February 2014 (Vol. 13, No. 6)
- Julian Bond Pays Homage to King, Unsung Civil Rights Workers
- President Sullivan Participates in White House Conference on College Access
- UVM Sets New Record With Nine Percent Application Increase
- Board Gives Preliminary Approval to $100 Million STEM Complex
- Interview: Luis Garcia
- UVM Plays Major Role in Burlington's Tech Hub Status
- UVM Again Ranks Fifth Among Peace Corps Volunteer-Producing Universities
- UVM Named to List of Best 100 Colleges by State
- UVM Plans New China Semester Abroad Program for Fall
- UVM to Be Key Sponsor of Food Systems Journal
- UVM’s Summer University Helps Students Save Tuition and Get Ahead
- Business School Students Gain Skills While Advancing to Finals of Case Competitions
- Will Your Child Be An Overweight Adult?
- New UVM Brainwaves Blog Highlights Academic Community and Beyond
- UVM Historian Examines Vermont’s Mixed History of Slavery and Abolition
- UVM Students Gain Perspective in Ecuador
- Path to Supreme Court Runs Through 'Judicial Monastery'
- Voices from the Past
- UVM to Host International Robot Competition March 1
- Leonard JAMA “Viewpoint” Addresses IOM Report on Genome-based Therapeutics and Companion Diagnostics
- Study that Provides Clearer Picture of Cancer Risk
- Research Uncovers Link to Brain Cancer Tumor Growth
- Will Plug-in Cars Crash the Electric Grid?
- UVM Autism Institute June 23-27 Examines Research, Treatment
- Alumna's Pesticide Discoveries Improve Public Health
- Alumnus Works with Students to Engineer Highly Rated Clubs
- In Memoriam: Donald Forst, Jackie Gribbons
- Campus Kudos
Julian Bond Pays Homage to King, Unsung Civil Rights Workers
Legendary civil rights leader Julian Bond paid special tribute to the thousands of unheralded volunteers who laid their lives on the line for racial equality under the leadership of his friend and mentor, Martin Luther King, Jr., during his keynote address Jan. 23 at Ira Allen Chapel. “Martin King was the most famous and the best known of all the modern movement personalities, but we should remember this was a people’s movement,” said Bond, former Chairman of the NAACP and founding member of the Southern Poverty Law Center. “It relied not on the noted, but on the nameless; not on the famous, but on the faceless.... We now see a different view of the events and personalities of that period. Instead of the towering figures of Kennedys and Kings standing alone, we see an anonymous army of women and men. Read more here.
President Sullivan Participates in White House Conference on College Access
UVM president Tom Sullivan spent January 16 in the company of other presidents, including one rather famous one. Sullivan was a guest of the White House at an invitation-only summit on higher education access. The presidents of 80 colleges attended, all of whom made commitments to develop new programs or enhance existing ones that would expand access to lower-income students. In between two working sessions on Jan. 16 – the conference opened Jan. 15 -- President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama addressed the presidents for about an hour. The UVM program Sullivan highlighted was an existing one that will be enhanced, called the New Americans program. Its goal is to increase the enrollment, and eventual timely graduation, of students from families who have immigrated from abroad to Vermont, including many who are refugees. The program will include outreach to families with a focus on early college awareness and on the extensive financial aid UVM provides to students with financial need. Read more here.
UVM Sets New Record With Nine Percent Application Increase
The University of Vermont has received a record number of applications for the fall of 2014 -- 23,936 -- up nine percent over last year. Vermont applications rose three percent, despite a steep ongoing decline in the number of high school graduates in the state, driven by demographic trends. Applications rose 4.6 percent from students in New England, which is also in the midst of a decline in high school graduates. Applications were up significantly in a number of emerging markets for UVM, said Chris Lucier, UVM’s vice president for enrollment management, an important and positive development for the university in light of the shrinking market closer to home. “UVM has always had a national reputation as a Public Ivy, a top small research university that puts strong emphasis on undergraduate education,” he said. “In recent years, and especially this year, that reputation has begun translating to increased applications from parts of the country we haven’t traditionally drawn from.” Read more here.
