UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

Archives for January 2014

Nobel laureate Mather will speak on history of universe

Nobel Laureate Dr. John C. MatherPhoto of Dr. John C. Mather courtesy of NASA of the Goddard Space Flight Center will speak on “The History of the Universe from Beginning to End” at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 10, at UNCG.

He will speak in Mead Auditorium of the Sullivan Science Building.

Mather will tell the story of how the universe began, its past, present and future, how it could have produced an Earth where sentient beings live, and how those beings are discovering their history. He will also discuss NASA’s plans for the next telescope project, the James Webb Space Telescope.

“A visit by a Nobel Prize winning astrophysicist is a special occasion for this campus,” says Dr. Steve Danford (Physics & Astronomy). “It gives us a chance to highlight the good science that we do here at UNCG and will give students and guests a chance to hear Dr. Mather talk about his work at one of the great frontiers of science today: the earliest beginnings of our Universe.”

Mather is a senior astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, where he specializes in infrared astronomy and cosmology. He joined the center in 1976 and has been a senior project scientist since 1995 for the Webb Space Telescope, the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope.

As a postdoctoral fellow at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, he led the proposal efforts for the Cosmic Background Explorer Satellite, or COBE, (1974-1976). His research on the COBE project showed that the cosmic microwave background radiation has a blackbody spectrum within 50 parts per million, which accurately confirmed the Big Bang theory.

The COBE team also discovered the cosmic hot and cold spots in the background radiation, which is now believed to be the primordial seeds that led to the structure of the universe today. These findings led to Mather receiving the Nobel Prize in 2006.

Dr. Mather also will have dinner and speak with UNCG’s STAMPS Science Scholars while he is here, Danford notes. STAMPS (“Science, Technology and Math Preparation Scholarships”) is a program that provides scholarships to UNCG undergraduates who are majoring in Biology, Chemistry/Biochemistry, Mathematical Sciences, Computer Science, Geology/Geographical Information Systems, and Physics/Astronomy.

The talk is sponsored by STAMPS Science Scholarships at UNCG, Sigma Xi Society and the UNCG Department of Physics and Astronomy. For more information, call 334-5844 or contact Dr. Steve Danford (danford@uncg.edu).

By Steve Gilliam
Photography courtesy NASA.

Complimentary tickets for UNCG Faculty & Staff Appreciation Day

Photo of faculty and staff at men's basketball gameReserve your tickets.

UNCG Athletics hosts its UNCG Faculty and Staff Appreciation Day at the men’s basketball game vs. Georgia Southern this Saturday (Feb. 1) at 5 p.m.

Each UNCG faculty and staff member may receive up to two complimentary tickets to the game. Additional tickets above the two complimentary ones may be purchased for $5 each. Tickets will be available for pick up on game day in the plaza of the Greensboro Coliseum at the Faculty/Staff Will Call Table. Gates open at 4 p.m.

To reserve your complimentary tickets, click here.

Offer deadline is Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, at 5 p.m. Orders will be filled on a first come, first served basis. Tickets are subject to availability.

From UNCG to Broadway – Amendum will give Q&A

Photo of Music BuildingDominick Amendum has done Wicked good on Broadway, and he is bringing his insight to campus this week.

He will be available for a public Q&A session, ”A Dialogue with Dom,” Wednesday, Jan. 29 from 5-6:30 p.m. in the Music Building recital hall. (Editor’s note: The university was closed this day due to inclement weather. If CW learns of a new date, we will pass along that info.)

Amendum, a 2001 School of Music alumnus who has directed music for such Broadway blockbusters as “Wicked” and “First Date,” will also hold classes and workshoPhoto of Dominick Amendumps for UNCG music students. For the past seven years Amendum has been associate music supervisor of the musical “Wicked,” also having conducted “Wicked” on Broadway, in Los Angeles, and in cities across the U.S. on the first national tour. More recently, he served as arranger and music supervisor for “First Date,” while also arranging and supervising the world-premiere of “Secondhand Lions” at Seattle’s landmark 5th Avenue Theatre.

Amendum has worked with such musical theater luminaries such as Stephanie J. Block, Tonya Pinkins, Rupert Holmes and Carolee Carmello. He also maintains an active coaching studio in New York, working with established Broadway performers, recent college graduates, and even the young child stars of such musicals as “A Christmas Story,” “Leap of Faith” and “Bonnie and Clyde”. He produced the “First Date” cast album, as well as solo recordings with artists such as Dolly Parton, Brian D’Arcy James, Marvin Hamlisch, Stephen Schwartz and Andrew Lippa.

Amendum studied classical piano performance at UNCG with professor Joe DiPiazza.

By Michelle Hines.

2013-14 CDLC Fellows are announced

The Coalition of Diverse Language Communities at UNCG announces the following UNCG faculty members who have been awarded research fellowships in the amount of $3,000 for their collaborative work with members of diverse language communities for the 2013-14 school year:

– Melody Zoch and Amy Vetter, School of Education, for promoting equitable literacy education for students from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds by supporting teachers through professional development. This collaborative project, which includes partners with eight schools within the Asheboro City School District, will provide intensive support for teachers who work with English Language Learners on writing tasks. This professional development outreach will be ongoing and sustained, with the UNCG faculty members continuing to collaborate with Asheboro teachers throughout a full school year. Faculty will also evaluate the most effective strategies for partnering with teachers and supporting their professional development.

