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UTA In The News — Thursday, July 31, 2014

Thursday, July 31, 2014

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New leadership

Bloomberg Businessweek, the Dallas Business Journal and numerous other media organizations reported on the appointment of San Diego State University Student Affairs leader Timothy Quinnan as the new Vice President of Student Affairs for The University of Texas at Arlington. Quinnan is an expert in student success and leadership education, an educator, global thinker and sought-after expert on student development issues. He will join the University in September. 

More help for veterans

Inside Philanthropy detailed UT Arlington’s efforts to address the educational needs of military veterans through such programs as its Student Veteran Project. Alexa Smith-Osborne, an associate professor in the UT Arlington School of Social Work, helped develop the Student Veteran Project model in 2007. This involved researching the neuroscience and resilience of military populations as it relates to academic performance, graduating on time and the actual launch of their new careers. The program is undergoing an expansion thanks to a $122,000 grant from the JP Morgan Chase Foundation. 

Infrastructure and economics

The Economist noted research by Mike Ward, UT Arlington economics professor, in an article about the variable benefits of investing in infrastructure. Returns on infrastructure, like any investment, can fall off steeply. In a working paper released last year, Ward and Shilin Zheng of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences study China’s massive telecoms rollout of recent decades. Only 1 percent of the population had fixed-line phones in 1990; by 2006 that number had risen nearly 30-fold. From 1990-99, the first decade of the telecoms boom, they calculate that phone services contributed two percentage points to China’s growth rate, a huge dividend. From 2000-10, the contribution was down to half a percentage point.

Communication and health choices

The Atlantic cited two studies by Charla Markham Shaw and Karishma Chatterjee, UT Arlington communication researchers that examined the female condom. Despite its success in developing countries, the female condom has long suffered from a PR problem in the U.S. In 2012, Shaw and Chatterjee found that even when the American media treated the female condom in a positive light, it tended to focus on non-American users. A recently published paper by the same team lends support to the notion that ignorance, rather than negative attitudes, is what’s now keeping young people from using female condoms.

A problem foundation

KXAS/NBC 5 included a previously recorded interview with Sahadat Hossain, a UT Arlington associate professor of civil engineering, for its consumer investigation follow-up report into one homeowner’s 3-year fight with a major homebuilder. “Everything suggests they have a problem,” Hossain initially said of foundation cracks in the home he reviewed. The homebuilder recently enlisted a residential warranty company to examine the claims. They agreed there are issues and repairs will be made.

Big idea for tiny technology

KERA/90.1 FM (NPR) and the Breakthroughs blog featured research on micro-windmills that could harvest enough energy to recharge cell phones. The researchers, UT Arlington electrical engineering professor J.-C. Chiao, and research assistant Smitha Rao, have created the micro-windmills, which are just half the size of an ant. The piece also aired on StateImpact, a reporting project of National Public Radio member stations.

Staying in the game

Cynthia Trowbridge, UT Arlington associate professor of kinesiology, was quoted extensively in a Kansas City Star and Charlotte News Observer piece on cramping while exercising or playing sports, which is especially prevalent in summer. “We don’t know entirely what causes them for each individual, so there can’t be one magic bullet,” she said. The piece originated in The Dallas Morning News.

Charity collection reported that UT Arlington’s School of Social Work is collecting donations for children escaping to the U.S. in search of protection from violence in their home countries, such as Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, The children are traveling alone to avoid exploitation, deprivation, forced marriage or female genital cutting.  Diane Mitschke, associate professor of social work, will deliver the items to Catholic Charities in Fort Worth.

A valuable contribution

The Burleson Star published a letter to the editor about scholarships, success and philanthropy that was written by Dylan Spurrier, a UT Arlington engineering student. The undergraduate recently received a scholarship from Burleson-based Bennett Building Systems. “Though there is no direct nominal return on local philanthropy, your contribution to your community will grease the machine that drives us forward,” Spurrier wrote, adding that he is working to establish a scholarship fund in UT Arlington’s College of Engineering.