News highlights for September 16, 2010

CisionPoint news monitoring provides this small sampling of the university's daily news coverage. Click headline to read full text via Cision or link directly to the online article where available. For questions or comments about this service, or to add or delete a name from the mailing list, please contact Gerry Everding.

Time Higher Education (UK)

WUSTL ranks 38 in Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2010-2011
Employing a new methodology designed to capture the full range of university activities, from teaching to research to knowledge transfer, the UK-based Times Higher Education magazine has named Washington University in St. Louis as the world’s 38th best university. A blurb on WUSTL notes that “No fewer than 23 Nobel prize winners have been affiliated to ‘Wash U,’ a private research university founded by a group of businessmen in 1853. Link to Rankings

Tehran Times
Prostate screening fails to reduce cancer cases, fatalities, study finds

Screening men for prostate cancer saves few lives and comes at the risk of unnecessary treatments, according to a review in the British Medical Journal. “In addition to the uncertain benefit on mortality, the human and economic costs associated with PSA-based screening are substantial, primarily as a result of over diagnosis and overtreatment,” Gerald Andriole, chief of urological surgery at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, said in an accompanying editorial. Link to Article

See also Boston Globe, Bloomberg News

Architectural Record
St. Louis holds a design competition that points the way for well-run ideas competitions.

American architects frequently complain that we lack effective design competitions in this country. A competition recently took place in St. Louis that, while small, might serve as a model for other cities: It worked like a textbook case, with annotated lessons along the path, so take note. The primary player was the Washington University School of Medicine, which partnered with AIA St. Louis. The project – the city’s Central West End Metrolink station, its most active metro stop – an ugly site in need of improvement. Link to Article

Psychology Today
How others see you

We all have blind spots when it comes to assessing how others see us. Others know how you behave, but they don’t know your intentions or feelings, explains Simine Vazire, director of the Personality and Self-Knowledge Lab at Washington University. “If you’re quiet at a party, people don’t know if it’s because you’re arrogant and you think you’re better than everyone else or because you’re shy and don’t know how to talk to people,” she says. “But you know, because you know your thoughts and feelings. So things like anxiety, optimism and pessimism, your tendency to daydream, and your general level of happiness—what’s going on inside of you, rather than things you do—those are things other people have a hard time knowing.” Link to Article

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News
NIH ponies Up $40M to map the brain’s connections

NIH awarded $40 million to two teams working to map human brain connections in high resolution. A group led by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis and University of Minnesota will map the connectomes in 1,200 healthy adults comprising twins and their siblings from 300 families. This $30 million five-year WUSTL-led project will involve 33 collaborators from nine research centers. “Individual variability in brain connections underlies the diversity of our thinking, perception, and motor skills, so understanding these networks promises advances in brain health,” says NIH Connectome director Michael Huerta. Lead investigator David Van Essen of Washington University says the effort will have a major impact on the understanding of the healthy adult human brain. Link to Article

See also Minneapolis Star-Tribune

National Journal
Senate Democrats losing to win on cloture votes

Senate Democrats hope in the coming weeks to force a second cloture showdown on a campaign finance bill. Steven Smith, a political science professor at Washington University who studies Senate procedure, said that both parties have come to assume the worst of the opposition. Expecting that “the minority will block everything of modest importance,” the majority leader is quick “with the cloture trigger,” Smith said. But the rise in the number of such votes is not “merely a matter of a trigger-happy majority leader” but a product of “substantial obstruction.” See also Norman Ornstein’s Roll Call column citing Smith’s plan for easing the filibuster logjam.

Georgetown Voice
GU must improve sexual assault education

In an editorial lamenting the administration’s handling of on-campus sexual assault prevention programs, the Georgetown University student newspaper calls for the university to elevate sexual assault education to a higher plane. Other schools, like Washington University in St. Louis have taken the lead by implementing mandatory sexual assault education, and Georgetown is quickly falling behind by not addressing the issue, it argues. Link to Article

The University of Kansas
KU to host regional engineering educators conference

Leaders in engineering education from a five-state region will be on the University of Kansas campus later this month to learn the latest trends in teaching and share ideas for improving the student learning experience. The conference highlight will be a lecture on the challenges and opportunities of green aviation from professor Ramesh Agarwal of Washington University in St. Louis. Link to Article

Belleville News-Democrat
Barnes-Jewish Hospital has new tool for inoperable brain tumors
A brand-new tool is giving doctors at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis the opportunity to treat previously inoperable brain tumors. Barnes-Jewish is just the third hospital in the country to offer the system, which uses a high-intensity laser to “cook” cancer cells deep in the brain while leaving healthy brain tissue undamaged. “This tool gives us a treatment for patients with tumors that were previously deemed inoperable,” said Dr. Eric Leuthardt, director of Washington University’s Center for Innovation in Neuroscience and Technology. “It offers hope to certain patients who had few or no options before.”

The St. Louis American
Wash. U-chartered KIPP challenges students with long hours, tough love

The KIPP Inspire Academy may seem like a child’s worst nightmare. Sponsored by Washington University, one of the most prestigious sponsors of KIPP’s 99 schools in 20 states, the Inspire Academy allows no outside recess. No outside time at all, from the moment the fifth and sixth graders step in the door at 7 a.m. to the time they leave at 5 p.m. And if students didn’t finish their homework the night before, they stay until 6 p.m. Twice a month, students come to school on Saturdays. But somehow most KIPP students love it. “It makes you want to try harder and makes you want to go to college,” says one. Link to Article

South City billboard recruits nonbelievers

A new billboard on I-64/40 offers a message that’s likely to make you think. ‘Don’t Believe in God?’ it asks, the large white letters superimposed across a blue sky, white cloud background. The answer; ‘You are not alone.’ Members of the Greater St. Louis Coalition for Reason, a group of six free thought groups ranging from atheists to humanists, say the sign is an outreach effort to non-believers. The Washington University League of Freethinkers (WULF) is a member of the coalition. Link to Article

News in higher education

Bloomberg News

Harvard heads world university ranking, U.S. takes top spots


Harvard, the world’s richest university, was judged the best by the London-based Times Higher Education, as U.S. establishments took the top five places in the magazine’s annual World University Rankings. Link to Article

Los Angeles Times

Book review: ‘Crisis on Campus: A Bold Plan for Reforming Our Colleges and Universities’ by Mark C. Taylor


The chair of the religion department at Columbia University identifies major problems facing higher education. Taylor argues that our overspecialized colleges and universities are increasingly divorced from the hyper-connected world defined by “webs, not walls.” Networks of interconnectivity rather than isolated expertise are defining our world, and higher education will become obsolete if it doesn’t plug into these new forms of knowledge creation. Link to Article

Chicago Tribune

Best colleges are the ones whose graduates find jobs

Students can spend thousands of dollars on college after doing less comparison shopping than they would choosing a cell phone. But what most students are ultimately after when finishing college is a job. That’s why a recent report by the U.S. Department of Education could be a valuable starting point for students trying to figure out if a college might get them to where they need to end up. That report, which focuses on what is called “gainful employment,” shows that almost half of students that have finished college or quit over the past four years have not been making monthly federal student loan payments as required. And the findings hint at why: Students often haven’t found jobs that pay enough to cover their loans and living expenses.

Link to Article

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