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UT News

In the Know

The July 27 weekly roundup of campus kudos and press mentions.

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Campus Kudos

Teach For America ranks UT No. 1 for contributors
The University of Texas at Austin ranks No. 1 among large schools for contributing the largest number of students to Teach For America, a national program in which recent college graduates teach for two years in urban and rural public schools. Eighty graduating seniors were accepted into the teaching corps for this fall. For the past three years the university has ranked among the top five universities of its size, ranking fifth in 2008 and second in 2009.

Digital media researchers receive grants to work with Portuguese universities
University researchers together with collaborating Portuguese researchers have received six grants totaling about $1.5 million from the Science and Technology Foundation of Portugal to expand the presence of advanced digital media through educational and research exchange. Researchers from the departments of Advertising, Communication Studies and Radio-TV-Film in the College of Communication, the School of Information and the Cockrell School of Engineering will conduct the projects with principal investigators at Portuguese universities through the UT Austin | Portugal International Collaboratory for Emerging Technologies or CoLab.

Law Professor John Robertson given lifetime achievement award
The American Society for Law, Medicine and Ethics (ASLME) presented a special lifetime achievement award to Professor John A. Robertson of the School of Law during the 33rd annual Health Law Professors Conference. The award recognizes Robertson, one of the nation’s leading experts in law and bioethics, for dedicating his career to the field of health law. The lifetime achievement award is not presented annually, and Robertson is only the second person that ASLME has recognized with this honor in recent years.

LBJ dean named to executive committee for professional association
Robert Hutchings, dean of the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, has been named to the Executive Committee for the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA) as an At-Large member. The LBJ School, which became an APSIA member in 2008, is one of 34 member schools in North America, Asia and Europe dedicated to the improvement of professional education in international affairs and the advancement of international understanding, prosperity, peace and security.

DIIA to be renamed Center for Teaching and Learning, effective Aug. 16
The Division of Instructional Innovation and Assessment will be renamed the Center for Teaching and Learning, effective Aug. 16, as part of an initiative by Executive Vice President and Provost Steven Leslie to strengthen the division’s role in supporting educational excellence. The initiative includes moving the division from Continuing and Innovative Education to the office of the executive vice president and provost, and appointing Dr. Harrison Keller, vice provost for higher education policy, as executive director for the division, effective July 26.

Student lifestyle magazine honored at national competition
BurntORANGE magazine, a student-run campus lifestyle magazine, has been recognized for general excellence in the 2010 Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Student Magazine Contest. The magazine earned second place for both design and general excellence in the “Single Issue of an Ongoing Print Magazine” category. Journalism graduate student Jenn Hair was the art director and journalism magazine writing and editing senior Emily Watkins was the editor. Journalism senior lecturer Dave Garlock was the adviser.

Press Mentions

Bloomberg: BP, Obama may keep Macondo oil well shut until final kill
July 18

BP Plc’s use of a tight-fitting cap to shut off oil flowing from its Gulf of Mexico Macondo well may be the solution the company has sought since the undersea gusher was triggered by an explosion three months ago.

Stopping the flow of oil from the well represents a significant success, Tad Patzek, chair of petroleum and geosystems engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, said in an interview.

“BP is finally doing the right thing,” Patzek said. “The best thing to do now is to wait for another couple of days and watch the well, and see how the pressure evolves, how it stabilizes, and draw conclusions from it.”

The Christian Science Monitor: As 2011 Ford Explorer turns heads, so does its marketing campaign
July 26

The 2011 Ford Explorer redesign unveiled Monday signals the biggest change to the automaker’s signature sports utility vehicle since it was introduced in 1990.

But the Explorer’s social media marketing is also turning heads.

Corporations are also “using social media to establish a presence, give their brand a voice in the marketplace, interact with their audience,” says Gene Kincaid, professor of advertising and public relations at The University of Texas at Austin.

“Facebook skews older — while Twitter still skews younger,” says Gary Wilcox, a professor of advertising who focuses on social media at The University of Texas at Austin. “The fact that [Ford] chose Facebook instead of Twitter indicates that that vehicle is for a more mature audience.”

NPR: What digital divide?
July 22

To wrap up this week’s Tell Me Mobile series about technology in communities of color, host Michel Martin explores the downsides for a new generation living in a wired world. She speaks with S. Craig Watkins. He’s a professor of Radio, Television and Film at The University of Texas at Austin, and the author of “The Young and the Digital: What the Migration to Social Network Sites, Games, and Anytime, Anywhere Media Means for Our Future.”

TIME: After a disaster, kids suffer posttraumatic stress too
July 21

Popular wisdom has long held that young children survive traumatic events better than adults do, in part because they suffer less. But new research on child survivors of Hurricane Katrina and witnesses of the 9/11 terrorist attacks suggests otherwise.

A study on 9/11 that looked at more than 400 children, aged 12 to 20, and their mothers, found that those who were directly exposed to the attacks — those who witnessed the planes hit the towers, for example — were only slightly more likely to suffer PTSD than children who did not directly experience the trauma, but were significantly more likely to be depressed.

This study, led by child-development researcher Elizabeth Gershoff of The University of Texas at Austin, mirrors the findings of a 2008 study that child psychologist Claude Chemtob of New York University conducted with the same group of children involved in his current paper.

The New York Times: Conflict resurfaces with lessons on nation-building
July 21

Before Afghanistan and Iraq, there was Kosovo, the preoccupation of Washington a decade ago but largely off the radar screen in recent times.

In February 2008, Kosovo declared independence and has been recognized by 69 countries, including the United States and most of Europe, but not Serbia or Russia. Serbia sought a judgment by the International Court of Justice about the validity of the move.

“It’s going to reopen the can of worms and the question is, what do you do about it?” said Alan J. Kuperman, a Kosovo expert at The University of Texas at Austin. Mr. Kuperman said the Obama administration should press Kosovo to grant enhanced autonomy to Serbs in its north, but “I don’t think we’re willing to talk tough to the Albanians.”

The New York Times: Taking lessons from what went wrong
July 19

Disasters teach more than successes.

While that idea may sound paradoxical, it is widely accepted among engineers.

It is not that failure is desirable, or that anyone hopes for or aims for a disaster. But failures, sometimes appalling, are inevitable, and given this fact, engineers say it pays to make good use of them to prevent future mistakes.

“The industry knows it can’t have that happen again,” said David W. Fowler, a professor at The University of Texas at Austin, who teaches a course on forensic engineering. “It’s going to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself.”

CNN: The many faces of Mel Gibson
July 21

Can Gibson make another comeback? The challenge is great, says Thomas Schatz, professor of film at The University of Texas at Austin and author of “The Genius of the System,” about the movie business.

Given the instant fury that can be fueled by online criticism, Gibson’s situation has certain parallels with Tom Cruise’s situation five years ago, Schatz says.

BusinessWeek: BP well won’t shed light on cause of oil spill
July 19

BP Plc’s chief decision maker on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig declined for the second time to give his version of the events that killed 11 workers and triggered the biggest U.S. oil spill in history.

On the night of the explosion, [two BP well-site managers] were seeking to cap the Macondo well so they could move the Deepwater Horizon rig to another location in the Gulf of Mexico, according to transcripts from congressional hearings.

Rig workers began replacing heavy drilling fluid with lighter seawater.

Using seawater under such circumstances can allow a gas “kick,” said Greg McCormack, a director of the Petroleum Extension Service at The University of Texas at Austin. “If the kick is not contained, a blowout occurs.”

Read last week’s In the Know.