January 22, 1998......Volume 27, Issue 17

News . . . . Arts . . . . Calendars . . . . Letters . . . . Links . . . . Deadlines . . . . Archive

Search the contents of the Intercom archives and
news releases issued by the Department of Public Information.

Paternos donate $3.5 million

Board of Trustees

  New chairman elected
  Board names vice chairman
  Delegate elections set
  Items chosen for shuttle flight
  Diversity plan presented
  Great Valley, Erie projects progress
  Berks plan approved
  Distinguished Alumni chosen
  Sports building plans progress
  Graduate enrollments may grow
  Colloquy emphasizes teaching
  Fellows program update
  Former chair offers insights
Governor releases $3 million
Fayette's $4.7 million tech center
For the Record
25-year Awards
Search for CEO at DuBois
Heaping helping
Institute seeking courses
Private Giving
Book Shelf
Leaves of Absence
Faculty/Staff Alerts
Penn Staters
Penn State news bureau

Leaves of Absence

Leaves of absence are granted for purposes of intensive study or research that will increase the quality of the individual's future contribution to the University. Leaves of absence for University Park will appear in next week's Intercom. The following leaves of absence have been approved for locations other than University Park:

Abington College

William S. Abruzzi, associate professor of anthropology, to complete a book-length manuscript on historical ethnic relations in New Mexico.

James E. Alcock, associate professor of environmental sciences, to conduct collaborative research on the tectonic and metamorphic history of the northeastern Adirondack Highlands.

Gary S. Calore, associate professor of philosophy, to complete the first draft of a book on the concept of time in American philosophy.

Peter B. Crabb, associate professor of psychology, to complete a book about the social and psychological impact of technology in the home, in public settings and in the workplace.

Kathryn F. Kearns, assistant professor of kinesiology, to conduct a teaching residency for dance educators and students of dance at the Universidade Federal de Vicosa in Brazil; and to continue research on Baroque-era sculptor Aleijadinho in order to create a dance work based on his life, spirit and achievements.

Patrick J. Moylan, assistant professor of physics, to study the spannor and plyor representations of the conformal group and their quantum deformations, together with a study of the physical applications of chronometric theory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Altoona College

Marc L. Harris, associate professor of history, to conduct research and prepare a draft manuscript on how the right of assembly was understood and how that understanding changed in the United States from the revolutionary period through 1850 .

Dinty W. Moore, associate professor of English, to conduct research and complete the first draft of a book-length manuscript of creative nonfiction focusing on fatherhood, specifically on the challenges of men fathering young daughters.

Roger R. Zellner, associate professor of art education, to prepare a manuscript titled, "Drawing as a Second Language -- A Self-Help Book," based on personal experiences.

Berks-Lehigh Valley College

Raymond A. Mazurek, associate professor of English, to complete a book-length manuscript on the critical reception of Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man and on related issues of canon formation in contemporary literature.

Louis Milakofsky, professor of chemistry, to conduct collaborative research on fundamental weaknesses in our understanding of the allantoic and amniotic fluids, two media crucial for the development and health of the chick embryo.

Capital College

Joseph J. Cecere, associate professor of engineering, to create instructional materials to teach estimating and supplement an estimating text at the Associated General Contractors of America in Washington, D.C.

Refik Culpan, associate professor of management and international business, to work on a book-length manuscript on managing global business alliances.

Jean E. Harris, associate professor of professional accounting, to study the history and impact of three initiatives in federal financial management and accounting: The establishment of the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board, the adoption of The Chief Financial Officer Act of 1990 and the adoption of The Government Performance Results Act of 1993.

Louise E. Hoffman, associate professor of humanities and history, to study the history of psychological research on Germany and other countries during the World War II; and to conduct archival research at the United States National Archives, the Library of Congress, the Archives of the History of Psychology in Ohio and the Public Records Office in London.

Mehdi Khosrowpour, associate professor of information systems, to conduct research on Web-enabled technologies and opportunities; the applications they offer; and their overall impact on organizations of all types and sizes throughout the world.

Samuel A. McClintock, associate professor of environmental engineering, to work with companies in the United States and the United Kingdom on advanced wastewater treatment projects and to observe methods for delivering design courses in engineering.

