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Student Events Mobile App to Launch

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 3:07pm

It took an infant's car seat, a hammock and 28,000 text messages over the course of six months, but a free mobile app of events for University of Arizona students is about to launch.

That's some of what went into the creation of KorkBoard, the brainchild of sophomore Vip Sitaraman and junior Jacob Rockland, a pair of Flinn Scholars at the UA who haven't forgotten how challenging it can be to meet people of similar interests on a massive college campus. 

"The reception for this has been fantastic," says Sitaraman, a molecular and cellular biology major, adding that the app has been beta-tested and is ready to launch on Tuesday. "Everyone wants to find events."

KorkBoard — its spelling is a nod to a cork bulletin board — sorts events by three options: New, Hot and Now. Users are able to upvote events and also flag spam. The creators are targeting new UA students who might be feeling overwhelmed and even a bit lost, unsure of where to go for info on what's happening.

The project began last February when Sitaraman and Rockland, an electrical and computer engineering major, were pondering a competition in which they were supposed to create something new from a car seat. It didn't exactly fire them up.

"We thought, 'Let's come up with a random project,'" Sitaraman says. "We wanted to solve some problem. We ended up talking about something completely different."

They agreed that the only way they would know for sure about a campus event was when they walked past it, and they needed a better way of finding out what was going on. Information was equally hard to come by for those living in residence halls (like Sitaraman) or off campus (like Rockland, a hammocking enthusiast who wanted some people to literally hang out with).

As the two pulled all-nighters on soda and pizza and text-messaged furiously when they weren't together, KorkBoard began to take shape. It received a boost over the summer when it was accepted as part of the Thryve Incubator program at Startup Tucson.

The Rialto Theatre, a popular concert venue in downtown Tucson, already has agreed to list its events with KorkBoard. The Wildcat Events Board, Associated Students of the University of Arizona and the Residence Hall Association also will be feeders. Sitaraman is working on creating a bulk upload for businesses that will generate revenue, and privacy features also are in development.

Sophomore Ali Gilliland is a KorkBoard fan after helping with the testing phase.

"I like how everything is in one place: social events, clubs, random activities," she says. "As a freshman, I wanted to join a pre-health club, play intramural basketball, and be a part of outdoor adventures and a sorority. So I had to do research on those things.

"I'm a planner and I'll be looking ahead (for events), but some people will just be bored and sitting in their dorm room, wanting to do something right then."

In either case, KorkBoard makes it less of a chore to locate an activity or let others know about one. Sitaraman says his goal is to have 4,000 users by the end of September. 

"You need to have content that's interesting and relevant to the user," he says, "and events are always that. I expect clubs to be born out of this."

The creators seemingly have left little to chance, right down to the KorkBoard logo — a bespectacled narwhal.

"The glasses make it look serious," Sitaraman says, "but the smile says, 'Let's have fun!'"

For more about KorkBoard, go to

Editor: dougcarrollByline Affiliation: University Relations – CommunicationsExtra Info: 

For more about KorkBoard, go to

Header image: YesNo Image: Subheading: Stumped for what to do on campus? Two Flinn Scholars think their KorkBoard is the answer, and they have a goal of 4,000 users in a month's time.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: 

Partnership Connects Transfer Students, Geosciences

Thu, 08/27/2015 - 8:56pm

GeoPathways, a new partnership between the University of Arizona Department of Geosciences and Pima Community College, will recruit, mentor and provide paid internships for transfer students from two-year colleges in Arizona.

The initiative intends to improve the academic performance, time to graduation and job prospects of geosciences transfer students, who tend to trail non-transfer students in these areas. 

"We need to attract more students to the geosciences, give them the skills to succeed and get them the job experience they need," said project director Karl W. Flessa, UA professor of geosciences.

GeoPathways is designed to increase the number of under-represented minorities in geosciences and also increase the total number of students entering the geoscience workforce.

The program starts this semester. Flessa and Noah Fay, a PCC geology instructor, recently received a National Science Foundation grant to fund the project.

GeoPathways takes a three-part approach: recruiting at community colleges, mentoring new UA transfer students and providing internship opportunities for the transfer students.

As part of recruitment, current UA geosciences undergraduates will reach out to prospective transfer students by leading field trips and participating in PCC classroom activities. 

During their first year at the UA, GeoPathways transfer students will participate in two new UA College of Science workshops on professional skills: "Success Strategies in STEM" and "Research Readiness." After their first year, GeoPathways students will be eligible for paid local internships in the mining industry and with hydrologic and environmental consulting companies, government agencies, and environmental organizations. 

"This program is about connecting students to their next step — connecting Pima students with their peers and degree programs at UA and connecting UA students with additional academic training and career opportunities," Fay said. "This is a great way to enhance the success of transfer students and career readiness of undergraduates."

Transfer students already at the UA will go back to PCC classrooms and help develop new classroom activities there. UA students also will offer field trips to local geoscience attractions such as Kartchner Caverns, the UA’s San Xavier Underground Mining Laboratory and Mount Lemmon.

Community geoscience organizations are eager to participate — 23 organizations submitted proposals to host GeoPathways interns. The internships may run full time for eight weeks during the summer or part time over a longer period.

"Participation by Tucson-area organizations has been tremendous," Flessa said.

Montgomery & Associates is among the local companies proposing to host GeoPathways interns.

"Helping to forward the education of the next generation of earth scientists is important to us as community members and as a business," said Leslie Katz, hydrogeologist/principal with Montgomery & Associates. "Internships can be a win-win, exposing us to new talent and ideas and providing students with real-world experience and insights into career opportunities." 

GeoPathways is one way that the Department of Geosciences is contributing to the UA’s 100% Engagement initiative, part of the University’s Never Settle strategic academic and business plan.

"The UA’s Never Settle plan calls for increased student engagement in experiential learning through the creation of partnerships with community organizations and businesses interested in educating the whole UA student. The GeoPathways project is a perfect fit,” said Vincent Del Casino, the UA's vice provost of digital learning and student engagement.

"In addition, the project’s partnerships and innovation in support of transfer students fits in with our efforts to increase access to the campus for students in STEM fields," Del Casino said.

The 100% Engagement initiative promises all undergraduate students an opportunity to gain hands-on experience in their chosen field before they graduate and to have their experiences formally documented on their transcript.

"We hope that our program opens professional doors for our students and can serve as a model for similar programs elsewhere," Flessa said. "We’re trying to foster relationships among the UA, community colleges and local employers. We need to invest in each other. Our partnership with Pima and local geoscience enterprises will do that." 

Editor: dougcarrollByline: Alicia SaposnikByline Affiliation: UA Department of GeosciencesHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: GeoPathways, another example of the UA's 100% Engagement, seeks to improve students' academic performance and job prospects through mentoring and internships.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: 

100 Years of Sisterhood, Brotherhood

Thu, 08/27/2015 - 8:03pm

"Bear Down," the UA's rallying cry, was uttered by football legend John "Button" Salmon, who was a member of Sigma Nu. (Photo: Patrick McArdle/UANews)

The reason the University of Arizona and the Tucson community chant "Bear Down," follow Wilbur Wildcat and preserve "A" Mountain, among other traditions, is because of the Greek community on campus. 