– Edna Tan and Beverly Faircloth, School of Education, for Teaching science for social justice: A community-based STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) club for refugee youth. This project will be in collaboration with the Center for New North Carolinians and a residential refugee community with which they are involved. Faculty members will meet on a weekly basis with youth at the community, utilizing the Engineering is Elementary curriculum developed by the Museum of Science in Boston. The participants will be given opportunities to author their own sense of positive identity as science learners in addition to acquiring content information.

– Jigna Dharod, School of Health and Human Sciences, for Feeding the family in a foreign country: Understanding home food environment and food insecurity experiences of Latino immigrants. This study will attempt to determine the strategies that low-income Latino families use to prevent and/or manage food insecurity in their homes. Data will include a qualitative interview in Spanish with the female head of household and a quantitative home food assessment. Findings will also be shared with the participants in an effort to assist them in better managing their home food environments.

– Ye He, Ang Chen and Kristine Lundgren, Schools of Education and Health and Human Sciences, for Intercultural exploration of Chinese education, health and sports through a comprehensive cross-cultural experience. This project aims to improve UNCG students’ understanding of the global/international world in which we live. The study includes cultural immersion for UNCG students with local Chinese communities prior to travel, guided reflections within an interdisciplinary course during an international field experience in China, and post-travel sharing with the local community. The faculty involved are planning to use this study as a pilot to assist them with submitting a Fulbright-Hayes proposal in the near future.

The Coalition for Diverse Language Communities (CDLC) was founded more than two years ago by Professors Micheline Chalhoub-Deville, Colleen Fairbanks and Barbara Levin from the UNCG School of Education. Its goal is to promote innovative, relevant and collaborative work in the areas of community-engaged research, outreach and advocacy, policy work and professional development. The CDLC aims to be a catalyst for innovative, relevant, collaborative and policy-related research, leveraging the synergy and knowledge of faculty, staff, students and communities locally, nationally and globally. CDLC research fellowships are funded through financial support from the UNCG School of Education and the Office of Research and Economic Development. For more information on upcoming events, programs and initiatives, visit http://cdlc.uncg.edu/.

UNCG’s Empty Bowls this week

Photo of students painting bowlsIt started as a social justice project out of the Make a Difference House and has become one of UNCG’s annual traditions to raise awareness of hunger and food insecurity here in the Triad.

This year the Empty Bowls project will support the Spartan Open Pantry, an initiative of UNCG’s Partners Assisting the Homeless & Hungry Spartan (PATHS). No one knows the exact number of Spartans who face homelessness or hunger, but each year the Dean of Students Office helps more than 100 students facing shelter and food insecurity.

How can you help?

UNCG faculty, staff and students can make an impact by:

  • painting bowls this week (through Friday, Jan. 31)
  • purchasing one (or some) of these painted, glazed, and fired bowls at the annual Bowl Sale on Monday, March 31.

Bowl painting is free and open to anyone from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. in the Elliott University Center (Wednesday in Azalea Room, and Thursday-Friday in Willow Room).

To volunteer, find ways to help, or seek assistance from PATHS, contact the Dean of Students Office, 210 Elliott University Center, (336) 334-5514 or email: deanofstudents@uncg.edu.

Empty Bowls is a joint project between UNCG’s Housing and Residence Life, Campus Activities & Programs, the Office of Leadership & Service Learning, and the Office of Multicultural Affairs. UNCG students were integral in organizing Empty Bowls. To learn more about Empty Bowls and to get involved contact Mark Villacorta, Assistant Director of MultiCultural Affairs, 336-334-5090, mark_villacorta@uncg.edu.

By Emily McKenzie

UNCG UCLS and Gulf-South Summit

The Gulf-South Summit on Service-Learning and Civic Engagement through Higher Education will be March 26-28, 2014. It is hosted by Auburn University. The theme will be “Creating Capacity Collaboratively: Connecting Learning and Civic Outcomes.”

The UNCG Office of Leadership and Service-Learning is offering to drive a UNCG van to the conference if enough people are interested in attending. “Not only is this a very reasonably priced conference – $215 as a member of a conference sponsored institution) – we would eliminate your travel costs,” notes Dr. Cathy Hamilton, director of UNCG’s Office of Leadership and Service-Learning. The early-bird registration deadline is fast approaching – Jan. 31 – and the reduced-fee room rate cutoff is March 1.

More information is at www.gulfsouthsummit.org. Questions? Email Hamilton at chhamilt@uncg.edu.

Calendar Year 2014 Holidays

Human Resources has a full list of UNCG holidays for 2014. Dates for the remainder of the year:

Spring Holiday – April 18
Memorial Day – May 26
Independence Day – July 4
Labor Day – September 1
Thanksgiving Holiday – November 27, 28
Winter Holiday – December 24, 25, 26, 29*
**University Closed – December 30, 31

*G S126-4(5) requires the university to note what day is observed in lieu of Veteran’s Day. December 29, 2014, is that day.
** Employees may use accrued vacation time, bonus leave, compensatory time or leave without pay to cover the two days the university is closed. Employees who have no accrued leave time may make up the time with supervisory approval

Full details are at the UNCG Human Resources site at http://web.uncg.edu/hrs/dates/calendaryears/#y2014

2014 SOE Research Symposium

The symposium “Making a Difference: Using Research to Inform Educational Policy and Practice” will be Friday, Feb. 14, 2014, 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. in the UNCG School of Education Building, Room 114.

