KU links: Professor sticks up for Neanderthals in NYT; blogging Topeka high-schooler picks Yale over KU

Surely you don’t have too much time to waste with the end of the KU semester approaching, so we’ll get right on with your weekly-or-so roundup of KU news and mentions from around the Internet:

We finally have a verdict from Topeka high-schooler Leobardo Espinoza Jr., who was offered a full-ride scholarship to KU while blogging about his college choice for The New York Times. And … he’s going to Yale. You can read more about it in his post. One interesting thing Espinoza did while trying to decide between his two final choices: He sent an email to one faculty member at each school and waited to see how quick and how in-depth their responses would be.

• David Frayer, a KU professor of anthropology, wrote this New York Times op-ed about Neanderthals, who he says have unfairly gotten a bad rap over the years.

• A KU official shared some comments with Inside Higher Ed for this story about the Voluntary System of Accountability, which is a cooperative effort among universities to share information about themselves, at collegeportraits.org. One category of information those universities can share is data on how much students are learning, but the story says the possible testing metrics offered for universities to use in that area have been criticized by people who say they don’t accurately show what students are getting out of college. Paul Klute, a special assistant to the vice provost for academic affairs, says in the story that KU had declined so far to post student learning data on its College Portrait page, but some new rubrics now are available. (The story is pretty lengthy, technical and chock full o’ acronyms.)

I poked around the KU College Portrait and found a few interesting things — for instance, a listing of the most common areas of study for KU bachelor’s degree recipients as of 2011-12. (Business is tops, followed by journalism and engineering.)

• David Cateforis, a KU professor of art history, shared with the Kansas City Star his disappointment at the closing of a KC art gallery.

• The Huffington Post talked with Charles Greenwood, director of KU’s Juniper Gardens Children’s Project in Kansas City, Kan., about how the federal budget sequester is affecting the research work there. We talked with him about that same subject a couple months back.

• Mashable reported on some KU Medical Center research that found that the online virtual-reality community Second Life could be used as a tool to lose or maintain weight.

• In case you were curious, former KU provost Richard Lariviere did not exactly take an easy job when he became the president and CEO of Chicago’s Field Museum last year. The Chicago Sun-Times reported on the financial troubles Lariviere inherited and how he’s trying to overcome them.

• KU’s Dining Services has a blog post outlining some of the changes in store for Mrs. E’s, the main dining facility for the residence halls up on Daisy Hill, after renovations are completed this summer. Look for more on that in our KU Today edition that will come out in August.

Don’t forget to send your KU news tips to merickson@ljworld.com, you Neanderthal. (That’s a compliment.)

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