UA in the News: August 23, 2012
August 23, 2012 - Filed under: UA in the News
UA professor studying Mars with Curiosity team
Tuscaloosa News – Aug. 22
Ryan Ewing’s fascination with Mars dates back to his junior year at Colorado College. He was obsessed with the fourth planet from the sun, so much so that he did an internship at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston and focused his senior thesis on the planet’s surface processes. Little did he know then that one day he would have an opportunity to help the world better understand the planet he had come to love. Ewing, now an assistant professor in the University of Alabama’s Department of Geological Sciences, is collaborating with a University of Texas researcher who is a participating scientist with the Mars mission. The team will analyze rock outcrops, the part of a rock formation that appears above the surface, and assess whether the rocks are derived from wind-blown sediments. “Mars is a wind-dominated planet. Rocks collected by previous rovers have shown outcrops that were deposited by migrations of sand dunes,” Ewing said. “The question now is what role has wind and the sediment transport system played in the evolution of the (planet’s) surface.” As the Mars rover Curiosity begins moving around the surface, it will encounter these outcrops and use various instruments to provide imagery and other information that scientists will interpret. One instrument, the Mast Camera, provides digital color photos, video and images that can be used to build three-dimensional representations of the surface. Scientists can look at the images and potentially identify the type of rock and how it was deposited by looking at sedimentary textures, Ewing said.
First day of class at UA; Week of Welcome
NBC 13 (Birmingham) – Aug. 22
Today marked the start of the fall semester for students at the University of Alabama. A group on campus has created a program to welcome new students to UA. Throughout the entire week there is a series of what’s called “community strengthening events” included in the school’s “Week-of-Welcome.” This two-week series of different events to acclimate new students to campus, to show them around Tuscaloosa, the city, as well as introduce them to different resources on campus that they might not have known were available. Official enrollment numbers for this semester won’t be available for another month, but, students say they think enrollment has increased since last year.
WVUA (Tuscaloosa) – Aug. 22
Inside this year’s freshman class; More out-of-state freshmen
WVUA (Tuscaloosa) – Aug. 22
Some of the students we talked to today are from nearby states such as Georgia and South Carolina. They say it’s pretty much the same atmosphere, and there hasn’t been a culture shock. But many students are also arriving from other regions of the country, including the midwest, northeast, and the west coast. Some told us they had a slight culture shock, noticing the different climate, accents, and attire found at the Capstone.
UA business school launches rebranding initiative
Birmingham News – Aug. 22
The University of Alabama’s business school has launched a rebranding initiative intended to boost visibility and change perceptions about the college, the university and its advertising agency announced today. The Culverhouse College of Commerce has redesigned its website and added versions that are accessible using smart phones and tablets. The new site includes an “employer concierge” that allows potential employers to search for students that might be a good fit for a particular job. It also includes streamlined navigation, user-generated news and social-sharing capabilities, according to a prepared statement. The rebranding effort was spearheaded by Dean Michael Hardin, who was appointed dean in August 2011.”We found ourselves at a fork in the road that presented us with options: either piecing together new technologies and branding on the old website, or having the courage to start anew and embrace the new web and a new identity,” Hardin said in the statement. “It took courage to make that call, but we realized it needed to be done.” Hardin described the previous website and branding as dated. The changes were, in part, a response to a study that found the school underperformed in rankings because perception and visibility. The redesign and branding were handled by Mobile-based Red Square Agency.
UA to send athletes to Paralympics
WVUA (Tuscaloosa) – Aug. 22
The Olympics may have just ended but the Paralympics are just about to begin, and athletes from the University of Alabama will be competing in the games. The University of Alabama Adapted Athletics program is sending seven athletes and one coach to London, England. The athletes will be competing in wheelchair basketball and wheelchair tennis. The students will represent their respective countries while playing their sport. Director of UA’s Adapted Athletics program, Brent Hardin says the athletes will get the chance to compete and play like Olympians. “People don’t know that the Paralympics is a part of the Olympics organization, the same exact venues, same Olympic village. I just got a tweet from our Canadian athletes that they moved in the Olympic village today. And it’s a very competitive experience just to get invited to try out for a Paralympic team. The Paralympics is the largest international event for athletes with physical disabilities.”