It will focus on faculty engagement with local school systems through research and the effect on educational policy and practice. A panel discussion featuring state government and educational policy makers will discuss how research is utilized and ways that faculty can provide valuable resources for policy decisions.

Keynote speaker for the Symposium will by Dr. Paul LeMahieu, Vice-President of the Carnegie Foundation. School of Education faculty members Heidi Carlone, Craig Peck, and Rick Reitzug will present examples of their most recent research projects.

It is is free and open to the public (registration required) – boxed lunch will be provided.

Register by Feb. 10 at this form: 2014 Research Symposium Registration Form

Questions? Contact Terry Ackerman at taackerm@uncg.edu or 4-3439, or visit the 2014 Research Symposium Event Page.

The biology of race?

Breakthroughs in human genetics and biology at large have discredited all so-called scientific classifications of human races.

“A Conversation with the Community: Looking at the World through Race Colored Glasses: The Biology of Race” will be held Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, 6 p.m., in UNCG’s Elliott University Center, Kirkland Room.

Discussion will be led by Dr. Joseph L. Graves Jr., Associate Dean for Research and Professor of Biological Studies at JSNN.

The event is sponsored by The African American Studies Program at UNCG.

Dr. Joseph L. Graves will bring attendees up to date on the cutting edge of research on racial biology. He will discuss how, although we don’t live in a socio-political post-racial America, we do live in a post-racial world in terms of biology.

Poet Nikki Giovanni will speak March 6 at UNCG Libraries dinner

Portrait of Nikki GiovanniPoet and activist Nikki Giovanni will speak March 6 at the Friends of the University Libraries dinner.

The event begins at 6 p.m. in Cone Ballroom, Elliott University Center. Dinner and program-only tickets are available now; proceeds support the University Libraries.

Over the past 30 years, Giovanni’s outspokenness, in her writing and in lectures, has brought the eyes of the world upon her. She prides herself on being “a Black American, a daughter, a mother, a professor of English.”

Giovanni remains as determined and committed as ever to the fight for civil rights and equality. Always insisting on presenting the truth as she sees it, she has maintained a prominent place as a strong voice of the black community. Her focus is on the individual — specifically, on the power one has to make a difference in oneself and in the lives of others.

Early in her career she was dubbed the “Princess of Black Poetry,” and over the course of more than three decades of publishing and lecturing she has come to be called both a “National Treasure” and, most recently, one of Oprah Winfrey’s 25 “Living Legends.”

The author of some 30 books for adults and children, Giovanni is a university distinguished professor at Virginia Tech and received Virginia Tech’s highest honor, the Alumni Outreach Award.

Purchase tickets through Triad Stage at 272-0160 or at www.Triadstage.org.

Dinner tickets are $54 for Friends members and $64 for non-members. Program-only tickets are $20. Table sponsorships are $550.

For more details, contact Barry Miller at barry_miller@uncg.edu or 256-0112.

By Michelle Hines
Full story at UNCG NOW.

Pete Seeger’s notable UNCG concert of 1983

Image of Pete Seeger's story in The CarolinianLegendary folk singer Pete Seeger died this week. He was 94. Seeger was one of the most influential figures in popular American music, with a career that began in the 1940’s.

When he played at UNCG’s Aycock Auditorium in October 1983, there were rumors the Klan would protest. They did not like that Seeger was going to donate proceeds from the concert to the Greensboro Civil Rights Fund. It would help widows of those killed in the 1979 shootings at Morningside Homes. The Carolinian reported about 150 onlookers gathered to see; more than 100 police were on hand. No Klan protested. According to Carolinian writer Bob Pearson, the liberal activist Pete Seeger remarked as he entered the back entrance of Aycock, “I hope they (the Klan) keep it peaceful; they have a right to picket too.”

Carolinian writer Homer Yost noted Seeger’s banjo bears the words, “This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender.”

“Maybe Seeger’s banjo was what spooked the KKK Sunday,” Yost wrote.

One of the last songs of his performance that evening in front of 800 people began, “I am a truthful man from the land of the palm trees and before dying, I want to share these poems of my soul….”

Yost concluded his report by saying, “These words also tell us why Pete Seeger is another one of those American folk heroes who will live beyond his own life-time. He believes in truth — like grass growing through the cracks of concrete, it refuses to die. And he has always planted his feet alongside poor working people.”

The Carolinian articles courtesy UNCG Digital Collections.
October 11, 1983 edition.
October 13, 1983 edition.

By Mike Harris

Looking ahead: January 29, 2014

Q&A session, ”A Dialogue with Dom Amendum”
Wednesday, Jan. 29, 5 p.m., Music Building Recital Hall

‘Campus Community Dialogue on Hate Speech,’ moderated by Dr. Omar Ali
Wednesday, Jan. 29, 6:30 p.m., EUC Auditorium

Men’s basketball vs. Appalachian State
Thursday, Jan. 30, 7 p.m., Coliseum

Forum, “GTMO After 9/11: Detainees, Defense and ‘Legal Exception’”
Friday, Jan. 31, 7 p.m., International Civil Rights Center & Museum

Music, ‘The Late, Great Bach,’ Andrew Willis
Friday, Jan. 31, 10 p.m., Organ Hall, Music Building

Men’s basketball vs. Georgia Southern (Faculty/Staff Appreciation)
Saturday, Feb. 1, 5 p.m., Coliseum

Talk, “Freedom Suits, African American Women, and the Genealogy of Slavery,” Loren Schweninger
Wednesday, Feb. 5, noon, Faculty Center

Deadline for 2014 Graduate Research & Creativity Expo

The UNCG Graduate School and the Office of Research and Economic Development will host the 2014 Graduate Research and Creativity Expo, April 1, 2014, in the EUC. Registration will close on Friday, Jan. 31.

