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For the record

New communications leadership
President Robert Zimmer has named Julie A. Peterson vice president for communications. Peterson, interim vice president for communications at the University of Michigan, will develop a strategic-communications plan, work with academic deans and officers to coordinate University information, strengthen media relations, and oversee the University News Office and University Publications. She begins her duties at Chicago July 1.

French connection
Beginning next fall, Paris’s prestigious Collège de France will send faculty members to the U of C to offer yearlong courses or lecture series as part of the Collège de France Visiting Chair Program. This is the first time the French school will send faculty to the United States. Climatologist Edouard Bard, medieval literary scholar Michel Zink, and neuroscientist Stanislas Dehaene will be the 2007–08 visiting professors.

Oriental Institute director digs in
Director of the Oriental Institute Gil Stein was named to a second five-year term, effective July 1. In his first term Stein oversaw the museum’s reinstallation, added field-research projects, and increased support for the Center for Ancient Middle Eastern Landscapes. Stein also launched a postdoctoral fellowship program and initiated a $3 million research endowment campaign.

Endowed dissertations
The Martin Marty Dissertation Seminar, established in 1998, has gotten a boost: longtime Divinity School supporters Jane and John Colman gave $750,000 to endow the program, which provides fellowships for PhD candidates to research and write their dissertations. In addition to sharing their work with one another, fellows also teach a course in religion, often at Chicago-area institutions, and present their research to laypersons with an interest in theology. 

Green winners
In a monthlong competition organized by Green Campus Initiative (GCI), dorms vied to reduce their electricity use. Burton-Judson won the Battle of the Bulbs with a 20-percent decrease from last February’s usage, earning a study break hosted by GCI and a trophy made by student organization Material Exchange. The Green Campus Initiative hopes to make the competition a yearly event.

Hansen gets second term
Political-science professor John Mark Hansen was named to a second five-year term as dean of the University’s Social Sciences Division, effective July 1. During his first term Hansen guided the Committee on Education’s creation and the Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science’s move into the division. He also established a yearly visiting-committee dissertation fellowship and helped create several faculty-led centers, including the Chicago Price Theory Initiative (now the Becker Center).

Exceptional finance
Chicago’s Graduate School of Business was rated the best business school in finance and the best in economics in the 2007 Financial Times rankings of the world’s top 100 business schools. The rankings, based on alumni recommendations, put the GSB third in accountancy. Chicago’s program came in sixth overall in the international MBA rankings.

Early breast-cancer research
The National Cancer Institute awarded Chicago’s Cancer Research Center an $11.5 million five-year grant for breast-cancer research. The center will devote the money to studying how best to prevent, detect, and treat the disease in women whose genetic makeup makes them more susceptible to aggressive breast cancer at a young age.

Transcripts go digital
Beginning this February, Chicago students could save time, paper, and money by sending transcripts to graduate schools and employers electronically. The U of C is the second university in the nation, after Penn State, to provide electronic delivery. Although the technology to send transcripts online has been around for more than a decade, universities hesitated to use it because there was no way to ensure documents weren’t forged or altered. Registrar Thomas Black and Bob Bartlett, director of general services at Networking Services and Information Technologies, encrypted codes embedded within a file so the University could certify the transcript’s authenticity.

Chicago MDs take the helm
Ron Davis, AM’81, MD’83, becomes president of the American Medical Association in June. Davis is a preventive-medicine specialist and director of the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in Detroit. Psychiatrist Nada Logan Stotland, AB’63, MD’67, meanwhile, who works at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, heads up the American Psychiatric Association in May. Stotland plans to work closely with mental-health advocacy groups.

Business whizzes
Graduate School of Business student Ashish Dalal won first place and $5,000 in the GSB’s Fast Pitch Competition, held during a nationwide Entrepreneurship Week in February. Competitors had three minutes to convince judges that their undertakings were viable. From 55 businesses, the judges chose Dalal’s ParkWhiz, which lets users buy and sell parking spaces online.

Emergency preparedness
The Graham School of General Studies now offers a two-year Master of Science program in threat and response management. Students learn to cope with public-health hazards including natural disasters, disease outbreaks, and man-made threats. During the first year students take classes on the legal, ethical, leadership, psychological, social, and behavioral issues of emergency preparedness and response. Second-year students focus on either the scientific or administrative aspects of emergency preparedness.

The future of Yerkes
After residents spoke out against the University’s proposal to develop 45 acres of land surrounding Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wisconsin, the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics formed the Yerkes Study Group in February to explore how to transform the observatory into a regional site for science education. Chaired by astronomy and astrophysics professor Richard Kron, the group hopes to obtain local input and will report its activities to citizen groups in the area. In semimonthly meetings the group will discuss what is needed in science education, what kinds of programs would best suit the facility, and what would be sustainable as the University decreases its involvement.

Leading the nation’s cancer care
Professor of medicine Richard L. Schilsky, MD’75, was selected president-elect of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Schilsky, the associate dean for clinical research in the Biological Sciences Division, is an expert on gastrointestinal cancers, cancer pharmacology, and drug development. After a one-year term as president-elect, he’ll serve a one-year term as president beginning in June 2008.

Slavic studies in Paris
A new study-abroad option begins next winter. Taught by U of C faculty, the Slavic languages and literature department’s Europe East and West program will investigate the cultural, economic, and political relations between eastern and western Europe. The program will operate out of the University’s Paris Center, and students will take a weeklong trip to an eastern European capital, most likely St. Petersburg.

From Chicago to Cambridge
Karen McClendon, AB’06, Anyu Fang, AB’06, and Kathryn Tabb, AB'06, have been named 2007 Gates Cambridge Scholars. The program funds graduate study at the University of Cambridge for students who demonstrate intellectual ability, leadership, and a desire to help others. McClendon, who majored in international studies and works at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, DC, will pursue an M.Phil. in Latin American studies. Fang, who majored in economics, is interested in poverty, homelessness, migrant communities, and social justice; he works for the Congressional Hunger Center in Washington. Tabb, a history, philosophy and social studies of science major, plans to study the philosophy of psychiatry and clinical psychology, intending to "reconceptualize contemporary treatment and diagnostic practices in these fields."