Monday, November 14, 2011

My First-Year Graduate Dorm Closing

An "e-True Blue" e-mail newsletter today from the UM Alumni Association includes the item that the Baits I (but not the Baits II) housing complex on the North Campus will close down. I lived in one of the Baits I buildings (Parker House) during my first year of graduate school (1984-85), before moving to a series of apartments in the Central Campus area for years 2 through 5 of my graduate training.

This Michigan Daily article on the closure includes a picture of the complex. The article alludes to one of the current Baits residents being a sophomore. Back in the day, as I recall, Baits was a primarily, if not exclusively, graduate-student complex (apparently, it also accommodated upper-level undergrads, as I've now discovered). According to the article, Baits I would have required at least $6 million in renovations, which the powers-that-be do not feel is a prudent investment. Also, Baits I does not meet the university's goal of having "complexes within five minutes of a residential dining hall."

The last claim is totally valid. The nearest dorm with a dining hall was Bursley, which I recall being a lot longer than a five-minute walk. As shown on this map, Baits II is a lot closer to Bursley than is Baits I. Usually, I would have dinner at one of the restaurants in the Central Campus area on my way home, after a day of work at the office.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Jussim Quoted in Academic Austerity Article

Lee Jussim, a 1987 Ph.D. recipient from the social psych program at Michigan, was quoted this past week by Bloomberg News, regarding how academic programs at Rutgers University in New Jersey are facing major budget cuts while the athletic department continues to furnish what many would consider lavish benefits to its coaches.

With specific regard to the Rutgers Psychology Department, which Lee chairs, he told Bloomberg that: “The cuts are sufficiently severe... that our ability to accomplish our core missions are, for the first time in my career, under serious threat.”

Sadly, Lee's department is not alone in having to watch things such as the number of photocopies made and provision of Scantron forms for multiple-choice exams. My department at Texas Tech is dealing with similar issues, as are many other institutions (just do a Google search on "university budget cuts").

Friday, February 18, 2011

Borders Books Declares Bankruptcy

Not that it came as a surprise, but yesterday it was announced that the Borders bookstore company had filed for bankruptcy. Borders, of course, was founded in Ann Arbor 40 years ago, before going national around 20 years ago. Not only was Borders a great place for UM students and other Ann Arborites to hang out. For myself (and perhaps others whose careers took them away from Ann Arbor), visiting a Borders in any city provided a little reminder of Michigan days.

Many, though not all, Borders locations have been closed in recent years. My home base of Lubbock, Texas has never had a Borders (at least in the 14 years I've been on the faculty at Texas Tech University), so I've mainly visited locations in the Los Angeles and Chicago areas for the past decade and a half. No longer will that be possible, as L.A. and Chicago seem to have had all their Borders stores wiped out.

The current flagship Borders on Ann Arbor's Liberty St. (which is where the store settled after moving between State St. and other nearby locations) remains open. I hope that even if the national company goes belly-up, the Ann Arbor location can survive.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Niedenthal Featured in New York Times

Today's New York Times features the research of Paula Niedenthal, who received her Ph.D. at Michigan in 1987 and since the late 1990s has been on the faculty at Universit√© Blaise Pascal, Clermont-Ferrand, France. The focus of the Times article is a new theory of smiling developed by Paula and her colleagues, which "[t]hey believe ... can account not only for the source of smiles, but how people perceive them."