Archive for the ‘Heard on Campus’ Category

Erik Jensen argues for the power of legal education in Kurdistan

August 27th, 2014
Erik Jensen, professor of the practice of law at the Stanford Law School (photo: Linda Cicero)

Erik Jensen, professor of the practice of law at the Stanford Law School (photo: Linda Cicero)

Three years ago in Erbil, ERIK JENSEN, professor of the practice of law and director of the Rule of Law Program, was sitting in the kitchen of Barham Salih, the former prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the founder of American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS). Together with Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and ELI SUGARMAN (SLS JD ’09), they toasted a partnership between Stanford Law School and the American University of Iraq, Sulimaniya to develop a law program known as the Iraq Legal Education Initiative (ILEI).

Last spring, the first law course at AUIS was finally offered.

Jensen says the partnership is strong, and includes support from DAWN DEKLE, president of AUIS and SLS JD ’99. Two additional courses are scheduled to be rolled out this coming academic year—but funding is now in question.

In a piece in Stanford Lawyer, Jensen says Dekle recently emailed him about the current state of affairs in Kurdistan generally and at AUIS specifically. The situation in Kurdistan is improving with U.S. air support. However, because the KRG has had to direct all of its liquid funds to the Peshmerga to fight the Islamic State invasion and to the escalating refugee crisis, it cannot make its annual contribution to AUIS. AUIS has to dramatically slash its budget. The first step is to cut courses not absolutely required for students to graduate. The two ILEI classes are on the chopping block unless $10,000 ($5,000 per class) can be raised.

Read more in Stanford Lawyer.

Anat Admati: ‘I need you to help me scream.’

August 14th, 2014

ANAT ADMATI is the coauthor of The Bankers’ New Clothes: What’s Wrong with Banking and What to Do about It. She says policymakers have failed to protect the public and reduce the harm inflicted by a reckless financial system. Admati believes that explaining the issues to a broad audience is essential for bringing about policy change. That was her goal when she gave a talk at the 2014 TEDxStanford.

Stanford welcomes Hollyhock teaching fellows

July 22nd, 2014

Nearly 100 teachers from high poverty, hard-to-staff high schools have been named inaugural Stanford Hollyhock teaching fellows.

The teachers, representing 39 districts in 17 states and the District of Columbia, arrived at Stanford Sunday for the beginning of their professional development program.

“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to work with this cohort of teachers who are dedicated to teaching underserved populations,” said JANET CARLSON, executive director of the Center to Support Excellence in Teaching, which runs the program.

Established this year, the Stanford Hollyhock Fellowship for Teachers supports early-career high school teachers for two years with an intensive institute on campus during two consecutive summer sessions and year-round online coaching.

Irene Kim, David Hansen and Kyle Svingen of Oakland International High School in Oakland.

Irene Kim, David Hansen and Kyle Svingen of Oakland International High School in Oakland.

The fellowship, funded through a $4.5 million gift from an anonymous donor, is free for participants, and includes accommodations and meals during the two-week summer workshops on the Stanford campus.

The 99 teachers selected this year come from public and charter schools nationwide. On average, the teachers have 3.6 years of teaching experience and 78 percent have earned master’s degrees. The schools they teach in are low-resourced and more than 80 percent of the students they teach qualify for free or reduced lunch rates.

Research shows that nearly half of all teachers leave the classroom within five years, and in high poverty schools, the turnover rate is even higher.

Kristin Richardson and Frances Pasternik of Capitol Hill High School in Oklahoma

Kristin Richardson and Frances Pasternik of Capitol Hill High School in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

“Every year, thousands of early career teachers leave the classroom just as they are on the edge of developing more skilled practice and increasing their impact on student learning,” said PAM GROSSMAN, the faculty director of CSET. “If we are to improve outcomes for students, we must try harder to keep talented teachers in the classroom long enough to make a difference for their students. By treating teaching as a revolving door occupation, we shortchange both our students and our schools. This program is designed to stop the revolving door.”

The fellows, who will be on campus until Aug. 1, are broken into four subgroups: science, math, English and history. Each fellow applied to the program with at least one colleague from his or her own school to ensure school support and commitment.