Board Gives Preliminary Approval to $100 Million STEM Complex
Long-serving UVM Board of Trustees chair Robert F. Cioffi began his valedictory report at his final board meeting last week by citing an impressive list of changes that have transformed UVM during his 12-year board tenure, including applications that have risen from 8,300 to 24,000, an endowment that has grown from $180 million to more than $400 million, the creation of the Honors College and the construction of the Dudley H. Davis Center. The focus of the February meeting – a proposed $100 million science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) complex, the largest capital project in UVM’s history – made clear that UVM’s current leadership has no intention of resting on the successes of the last decade. In his letter to the board preceding the meeting, UVM president Tom Sullivan, who made the STEM project a centerpiece of the Strategic Action Plan he released last fall, referenced the facility several times, making clear it was an important agenda item. Read more here.
Interview: Luis Garcia
"A rainstorm is a beautiful event," says Luis Garcia. The UVM dean is speaking from experience, having seen firsthand the impact of drought on his family farm in Colombia, where, throughout his childhood, he troubleshot irrigation systems with his dad. It was an early exposure to problem-solving that would later spark a career in civil and environmental engineering. In August, Garcia became dean of UVM's College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences. While he's no longer living in a climate plagued with water scarcity, Garcia remains invested in the topic, which is of critical importance to much of the world. UVM Today spoke with Garcia to learn more about his research as well as his work as dean to equip and encourage a new generation of problem-solvers: UVM engineers, mathematicians and computer scientists. Read the interview here.
UVM Plays Major Role in Burlington's Tech Hub Status
Techie.com’s recent designation of Burlington, Vt., as one of the country’s most promising tech hubs adds to a long list of national accolades for the city, creating a buzz that could attract even more businesses and investors, according to Vermont technology and economic development experts. The attention also further highlights technology and economic development partnerships between the University of Vermont, the city and the state. “UVM and the Office of the Vice President for Research have made it a priority to support and foster a variety of entities that play a key role in creating this tech hub atmosphere. When you couple those kind of entities with Dealer.com, MyWebGrocer, FreshTracks Capital and other innovative for-profit companies like those, you are creating the type of atmosphere and collaboration that will encourage and sustain a region as a hub,” says John Evans, interim vice president for research and president of the Vermont Technology Council. “We have made it clear that ‘UVM is open for business,’ and we have no doubt that we will stay involved. It is clearly a priority of President Tom Sullivan and Provost David Rosowsky.” Read more here.
UVM Again Ranks Fifth Among Peace Corps Volunteer-Producing Universities
The Peace Corps recently released the 2014 rankings of the top volunteer-producing colleges and universities across the country. The University of Vermont ranks fifth this year among medium-sized colleges and universities schools, with 29 undergraduate alumni currently volunteering worldwide. UVM, which tied with Cornell University for the No. 5 spot in 2014, also ranked fifth nationally in 2013. Since the first days of the Peace Corps, 839 UVM alumni from have traveled abroad to serve as volunteers. Read more here.
UVM Named to List of Best 100 Colleges by State
The University of Vermont was named to a list of the best colleges and universities in America considered geographically by state. The ranking was published on The Best Schools website. According to the introduction to the list, “Most rankings of colleges and universities are top-heavy with schools from the East Coast (the Ivy League, MIT, etc.), California (Stanford, Cal Berkeley, etc.), and a few schools scattered throughout the rest of the country (University of Chicago, Vanderbilt, etc.). “In this ranking, we make geographical diversity our main focus, looking for the best education offered in each state, from Alabama to Wyoming.”
UVM Plans New China Semester Abroad Program for Fall
The University of Vermont will offer an 18-credit China Semester Abroad program in conjunction with Ocean University in Qingdao this fall. UVM’s China Semester Abroad program is open to any student interested in understanding China’s dynamic culture and economy and how to work effectively in the Chinese business market. The program also includes an internship where teams of students will work on a designated research assignment for an area company or non-profit organization. The deadline to apply is March 5. Read more here.
