Posts tagged with Kansas University
KU's Queers and Allies student group has an event coming up that caught my eye: a visit from Nate Phelps.
That's Nate Phelps, the estranged son of Fred Phelps, the longtime leader of Topeka's Westboro Baptist Church. The KU Student Senate last week approved the use of $1,000 in student-fee funds to bring him in to speak on campus in April.
Nate left the church and his family on his 18th birthday, more than 30 years ago. Since then he has spoken out against the church, known for its anti-gay protests at funerals and other events, and in favor of rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people.
KU junior Ailee Cassel, the president of the Queers and Allies group, told me he's set to speak on April 19, during the group's monthlong pride celebration called "Gaypril." She said the time and location of the talk hadn't yet been nailed down. She said she'd heard a lot of curiosity about the Phelps family recently, which was part of why the group extended the invitation, but she wasn't sure how much Nate might talk about the family during his speech.
We'll let you know when more details are worked out. In the meantime, keep those KU news tips coming to email@example.com.
I'm in a video-sharing kind of mood today, so here's another. The National Science Foundation released this clip this week about KU's Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets, which goes by an acronym that I always have to double check, CReSIS:
It's part of a weekly video series produced by the NSF about scientific research around the country called "Science Nation." An accompanying page has some more photos and information about CReSIS.
The video has some cool footage of KU researchers and students working on and flying the unmanned aircraft that the center equips with radar technology to measure and predict how ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are changing because of climate change.
CReSIS assisted with a study involving researchers from all over the world, published last month, that provided new clues about what could happen to the Greenland ice sheet if global temperatures go higher.
I'm on a roll now, so if you've got any other KU-related videos for me to share, pass them on along with your KU news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can watch KU get a little love on cable TV tonight — if you've got a strong stomach, anyway.
A KU doctor is set to appear in an episode of the TLC show "My Strange Addiction" tonight, KU Hospital just announced.
Richard Gilroy is an associate professor of gastroenterology and hepatology at the KU Medical Center, and he's also the medical director of liver transplantation at the KU Hospital. For this "My Strange Addiction" episode, he met with a young woman who (spoiler alert) likes to eat sand. Yes, sand. "Likes" might be an understatement, actually — she eats it six times a day. She also chews on nail files, and her newest craving is for chalk.
The hospital produced this behind-the-scenes video from the filming of the episode:
If you watch, you'll see (another spoiler alert) Gilroy believes the woman's problem is actually related to an iron deficiency.
TLC also has a preview of the episode on its website. Maybe if you have watched this show before you're a bit more desensitized to this type of thing, but it was a bit hard for me to watch, frankly. But because of the lengths I'm willing to go to for you, devoted reader, I watched the whole thing.
If you're hardier than I, you can check out the episode at 6:30 p.m. Central time tonight on TLC.
Please send your KU news tips — and, boy, I hope they're not about someone eating sand or something like that, but go ahead even if they are — to email@example.com.
Your snow-day edition of KU-related tidbits popping up in the news around the country:
• A former KU dean of liberal arts and sciences appears to be a finalist in two different public universities' searches for a new leader.
When I saw this story reporting Kim Wilcox was one of four finalists to be president of the University of Wyoming, and also this story saying he was one of four finalists to be the new chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I thought somebody mixed something up. I mean, both schools use the abbreviation "UW." Come on.
Wilcox led KU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences until 2005, when he left to be provost at Michigan State University. He's announced he's stepping down from that job in June. He was also the president of the Kansas Board of Regents at one point. Last spring, he was up for another chancellorship, this one in a place markedly different from Wyoming or Wisconsin: the University of Hawaii-Manoa.
• Our old friend Leobardo Espinoza Jr., the Topeka High School senior blogging about his college choice for the New York Times, elaborated on his feelings about KU in another post this week.
When we last heard from him, he was feeling conflicted after KU offered him a full-ride scholarship (one created especially for THS graduates). Though he's waiting to hear back from Yale, Stanford and some other powerhouse universities, he writes now that his reluctance to come to KU has nothing to do with its rankings. It's all about his desire for a new experience.
• We're a bit late on this one, but here goes: This Kansas City Star feature about pipe organs from last month mentions that KU's organ program is one of the biggest in the country, even though it has only 24 students. It includes a video featuring James Higdon, the KU professor who leads the organ program, playing on the organ in the Bales Recital Hall at the Lied Center.
By the way, in case you had not guessed, that Student Union Activities "Buried Life" event we told you about yesterday won't be happening tonight as originally scheduled. But according to an SUA release, it's been rescheduled for 7 p.m. March 12 in Woodruff Auditorium at the Kansas Union.
