OU received a gift commitment of $600,000 from the Rainbolt family, President David Boren announced at the September meeting of the OU Board of Regents yesterday, according to a press release.

A $400,000 portion of the money will be used to endow scholarships, and a $200,000 portion will endow a presidential professorship, which honors and rewards outstanding faculty members in the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education, according to the press release.

“The University is deeply grateful to the Rainbolt family for this generous gift, which will provide new opportunities for students who want to dedicate their lives to teaching the next generation,” Boren said in the release.

The Campaign for Scholarships, which according to its website, is in place to ensure that no hard-working, qualified student is ever turned away from the university because of financial need, now has over $41.5 million in annual gifts and donations, which are used immediately, and $165 million in endowed gifts that create a permanent fund.

According to the campaigns website, more than 6,000 students applied for scholarships for the 2011-2012 academic year. The greatest need, the website says, is for unrestricted scholarships, which could benefit students of all majors at OU.

“One of the favorite parts of my job is to be able to tell a student that he or she has received a scholarship,” said Matt Hamilton, the Norman Campus vice president for Enrollment and Student Financial Services and Registrar. “Scholarships help students now only to continue their education at OU but also to earn their degrees in a timely fashion and graduate with less loan debt.”

According to the campaigns website, over half of all OU students take out student loans, with an average debt at little more than $20,000.


By Tom Bartlett

We are easily fooled, more biased than we believe, less rational than we think, unable to accurately recall the past, unrealistically positive about the future, spoiled by money, controlled by hormones, hamstrung by prejudices, overwhelmed by choice. We can’t stop eating. We pay for free stuff. Our minds go blank. There is something—actually, lots of things—wrong with us.

Or so it feels after attending two days of talks at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, in which researcher after researcher explained how they had exposed humanity’s multitudinous foibles.

What, how, and how much we eat was a much-discussed topic. Brian Wansink, director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, rehearsed his finding that the size of our plates (or bowls or glasses) affects how much we consume, though with his national TV appearances and best-selling book, this was probably a revelation to no one.

Less known is a finding, mentioned by Maferima Touré Tillery of the University of Chicago, that if you divide a cookie into even, equal portions, people will eat less of it than if the same cookie is cut into random chunks. (UPDATE: To be clear, while Tillery briefly noted the finding, it was the result of research by Travis Carter and Ayelet Fishbach, also from the U. of Chicago.)

In other cookie-related research, Jessica Li Yexin of Arizona State University found that people are much more likely to choose familiar chocolate-chip cookies over cookies they had never heard of if they were first exposed to prompts that made them think of disease (a photo of someone sneezing, for instance). When we feel threatened, we opt for the familiar.

But we like the familiar less once we’ve had a taste of the exotic. People who have traveled the world and eaten at fancy restaurants derive less pleasure from a plate of spaghetti than your average Applebee’s patron, according to Jordi Quoidbach of Harvard. His research found that our ability to enjoy mundane pleasures, like eating and travel, hinges on whether we think of ourselves as people of superior discernment. In one study, he found that researchers could manipulate that sense of self, getting people to enjoy an experience less because they thought of themselves more highly.

How you think of yourself affects your behavior if you happen to be the boss. If you believe yourself to be incompetent, you are more likely to be aggressive and lash out at your employees, according to Nathanael J. Fast of the University of Southern California. He and his co-author, Serena Chen, also find, though, that once self-worth rises, the aggression disappears.

That’s useful if you have a boss. But probably the single most applicable piece of data came from a presentation by Marieke Roskes of the University of Amsterdam. Roskes and her co-authors analyzed video of penalty shootouts at all soccer World Cups and found that goalkeepers were significantly more likely to dive to the right, but only when their teams were behind. It’s consistent with other research indicating that human beings have a bias toward moving right when they need to act in a hurry.

When we try to do the right thing—in the moral rather than the directional sense—we actually feel that we are literally, physically higher, according to Eugene Y. Chan of the University of Toronto. He and his co-author, Eunice Kim Cho, found that when subjects were reminded of moral thinking, they felt higher off the ground. Thinking in moral terms also tended, they found, to make people more creative but less analytical.

Nostalgia seems to be a popular subject among psychologists at the moment. Carey Morewedge of Carnegie Mellon University did several studies showing that people believe TV shows and movies of the past were of generally higher quality than those on the air today. This seems to be because we recall only the better shows from bygone eras and believe them to be typical. As an example of an unquestionably bad old TV show, Morewedge mentions ALF, which, as a child of the 1980s with a fondness for that wise-cracking, cat-eating alien puppet, I found personally offensive. But that may be my own cognitive bias at work.

