All posts by Olivia Krauth

Freshman at U of L. News Editor at The Louisville Cardinal.

Brief: Students raise money to fight local hunger

By Olivia Krauth–

U of L students raised over $27,000 to donate to local food bank Dare to Care through the biannual Flex to Feed donation campaign. The figure breaks the past record of over $11,000.

Sodexo officials and members of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity announced the results and presented a check to Dare to Care at a ceremony in the SRC on April 22.

The funds will be used to purchase food for shelters and pantries, as well as to fund multiple programs that provide food to the community.

Course evaluations explored

By Olivia Krauth–

As the semester ends, every student receives emails reminding them to fill out their course evaluations. While every student is alerted of them, few understand the process behind the evaluations.

According to Becky Patterson, executive director of the Office of Institutional Research and Planning, the process begins 14 to 17 days prior to reading day. Students begin to receive emails about filling out their evaluations, and are able to do so via Blackboard.

Evaluations close on reading day and are available to faculty seven to 10 days after they have posted their final grades. Faculty can see responses from students, but are unable to see any identifying information.  In situations where classes have less than five students, all classes will be pooled to create a faculty report to prevent linking.

All results are confidential, with limited reports available to the program chairs. Deans and other authoritative members of the colleges are also able to see some of the reports.

The course evaluations allow professors to receive specific feedback from students. “Real changes have been made based on comments,” said Bob Goldstein, vice provost for institutional research. “Faculty take them seriously.”

Patterson says there is a 55 to 60 percent response rate, with higher response rates coming from the Kent School of Social Work and professional schools.

Goldstein believes that the timing of course evaluations does not help increase the response rate, citing the end of the semester crunch for the issues.

“It is hard on all of us to be honest with you,” said Goldstein on the end of the semester timing.

Grawemeyer Award winners visit campus

By Nick Miller–

Four months after the winners were announced, four of the Grawemeyer Award winners spoke on campus this past week, each discussing their winning topics.

The Grawemeyer Awards are given in five fields: psychology, improving world order, musical composition, education and religion. Each award comes with $100,000 prize.

The winners for musical composition, education, improving world order and psychology spoke on campus, while religion winner Tanya Luhrmann presented at the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Here’s the rundown on the four on-campus speakers:

Djuro Zivkovic – Musical Composition

Djuro Zivkovic was the first award winner to speak. He discussed his award-winning chamber orchestra piece, “On the Guarding of the Heart.”

“The piano acts as a guide for the confused thoughts and soul represented in the orchestra,” said Zivkovic. “I also like to start with a non-musical idea and then paint it with sound.”

Zivkovic says his two previous compositions inspired him to compose the winning piece.

“These awards are worth so much, you know the person getting it really deserves it,” said freshman attendee Travis Baker.

Diane Ravitch – Education 

Diane Ravitch talked about her winning book, “The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choices are Undermining Education,” when she gave her 2014 Grawemeyer Award lecture on education.

Ravitch served in the US Department of Education during the George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations. After realizing her reforms weren’t working, she humbly admitted she was wrong, and authored the winning book.

“I saw what was happening. I saw that the ideas that I had previously supported weren’t working,” said Ravitch.

“Diane has showed us all that the word reform just no longer holds any meaning, that we should stop seeking reform, this meaningless shell of a word, and now seek improvement,” said a co-speaker at the lecture.

Antonio Damasio – Psychology

Antonio Damasio won the 2014 Grawemeyer Award for psychology for his research and insight into the somatic marker.

“[Damasio] has directly contributed to the study of emotion, communication, and even drug addiction,” said award director Woody Petry.

Damasio, a professor of psychology, is heavily involved in the international community of psychology, and continues offering his experience into his field.

“I’m pleased to see my ideas recognized by this award,” said Damasio. “This award has been given to some of my colleagues that I admire most.”

“I have actually wrote a paper on the somatic marker hypothesis before,” said senior psychology major Alexander Bowman. “It is really exciting to actually be this close to something I have invested myself in.”

Jacques Hymans – Improving World Order

Jacques Hymans, winner of the 2014 Grawemeyer Award for improving world order, discussed the problem of international nuclear policy during his April 15 lecture. He received the award for his 2012 book, “Achieving Nuclear Ambitions: Scientists, Politicians, and Proliferation.”

“What’s interesting, is to look at the states that try to get nuclear weapons,” said Hymans, an associate professor of international relations at the University of Southern California. “They are, more often than not, the states that are completely unprepared to handle a major, big science project.”

“Some people just can’t be controlled, you know? Some people just kind of have no limit. And then, sometimes, those people lead a country. That’s when things can get bad,” said economics major Brian Yap.

Micro-factory coming to campus

By Olivia Krauth–

U of L announced that a micro-factory will be opening on campus this summer.

The FirstBuild micro-factory will using manufacturing capabilities to “accelerate the introduction of the products consumers want, when they want them,” according to a press release.

“The micro-factory will be a place where engineers, researchers, design experts, students and members of the community can work together to create and refine appliances,” said John Karman. “The process is designed to be quicker and more cost-effective than typical mass production.”