The first Greek organization to be established at the UA was Delta Phi, a fraternity with 16 men who pledged membership. The fraternity later would become the first nationally recognized chapter, as Kappa Sigma, in 1915.

Since then, Greek members have gone on to establish Spring Fling, salvage the USS Arizona bell and have it preserved in the Student Union Memorial Center, and write the UA's official fight song, "Fight! Wildcats! Fight!"

Today, the UA is celebrating 100 years of Greek life on campus, now with 48 recognized Greek chapters and more than 4,800 members. 

This sizable student population volunteered more than 40,600 hours and raised nearly $310,000 for philanthropy during the 2014-2015 academic year, and it continues to make significant contributions on and off campus. 

In honor of the centennial anniversary of Greek life at the UA, two staffers shared their impressions of the role and continued importance of fraternities and sororities on campus. They are:

  • Johanne Ives, assistant dean of students responsible for Fraternity and Sorority Programs at the University
  • Carol Thompson, outreach and alumni relations director for Student Affairs & Enrollment Management and also Academic Initiatives & Student Success

"A" Mountain, just beyond downtown Tucson, was created after UA engineering student, student body president and football team member Albert H. Condron, a Sigma Alpha Epsilon member, persuaded his engineering professor to survey Sentinel Peak for a class assignment so that an "A" could be constructed. He organized his fellow students to build and whitewash it. (Photo: FJ Gaylor)

Q: What does 100 years of Greek life on campus represent?

Thompson: Greek life began in 1900, encouraged by faculty (and their wives) who were alumni of fraternities and sororities from other universities. The UA was located in a desolate area and isolated from large cities. So as the student body grew, there became a need to create opportunities for students to explore literary and social interests and come together as a student community.  Since 1900, over 90 different fraternal organizations and 50,000 alumni have sought an experience that would enhance their education at the University of Arizona. Each of these organizations seeks to provide students with opportunities to develop leadership skills, serve the community, contribute to University life and experience membership in a values-based organization for life. As a result, deep friendships form as well as a deep loyalty to their alma mater. Since 1900, the members of fraternities and sororities and their organizations have influenced the traditions of the University, many of which are beloved by all today.

All new members joining a fraternity or sorority must complete the online educational program, GreeklifeEdu, which covers topics on alcohol, hazing and sexual assault. New members also must attend a one- hour educational symposium called New Member Symposium within one year of joining their organization. 

Q: One of the goals of Fraternity and Sorority Programs is the recruitment of "quality members." What makes a quality member?

Ives: There are pillars of fraternity and sorority life that can be found through all Greek organizations. These pillars are scholarship, leadership, service, brotherhood/sisterhood and community service. Quality members are going to exemplify characteristics that represent these pillars. Quality members understand lifelong membership and are often some of the most involved alumni of their organization.

Q: How has the Greek community changed over time?

Thompson: There has been steady interest in Greek life with new local and national chapters forming in almost every decade. As the community and student body changed, so did the make-up of the memberships and chapters. Some groups have helped to bring religious, cultural and ethnic diversity to the community: 

  • In 1926, Zeta Beta Tau fraternity, a historically Jewish men’s group, was formed.
  • The first Hispanic fraternity, Lambda Sigma Alpha, formed in 1925.
  • Kappa Alpha Psi, the first historically black Greek fraternity at UA, was established in 1956.
  • The first historically black Greek sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, was established during the 1970s.
  • In 1991, Delta Lambda Phi, a men's progressive gay fraternity, was formed at the UA.
  • The first Native American fraternity in the nation, Beta Sigma Epsilon, was formed at the UA in 2000.

The first historically black Greek sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, was established during the 1970s. (Photo: Patrick McArdle/UANews)

Q: Why does the UA have chapter houses?

Thompson: As the student body started to grow and the University wasn’t able to accommodate all the students in University housing, fraternities and sororities were encouraged to house their members in their own facilities. By 1914, chapters started renting or buying houses to turn into a home for their members. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, chapter houses were being built along First and Second streets, and this area became referred to as the "Greek Row." Continued growth in student enrollment and the steady increase in the number of fraternities and sororities in the 1950s and 1960s led to additional housing being built north of Speedway as part of a state legislative project to provide more housing for students. Fourteen new houses were built at this time. Chapter houses are the gathering place for members where meetings, studying, meals and events take place and represent memories and experiences that build pride in the UA.

Q: What kinds of contributions does the Greek community make, both on and off campus? How would you describe the importance and impact of the Greek community?

Ives: The impact of the Greek community is something that is felt in a variety of capacities. For one individual, joining the community may make the difference in providing a support system when they experience an unexpected life transition, or the Greek community may also impact an entire community through the service and philanthropic work that is done on both a local and national level by Greek members.

Q: What does research indicate about participation in Greek life?

Ives: Data has shown that students at the University of Arizona who join a Greek organization are more likely to graduate within four years when compared to their non-Greek peers. The four-year graduation rates for the 2010 first-time, full-time freshman cohort fraternity and sorority members is 62 percent, with 68 percent of sorority members and 55 percent of fraternity members graduating within four years. During the spring 2015 semester, the fraternity and sorority community raised a grand total of $217,312.64 and the Greek community contributed a total of 16,738 hours of community service. National research shows that students who are engaged in campus activities, such as working on campus or getting involved with a club, are more likely to persist to graduation while enrolled at a university. Data from our own institution showed that the first-time, full-time freshman retention rates of fraternity and sorority members have exceeded the overall UA first-time, full-time retention rate since 2010. 

Over the past three years, there has also been an increase in the number of students registering for men’s and women’s recruitment at the start of the semester.

Q: What are the rigors associated with being a member of a fraternity and sorority today?

Ives: Fraternity and sorority members at the UA are expected to maintain a 2.75 grade-point average or higher, become involved in one outside activity or work, and also contribute a total of eight hours of service a semester. Chapters want their members to be well-rounded, involved students both in the community and on campus.

Wilbur Wildcat was created and named by Phi Kappa Psi's Richard Heller and John Paquette. (Photo: Patrick McArdle/UANews)

During homecoming, the campus community will celebrate the Greek Centennial with several special events planned for current chapter members and alumni:

  • Oct. 22: The Greek Block Party will be held from 6-8 p.m. on East First Street between North Cherry and North Highland avenues, where the original Greek Row exists. The event, to include food trucks and entertainment, will coincide with open houses for those fraternities and sororities that have chapter houses. Admission is free.
  • Oct. 23: The Greek White Out TG will be held from 5:30-8:30 p.m. on the east side of Old Main. Honorary co-chairs Geraldo Rivera (Tau Delta Phi) and Alex Flanagan (Gamma Phi Beta) will attend the dinner to celebrate a century of friendship and interfraternal spirit. Guests are encouraged to wear white to the event. Tickets are $65. Registration is available online.  
  • Oct. 24: The All Greek Tailgate will be held on the UA Mall prior to the start of the homecoming football game. Admission is free, and food and refreshments will be available.