I'm still planning to be in the Media Crossroads at the Union from 9 a.m. to noon tomorrow for Heard on the Hill Office Hours, as long as classes are in session. Please come tell me how to do my job better or ask me a question. If you can't do that, then send those KU news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week's weekly KU events roundup comes, of course, with a big caveat: After last week's snowstorm that ground the campus to a halt (almost), another 8 to 10 inches is forecast for tonight and Tuesday morning.
(By the way: I'm curious, as I bet some of you are, what might happen if KU were forced to cancel classes for another day or two this week. According to this history of weather-related cancellations, three full-day class cancellations in a single semester would be the most for KU since at least 1972. I asked KU spokeswoman Jill Jess if any possible schedule adjustments had been discussed in case campus closes again this week; she said there's nothing to announce at the moment.)
One event I'd planned to include, scheduled for today, has already been canceled. If any of the others listed become casualties of the weather, we'll let you know.
But in the meantime, here are some things CURRENTLY scheduled for this week:
• First up: Wednesday morning will be my regular Heard on the Hill office hours, 9 a.m. to noon in the Media Crossroads at the Kansas Union. I can tell you I'll be there as long as the campus is open. So come ask me some questions and give me a piece of your mind.
• Another event sponsored by the Student Union Activities group, in a busy month for those folks: "The Buried Life," a program based on the MTV show by the same name. It starts at 7 p.m. Tuesday in room 120 at Budig Hall. I can't say I've seen the show, but I'm told it involves a couple of guys who help people cross off goals on their "bucket lists," and they'll be talking about that subject. Tickets are free for students, $2 for faculty/staff and $5 for anyone else. Get them in the Union Programs Box Office on the Kansas Union's fourth floor.
• Mary Evelyn Tucker, a scholar on religion and ecology from Yale University, is visiting this week for a couple of events related to her film "Journey of the Universe." There will be a screening and panel discussion at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Liberty Hall, a colloquium 9:30 a.m. Thursday in Spooner Hall, and a lecture 7 p.m. Thursday at the Spencer Museum of Art.
• Cory Doctorow, a science-fiction author and co-editor of the blog Boing Boing among other things, will talk from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Thursday in Alderson Auditorium at the Kansas Union. The talk's descriptive title: "The Coming War on General Purpose Computing: Every single political issue will end up rehashing the stupid Internet copyright fight." It's free, but it's in the smaller of the union's two auditoriums, so space will be limited. It's sponsored by the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction.
Again, if I failed to note anything you think is important, add it in below in the comments.
Not only did KU cancel classes today because of snow for the first time in just more than two years, but it happened on a Thursday. That means more actual classes were canceled than would be if there were a snow day any other day of the week, with the possible exception of Tuesday.
If KU calls off classes tomorrow, though, the loss of actual class time will be far less.
I know this because of this chart that was posted yesterday in several spots at the KU master plan forums I checked out:
In my infinite wisdom I failed to get a shot of the chart that included the times in the far left column, which are half-hour increments. But that point where it switches from AM to PM is noon (yes, yes, I know, you could have figured that out yourself).
But anyway, the chart shows what percentage of classrooms on the Lawrence campus are used at different times of day on different days of the week (from this past fall semester). The cells colored in darker are when the greatest percentage of classrooms are in use.
As you can see (I hope), the Tuesday and Thursday columns are darker in more spots -- that would appear to be when the most students are in class. Every day, the high-traffic periods are roughly between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., though on Tuesdays and Thursdays things stay pretty busy until 4 p.m.
And on Friday, nearly the whole column is white. You'll often hear that the weekend really starts on Thursday night for a lot of students, and this would appear to be literally true for many. Especially by the afternoon, only about two-thirds of classrooms are in use at times when nearly all of them are being used earlier in the week.
All this matters to the KU officials and contractors planning the development of the KU campus over the next 10 years or so, because it has implications for how efficiently classrooms are being used. Does it make sense to add more classrooms on campus when they're only being used at full capacity for a few short periods during the week? Or is it worth having classrooms sit empty a lot of the time if that's ensuring that students are in class at times when they'll learn best? These are the sorts of questions those folks are thinking about, based on my talks with them yesterday.
I'm sure that while you've all been snowed in today, you've been busy composing well-crafted KU news tips to send in. When you're finished, direct them to email@example.com.
We told you last month that KU political science professor Erik Herron was up for a top job at Marquette University in Milwaukee. In the interest of not leaving you hanging, here's the conclusion to that story: Herron was not hired.
The university announced yesterday that Richard Holz, currently an associate dean at Loyola University Chicago, will be the new dean of its College of Arts and Sciences. Herron, who is also an associate chair of the political science department and is on a two-year leave while he works for the National Science Foundation, was one of four finalists for the job.
Holz was the only one of the four who works currently in a dean position, the Marquette student newspaper reports.
And here's something I did not notice at the time I wrote about this last month: This particular job opening has quite an unusual history.