Thanks to a bunch of best-selling books and nifty, highly bloggable studies, social psychology has been overshadowing some less flashy disciplines lately. But it also has the reputation, perhaps unfair, of cranking out useless, gee-whiz results. In an effort to combat that perception, one of the sessions focused on findings by researchers like Timothy D. Wilson of the University of Virginia, whose newish book, Redirect: The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change, is focused on overcoming our errors rather than merely pointing them out.

Also, seriously, who eats only part of a cookie?

(The photo of the cookie above comes from a recipe for metric cookies published on the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Web site.)

By: Joanna Chau

Millennials, the generation of young Americans born after 1982, may not be the caring, socially conscious environmentalists some have portrayed them to be, according to a study described in the new issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

The study, which compares the traits of young people in high school and entering college today with those of baby boomers and Gen X’ers at the same age from 1966 to 2009, shows an increasing trend of valuing money, image, and fame more than inherent principles like self-acceptance, affiliation, and community. “The results generally support the ‘Generation Me’ view of generational differences rather than the ‘Generation We,'” the study’s authors write in a report published today, “Generational Differences in Young Adults’ Life Goals, Concern for Others, and Civic Orientation.”

For example, college students in 1971 ranked the importance of being very well off financially No. 8 in their life goals, but since 1989, they have consistently placed it at the top of the list.

The study—by Jean M. Twenge, a professor at San Diego State University; Elise C. Freeman, a graduate research associate at the same university; and W. Keith Campbell, a professor at University of Georgia—is the latest to seek to define the behavior and traits of the millennial generation.

Views on this much-debated topic have varied widely among experts.

In 2000, the popular book Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation, by Neil Howe and William Strauss, portrayed the group as engaged, high-achieving, and confident, among other “core traits.”

Ms. Twenge, the lead author of the new study, believes otherwise.

She has also published a book on the millennials, Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled—and More Miserable Than Ever Before, in which she writes: “I see no evidence that today’s young people feel much attachment to duty or to group cohesion. Young people have been consistently taught to put their own needs first and to focus on feeling good about themselves.”

That view is apparent in the new study’s findings, such as a steep decline in concern for the environment. The study found that three times more millennials than baby boomers said they made no personal effort at all to practice sustainability. Only 51 percent of millennials said they tried to save energy by cutting down on electricity, compared with 68 percent of baby boomers and 60 percent of Gen X’ers.

The study also found a decline in civic interest, such as political participation and trust in government, as well as in concern for others, including charity donations, and in the importance of having a job worthwhile to society.

The millennial generation has been raised in a culture that places “more focus on the self and less focus on the group, society, and community,” Ms. Twenge says

“The aphorisms have shifted to ‘believe in yourself’ and ‘you’re special,'” she says. “It emphasizes individualism, and this gets reflected in personality traits and attitudes.”

Even community service, the one aspect where millennials’ engagement rose, does not seem to stem from genuine altruism. The study attributes that gain to high schools in recent years requiring volunteer hours to graduate. The number of public high schools with organized community-service programs jumped from 9 percent in 1984 to 46 percent in 1999, according to the study.

Most of the study’s data point toward more individualism and less cohesion. The advantages of individualism are more tolerance, equality, and less prejudice, says Ms. Twenge. But the broader implication, she says, is not good.

“Having a population that is civically involved, is interested in helping others, and interested in the problems in the nation and the world, are generally good things,” she says. But Ms. Twenge does not believe this is happening. People are “more isolated and wrapped up in their own problems,” she says. “It doesn’t bode well for society in general.”

Please comment with your thoughts and ideas regarding how this affects education.


ScienceDaily (Feb. 23, 2012) — Impulsive children with attention problems tend to play more video games, while kids in general who spend lots of time video gaming may also develop impulsivity and attention difficulties, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association.

“This is an important finding because most research on attention problems has focused on biological and genetic factors rather than on environmental factors,” said Douglas A. Gentile, PhD, of Iowa State University and lead author of the study published this week in the debut issue of APA’s journal Psychology and Popular Media Culture.

Although the findings indicated that playing violent video games also can be linked to impulsivity and attention problems, the overall amount of time spent playing any type of video game proved to be a greater factor, according to the article. This was the case regardless of a child’s gender, race or socioeconomic status.