The project will be co-funded by General Electrics, U of L and Local Motors.

“GE developed this micro-factory concept and is partnering with Local Motors and U of L,” said Karman. “Products developed at the micro-factory will be sold there. If those products find a market, they could be reproduced at Appliance Park.”

Taking over what used to be a university warehouse on Brandeis Ave., the micro-factory will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Anyone, including students, can sign up to be involved in the project by visiting Firstbuild.com.

“It is really good for the school,” said junior mechanical engineering major Drew Miller. “Not only does it get our name out to GE, but it gets our name out to other big businesses as a reputable school.”

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Incoming CEHD dean talks about the future

By Olivia Krauth–

After multiple rounds of interviews and approval from the U of L Board of Trustees, Ann Larson has been selected to be the next dean of the College of Education and Human Development.

Starting as an assistant professor at U of L in 1996, Larson has worked her way to her current position of Vice Dean of CEHD, which she has held for six years. Larson believes her experience at the university and as vice dean will benefit her when she starts as dean.

“I’ve learned a great deal about the academic affairs and programs side of the work,” said Larson. “I’ve learned a lot about working with central administration and the other associate deans on campus.” Larson says she also plans on using her knowledge of U of L’s strategic vision in her new role.

The CEHD is home to more than 3,000 students and six departments, which include the teacher education and health and sports science programs.

“We have a very good reputation with community engagement working in schools and community venues,” said Larson. “Our students get a lot of applied experiences with internships, practicum, and critical work. We’ll continue to build on that, that good work, that reputation that we’ve built.”

Larson will begin in the position on July 1. She says that having a strategic vision is important, and that she will work to develop one as one of her first acts as dean.

“We’ll be doing some strategic planning, building upon what we’ve been doing that has been working well, but adding some new priority areas.”

Specifically, Larson says that the CEHD will work on, “continuing to build our high-quality teacher and student service areas; working in authentic and engaged research; working in areas of diversity, sustainability, collaboration; and building on international opportunities for students.” She will also work with training new faculty and replacing retiring professors.

Larson cites nationwide budget cuts to higher education as the biggest challenge facing the CEHD.

“That can be a threat, but it can also be an opportunity to look carefully at what you’re doing and make sure that your programs are very strategic – that they fit in with the mission of the university, that they serve the community and the commonwealth,” said Larson, adding that the programs should be made “efficient and effective.

“With tuition increases, students want to know their program will be high quality. They want to know that they will be employed. They want to know that they will be successful in their employment and be able to compete for jobs.”

The strategic layout of the college is evident in the majors’ flight plans. Some education majors expressed discontent about not having a lot of room for electives due to their strict requirements for their majors. Larson cited both national and state accreditation standards for the lack of leeway.

“The reason for having a pretty prescribed curriculum is that it’s similar to medical school,” said Larson. “If you’re going to work in practice…there’s a certain knowledge base that you have to have. But we don’t see that as a negative.” Larson said that the college tries to assist students that feel like they need additional experience outside of their major.

Larson says that no immediate, drastic curriculum changes are planned, although the college is “always about continuous improvement.”

“The answer is, you’re always doing some of that, and that’s just part of the natural evolution of a unit,” Larson said on curriculum changes. “We want to do more with distance education. We want to do more with international experiences. We want to continue our focus on diversity equity, inclusion and access.

“It takes a little bit of time for a new dean to listen, and learn, and lead and so I look forward to doing that. In good time, I’m sure we’ll be making some changes, but not anything drastic at this point.”

Getting to the heart of Heartbleed

By Olivia Krauth–

A new bug called Heartbleed was discovered this past week, and it may have been in computer software for two years. However, professionals are unsure if it has affected anyone yet.

“Heartbleed is a recently discovered vulnerability in a common software toolkit used by many web servers to encrypt sessions between the website and the end user,” explained Andrew Wright, a computer information systems assistant professor at U of L.

Wright said that Heartbleed “creates a serious vulnerability” in sites that do not have the most current version of OpenSSL project software. Attackers can have access to user data on the affected sites.

“This data could include user ids, passwords, and even the server’s own keys that could be used to impersonate the web site or potentially decrypt sessions with end users that are supposed to be secure,” said Wright. “While the bug has existed for two years, it is not thought that hackers knew of its existence until earlier this week. Attacks are very likely against unpatched servers in the coming days and weeks.”

U of L’s IT department sent students an alert email about the issue on April 10. The email warned about the power of Heartbleed, and suggested students change all passwords to online accounts. The email also said that IT had “identified and patched the affected enterprise systems” prior to the sending of the email. Wright noted this, saying, “Most of the major web sites on the internet are moving quickly to install updates, as well.”

As the bug may be found in sites that use the open source toolkit in OpenSSL project software, anyone can be a target. Several popular sites, including Facebook and YouTube, use the software. Some sites, including Amazon, do not use the software, therefore not affecting users. Wright suggests that students check out lists online to see which sites have protected themselves and their users against the bug.
Wright does not believe that college students will be more affected by the bug than the general community.

