News highlights for November 18, 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

Pro Bono Australia

State of the world volunteerism report

The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) organisation is preparing the first ever report on the State of the World’s Volunteerism. Produced by the United Nations with the assistance of consultants and academics from around the world, the report is set to launch on International Volunteer Day – December 5th, 2011. Benjamin Lough, a researcher on international volunteering at Washington University and contributor to the State of the World Volunteerism Report says published research on effective practices in international volunteering is pretty scant.

Link to Article Related news release

Times Higher Education (UK)

Law clinics that go beyond theory face attacks

Law students in the US are finding their efforts to get hands-on experience stifled by the very sector they are trying to learn from, according to a report. Washington University law professors Robert R. Kuehn and Peter A. Joy warn in an article in Academe, the journal of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), that academic freedom is “increasingly at risk when teaching bumps up against powerful political and corporate interests.” In particular, they say that a growing number of attacks on law school clinics could be the “bellwether” on whether teaching is able to “transcend the classroom” in US universities. Link to Article

New York Times

Justices are long on words but short on guidance


The Supreme Court under the leadership of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. is often criticized for issuing sweeping and politically polarized decisions. But an emerging parallel critique questions the quality of the court’s judicial craftsmanship, suggesting it often provides overly wordy, limited and ambiguous guidance to lower courts. The Roberts court set a record last term, issuing majority opinions with a median length of 4,751 words, according to data collected by political scientists James F. Spriggs II of Washington University in St. Louis and Ryan C. Black of Michigan State. Two of the Roberts court’s five terms ranked among the top 10 since 1953 in the average number of dissenting opinions per case, according to an analysis by Lee Epstein of Northwestern University and Andrew D. Martin of Washington University. Link to Article Related news release

U.S. Senate


U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill) mentions WUSTL in his Senate testimony regarding Southern Illinois University-Carbondale baseball coach Dan Callahan, who died this week from a rare skin cancer, neurotropic melanoma. Durbin argues against insurance company policies that denied Callahan coverage for Avastin, a costly chemo treatment they deemed to be experimental. Dan and his wife Stacy found $27,000 to pay for the first two treatments, and Washington University in St. Louis provided another $50,000 that bought him four more treatments. Link to Broadcast Watch Durbin’s full testimony via CSPAN, which concludes with a tribute to Stan Musial.

Green Building News
Designers create carbon neutral building prototype

International architectural firm HOK and energy and daylighting consultant The Weidt Group have developed a prototype for a market rate, net zero emissions Class A commercial office building in St. Louis. The speculative building, dubbed Net Zero Cou2t, is located on a potentially developable site in midtown St. Louis’s emerging biotech corridor, near Saint Louis University and the Barnes-Jewish Hospital at Washington University Medical Center. Link to Article

Institutional Review Blog
Is Facebook data mining human subjects research?

Law student Lauren Solberg finds that “data mining on Facebook likely does not constitute research with human subjects, and therefore does not require IRB review, because a researcher who collects data from Facebook pages does not ‘interact’ with the individual users, and the information on Facebook that researchers mine from individual users’ pages is not ‘private information.'” Solberg analyzes policies at Washington University in St. Louis and claims that WUSTL researchers “need only inform Facebook users that they are recording information that is posted on their pages.” Link to Article

Minnesota Public Radio

How Minnesota might be affected by a ban on earmarks

Washington University Political Science Professor Steven Smith says many lawmakers like earmarks. If you’ve got enough power in Congress you can use earmarks to circumvent government red tape to direct money to projects, you, and sometimes you alone, think need money. Smith said a transportation bill is a typical place you might see earmarks. “In a roads and bridges bill it might indicate that a certain freeway interchange will receive $300 million rather than allowing the Department of Transportation to determine those priorities under its usual decision making process,” he said. Link to Article

Public International
Ride raises nearly $1 million for cancer research

Last month, more than 800 cyclists raced to raise money for cancer. On Wednesday, Pedal the Cause founder Bill Koman presented a $910,000 check to leaders of Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis Children’s Hospital and the Siteman Cancer Center. The money will be used as “seed grants”—initial funding for innovative research. That research could later bring in national grant money according to Koman. Link to Article

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Washington U. students play computer game that may help treat diseases


Amid people reading novels, surfing online and sipping mochas Sunday at Coffee Cartel in the Central West End, four biomedical science graduate students from Washington University worked on one of the hardest problems in biology — folding a protein. Determining how proteins fold can lead to treatments for a myriad of deadly diseases. The students are trying to fold a protein involved in pancreatic cancer. And they are doing it by playing a computer game called Foldit. Link to Article

KMOX-AM Radio (St. Louis)

New research to prevent dementia before it starts


Looking for more clues. That’s what Alzheimer’s researchers are doing in their quest to stop the disease before it even gets started. Washington University Alzheimer’s’ researcher Dr. John Morris says a study of early onset familial Alzheimers Disease shows subtle brain changes begin to appear in patients with these gene mutations in their 20s and 30s. Morris spoke last night at the annual Joan D’Ambrose Research Update at the Ritz Carlton in Clayton. Link to Article

KSDK News (St. Louis)

St. Louis students eating healthy and getting green thumbs


A group of Washington University doctors is hoping to get more children at local elementary schools to eat more vegetables by taking them directly to the source—the garden. There’s a new partnership underway in St. Louis public schools called “Nourishing an Urban Garden.” Link to Article

St. Louis American

KIPP Inspire Academy seeks staff members


KIPP Inspire Academy Executive Director Thomas Walker looks over the class work of Temyha Mooring 11, and Keion Willis 10 at the school’s south side campus. KIPP Inspire Academy has started recruiting for staff positions for next year. KIPP Inspire is the first Knowledge is Power Program school opened in St. Louis and is the only charter school sponsored by Washington University. Link to Article

News in higher education

New York Times / Opinionator Blog

There is no college cost crisis


Stanley Fish reviews a new book that makes the case there is no college cost crisis. Written by economists Robert B. Archibald and David H. Feldman, the book’s title, “Why Does College Cost So Much?” is a teaser, for the book’s message is that it doesn’t. In fact, say the authors, “for most families, higher education is more affordable than it was in the past.” Link to Article

Wall Street Journal

Can’t pick a college major? Create one


More than 900 four-year colleges and universities allow students to develop their own programs of study with an adviser’s help, up 5.1% from five years ago. University officials say at least 70 go a step further, providing programs with faculty advisers, and sometimes specialized courses, to help students develop educational plans tailored to their interests, while still meeting school standards. The programs can spark students’ enthusiasm for learning and sometimes equip them for complicated, cross-disciplinary jobs or emerging career fields. But parents are often wary, fearing their kids will drift too far from training for a real, paying job. Link to Article

For additional higher education news (subscription may be required):
The Chronicle of Higher Education
Inside Higher Ed
University Business

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