Applications for Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships Due

Applications are now being accepted for the 2011 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURFs). Winners will spend between seven and 14 weeks on an individual research project under the guidance of a Michigan Tech faculty mentor. SURFs are open to all Tech undergraduates who have at least one semester remaining after the summer. Amounts up to $3,300 will be awarded. Applications are due no later than noon, Friday, Jan. 21.

For more information, see http://www.mtu.edu/surf .

For question, contact SURF Coordinator Will Cantrell at cantrell@mtu.edu .

Schmalz and Milbrath Named CoSIDA Academic All-District

by Wes Frahm, director of athletic communications and marketing

Football players Tim Schmalz (Shawano, Wis.) and Phil Milbrath (Norway) have earned ESPN College Division Academic All-District IV honors from the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Schmalz was named to the All-District First Team, while Milbrath earned a spot on the All-District Second Team.

The ESPN Academic All-District teams are nominated and voted upon by the nation's sports information directors. To be eligible, student-athletes must have a 3.30 cumulative grade point average or higher and not be in their first year at their institution. District IV in the college division includes all non-Division I football student-athletes from schools in the states of Alabama, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.

Schmalz has started seven games this season at fullback. He has carried the ball six times for a net of five yards and two touchdowns. The 6-1, 235-pound senior owns a 3.87 grade point average in electrical and computer engineering.

Milbrath is the nation's second-leading rusher at 158 yards per game. He also leads the country in all-purpose yardage (204 per game) and is second in scoring (12.0 points per game). A 5-9, 200-pound senior, Milbrath owns a 3.33 grade point average in exercise science.

As a member of the all-district first team, Schmalz moves on to the national ballot for the possibility of being named to the Academic All-America Team.

Tech has had 17 Academic All-Americans in its 88-year football history. The most recent was wide receiver Keith White in 2008.

Six Student Teams are in Computing Contest

Eighteen students are embarking on an adventure in computer programming this weekend.

They will travel to Sault Ste. Marie on Saturday to compete in a regional competition of the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest.

Tech will send six, three-student teams that will vie to win regional honors and qualify for the world finals in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, in late February and early March.

Worldwide, more than 20,000 students will compete in regional contests. They hail from nearly 2,000 universities in 82 countries on six continents. One hundred teams will advance to the finals. Tech is part of an expansive region that stretches from the Midwest to Canada and includes approximately 200 teams. Typically, the top three regional winners advance to the finals.

The regional contest pits three students and one computer against several complex, real-world problems in an intensive five-hour session. The winners: the teams that solve the most problems in the fewest attempts in the least amount of time.

Promoters call the competition "the supreme court of computing" and "the battle of the brains."

"It's tough," says Associate Professor David Poplawski (Computer Science), who is coach of the six teams. "You have to be very careful, very detailed and very focused. It's a real honor to get to the finals." He organizes, advises and accompanies the teams.

Tech has gone to the finals three times in recent years--2003 in Prague, 2004 in Shanghai and 2008 in Banff. Tech also went to the finals once in the 1980s when the contest included only US schools.

Saturday's regional competition is hosted by Lake Superior State University and includes teams from Tech, LSSU, NMU and Algoma University College.

IBM is the sponsor; ACM (the Association for Computing Machinery) is the organizer. Both seek to advance the skills of technology professionals and students.

Faculty, Staff Portraits Scheduled for Nov. 9

Mark your calendars now for the upcoming University faculty and staff portrait session held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 9, in Memorial Union Alumni Lounge B.

This session is open to all faculty and staff members--no appointment necessary. Although you are not required to attend, you are encouraged to do so if a year or more has passed since your last portrait. The next session will take place during the spring semester.

Portraits will be taken by Mike Galetto, of Brockway Photography, and will be available for viewing online. A note card with log-in information will be provided at the session. Each participant will receive a retouched portrait, via email, when it becomes available.

To order a print from University Marketing and Communications for University use, send requests to Karina Jousma, photography coordinator, at 487-2330 or at kahautam@mtu.edu . Contact Jousma for pricing.

To purchase a print for personal use only, contact Brockway Photography at 482-1900.

For questions, contact Jousma.

Library Offers Workshops on Resources for Arts and Humanities

Did you know the Van Pelt and Opie Library provides access to many resources that support study in the arts and humanities?

Join a workshop that introduce research tools for art, communications, literature, music and more. The workshop will be at 1 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 9, in Library 244, and is for anyone interested in conducting effective research in these areas.

The library now offers weekly workshops all semester on different resources that will give an academic edge or save time. Workshops take place at 1 p.m. on alternate Tuesdays and Wednesdays in Library 244. Each workshop is offered twice to fit into class schedules.

EPSSI Seminar

Elizabeth Hays, of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, will present a seminar, "Highlights from the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope," at 4 p.m., Monday, Nov. 8, in M&M U113. For more information, see: gamma-ray .

MSE Seminar

Professor Ludmila Boinovich, of the Russian Academy of Science, of Moscow, will present a seminar, "The Modern State of the Theory of Surface Forces in Colloid Systems and Thin Liquid Films," from 3 to 4 p.m., Monday, Nov. 8, in M&M 610. The MSE seminar is part of the John and Virginia Towers Distinguished Lecture Series.

