Tag Archive: Academics

  1. Environmental studies starts early admissions

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    The interdisciplinary environmental studies major usually accepts applications from sophomores in February, but this year it is offering an early December application deadline for students who already wish to apply.

    This is the first time the major is allowing students to apply early, said Paul Sabin, director of undergraduate studies for environmental studies. Early admission, he said, will allow students to choose their spring classes with environmental studies in mind. Students who apply by Dec. 21 will learn if they are admitted by Jan. 11, while the regular application deadline is Feb. 24.

    Sabin added that the major is not capped and that applying early or later will not affect a student’s chance of admission. The major — which combines coursework in the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities — requires an application so that faculty can ensure students are prepared for the “special challenges” posed by the mix of disciplines and have a plan for what area to concentrate in, he said.

    “Two application dates allow students who are ready to apply in December to know whether they have been accepted prior to finalizing their spring classes,” Sabin said in a Wednesday email. “Students who are still figuring out whether environmental studies is the right fit for them, or who are still completing coursework towards the prerequisites, may benefit from applying in February.”

    The early application option comes as the major has seen increased student interest in recent years. In 2009, 14 seniors graduated with environmental studies degrees, compared to 27 that will graduate in 2012 and 31 majors in the class of 2013, Sabin said.

    He said he attributes the increase to “growing interest in studying complex environmental problems” and a rising awareness of the major as more students take courses in environmental studies. To accommodate this interest, the major has created new course offerings, including new junior seminars, and intends to develop new field courses in the next year, he added.

    Students who apply to the major must submit a resume, transcript and statement of purpose.

  2. History to revamp junior seminars

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    Starting next semester, the History Department will reserve two slots in each of its junior seminars for sophomores.

    The change — which comes after discussions between the History Department and the Yale College Council about ways to increase seminar opportunities for sophomores — was announced to history majors in a departmental email today and to the sophomore class in a Friday email from the YCC.

    Sophomores who are declared as history majors will have the option of pre-registering for seminars, while other sophomores will be able to show up to the courses during shopping period and indicate their interest, said Steven Pincus, director of undergraduate studies for the History Department. Sophomores will be admitted to the seminars “just like anybody else, based on instructor approval,” he added, but professors will be told to reserve two places for them.

    In the past, sophomores have been able to enroll in history junior seminars, but Pincus said many students fail to consider taking these courses because of the “J” — “junior” — designation in their course listings. He said the History Department plans to rename them “undergraduate seminars” in order to dispel this impression.

    “[Seminars] are what we do best,” Pincus said of the History Department, “and there’s no reason why Yale sophomores can’t do this. We very much want sophomores to take these courses.”

    The YCC is also collaborating with the Political Science Department to make seminars in that department available to sophomores. Check back in Wednesday’s paper for extended coverage of these efforts.

  3. Shopping period is here

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    Fall 2011 term classes began this morning at 8:20 a.m. (early, right?), which means we’re officially in shopping period. These coming days will be about overcrowded seminars and online section enrollment. Though they might be hectic, we want to encourage you to keep in touch with us as you run around campus. Did a professor say something particularly hilarious or controversial? Was one lecture just so packed you couldn’t even get in the door? We can’t be everywhere at once, but we want to be, so email when you notice something you think might interest us. And keep checking Cross Campus.

  4. Gen. McChrystal’s seminar: The syllabus

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    Retired four-star Gen. Stanley McChrystal has decided on a tentative syllabus for the graduate-level seminar he is teaching this semester.

    Eric L. Robinson GRD ’11, a research assistant for the course, sent out the following course outline Thursday afternoon to students enrolled in the class, “Leadership in Operation” (INRL 690). Note the Nov. 16 seminar theme, “Communicating the Story — the Media Environment.”

    • 7th September 2010: “The Importance of Leading Differently – The Changing Operating Environment”
    • 14th September 2010: “Case Study: The Changing Military 1972-2010”
    • 21st September 2010: “Role of a Leader”
    • 27th September 2010 (6-8pm): “Coping With Failure”
    • 28th September 2010 (Assignment 1 Due): “Building Teams – What Makes Some Great”
    • 5th October 2010: “Driving Change and Operating Differently”
    • 12th October 2010: “Navigating Politics”
    • 19th October 2010: “Making Difficult Decisions Pt. 1 – How We Decide”
    • 26th October 2010 (Assignment 2 Due): “Making Difficult Decisions Pt. 2 – Dealing With Risk”
    • 2nd November 2010: “Loyalty, Trust and Relationships”
    • 9th November 2010: “Dealing With Cultural Differences”
    • 16th November 2010: “Communicating the Story – the Media Environment”
    • 30th November 2010 (Assignment 3 Due): “The Leader – the Personal Impact of Responsibility, Notoriety and Other Realities”
    • 7th December 2010: “The Future Leader”

    Robinson also included details about the first class:

    7th September 2010 – Seminar 1: The Importance of Leading Differently: The Changing Operating Environment

    Description: A description of how changes in our operating environment over the 34 years of my service have demanded changes in how organizations operate – and how leaders lead them. For the military, focus often falls too narrowly – on technological advances in weaponry and armor. But like most organizations, truly significant changes in technology, politics, media, and society overall have driven change to almost every aspect of leading. Increasingly, the product of a failure to change – is failure.

    Historical Examples:

    • Case Study 1: The career of Stanley McChrystal
    • Case Study 3: The 2002-2003 decision to invade Iraq
    • Case Study 3: The United States Civil War
    • Case Study 4: German Grand Strategy of World War 2

    Primary Reading

    • Filkins, Dexter. Stanley McChrystal’s Long War. The New York Times Magazine.
    • 18th October 2009. P. 36.

