UVA Today’s Matt Kelly reports:
The last scaffolding encasing the Rotunda at the University of Virginia is coming down.
The scaffolding, erected around the building last May, was part of the first phase of extensive renovations and restorations to the centerpiece of the University. Workers replaced the leaking roof and the oculus skylight, and repaired the exterior brick walls, windows and ornamental sheet metal.
The scaffolding is coming down ahead of schedule. The exterior restoration work was to continue into the summer, and workers planned to remove the scaffolding for graduation and then re-erect it. But construction crews have finished the bulk of the work and once the scaffolding is down, it will remain down.
, On Grounds
, Student Life
| Thursday, May 2nd | By: Dan @3:37 pm |
The calendar has flipped to May, and there on May 19, in big red letters, is “GRADUATION.” (Or, as well call it here on Mr. Jefferson’s Grounds, “Final Exercises.” Like the British, we seem to have a fancier way of describing things that have perfectly good names elsewhere.)
Assuming the fourth-year students (no “seniors” here, either, unless you’re over 65) pass all their final exams, there will inevitably arise a need for more information, i.e. “Can anyone go to Stephen Colbert’s talk?”
UVA Today will be publishing a lot of words about Final Exercises in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, there is one central resource that you should bookmark: The 2013 Final Exercises homepage.
The page is maintained by the pros at the Office of Major Events, headed up by Pam Higgins, who has been running graduations for a long time. (Clearly, she was a child prodigy.) When the site offers “Frequently Asked Questions,” it really means “frequently asked” — as in, asked hundreds of times over many, many years. So definitely take advantage and check out that site.
, On Grounds
, Student Life
| Wednesday, May 1st | By: Dan @2:58 pm |
The World Wide Web has been second nature for so long, it’s sort of like oxygen.
That’s why it was so startling this morning when a colleague of mine sent me a link to a Gizmodo story celebrating the Web’s 20th anniversary. Really? Could it only have been two decades?
Life before the Web is sort of hazy. How did people find information quickly? Phone books and libraries and newspapers … You pretty much had to go to a bookstore for a book and a record store for music. Well, you could order things from home, but that required a catalog and some patience. Video was accessed on TV or at movie theaters.
Think of the fortunes that have been made, and lost.
Heck, 20 years ago I was a newspaper reporter. The paper I worked for is now defunct, and I’m writing a blog post. It could be argued that the Web is the most disruptive technology invented since the printing press.
CNN has a more in-depth piece on today’s cyber-significance. The Web itself actually dates back to 1989, when it was founded as “a way for scientists at different universities and other institutes to share information,” the article says. Today is the 20th anniversary of the day when “The European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN … released, for free, the technology and software needed to run a Web server.”
It’s all very mind-boggling. And exciting.
| Tuesday, April 30th | By: Dan @5:58 pm |
As a U.Va. alumnus as well as an employee, I often hear from my school, the College of Arts & Sciences. A recent email highlighted the work of a couple of professors. One of them was particularly captivating, and I thought I would share it with a wider audience.
The article introduced studio art associate professor Lydia Moyer’s work this way:
When a tragedy first occurs, all eyes are on the site of the incident. But what happens to these places after the dust has settled? UVA Associate Studio Art Professor Lydia Moyer has spent years researching and creating a series of short documentaries exposing the landscapes of American tragedies, and has found that what is left behind after a tragedy can say much more about a community’s culture and values than what was there before it.
“Documentary” may not quite be the word to describe Moyer’s videos — they are more artful than that, though they are based in awful historic realities. Anyway, they are interesting, and haunting — especially given the news that we are constantly bombarded with, and our short attention spans. You can read more about Moyers’ work here, or you can go directly to her Vimeo channel and check out all five of the videos she has posted there.
Awhile back, we posted about how the award-winning, nationally syndicated “BackStory with the American History Guys” public radio program was taking off.
Now its sister program at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, “With Good Reason,” is getting its own boost. Beginning Thursday, the weekly public radio show — which highlights the research and scholarship of faculty in Virginia’s colleges and universities — will be doubling in length, to an hour.
