For the Record

Grad students get a pay raise
Following recommendations by the Provost’s Committee on Graduate Student Teaching, graduate-student teachers will earn more this year. The pay raises come after the provost, deputy provost for graduate education, and vice president and dean of students established action steps in February, responding to student concerns. Beginning this fall, lecturers’ pay, for instance, will go from $3,500 to $5,000, while course and teaching assistants will earn $3,000 instead of $1,500. Administrators plan to review teaching pay regularly to remain competitive with the University’s peers. See the full announcement (PDF)

On board: two GSB alumni
In June the Board of Trustees elected two new members: Robert Lane, MBA’74, CEO of Deere & Company, and Michael Polsky, MBA’87, president and CEO of Invenergy LLC. Lane, who also serves on the board of directors of the General Electric Company and Verizon Communications Inc., and Polsky, who chairs the GSB’s Entrepreneurship Advisory Board, will serve five-year terms on the 50-member board.

Chicago’s own opera man
Philip Gossett, the Robert W. Reneker distinguished service professor in music and the College, has been voted into the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. One of the world’s top Italian opera experts, Gossett specializes in the works of Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti, and Verdi.

The physics of expansion
William Eckhardt, SM’70, has given $20 million to fund a major transformation of Chicago’s physical-sciences division. Eckhardt’s support will help expand existing programs including computation and particle astrophysics, as well as develop potential programs such as molecular engineering. In recognition, the Research Institutes building will be renamed the William Eckhardt Research Institutes building. The complex, at 5630–50 S. Ellis Avenue, is being renovated and expanded as part of a new Center for Physical and Computation Sciences.

College, Med Center rank high
This year’s U.S. News & World Report rankings are out. For the College, the University of Chicago ranked No. 8 overall, one step up from last year. It was also No. 13 for best value—the August 22 issue noted that 43 percent of students receive grants based on need, getting an average 53 percent discount off the total cost. In its July 21 issue, meanwhile, U.S. News named Chicago’s Medical Center the 17th best hospital in the United States for the second year in a row, placing it in the magazine’s “honor roll.” Seven programs, including digestive disorders (7th), ranked in the top 25.

Windows to Mies’s world
In anticipation of the School of Social Service Administration’s centennial year, the school’s Ludwig Mies van der Rohe building spent the summer undergoing window-frame maintenance and repair. During the work SSA staffers moved to the nearby Edelstone Center. The building reopens September 22.

For she’s a jolly good fellow
Martha Nussbaum, the Ernst Freund dis-tinguished service professor of law and ethics, has been elected a corresponding fellow of the British Academy. One of ten scholars—and the only U.S. law professor—to receive the honor from the UK’s national academy for humanities and social sciences this year, she joins three other Law School fellows: Ronald Coase, Richard Helmholz, and Richard Posner.

Med students to move north
In July 2009 Evanston Northwestern Healthcare (ENH) becomes the Pritzker School of Medicine’s primary off-campus learning site, with students, residents, and fellows placed at ENH’s three north-suburban locations for part of their training. While most training will still take place on campus, the affiliation allows for new collaborative research, particularly on clinical outcomes, clinical trials, oncology, and imaging.

A new way to compute
The Computation Institute, a joint effort of the University and Argonne National Laboratory, will use a $1.5 million National Science Foundation grant to create the Petascale Active Data Store (PADS), a computer system to better save, access, and analyze massive data sets. To be used by several research groups including astronomy and astrophysics, computer science, economics, linguistics, and neuroscience, PADS represents a marked shift from the current practice that requires researchers to quickly analyze data and then remove it from the computer system to make room for new information.

Well-paid grads
Alumni of the College earn the second-highest starting and mid-career salaries among Midwestern higher-education institutions, according to, a company that analyzes compensation data. College graduates’ median starting income is $53,400, and ten or more years into their careers the median is $113,000. Notre Dame University graduates led the Midwest, with beginning and mid-career pay of $56,300 and $116,000, respectively.

A piece of Washington Park
The University has purchased four parcels of land, totaling about two acres, in Washington Park, hoping to spur economic growth and create jobs there, and to ensure the U of C has sufficient land in future decades. The University has binding agreements to purchase six additional parcels, and it has contacted sellers regarding five more, all along Garfield Boulevard between King Drive and Prairie Avenue, totaling no more than four acres. Washington Park has more than 1,000 abandoned properties, and the University hopes to partner with the community to revive the area.

A close analysis
The Master of Science in Financial Mathematics program, begun in 1996 in the Physical Sciences Division, ranks among the nation’s ten best quantitative-analysis programs in preparing students for financial-service jobs. That’s according to the August issue of Advanced Trading, read by traders, executives, and Internet-technology managers. A board of Wall Street veterans ranked programs based on “Wall Street recruitability”—the schools their firms recruit from—and the quality of their quantitative analysts.

A year off for good teaching
Sascha Ebeling, assistant professor in South Asian languages & civilizations, has received the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation Research Fellowship for excellence in undergraduate teaching, awarded annually to a tenure-track faculty member teaching core humanities or art, music, and drama classes. Ebeling won for his College course Readings in World Literature. The fellowship provides a year of research leave, which he will use to complete several articles and start writing two new books, as well as a replacement instructor.

Critical support for critical science
After Congress cut Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory’s budget from the lab’s requested $372 million to $320 million in December 2007, predictions were dire. But thanks to a U.S. Senate–approved emergency-spending bill, Fermilab is continuing its planned research schedule. The bill includes $400 million in funding for critical science programs, in addition to $62.5 million for the Office of Science to ensure Fermilab, as well as Argonne and other national laboratories, continue their research and retain staff.

Defective diploma ink
Immediately after spring convocation, registrar’s office staffers noticed that the ink on some just-issued diplomas had smudged. A few days later, realizing it wasn’t an isolated incident, the office e-mailed June grads, asking them to return any of the 3,024 issued diplomas—perhaps as many of one-third—that were defective. The smudging stemmed from a local printer’s faulty fuser, which was not hot enough to bind the ink to the paper. Delivered to the University in late July, replacement diplomas underwent a “quality control review” before graduates could pick them up or request delivery in mid-August.

He studies staph
Chuan He, associate professor in chemistry, is one of 14 scientists nationwide to receive a 2008 Investigators in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease Award, given by the Research Triangle Park, NC–based Burroughs Welcome Fund. He will use the accompanying $500,000 grant to examine Staphylococcus aureus. A bacterium that has steadily become more resistant to antibiotics, S. aureus is a major cause of death following hospital-acquired infections in patients with weakened immune systems.

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