UVM to Be Key Sponsor of Food Systems Journal
The University of Vermont is one of four new sponsors supporting the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development(the Food Systems Journal), along with three other leading North American university programs focused on food systems. The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future; the Institute for Sustainable Food Systems at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in British Columbia; the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University; and the Food Systems Initiative at the University of Vermont have joined together to underwrite the expansion of the journal through a three-year commitment. The Food Systems Journal is published by the Food Systems Development Project, a program of the Center for Transformative Action, a nonprofit organization affiliated with Cornell University. It publishes four issues a year and is online only. Read more here.
UVM’s Summer University Helps Students Save Tuition and Get Ahead
The University of Vermont is offering an unprecedented 30 percent tuition savings for the 2014 Summer University program, giving students the opportunity to get ahead, stay on track and graduate on time – all with a substantial savings. Summer U, which offers online and on-campus options for undergraduates, visiting undergraduates, graduate students and professional students, is doubling its summer program tuition savings over last year and offering 30 percent off UVM’s regular academic year tuition. “UVM is committed to affordability, financial access and helping students graduate on time,” says UVM President Tom Sullivan. “UVM’s Summer U program is an opportunity for students to make progress on their course work, improve their GPA, change majors and complete their studies within four years.” Read more here.
Business School Students Gain Skills While Advancing to Finals of Case Competitions
Business students' time investment in practicing for and competing in case competitions, an initiative championed by Dean Sanjay Sharma, is starting to pay dividends. With more than 40 students having participated in competitions across the globe since the fall of 2012, UVM has established itself as a rising power on the case competition circuit. Funded by members of the School of Business Administration’s board of advisers, teams from the university have advanced past the preliminary rounds of three major case events and are headed to the finals of the Royal Roads University International Undergraduate Case Competition (RRUIUCC) in Victoria, British Columbia; CaseIT in Vancouver; and the Network of International Business Schools Case Competition in London. Read more here.
Will Your Child Be An Overweight Adult?
Ask five hundred people what they believe most contributed from their childhoods to how slim or overweight they are as adults. Could they — the crowd — discover insights into eating behaviors that experts may not have considered? Apparently, yes. An international group of researchers, including the University of Vermont’s Complex System Center, and Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab, set up an interactive website to gather information about childhood predictors of adult body mass index (BMI) from the general public. The scientists discovered that “crowdsourcing” — everyday people asking and answering questions of each other — could zero-in on predictors of obesity. Some of these were already well documented by experts. More interesting, the website visitors discovered some intriguing connections that experts hadn’t considered. Read more here.
New UVM Brainwaves Blog Highlights Academic Community and Beyond
Interested in professional development, travel, public health, or the Vermont experience? A new blog created by UVM Continuing and Distance Education (CDE) offers all that and more. The blog – UVM Brainwaves – includes in-depth articles about health, business, education, travel, and all things Vermont through Q&A interviews, profiles and expert commentary. UVM Brainwaves highlights students, alumni, academic programs, distinguished faculty and local business professionals. “Because we work with a diverse population of students and faculty from across the university, we have the ability to share so many rich, extraordinary stories from UVM and beyond,” said CDE Dean Cynthia Belliveau. Read more here.
UVM Historian Examines Vermont’s Mixed History of Slavery and Abolition
With humans and with history, a soft focus lens often offers an idealized vision of reality. This has been the predominant view of Vermont’s relationship to the institution of slavery -- firmly abolitionist, groundbreaking in its 1777 constitutional ban on the practice. But in his new book The Problem of Slavery in Early Vermont, 1777-1810 Harvey Amani Whitfield, associate professor of history, examines a variety of primary documents that reveal a more complicated pattern. Some blacks were free and able to exercise the rights of citizenship while some were sold, some held as slaves, de facto or otherwise. Whitfield is clear, as he attempts to parse the motives and intentions of early Vermonters, that his goal is not to strip Vermont of its pride as a leader in the abolitionist movement. But neither is it appropriate to squint past the facts. “My argument,” says Whitfield, “is simply that it is not fair or good for people who are interested in black history to have an overly simplified view of what life was like in Vermont in the 18th century.” Read more here.