Contact: Johanne Ives at 520-621-0559 or

Campus NewsTeaching and StudentsStudentsStudent LifeOutreachUniversity Relations - Communications |dougcarrollyesThursday, August 27, 2015The UA is celebrating 100 years of Greek life on campus, honoring the historic contributions of sorority and fraternity members. NoFraternities and sororities have been making contributions to the campus and local communities for 100 years. 0

UA Researchers Work to Keep US Food Crops Safe

Thu, 08/27/2015 - 6:19pm

A team of researchers from the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has received funding to study irrigation water quality.

The team will focus on developing monitoring strategies and guidelines to provide food safety improvements that can be used by the U.S. produce industry to prevent crops from becoming contaminated.

Between 1998 and 2008 in the United States, more than 3.2 million foodborne illnesses were attributed to vegetables contaminated by a pathogenic microorganism, leading to 233 deaths. When water contaminated with pathogens — any infectious agent such as a virus, bacterium or parasite that can cause disease — is used to irrigate produce, these pathogens can attach to the surface of produce or potentially be taken up by the roots into the edible plant.

The UA research team will focus on identifying the best strategies for monitoring irrigation water quality and the development of guidelines for the irrigation of food crops. Most of this work will be conducted in Yuma, the principal U.S. region responsible for the production of leafy greens such as lettuces and spinach during the winter. In addition, the team will expand the geographical research to include irrigation systems in Imperial Valley, California, and Maricopa, Arizona, thereby increasing the agricultural impact and relevance for more farmers.

The team will develop a standard procedure and guidelines for sampling irrigation water used for food crops.

"In the greater picture, this will benefit the farmers and consumers of produce by reducing food recalls from pathogen contamination originating from irrigation water," said Marc Verhougstraete, assistant professor of environmental health sciences at the Zuckerman College of Public Health.

"This research will help farmers to better monitor their water quality to determine if it is safe to use for the irrigation of produce," said Kelly Bright, associate research professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

"The current standards used by the produce industry to detect fecal contamination in irrigation water are based on tests developed for drinking water and risk threshold levels established for recreational water," Bright said.

The team also will evaluate the accuracy of a new "virus indicator" and improve the methods required for monitoring irrigation and other surface water. Results will provide the produce industry with valuable exposure data on the presence/absence and quantity of fecal contamination that may be present in irrigation water.

"Ultimately, we want to improve the use of indicator organisms for evaluating irrigation water quality," Verhougstraete said. "The results of this research will have a national impact on irrigation water monitoring and keeping our produce safe from E. coli and other pathogens."

Two grants totaling more than $338,000 were awarded by the Center for Produce Safety, a nonprofit public benefit corporation dedicated to research, public education and outreach regarding produce food safety issues. The Arizona Department of Agriculture awarded a $60,000 grant.

Editor: dougcarrollWriter: Gerri KellyByline: Gerri KellyByline Affiliation: UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public HealthExtra Info: 

• Enteric viruses as new indicators of human and cattle fecal contamination of irrigation waters (Center for Produce Safety, $221,000)

Principal investigator Kelly Bright, Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science, UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Co-principal investigators Marc Verhougstraete and Kelly Reynolds, UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health


• Optimal strategies for monitoring irrigation water quality and the development of guidelines for the irrigation of food crops (Center for Produce Safety, $117,202)

Principal investigator Marc Verhougstraete

Co-principal investigators Kelly Bright, Kelly Reynolds and Channah Rock, UA Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science and UA Maricopa Agricultural Center


• Spatial/temporal sampling of irrigation water (Arizona Department of Agriculture, $60,000)

Principal investigator Kelly Bright

Co-principal investigators Marc Verhougstraete and Kelly Reynolds

Header image: YesNo Image: Subheading: Three grants totaling $400,000 will be used to study E. coli contamination of irrigation water for food crops. The results of the research will benefit farmers and consumers by reducing food recalls due to pathogen contamination from irrigation water.Include in UANow: 0Include in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noIncludes video: 

UA to Study, Train School Resource Officers

Thu, 08/27/2015 - 12:11pm

The Arizona Department of Education has selected the University of Arizona as its partner in a study funded by the National Institute of Justice to examine the impact of school resource officers on Arizona schools.

The first-of-its-kind study is being led by UA College of Education faculty members, who will collect, synthesize and analyze data from 48 middle and high schools across the state over the next three years.

Since the 1950s, school resource officers, also called SROs, have been part of schools across the country. SROs typically serve as law enforcement on school campuses, or as a liaison between schools and law enforcement agencies. However, they often are more integrated into schools' culture, filling teaching, counseling and parent-interaction roles as well.

The UA's study will provide data related to two areas of focus.

First, it will aim to discover if and how SROs have a positive impact on school climate, safety and other related outcomes such as disciplinary referrals, bullying and school violence. The research effort is being led by professor Sheri Bauman and assistant professor Mike Sulkowski.

"School resource officers have been used in the United States for more than 50 years, and there has never been a rigorous, empirical study of their contribution to school climate and other outcomes," Bauman said. "This is the first systematic, rigorous study of this."

In addition, the UA will provide enhanced training to select SROs in an effort to learn whether increased training has a positive impact on them. The training initiative is being led by professor Kris Bosworth and assistant professor Katie Eklund.

To date, the state Department of Education has provided training to all SROs in Arizona.

Of the 48 schools that are part of the study, 16 SROs will receive enhanced training, while 16 will receive the regular state Department of Education training. The remaining 16 schools have no SROs and will serve as a control group.

SROs who receive enhanced training also will receive individual coaching.

"The coach will work with them on finding resources, ideas for how to deal with these issues, monitoring their action plan, getting them help along the way," Bosworth said.

"The coaching is really the important piece," she said. "They have someone that gets to know the schools, the personalities, and is able to help them move forward and give them resources when they need it. The one-time trainings are great to get things started, but if you want to make change, it's that coaching that's the key piece."

Throughout the three-year project, data will be collected through a variety of sources, including disciplinary infractions, truancy and disciplinary referrals. More than 5,000 randomly selected students from grades six through 12 will complete surveys to contribute to the data, and SROs will submit logs on their experiences.

"We're interested not only in do they make a difference, but how do their various activities contribute to the overall outcomes," Bauman said. "We'll have three waves of data from 48 schools.... The school gets detailed feedback after each data collection that they can use however they wish."

After the three-year project is complete, the results will be disseminated nationally to provide insight for schools across the country.

"I hope that policymakers will be able to reflect on what they're currently doing," Bauman said. "If it turns out that the enhanced training makes a huge difference, maybe they will look into increasing the training that their SROs get."

