Yabba Dabba Do!

In honor of my being Fred Flinstone for Halloween:

Flintstones. Meet the Flintstones.
They’re the modern stone age family.
From the town of Bedrock,
They’re a page right out of history.

Let’s ride with the family down the street.
Through the courtesy of Fred’s two feet.

When you’re with the Flintstones
you’ll have a yabba dabba doo time.
A dabba doo time.
You’ll have a gay old time

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DU Solidifies Plans to Renovate Penrose Library

When I was on our undergraduate senate my sophomore year, 2007-2008, we began discussions for significant improvements to the University of Denver’s physical structure, specifically to Driscoll Student Center and Penrose Library.  We focused primarily on Driscoll, as it is the heart of the student experience – or should be.  Discussions even included meetings with planners and consultants and had options of linking the library and student center together.

With the economy heading downhill, discussions were delayed or put off and now seem to be put on hold in relation to renovations of the Driscoll Student Center.  For many administrators, it seemed that Penrose Library was a higher priority for financial investment.

It now seems that progress is finally being made.  Yesterday, the Dean of Penrose Library sent the following announcement to members of the University community:

We are pleased to report that after years of planning improvements to the library’s physical plant, we are now officially working with an Architect of Record, H+L Architecture, in collaboration with the University Architect. We are very excited to be moving forward with plans for a dramatic improvement in the ability of the library to meet the needs of our students and faculty — today and long into the future. When Penrose Library was built in the early 70s, library spaces were designed to support individual study, supporting the lecture-style pedagogy of teaching. Faculty members worked to analyze generations of published knowledge through research in the book collections. Now, students work in study groups, develop team projects, use technology in innovative ways, and collaborate with faculty and other students in learning outside the classroom. Faculty combine research based on books and journals with scholarly communication online, and digitized primary resource s.

We will not only create appropriate spaces for student study and practice groups, and for faculty research, but will support social learning, interactive technologies, student-centered programs, and, of course, individual quiet study. The library is a place students and faculty go for academic support; in one convenient location, they find the Writing Center, the Research Center, the Math Center, and the technology help desk, while faculty, similarly, go to the library for collaboration with the Center for Teaching and Learning. These academic support services combined with digital and tangible library collections make the Penrose Library the University of Denver’s Academic Commons.

The Penrose Library Academic Commons project will create an entirely new library in the same location. During construction, which is anticipated to last about a year and a half, it is our intention to create a study location, using the Driscoll Ballroom and Gallery space, surrounded by academic support services, re-creating (in so far as possible) the main floor of the library in another location. All DU staff and faculty currently housed in the library will be temporarily relocated, using Aspen Hall and other locations, and our collections will be temporarily housed off campus as well, to protect both people and collections from the hazards of construction. We will retrieve and deliver collections during construction, aiming for only an hour or two between request and delivery. After the library is complete, we will move all staff back into their permanent spaces in the new library. Active collections will be housed on the lower level of the new library, with very low-! use collections located off campus in a new collections annex.

As plans for the new library evolve, library staff and the architectural team will be gathering input, and library staff will develop a communication plan to support delivery of library services during the construction period. While dates could change, the soonest the library building could be temporarily closed, and temporary staff and service locations established would be the summer of 2011, with a possible grand opening for the new library by December 2012.

As we move ahead with a clear timeline for architectural plans and a construction schedule, we will devise a reliable and comprehensive communication plan. In the meantime, we will continue to build both digital and paper collections, web-based and in-person services, and outstanding academic support partnerships for the research library of the future.

Nancy Allen, Dean and Director

Penrose Library

I am excited about the potential of these renovations.  I hope that they, along with plans for a new School of Engineering and Computer Science, will continue to position the University as a leader for the next century.

ET Visits Denver?

Denver never ceases to amaze me.  Next Tuesday, voters in Denver will vote on Initiative 300: The Denver Ballot Initiative to Form an Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission.

The initiative reads as follows:

“Shall the voters for the City and County of Denver adopt an Initiated Ordinance to require the creation of an extraterrestrial affairs commission to help ensure the health, safety, and cultural awareness of Denver residents and visitors in relation to potential encounters or interactions with extraterrestrial intelligent beings or their vehicles, and fund such commission from grants, gifts and donations?”

