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UTA In The News — Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday, November 24, 2014

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New dean

Nan Ellin, a professor and chair of the University of Utah’s department of city and metropolitan planning, will be founding dean of a new college at The University of Texas at Arlington that will integrate the existing School of Architecture and School of Urban and Public Affairs, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported. Her new job will begin in January.

Memory and music

A peek inside the brains of professional musicians has given UT Arlington psychology researchers what may be the first links between music expertise and advantages in long-term memory, The British Psychological Society, the U.S. Asian Post and the University Herald reported. Heekyeong Park, assistant professor of psychology, and graduate student James Schaeffer used electroencephalography (EEG) technology to measure electrical activity of neurons in the brains of 14 musicians and 15 non-musicians. MedicalResearch.com conducted a question-and-answer interview with Park. In the piece, Park said his study shows that music experts with extensive musical training may have altered neural processing related to improved memory.

Connecting robots with humans

As an actress, producer, director and theatre arts lecturer at The University of Texas at Arlington, Julienne Greer knows the techniques that help draw people’s deepest emotions to the surface. Now, she’s building on her experience and research to help scientists and robotics engineers better understand the human experience so that they can build more responsive robots, Phys.org, eScience News, Science Daily, Nanowerk, Innovation Toronto and many other websites reported.

Blended learning

UT Arlington is one of several universities to join edX and President Obama's administration in training teachers to embrace blended learning, IBL Studios Education, eWallStreeter and Amigot.com reported. President Obama announced last week that edX has joined ConnectED, the White House’s initiative to empower teachers to embrace technology and digital learning. As part of this program, edX partner universities and colleges will offer professional development courses for teachers, along with courses to prepare students for AP exams. UT Arlington is one of those partner universities.

Digital learning

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will require grant recipients to make their research publicly available online -- a multibillion-dollar boost to the open access movement, Inside Higher Ed reported. Even though the policy won't be retroactive, UT Arlington's George Siemens, executive director of the University's Learning Innovation and Networked Knowledge (or LINK) Lab, said, “we will certainly be promoting open sharing of data and open publication of results to member institutions.” The LINK Lab received a $1.6 million grant from the foundation on Nov. 17.

Supporting research

As the growing popularity of massive open online courses makes clear, digital learning is a hot trend in higher education that shows no sign of slowing down, Inside Philanthropy reported. Funders such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that have supported this new approach to learning are also asking the next question: Is it effective? Recently, the Gates Foundation awarded $1.6 million to UT Arlington, where more than 17,000 of its students took at least one course online.

Policy shapers

If the end goal of Israel's security network is a democratic civilian oversight of the military/security establishment, then that group's involvement in politics is highly problematic, and removing it is necessary, despite the possible consequences for peacemaking, Brent Sasley wrote in a Washington Post op-ed column, which also appeared in MSN.com. Sasley is a UT Arlington associate professor of political science.

Comparative politics

UT Arlington is partnering with Duke and Stanford universities in a project that could yield useful results in comparative politics, Poynter.org reported.

Rising tuition

Rising tuition rates have taken place all over the Lone Star State, including at the University of Houston, the Houston Chronicle reported in comparing the state's public institutions' tuition rise during the last decade.