For schools that hope to shift the focus of SROs' responsibilities from disciplinary enforcement to big-picture issues, such as helping students fix problem behaviors, Bosworth says she hopes the data will reveal insightful ways to utilize their SROs most effectively and achieve successful outcomes.

"I think that at the end of the grant, we will be able to better understand and communicate to the rest of the country some of the things that are effective about using SROs and some of the things that still need to be worked on," she said.

Editor: dougcarrollByline: Amanda BallardByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: Since the 1950s, resource officers have been a feature of schools across the country, but this will be the first rigorous examination of their role.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: 

The Future and Challenges of Digital Learning

Thu, 08/27/2015 - 11:02am

My own concern with online learning is made real every day as the University of Arizona expands its online offerings from a robust catalog of graduate programs into the world of undergraduate online education.

It is an interesting time for a campus that has successfully built many graduate-level programs, particularly ones that focus on professional degrees. At the same time, the skepticism remains, particularly for faculty, staff and students who are being asked to reimagine our mission by expanding access to our courses and programs through the development of a fully online undergraduate campus. On top of these challenges is the additional issue of providing a high-quality undergraduate degree program that educates the whole student — from the first-year foundations and general education courses to the specific major and minor courses that make up their final degree.

UA Online has taken up this challenge in several ways.

First, we decided as an institution to build a targeted general education program through a few select courses. Through an open application process, we solicited instructors interested in developing an integrated general education program. The final group of faculty members spans the diversity of our institution, from across the arts and sciences and from the ranks of tenured faculty to our seasoned master, lecturing faculty.

Second, to create faculty community within the general education curriculum, we are supporting collaborations across all three main content areas — natural sciences, individuals and sciences, and traditions and cultures — as well as in the foundation areas of math, writing and second-language acquisition. In short, faculty members are building an interdisciplinary community within a general education framework.

Third, these same faculty members are building student community within the general education program by developing interactive, student-centered learning objects within their individual courses while also creating connections across courses. The courses allow students to "talk to" each other in different ways, providing them a sense of participation in interdisciplinary conversations that cut across the arts and sciences. This allows students to think about how to ask and answer questions from a variety of different perspectives and approaches.

In all of this, we are building UA Online purposively and in relation to our wider institutional mission, which is to enable students to think, write, listen, and learn to ask and answer questions critically and thoughtfully. Learning communities are one way in which we can challenge students to think outside the boundaries of discreet knowledge systems.

The future of higher education lies in its ability to educate students in ways that better match the complexity of the socio-economic, political and environmental challenges that we face as a planet. To do this, we believe students must build upon a broad, interdisciplinary foundation that starts from the first day they enter university. The ability to educate students and create community is not bound by learning modality, but only by our own capacity to create interconnections. Through this, we believe students will more likely commit to, and stay with, their learning plan. And, in the end, they will understand that what they do here is quite special.

Read more from Vincent Del Casino about how the UA is providing solutions to affordability and accessibility online, and visit the UA Online site.

Contact Vincent Del Casino at 520-621-0963 and

Vincent Del Casino is the UA's vice provost for digital learning and student engagement, and also associate vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. Del Casino also holds a tenured position as a UA professor of geography and development. He continues to teach and write on his major research areas, which include the study of health, medical and social geography, focusing particularly on the history of geographic thought, sexual politics and health care related to chronic and infectious disease. Del Casino currently teaches the online section of "Geography 251, World Regions: Global and Comparative Perspectives."

Teaching and StudentsStudentsEducationOutreachVincent Del Casino, UA Online |dougcarrollyesFriday, August 28, 2015Online education remains a disruptive force in higher education, but UA Online is producing solutions to affordability and accessibility. YesOnline education remains a disruptive force in higher education, but UA Online is producing solutions to affordability and accessibility. 0

Striking Up the Band

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 6:02pm

The Pride of Arizona marching band at the University of Arizona came together at a week of band camp in August under the supervision of Alli Howard, its high-energy interim music director.

The band was founded in 1902 as the UA ROTC Band, containing only 12 members — a fraction of its current size of 250-plus. The Pride of Arizona has performed at an array of events over the years, including the inaugural Super Bowl football game and the inauguration of President Jimmy Carter. After each home football game, it treats fans to a mini-concert on the steps of the Administration Building, always ending with a rousing rendition of "Bear Down, Arizona!"

At band camp, Howard put the members through long, hot days of practice that stretched into the night. As a reward for the hard work, the band was treated to a big finale, courtesy of the Tucson Fire Department.

Video Thumbnail: Category(s): Arts and HumanitiesCampus NewsYouTube Video:  UA Band Camp 2015 Video of UA Band Camp 2015 Feature Sticky: OffFeature on Front: NoMedium Summary: Members of the UA's Pride of Arizona marching band went to a week of camp to learn the show. See how their crash course ended in a splash, thanks to the Tucson Fire Department. UANow Image: Date of Publication: Wednesday, August 26, 2015Send to Never Settle Site: 0Includes video: The story include video

#UABack2School Bucket List

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 4:21pm

When students choose the University of Arizona, they also are selecting a city and region nationally and internationally known for its history, architecture, culture and climate.

University students have relatively easy access to mountain regions with hugely diverse ecosystems, a vibrant arts community and historic, and world-famous sites such as San Xavier del Bac and the UA-run Biosphere 2, the world's largest watershed. Tucson hosts major events such as Tucson Meet Yourself, a decades-old staple and celebration of diversity, and also the annual Tucson Festival of Books, one of the largest book festivals in the nation. Also, the region is the birthplace of the famed Sonoran hot dog.

We consulted with several students and employees for their "bucket list" suggestions for new students:

"I would recommend everyone to get a ZonaZoo pass and support all of our athletic teams here at Arizona, especially the awesome volleyball team." — Penina Snuka, a member of the UA volleyball team

"Visit Kartchner Caverns, hike in the Chiricahua Mountains, do a day trip to Nogales and do a culinary tour of South Tucson and South 12th Avenue." — Javier Durán, director of the Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry

"Take advantage of close proximity to beautiful camping and hiking locations. These are also great locations for stargazing and watching meteor showers. Cochise Stronghold (southeast of Tucson) is currently one of my favorite spots. Also, attend the Pascua Yaqui Easter Ceremonies. Visitors are welcome to attend and observe the cultural practices of the Yaqui community. These ceremonies take place in different locations and on different days." — Ashley Tsosie-Mahieu, doctoral student in American Indian Studies

"The places that I think are a must-see in Tucson during the first year are: Sabino Canyon, a restful escape, especially during finals. It is a great place to see the local flora and fauna and maybe even a snake or two. Mount Lemmon is just a one-hour drive from Tucson but feels like going to Canada as you see the different climate zones on the way up the mountain in such a contrast to the desert floor. A basketball game at McKale Center can be the best two hours of your life — fun, exciting and like nothing you've ever experienced before." — Melinda Burke, UA Alumni Association president