This event is designed to showcase graduate research and creative work to a variety of non-specialized audiences. It is not intended to be like an academic conference in your discipline.

There will be six categories, with a $1,000 prize for the winner of each category.

Registration details and full information is at http://grs.uncg.edu/grc-expo/.

Signatures of notable African Americans

A new exhibition in UNCG’s Jackson Library displays books autographed by well-known African Americans. Rosa Parks, Henry Aaron, John Hope Franklin, Condoleezza Rice and Alice Walker are among the many signatures. The exhibition is located near the Reference Desk.

A dialogue on hate speech

A Campus Community Dialogue on Hate Speech will be held today (Wednesday), Jan. 29, 2014, at 6:30 p.m. It will be in the EUC Auditorium. The entire campus is invited to attend this event, which will be moderated by Dr. Omar Ali, associate professor in African American Studies.

Blood drive at EUC Feb. 5

UNCG’s Elliott University Center will host its third Red Cross Blood Drive of the 2013-14 academic year on Wednesday, Feb. 5, from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. in Cone Ballroom.

Schedule your donation appointment today and help the EUC reach its 400-pint goal. For those wishing to donate double red blood cells, the Red Cross is currently accepting only blood types A negative; B negative; O positive; and O negative.

Be sure to come prepared when giving blood. Have a light meal and plenty to drink. Bring your Red Cross donor card (optional), driver’s license or two other forms of identification. And bring the names of any medications you are currently taking.

For more information on giving blood, and to schedule your donation appointment, visit http://euc.uncg.edu/mission/blood-drive/ . Appointments will be given priority. Walk-ins are welcome.

Dr. Barbara Levin

Portrait of Dr. Barbara LevinDr. Barbara Levin (TEHE) has been selected as a Faculty Fellow for the 2013-2014 Emerging Issues Forum. As part of her duties, Levin will partner with the Institute for Emerging Issues at NC State to provide support, expertise and content-area knowledge for their newest program area of work – Teachers and the Great Economic Debate. Her responsibilities include producing a paper about the research on teacher professional development, presenting and discussing this paper during the Emerging Issues Forum in Raleigh Feb. 10-11, 2014, and contributing to a MOOC during Spring 2014 about how to best train, retain and support world class teachers in North Carolina. Dr. Heather Higgins Lynn, a recent UNCG PhD graduate from the TEHE Dept. and now a faculty member at UNC Pembroke, will also participate as Faculty Fellow. Her paper will focus on K-12 Teaching Standards.

Dr. David M. Olson

Portrait of Dr. David M. OlsonDr. David M. Olson (professor emeritus, Political Science) wrote “The ‘Intermestic’ Politics of Trade: the Case of the USA” in “International Trade Negotiations and Domestic Politics: the Itermestic Politics of Trade Liberalization,” published by Routledge. Olson’s chapter examines U.S. Congressional action on free trade agreements in the Bush and Obama Administrations under conditions of changing party control in both Congress and the White House. His chapter, including current “fast track” trade legislation, is part of a three-year review of the Doha Round of the World Trade Organization, sponsored by the International Research Institute of Stavanger, Norway. Other researchers came from China, the European Union, India and Norway.

Dr. Roy Schwartzman

Portrait of Dr. Roy SchwartzmanDr. Roy Schwartzman (Communication Studies) has received a grant from the UNC General Administration for the Pilot Rollout of e-Portfolios (PREP) Project. An interdisciplinary and inter-institutional collaboration with North Carolina A&T University, the project will study the implementation of e-portfolios in selected face-to-face and online course sections to assess written communication and critical thinking competencies of undergraduates. The study is part of the UNC General Administration’s investigation of qualitative assessment techniques for determining student learning in the general education curriculum and beyond.

Dr. Geoff Bailey

Portrait of Dr. Geoff BaileyDr. Geoff Bailey (Student Success Center) presented a national webinar on Jan. 8 for the Association of the Tutoring Profession titled “Assessment from A to Z: Utilizing qualitative and quantitative measures in learning centers.” The webinar focused on best practices for incorporating assessment into learning center operations and, specifically, for evaluating the efficacy of tutoring services provided for college students.

Dr. Danielle Swick

Portrait of Dr. Danielle SwickDr. Danielle Swick (Social Work) received funding from Durham Public Schools for the project “Evaluating the Effects of the School-Based Support Program”. The school-based support (SBS) program was developed in 2010 to build a partnership between education, mental health and university systems. Students experiencing mental health needs are accurately identified and then are appropriately referred to in-school support services and to community-based mental health services. The purpose of the current contract is to evaluate the effectiveness of the program.