“This vulnerability affected so many popular sites, it is likely that most of us will have to take action to protect ourselves after these sites have been patched,” said Wright.

“Heartbleed is a vulnerability in web server software, so end users won’t have to install any updates on their own computers to address it,” said Wright when asked about prevention of Heartbleed. “However, once a vulnerable site that you’ve logged into in the last two years is fully patched, you should change your password on that system. If you’d used that same password on other systems, you should consider them at risk and change those, as well.”

Wright believes that fake emails will be sent out in attempt to “prey” on users. “This may be confusing to users because they will also be receiving legitimate requests from affected sites asking them to reset their passwords after the sites have patched their web servers,” said Wright. He recommends going straight to the site to change your password as opposed to following links in emails.

Handout photo of the first four to undergo task-specific training with epidural stimulation at the Human Locomotion Research Center laboratory, Frazier Rehab Institute in Louisville

U of L researcher helps paralyzed move again

By Jacob Pleas–

A U of L neuroscientist has given motion to the motionless.

Susan Harkema, rehabilitation research director of the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center, found that paralyzed patients were able to move their toes when electrical stimulation was applied directly to their spinal cord.

This is the first time electrical stimulation has allowed for voluntary activity.

The patients are now able to do things ranging from wiggling their toes to doing crunches. Although they are not sure why the process works, experts believe that this technology is a major step toward allowing the paralyzed to walk again.

“Improving the technology is a high priority because it will be needed in order to make any gains in mobility a reality in daily life,” said Harkema.

In the procedure, a stimulator is implanted into the patient and is controlled by an external remote controller.  The stimulator is connected to the spinal cord via wires, which conduct the electric pulses.

The device has had other benefits.  One patient has had great success in improving his bladder, bowels and sexual performance.  Patients are able to move their legs and torsos after years of paralysis, allowing them to regain lost muscle.

Since the discovery, over 1,700 people have asked about utilizing this technology. U of L has received funding to implant the device in eight more patients.

“We need more studies to understand both its safety and efficacy in a wider population,” said Harkema.

Only men have been researched so far. Harkema hopes to begin research on women soon. “Only 25 percent of the spinal cord population are women so they are more difficult to recruit,” said Harkema.

The biomedical and electrical engineering departments at U of L are working with Harkema’s team.

“I am proud to be a part of a school that is that is making such exciting discoveries,” said bioengineering major Ryan Bailer.  “I believe that these discoveries add prestige to both J.B. Speed School of Engineering and the University of Louisville Medical School.”

Photo courtesy Reuters

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Ramsey announces fundraising success

By Jacob Abrahamson–

On the steps of Grawemeyer Hall, U of L President James Ramsey announced that the University has surpassed the $1 billion goal of the “Charting Our Course” fundraising campaign.

“This is a big day for the University of Louisville, an important day in the life of the University of Louisville,” said Ramsey. The campaign initially aimed to meet the $1 billion goal by 2015, and surpassed the goal by nearly $5 million.

“Our capital campaign has been one of our strategies to move forward in a tough fiscal environment,” continued Ramsey.

The donations will be used to create 17 new endowed chairs and 190 scholarships.

A goal of $600 thousand was set forth in the early stages of the campaign, but the amount went up as the process continued.

According to Bob Hughes, chairman of the board of trustees, the bar “just kept raising and raising and raising.”

“The trustees said that they would rather strike out in the major leagues than hit a homer in the minors,” said Ramsey.  “But today we didn’t strike out. We hit a grand slam home run.”

“They have just scoured the country searching for funds,” said Hughes.  “We hit a billion and we’re not done yet.” The campaign ends with the fiscal year on June 30 after its beginning in 2007.

The large event was made up of students, faculty, staff and community members. U of L’s marching band also made an appearance.

Other speakers included student Lashawna Ford and faculty members Dave Simpson and Andrea Bearman, who discussed the benefits of the scholarship programs and research funding supported by this campaign, respectively.

“I think it is a great campaign,” said Monali Haldankar, SGA President-Elect.  “It is going to help basically every aspect of student life and faculty life.”

“Today is the beginning of a better future for this university family,” said­­ Hughes.

Photo by Jacob Abrahamson / The Louisville Cardinal

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Brief: Ann Larson named CEHD dean

By Olivia Krauth–

Ann Larson has been chosen as the new dean of the College of Education and Human Development.

Larson currently serves as the vice dean of the college and has been at the University for 19 years.

“I’m truly excited about the opportunity to lead and serve as the next dean for the college,” said Larson in a press release from U of L. “We have built some incredible momentum and I can’t wait to get started.”

Larson becomes dean on July 1.

Photo courtesy U of L

Brief: armed robbery reported at The Province

By Olivia Krauth–

A non-U of L student reported an armed robbery at his apartment at The Province Tuesday around 3:30 p.m.

According to police reports, four suspects entered the student’s apartment, allegedly stealing his cell phone and other items. One of the suspects had a handgun.

The suspects are described as four black males, all “very tall,” with facial hair. The suspect with a gun wore a gray shirt. If you have information, contact campus police at (502) 852-6111.

This is a developing story.