Researchers collected data from 3,034 children, ages 8 to 17 years old, over three years at 12 schools in Singapore. The children provided information about their video game playing habits by completing questionnaires in their classrooms at three intervals, each a year apart starting in grades three, four, seven and eight. They also completed psychological tests commonly used to measure attention and impulsiveness. Regarding attention, the children answered questions such as how often they “fail to give close attention to details or make careless mistakes” in their work or “blurt out answers before questions have been completed.” For the impulsivity test, they selected points they felt described themselves, such as “I often make things worse because I act without thinking” or “I concentrate easily.”

The study described attention problems as having a difficult time engaging in or sustaining behavior to reach a goal, particularly when the subject is difficult or boring. Yet previous research has found that playing video games can improve visual attention for rapid and accurate recognition of information from the environment, the authors noted.

“It is possible that electronic media use can impair attention necessary for concentration even as it enhances the ability to notice and process visual information,” Gentile said.

Understanding some of the environmental influences that video gaming may have on attention and impulsivity can help develop more effective solutions for children and parents, the authors said.

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world’s largest association of psychologists. APA’s membership includes more than 154,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare.

Associate Dean Terry DeBacker found this interesting article about the serious psychological harm bullying can cause.
Associate Dean DeBacker stated educators and child advocates need to assertively address bullying behavior.

FRIDAY, March 2 (HealthDay News) — Children involved in bullying are more likely than their peers to consider suicide by the time they are 11, a new study indicates.

These thoughts of self-harm are not limited to victims of bullying, however. The study also revealed that bullies themselves are much more prone to suicidal thoughts or some other form of self-harm.

For the study, investigators analyzed bullying among more than 6,000 children ranging in age from 4 to 10, and the prevalence of suicidal thoughts when the same children were 11 and 12.

The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Warwick in England and published in the March issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, found that children who were bullied over a long period of time were six times more likely to have suicidal thoughts than children who weren’t bullied.

Bullies also were at increased risk for self-harm and suicidal thoughts — even those who were never victimized themselves, the researchers found. The findings were not as consistent among this group, however, the study authors noted in a university news release.

Even after taking into account other factors, such as family circumstances or preexisting emotional problems, the researchers were unable to find other reasons for the increased instance of suicidal thoughts among children involved in bullying. Although the study found an association between bullying and suicidal thoughts or self-harming behavior, however, it did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

“Our study findings suggest that suicide-related behavior is a serious problem for pre-adolescent youth: 4.8 percent of this community population reported suicidal thoughts and 4.6 percent reported suicidal or self-injurious behavior,” study co-author Dieter Wolke, a professor of psychology at Warwick Medical School at the University of Warwick, said in the news release.

“Health practitioners should be aware of the relationship between bullying and suicide, and should recognize the very real risks that may be evident earlier in development than commonly thought,” Wolke said.

More information

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has more about bullying.

— Mary Elizabeth Dallas

SOURCE: University of Warwick, news release, Feb. 29, 2012

Last Updated: March 02, 2012

Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

March 26, 2012

By Caitlin Schudalla The NormanTranscript

NORMAN — A graduate student organization of the University of Oklahoma
Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education is hosting a public panel discussion
titled “The Future of the Professoriate” from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Friday in
the Oklahoma Memorial Union, 900 Asp Ave.

The discussion, hosted by the Norman chapter of the Oklahoma Educational
Studies Association (OESA-Norman), will be in the Union’s Regents Room.

The panel will include OU Senior Vice President and Provost Dr. Nancy Mergler,
Director of Teacher Education and Oklahoma State Regent Dr. Lisa Holder,
Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Dr. Penny
Pasque and Professor of Advanced Professional and Special Services at the
University of Central Oklahoma Dr. Terry Spigner.

Panelists will be invited to contribute their expertise and insight into the
professoriate from such perspectives as administration, policy, research and
practice. They also will field questions from attending education students and
teachers and answer any questions the public may have.

“It is our sincere hope that this panel discussion will enable those who are
considering future careers as professors and provide a chance to learn more
about the potential opportunities and challenges that might affect their role
in higher education,” OESA-Norman president Goldie Thompson said.

Thompson said the organization’s primary goals in coordinating the panel
include providing graduate students with a concrete idea of the administrative
and policy issues that will affect their careers and shedding light on
evaluation assessments and responsibilities that may have been previously
unknown to them.

“This forum will be a great opportunity for graduate scholars to inquire
about current legislative concerns that could potentially affect them as
professors,” Thompson said.

For more information,visit www.ou.edu/oesa.

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