UVM Students Gain Perspective in Ecuador
Traveling to Ecuador tends to be a reality check for students. A rural family of seven can live on as little as $80 a month in Ecuador. According to The World Bank, 35 percent of Ecuador’s population – about 4 million people – live in poverty. One and a half million Ecuadorians live in extreme poverty and cannot meet their nutritional requirements even if they spend everything they have on food. University of Vermont faculty member Pete Shear leads the UVM "Politics of Land Use: Indigenous Politics, Alternative Social Models & Agroecology" travel study program in Ecuador. He believes that spending two weeks in Ecuador will certainly change a student’s perception of the world we live in. Now in its 10th year, Shear’s "Politics of Land Use" course is the longest, continuously running study abroad program at UVM. The popular course focuses on the social dynamism of Ecuador through volunteer work, community home-stays, and talks with political activists, students, campesino and indigenous organizations, and the rural agrarian people. Read more here.
Path to Supreme Court Runs Through 'Judicial Monastery'
There was a time when awaiting a decision by the United States Supreme Court actually held some suspense. That ended in 2006, says Professor Garrison Nelson, the first year when all nine justices came from federal judgeships and, after a lengthy grooming process, had been nominated based heavily on ideological leanings. Since then, decisions have become predictable for even the casual court observer. How and why the court became that way, however, remains a hotly debated topic. Nelson, professor of political science, tackles this issue in his new book, Pathways to the U.S. Supreme Court: From the Arena to the Monastery, by providing a detailed history starting in 1789 of how all 112 Supreme Court justices reached the nation’s highest court. Read more here.
Voices from the Past
With a cheap tape recorder and a cheaper set of cassette tapes tucked in his suitcase, Frank Manchel flew to Los Angeles in 1972. Now a professor emeritus, then a young professor, Manchel was on a mission. But, by his own estimate, this was a hazily defined mission. A pioneer in the academic study and teaching of film, Manchel knew this much—he wanted to expand his knowledge in another direction, to learn more about the African-American experience in the movie business from some of the individuals, both black and white, who lived it directly in Hollywood. It took decades for his interviews to make it into print, but now they have — happily, for all those who love the history and culture of film. His new book, Exits and Entrances: Interviews with Seven Who Reshaped African-American Images in Movies (New Academia Publishing) was published in November, and he believes it stands as some of the best work of his long and distinguished career. Read more here.
UVM to Host International Robot Competition March 1
The University of Vermont will again play host to the global sensation FIRST Tech Challenge on Saturday, March 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the UVM Davis Center. This is the second year the university has hosted the event, which pits teams of 7th-12th graders in head-to-head competitions using robots they have designed, built and programmed performing various tasks on a 12-by-12 foot diamond-shaped field. This year 28 teams from ten states will compete for three slots in the Eastern Regional Championship. The top teams will advance to the International FIRST Robotics World Championship in St. Louis, Mo., in April. Read more here.
Leonard JAMA “Viewpoint” Addresses IOM Report on Genome-based Therapeutics and Companion Diagnostics
The promise of personalized medicine, says University of Vermont (UVM) molecular pathologist Debra Leonard, M.D., Ph.D., is the ability to tailor therapy based on markers in the patient’s genome and, in the case of cancer, in the cancer’s genome. Making this determination depends on not one, but several genetic tests, but the system guiding the development of those tests is complex, and plagued with challenges. In a February 12, 2014 Online First Journal of the American Medical Association “Viewpoint” article, Leonard and colleagues address this issue in conjunction with the concurrent release of an Institute of Medicine (IOM) Workshop Summary Report on “Co-Development of Genome-Based Therapeutics and Companion Diagnostic Tests.” Read more here.
Study that Provides Clearer Picture of Cancer Risk
A University of Vermont researcher has helped to develop a more accurate way of studying genetic changes to identify people at high risk for colon and other cancers. The findings are published in Nature Genetics. Marc Greenblatt, M.D., an associate professor of medicine and oncologist at the University of Vermont (UVM) and Fletcher Allen Health Care, and faculty member at the Vermont Cancer Center’s Familial Cancer Program, co-led a collaborative global effort to interpret genetic data related to hereditary colon cancer. The team’s findings will both allow doctors to access publicly-available data to more effectively interpret risks and give patients a more accurate picture of familial risk for colon and other cancers. Read more here.