Mayra Chavolla and Vivian Delgado of Latino College Preparatory Academy in San Jose, California

Mayra Chavolla and Vivian Delgado of Latino College Preparatory Academy in San Jose, California

Stanford instructors from the GSE and departments university-wide will teach in the content areas. They include: Carlson, Grossman, HILDA BORKO, BRAD FOGO and BRYAN BROWN of the GSE; NOAH DIFFENBAUGH of the School of Earth Sciences; CHRIS CHIDSEY of chemistry; DEBORAH GORDON of biology; and HELEN QUINN, emeritus professor of physics.

The fellows will also hear presentations from Stanford PRESIDENT JOHN HENNESSY on why teaching matters; Stanford’s dean of admissions, RICHARD SHAW, on how to better work with students applying to college; and others.

The fellows’ time on campus will be complemented with a day-visit to San Francisco where they will visit the Exploratorium, the de Young Museum, Alcatraz Island and other points of interest.

To read more about the fellows and their projects, visit the CSET website.

—  BROOKE DONALD, Stanford Graduate School of Education

Medical community mourns loss of leading international HIV/AIDS researcher

July 20th, 2014
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International AIDS researcher Joep Lange. (Photo: Peter Lowie/Associated Press)

Stanford researchers specializing in HIV/AIDS mourned the loss Friday of Dutch scientist JOEP LANGE, a leading AIDS researcher who died in the Malaysia Airlines crash Thursday in the Ukraine. Lange, a virologist, was particularly well-known for his work in helping expand access to antiretroviral therapy in developing countries. He was among dozens of people on the ill-fated flight who were heading to the 20th International AIDS Conference that opened Sunday in Melbourne, Australia.

“We are all in a state of shocked disbelief here in Melbourne at the tragic loss of one of the giants in the global fight against AIDS and HIV,” ANDREW ZOLOPA,  professor of medicine at Stanford, told RUTHANN RICHTER, director of media relations at the School of Medicine, in an e-mail from the conference site.  “I have known Joep Lange for more than 25 years – he was a friend and a colleague.  Joep was one of the early leaders in our field to push for expanded treatment around the globe – and in particular treatment for Africa and Asia… The world has lost a major figure who did so much good in his quiet but determined manner.  I am shocked by this senseless act of violence. What a terrible tragedy.”

DAVID KATZENSTEIN, also an HIV specialist at Stanford, learned of the death while in Zimbabwe, where he has a longstanding project on preventing transmission of HIV from mother to child. He said Lange, a friend and mentor, had been a “tireless advocate for better treatment for people living with HIV in resource-limited settings. He was universally respected and frequently honored as a real pioneer in early AIDS prevention and treatment.” In 2001, Lange founded the PharmAccess Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Amsterdam, which aims to improve access to HIV therapy in developing countries. He continued to direct the group until his death.

Lange served as president of the International AIDS Society from 2002 to 2004 and had been a consultant to the World Health Organization, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health. He led several important clinical trials in Europe, Asia and Africa and played a key role in many NIH-sponsored studies, said Katzenstein, a professor of medicine.

“He was a gentle, thoughtful and caring physician-scientist with a keen sense of humor and a quick and gentle wit. He was constantly absorbing, teaching and thinking about the human (and primate) condition and psychology,” Katzenstein told Richter. “He was much loved and will be sorely missed.

Richter wrote the original post in the Medical School’s SCOPE blog.

 

Our war on food: Stanford lecturer Maya Adam offers a prescription for making peace

July 17th, 2014

MAYA ADAM is a medical doctor who has taught at Stanford since 2009. Her courses on child health and nutrition are offered through the Program in Human Biology. At TEDxStanford in May, she talked about our unhealthy relationship with food.

Stanford students get their hands dirty in ‘Science of Soils’ class

July 15th, 2014

In his perennially popular Science of Soils class, SCOTT FENDORF, professor in Earth sciences, encourages his students – from freshmen to graduate students – to get their hands dirty while learning about the essential properties of soil for life on Earth. In this video, courtesy of the School of Earth Sciences, Fendorf and his students share their experiences.

Acress Anna Deavere Smith talks education, poverty with Stanford scholars

July 11th, 2014

 

ANNA DEAVERE SMITH, actress, playwright and New York University professor, performed parts of a work-in-progress and discussed her ongoing research for a new play she is writing on the subject of the school-to-prison pipeline at the annual Cubberley Lecture, sponsored by the Graduate School of Education(GSE). Smith’s performance was followed by a conversation with GSE Professors PRUDENCE CARTER and SEAN REARDON. Photo and video highlights of her visit are now on the GSE website.