Steven A. Melnick, associate professor of education, to gather data and write a series of four related papers on team-based professional development.

David Morand, associate professor of management, to study the concept of power distance as it applies to worker-management relations in Mexican business firms.

Gautam Ray, professor of engineering, to acquire formal training in authoring educational material in multimedia format and applying the knowledge gained in authoring computer-aided educational material in engineering dynamics.

Girish H. Subramanian, associate professor of information systems, to study the development of global software and its forms and mechanisms in developed and developing countries throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore and India.

Ugur Yucelt, associate professor of marketing, to conduct research for journal articles and a book-length manuscript that analyzes the economic and marketing impact of technology transfer to newly-industrializing nations.

Commonwealth College

Alan R. French, associate professor of biology at Penn State Wilkes-Barre, to conduct laboratory and field studies to determine the mechanisms used by mammalian hibernators to time their emergence from dormancy.

Lonnie Golden, assistant professor of economics at Penn State Delaware County, to analyze new government census data sets regarding the number and type of nontraditional, contingent jobs.

Stephen C. Hoops, assistant professor of chemistry at Penn State New Kensington, to analyze educational applications of computational chemistry in general chemistry laboratory courses at United States institutions.

J. Michael Jarrett, associate professor of English at Penn State York, to complete the final draft of a book on record producers and to initiate an edited book on the discourse of record reviews.

John A. Johnson, professor of psychology at Penn State DuBois, to establish an interactive World Wide Web site for the International Personality Item Pool which will enable world-wide, collaborative psychometric research among faculty and students at the Oregon Research Institute.

Arshad Khan, professor of chemistry at Penn State DuBois, to complete a collaborative project on various properties of liquid water and involve undergraduate research on enzyme activity in the presence of tea extract, sodium citrate and ammonium chloride.

Richard A. Kopley, associate professor of English at Penn State DuBois, to complete a book of essays concerning the composition of works by Poe, Hawthorne and Melville; and to continue to identify and edit journalistic pieces by Poe.

Veronica Montecinos, associate professor of sociology at Penn State McKeesport, to complete a book manuscript on the economics profession in Chile and two edited volumes, one on the gender impact of pension privatization in the Americas and the other on the Americanization of economics in the world.

Lawrence R. Newcomer, assistant professor of computer science and engineering at Penn State York, to study the use of collaborative, active and distance learning in introductory and advanced computer science courses.

André J. M. Prévos, associate professor of French at Penn State Worthington Scranton, to complete a monograph about the arrival, impact, adoption and adaptation of popular African American music in France during the 20th century.

Peggy A. Russo, assistant professor of English at Penn State Mont Alto, to co-edit and prepare for publication the papers from a multidisciplinary conference on John Brown and his significance for American society on the eve of the Civil War as well as today.

Gayle L. Smith, associate professor of English at Penn State Worthington Scranton, to develop a book-length study of the connections between Ralph Waldo Emerson's theories of language and mind, his responses to the visual arts and natural landscape, and his characteristic prose style.

George K. Tseo, assistant professor of environmental sciences at Penn State Hazleton, to coordinate a joint United States-China project on Chinese enterprise privatization through employee ownership at the China Research Centre for Management Science and the State Commission for Restructuring Economic Systems.

The Dickinson School of Law

James R. Fox, professor of law and director of the law library, to serve as a visiting scholar at McGill University Institute of Air and Space Law and to research and write a book on the history of the International Civil Aviation Organization.

Michael A. Mogill, professor of law, to work for Legal Services Inc. of Cumberland County to represent indigent clients in cases involving unemployment compensation, consumer rights, special education, landlord/tenant and domestic matters.

Laurel S. Terry, professor of law, to conduct a comparison of the legal ethics and other provisions that affect United States and German lawyers' abilities to engage in multidisciplinary partnerships.

Penn State Erie, Behrend College

Ursula Davis, assistant professor of communication, to conduct research for a manuscript of a book on James Moody, a life in jazz.

