Heard on the Hill: Events this week include Dance Marathon, talks on doctoral education transformation, U.S. housing policy

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

• The first listing in a “weekly planner” edition of Heard on the Hill is the KU Dance Marathon, coming up starting at 10 a.m. Saturday in the Kansas Union Ballroom.

If you’ve taken note of this event in past years, you may be wondering why the Dance Marathon is happening now; since it started in 2007, it’s typically been held in the spring semester.

But there’s one set for this week because the KU Dance Marathon student group this year is going to try to put on two marathons. KU’s would be only the second university Dance Marathon group in the country, out of more than 100 altogether, to pull that off, said Kendall Kohnle, a student who’s leading public relations for the event.

During the “marathon,” participants stand for 12 consecutive hours in an effort to raise funds for KU Pediatrics. That means this week’s event will run until 10 p.m. Saturday.

The KU group has raised more than $130,000 over the years, Kohnle said, including more than $60,000 in 2011-12.

According to a Web page the group has set up for Saturday’s marathon, the event had already raised more than $19,100 as of Sunday. At that page, you can sign up to take part, or just donate to the effort.

Earlier this year, we profiled Alex Ross, a 2012 KU grad who founded the KU Dance Marathon group and who has quite a story.

• Next up is the first of two interesting-sounding talks coming up on Thursday.

This one will take place at 3:30 p.m. Thursday at the Hall Center for the Humanities. The speaker will be Russell Berman, a humanities professor at Stanford University. And what he’ll talk about is something with the potential to get folks talking at KU: a proposal that universities need to transform the way they educate doctoral students in the humanities.

According to a KU release, Berman is pushing for just such a revolution at Stanford, where he’d like to see the university begin to offer degrees focused more on students’ career tracks. This is in response to an environment that includes increasing debt levels for doctoral students in the humanities on top of decreasing opportunities to find tenure-track faculty jobs after they’re finished.

That lecture will be free and open to anyone, and it’s sponsored by the Hall Center.

• Finally, we’ve got another talk taking place Thursday: Alex Schwartz, an urban policy professor at The New School in New York, will speak about what’s happened with housing in the United States since the 2007 collapse that led to a financial crisis you may have read about a time or two.

This one will start at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Eldridge Hotel, 700 Massachusetts St., in the Crystal Ballroom there.

Schwartz, who’s done quite a bit of research on housing policy, will address the Obama administration’s policies and how the presidential election will or won’t affect things.

The talk is sponsored by the KU Department of Urban Planning, along with some other Kansas City-area organizations.

• I would have written this Heard on the Hill entry while standing the entire time in honor of the KU Dance Marathon, but I only just thought of that idea now, when I’m nearly finished. But perhaps you can make your own tribute by standing while you send your next news tip to merickson@ljworld.com.