"Attending a football and a basketball game and sitting in the ZonaZoo is definitely something that every freshman should put on their bucket list. The crazy, loud, energetic environment is something everyone should experience here at the UA. There is nothing like cheering on Arizona sports teams as a member of the best student section in the country." — Kayla Beck, student and marketing director for the ZonaZoo

Photo: Norma Jean Gargasz/UANews

"Explore Tucson — there are many hidden gems. Get involved with a club, student government or whatever interests you, and if there is no club that interests you, create your own. Join Greek life — there is a house for everyone. And in March, go to Las Vegas for the Pac-12 basketball tournament. Arizona takes over Vegas for the whole weekend, and everyone is an Arizona fan." — UA alumnus Ben Berger, who earned a degree in religious studies

Arts and HumanitiesCampus NewsHealthTeaching and StudentsStudent LifeStudentsUniversity Relations - Communications |dougcarrollyesThursday, August 27, 2015UA students and employees share their must-do lists with incoming freshmen. NoUA students and employees share their must-do lists with incoming freshmen. 0

Tumamoc Hill Promotes Learning, Stewardship

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 11:48am

About half a million round-trip hikes take place at Tumamoc Hill every year. A collection of newly installed signs along the west-side walking trail seeks to add an educational element to those hikes.

Michael Rosenzweig, director of Tumamoc and a University of Arizona professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, believes each hike represents an opportunity to bring the classroom outdoors and to create stewards of Tumamoc’s unique ecology.  

Rosenzweig and a group of community stakeholders, including Arizona Congressman Raúl Grijalva and Tucson Councilor Regina Romero, gathered on the hill Tuesday to celebrate the installation of the signs. The hill, west of "A" Mountain and downtown Tucson, is an 850-acre ecological and archaeological reserve.

Rosenzweig said Tumamoc's hikers have been "having fun and they're getting healthier, but they're not learning anything."

Now they will.

Joaquin Ruiz, dean of the UA College of Science, said "half of Tucson" exercises at the hill, calling it "a place where arguably modern ecology was invented."

Paul Mirocha, a scientific illustrator and graphic designer, created artwork for the signs. He said they were placed at 1.5-mile intervals along the trail, where hikers might naturally stop to catch their breath and enjoy the view. They also were designed so that they could be replaced as needed, based on hikers' response.

"People see Tumamoc as an exercise course," said Mirocha, but the signs will "create a mixture of health and ecology."

"It's really gratifying when people stand there long enough to read them and discuss," he said.

The signs, funded by a grant from the Arizona Game and Fish Department, feature wildlife indigenous to Tumamoc and explanations of how they fit into the ecological landscape. The explanations were a collaboration between the Arizona Game and Fish Department and Rosenzweig, who joked about how wrongly he would have represented the mule deer without the department's help.

"Teaching science is not like filling a bucket with lots of interesting facts," Rosenzweig said. "It's lighting a fire."

The signs at Tumamoc Hill were designed to light that fire. 

Editor: dougcarrollWriter: Emily LitvackByline: Emily LitvackByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: New signs along the walking trail add an educational element to the popular exercise haven for Tucsonans.Include in UANow: 0Include in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noIncludes video: 

Welcome Home, Wildcats

Tue, 08/25/2015 - 5:19pm
Thursday, August 27, 2015

UA to Partner With Uber on Research

Tue, 08/25/2015 - 4:57pm

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and University of Arizona President Ann Weaver Hart joined Uber executives at the UA College of Optical Sciences on Tuesday to celebrate a major economic development partnership between Uber and the UA.

As part of the partnership, which focuses on research and development in the optics space for mapping and safety, the University will become home to Uber’s state-of-the-art mapping test vehicles. Additionally, Uber will donate $25,000 to the College of Optical Sciences to help the next generation of scientists, engineers and researchers continue to explore and develop new, innovative technology.

Ducey called it "a great day for Uber, for the UA and for the future of innovation in Arizona," adding that his administration has been focused on helping companies such as Uber succeed in the state.

"Today’s announcement is the latest signal that it’s working," Ducey said. "All Arizonans stand to benefit from embracing new technologies — especially when it means new jobs, new economic development, new research opportunities and increased public safety and transportation options for our state. That’s what this partnership is about, and I thank Uber and the University of Arizona for their efforts and commitment to making it happen."

"This is an exciting new partnership, and I am glad that the UA's global research leadership allows us to join in a collaborative effort that will have great benefit for this state," Hart said. "Ranked as a top-20 public research university by the National Science Foundation, the UA’s role in Arizona’s innovation and knowledge economy is absolutely vital. Our achievements in advanced optics and imaging technologies in particular will help Uber on the ground in Arizona.

"I’m impressed with Uber’s vision and commitment to this partnership, and grateful for Gov. Ducey’s support and leadership in helping to facilitate it."  

Brian McClendon, vice president of advanced technologies for Uber, a transportation network company with headquarters in San Francisco, said "it’s clear that Arizona welcomes innovation."

"We applaud Gov. Ducey and the University of Arizona for their eagerness to embrace new technology," McClendon said. "Over the last 20 years, technology has helped democratize access to so many services — working in partnership with forward-thinking universities and elected officials across the United States. We’re still in the early days of what’s possible, and I look forward to working with Arizona to make the next step of that journey a reality."

U.S. Rep. Martha McSally and Thomas Koch, dean of the College of Optical Sciences, also were on hand for the announcement on the lower level of the optical sciences building on campus.

This content originated with a news release from the Office of Gov. Doug Ducey. 

Editor: dougcarrollByline Affiliation: University Relations – CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: The University will become home to Uber's state-of-the-art mapping test vehicles.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: 

Future Doctors Immersed in Coursework

Tue, 08/25/2015 - 12:31pm
Thursday, August 27, 2015

Bearing Down and Moving In

Mon, 08/24/2015 - 11:15am
Monday, August 24, 2015

Feeding the Mind, Nurturing the Body and Soul

Mon, 08/24/2015 - 11:02am

Photo: FJ Gaylor

Taking the whole-person approach seriously, the University of Arizona either facilitates or supports a major suite of offerings designed to ensure that students are not only academically successful, but that they also lead healthy lifestyles.

The UA has been recognized for this work. Last year, the University was named among the top 25 healthiest colleges in the U.S. by the Greatist Team.

Here, we present a sampling of offerings designed to support students — body and mind.

For mental health

The UA's Counseling and Psych Services at Campus Health Service offers a number of consultative services to University students.

The UA also offers a number of resources for students who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender that are both supportive and social in nature, including the LGBTQA+ Support Group and the Gender Spectrum Support Group. Both groups are facilitated by the Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning Affairs. A number of organizations also exist on campus in support of LGBT students.

For physical health

Campus Recreation offers the full array of fitness options: club sports, activity classes, challenge programs, intramural sports, aquatics and more.