Ralph L. Eckert, associate professor of history, to complete the research and writing of a manuscript on the impact of the Civil War upon the civilians of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia between 1860 and 1870.

James A. Kurre, associate professor of economics, to conduct research and identify new variables that determine the cost-of-living differentials between places, improve the technique for measuring their impact and estimate an actual cost of living index for the counties of Pennsylvania.

College of Medicine

Joanna Floros, professor of cellular and molecular physiology, to conduct biostatistical genetic analyses to advance knowledge in the new branch of biostatistics, the statistical genetics.

Anne H. Hawkins, associate professor of humanities, to research and write a book-length study of the experience of Penn State Geisinger's patients, their families and medical caregivers in the HIV clinic at Penn State Geisinger.

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Faculty/Staff Alerts

Information booth closed

The information booth on Curtin Road, in front of the Palmer Museum on the University Park campus, was permanently closed Dec. 24, 1997. Booths remain open at the following locations: Pollock Road between Walker Building and Noll Lab; at the entrance to Nittany Parking Deck; Allen Street near Business Administration Building; and Curtin Road in front of Intermural Building.

Red Cross blood schedule

The American Red Cross, Centre Communities Chapter, will conduct several blood drives at University Park over the next several weeks, as follows:

* Tuesday, Jan. 27: Kern

* Monday, Feb. 2: Housing and Food Services

* Tuesday, Feb. 3: HUB

* Wednesday, Feb. 4: HUB

* Thursday, Feb. 5: HUB

All of the blood drives take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Donor eligibility can be confirmed by calling the Red Cross at 1-800-54-BLOOD. The entire donation process takes a little more than an hour, including a brief health check and something to eat. Although walk-ins are welcome, appointments are recommended. Call 237-2713.

Creative writing awards

Monday, Feb. 2, is the deadline for submitting entries in the annual Katey Lehman Creative Writing Awards contest. Sponsored by the College of the Liberal Arts and the College of Communications, this competition is open to all Penn State undergraduates, regardless of curriculum or campus, who have at least sophomore standing and who will be in residence during the spring 1998 semester. Winners will be announced by March 15.

The Katey Lehman Creative Writing Awards are made annually in poetry, fiction and journalism. The prize in each category will be $750. Application forms can be obtained by mail or in person, from the English department, 103
Burrowes Building, University Park. For more information on submissions, award criteria or judging, contact Tom Berner at (814) 863-7993 or via e-mail at bx2@psu.edu.

Support groups

With the opening of the new Penn State Geisinger Family Health Group facility on Cherry Drive in Hershey, the location of several educational programs and support group meetings will change beginning in February.

The following meetings will be held in the community center at the Cherry Drive site at the northeastern end of The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center campus, across from Fox's Market, unless otherwise noted:

* Breast Cancer Support Group: Meets the first Monday of each month, from 6:30-9:30 p.m., beginning Feb. 2. Contact Nancy Toth, R.N., at (717) 531-5867.

* Infant Loss Support Group: Meets the third Monday of each month, from 6:30-7:30 p.m., beginning Feb. 16, in the Biomedical Research Building. Contact Joni McCrady, R.N., at (717) 531-3503.

* C.O.V.E. Support Group: For women with cancers of the reproductive system, meets the second Thursday of each month, from 6:30-8:30 p.m., beginning Feb. 12. Contact Nan C. Resnick at (717) 531-5658.

* Preparation for Childbirth and Parenthood Programs: For more information, call (717) 531-6981.

* Menopause Support Group: Meets Feb. 11, 18 and 25, from 6:30-8 p.m. Contact Nan C. Resnick at (717) 531-5658.

Women's health programs offered

The Penn State Geisinger Women's Health Center will offer several special programs during February aimed at helping women to improve their health and maintain healthy lifestyles. All programs will be held at the Penn State Geisinger Family Health Group facility on Cherry Drive in Hershey. Dates, times and topics follow:

* Wednesday, Feb. 4: Diabetes Management, 6:30-8:30 p.m.; Physical Activity and Women's Health, 7-8 p.m.;

* Thursday, Feb. 5: Assertiveness, 6:30-7:30 p.m.;

* Wednesday, Feb. 18: Physical Activity for Bone Health, 7-8 p.m.; and

* Tuesday, Feb. 24: Successful Retirement Planning, 6:30-7:30 p.m.

