The Right to Raise
To increase volunteerism and donations, organizations should phrase requests differently to motivate people who already care about the cause, according to research from psychologist Marlone Henderson.
For example, if the person already cares about the cause, the request should emphasize how much money is still needed (“We still need $50,000 to reach our goal”). If the person cares very little about the cause, the request should emphasize how much has already been raised (“We’ve raised $50,000 toward our goal).
“People ask themselves one of two questions when deciding whether to invest in one personal goal versus another,” Henderson says.
“‘Is the goal worth pursuing?’ This signals people who didn’t care that it’s something worth paying attention to and to get onboard. Or for people who already care: ‘Is this progressing at a pace I find sufficient?’ If not, it may be a signal to jump in and get involved, so this effort they care about doesn’t sink.”
First Poet to Win Keene Award for Literature
Josh Booton, a graduate of the Michener Center for Writers, was the first poet to win the Keene Award for Literature. At $50,000, the Keene Award is one of the world’s largest student literary prizes.
Booton’s collection of poems, “The Union of Geometry and Ash,” was chosen from more than 60 submissions in drama, poetry and fiction.
“The technical inventiveness of these poems never overwhelms their substance, a profound meditation on how to sustain a working marriage,” says Elizabeth Butler Cullingford, chair of the Department of English and the award selection committee.
“All of the judges found Josh’s work hauntingly memorable and compassionate, as well as formally compelling.”
Established in 2006 in the College of Liberal Arts, the Keene Prize is open to university undergraduate and graduate students. It is awarded annually to the student who creates the most vivid portrayal of the American experience in microcosm.
Liberal Arts Professors Receive Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards
Offered annually in recognition of faculty members at the nine University of Texas System academic institutions who have demonstrated extraordinary classroom performance and innovation in undergraduate instruction, the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards are the Board of Regents’ highest honor. This year’s College of Liberal Arts recipients are:
Betsy Berry, senior lecturer, Department of English
Yoav Di-Capua, associate professor, Department of History
Wendy Domjan, Distinguished Senior Lecturer in Psychology and assistant director of Plan II Honor Program, Psychology Department
Sam Gosling, professor, Department of Psychology
Charles Holahan, professor, Department of Psychology
Brian Levack, John E. Green Regents Professor in History and Distinguished Teaching Professor, Department of History
James Loehlin, Shakespeare at Winedale Regents Professor, Department of English
Carol MacKay, University Distinguished Teaching Professor, Department of English
Center for European Studies Wins €300,000 Grant
With its selection for the 2011-14 European Center of Excellence (EUCE) grant, the Center for European Studies joined an elite group of centers that have won both a Title VI grant from the U.S. Department of Education and a EUCE grant. The EUCE grant, valued at roughly €300,000 or $430,000 over three years, is awarded by the European Commission to centers that implement high quality teaching, research and regional outreach programs with European Union themes.
University of Texas at Austin Among the Most Efficient Universities in the Nation
The University of Texas at Austin is among the most efficient public research universities in the nation, ranking 10th in the percentage of students it graduates for every public dollar it receives, according to a report authored by Marc Musick, a sociology professor and associate dean for student affairs in the College of Liberal Arts.
The 32-page “Analysis of Efficiency and Graduation Rates at The University of Texas at Austin and Other Public Research Universities in the United States” examines data from 120 public universities including graduation rates, the amount of money received from tuition and taxpayer funds, and the number of professors on faculty.
Among the key findings are:
– The University of Texas at Austin’s six-year graduation rate of 81 percent ranks 13th among public research universities.
– The institution ranks second nationally in the number of faculty it employs for every tuition and taxpayer dollar it receives.
– Looking at public dollars, graduation rates and faculty size collectively, the university is tied for the second most efficient public research university.
“Institutions of higher learning must be expected to produce desired outcomes, most notably graduating large numbers of well-educated students with limited resources,” writes Musick. “By several key measures, The University of Texas at Austin already does this exceedingly well. It is among the most efficient public universities in the nation.”
College Plans Innovative Professional Program with a Liberal Arts Core
The College of Liberal Arts at The University of Texas at Austin plans to be the first in the nation to offer a Master of Arts in the Human Dimensions of Organizations (HDO). Thus, this degree promises to provide groundbreaking training for a rising generation of business and nonprofit leaders.
The program, which is directed by Art Markman, Annabel Irion Worsham Centennial Professor in Liberal Arts, will explore the internal challenges facing professional organizations — workplace culture, innovative thinking, and quantitative analysis — and the external forces shaping them — globalization, regulations, linguistic diversity and cultural difference. This degree program leverages the core knowledge within the humanities and the social sciences and behavioral sciences.
Professional seminars (1- and 2-day non-degree classes) will begin February 2012 and the program aims to offer its inaugural class for degree-seeking students fall 2013.
Latin American Focused Library Collection and Institute Pilot Joint Endeavor
The Benson Latin American Collection (BLAC) and the Teresa Lozano Long Institute for Latin American Studies (LLILAS) are joining efforts in an inventive approach to achieving common goals.
Effective Sept. 1, the two distinguished Latin American keystone institutions at The University of Texas at Austin integrated their respective staffs and missions in a three-year plan that places them under a sole directorship.
Charles Hale, who has served as director of LLILAS since 2009, will helm the LLILAS-BLAC effort to unite the institutions’ student programs, research and scholarly resources related to Latin America. Juliet Hooker will continue as associate director of LLILAS, and David Block will become associate director of BLAC.
“Especially in this era of budget scarcity, it is exciting and promising for a university-based initiative to enter a phase of expansion and transformation, raising two venerable institutions to new heights of excellence, while at the same time conserving resources and taking full advantage of untapped synergies,” Hale says of the collaboration.
New Primate Species Discovered in Devil’s Graveyard
Anthropology Associate Professor Chris Kirk discovered fossils of a previously unknown primate species in the Devil’s Graveyard badlands of West Texas.
The species, Mescalerolemur horneri, lived about 43 million years ago during the Eocene Epoch and resembled a small present-day lemur. Mescalerolemur is a member of an extinct primate group — the adapiforms — that were once found throughout the Northern Hemisphere.
Like one other fossil primate, Mahgarita stevensi, Mescalerolemur is more closely related to Eurasian and African adapiforms than those from North America. Furthermore, Mescalerolemur and Mahgarita lived after the more common adapiforms from the Eocene of North America had become extinct. This provides evidence for the migration of animals between North America and East Asia during the Middle Eocene.
Both Mescalerolemur and Mahgarita are only found in the Big Bend region of Texas.
“These Texas primates are unlike any other Eocene primate community that has ever been found in terms of the species that are represented,” Kirk says.