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KU links: A 'Commendable Conduct Award' for law school's dean

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It's not even technically summer yet, but Heard on the Hill is already back from its summer vacation. Over the past couple of weeks, this blog worked on its tan, finally made time to read some of those books sitting on the shelf and made some blog friends at Blog Summer Camp with whom it sincerely plans to keep in touch.

But enough about that. Here are a few KU tidbits from around the Internet to get you caught up:

• The New York Times spoke with Jim Butler, a senior scientist at KU's Kansas Geological Survey, about the decreasing water levels in the High Plains Aquifer.

• KU physicist Adrian Melott, who's frequently quoted on the subject of gamma-ray bursts, is at it again in this story from Forbes.

• Wayne Sailor, a KU professor of special education, shared his thoughts on a new accessible parking symbol being adopted by New York City with the Chronicle of Higher Education.

• A writer for The American Lawyer decided that Stephen Mazza, the dean of KU's School of Law, deserved a "Commendable Conduct Award" for the decision to reduce the school's class sizes after the legal job market took a serious tumble. (I'm not sure if this is a regular honor or one the columnist made up just for this occasion. Can I win one?)

The law school's switch to smaller class sizes actually came shortly after Mazza became dean in 2011. The school's next graduating class, in May 2014, will be the first that was affected by the decision to reduce class sizes by about 20 percent. That might mean good things for the school's employment statistics, which already took a big jump for its class of 2012.

• A lecture by KU's Shawn Alexander, an associate professor of African and African-American studies, will be broadcast on C-SPAN3 this coming weekend. It's part of the channel's "American History TV" weekend programming, for a program called "Lectures in History" that shows, well, lectures by professors about history. Alexander's lecture will be about the era between the end of slavery and the dawn of segregation in the United States. You can catch it at 7 and 11 p.m. Saturday and noon Sunday.

Submit your KU news tips to merickson@ljworld.com and you could qualify for the Heard on the Hill Terrific Tipster Award, which is given out whenever I feel like it based on whatever criteria I might choose.

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