Also, the UA supports numerous student-led clubs and organizations that promote health, wellness and overall fitness, including those devoted to different types of dance, cycling and self-improvement.

Elsewhere, and in response to student requests, the UA Libraries has introduced stand-up desks. Some members of the library staff recently began using the desks, which are known to help reduce risks associated with obesity and metabolic problems. The library also has introduced several desks on the second floor of the main library. The desks are first come, first serve.

For proper nutrition

Arizona Student Unions is consistently surveying students and employees about food options, offering foods that are gluten free, vegetarian and vegan.

The UA is so committed to promoting healthy lifestyles among the student body that it hired registered dietitian Christine Carlson to help revise and expand menus, to ensure that students have access to more choices. Carlson is working in tandem with UA executive chef Michael Omo to expand options for students with special dietary requirements.

For example, the Student Union and Park Student Union each offers gluten-free options. In fact, Core+ at the Park Student Union is entirely gluten-free and also a tree nut/peanut free facility, offering salads, fajitas and stir fry, among other options. Students also can connect with the UA Gluten Free club.

Other options include Nosh at the Park Student Union and Fuel at the Student Recreation Center. At the Student Union, Pangea's world fare offers 10 food stations changing daily, including carved lean meats, artisan salads, fire-roasted vegetables, custom-created ramen bowls, whole grain breads and pasta, whole fruit and more. The Chobani Creation Bar is also at the Student Union.

The Union's sports nutrition program, “Eat Like a C.H.A.M.P.," has expanded from Bear Down Kitchen to Fuel in the Student Recreation Center and McKale Center.

Also, the Den by Denny's at the Park Student Union's remodeled upstairs food court has options to substitute healthier choices.

In addition to offering nutritional information about various outlets, the UA offers the Smart Moves program to help students more easily identify campus programs, services and food options that encourage and promote active, healthy lifestyles. 

HealthTeaching and StudentsStudentsStudent LifeOutreachUniversity Relations - Communications |dougcarroll0Monday, August 24, 2015In addition to focusing on students' academic success, the UA encourages overall wellness. NoIn addition to focusing on students' academic success, the UA encourages overall wellness. 0

Plasma Research Could Make Flight Safer

Fri, 08/21/2015 - 6:06pm

Plasma has generated excitement among aerodynamics researchers for its effects on air flow and its potential for building more agile and fuel-efficient flying machines, ranging from planes, helicopters and drones to rockets and satellites.

Now a rising star in aerodynamics at the University of Arizona College of Engineering is putting plasma’s promise to the test.

Assistant professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering Jesse Little received a $245,000 grant in June from the Defense University Research Instrumentation Program, or DURIP, for a project titled "Interaction of Three-Dimensional Unsteady Flows With Aerodynamic Surfaces." DURIP is a collaboration of the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force research divisions.

The grant augments Little's ongoing plasma aerodynamics work funded with a 2014 Army Research Office Young Investigator Program Award. Little received an earlier YIP Award in 2012 from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

"These awards are evidence of Jesse’s significant contributions to this important research focus," said Jeff Jacobs, head of UA aerospace and mechanical engineering.

Little is one of several UA engineering faculty to receive DURIP and Young Investigator awards. Ivan Djordjevic of electrical and computer engineering received a DURIP award in June.

Controlling Chaos

Little directs the UA Turbulence and Flow Control Laboratory, where he studies what causes turbulence, how it behaves and how it can be controlled. Turbulent flow is inherently chaotic — think of water crashing at the bottom of a waterfall — and filled with vortices and eddies that scientists are only just beginning to understand.

"As more airplanes, helicopters and drones fly at lower altitude and in urban areas — where air tends to be more unsteady than, say, at 40,000 feet — it becomes even more important to understand turbulent air flows and how they interact with solid surfaces," Little said.

Little is one of many researchers around the globe using active flow control, a technology pioneered by UA aerospace and mechanical engineering professor Israel Wygnanski, who, with engineers from Caltech, Boeing and NASA, designed a smaller, lighter airplane tail using sweeping-jet actuators, which emit tiny bursts of air to disrupt and control air flow.

Little’s actuators use high voltage to ionize air, producing plasma. Plasma, or ionized gas, is believed to be the most abundant state of matter in the universe. It produces thermal energy for some of nature’s most spectacular displays: lightning and stars, for example, which can exceed 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

The thermal energy from a plasma discharge can interrupt and control air flows to an extraordinary degree — and even dissipate shock waves, which has prompted aerodynamics researchers to write of "plasma magic" in their papers.

In one example of turbulence, air flows can separate from a surface. This puts considerable drag on an airborne object and reduces its lift. Plasma’s thermal bursts can reattach these separated flows at the precise spot they originated. This means plasma can reduce drag on an aircraft and prevent it from stalling.

Little and students working in his lab use power generators to ionize air particles that are exposed to strips of copper tape. The copper strips act as electrodes, conducting high-voltage electricity to actuate the plasma floating above them.

Actuators in hand, the researchers climb into the aerospace and mechanical engineering department’s subsonic wind tunnel to attach them along with strips of dielectric, or insulating, tape, at precise locations on the airfoil, a cross-section of a wing.

Back outside, with the press of a button, they turn on the actuators, which emit nanosecond pulses of plasma over the airfoil’s surface. The team takes precise measurements and conducts computer analyses of how these plasma "hot spots" affect air flow at specific locations on the airfoil, particularly the leading edge.

Cleaner Technologies

Little’s findings will help engineers design plasma actuators that can be attached, perhaps in sheets, to an airplane wing or helicopter rotor blade. These lightweight electronic flow control devices could shrink or even replace much heavier airplane control surfaces, such as wing flaps and tails, reducing the plane’s weight and enabling it to fly farther on less fuel. The plasma actuators also have potential to revolutionize aspects of wind-tunnel testing, allowing researchers to perform experiments currently limited to expensive flight tests.

Plasma actuators could improve efficiency inside planes, too.

"Industry faces ever greater pressure to improve combustion efficiency, reduce pollutant emissions and make ignition and combustion processes more reliable," Little said. "We know that plasma discharges can enhance fuel-air reactivity and reduce exhaust. Plasma actuators could lead to much cleaner engines, not just in aviation, but in many industries."

A high school intern and undergraduate student — funded by 2015 Army Research Office apprenticeship grants — and an Army captain pursuing his master’s degree are among the students working on the project with Little.

"I have wanted to be an aerospace engineer since I was in the fourth grade," said Zachary Wellington, who graduated from Sonoran Science Academy in May and is starting his first year as a UA engineering student.

For Timothy Ashcraft, a helicopter pilot whose military honors include the Bronze Star, the project hits close to home.  

In August 2010, Ashcraft was co-piloting an Apache helicopter in Afghanistan when it was shot down. Both pilots survived.

