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UT News

In the Know

The Aug. 23 weekly roundup of campus kudos and press mentions.

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Campus Kudos

Paul Stekler named chair of Radio-Television-Film
Paul Stekler, a critically acclaimed documentary filmmaker known for his films about American politics, has been appointed chair of the Department of Radio-Television-Film. The George Christian Centennial Professor in Communication, Stekler has taught documentary film production at the university since 1997. He becomes the first working filmmaker to head the department, which boasts highly ranked graduate programs in both film production and media studies.

Nano building named after President Emeritus Larry Faulkner
The university’s nanoscience building has been named the Larry R. Faulkner Nano Science and Technology Building by the UT System Board of Regents in recognition of former President Faulkner‘s leadership in bringing the university’s nanotechnology program to national prominence. The 82,463-square-foot Nano Science and Technology Building at 102 East 24th St. was completed in 2006.

LBJ Professor elected to Italian Science Academy
James K. Galbraith, professor of public affairs and government at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, has been elected to the “Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei,” also known as the Lincean Academy, the oldest honorific scientific academy in the world. Founded in 1603, the academy counts Galileo Galilei among its original members and has remained an elite organization of only 540 members, with 180 of those from outside Italy.

Law Professor Karen Engle receives Fulbright Specialists award
The U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board have selected School of Law Professor Karen L. Engle to receive a Fulbright Specialists grant for a project proposed by the Universidad de Los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia this month. Engle will spend just over two weeks in Bogotá consulting on academic writing with students in the university’s doctoral program and presenting lectures to law students on gender and international criminal justice.

Wildflower Center receives $1.4 million to establish arboretum
A $1.4 million donation to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center will establish an arboretum to showcase the diversity and importance of Texas’ trees. The gift from an anonymous fund of the San Antonio Area Foundation at the request of Mollie Steves Zachry will allow the Wildflower Center to develop some of its most scenic acreage into an outdoor museum of Texas’ natural heritage and cultural history.

Benjamin Kramer appointed new UT Elementary School principal
Dr. Benjamin Kramer, a former principal at Austin Independent School District’s Mathews Elementary School, has been appointed principal of The University of Texas Elementary School. Kramer joins the elementary school team after teaching in the Educational Leadership Program at Texas State University.

UT System recognizes 34 faculty members with Outstanding Teaching Award
The Board of Regents of The University of Texas System has recognized 72 faculty members from institutions within the system for outstanding teaching, including 34 faculty members from The University of Texas at Austin. The educators from the 15 institutions were honored as the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award winners during a ceremony on Aug. 11. They will share $2 million in awards.

Hogg Foundation’s Vicky Coffee-Fletcher appointed to national board
Vicky Coffee-Fletcher, program officer at the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, has been appointed to the board of directors of the National Leadership Council on African American Behavioral Health. The council was founded in 2001 to provide leadership in building and supporting behavioral health systems that reduce disparities and contribute to optimal health in African American communities.

Press Mentions

The New York Times: Scarlett’s dresses in bad shape, need repairs
Aug. 10

It’s time to find out if fans of “Gone With the Wind” frankly give a damn about the fabulous dresses worn by Vivien Leigh in the multiple Oscar-winning Civil War drama.

The Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas in Austin is trying to raise $30,000 to restore five of Scarlett O’Hara’s now tattered gowns from the 1939 film.

The Ransom Center is planning an exhibit to mark the movie’s 75th anniversary in 2014, but at the moment most of them are too fragile to go on display, according to Jill Morena, the center’s collection assistant for costumes and personal effects.

The Christian Science Monitor: A character not listed in TV dramas: The city itself
Aug. 11

Casting for the new NBC spinoff “Law and Order: Los Angeles” is well under way, but perhaps the most important role was filled the moment the franchise opted to move west.

As the show’s architects construct a new vision for the crime-and-punishment format in southern California, the City of Angels is already a potent presence, informing and helping to shape the show’s tone, story lines, and other characters.

But the modern city has taken on a particularly powerful identity, says Elizabeth Richmond-Garza, professor of comparative literature at The University of Texas at Austin.

USA Today: Objectives of charter schools with Turkish ties questioned
Aug. 17

They have generic, forward-sounding names like Horizon Science Academy, Pioneer Charter School of Science and Beehive Science and Technology Academy.

Quietly established over the past decade by a loosely affiliated group of Turkish-American educators, these 100 or so publicly funded charter schools in 25 states are often among the top-performing public schools in their towns.

Ed Fuller, a University of Texas-Austin researcher, found that Harmony schools throughout Texas had an “extraordinarily high” student attrition rate of about 50% for students in grades six through eight.

“It’s not hard to be ‘exemplary’ if you lose all the kids who aren’t performing,” Fuller says.

The New York Times: Looking this way and that, and learning to adapt to the world
Aug. 17

The infants and toddlers resemble cyborgs as they waddle and crawl around the playroom with backpacks carrying wireless transmitters and cameras strapped to their heads. Each has one camera aimed at the right eye and another at the field of view, and both send video to monitors nearby.

Scientists are using the eye-tracking setup to learn how children look at the world as they figure out how to interact with it.

“The beauty of this is how it helps capture what infants are thinking about during natural behavior. Since what they are looking at is related to their ongoing actions, tracking eye movements allows a pretty direct readout of what might be going on in their heads,” said Mary Hayhoe, a perceptual psychologist at The University of Texas at Austin, who did not take part in the research.

The Wall Street Journal: Hiring a résumé writer? Ask these questions first
Aug. 18

Five questions to ask a résumé writer before making the investment.

1. Do you know my industry?

This can be especially important for career switchers or others entering a new industry who don’t yet know the ins and outs of their new field, says Stacey Rudnick, director of MBA career services at The University of Texas Austin McCombs School of Business. “Make sure they speak that language,” she says. Look for telltale signs like previous clients or industry affiliations to help gauge their industry acumen.

Read last week’s In the Know.