Posts tagged with Leobardo Espinoza Jr.

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 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, you Neanderthal. (That's a compliment.)

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    KU links: Comanche the horse, temper tantrums and more on online education

    The calendar has flipped into May, which means folks at KU are no doubt quite busy with the semester's end approaching and a bit melancholy because they have only one more chance this semester to come to Heard on the Hill Office Hours (one week from today, 9 a.m. to noon in the Media Crossroads at the Kansas Union).

    But here's something to distract you from all that (well, don't forget about the office hours part): your weekly-or-so collection of KU-related tidbits from around the Internet.

    • CNN had a piece this week on the art of horse taxidermy, and alert readers might know immediately why there might be a KU connection there: KU's Natural History Museum is the home of Comanche, the legendary horse that survived the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876 and was preserved by Lewis Lindsay Dyche, who helped found the museum. CNN talked with Leonard Krishtalka, director of the museum and the KU Biodiversity Institute, about Comanche and taxidermy.

    • Also at CNN, via Real Simple magazine, is this story about temper tantrums that has a good deal of input from Robert Harrington, a KU professor of psychology and research in education.

    • The Wichita Eagle asked Scott Reinardy, associate professor of journalism, for his thoughts on the bid by Koch Industries to purchase the newspapers owned by the Tribune Co. (Update: This previously linked to a Kansas City Star story, but the Eagle is actually the publication of origin — my mistake.)

    • The Daily Kansan today reports that students at KU who've received Pell grants have been less likely to graduate than other students, which is in line with trends around the country.

    • Last week brought another update from Leobardo Espinoza Jr., the Topeka high-schooler blogging about his choice among KU and some other colleges for The New York Times. Sounds like he's largely narrowed his choices to KU, Yale and Amherst College in Massachusetts. It appears KU's not exactly a front-runner, but it's in consideration, and you can read to see why.

    • And finally, I'll share two other NYT links that aren't directly related to KU but might be interesting if you'd like to read more about developments in online education after reading our update over the weekend on KU's strategies in that area. The two stories both describe how some universities and colleges are using free Massive Open Online Courses as tools in their on-campus classes. They're an interesting look at one of many possible ways forward for higher education as budgets tighten and online tools increase.

    So there — if you took full advantage of that linkfest, you probably distracted yourself for a good 10 minutes or so. In return, take another 30 seconds to send a KU news tip to

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  • Reply 3 comments from Kschick1 Clark Coan

    KU links: KU offering multiyear athletic scholarships; Topeka college-choice blogger accepted to Yale

    At the end of a busy week, here's your weekly-or-so roundup of KU news, notes and mentions from around the Internet.

    • KU is leading the way among Big 12 universities in offering multiyear scholarships to athletes, according to this report from the Chronicle of Higher Education (It's behind a subscriber paywall). However, only 16 of KU's 354 scholarship athletes for 2012-13 have multiyear awards.

    That's more or less in line with what the Chronicle found at other universities. It surveyed the public universities in the six biggest athletic conferences, and nearly all offered either a fairly small number of multiyear scholarships or none at all.

    A new NCAA policy effective in August 2012 allows programs to offer multiyear scholarships to athletes for the first time. The change was made after the previous policy requiring renewable one-year awards drew some criticism. Critics — including a Florida State University sports management instructor quoted by the Chronicle — say the one-year deals could allow coaches to push athletes out of their scholarships because of athletic performance. A number of athletic administrators quoted defended the practice, saying the one-year scholarships provide an incentive for athletes to get good grades and stay out of legal trouble.

    The Big 12 conference opposed the new NCAA rule, the Chronicle reports, and KU was the only Big 12 university that reported it awarded more than two multiyear scholarships this year (though the report didn't get counts from Baylor or TCU, both private universities, and the University of Oklahoma didn't report how many it awarded).

    The University of Illinois embraced multiyear scholarships to a much higher degree than any other school in the study: This year, 192 of its 370 scholarship athletes have multiyear awards.

