Archive for Thursday, May 17, 2012

Heard on the Hill: University of Virginia poaches two professors from KU; article profiles KU strength coach Andrea Hudy; KU researcher looks at why teens form violent flash mobs

May 17, 2012


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Your daily dose of news, notes and links from around Kansas University.

• We’ll start today with an update from the always-active world of faculty poaching.

KU lost two of its faculty to the University of Virignia this week.

Craig Huneke, a distinguished professor of mathematics, and his wife, Edith Clowes, the director of the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian studies, will both join Virginia on Aug. 25.

This is not an insignificant loss for KU. In fact, Virginia was so excited about hiring both of them that the university sent out an extensive news release on the topic with a variety of university officials singing the praises of the new hires.

Both faculty members will receive distinguished professorships at Virginia funded by private donations.

The timing of this coincides nicely with KU asking the Kansas Board of Regents for more tuition dollars to spend on faculty and staff retention.

But they didn’t bring this bit of news up at the regents' meeting Wednesday. It’s rare to hear universities get specific about which faculty members have departed, for a variety of reasons. But, fortunately for you, Heard on the Hill tipsters and I are free of such compunctions.

Here’s a great profile on one of those important behind-the-scenes folks at Kansas Athletics.

Strength coach Andrea Hudy often gets a lot of credit and accolades from coaches, players and commentators.

ESPN’s Jason King (a former KU sports beat writer) does a good job of telling the back story of how Hudy got here and why she’s succeeded.

I learned that basketball coach Bill Self was initially reluctant to hire her, concerned about having a woman as a strength coach. Few people have any such worries today, though the article said she is believed to be the only female strength coach in Division I basketball. Interesting stuff.

• Hyunjin Seo, assistant professor of journalism, contributed to a study that’s been getting some media attention in Kansas City and St. Louis these days.

It deals with the reasons young folks form so-called “flash mobs,” which have turned violent in Kansas City and St. Louis in recent years.

And, actually, the report says that most young people don’t really think of these kinds of violent events when they think about flash mobs. (Their minds may go more toward, say, older folks in a Target store.)

If communities want to stop these kinds of activities, the report suggests providing more entertainment options for youths.

Lots of other great stuff in the report, which you can find here.

• I’ll be off Friday (covering graduation on Sunday does have a few advantages after all), so this is it for Heard on the Hill until Monday. But, don’t worry, the tip line at is always open.


rwwaltz1 6 years, 1 month ago

That good old song of Wah-hoo-wah--we'll sing it o'er and o'er It cheers our hearts and warms our blood to hear them shout and roar We come from old Virginia, where all is bright and gay Let's all join hands and give a yell for the dear old UVa. Wah-hoo-wah, wah-hoo-wah! Uni-v, Virginia! Hoo-rah-ray, hoo-rah-ray, ray, ray--U-Va! What though the tide of years may roll, and drift us far apart For alma mater still there'll be a place in every heart. In college days we sing her praise, and so, when far away, In memory we still shall be at the dear old U-Va.

LJD230 6 years, 1 month ago

Huge losses. This should be a wakeup call. UVA is ranked #25 by USNSR.

KU has long been a crucible for great faculty. Unfortunately they leave all too soon.

Were efforts made to retain the departing faculty? Ain't easy to turn down distinguished professorships. How many of their departmental colleagues will follow?

Tim Quest 6 years, 1 month ago

Craig and Edith will be greatly missed in Lawrence, both personally and professionally.

KU_cynic 6 years, 1 month ago

I have no "inside information", but I would venture that the Provost matched Virginia's terms for Huneke and Clowes. Their reasons for leaving are probably quite personal, and the fact that they will end their careers (they're each in their early 60s) at the more prestigious and East-Coast-located U. Virginia was probably a bit of a lure.

That said, no one should under-estimate the ill will that slowly builds over time as KU faculty salaries (both one's one salary and those of colleagues) lag relevant disciplinary benchmarks. When another university comes along and says "This is how much we want you!" and then and only then does KU put its money where its mouth is in saying "We, too!" it's often too late.

And KU leaders and supporters should stop over-estimating the charms of Lawrence, the dusty "Harvard on the Kaw" sentiment, KU basketball, and such. The effect of anti-intellectual, anti-immigrant, anti-gay, anti-diversity, etc. politics at the state level also is a major turnoff for the mostly liberal faculty.

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 1 month ago

Thus spake Provost rockchalk1977.

My guess is that there are a lot of "anti-government" KU faculty members, just not in the way you desire.

KU_cynic 6 years, 1 month ago

Note I didn't say I was "liberal". But, it's a fact that most faculty members are indeed liberal or, at least, more socially conscious than the average Republican office holder in this state.

But I can be conservative on multiple issues (economics, abortion, taxes, etc.) and still oppose the creationism crazies, gay-haters, race-baiters, and other right-wing whackos we have in abundance here is Kansas.

No, rockchalk, I'm staying and fighting to make a difference.

Patricia Davis 6 years, 1 month ago

But then we'd have to change our name to Koch U.

thinkinganalytically 6 years, 1 month ago

I think the problem is more the anti-intellectual, anti-science stand that may characterize state politics. Even if you are in favor of smaller government or pro-business you might find find the state government's unwillingness to consider scientific evidence or analysis disheartening.

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 1 month ago

Well said, KU_cynic.

There are things about KU that salary money cannot fix, including a history of teaching centered mediocrity, a deteriorating infrastructure, and a state government that by all accounts would like to see Kansas resemble Somalia.

yourworstnightmare 6 years, 1 month ago

As there are only three universities on the Kaw, if there is a "Harvard on the Kaw", it is most certainly KU.

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