It won’t cost the taxpayers, but seriously?  Aren’t there more important/pressing things we could be spending our time on?

Ascend: The Campaign for the University of Denver

The University of Denver has launched the public phase of a capital campaign: Ascend: The Campaign for the University of Denver.  The quiet phase began four years ago and it is set to conclude in 2014, the 150th anniversary of the University of Denver.

DU Today, the university’s news service had an article about the capital campaign:

During Convocation remarks to more than 650 faculty and staff members today, University of Denver Chancellor Robert Coombe publicly announced a multi-year campaign to position the University for the 21st century.

Ascend: The Campaign for the University of Denver will culminate in 2014 when the University celebrates its sesquicentennial.

“Today, I’m announcing the public phase of our campaign,” Coombe said. “We will focus on additional financial aid for undergraduate and graduate students; support for faculty chairs and professorships as well as research and scholarship; the visual and performing arts; and important improvements and additions to our facilities.”

The campaign has been in a quiet phase for four years, raising more than $250 million to date. Of that, Coombe said $100 million is providing direct support to students and faculty.

Coombe noted that the new class of first-year undergraduate students is the best in DU history in terms of academic credentials, which include GPA, test scores, class rank and the number of Boettcher Scholars. The class also is DU’s most diverse; more than 19 percent are students of color, more than 16 percent are receiving Pell Grants, and more than 7 percent are international students. Also, more than 60 percent of the class comes from outside of Colorado.

Although the campaign’s emphasis is on raising funds to support DU’s “human infrastructure,” according to the Ascend website, the initiative also will fund a “desperately needed new building” to house the School of Engineering and Computer Science, which has a projected price tag of $55 million, most of which has yet to be raised.

Also planned is a transformation of Penrose Library into an “academic commons.”

“The renovation will change the building’s functionality from book storage space to technology-rich people space,” Coombe said. The University has raised $25 million of the $30 million needed for the project.

“I believe all of this is possible. We can be that great private university dedicated to the public good. We can be that university that has a lasting and powerful impact on the human condition. We can ascend to that higher place together,” Coombe said.

The campaign has a video which describes its aims and goals.  You will see a number of friends of mine featured and you can see me as part of a mini-class about microfinance highlighting a class that was featured by Forbes as one of the 10 Most Innovative Business School classes –

On the website, I have been included as one of the “profiled” students.  It’s the same “One to Watch” story that appeared in the DU Magazine.  If you are interested, you can read it on the Ascend website.

I know Chancellor Coombe has been working hard on this campaign and I hope that it is successful in meeting each of its goals.  The University of Denver has a lot of potential and a great future ahead of it.  This campaign should position it well for the future.  Before too long, I hope to be able to contribute to future growth needs of the university.

Rocky and Bullwinkle

Alex Anderson, the creator of Rocky and Bullwinkle, died Friday at the age of 90.  Rocky and Bullwinkle was a cartoon that began in the 1960s and had a new movie version in the early 2000s.  I am a big fan of Rocky and Bullwinkle – and their Russian nemeses Boris and Natasha.  Here are a few clips to remember them by:

Leading at the Edge Weekend

As is evident by the lateness of this post, I have been extremely behind on my blogging lately.  Midterms, class, work – everything has been extremely busy lately.  Nevertheless, I want to share a few thoughts on the Leading at the Edge weekend experience that I had with my business class October 8-10.

The weekend is held at The Nature Place.  It has an amazing location with fantastic facilities and amazing facilitators.  I highly recommend it.

We were told that our weekend would be great, amazing, etc, etc.  With so much build up, I became a little skeptical.  With all of the business master’s students forced to attend (or you fail your required class), how much fun could teamwork and critical thinking exercises be?

I ended up having an amazing time.  I truly got lucky with the team I ended up a part of.  There were twelve of us.  Five were from China, three were married, several had longer work experience, one was a newly minted lawyer, and ages ranged from 21-31.  It was a diverse and exciting group.  We bonded well and now spend time together in Denver outside of class.

We were in the mountains (about an hour West of Colorado Springs) at a beautiful time of year, with the Aspens changing colors.  We did high ropes course activities, low ropes course activities, orienteering (map and compass), climbing, repelling, leadership, ethics, and critical thinking challenges, and much more.