Research Uncovers Link to Brain Cancer Tumor Growth
“Aha” moments can happen anywhere, even in mid-air. For University of Vermont Professor of Neurological Sciences Diane M. Jaworski, Ph.D., and former graduate student Patrick Long, an epiphany – adding an FDA-approved food additive to improve brain cancer treatment – occurred in April 2011 as the two flew home to Vermont from the American Association for Cancer Research conference in Orlando, Fla. Now nearly three years later, Jaworski and colleagues have published their findings in two journals, including a paper in the January 6, 2014 International Journal of Cancer. Read more here.
Will Plug-in Cars Crash the Electric Grid?
Selecting a Chevy Volt, Tesla Model S, Nissan Leaf — or one of many other new models — shoppers in the United States bought more than 96,000 plug-in electric cars in 2013. That’s a tiny slice of the auto market, but it’s up eighty-four percent from the year before. In Vermont, as of January 2014, there were 679 plug-in vehicles, according to the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation. That’s two hundred percent growth over 2013. This is good news in terms of oil consumption and air pollution. But, of course, every plug-in has to be, well, plugged in. And this growing fleet will put a lot of new strain on the nation’s aging electrical distribution systems, especially at times of peak demand. Now a team of UVM scientists have created a novel solution, which they report on in the forthcoming March issue of IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid, a journal of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Read more here.
UVM Autism Institute June 23-27 Examines Research, Treatment
Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the United States. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 1 in 88 American children are on the autism spectrum, which is a ten-fold increase in prevalence in 40 years. The increase is only partly explained by improved diagnosis and awareness. In June, the University of Vermont will host the 17th annual Summer Institute on Autism Spectrum Disorders, June 23-27, at the Doubletree by Hilton in South Burlington. The institute will include presentations on aspects of assessment, treatment and research of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) by five key speakers. The event is hosted by the UVM College of Nursing and Health Sciences Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Read more here.
Alumna's Pesticide Discoveries Improve Public Health
Melissa Perry '88 a native of Highgate Center, Vermont, remembers Burlington's "big city" status as intimidating. "The students I was encountering were so much more worldly and educated and affluent; it was a startling experience," she recalls. Enter George Albee, a nationally celebrated UVM psychology professor who, despite his reputation as a pioneer in his field, made Perry feel at home at the university. Until his death in 2006, Albee was a close friend and mentor to Perry throughout a career that's taken her to bigger cities still. From Baltimore to Boston to D.C., Perry has brought to bear the potential Albee saw, studying at Johns Hopkins, teaching and researching at Harvard, and now chairing the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at George Washington University. Perry has devoted the past twenty years to researching the health risks of pesticides. She's formed a connection with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Worker Protection Standard Office with the intent of providing research data to inform guidelines for protecting agricultural workers from pesticides. Read more here.
Alumnus Works with Students to Engineer Highly Rated Clubs
When Josh Ross received a new golf club — a driver designed by four UVM undergraduate engineering students — he was, he says, “a little skeptical.” An independent reviewer for Golfballed.com, a partner with Reader’s Digest, Ross receives a stream of gear from major manufacturers. Golf is big money: the National Golf Foundation reports that there was about $4 billion in golf equipment sales last year. But the lime-green-and-black club Ross received was built by the decidedly non-major manufacturer BombTech, the one-man-shop of Tyler Sullivan, a UVM School of Business alumnus, class of 2007. He built the club at home in Vermont. "Can a guy really get together with some college students and create a driver that is comparable to those already on the market?” Ross wanted to know. Apparently yes — or even better. Read more here.