Teaching at Tech: the Bigger Picture

by William Kennedy, director, Center for Teaching, Learning and Faculty Development

Whilst waxing philosophical at a recent luncheon workshop, I put the following question to my colleagues. "Beyond the accumulation of carefully selected disciplinary insights and the mastery of skills enabling the routine application of those insights, what are the broader, or meta-level, purposes of a university degree program?"

No answer. I probably didn't wait long enough.

When in doubt, simplify. "Then, in your heart of hearts, beyond learning objectives and goals, how would you like your students to be different from the time they enter the university to the time that they graduate?"

Still silence.

To cut the tension, I endeavored to answer my own question:

"I want the students that I interact with to become more skeptical as a result of our time together. I want them to be more open to other people's ideas. Yet, at the same time, I want them to seek out evidence to support or refute the new ideas that they will encounter along their journeys. I want them to rely more on what they sense and experience and less on what they've heard from others. I want them to discipline their thinking by habitually employing logic and reason, while leaving sufficient room for their imaginations to be at play. I want them to be aware of their own changing biases and predilections. I want them to lead with a "why not?" attitude rather than an "it's not my job" mind-set. In short, I want them to leave the university better prepared to adapt to the unimaginably complex and rapidly changing world that they will confront during their lives."

None of us knows what the future will bring. But each of us, if we put ourselves to the task, might fashion some of the elements of an intellectual and emotional posture that might reasonably increase the odds of successful adaptation.

What exasperates me most about the nearly ubiquitous "goals-and-
objectives" view of education that I routinely encounter is that it doesn't even acknowledge, much less encourage, individual variation, passion or changing interests. Instead, the "goals-and-objectives" approach seems satisfied to endlessly evaluate the degree of compliance of succeeding batches of students and sees any divergence among them as a failure to achieve set standards.

George Land and Beth Jarman, in their 1992 book, "Breakpoint and Beyond," describe a longitudinal study that Land conducted beginning in the late 1960s. It employed repeated administrations of eight tests of divergent thinking that had been used by NASA to measure the potential for creative work by its engineers and scientists.

Divergent thinking tests, based on the work of J.P. Guilford in the 1950s, measure an individual's ability to envision multiple solutions to a problem. According to Guilford, divergent thinkers not only can quickly generate multiple approaches to solving a problem, but they are also able to simultaneously consider the utility of a variety of alternatives and, in the process, come up with truly original notions about how to solve a vexing problem. As you might suspect, an individual's divergent thinking test scores do not correlate with their
IQ scores, as the tests measure distinctly different abilities.

In the Land study, 1,600 three-to five-year-old kids were given the divergent thinking test battery and 98 percent of those tested scored in the top tier; a level they called creative "genius." When the very same cohort of kids was tested five years later, only 32 percent scored in this top tier. After another five years, only 10 percent of the same kids scored in the top tier. By 1992, 200,000 adults had taken the same battery of tests and only 2 percent scored in the top tier.

Why? What happened to the nearly universal mental flexibility and
creativity of those preschoolers and kindergarteners in just a few short years?

We know that our mental models--psychologists like to call
them "schemas"--are profoundly shaped by our schooling experiences. The schemas we learn, in and out of school, facilitate problem solving and help us to quickly process the flood of information coming into our senses.

The "goals-and-objectives" model of schooling strongly encourages
students to adopt fixed mental models of how things work and endlessly requires them to demonstrate that they can apply these models in practice. We punish students who can't or won't master the approved set of mental models by labeling them as stupid or "not college material."

In life, the first thing we do when we face a new challenge is to seek the counsel of others. In Schoolworld, we call that cheating. In life, we discover that solving real-world, messy, ambiguous problems often yields an endless myriad of possible answers with a dizzying array of associated consequences. In Schoolworld, we call that kind of thinking "fuzzy" or disparage it as subjective thinking.

Could it be that this protracted period of mastering other people's mental models--and the associated plug-and-chug that goes along with them--dulls an individual's ability to generate divergent notions on the fly? Could it be that letting these early gifts of divergent thinking and creative wonder lie fallow for so long actually puts our students at risk of being unable to adapt to the maelstrom of social and professional change that lies ahead of them? For their sakes, I hope not.

In Print

Professor Bill Sproule (CEE) had a paper, "Houghton, Michigan--the Birthplace of Professional Hockey," included in a recently published book, "Pucklore" by Quarry Press, Kingston, Ontario. The book is collection of papers on hockey history and statistics that have been reviewed and compiled by the Society for International Hockey Research.

Job Posting

Staff job descriptions are available in Human Resources or at http://www.admin.mtu.edu/hro/postings . For more information regarding staff positions, call 487-2280 or email jobs@mtu.edu .

Faculty job descriptions can be found at http://www.admin.mtu.edu/hro/facpers/facvac.htm .

For more information regarding faculty positions, contact the academic department in which the position is posted.

Faculty Position
11/04/2010

Two Positions at the Assistant and or Associate Level
College of Science and Arts--Social Sciences (Tenure Track)

Michigan Technological University is an equal opportunity educational institution/equal opportunity employer.

Giveaways

The Rozsa Center has the following furniture:

* Two Shaw Walker file drawers
* Three five-drawer file cabinets
* A six-foot bookshelf
* Two DVD enclosed shelving units

Contact Patti Myllyoja at 487-2858 or patti@mtu.edu .

University property may only be transferred between departments. It may not be given or sold to individuals.