The University of IowaAnnual Report 2008-09

February

A new Certificate in Sustainability slated for fall 2009 will help students become effective leaders and agents of change for sustainability in whatever careers they choose. The program augments majors and minors, examining human and environmental systems and how they interact.

Dancers waving arms at Dance Marathon.More than 1,600 students raise a record $1.03 million through the 15th annual UI Dance Marathon, benefiting pediatric cancer patients receiving care at University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. Dance Marathon is among the University’s largest student organizations and one of the country’s biggest Children’s Miracle Network dance marathons. It not only raises funds for research, hospital amenities, and scholarships, but also offers friendship and personal support to patients and their families. See more photos from Dance Marathon.

The 20th annual Celebrating Cultural Diversity Festival—the UI’s second-largest event outside athletics—draws crowds to the Field House.

The University receives the 2008-09 Prevention Excellence Award for its AlcoholEdu course, an online, science-based alcohol education and prevention program focusing on the impact of alcohol on the mind and body. The course has been required of all incoming first-year students since 2006.

The University Hygienic Laboratory is the first state public health lab to add new pregnancy screenings, providing women across the state access to the most advanced and safest methods to detect Down syndrome and open neural tube defects.

The National Institutes of Health awards a $10.4 million grant renewal to the UI Cardiovascular Research Center in the Carver College of Medicine—the program’s eighth consecutive renewal since its 1971 establishment.

Mary Cohen leading prison choir.Twenty inmates at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center join 20 community volunteers, including UI faculty, staff, and students, in the Oakdale Prison Community Choir. Mary Cohen, an assistant professor of music education with a join appointment in the Colleges of Education and Liberal Arts and Sciences, describes the project as an opportunity for offenders to connect with others and build skills to successfully re-enter society.

A UI biostatician leads research that may help doctors determine whether a person with Alzheimer’s disease can safely get behind the wheel. Jeffrey Dawson, associate professor of biostatistics in the College of Public Health, and colleagues report that drivers with Alzheimer’s commit 27 percent more errors in off-road tests than drivers without the disease. By measuring driver performance through memory, visual, and motor ability tests, researchers may be able to develop a standardized assessment of driving fitness.

Research by Ed Wasserman, professor of psychology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, shows that baboons and pigeons can determine whether two or more items are the same or different, one of several cognitive capabilities he’s discovered in non-human animals.

The University launches a web site dedicated to sharing updates about budget planning and soliciting cost-saving ideas from faculty, staff, and students. The site goes on to draw hundreds of suggestions and more than 25,000 visits in its first few months.

These highlights offer a snapshot of UI news and achievements during February 2009. For more, visit the University News Services archives.