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News in Brief

AROUND CAMPUS

DISCOVERIES

TRANSITIONS

 

AROUND CAMPUS

Sexual harassment education required of all UI employees

Late last year, the University and the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, agreed on a policy that requires all University employees, staff, faculty, and student teaching assistants to participate in sexual harassment awareness training. On June 1, 2009, all employees are required to have completed sexual harassment education within the past three years.
 
The sexual harassment educational program offered by the University’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity (EOD) treats sexual harassment as a form of sex discrimination and emphasizes University of Iowa policies on sexual harassment. Participants learn about specific behaviors that should raise the question of possible sexual harassment; about their rights and responsibilities as faculty members, staff employees, or as students at Iowa; as well as strategies for what to do to help prevent sexual harassment.
 
Susan Johnson, associate provost, is overseeing enforcement of the new policy. She says that the education will be offered by EOD in both in-person and online sessions.
 
“Deans and vice presidents will set out the options for their organizations,” Johnson says. “The College of Dentistry, for example, will encourage in-person sessions, whereas larger colleges may need to use the online sessions simply because of the numbers involved.”

All teaching assistants will participate in in-person sessions. All the major units have already made their plans, Johnson says, though they may not yet have communicated them to individual employees.
 
A database tool created by Human Resources Information Management will allow administrators to keep track of who has met the education requirement. Administrators and supervisors, who are already required to have completed the education requirement, will not need to repeat the sessions.

 

FEMA announces financing options for flood-damaged UI buildings

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will finance either the replacement or restoration and mitigation of two major University of Iowa building complexes damaged in the flood of June 2008, UI president Sally Mason has announced. Those buildings include Hancher Auditorium, Voxman Music Building and Clapp Recital Hall, and the Art Building East complex.

"It is important to understand that FEMA is not directing the University to replace the Hancher/Voxman/Clapp complex or the Art Building East complex," Mason says. "The University, with proper campus consultation, will examine the costs and benefits of both options and make a recommendation to the Board of Regents as soon as possible."

Mason said the University would develop an "ambitious" schedule for rebuilding flood-damaged buildings.

Several other major UI buildings damaged by the flood will be eligible for FEMA financing for restoration and mitigation strategies to prevent damage from future flooding. Those include Art Building West, Iowa Advanced Technology Laboratories, Theatre Building, the Iowa Memorial Union, the Museum of Art building, Hawkeye Court Apartments, and the UI power plant and energy distribution systems.

Read the full University News Services release at http://news-releases.uiowa.edu/2009/january/012609fema.html.

 

EPA notes University's carbon emission reduction for 2008

By using one system to generate both heat and power for the campus, the
University of Iowa power plant kept 0.069 million metric tons of carbon out
of the atmosphere in 2008, equivalent to the amount of carbon stored by
11,232 acres of pine or fir forests for one year or the emissions from 8,046
passenger vehicles.

The achievement was noted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's
Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Partnership Greenhouse Gas Reduction Report,
issued Jan. 14, 2009. The University, a member of the partnership, burns coal,
natural gas, and oat hulls at its power plant to generate about 30 percent of
the total electric power—and all of the steam energy—required by the
main campus and UI Hospitals and Clinics complex.

CHP, also known as cogeneration, is an efficient, clean, and reliable
approach to generating power and thermal energy from a single fuel source,
rather than from separate heat and power systems. Because of its efficiency,
it reduces traditional air pollutants and carbon dioxide, the leading
greenhouse gas associated with climate change.

More information about the UI's CHP System is available at
http://energy.uiowa.edu/renewableenergy.htm.

 

University of Iowa Museum of Art collection will return to home state

An intrastate alliance will soon bring the University of Iowa Museum of Art's (UIMA) collection back to Iowa.

The Figge Art Museum, Iowa's oldest art museum, has offered the UIMA significant space for display and storage of its permanent collection, Museum of Art–organized exhibitions, and traveling shows in its 3-year-old, state-of-the-art museum building in Davenport, Iowa.

With the exception of a selection of nearly 250 works of art that returned to campus in October, the UIMA collection has been in storage in Chicago since its evacuation during the June 2008 flood. Access to that facility for students, faculty, and staff has been limited, and public access was unavailable.

Along with gallery space, the Figge has reorganized its storage facilities in order to be able to offer the UIMA a significant amount of storage space—enough to house most of the UIMA collection, allowing the University's Museum of Art staff access to the collection in order to curate exhibitions, make loans to other institutions, perform general maintenance, and carry out other normal museum functions. Office space will also be allocated to some of the University staff for their museum work.

All University of Iowa students, faculty, staff, and UI Museum of Art donors will receive free admission to the Figge during regular hours.

Read the full University News Services release at http://news-releases.uiowa.edu/2009/january/012309figge.html.

 

Proposals sought for Catalyst Award Seed Grants

The University of Iowa Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity (EOD) is seeking proposals for the Catalyst Award Seed Grant. The Catalyst Award celebrates distinctive and innovative diversity contributions at The University of Iowa.

Supported campuswide, the seed grants are intended for projects that enhance the diversity goals outlined in The Iowa Promise, the University's strategic plan. Preference is given to collaborative grants that support projects and programs that advance cross-cultural understanding; strengthen positive inter-group relations; and promote a welcoming learning, living, and working environment.