Stanford undergraduate Eric Smalls imagines a different kind of learning environment

July 9th, 2014

As a child, ERIC SMALLS was an inquisitive kid who was fascinated by the world around him. But school was often a place where curiosity was not encouraged.

“If it wasn’t in the curriculum, I didn’t get my questions answered,” Smalls recalled during a talk he gave May 10 at the 2014 TEDxStanford conference.  Far from discouraged, he looked for ways to challenge himself.  In middle school he discovered CARL SAGAN in the library. As a teenager, he searched the Web and found a robotics group that met so far from his home that he took three buses to get to it. Appreciating the distance Smalls had come, the director of that program sent him home with a robotics kit. Within three hours he had build his first robot. Smalls found robotics enthusiasts on Facebook who helped him reprogram his design.

Before his arrival at Stanford as a freshman in 2012, Smalls participated in a six-week residential program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and was a contributor to Carnegie Mellon University’s Multi-Robot Research Project. He also had an internship at the University of Pennsylvania’s General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception Laboratory, where he developed computer vision software for autonomous drones. In 2012, President BARACK OBAMA featured Smalls in a campaign video about the importance of STEM education.

Soon after his arrival on the Farm, Smalls founded the Stanford Robotics Club, which now has more than 100 active members.

During his TEDxStanford talk, in which he was interviewed by the event’s co-host SHEILA DHARMARAJAN, the computer science major asked:

“What if we made learning more like a kitchen than a cafeteria? What if we made it more creative, where you’re engaged in the process? When I built the robot it was turning these math symbols that I’d learned in school and memorized into something that moved a robot, and that really inspired me.”

 

 

 

Stanford research team wins 2014 Eni Award

July 7th, 2014

ENI-award-medal_500

Three researchers from Stanford’s School of Earth Sciences were recently honored with a 2014 Eni Award, a prize aimed at promoting more efficient and sustainable energy sources, as well as inspiring future generations of researchers.

The researchers, TAPAN MUKERJI, associate professor of energy resources engineering and of geophysics, GARY MAVKO, professor of geophysics, and JACK DVORKIN, a senior research scientist in geophysics, were honored with this year’s Eni Award in “New Frontiers of Hydrocarbons” for their work in devising a way to obtain quantitative information about the rocks and liquids that lie beneath the Earth’s crust. This information is critical for research related to the production of oil and gas. DARIO GRANA, a Stanford alumnus who is now an assistant professor of geology and geophysics at the University of Wyoming, also was part of the prize-winning team, which was led by Mukerji.

The Eni Award is an honor bestowed by the Italian energy company Eni S.p.A. to recognize scientific research that advances our knowledge and ability to use more efficient and sustainable energy sources. The Eni Scientific Award Committee that selects the Eni Award winners is composed of Nobel Prize winners, researchers and scientists. This year, the 23-member committee received more than 1,400 applications.

Two prizes were given for “New Frontiers of Hydrocarbons” to acknowledge the research of two separate research groups. The other prize recipient was AMIR HOVEYDA, a professor of chemistry at Boston College, who has identified new and particularly efficient methods for synthesizing complex molecules with specific shape arrangements. The winners received their Eni Award medals at a special awards ceremony held in Rome on June 17.

— BY HOLLY MACCORMICK, communications assistant in the School of Earth Sciences

This is computer music: Ge Wang at TEDxStanford

July 1st, 2014

At TEDxStanford on May 10, GE WANG, assistant professor at Stanford’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, offered a primer on computer music. He invited the audience to join him in “geeking out,” as he wrote code. He showed the audience a speaker array created out of salad bowls from Ikea. He made a variety of sounds using parts of a gaming controller. He played chords with an iPhone.

Wang’s research focuses on programming languages and interactive software design for computer music, mobile and social music, laptop orchestras and education at the intersection of computer science and music. He is the author of the ChucK audio programming language, as well as the founding director of the Stanford Laptop Orchestra (SLOrk) and the Stanford Mobile Phone Orchestra (MoPhO). He also is the co-founder of Smule (which makes social music-making apps and has more than 100 million users) and the designer of the iPhone’s Ocarina and Magic Piano.

And while the technological aspects of his talk were compelling on their own, the overarching theme was about human expression and connection.

“Computer music isn’t really about computers.” Wang said in closing. “It is about people. It’s about how we can use technology to change the way we think and do and make music, and maybe even add to how we can connect with each other through music.”

In addition to being avialable on the TEDxStanford website, Wang’s talk now is available on Ted.com .