For additional information, call Hershey at (717) 531-3503.

Expo exhibitors sought

The Center for Quality and Planning invites all quality improvement teams to exhibit in the Quality Expo on Wednesday, April 22. The Quality Expo is an annual event that showcases the accomplishments of individuals and teams involved in quality improvement initiatives at Penn State.

Over the last five years, dozens of teams and hundreds of visitors have come together to share, learn and celebrate continuous quality improvement. More than 67 teams exhibited last year, representing 17 different units. This year, a Quality Conference featuring improvement practitioners from Penn State and other institutions will precede the Expo on Tuesday, April 21. David Ward, chancellor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, will present the conference plenary address, "Advancing A Vision Through Systemic Approaches."

The Quality Expo is a free event. There is no charge for exhibitors or visitors. The deadline for exhibit applications is Feb. 1. For more information on exhibiting, call the Center for Quality and Planning at (814) 863-8721, or visit its Web site at http://www.psu.edu/president/cqi/expo_98. A discounted fee will be charged for all faculty, staff and students interested in attending the Quality Conference. For more information on the Quality Conference, call Roberta Moore at (814) 863-5160.

Conflict of interest reminder

The Board of Trustees would like to remind all employees of Penn State's policy regarding potential conflicts of interest. Employees of the University should exercise the utmost good faith in all transactions that touch upon their duties to the University and its property. In their dealings with and on behalf of the University, employees will be held to a strict rule of honest and fair dealings between themselves and the University. Employees should not use their positions, or knowledge gained in those positions in a way that a conflict of interest might arise between the interest of the University and that of the individual. Employees should disclose to the administrative head of the college or other unit in which they are employed, or other appropriate superior officer, any potential conflict of interest of which they are aware before a contract or transaction is consummated.

"Depressed" people needed

Most people feel depressed at some time or another in their life, but some experience major depression. A study designed to help people with this problem currently is being conducted. You may be experiencing major depression if you:

* Feel depressed most of the day, nearly every day;

* Experience a marked decrease of interest and pleasure in almost all activities;

* Feel fatigue or loss of energy most of the day;

* Feel worthless or excessive guilt; or

* Feel a decreased ability to think or concentrate.

If you believe you are experiencing major depression and would like to be considered for a study being conducted by the Department of Psychology, please call Charles Hines at (814) 863-4833.

Subjects (ages 18-55) included in the study will receive 12 to 20 free sessions of individual psychotherapy, either immediately after being assessed for depression or 12 to 20 weeks later. Subjects also will be asked to complete various questionnaires during and after treatment. A brief telephone interview will help with a preliminary determination of the suitability of this treatment for you. If you cannot be included in this treatment, alternate referral suggestions will be made. Strictest confidentiality is maintained.

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Health Matters courses

To register for the following program offerings on the University Park campus, please see your Health Matters brochure or contact Jan Hawbaker at (814) 865-3085 or JQH3@psu.edu.

* Gaining Control of Your Life and Illness (WEL 130)

If you have a chronic disease such as asthma, diabetes, bronchitis, multiple sclerosis, or allergies you can take steps to remain happy and healthy. Meets Friday, Jan. 23, from noon to 1 p.m., 110 Henderson Building (The Living Center). Free.

* Effectiveness of Positive Thinking (WEL 115)

Meets Friday, Jan. 30, 1-2:30 p.m., 301 Agricultural Administration Building. Cost: $5.

* Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (WEL 137)

Eight-week program to learn how to tap the wisdom of the body and mind so that you can more effectively deal with stress, chronic illness and pain, anxiety, fears and life challenges. Class fee includes book, cassette tape and a retreat. Meets Tuesdays, Jan. 27-March 24 (excluding March 10), 4:30-6 p.m., 110 Henderson Building (The Living Center) Cost: $150; HealthAmerica HMO reimbursable.

