Monthly Archives: January 2012

N.C. A&T to host NEH workshop Feb. 22

N.C. A&T State University will host a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Regional Workshop on Wednesday, February 22.  It will be open to faculty members from N.C. A&T, other historically black colleges and universities in the area, Appalachian State, UNCG and Wake Forest University.

Dr. Mark Silver, NEH Senior Program Officer, will present a session focused on tips for writing award applications, specifically for faculty awards, fellowships, and summer stipends.  There will also be a mock peer-review panel and a question-and-answer session.

Mr. Darrell Stover, Program Director from the North Carolina Humanities Council, will give a brief overview of current Humanities Council programs.

After the workshop, visiting faculty will have the opportunity to speak individually with Dr. Silver for 15 to 20 minutes regarding individual research proposal concepts.  N.C. A&T and Bennett College faculty members will have the same opportunity the next day, Thursday, February 23rd between 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.  All faculty members requesting a meeting must submit a one-page executive summary of their project in advance.  Requests for individual meetings must be indicated at the time of registration; executive summaries will be due to Nora Shively (nshivelyncatsu@gmail.com) no later than Monday, February 6.

On-site registration will begin at 8:30 a.m., followed by workshop sessions from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  A continental breakfast and hot lunch will be provided.  The location of the event on the A&T campus will be announced soon.

Registration is open for N.C. A&T faculty members.  Faculty from area HBCUs will be able to register beginning Friday, January 27.  Faculty from Appalachian State, UNCG, and Wake Forest will be able to register beginning Tuesday, January 31. Space is limited to 70 individuals.  To register, go to http://www.ncat.edu/~divofres/services/training.php.

Students invited to FBI Bioterroism workshop

From the N.C. Association for Biomedical Research in regard to their previously announced event on Tuesday, February 28:

“NCABR’s Academic Biosecurity Workshop, presented in partnership with the FBI, will address potential biosecurity risks, information and skills needed for a successful attack on a research institution, and warning signs to look for. It will promote the early reporting of suspicious activities and will solidify relationships between law enforcement, research institutions, community stakeholders and academia.

“To ensure an optimal workshop experience, we’d like a cross section of participants that is as broad as possible. Would you please invite appropriate students from your institution by sharing this email? The workshop is completely free to attend.

“For more information and to register, please visit the workshop webpage: ncabr.org/fbi.”

Of engineers, outsourcing and jobs leaving the U.S.

“Apple’s executives had estimated that about 8,700 industrial engineers were needed to oversee and guide the 200,000 assembly-line workers eventually involved in manufacturing iPhones. The company’s analysts had forecast it would take as long as nine months to find that many qualified engineers in the United States.

“In China, it took 15 days.”

The problem with bringing jobs back to the United States isn’t just a matter of cheap foreign wages.  A very thorough article in The New York Times explains the complexities and hard realities behind the simplistic soundbites emanating from politicians.

Link corrected on the previous post.  When bit.ly goes wrong, it really goes wrong.

Scientists & reporters together @ SciO12

A couple notes from the first day of Science Online 2012 (#scio12 on Twitter):

A session on Open Data raised a point about crowd-sourcing of data sets: So far the crowd has been awfully small. How can it made bigger? Case in point: ChemSpider, the Royal Chemical Society’s free online database, contains 26 million chemical structures.  Its 400-plus data sources include only 132 individuals, and exceedingly few of those individuals contributed as many as 10.  Technology isn’t the problem, with sites like ChemSpider and the new FigShare site.  It’s a social issue — sharing isn’t an especially strong value among researchers. And it’s a what’s-in-it-for-me issue, as long as the use of open data sets doesn’t result in citations (or anything else of value) for the contributors of the data.

The session on why scientists hate and fear the media drew a large and highly engaged group of scientists and reporters. The reporters wanted the scientists to know that some reporters do read a study before writing about it, although clearly not all do. Scientists wanted reporters to know that for the most part, they face a bigger potential downside than upside in speaking to the media (especially university researchers who have yet to gain tenure).  There was a consensus that consistent contact and developing relationships can lead to better results for both groups.  The session ended with two requests: The reporters urged scientists not reward bad reporting by continuing to work with bad reporters, and the scientists asked reporters to be judicious in selecting their subjects and not reward bad science.

Most interesting science of the day: political neuroscience (link corrected). Try researching or writing about that one without upsetting a lot of people.

Open science, publications and digital evolution: Like it or not, science and research are changing

Dr. Alan Leshner, executive publisher of the journal Science:

“Will the model of science magazines be the same 10 years from now? I highly doubt it. I believe in evolution. When a better system comes into being that has quality and trustability, it will happen. That’s how science progresses, by doing scientific experiments. We should be doing that with scientific publishing as well.”

The New York Times offers a look at where scientific and research publishing is goinginteresting stuff for researchers who plan to publish in the future. A relatively local angle:

On Thursday, 450 bloggers, journalists, students, scientists, librarians and programmers will converge on North Carolina State University (and thousands more will join in online) for the sixth annual ScienceOnline conference. Science is moving to a collaborative model, said Bora Zivkovic, a chronobiology blogger who is a founder of the conference, “because it works better in the current ecosystem, in the Web-connected world.”

If you’re interested, check out the conference online.  The Aggie Research blog and Twitter feed will post updates from the McKimmon Center.

For MLK Day, studies from N.C. A&T researchers on how to address two persistent disparities

We’ve reported previously on these two journal articles from the past year.  They’re worth thinking about again on Martin Luther King Day.

Mathematics Self-Efficacy and African American Male Students: An Examination of Two Models of Success,” Journal of African American Males in Education (Summer 2011, Volume 2, Issue 2). Dr. Richard Noble, N.C. A&T Department of Mathematics.

Noble observes that there’s no shortage of documentation of the academic failures of young African American men, but far less on those who have success in academic settings (although the literature on that point is growing).  His article explores the personal stories of African American men who excelled in mathematics to understand the impact of their self-efficacy beliefs on their motivation and later academic achievement in math at the postsecondary level.

“General analyses of autobiographies and interviews revealed that enactive attainment and vicarious experience were influential sources for these African American men’s self-efficacy beliefs and were supported by family, friends, and peers.”

“Recruiting Intergenerational African American Males for Biomedical Research Studies: A Major Research Challenge,” Journal of the National Medical Association, June 2011 (Volume 103, Number 6), Drs. Goldie S. Byrd (lead author), Vinaya A. Kelkar and Ruth G. Phillips of the N.C. A&T Department of Biology along with co-authors including A&T students and colleagues from Duke University and the University of Miami.

African American males continue to have the highest age-adjusted mortality rate of any race-sex group in the United States. But research that could lower that death rate is often of limited reliability because of a shortage of African American men willing to participate in biomedical research studies. African American males cite a lack of trust as a primary reason. That distrust is rooted in the men’s awareness of historical cases of research misconduct in which minorities were abused or exposed to racial discrimination or racist provocation. The authors’ solution is to look to the basics of relationship-building: communicate better and back those words with action.

“There is an ongoing need to continue to seek advice, improve communication, and design research studies that garner trust and improve participation among African American males as a targeted underrepresented population. Such communication and dialogues should occur at all age levels of research development to assess current attitudes and behaviors of African American males around participation.”