    Supplemental Reading

    1. FM 6-22 Army Leadership, Chapter 10: Influences on Leadership (Operating Environment, Stress in Combat, Stress in Training, Dealing with the Stress of Change, Tools for Adaptability).
    2. Coutu, Diane L., “How Resilience Works,” Harvard Business Review on Leading in Turbulent Times. Harvard Business School Press. 2003.
    3. Gehler, Christopher P. Agile Leaders, Agile Institutions: Educating Adaptive and Innovative Leaders for Today and Tomorrow. Strategy Research Project.
    4. Carlisle Barracks, PA: U.S. Army War College, 2005. 26pp. http://handle.dtic.mil/100.2/ADA434868
    5. Wong, Leonard. Developing Adaptive Leaders: The Crucible Experience of Operation Iraqi Free-dom. Carlisle Barracks, PA: U.S. Army War College, Strategic Studies Institute, 2004. 23pp. http://handle.dtic.mil/100.2/ADA424850
    6. Doyle, Michele Erina and Mark K. Smith, “Classical Leadership: theories of leadership” article (ILE materials)
    7. Reed, George E., ”Warrior Ethos” (ILE materials)
    8. Gardener, John. On Leadership. New York: Free Press. 1990., Chapters 1-3.

    Robinson also explained that while students enrolled in the class are free to talk with the media about their impressions of the class, the seminar itself will be off the record. The class meets on Tuesdays at 9:25 a.m., but the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs has yet to release the meeting location.

  5. Let the blue-booking begin!

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    Yalies tired of browsing Facebook and playing Bubble Spinner while pretending to work this summer will have something new to do tomorrow: searching for the perfect courses to take next year. Classes for the 2009-’10 academic year will be unveiled on the Online Course Information on Wednesday, according to the Registrar’s Office.

    Update, 10 a.m. Wednesday: OCI now includes Fall 2009 and Spring 2010 as search options, but an error message currently displays when one searches for classes in either of those terms. We’ll let you know when it appears to be working.

    Update, 3:47 p.m. Wednesday: OCI is now up and running!

    (Photo: Grant Smith/Photography Editor)

  6. Harvard becomes first university to create gay studies chair

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    Harvard University announced Thursday that it is creating an endowed visiting professorship in the field of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender studies, staking its claim as the first American university to create such a chair.

    The milestone hits a sour note at Yale, given that the University passed up the chance to create such a position more than a decade ago. In 1997, the prominent AIDS activist Larry Kramer ’57 offered Yale funds to create either an endowed chair in gay and lesbian studies or a student center for LGBT students. The University rejected the offer, sparking a major conflict with Kramer that ultimately garnered national media attention.


  7. Prof gets grant to study gambling

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    Yale psychiatry professor Marc Potenza has been awarded over $400,000 to found a gambling disorder research center at the University.

    The grant from the Institute for Research on Gambling Disorders, to be administered over three years, will provide start-up funds for a “Center of Excellence” at Yale to study gambling disorders. Potenza will head the center, which will investigate “whether the [alcoholism] drug naltrexone will be effective in a ‘real world’ clinical setting,” the NCRG announced in a release May 14. The IRGD has awarded a similar grant to researchers at the University of Minnesota, which will host a center like Yale’s.

    “This is trying to understand better how the medication works when it does work and for whom it’s going to work best,” Potenza said.

    The grant will allow the center to hire research staff, although Potenza said he is not certain how many and which positions will be filled for the project.

  8. Faculty members discuss academic minors

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    At a meeting of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences earlier this month, faculty members formally discussed the possibility of instituting minors for the first time but did not vote on the issue.

    Pericles Lewis, co-chair of the Committee on Majors, said many faculty members spoke in favor of minors at the well-attended meeting.

    “The discussion was incredibly rich and fruitful,” Yale College Dean Mary Miller said. “It’s the kind of conversation one hopes for in a meeting in which people will learn from one another.”


  9. ¡Viva travel to Mexico!

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    Students planning to spend the summer in Mexico will be able to use Yale funds for their projects or travel, thanks to the U.S. State Department’s decision to lift the travel advisory to Mexico, Yale officials said Tuesday.

    Earlier this month, Yale refused to fund undergraduate projects or travel in Mexico unless the State Department lifted its advisory on travel to Mexico. So when the advisory was lifted on May 15, funding for programs in Mexico was automatically reinstated, Dean of International Experience Jane Edwards said.

    Still, Yale cannot revive its Bulldogs and study abroad programs in Monterrey, both of which were canceled at the request of the local host university, Tecnológico de Monterrey. Edwards said the 19 participants in the Bulldogs and study abroad programs have found alternative summer options.

    “We worked with all the students who were going on our programs, and as far as I know, everyone now knows what it is that they’re doing,” she said. “This decision is about students who were waiting to see what would happen.”

  10. Rain can’t cloud homecoming for Urry

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    SOMERVILLE, Mass. — Not even a morning of rain could ruin the homecoming here at Tufts University on Sunday for one of Yale’s most pioneering female scientists.

    At Tufts’ Commencement ceremony this morning, Meg Urry, the director of the Yale Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics and chair of the Physics Department, received an honorary doctor of science degree for her research in astrophysics and her support of women’s and minorities’ pursuits of careers in science.

    Upon conferring the degree, Tufts President Lawrence Bacow noted Urry’s groundbreaking studies of active galaxies, her work with NASA and her status as the first tenured female professor in Yale’s Physics Department.