Donald Forst, Class of 1954, one of the nation’s top newspaper editors throughout his long career, passed away on January 4, 2014. New York Newsday, The Village Voice, The Boston Herald, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Herald Examiner were among the newsrooms Forst helped lead in an editorial career that began when he signed on with the Vermont Cynic, the University of Vermont’s student newspaper. Newsday won a number of Pulitzers during Forst’s years with the paper, including one for its coverage of a major subway train crash in 1991. UVM alumnus Tony Marro, Class of 1965, was a colleague at Newsday and would himself go on to the top editorial position at that paper. In a 2000 profile of Forst in Vermont Quarterly Magazine, Marro remembered their days working together: “Don was very good at mobilizing the troops. He has a lot of drive, imagination and energy, and he loves taking a small group of people who have allegiance to him and sending them out to chase down the best stories. He’s the kind of editor who wakes up in the morning and thinks, ‘What’s the front page going to be?’” Read more about the life and career of Donald Forst:
New York Times obituary
Vermont Quarterly profile
Jackie Gribbons paved the way for countless women as one of the original architects of UVM’s nationally ranked Higher Education and Student Affairs program (HESA) and as an implementer of Title IX standards. It may have been her role as the straight-talking but compassionate academic adviser, however, that she will be remembered most by the thousands of students she helped during her groundbreaking 40-year career. Gribbons, who worked at UVM from 1966 to 2006 as a faculty member and in a variety of administrative roles traditionally occupied by men, passed away on Jan. 10 after a battle with cancer. Memorial services will be held at the annual meetings of ACPA and NASPA. Donations in Gribbons' memory can be made to the UVM Jackie Gribbons Fund that supports graduate student travel to professional conferences. Read more here.
Christopher W. Allen, emeritus professor of chemistry, along with co-author Lianhui Cong, recently published a paper titled, "4-Ethynylphenoxy Cyclo- and Poly(phosphazenes) and Their Reactions with Dicobalt Octacarbonyl," in the Journal of Inorganic and Organometallic Polymers and Materials.
Five emeriti professors from UVM have been selected to receive the University of Vermont Retired Scholars Award by the UVM Association of Retired Faculty and Administrative Officers (RFAO).
Carolyn Elliott, professor emerita of political science, will travel to Hyderabad, India to present a seminar paper titled “Saturation Politics: A Tenuous Way out of Clientelism” and consult with research partners.
David Huddle, professor emeritus of English, will present a paper on Eudora Welty’s short story “Powerhouse” on a panel with Marjorie Sandor, Catherine Hankla, and Elizabeth Poliner at the 2014 Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference in Seattle.
William Mann, professor emeritus of philosophy, will complete and publish two books: Augustine’s “Confessions”: Philosophy in Autobiography, a collection of essays by eight international scholars, and God, Modality, and Morality, a collection of his essays on philosophical theology.
The Center for Research on Vermont selected Teresa Mares, assistant professor of anthropology, as the first Frank M. Bryan Vermont Scholar for a Vermont research project titled “La Otra Frontera (The Other Border): Exploring Latino/a Migrant Foodways.”
Luther H. Martin, professor emeritus of religion, will complete and publish a volume of his collected essays titled Deep History, Secular Theory: Scientific Studies of Religion.
Thom J. McEvoy, professor emeritus of Extension forestry, will complete and publish the expanded and updated third edition of his book Introduction to Forest Ecology and Silviculture.
Read more here.
In December 2013, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) announced that Vermont is one of 10 new states to join a $4.5 million initiative called the Future of Nursing State Implementation Program. The Vermont initiative will be co-chaired by Mary Val Palumbo, D.N.P., A.P.R.N., University of Vermont associate professor of nursing and director, and Jan Carney, M.D., M.P.H., professor of medicine and associate dean for public health.
Dr. Renee Stapleton, University of Vermont assistant professor of medicine in the division of pulmonary and critical care medicine and a critical care specialist at Fletcher Allen Health Care, will receive the Jo Rae Wright Award for Outstanding Science at the American Thoracic Society’s annual meeting, which will be held in San Diego, Calif., May 6 to 21. The award recognizes Stapleton’s role as a leading researcher in clinical studies in the intensive care unit and her related publications in prominent national medical journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine. Read more.
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