Ashcraft is pursuing his UA master’s degree in aerospace and mechanical engineering with funding from the Army. After he graduates, he will teach engineering at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he received his bachelor’s degree in 2007.

"I survived for two reasons," he said. "The exceptional skill of the pilot in command, and the engineers who built and designed the aircraft to withstand severe battle damage.

"I hope I can give back to the field of aerospace engineering, because it literally saved my life."

Editor: dougcarrollByline: Jill GoetzByline Affiliation: UA College of EngineeringHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: With Department of Defense funding and student researchers that include a decorated Army pilot, UA assistant professor Jesse Little studies plasma’s potential to transform aerospace testing and technology. Include in UANow: 0Include in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noIncludes video: 

UA Library Exhibit Celebrates Tucson

Fri, 08/21/2015 - 2:38pm

Visitors to the University of Arizona's Special Collections Gallery reflected on transgressions of the past and celebrated Tucson's community identity with the opening of "Tucson: Growth, Change and Memories."

The exhibition, which commemorates Tucson's 240th birthday, opened Tuesday and runs through Jan. 14.

A panel discussion, "Growing Up Tucson," is scheduled for 6-8 p.m. on Sept. 17. City Councilwoman Molly McKasson, local business owner Katya Peterson, Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias and UA professor of Mexican American studies Lydia Otero will comprise the panel of native Tucsonans, sharing stories about life in the city from the 1950s to the present.

The exhibit, co-curated by UA associate librarian Bob Diaz and Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation board member Andie Zelnio, illuminates Tucson’s history, paying close attention to its growth as an urban community. It prompts visitors to consider what is lost and gained through urbanization.

"Tucson: Growth, Change and Memories" showcases historic photos retrieved from the Special Collections vault, maps and vintage memorabilia of Tucson. A large installation dreamed up by collaborators at the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation features a map of Tucson from the past, with red string linking historic buildings on the map to enlarged black-and-white photographic prints of them.

Diaz said UA Libraries was happy to contribute these photos, and to make digitized versions available to the public online.

"This exhibit brings people together and helps them remember parts of the past they can no longer physically see," he said.

At Tuesday's opening event, about 200 members of the community filled a room to capacity, eager to hear a lecture by UA anthropology professor Thomas Sheridan. His lecture, "Two Steps Forward, One Step Back? The Mexican Community of Tucson, 1940-2015," considered how the sociopolitical climate of the city has impacted its Mexican community.

One woman who recognized her 1950s-era car on the street in one of the featured photographs. The event ended an hour later than scheduled, with guests staying to talk about their memories.

"Tucson is really a special place," Diaz said. "By providing programming and education, we're planting seeds for people to explore further and to understand more about the different cultures and people that have been here for a very long time." 

Editor: dougcarrollWriter: Emily LitvackByline: Emily LitvackByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: A new exhibition at UA Libraries Special Collections commemorates Tucson's 240th birthday by reflecting on its past, present and future.Include in UANow: 0Include in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noIncludes video: 

Sport Psychologist Promotes Peak Performance

Thu, 08/20/2015 - 6:08pm

Student-athletes ease themselves onto padded tables as athletic trainers probe and prod and wrap long, beige bandages around twisted ankles. 

Here, in the training room in McKale Center, a sports medicine team of physicians and trainers treats the whole student-athlete, and Amy Athey, the University of Arizona's director of clinical and sport psychology, is part of that team.

As a former college basketball player, Athey found working with athletes a natural fit as she began pursuing her clinical psychology doctorate in the late 1990s.

"I could relate and bring services in a way that reduces stigma and normalizes taking care of mental health," she says. "This is just another part of their training."

At the core, it is about the well-being of the students, Athey explains, including addressing everyday issues such as anxiety and depression — common challenges for all students. As Athey notes, sports promote mental health in some ways, but athletes also face distinct demands and pressures. 

While wellness counseling may be the first priority in sports psychology, that’s not how it’s usually portrayed in entertainment media.

"One of the challenges for our field is that we’re often defined by the interventions," Athey says, referring to the high-impact speeches in the films "Rocky," "Hoosiers" and "The Karate Kid" — moments that take ordinary people to a state of elite physical prowess and legendary performance. 

It's true, there are certain tools and techniques — "interventions," in the professional parlance — that many sport psychologists draw on to help athletes live and play at their best. But they're built on fundamentals common to all fields of psychology, and there are no shortcuts.

"These students are talented, but they've also worked hard," says Athey, a sport psychologist for teams at the University of Oregon and Mississippi State University previously.

"They wouldn't have gotten this far if they hadn't. What's amazing is that at this stage in their lives, they know what to do to get in the flow or the zone. Our job is helping them get there more consistently."

That might involve coaching them on better "self-talk," or helping them learn to click into a certain level of alertness. And there is research suggesting that an athlete tends to run, jump and shoot better after watching a highlight reel of his or her best moments.

Even so, these interventions are elements in a larger system of nurture and care.

"I have colleagues who help surgeons, ballet dancers, C-level executives," Athey says. "Some of them make the argument that we should shift the label to 'performance psychologists.'"

What works for athletes works also works for those who aren't athletes. Many endeavors require dedication, persistence and focus. 

"Everyone can focus," Athey says. "What's hard is to refocus, and to stay focused on the right things." 

Editor: dougcarrollWriter: Eric Van MeterByline: Eric Van MeterByline Affiliation: UA Alumni AssociationExtra Info: 

Read more on the Arizona Alumni Magazine site.

Header image: YesNo Image: Subheading: For student-athletes, the UA works to balance athleticism, academic performance and mental health. Amy Athey plays an important role in that equation.Include in UANow: 0Include in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: 

Teach Arizona Grad Named TUSD Top Teacher

Thu, 08/20/2015 - 4:12pm

Jesús Orduño walks through the office of Pueblo Magnet High School, fist-bumping students and chatting with folks at the front desk.

Orduño, the 2015 High School Teacher of the Year for the Tucson Unified School District, has found his calling.

"Students feel comfortable with me, and we connect with each other," said the 24-year-old Spanish teacher, who won the award with only two years of teaching under his belt.

"They see that I respect where they come from and who they are, and they respect where I come from and who I am."

The University of Arizona College of Education graduate, who received a master's degree in teaching and teacher education through UA Teach Arizona in 2013, knows the challenges his students face. He has lived them.

"I was born and bred here," said Orduño, a 2008 graduate of Pueblo. One of seven siblings, Orduño was the first to be born in the United States and the first to graduate from college.

"This community has helped me, and to be able to give back is the best thing I can do."

Orduño excelled in math and science, initially dreaming of attending Arizona State University to study engineering.

But after a couple of high school camps, he decided engineering was not for him.

"It wasn't something I was passionate about," he said. "I couldn’t see myself waking up every day and being happy."

He describes his choice of the UA as "the best decision I made."

Orduño, who said he was blessed with an outstanding Spanish teacher at Pueblo, was drawn to the profession. He studied Spanish literature and received a bachelor’s degree before enrolling in Teach Arizona.

