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UTA In The News — Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

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UT Arlington names new athletic director, Reuters, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and several other media organizations reported that Jim Baker, UT Austin’s associate athletic director for events and operations, has been named athletic director at UT Arlington. Baker, who joined the Longhorn athletics program in 1991, will oversee UT Arlington’s 14 Division I intercollegiate sports programs and oversee the program's move to the Western Athletic Conference. His appointment is effective Feb. 1, 2012. “We are fortunate to have such an exceptional leader join us at this critical point in the evolution of our program,” UT Arlington president James D. Spaniolo said in a news release. “Jim has unparalleled experience and a proven track record with one of the most respected and successful athletics programs in the nation." Similar reports appear in the San Francisco Chronicle, Sacramento Bee, and The Park City

Physicists celebrate potential breakthrough

UT Arlington researchers are among physicists worldwide celebrating what could be a breakthrough in the hunt for a basic building block of the universe, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. On Tuesday, two teams working at the Large Hadron Collider at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, near Geneva each announced that they have found evidence that strongly suggests the existence of the Higgs boson, an elusive subatomic particle believed to give matter its mass. Kaushik De, director of The University of Texas at Arlington Center of Excellence for High-Energy Physics, said researchers have reached the accepted scientific threshold of 99.8 percent probability - high enough to say that they believe they have observed the Higgs, sometimes called the "God particle." De said: "By the end of next year we should be able to conclusively say either this is the Higgs or mea culpa. If we're right, then we'll be able to start measuring properties of the Higgs."

College Park Center's first concert to feature Drake

Grammy-nominated superstar Drake will perform March 2 in what will be the first concert in the $78 million College Park Center, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. The artist announced Tuesday that he had added UT Arlington to his 17-city North American Club Paradise Tour. The show is sponsored in part by the Division of Student Affairs, so tickets will be restricted to UT Arlington students, faculty and staff. University President James D. Spaniolo said ticketed concerts and events that will be open to the public will follow. Similar reports appeared on KDFW/Fox 4 and The Arlington

Hearing on planned apartment complex postponed

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that the Arlington City Council again postponed a public hearing on a planned five-story apartment complex on the east side of The University of Texas at Arlington, this time at the developer's request. The proposed Center Court Redevelopment project would replace aging apartment complexes with a 335-unit complex and a five-story parking garage. The project would be bounded by Mitchell, Hosack, Center and Mesquite streets. The public hearing is now set for Jan. 3.

Boosting minority access to STEM education and careers

The Institute for Broadening Participation, a nonprofit organization to help increase minority access to science, technology, engineering and mathematics education and careers, has opened a regional office at The University of Texas at Arlington, Poten & Partners reported. Ashanti Johnson, executive director of the Maine-based institute, will office in UT Arlington’s College of Science about 40 percent of her time. In 2010, President Obama chose Johnson as one of 20 educators from across the country to receive the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.

Online path to completion

Pegasus, and KDAF/CW33 website,, published a story first reported by the Texas Tribune about UT System-approved online courses aimed at creating a new path to completion for students who attempted but have been unable to finish their undergraduate degree. So far, the Finish@UT program is fairly small. This fall, 18 students were enrolled with the declared intent to graduate from UT Arlington, 40 at UT El Paso and 72 at UT Permian Basian. However, the total course enrollments were significantly higher at each university, according to Martha Ellis, associate vice chancellor for community college partnerships with the UT System. A similar story appeared on the blog, Educational Equity, Politics & Policy in Texas.