The Wisconsin Week Wire - September 21, 2005

Top news

New position to help sound the alarm on campus technology security

A new position at UW-Madison will focus on raising campus awareness about the rising tide of hacking, phishing, viruses and other cyber-threats to personal privacy and financial security. James Lowe, who began this month as UW-Madison's new chief Internet technology security manager, intends to bring a campuswide approach to the problem.

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Officials urge dialogue as state support dwindles

Public universities nationally are caught in a perfect storm of fiscal and political trends that has resulted in declining state support for higher education, according to the authors of an upcoming book on the creeping privatization of state universities. Former UW System budget officer Kathleen Sell and former UW System President Katharine Lyall authored the book, and they laid out details of a disturbing downward spiral in state support that they say calls for a public debate over the future of higher education and long-term budgetary solutions.

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Analysis: Differences between the sexes largely exaggerated

Aiming to dispel misplaced -- and widely prevalent -- stereotypes about the differences between men and women, a scientist has finally confirmed what many have intuitively known for years: Psychologically, at least, the two sexes are basically the same. Janet Hyde, a psychologist at UW-Madison and an expert on the psychology of women, distilled the results of 46 large-scale studies on gender differences into one over-arching analysis. In the case of most traits, such as self-esteem and mathematical ability, Hyde found that men and women live on the same page -- and not in different books altogether.

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Key neural system at risk from fetal alcohol exposure

In a study of adult monkeys that were exposed to moderate amounts of alcohol in utero, scientists have found that prenatal exposure to alcohol -- even in small doses -- has pronounced effects on the development and function later in life of the brain's dopamine system, a critical component of the central nervous system that regulates many regions of the brain. Writing in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, a team of researchers led by Mary Schneider, a UW-Madison professor of occupational therapy and psychology, reports that when a monkey exposes her fetus to alcohol by drinking, the dopamine system of her offspring is altered.

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Medical approach to psychotherapy challenged

Bruce Wampold, professor and chair of the Department of Counseling Psychology, whipped up a storm with his book, "The Great Psychotherapy Debate: Models, Methods, and Findings," which he based on his comprehensive review of the research on psychotherapy. His meta-analytic research and review of other research consistently demonstrate a lack of scientific justification for the belief that the benefits of psychotherapy derive from the specific ingredients of a particular therapy.

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Exploring the 'social ecology of productive classrooms'

Jeffrey Lewis has seen it many times in his elementary classroom case studies: Two African-American boys with essentially the same ability levels, the same desire to learn and the same socio-economic profile experience dramatically different results in the classroom. Lewis, a professor of human ecology, has devoted his research to discovering why this achievement gap is occurring. His work is targeting solutions for the "scandalous" level of academic failure and dropout rates among African-American boys in the United States.

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Environment of acceptance is her goal

L.D. Oakley has made a career out of studying behavior and methods of bringing about change. In her role as a nurse researcher and mental health-care provider, she addresses complex health burdens of the disadvantaged by working to develop new models of psychiatric care for women struggling with the effects of poverty, discrimination and abuse. Her work has centered on finding effective methods of helping patients to change unhealthy behaviors in the limited amount of time they may have with a mental-health provider. As the new co-chair of the campus Diversity Oversight Committee, she's taken on a leadership role in a larger, yet not dissimilar, behavioral and cultural change project.

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Composer shares insights on creativity, performance

As UW-Madison's Interdisciplinary Artist in Residence, Gunther Schuller is teaching two courses, "The Process of Creativity" and "The Complete Performer." He has ample experience in both the creation and performance -- the re-creation -- of music, as well as in the studying and teaching of it. In almost 70 years in the field, Schuller has left a stout and indelible mark on music and on all who appreciate it.

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On Campus

Strategic Plan: Fourth-year progress report reveals advances on initiatives

The strategic plan for UW-Madison identifies five strategic priorities that support a central objective: To sustain and strengthen our position of preeminence in research and higher education. A new summary offers a representative sample of how faculty, staff and students in units across the campus have addressed each priority during the plan's fourth year.

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Wiley announces formal parental involvement policy

UW-Madison will involve parents and guardians if their underage students are involved in extreme alcohol or drug incidents, Chancellor John D. Wiley announced today (Sept. 21).

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New residence hall to be named for former housing chief

A 425-bed residence hall under construction on North Park Street will be named for Newell J. Smith, who headed University Housing for 28 years prior to his retirement in 1983. The Board of Regents approved naming the facility Newell J. Smith Hall once UW-Madison completes acquisition of the residence hall.

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Union announces facility-improvement feedback process

The Wisconsin Union will host a series of focus groups, surveys and open forums during the next six months to elicit input on possible improvements to the Union from students as well as other key user groups, including faculty, staff and Union members.

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School of Business, ASM to explore 'inclusive communities'

The School of Business, in conjunction with Associated Students of Madison, will host an interactive forum on Friday, Sept. 30, for the university community called "Creating Inclusive Communities in the Classroom, Boardroom and Beyond." The forum -- slated for 1-4 p.m. in Grainger Hall -- is the first in what is expected to be a series of ongoing forums and workshops across campus that deal with topics related to diversity, inclusiveness and classroom climate. It is open to all students and employees.

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