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UT News

In the Know

The April 19 weekly roundup of campus kudos and press mentions.

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Campus Kudos

Four faculty receive Guggenheim Fellowships
Four university faculty members have been named recipients of the 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship Award: Ricardo Ainslie, professor in the Department of Educational Psychology; Lawrence McFarland, William and Bettye Nowlin Endowed Professor in Photography in the Department of Art and Art History; Tandy Warnow, professor in the Department of Computer Science; and Troy Brauntuch, associate professor in the Department of Art and Art History. Guggenheim Fellows are appointed on the basis of achievement and exceptional promise.

College of Education adviser receives Excellence Award
Antoinette Hart, academic advising coordinator in the College of Education, has won the 2010 Robert Murff Excellence Award for outstanding support of career services at the university. The Texas Campus Career Council (TC3) presents the award. TC3 aims to recognize the many “career agents” who assist the university’s individual career service offices and noted that Hart’s “contribution is a wonderful example of how academic advisers can work in unison with career services to assist students in their journey through college and beyond.”

Architecture professor named MacDowell Fellow
Anthony Alofsin, the Roland Roessner Centennial Professor of Architecture, has been named a Fellow of the MacDowell Colony, the oldest artists’ colony in America. This is the second time he has been named a MacDowell Fellow, and he will be in residency in Peterborough, N.H., during the summer of 2010. Alofsin is featured in the April 2010 edition of the university’s Our Campus magazine. The cover article, “Illuminating Architecture,” profiles Alofsin’s expansive professional career and creative pursuits.

Anthropology professor wins $25,000 Friar Fellowship
Dr. Christopher Kirk, professor in the Department of Anthropology, has been awarded the $25,000 2010-11 Friar Centennial Teaching Fellowship. The annual award goes to a full-time, tenured or tenure-track undergraduate professor, and is the largest award for undergraduate teaching excellence at the university. Kirk was among more than 100 nominations for this year’s fellowship. The Friar Society has been presenting the award since 1983. Thanks to an increase in financial support this year, the Friar Society was able to expand the award from $15,000 to $25,000.

Marine Science Institute receives $595,626
The Gulf of Mexico Program recently announced the Marine Science Institute will receive a $595,626 cooperative agreement for the project “Development of Pilot Nutrient Criteria for an estuary in the Western Gulf of Mexico.” The project will be completed over the course of three years under the leadership of Dr. Edward J. Buskey, professor and research coordinator for the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve. The goal of this project is to describe where and how nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, enter and leave the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) as well as how nutrients are used and reused in the NERR.

Social work researcher to serve on FDA advisory committee
Dr. Jane Maxwell, senior research scientist at the Social Work Center for Social Work Research, has been named a Special Governmental Employee Consultant to serve on advisory committee panels to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the next five years. These committees advise the commissioner of food and drugs on risk management, risk communication, and quantitative evaluation of spontaneous reports for drugs for human use and for any other product for which the FDA has regulatory responsibility.

Professor receives “Si Se Puede” award for volunteer and service work
Dr. Calvin Streeter, professor in the School of Social Work and the Meadows Foundation Centennial Fellow in the Quality of Life in the Rural Environment, received the 2010 Cesar E. Chavez “Si Se Puede” Award from PODER (People Organized in Defense of Earth and Her Resources). The award is presented to individuals who demonstrate leadership that is changing lives and transforming communities. Streeter is an active volunteer in the Austin community, serving on numerous boards for nonprofit organizations. Streeter teaches Dynamics of Organizations and Communities, which examines the reciprocal relationship between human behavior and social environments and explores the consequences of that interaction for populations-at-risk and people from diverse backgrounds.

Press Mentions

The New York Times: Why new appointees offer fewer surprises
April 17

The last two justices to leave the Supreme Court, David H. Souter and Sandra Day O’Connor, were nominated by Republican presidents and then drifted left. So did Justice John Paul Stevens, who announced his retirement last week.

Those sorts of surprises are much less likely these days.

Justin Driver, a law professor at The University of Texas, has a theory about why that might be so. “It’s the friends factor,” he said. Conservatives with established social networks in Washington, he said, are less likely than newcomers to be swayed by the city’s relatively liberal political culture. “In the conservative imagination,” Professor Driver said, “there is an idea that Republican-appointed justices are worn down by Georgetown dinner parties.”

The Christian Science Monitor: Hospital visitation, latest step in delicate dance on gay rights
April 16

President Obama’s directive to give same-sex couples visitation rights in hospitals represents the latest effort by the administration to advance the agenda of an interest group that worked hard for his election — and has expressed frustration over the pace of change.

Analysts see two factors at play: one, Obama’s deliberative style, and two, the immense issue agenda he has taken on, a combination of his own goals and inherited problems, including two wars and an economic crisis.

“Look at how he prepared for his decision on Afghanistan; he took months,” says Bruce Buchanan, a presidential scholar at The University of Texas at Austin. “Also, he’s got to be careful over how he times things, and how he portrays them, given the huge [number of] balls that he has in the air at any given time.”

The New York Times: CIA monitored Soviet forces before ‘Prague spring’
April 16

The CIA closely watched the massive buildup of Soviet forces before the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia and warned President Lyndon Johnson that military action could happen, according to previously classified documents released Friday.

The documents, released during a symposium at the LBJ presidential library, include an Aug. 2, 1968 memo that said Moscow had built a large invasion force in about two weeks’ time. The Soviets had called the troop movements military exercises, but rolled into Czechoslovakia 18 days later to stamp out liberal political, economic and social reforms.

The symposium at the library on The University of Texas campus discussed the role of intelligence and the lessons learned from the invasion.

Read last week’s In the Know.