Available to UI faculty, staff, and students, the grant provides $500 to $1,000 in seed money for start-up projects or programs that are sustainable, as well as short-term projects that demonstrate significance and impact. Guidelines and selection criteria are available at www.uiowa.edu/~eod.

Applications are due Friday, Feb. 13. Send a hard copy of the application to the EOD, 202 Jessup Hall, or via e-mail to diversity@uiowa.edu. Awardees will be announced Friday, Feb. 27; funds must be used by Feb. 26, 2010. For more information contact Dorothy Simpson-Taylor at dorothy-simpson-taylor@uiowa.edu or 319-335-0705.

 

UI Recreational Services to host "Moonlight Ski and S'mores" Feb. 6
 
The Touch the Earth program, which is part of the University of Iowa Division of Recreational Services, is hosting "Moonlight Ski & S'mores" from 8 to 10 p.m., Friday, Feb. 6, for a night of cross-country skiing or snowshoeing on the trails at Macbride Nature Recreation Area.

After being out on the trails, skiers/snowshoers can cozy up next to a campfire and enjoy s'mores and hot chocolate. If there is not enough snow, the event will proceed with a night hike instead.

This event is free and open to the public. Participants are reminded to dress warmly. Skis or snowshoes are available at the UI Outdoor Rental Center, 2820 Prairie Meadows Drive in Iowa City.

Touch the Earth provides various outdoor recreation opportunities to the University community and the general public. For more information on upcoming clinics, trips, and the Outdoor Rental Center, call 319-384-1225 or visit www.recserv.uiowa.edu/programs/TTE/index.html.

 

See what Learning and Development courses are right for you

UI Learning and Development, a unit of Organizational Effectiveness, provides professional development services to faculty and staff. There are many learning opportunities that will support your professional development and growth. Look for classroom instruction on leadership issues for managers, frontline supervisors, human resource professionals, and office professionals.

Check out the following links:

  • To see the latest online newsletter, with listings of current courses and seminars, visit www.uiowa.edu/learn/current.pdf.
  • For registration information, log in at the UI Human Resources Self Service site at https://hris.uiowa.edu/portal/index.php and click the “My Training” link to register for any available session. This tool will let you see the status and location of a class, get e-mail confirmations, withdraw from a class, check your course registration history, and even do online evaluations. Courses with a fee (Special Events, 7 Habits, Reframing Your Work) will use the printable registration form.
  • To visit Learning and Development's home page, go to www.uiowa.edu/~fusstfdv.

 

DISCOVERIES

Study suggests manager bonuses for better mutual fund performance

University of Iowa finance professor Ashish Tiwari knows that "bonus" is sort of a bad word in business these days.

Tiwari, who is a faculty member in the Tippie College of Business, still thinks it might be a good idea because his research suggests portfolio performance would improve if such bonuses were allowed.

The Securities and Exchange Commission placed restrictions on performance-linked bonuses starting in 1971 to protect investors from money managers taking excessive risks with a client's money in search of better performance and a higher bonus. While bonuses are still allowed, SEC regulations require managers to also be penalized if their fund underperforms. Since most managers presumably don't want to pay the penalty, they instead opt to collect an annual management fee that is based on the value of the portfolio.

In his forthcoming paper, "Incentive contracts in delegated portfolio management," coauthored with Louisiana State University finance professor and Tippie College alumnus Wei Li, Tiwari suggests that allowing bonuses without the underperformance penalty could provide incentives significantly increasing the quality of a manager's information.

Read the full University News Services release at http://news-releases.uiowa.edu/2009/january/012209mutualfund.html.

 

UI study finds MRSA in Midwestern swine, workers

The first study documenting methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in swine and swine workers in the United States has been published by University of Iowa researchers.

The investigators found a strain of MRSA, known as ST398, in a swine production system in the Midwest, according to the paper published online Jan. 23 by the science journal PLoS One.

"Our results show that colonization of swine by MRSA was very common in one of two corporate swine production systems we studied," says Tara Smith, associate professor of epidemiology in the UI College of Public Health and lead author of the study. "Because ST398 was found in both animals and humans, it suggests transmission between the two.

"Our findings also suggest that once MRSA is introduced, it may spread broadly among both swine and their caretakers. Agricultural animals could become an important reservoir for this bacterium," Smith adds.

Staphylococcus aureus, often called "staph," are bacteria commonly carried on the skin or in the nose of healthy people. MRSA is a type of staph that is resistant to the broad-spectrum antibiotics commonly used to treat it. A recent study estimated that MRSA caused 94,000 infections and more than 18,000 deaths in the United States in 2005.

Read the full University News Services release at http://news-releases.uiowa.edu/2009/january/012309mrsa_study.html.

 

TRANSITIONS

Deaths

  • Edward Buchanan, 81, professor emeritus, Jan. 7 in Iowa City. (obit)
  • Clara Garwood, 97, retired food worker II, Jan. 16 in Kirkland, Wash. (obit)
  • Wilma Hohenshell, 87, retired food worker II, Jan. 21 in Washington, Iowa. (obit)
  • Robert Prine, 71, retired system analyst, Jan. 21 in Iowa City. (obit)
  • Dorothy McArtor, 89, retired custodian, Jan. 24 in Bettendorf, Iowa. (obit)
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