Holz will be the first permanent dean for the Marquette College of Arts and Sciences since 2007. There have been two failed searches since then, the student paper reports.
Back in 2010, Marquette offered the job to Jodi O'Brien, a professor at Seattle University, but then rescinded the offer. The university said some of her writings clashed with the university's Catholic identity. O'Brien, who is openly gay, has published scholarly work on gender and sexual orientation. The episode apparently caused a bit of a kerfuffle on the campus, and the university reached a settlement with O'Brien later on.
We're sure you're resting easy knowing the conclusion to this story. Give us ideas for more stories to start and then finish by sending your KU news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
With forecasts calling for 6-plus inches of snow coming our way Wednesday night and Thursday, I'm going to venture a guess: You're wondering about the possibility of a class cancellation at KU.
Well, here's some background for you, courtesy of KU's public affairs office.
KU canceled classes for a full day because of the weather 11 times since 1972. The most recent two of those were two years ago, when classes were canceled on Feb. 1 and 2, 2011, after 8 inches of snow fell on Lawrence.
A number of other times, classes were canceled for just part of the day, or campus was closed when classes weren't in session. One cancellation wasn't because of winter weather — it was the day after a microburst caused $6 million in damage on campus in March 2006.
The decision whether to cancel classes falls on the chancellor or provost, who are to consider road conditions, especially with concern to whether campus buses can make it up and down the hills, as well as forecasts. They must make that decision by 5:30 a.m. of the day in question, according to policy. If classes are canceled, KU will inform area news media sometime after 5:45 a.m., and it will announce a closing via its 864-SNOW weather line after 6 a.m. A notice will also go up at ku.edu.
If classes aren't canceled, there will be no announcement. So if it's after 6 a.m. and there's no word, classes are on. (Though classes can be canceled during the day.)
Whether you're hoping for a day off or for things to continue, may your hopes come true. Yes, that's a contradiction, but we're not into taking stances here.
If campus is closed, that will leave you loads of time to stay home and send in your KU news tips as you sip hot cocoa! Go ahead and add email@example.com to your address book now.
On the same day that a Kansas Senate committee cut $10 million for a new KU Medical Center education building from its budget plan, KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little testified to a different committee Monday, this one in the state House of Representatives.
KU posted her testimony, which was before the House Education Budget Committee, online. You can read it for a look at how KU is pitching its importance to the state.
Gray-Little runs through a lot of the developments, initiatives and accomplishments that were listed in her "State of the University" video a couple weeks back. There's perhaps an additional emphasis on some programs that reach out to various parts of the state — for instance, the School of Business RedTire program that matches rural small-business owners with recent graduates who can take the reins, ensuring those businesses don't fade away.
One other thing I noticed: Gray-Little reported that an energy-savings effort, conducted as part of a $25 million contract with an Overland Park firm, has saved the university about $3 million so far. KU may have reported that figure elsewhere, but this is the first time I've seen it.
The last time we reported on the effort, done with the help of Energy Solutions Professionals of Overland Park, was about a year ago. KU had just about finished all the work, a lot of which involved more efficient ventilation of the scientific labs in Malott and Haworth halls, and was waiting to see how much savings would result.
According to Gray-Little's testimony, the contract guarantees a total of $31 million in savings over 15 years.
Obtaining a breakdown of how exactly those savings were achieved is among the items on my to-do list. So let me know if you're curious about any aspect of the energy savings in particular.
Then set your computer to its most energy-friendly power settings possible before you email your KU news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your weekly update on where folks from KU have popped up in the news around the country:
• The Minnesota Star Tribune cited a study by assistant professor of business Felix Meschke, along with two University of Minnesota researchers, that found companies that make big political donations don't really tend to help their bottom lines. That study has been mentioned in the New York Times and Time magazine, too.
• Chip Taylor, director of KU's Monarch Watch Program, talked with the Washington Post's kids' section about monarch butterflies' annual migration to Mexico and back.
• Stanley Lombardo, a professor of classics, took part in a "Homerathon" at Ave Maria University in Florida, per the Naples Daily News. A Homerathon is a 24-hour reading of all 24 books of Homer's "Iliad," and the translation used was Lombardo's.
• Shane Lopez, a professor of the practice in the KU School of Business, talked with the Gallup Business Journal about his research on the importance of hope in business.
• Phillip Hofstra, a professor of design at KU and the most recent winner of the HOPE teaching award from students, got a mention in this Kansas City Star story about Shea Rush, the son of former KC high school basketball star JaRon Rush (and nephew of former KU star Brandon). Shea, 15, is also Hofstra's grandson, and the story says Hofstra's work has inspired his grandson to consider a career in architecture.
If you spot any KU mentions somewhere out there in the vast expanse of the Internet, feel free to shoot me a link at email@example.com. And, please, don't forget to send your KU news tips there, too.