Dr. Haimeng Zhang

Portrait of Dr. Haimeng ZhangDr. Haimeng Zhang (Mathematics and Statistics) received funding from the National Science Foundation for the project “Collaborative research: Axially symmetric processes and intrinsic random functions on the sphere”. The abstract says: “The analysis of global-scale processes and phenomena continues to provide profound information on the state of our changing planetary environment. In spatial statistics, a wide variety of methods and models have been developed in Euclidean space. In this project, we will study random processes on the sphere beyond the usual homogeneity assumption using two approaches. The completion of this research will help understand the covariance structure on the sphere and provide new and powerful tools for analyzing global-scale data.”

Dr. Suzanne Vrshek-Schallhorn

Portrait of Dr. Suzanne Vrshek-SchallhornDr. Suzanne Vrshek-Schallhorn (Psychology) won a competitive Career Development Travel Award from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) to participate and present her research at the annual conference of ADAA to be held in March of 2014 in Chicago, IL.

Dr. Ryoko Yamaguchi

Dr. Ryoko Yamaguchi (Research and Economic Development) received new funding from the Virginia Department of Education for the “Statistical Peer Groups Project.” The analysis will help inform and optimize professional development and technical assistance provided to schools. For example, OSI can tailor their TA to each specific “peer group,” giving an opportunity to individualize the TA, and to facilitate schools with similar student populations to share successes and challenges with each other.

Dr. Jeffrey Sarbaum

Portrait of Dr. Jeffrey SarbaumDr. Jeffrey Sarbaum (Economics) received new funding from North Carolina A&T State University for the project “The Math You Need, When You Need It: Modular Student Resources to Promote Successful Integration of Quantitative Concepts in Introductory Economics Courses”. This project addresses previously-identified math/quantitative skill barriers for student success in introductory economics courses by adapting the successful geosciences web-based student quantitative skills tutorial and assessment framework [The Math You Need, When You Need It (TMYN)] developed by Wenner, Baer, and Burn for economics. The TMYN framework has demonstrated improved student learning in a variety of instructional settings.

See/Hear: January 29, 2014

YouTube Preview Image

This Saturday’s men’s basketball game is the special UNCG Faculty/Staff Appreciation Day game. See related story in CW on how to get complimentary tickets to Saturday’s game. The team takes on Appalachian State tomorrow night (Jan. 30). See this short preview.

A new way for UNCG employees to stay fit

Photo of staff exercising with YogaUNCG will offer several spring programs to help employees eat better and stay fit. A new program, Mindful U, will be offered in a partnership between HealthyUNCG and Campus Rec.

All but one are free to UNCG employees. (There is a charge associated with TOPS.)

  • Mindful U is a low impact fitness class, focusing on the mind and body. Classes include yoga, pilates and meditation. Mindful U is held weekly beginning Tuesday, Feb. 4, from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. in the Student Rec Center. Free to UNCG faculty/staff. Please bring employee ID and towel and/or water bottle. (Update: see the new time in bold.)
  • Active U will be returning Jan. 31. Active U is an employee wellness program designed to encourage UNCG faculty/staff to become more active by participating in a weekly fitness class hosted by the Student Recreation Center. Classes include Zumba, Step and Kickboxing. Active U is held weekly beginning Friday, Jan. 31, from 12:05-12:45 p.m. in the Student Rec Center. Free to UNCG faculty/staff. Please bring employee ID and towel and/or water bottle. Update: You may pre-register by contacting Campus Rec or you can register on site.
  • HealthyUNCG is offering the Taking Pounds OFF Sensibly (TOPS) program again this spring. The TOPS program is a nationally recognized weight loss program proven to help people lose weight and keep it off. TOPS meets bi-weekly for an educational session that focuses on making healthy food choices, healthy substitutions and food demos. Each session also includes a movement/exercise component. TOPS participants also have access to a health coach to provide accountability and support. Spring TOPS begins Thursday, Jan. 23, noon – 1 p.m. in the EUC, Elm Room. There is a charge: Registration in the national TOPS program is required. The cost is $29.50/year.
  • HealthyUNCG will continue to offer Well U Coaching services this spring. UNCG employees can receive 12 free sessions with a certified health coach who will work with you to help you find ways to continue along a path to a healthier lifestyle. The coach looks at all areas of your life prior to helping you develop ideas for making changes. A Well-U Coach can help you identify and clarify what is important to you and will be your partner to help you make those changes. All coaching sessions are confidential.
  • HealthyUNCG continues to offer special programming for your department upon request. Topics include desk/office fitness, healthy substitutions, food demos, stress management and many more. All HealthyUNCG services and programs are free to UNCG departments and employees.

For information on these programs and more, contact HealthyUNCG at healthy_uncg@uncg.edu or 334-4131.

Facilities Operations up in the clouds

Photo of Jay White changing bulbs in the Recital HallUNCG Music’s ensembles and performers reach new heights in the Recital Hall throughout the year. At year’s end, it was Facilities Operations’ turn. Literally.

With the students away for holiday break, they used a hydraulic lift to allow them to do maintenance high above. Now, every bulb in the hall is ready to light up the performances.

The “clouds” high above the seating provide lighting for the stage.

Jay White was lifted onto the clouds to replace burned out bulbs. “I don’t have any problems with heights,” he says. “You just have to get up there and do it.”

“Forty-one lights were out, of the cloud spot bulbs,” Mark Cable says. There are 60-something in total, he says. They replaced all of them.

“Working in the new Music Recital Hall on the ‘clouds’ is difficult due to the stress on your body climbing around all of the electrical components,” notes Guy McGayhey. Safety is always top of mind. “Jay had a body harness on and he was tethered to the support system of the cloud.”