Among host Sarah McConnell’s guests in the first 60-minute program will be U.Va. mathematics professor Christian Gromoll, who will discuss his research into the social behavior of bee colonies. (Read more about this episode here.)
The show airs at various times on various stations, and not only in Virginia; it can also be heard in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Tennessee, Georgia, Alaska, California and Michigan. Click here to find out when and where to hear it in your area. You can also “like” the show’s Facebook page and subscribe to its podcasts.
Arts & Sciences
, College of Arts & Sciences
| Friday, April 26th | By: Dan @2:30 pm |
A high-five to the staff of the U.Va. Magazine, whose latest offering, posted online last week, is nicknamed “The Top Five Edition.” It includes lists of:
And speaking of high-fives, the nation celebrated — sort of – National High-Five Day last Thursday, though at that point folks weren’t in much of a mood to celebrate with all the explosions going on (the day ended up being dedicated to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings). Nevertheless, the event originated at U.Va., and we’re proud to see it continue and spread.
One more thing: In honor of upcoming final exams, here’s an interesting U.Va. Mag piece on blue books.
, On Grounds
| Thursday, April 25th | By: Dan @1:26 pm |
UVA Innovation’s “What’s Next?” blog has the story of a fantastic new app developed by U.Va. engineering students:
Have you ever promised to let a friend know when you arrive home and forgotten to do it? There’s an app for that, and it was developed by U.Va. engineering students!
The app, called “WalkBack,” ingeniously uses smart phones’ built-in GPS to notify members of a group when their friends have made it home. Also, “Colleges can also anonymously use the data collected from WalkBack to make informed decisions on student safety.”
The app, created by fourth-year Duylam Nguyen Ngo and 2012 graduate Ashutosh Priyadarshy, is available for download from iTunes.
, Student Life
| Wednesday, April 24th | By: Dan @1:21 pm |
The International Space Station. (NASA photo)
UVA Today’s Fariss Samarrai reports:
There will be three visible-from-Earth passes of the International Space Station over Central Virginia this week, according to U.Va. astronomer Ed Murphy.
The first is this evening, April 23, from 9:45 to 9:48 p.m.
To view it, Murphy says to go outside at about 9:40 p.m. – “to let your eyes adapt to the dark” – and face northwest. “The ISS will look like a very bright star rising straight out of the northwestern horizon,” he says. “It will climb high in the northwestern sky and then disappear high overhead at 9:48:02 p.m. when it passes into the shadow of the Earth.”
University of Virginia students and fourth-graders at Venable Elementary School worked on a local project Saturday that reflects global sustainability: the students built a greenhouse out of recycled plastic bottles.
The Global Sustainability project is the brainchild of Phoebe Crisman, U.Va. associate professor in the School of Architecture and director of the Global Sustainability Program; Venable garden coordinator Sara Osborne; and Venable science teacher Kristi O’Brien.
The U.Va. students visited the Venable science class twice over the semester and added to lessons on reducing, reusing and recycling; Continue reading…
| Monday, April 22nd | By: Anne Bromley @5:00 pm |
UVA Today’s Matt Kelly reports:
As graduation approaches, the scaffolding will be coming down from the west side of the Rotunda, starting Monday. no doubt welcome news for proud, camera-toting parents.
The scaffolding, erected around the building last May, was part of the first phase of extensive renovations and restorations to the centerpiece of the University. In this phase, workers replaced the leaking roof and the oculus skylight, and repaired the exterior brick walls, windows and ornamental sheet metal.
, On Grounds
, Thomas Jefferson
| Friday, April 19th | By: Dan @3:31 pm |
U.Va. Today’s Robert Hull writes:
Luchadora, Dub Campaign, Oh So, Band Concord, Melonhead, Moist Keith – these six bands will be duking it out with power chords, bass runs, thrashing drums and vocal shouts on Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m. at the nTelos Wireless Pavilion in downtown Charlottesville.
As part of the annual University Programs Council Springfest 2013, the WTJU Battle of the Bands marks the first time that “The Sound Choice in Central Virginia” has hosted this type of event.
| Thursday, April 18th | By: Dan @3:04 pm |
Sometimes, even the University Library doesn’t know about all of the things it has in its collection.