It was an amazing weekend that I would like to have the opportunity to do again.  I pushed myself and reflected in new ways about leadership as well as had the opportunity to help my teammates push themselves.

Below is a video slideshow of some of one of my teammate’s (Steven’s) pictures.  He is quite the photographer.

The Leading at the Edge weekend is loosely based on the experiences of the 10th Mountain Division in World War II.  The University of Denver’s news service wrote a story about the experience in 2007.

Christine O’Donnell: What Are You Thinking?

I was not going to post anything about Christine O’Donnell, but every time I hear news about her it makes me more and more worried that she will get elected.  I hope Delaware is smarter than that.

Below is a video in which Christine O’Donnell claims that Separation of Church and State is not in the first amendment.  While that exact phrase is not in the amendment, who hasn’t heard it before?  And is that not what everyone understands it to mean (including the U.S. Supreme Court)?  Anderson Cooper’s comments that follow are very true – and Christine O’Donnell’s comments are very worrying.  This is especially true for someone who claims to be a “constitutional expert” – based on a seven day fellowship with a conservative foundation.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Hopefully, you’ve seen Christine O’Donnell’s ad claiming that she is not a witch, rather “I’m You.”

Seriously?  Christine, you are not me or anyone I know – and likely no one in Delaware, I’m sure.  If nothing else, none of us has to deny being a witch (A ridiculous claim in itself, mind you, that no one should have brought up as a serious issue for any candidate.).

SNL does a good job with this ad though:

DU Gets Rid of Student Email

I think this is pretty ridiculous. Email is a basic service that should be offered by the university to its students. If the university had a better system (e.g. Gmail) then students would actually use it.

From The Clarion:

Beginning in March, students will no longer be able to use the university WebMail systembut will be required to register a “preferred” off-campus e-mail address, such as at Gmail, Yahoo or AOL, to which their @du.edu address can be forwarded.

The e-mail system for faculty and staff will not change.

Students will continue using their DU-provided address of their firstname.lastname@du.edu while they are attending DU.

Beginning Oct. 1, DU stopped issuing new e-mail accounts to new students.

In the announcement e-mail sent to all students yesterday, University Technology Services (UTS) urges students to register the address immediately. Once the address is registered, UTS will send a confirmation email and students will have 10 days to move all emails to the new address before their DU e-mail account is deleted permanently.

Students may change their “preferred” off-campus e-mail address at any time.

According to the e-mail, DU has offered basic e-mail services for more than 20 years, and its current system, using Sun Java, is 6 years old. When the initiative was announced in the spring, Ken Stafford, vice chancellor of communications, said it was at the end of a typical lifespan. He then estimated that a replacement university-wide system would cost $350,000.

In an e-mail sent to all DU faculty and staff last week, UTS said, “Considering the online alternatives, the costs associated with continuing and improving our current services, and after reviewing what other higher education sites are doing, the university decided to no longer compete with the low-cost and free email services available to students.”

Currently, DU spends around $100,000 per year on e-mail security initiatives, which block some 2 million span messages per day. On a bad day, the DU mail server is hit with 24 spam e-mails, separate from the ones marked “suspicious.”

Already, more than half of DU students forward their university e-mails to another account, Stafford said in the spring.

Another alternative considered in the search for a new e-mail system as Gmail, however Google could not guarantee privacy, and according to Stafford, the university couldn’t receive answers on the process for holding or archiving e-mails for legal issues.

Students’ DU e-mail addresses will remain active until 290 days after graduation, or when students stop taking classes.

To register the “preferred” e-mail address, visit myweb.du.edu, select “Personal Information,” then “Update e-mail addresses.” Students with questions may contact the UTS helpdesk at 303-871-4700 or visit http://www.du.edu/studentemail.

 

Quote 19 – Advice for How to Be

I am rather behind on posting, but here are two thoughts from Rev. Dr. Jaime Washington:

Be here and be present.

“A wishbone will not suffice where a backbone is needed.”

Wishing for something to happen will not make it happen.  You must put action behind your words.

Quote #18 – Keeping a Positive Outlook

On living with good humor –

“My doctor gave me two weeks to live.  I hope they’re in August.”
– Ronnie Shakes