“I believe they’ll notice a big difference,” Jay White says. He explains that the lighting controller never uses all the lights at one time, but now will have more at his disposal at any given point during a performance. “Now they can select exactly what they want.”

The other music halls on campus are less challenging for them, says McGayhey. All of the lights above Aycock Auditorium are accessed via a catwalk high above, he says, and the same goes for the Organ Hall.

Mark Friddle was also high on a ladder, changing other bulbs in the hall that day. The entire work team consisted of Guy McGayhey, Mark Cable, Mark Friddle, Teddy Hyatt and Jay White.

It’s sometimes time consuming, getting to these fixtures. Mark Cable puts this in perspective.

“It is apparent that lighting designers and architects haven’t changed a lot of light bulbs in high ceilings. If they did, they would give more thought to how the products they specify will be maintained,” Cable said.

How so? If they use regular shaped bulbs in an open housing, he and his team can reach them with a telescopic pole to screw and unscrew a bulb. They even have a tool covered with small suction cups to stick onto spot bulbs that have a flat face.

“The new CFL bulbs that come in unconventional shapes prevent the use of the telescopic pole, because there is not a tool made to grasp these unconventional shapes. Fixtures that have lenses or in which unconventional bulbs are used, require hands-on work to remove them.

“In rooms with a high ceiling, where the chairs are mobile, we can get a lift into the room and use it to get to the fixtures.” That’s what they did from the stage, in the Recital Hall.

And what about those high ceilinged halls on campus with fixed seating?

Facilities Operations has to set up scaffolding.

“This often means that four persons will be needed to set up the scaffolding over the seating, someone climbs it to service the fixture, we tear it down, move it, and start the process over again for each and every bulb that needs changing,” Cable says.

“So, next time you look up at the lights in Sullivan Science’s Room 101, the EUC Auditorium, Cone Ballroom, the large teaching classrooms in the new School of Education, you may wonder, ‘What do they have to do when that light goes out?’”

Now you know.

By Mike Harris
Photo: Jay White changed bulbs in the “clouds” in the Recital Hall during Winter Break

UNCG plans to pilot two MOOC offerings

Photo of Elliott University Center and downtown GreensboroMOOCs – massive open online courses – are a much-discussed new phenomenon in American higher education.

MOOCs have become an experiment for many universities across the country.

UNCG will dip its toes into the water later this semester.

“UNCG will pilot test two MOOCs,” notes Dr. Jim Eddy, interim dean of UNCG Division of Continual Learning. “These are not for credit.”

In general, MOOCs hold potential for online learning for a lot of people who may not have access to university courses. They can serve as a way for people who left college years ago to take an online course to see if completing a degree might be feasible for them.

Although millions of people have signed up for MOOCs, statistics show a majority of people who register for MOOCs don’t complete the course. And there is a cost to develop MOOCs with an uncertain return on investment.

Two MOOC courses will be offered in the pilot here at UNCG. Currently being developed by the UNCG Division of Continual Learning, they will be “Passion of the Western Mind” and “Web Design and Usability.” The former will be created by Dr. Stephen Ruzicka (History) and the latter by Dr. Anthony Chow (Library and Information Services.) The courses are envisioned as interactive, free-standing courses – they are being designed to not require an instructor. Each course will include branching tree learning objects, through which the student participates in a dialogue, presents alternative answers to a question, then must choose between responses in order to proceed. Each course will also include computer-assessed quizzes and student discussion forums. Eddy explains that universities have created a number of ways to facilitate online discussions and help students learn in MOOCs.

“We are trying to do two types of offerings – a content-focused course and a skill development course,” he notes, to help the university better make its assessments. UNCG can see if MOOCs may be worth funding and further consideration. “We’ll want to see costs, benefits. And we’ll do process evaluation.”

Over the past year, a UNCG Leadership Institute team of Dr. Roberto Campo and Dr. Lawrence Jenkens looked at the phenomenon of MOOCs and their possible role at UNCG. They gave a presentation on the topic in late November. They found that of UNCG’s 18 nationwide peer universities, six offer from one to five MOOCs. In the UNC system, UNC Chapel Hill offers five, NC State offers three and some other campuses are developing them.

UNCG’s DCL has created a MOOC Steering Committee composed of seven members.

By Mike Harris

Unique feast of ideas and food at UNCG

Photo of Chef Leigh HeslingBring a healthy appetite for learning.

Noted food scholars and award winning chefs will come to UNCG later this month to headline an international, interdisciplinary gathering. It will explore the food cultures and foodways of the Carolina Lowcountry, Africa, Italy, and Spain through plenary discussions and exciting multi-course tasting meals.

UNCG’s Atlantic World Research Network (www.uncg.edu/eng/awrn) will present the 2014 Atlantic World Foodways Conference in UNCG’s Elliott University Center and at the restaurants of the Proximity and O.Henry Hotels. Events will be Jan. 30 through Feb. 2, 2014.

“The Atlantic Foodways Conference will present a unique feast of ideas and food featuring famed food scholars and leading chefs,” said Dr. Christopher Hodgkins, UNCG professor of Renaissance Literature and Culture and director of the Atlantic World Research Network. “The conference will bring together inquiring minds and discerning palates as we ask how transatlantic contact combined and transformed old foodways, and how those foodways have transformed us all.”