Delta Gamma moves into new three-story chapter house
Crimson White – Aug. 22
The newly colonized Delta Gamma sorority is officially on campus after moving into their new three-story, 61-member chapter house shortly before formal sorority recruitment. “We could not be more excited to finally be moved into our brand new house,” Delta Gamma president Kayla Fields said. “Delta Gamma is thrilled to finally have a place to call home, and this home base will only help our sisterhood grow to produce even more roots at the Capstone.” The house, located at the corner of Magnolia Drive and Sixth Avenue, is home to 61 members this year. It features an antique grandfather clock from the original Delta Gamma chapter house. “We are looking forward to having a place that our Greek family, as well as UA family, can come to visit with us,” Fields said. Delta Gamma returned to campus last fall, undergoing a colonization process rather than participating in formal sorority recruitment. Thirty national Delta Gamma members traveled to Tuscaloosa to help reestablish the sorority. Two hundred seven women were initiated into the Beta Psi chapter on Nov. 12, 2011, making the chapter the 16th National Panhellenic group to colonize on UA’s campus. The chapter participated in their first formal sorority rush last week since their return to campus, recruiting over 100 new members to the chapter.
Report: Majority of high school graduates lack college skills
Tuscaloosa News – Aug. 23
Nearly 70 percent of Alabama graduates may not be prepared for first-year college coursework, a national report revealed. The Condition of College and Career Readiness report released Wednesday shows 18 percent of Alabama’s high school graduates who took the ACT college and career readiness exam in 2012 met its benchmark scores in English, mathematics, reading and science, compared to 25 percent nationally. Another 31 percent in Alabama failed to meet any of the benchmarks, while 38 percent met only one or two, compared nationally to 28 percent and 32 percent, respectively…ACT scores not only provide colleges another indicator as to how prepared students are to enter college, it also provides educators a framework for thinking about educational content and teaching strategies. Through test preparation, students learn valuable skills like reading, writing, listening, problem solving, critical thinking and basic computation that employers need and demand, said Joyce Stallworth, University of Alabama senior associate dean and professor, secondary English education. “It’s not teaching to the test, but those rich classroom experiences that come together so students are ready to take these kinds of tests,” she said. “The majority of students have the ability to do well. It comes down to educators, parents and schools exposing them so they are prepared.”
A Coca-Cola solution to high gas prices
Wall –Street Journal – Aug. 21
When you fill your car with gasoline, you probably think you’re buying a commodity. Just as a Coke bought in Los Angeles is the same one bought in Boston, a gallon of gasoline one place is the same as one bought elsewhere – right? Wrong. As one refinery executive noted in 2003, “Gasoline is not gasoline anymore. It is a specialty chemical.” For most of the 20th century, the United States was a single market for gasoline. Today we have a series of fragmentary, regional markets thanks to dozens of regulatory requirements imposed by the federal Environmental Protection Agency and state regulators. That’s a problem because each separate market is much more vulnerable than a national market to refinery outages, pipeline problems and other disruptions … The role of regulators in fuel formulation has become increasingly complex. The American Petroleum Institute today counts 17 different kinds of gasoline mandated across the country. The mandated fragmentation means that if a pipeline break cuts supplies in Phoenix, fuel from Tucson cannot be used to relieve the supply disruption because the two adjacent cities must use different blends under EPA rules … From the 1920s to the 1950s, competitive markets successfully drove improvements in transportation fuels with reducing prices. We need to unleash those forces again. A good place to start is by undoing the anticompetitive regulations that keep our fuel markets small and fragmented – and making the sale of gasoline once more like selling Coca-Cola. (Mr. Andrew Morriss is a professor of law at the University of Alabama. Mr. Donald Boudreaux is a professor of economics at George Mason University)
New York artist brings work to on-campus gallery
Crimson White – Aug. 23
An artist whose recent work includes battle scenes and comic strips will exhibit his drawings and paintings in Sarah Moody Gallery of Art beginning Aug. 23 and will speak about his transformation as an artist Sept. 5 in 205 Gorgas Library. “I’ve been doing art as far as I can remember,” artist Brian Novatny said. “I’ve been drawing since I was about two. Off and on, I’ve always known I wanted to be an artist.” Since his first show in Columbus, Ohio in the early 1990s, Novatny has transformed his work from single figures with a focus on the “undramatic” to the more expressive pieces he focuses on today. “The last two or three years have been more focused on paper, so I can work more on a whim,” Novatny said. “With ink, you are set with what you have. Sometimes things don’t go the way you want, and for me, that can be more fruitful.” With his current medium of ink and paper, Novatny has rediscovered ideas which inspired him as a child, such as battle scenes and comic books. “I have become reacquainted with something I’d lost in my older work,” Novatny said. “I am letting my artistic hair down, which worked out, hopefully, to my favor, as I started to address something more personal.”