"Teach Arizona is fantastic in terms of preparing teachers in logistics and classroom management, and actually learning what it is like to be a teacher," he said.

Patty Stowers, who directs Teach Arizona with Barry Roth, said Orduño serves as a role model.

"He has a lot of passion, and Pueblo is just the place for him," Stowers said. "He is completely committed to students and faculty."

Since Teach Arizona was launched 15 years ago, 499 students have received master's degrees. The program expanded to Chandler in 2012, and 55 students graduated from the two programs last May.

The intensive, yearlong program includes a full year of UA classes, in tandem with a school year of student teaching.

"What students like, and what we like, is the ability to talk about research-based teaching practices in the classroom that they can take back to their schools the next morning," Stowers said. "They can come back the next day and talk about what worked and what didn't work."

Augustine F. Romero, Pueblo's principal, said Orduño inspires students to make the most of their opportunities.

"He is passionate about students, he is passionate about our school and he is passionate about our community," Romero said. "Students recognize how authentic he is — authentic about his teaching, authentic as to why he is there. He is truly authentic in his love for them, and it is mutual."

Many of the students come from difficult environments.

"He empowers them without enabling them," Romero said. "He has high expectations. He believes deeply in the kids and encourages them to transcend their reality. What students see in him is hope."

Orduño said the best part about being named Teacher of the Year was the impact it had on his parents, José Juan Orduño and Luz Juana Orduño.

"My mom was shaking and crying and my dad was speechless," he said of the moment they learned he had won the award. "My family struggled so much, with my dad working three jobs at a time for us to be able to be in the United States.

"This shows my family that their struggles weren’t in vain."

Editor: dougcarrollWriter: Gabrielle FimbresByline: Gabrielle FimbresByline Affiliation: UA College of EducationHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: UA alumnus Jesús Orduño was named the 2015 High School Teacher of the Year for the Tucson Unified School District. Include in UANow: 0Include in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: 

A Moving Welcome for International Students

Wed, 08/19/2015 - 4:30pm

The universal language of dance was spoken freely at the annual pizza party for new undergraduate and graduate international students at the University of Arizona.

The UA welcomed about 1,000 new students from more than 80 countries for the fall semester. Four days of orientation concluded with the party in the North Ballroom of the Student Union Memorial Center. There were no wallflowers, only Wildcats ready to cut loose after a flash mob got things going.

Noelle Sallaz, program director for the Office of International Student Services, said the week followed a familiar pattern.

"The students are probably very jet-lagged and tired for orientation," she said, "and probably a little bit nervous. They might not know anybody in the U.S. It might be their first time coming to this country and their first time being on their own.

"As the days progress, they start meeting other students and becoming a little more familiar with the UA and the campus, and opening up a little bit more."

Imanol Suarez, a doctoral student in Hispanic linguistics from Spain, said he was still taking it all in.

"I wasn't expecting such a big campus," he said. "In Europe, the towns are more compact.... This is huge."

Video Thumbnail: Category(s): Teaching and StudentsYouTube Video:  UA International Pizza Party and Dance Video of UA International Pizza Party and Dance Feature Sticky: OffFeature on Front: NoMedium Summary: After four days of orientation activities, it was time for the UA's new international students to cut loose, and you'll be impressed by their dance moves. UANow Image: Date of Publication: Wednesday, August 19, 2015Send to Never Settle Site: 0Includes video: The story include video

Student Rec Center Turns 25, Plans Monthly Celebration

Wed, 08/19/2015 - 4:06pm

Twenty-five years ago, when the Web was new and Jazzercise was a popular group-fitness program, a dedicated recreation facility was built to serve the student body at the University of Arizona.

This year, the UA Student Recreation Center has reached its quarter-century birthday.

"The UA has always embraced the importance of keeping both the mind and body fit," said Melissa Vito, senior vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management and senior vice provost for Academic Initiatives and Student Success.

Today, the UA Department of Campus Recreation receives more than 1 million visits a year, offering a diverse menu of programs, classes, activities and open recreation opportunities. The facility now serves students, faculty, staff, alumni and other UA affiliates.

"The 25th anniversary of the Recreation Center recognizes our best-in-class recreation facilities, as well as the dedication and energy of the Campus Recreation team, who create state-of-the-art physical activity, recreation and wellness opportunities for the entire campus community," Vito said. "They truly lead the way in inspiring a healthy and engaged lifestyle for all of us."

Campus Recreation has planned several anniversary events in honor of the 25th anniversary.

The celebration kicked off Monday with "Meet Me at the Rec," an event held at the William David Sitton Field at the Student Recreation Center, which is at 1400 E. Sixth St.

Also, on the 25th day of each month through April, Campus Recreation will offer free entry for individuals affiliated with the UA in addition to fitness opportunities, themed classes, giveaways, raffles, and other special events and activities.

The process to build the Student Recreation Center dates to the mid-1970s, when students lobbied the UA for a facility dedicated to student recreation and wellness. In 1979, a committee was appointed to study the separation of physical education and intramurals from the UA Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.

In 1985, the Arizona Board of Regents approved legislation for the purpose of building a student recreation facility, and UA students voted in favor of a referendum calling for a $25-per-semester fee to help pay for the building. These student efforts lead to the creation of what is now the Student Recreation Center.

The new facility opened during the 1990-1991 academic year, featuring two levels of activity space, including basketball courts, racquetball courts, and dance and aerobics rooms. The building also included a juice bar, weight rooms and a swimming pool.

With the debut of Campus Recreation, more comprehensive recreation programs and services, such as aquatics programs, group fitness and personal training, and outdoor adventure offerings came into place. 

The center has received national acclaim over the years.

In 2010, the building saw a significant renovation and update, leading to it becoming the first of three LEED platinum certified buildings on campus. Issued by the U.S. Green Building Council, the certification recognized the UA building's energy efficiency and design and construction practices that increase longevity while reducing the negative environmental impacts.

Also, the 54,000-square-foot expansion included the addition of a fitness center, an outdoor adventure facility and a multi-use activity court gymnasium. Programming has expanded to include comprehensive activity and wellness offerings.

Editor: dougcarrollByline Affiliation: UA Department of Campus RecreationExtra Info: 

Read more about how the UA is helping to support students beyond academics: Feeding the Mind, Nurturing the Body and Soul


And more ways to engage in the 25th anniversary of the Student Recreation Center: 

  • Share a story about the center on the Campus Recreation site.
  • Participate in the 2015 UAFit Challenge, a HealthyU Interactive program supported by Student Affairs Enrollment Management and also Academic Initiatives and Student Success.
  • Consider making a donation to the center via the UA Foundation.
  • Save the date for homecoming events.
Header image: YesNo Image: Subheading: The Department of Campus Recreation logs more than 1 million visits a year, offering a diverse menu of programs, classes, activities and open recreation opportunities.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video: