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UT News

In the Know

The Aug. 30 weekly roundup of campus kudos and press mentions.

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Campus Kudos

TACC secures $9 million for new Lonestar system
The National Science Foundation, The University of Texas at Austin and multiple partners have committed $9 million to the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) to acquire a new Lonestar system that is expected to support more than 1,000 research projects in science and engineering over three years. The new Lonestar system will replace the current Lonestar, which has served as one of the most productive platforms in the TeraGrid for more almost four years.

Health IT program receives $2.7 million in federal funding
The new Health Information Technology program has received $2.7 million as a part of the Professional University Resources and Education for Health Information Technology (PURE HIT) consortium project supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. The program graduated its first class of 54 students this summer.

University opens admissions center in East Texas
William Powers Jr. and other university officials participated in the opening of the university’s new East Texas Admissions Center in Longview, Texas. The 1,980-square-foot center on the first floor of the Austin Bank Building in Longview will offer area students access to admissions counselors who can provide information about the university and assist them with the application process, said Mario Villa, director of the new center. Powers said the center would play an important role in bringing to the university top students and future leaders from that area of the state.

Press Mentions

The Times of India: Moderate drinking reduces mortality
Aug. 25

Moderate drinking, one to less than three drinks per day, reduces mortality among middle-aged and older adults, found a new study.

The study that examined drinking and mortality during a 20-year period, controlled for confounding factors such as previous problem drinking.

“Although alcohol misuse is linked to many medical conditions, considerable epidemiological evidence indicates that moderate alcohol use is related to reduced total mortality,” explained Charles Holahan, a professor in the Department of Psychology at The University of Texas at Austin and corresponding author for the study.

TIME: Why do heavy drinkers outlive nondrinkers?
Aug. 30

One of the most contentious issues in the vast literature about alcohol consumption has been the consistent finding that those who don’t drink actually tend to die sooner than those who do.

A new paper in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research suggests that — for reasons that aren’t entirely clear — abstaining from alcohol does actually tend to increase one’s risk of dying even when you exclude former drinkers. The most shocking part? Abstainers’ mortality rates are higher than those of heavy drinkers.

The researchers (a six-member team led by psychologist Charles Holahan of The University of Texas at Austin) found that over a 20-year period, mortality rates were highest for those who had never been drinkers, second-highest for heavy drinkers and lowest for moderate drinkers.

USA Today: Magazine’s community college ‘rankings’ irk some educators
Aug. 30

The Washington Monthly has yet again irked some educators, as it did three years ago, by ranking what it calls “America’s Best Community Colleges” using openly available student engagement survey data.

Using benchmarking data from the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) and four-year federal graduation rates in an equation of its own making, the magazine attempts to rank the top 50 community colleges in the country in its latest issue.

Such a ranking of community colleges would not be possible without data from CCSSE, a survey run by The University of Texas at Austin that goes out to students at around 650 two-year institutions and uses the results to judge the colleges on broad categories such as “active and collaborative learning,” “student effort,” “academic challenge,” “student-faculty interaction” and “support for learners.”

Read last week’s In the Know.