    • We've got another dispatch from Leobardo Espinoza Jr., the Topeka high-schooler and New York Times blogger who's been offered a full-ride scholarship to KU. The big news is that he's been accepted to Yale University and placed on a wait list at Stanford, both of which he writes about with his usual candor. He says he's now pondering four options that he says will all cost him "little or no money," while also waiting to hear from Stanford: KU, Yale and two New England liberal arts colleges, Amherst and Bowdoin. He doesn't indicate if he's leaning one way or the other.

    • Across the pond, The Guardian has an interview with Chip Taylor, director of KU's Monarch Watch, on his concerns about the future of the monarch butterfly population.

    • Some research from Promothesh Chatterjee, an assistant professor of marketing in the KU School of Business, got some attention from the NYT as well as AOL's DailyFinance site. He collaborated with some researchers from the University of Utah on a study that found that a person with a single savings account is likely to save more and spend less than a person with multiple accounts. Chatterjee suggests consolidating your multiple savings accounts if you have them, or at least using a service that will provide an aggregated view of your different accounts.

    If you've been SAVING up some KU news tips, now's the time to send them to! Ho ho. (As I said, it's been a long week.)

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  • Reply 2 comments from Elliottaw Fiddleback

    KU links: The end of the line for the Crunchy Chicken Cheddar Wrap; update from Topeka high-schooler who received KU scholarship offer

    Your weekly set of KU tidbits from around the Internet, which I'm afraid must begin on a sad note:

    • The chicken tenders were perfectly aligned. The ranch dressing was well-distributed. The cheddar cheese was ready with its sharp kick. And the underrated but dependable tortilla was always there, holding it all together. It felt like destiny. But sometimes, in the cutthroat world of the Cooking Channel Best College Eats tournament, you run into something that looks like a shovel filled with spaghetti and chili, and you lose. You know you gave it your all, but it hurts just the same.

    In the bracket of the best college food, or at least in this particular one that the Cooking Channel put together this spring, 31 food items have to go home unhappy. They're left to hold out hope for next year, or whenever someone else has the idea to put together an online bracket for college-campus food. This is the fate of the Crunchy Chicken Cheddar Wrap.

    But, wrap fans, consider: Just because it lost to that chili-spaghetti thing from Marquette in the Elite 8, by a count of 4,192 votes to 3,309, that doesn't mean that its whole year was a failure. We'll always have our memories of its glorious tournament run. Let's savor them.

    • As the Journal-World's Sara Shepherd notes here, the KU Wind Ensemble earned itself a some glowing words in reviews by The New York Times and a New York music website after its performance at Carnegie Hall last week. It will make an encore performance for free at the Lied Center on Tuesday.

    • We've got an update on our old friend Leobardo Espinoza Jr., the Topeka high-schooler blogging about his college choice for The New York Times who received a scholarship offer from KU. He writes today about the experience of receiving a rejection from Washington University in St. Louis. "I'm one step closer to KU," he told his friends, and he says he considers KU "a fantastic school." He's still waiting to hear from Brown, Stanford and Yale — or at least he was when the post was written — so he's not sure where he's going yet.

    • The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette cited the research of William Elliott, an assistant professor of social welfare at KU, on the subject of college savings accounts for children. We reported earlier this year on the research he and others at the School of Social Welfare have done on the subject.

    • This story on Yahoo! News reports that Steven Hawley, a KU professor of astronomy and astrophysics and a former astronaut, is helping the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson conserve and display a NASA rocket engine retrieved from the ocean floor by Jeff Bezos, the founder of

    Perhaps you're now adrift, having assumed you'd be spending all of your time this week clicking to vote for the Crunchy Chicken Cheddar Wrap. But don't worry; you can expend that energy sending KU news tips to instead.

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  • Reply 3 comments from Roger Tarbutton Elliottaw Thesychophant

    KU links: Former CLAS dean a finalist for 2 different top university jobs

    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.

    But after a few confused minutes, I checked both universities' websites. Lo and behold, there was no mix-up: Wisconsin and Wyoming both list Wilcox as a finalist in their respective searches.

    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

    Reply 1 comment from Roger Tarbutton

    More on the KU scholarship offered to Topeka high school blogger

    Yesterday's post about Leobardo Espinoza Jr., the Topeka high school senior blogging about his college choice for the New York Times who's reportedly been offered a full-ride scholarship to KU, prompted a good deal of discussion.