Featured chefs will be Sean Brock, Executive Chef, Husk and McCrady’s, Charleston, South Carolina, and Husk, Nashville, Tennessee; Jay Pierce, Executive Chef, Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, Greensboro and Cary, North Carolina; Gabriele Grigolon, Executive Chef, OTG Management, New York, New York; Leigh Hesling, Executive Chef, Green Valley Grill and Print Works Bistro, Greensboro; and Timothy Bocholis, Executive Chef, Bistro B, Kernersville.

Featured food scholars include Jessica Harris of Queens College CUNY, founder of Africooks and expert on African foodways; David Shields of the University of South Carolina and expert on historical Lowcountry cooking; John Dickie of University College London and specialist on Italian foodways and folkways; and Maricel Presilla, restaurateur, chocolate importer and Miami Herald food columnist, and scholar of Spanish and Latin American culinary traditions.

The Fresh Market is the official chef sponsor for the conference, which is presented in partnership with the Proximity and O.Henry hotels.

Registration is free to all UNCG faculty, students and staff; registration and tickets to meals are available online until Jan. 26 at http://www.uncg.edu/eng/awrn/.

For further information, contact awrn@uncg.edu or call 334-4595.

A sampling of Atlantic Word Foodways events:

Thursday, Jan. 30, EUC Maple Room, 7:30 p.m.
Atlantic World Foodways Conference: Jessica Harris
“Sea Changes: Culinary Connections in the African Atlantic World”

Thursday, Jan. 30, EUC Maple Room, 8:30 p.m.
Atlantic World Foodways Conference Panel Discussion: Jessica Harris and Chef Maricel Presilla,
“The Black Atlantic and La Gran Cocina Latina”

Friday, Jan. 31, EUC Maple Room, 2 p.m.
Atlantic World Foodways Conference: David Shields
“Dreaming the World Orchard: Southern Pomology and the Pursuit of Exotic Fruit”

Friday, Jan. 31, EUC Maple Room, 3 p.m.
Atlantic World Foodways Conference Panel Discussion: David Shields and Chef Sean Brock
“Taste the Lowcountry”

Saturday, Feb. 1, EUC Maple Room, 2 p.m.
Atlantic World Foodways Conference: John Dickie
“Organized Crime and Italian Food: An Historical Perspective”

Saturday, Feb. 1, EUC Maple Room, 3 p.m.
Atlantic World Foodways Conference Panel Discussion: John Dickie and Chef Gabriele Grigolon
“Mangiamo! La Bella Tavola Italiana”

Sunday, Feb. 2, Proximity Hotel Revolution Room, 1:15 p.m.
Atlantic World Foodways Conference: Maricel Presilla, Miami Herald Columnist
“Gran Cocina Latina: Foods of Memory, Ritual, and Identity”

Sunday, Feb. 2, Proximity Hotel Revolution Room, 2:15 p.m.
Atlantic World Foodways Conference Concluding Panel Discussion: Jessica Harris, David Shields, Chef Sean Brock, John Dickie, Chef Gabriele Grigolon, Chef Maricel Presilla, Chef Timothy Bocholis
“Into Something Rich and Strange: Meeting and Eating Around the Transatlantic Table”

More events are scheduled. See complete schedule and more information at http://www.uncg.edu/eng/awrn/conferenceschedule.html

Visual: Executive chef Leigh Hesling

Artists and creative professionals will share secrets to success

The focus is on the business of art. The idea is that more artists will succeed if they have business skills, knowledge, resources and contacts.

Led by artists, the mission of the Southern Entrepreneurship in the Arts Conference at UNCG is to help artists and other creative professionals make a living from their passion.

Hosted by the North Carolina Entrepreneurship Center (NCEC) at UNCG and the university’s Entrepreneurship Cross-Disciplinary Program, the 5th annual conference will take place on Saturday, Feb. 22. For the past two years, the conference has drawn more than 350 attendees.

“Whether you are a young artist just starting out or someone pursuing a second career in the arts, this conference is something you don’t want to miss,” said Bryan Toney, director of NCEC and conference co-chair.

The conference in the EUC will feature a full day of speakers and collaborative workshops by experts across the visual, performing and literary arts. The theme for the 2014 conference is “Orchestrate Your Creative Future,” with topics including “Traditional Media Goes Social,” “Sharing a Story Through Creative Hands,” “Finding the Passionate Voice,” “No Budget? No Problem!” and “Resourcefulness vs. Resources.”

The opening speakers will be Stephen and Patrece Robinson, professor and adjunct professor of music at Stetson University. The lunch keynote will be Carol Andrews, WFMY News 2 anchor and children’s author. The closing keynote will be Kyle Webster, illustrator, designer and app maker.

The cost of the conference, which includes all sessions, meals and a reception, is $60 for the general public and $40 for students. Contact NCEC at ncec@uncg.edu or 336-256-8649.

For more information, a full roster of speakers, and to register, visit seac.uncg.edu.

Education Trust: UNCG a model for graduation, retention gains

Photo of College Avenue with studentsA just-released report from the watchdog organization Education Trust holds up UNCG as a role model for other universities working to improve graduation rates.

UNCG is one of only eight universities in the nation set apart by Education Trust for best practices in retaining and graduating students — especially minority and low-income students — in the report, “Learning from High-Performing and Fast-Gaining Institutions.”