Homegrown Alabama allows students to purchase local produce with Bama Cash
Crimson White – Aug. 22
The usually vacant grass lot at Canterbury Episcopal Chapel comes alive from 3 to 6 p.m. on Thursdays as Homegrown Alabama takes over the shaded plot of land. Visitors can smell the freshly cut grass, as well as the herbs, soaps and vegetables laid out on the tables. They take in the sounds of a local musician as he sits on the back of his car playing a guitar and before you can even make it to the first vendor, it’s likely a young child with a painted face will run up to you with a homemade fortune teller, asking you to pick a color. “I love the idea that this space is creating community,” Andrea Marby, a graduate student at the University of Alabama, said. “That’s why we have the music, the kids’ crafts, we even have chef demos sometimes – we try to do a lot of things here that help people stick around and talk to each other.” This Thursday, as a way to welcome back the students to Tuscaloosa, Homegrown will feature a tie-dye station, chef demonstrations and a stuff swap, which will allows students to bring things they no longer want and swap them with another student who may have something they do. “It is not just a farmers market,” Mo Fiorella, University of Alabama graduate student and market manager of Homegrown Alabama, said. “It is a place where people can come listen to music, hang out and have fun.” The first Homegrown market was held during the spring of 2007 in the Ferguson Center Plaza. In the fall of that year, they held another successful market, which made them realize the need to expand into a bigger space. Now, four years later, the lot is filled every week from March until October with vendors selling everything from soaps to vegetables to homemade treats. As a way to make Homegrown accessible to the whole community, the farmers market accepts Bama Cash and EBT/SNAP by using a token system. A customer paying with either method receives tokens representing the amount of money they plan to spend.
Eating Alabama Trailer
Garden and Gun – Aug. 22
Could you forgo the convenience of the supermarket and spend a full year eating only locally raised food? From planting their own kitchen garden to visiting farmers across their home state, that’s exactly what filmmaker (and University of Alabama film instructor) Andrew Beck Grace and his wife, Rashmi, set out to accomplish in the new documentary Eating Alabama. The film has been building a following since debuting at SXSW in March, and it will make its Alabama premiere this Saturday (August 25) at Birmingham’s Sidewalk Film Festival. Like a lot of native Southerners, the Graces count more than a few farmers in their family histories, and it was an attempt to rediscover those agrarian roots that formed the initial motivation for the film. “Growing up on my granddaddy’s stories, I really thought, rather naively, that all these farmers were just out there but didn’t know how to get their product to us,” Andrew says. “My project would be about reconnecting those blocked pathways.” But after his first foray into the Alabama farmland in search of grain, Grace soon learned that the path to eating locally in today’s global market has a lot more twists and turns than it did in his grandfather’s day. Both funny and insightful, Eating Alabama delves into our often complex relationship to the food we eat and the people who grow it, and what food can teach us about community. “I hope people get a sense of how difficult farmers have it and how hard they work,” Grace says, “and that they will try to make choices—even small ones—that will lead to change.”
Personal degree plans on the rise
Tuscaloosa News – Aug. 23
The idea of creating and managing an academic degree may seem foreign to the average college student, but this is essentially the concept promoted by the University of Alabama’s New College Community-Based Research Internship Program. Neil Berty and former UA president David Matthews founded New College in 1971 with the principal objective “to serve as an experimental unit with the expectation of exporting successful innovations to other sectors of the University.” What resulted was a nationally acknowledged and award-winning interdisciplinary program that now boasts 250 students. New College generates personalized degree options by equipping its students with community service programs, internship opportunities and hands-on experience. In New College, students have access to essentially all UA courses and are allowed to develop original independent study courses. New College students are paired with faculty mentors who oversee their advancement. Like the academic advisors available to students following traditional degree plans, faculty mentors meet with their students each semester to ensure their progression toward graduation.
Jones uses football platform to give back
Crimson White – Aug. 23
In sixth grade, on a mission trip to Haiti with his family and members of his Memphis-area church, Barrett Jones discovered his passion to serve others. He was leading Bible study for children at a Haitian church when he realized the Christian faith he had always been a part of was much more than just “going through the motions,” he said. Jones never realized how blessed he was in the United States until he saw how those children were living. “They still have so much faith,” he said. “They were so inspiring to me and made me want to do more.” Today, Jones, the 6-foot-5-inch, 301-pound offensive lineman, continues to live out his passion for serving others. He stands for much more than a beacon of athleticism and scholarship on the University of Alabama campus. While tens of thousands on campus and throughout the country know him as an All-American and a standout on the Tide’s 2012 National Championship team, a small group of UA students know him as the leader of an annual mission trip designed to serve others in different parts of the world. Jones, an accounting master’s student with a 4.0 GPA and one more class to complete his degree, has proven to be an expert at balancing academics, athletics and service. Aside from the trips he leads annually, Jones has actively participated in tornado relief efforts in Tuscaloosa and has worked with countless other community service organizations during his time as a UA student. “God has blessed me to have so much influence at 22, and I want to use it in the best way possible,” he said.
The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.