They can’t report backstories, or make inferences about motives. They are treading lightly because they can not afford to investigate — this means execution.”

Forbes: “When Sleep Suffers, So Does Decisiveness”
Nov. 21
Sleep-deprived people may put themselves and others at risk when they need to make split-second decisions, U.S. researchers have found. The study, which included 49 U.S. military cadets, looked at how sleep deprivation affected information-integration, a process that relies heavily on instantaneous, gut-feeling decisions. “It’s important to understand this domain of procedural learning because information-integration — the fast and accurate strategy — is critical in situations when soldiers need to make split-second decisions based about whether a potential target is an enemy soldier, a civilian or one of their own,” Todd Maddox, a psychology professor at The University of Texas at Austin, said in a university news release. The ability to make split-second decisions is crucial in a number of other high-pressure professions, including firefighters and police officers, the study authors noted.

The New York Times: “Unemployment and Midterms”
Nov. 29
If they crave comfort, Democratic candidates can grab onto this: political science research finds little historical connection between unemployment and midterm Congressional elections. But neither the Obama White House nor outside Democratic strategists count on that evidence to protect them in the midterm elections of 2010. But pollsters say unemployment now shapes views of the economy for voters nationwide. Democratic strategists consider it crucial to demonstrate a positive turn due to Mr. Obama’s policies before the election. Other analysts say that on unemployment, all inflection points are not created equal. One variable is how fast joblessness declines; another is whether it falls back below 10 percent. “Anything in double digits, they’re not going to get any credit for that,” said Daron Shaw, a political scientist at the University of Texas who advised Mr. Bush’s 2000 and 2004 campaigns.