UNCG’s six-year graduation rate for undergraduates has risen steadily, increasing from 50 percent in 2003-04 to 54 percent in 2012-13. Undecided majors advised by UNCG’s relatively new Students First Office had a retention rate 22 percent points higher than undeclared students who did not use Students First.

Specifically, the new report discusses the efforts of UNCG’s SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) Retention Committee, formed in 2009. The committee looked closely at several factors that might impact retention and graduation rates, including gender and ethnicity, financial need and having an undeclared major.

The SWOT team found that having an undeclared major has a large negative impact on a student’s chances of graduating. To address this issue, the university established the Students First Office as a resource for exploratory students, helping them settle on a major.

Preliminary data shows that Students First, launched in fall 2011, is working. According to the report, retention of students with undeclared majors rose from 76 percent in 2010-11 to the current rate of 80 percent.

A closer look at the data shows that Students First has had an even greater impact on student success, according to Dana Saunders, Students First director: Exploratory majors advised by Students First over the 2012-13 academic year had an 88 percent retention rate — 22 percentage points higher than the 66 percent retention rate for those who did not seek help through Students First. The 80 percent retention rate reported by Education Trust represents an average retention rate for exploratory majors.

In addition to Students First, some of the university’s schools and departments have also taken proactive approaches to address the issue of undecided students. For example, in HHS, Bill Johnson, a certified dream coach, has a one-credit course for first-year HHS students that he runs as a group coaching session. The class helps students define what they want to achieve in their careers and their lives. Students who took Johnson’s class showed an 80 percent retention rate and a five-year graduation rate of 61 percent, about 12 percent higher than the university average. He is now looking to offer the class to more students.

By Michelle Hines

Full story at UNCG NOW.

“Writers Meet Readers” at O.Henry Book Fair

The first “Writers Meet Readers” O.Henry Book Fair will be held at the O.Henry Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 26, from 4-6 p.m. It will feature 20 local writers, all with recently published books. Presented by the UNCG MFA Writing Program, the event will be hosted by O.Henry Magazine’s editor and New York Times best-selling author Jim Dodson. Each writer will be selling, signing and talking about their latest works.

There will be lots of UNCG authors and alumni represented:

Fred Chappell
Lee Zacharias
Michael Parker
Holly Goddard Jones
Terry Kennedy
Sarah Lindsay (alumna)
Sandra Redding (alumna)
Steve Cushman (alumnus)
Drew Perry (alumnus)

The Book Fair is named for Greensboro’s most famous writer, William Sydney Porter (O.Henry), and sponsored by the hotel and magazine by the same name. It will be held on the recently renovated Terrace Level at O.Henry Hotel (624 Green Valley Road). There is no admission fee.

For more information, go to www.ohenryhotel.com or call The UNCG MFA Writing Program at 336-334-5459.

A culture of care: Workshops for faculty and staff

In an effort to foster a culture of care, the UNCG Dean of Students Office invites and encourages you to attend a workshop series specifically designed for faculty and staff. Visit deanofstudents.uncg.edu to register to attend. For additional information, contact the Dean of Students Office at 4-5514.

UNCG Cares
Friday, Feb.14
2-4 p.m.
Elliott University Center, Maple Room

“UNCG Cares” about students! During this two-hour training for UNCG faculty and staff, participants learn about types of distress for students, recognizing signs of distress, strategies for reaching out to students, active listening skills, effective referral, and the resources available on campus to assist students. By creating an environment of support, students in distress may seek help before issues rise to the crisis level.

UNCG Cares: Our Critical Responders
Friday, Feb. 21
2-3:30 p.m.
Elliott University Center, Claxton Room

This specialized UNCG Cares training is designed for frontline staff and their supervisors. The training will help staff members identify individuals in distress and those who may become a risk, appropriately handle the individual and create a safety plan for themselves and their office. We encourage supervisors to attend this UNCG Cares training with their frontline staff members in order to create the safety plan for their office and to spend one-on-one time with their staff addressing safety concerns.

Disruptive Behavior in the Classroom
Friday, March 7
3-4 p.m.
Elliott University Center, Claxton Room

Students are expected to assist in maintaining a classroom environment that is conducive to learning. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for students to be uncivil and verbally aggressive in the classroom toward faculty and their peers. Come learn some useful techniques on how to address disruptive behavior in the classroom and share with your peers best practices for dealing with disruptive students.

2013-14 Fiscal Year Projects Deadlines

To: All deans, directors and department heads

From: Cynthia Barnes, UNCG assistant director of renovations

In an effort to best serve you and stay within state guidelines and procurement rules, we have established cut off dates for this fiscal year (2013/2014) projects.

Requests for estimates must be received by the Facilities Design & Construction Project Management Office by February 14, 2014. Funding for projects utilizing 2013/2014 funds must be received by March 14, 2014, for projects involving renovations requiring design services and the N. C. State Construction Office approvals and April 1, 2014, for simple projects involving only painting or simple office relocations. Projects involving carpet installations should follow the March deadline in order to ensure the best possible option for selections. ALL WORK MUST BE COMPLETED BY JUNE 6, 2014 and PAID BY JUNE 13, 2014. In keeping with State and University Policy, we will NOT pre-bill for work in progress on incomplete projects.

These deadlines are necessary so that we are able to process and close financial accounts in a timely manner. Your cooperation with these requirements will assist Facilities Design & Construction Project Management Office in providing you with the best contract support. Thank you for your cooperation. If you have any questions or require additional information, please call the Project Management Office at extension x4-4150.