    That's understandable, as I think it's an interesting story. (A note: Do, of course, feel free to form and post your own opinion about the story, but I would urge you to read Espinoza's full blog post first for some perspective.)

    One commenter asked a good question: What exactly is the David M. Wall Scholarship, which Espinoza wrote that he was offered? It is not part of KU's regular slate of renewable scholarship offerings for incoming students.

    I checked in about that with the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and I think the answer gives us a bit more understanding about the story.

    Kristi Henderson, communications director for the college, filled me in: The David M. Wall Scholarship, established in October 2008, goes only to graduates of Topeka High School who plan to seek a degree in liberal arts and sciences. The recipients are chosen based on achievement and need. All that is according to the wishes of the donor who created the scholarship.

    (The recipients are picked by a committee appointed by the dean of liberal arts and sciences, KU spokesman Jack Martin added in a comment on yesterday's post.)

    The four-year renewable scholarship always covers tuition, fees and books, and it's awarded as often as the balance of the fund allows. That's typically every two years or so, Henderson said — two students have received it so far, starting in 2009-10.

    So, now you know a bit more of the story. Please, discuss.

    And please, send your KU news tips to

    Reply 1 comment from Fiddleback

    KU offers full-ride scholarship to Topeka high-schooler blogging on college choice for NY Times

    We told you last month about Leobardo Espinoza Jr., a high-school senior in Topeka who's preparing to be a first-generation college student and blogging about his school choice for the New York Times. At that time, he'd just written that he had visited KU, but he had applied to a bunch of other schools and wondered if he might like to go somewhere farther away.

    Well, turns out KU has introduced a $40,000 wrinkle to his story.

    Today, Espinoza has another blog post telling the story of how two KU representatives came to his high school and offered him a four-year, full-ride scholarship as he stood at the front of a room full of classmates.

    One official told him folks at KU had been reading his blog entries, looked him dead in the eye and said, "We want you at the University of Kansas," he writes. Then Espinoza looked inside the envelope handed to him to see an offer for a four-year scholarship that would pay for all of his tuition and fees, plus an allowance for books.

    That would be worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $40,000 over the course of four years, depending on what happens with tuition rates this summer. (See KU's cost calculator here.)

    But here's the thing: Espinoza's still not sure about going to KU. He sounds genuinely grateful about the offer, but he says he's always considered KU a "fallback school." According to a chart at the bottom of the entry, he's waiting to hear back about applications to Yale, Stanford, Brown, Washington-St. Louis and others.

    All in all, I'd suggest giving the entry a read, as it lays his thought process bare in a way that's pretty compelling, even touching. He's pretty obviously conflicted about this. No matter how you feel about the fact he's not jumping on an offer of free tuition for four years at KU, you have to hand it to him for being so transparent about his decision and taking his future so seriously.

    I'll be following along to see what happens.

    I'm afraid I can't offer you $40,000 if you submit a KU news tip to, but I will be very appreciative, I promise.

    Reply 23 comments from Bursting Fiddleback Matt Erickson Jack Martin Webmocker Greenis Brad Avery Keith Richards Roger Tarbutton Justanotherface and 2 others

    Topeka high-schooler blogging for New York Times deciding among KU, other colleges

    Leobardo Espinoza Jr. is a high-school senior in Topeka and is preparing to be a first-generation college student in his family, helped by a school program adopted a few years back especially for students in just such a situation. That alone makes his college choice pretty interesting, but there's also the fact that he's one of eight high schoolers blogging about their college choice process for the New York Times this school year.

    Making that even more interesting for our purposes is that one of the schools he's considering is KU, so this should present an interesting opportunity to see why KU does or doesn't appear to be the right fit for at least one student (a pretty bright one, if his entries are any indication).

    In an entry from last week, he mentions two schools he's visited: KU, which he says is 20 minutes form his home, and Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Me., a liberal-arts college with about 1,800 students some 1,500 miles away.

    The two schools present marked contrasts on two issues about which he's conflicted: the size of the campus, and proximity to his home.

    Improving recruitment is a big focus for KU right now, and this could be an interesting glimpse at how the university presents itself to a prospective student. Or, perhaps he'll just decide he doesn't want to live in Kansas anymore. We'll see.