Take the strange case of Adolf Hitler’s tax returns. While searching around for Headlines in December, I stumbled upon an odd article in London: The News, an otherwise forgettable piece that included this rather startling passage: “Hitler’s tax returns from 1924 too 1935 can be seen either in the Bavarian State Archives or the Alderman Library of the University of Virginia, USA.”
I had never heard of U.Va. possessing any of Hitler’s papers, so I queried Alderman’s nearly infallible reference desk. The librarians there know nothing of it.
Still, it seemed to be a pretty specific reference, naming not only the University, but Alderman Library specifically. So I emailed Molly Schwartzburg, a curator at the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library. And then I forgot about it for more than a month.
, Thomas Jefferson
| Wednesday, April 17th | By: Dan @4:26 pm |
U.Va.’s sticker price is much in the news these days.
Even as the Board of Visitors prepares to set 2013-14 tuition and fees next week, another organization is recognizing the University’s value. AffordableCollegesOnline.org, which describes itself as an organization that “focuses on providing prospective students with information about affordable colleges options, financial aid and cost saving ideas,” has named U.Va. to its list of the Most Affordable Large Public Colleges – “100 top quality large public colleges that have an affordable price tag.” It says the rankings are based upon federal data and input from the Carnegie Foundation.
The latest mention comes on the heels of U.Va.’s having been named the No. 1 Best Value Public University by the Princeton Review in February, and the No. 2 best value by Kiplinger Personal Finance in December. Meanwhile, another organization, CollegeMeasures.org, last month listed U.Va. graduates has having the fourth-best starting salaries among the nation’s state flagships.
These are, as they say, “data points.” Do they suggest that tuition is underpriced, and there is room for a tuition increase? Or are “best value” rankings emblematic of adhering to Thomas Jefferson’s vision of public education for all? And how does the future of the AccessUVA financial aid program fit in?
Throw in a dollop of political pressure from various angles (keep tuition low, don’t expand out-of-state enrollment), and the BOV members will be in an unenviable position next week.
Board of Visitors
| Tuesday, April 16th | By: Dan @3:20 pm |
We haven’t had a good ol’ online voting contest post for awhile, so ..
Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine is holding an online bracket-style contest, the Top Adventure College Tournament, to determine the top outdoors school in the region, which apparently stretches from Alabama to Penn State.
The brackets feature bigger schools on one side and smaller schools on the other, with a David.-vs.-Goliath final in the offing. U.Va.’s first-round opponent is the University of Kentucky (which infamously lost another first-round contest, in basketball’s National Invitational Tournament, last month). Whoever gets the most votes in a week of balloting will square off with the South Carolina-West Virginia winner in the Sweet 16 next week. You can only vote once a day.
According to the website, “The 32 schools were selected for their outdoor clubs and curricula, commitment to the outdoors and environmental initiatives, the quality of their outdoor athletes and programs, and their opportunities for adventure.”
, On Grounds
| Monday, April 15th | By: Dan @5:01 pm |
The newly renovated and expanded University of Virginia i.Lab, located at the Darden School of Business, was officially opened Thursday with a business pitch competition that awarded $10,000 in cash prizes and also kicked off the Tom Tom Founders Festival, a South-By-Southwest-inspired, four-day festival of innovation, presented in partnership with U.Va.
The new i.Lab aims to be a hub for entrepreneurship and innovation education serving all 11 U.Va. schools and the local community beyond Grounds, and that pivot was underlined by the pitch competition’s 10 finalist teams including teams without any U.Va. ties alongside student-led teams.
The 10 finalist teams were selected from a field of more than 60 applicants. Each pitched an idea for a new business or local community project, ranging from fire hydrant mural painting, to a Jamaican restaurant, to a homemade tomato sauce business and an Internet sports TV platform.
The finalists were competing for three cash prizes: $5,000 for first place; $3,000 for second place; and $2,000 for third place.
The winning teams were selected by a vote of the audience. Continue reading…
| Friday, April 12th | By: brevy @5:18 pm |