Learn LIAS

The University Libraries are offering basic get-to-know classes in LIAS (the online Library Information Access System), primarily geared toward undergraduates, from Feb. 2-6 on the University Park campus. There will be two 45-minute sessions each day at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. in Central Pattee, Room 401.

Participants will learn how to find books, magazines, music, maps and other materials; use important LIAS searching commands; locate materials using the online catalog from their residence hall rooms or homes; and much more. No registration is necessary.

For more information, check out the Libraries' home page at http://www.libraries.psu.edu.

Upcoming HRDC courses

To register for these or other Human Resource Development Center programs on the University Park campus, complete the registration form found in the back of the Fall HRDC catalog, and fax to (814) 865-3522.

* From Frazzled to Focused: Positive and Productive Telephone Skills, COM 045 -- Feb. 9, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., 319 Rider Building. Cost: $89.

* Avoiding Mental and Physical Burnout, PER 003 -- Feb. 10, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., 319 Rider Building. Cost: $89. This program meets for four sessions.

* Exceptional Quality Service, CUS 001 -- Feb. 20, 8:30 a.m. to noon, 319 Rider Building. Cost: $44.

* Supervisor Skills for Coping with Conflict in the Workplace, LDR 072 -- Feb. 19, 8:30 a.m. to noon, Agricultural Sciences Building. Cost: $59.

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Penn Staters

Dinesh Agrawal, professor of materials and director of the Microwave Processing and Engineering Center at the Materials Research Laboratory, presented an invited talk on "Microwave Processing of Ceramics: Recent Developments at MRL" at Banaras Hindu University (Varanasi), Solid State Physical Laboratory (New Delhi) and Associated Cement Companies (Mumbai) in India.

J. Gary Augustson, executive director of computer and information systems, has been honored by the Committee on Institutional Cooperation Chief Information Officers for his leadership in the Internet 2 project. Internet 2 is a project intended to provide member universities with new network services and connections that are 100 times faster than the current Internet. Internet 2 is now backed by more than 100 higher education institutions, organizations and private industries. The CIC is the academic consortium of the Big 10 universities, plus the University of Chicago.

Jay Belsky, distinguished professor of human development in the College of Health and Human Development, presented an invited paper titled "The Parenting Dilemma: Whether to Have Children" at the International Symposium on Children and the Family in the 21st Century in Tokyo. Belsky also was one of 100 people recently invited by President Clinton to attend the White House Conference on Child Care. In November, Belsky also gave an invited address on "Day Care and Child Development" at the annual meeting of the Korean Association of Child Studies.

Blannie Bowen, C. Lee Rumberger and family professor of agriculture, was named the winner of the National FFA H.O. Sergeant Award. The award recognizes individuals who "are successful in achieving and promoting diversity in agricultural education and the FFA."

A. Welford Castleman Jr., Evan Pugh professor of chemistry, recently delivered an invited talk titled "Clusters: Elucidating the Influence of Solvation on Reaction and Ionization Dynamics" at Femtochemistry '97, the major biannual conference on ultrafast processes held in Lund, Sweden.

L. Eric Cross, Evan Pugh professor of electrical engineering at the Materials Research Laboratory, presented the Dow Lecture in Materials Science and Engineering on "Recent Developments in Piezoelectric Ferroelectric Materials and Composites" at Northwestern University.

Peter Kent Forster, associate director, Department of Distance Education, delivered the keynote address "Distance Education: Trends, Advantages and Challenges" at the Distance Learning: Experience and Development conference in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, sponsored by the International Research and Exchange Board and the U.S. Information Agency. Forster also made a second presentation at the conference on Penn State's distance learning program in Russia.

Henry Giroux, Waterbury chair professor in the College of Education, has been elected into the Laureate Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi, an international honor society in education.

An Award of Excellence in the 1997 Videographer Awards competition has been earned by Pennsylvania College of Technology's marketing video, "Degrees of Excellence -- Degrees That Work." The video was created and produced by the college's Instructional Technology and Media Services Center. Footage for the video was captured primarily by James T. Gugino, video engineer/editor, with Bruce E. Huffman, producer/videographer, providing additional footage, script creation, graphics and editing. The center is directed by Frederick T. Gilmour. The video was judged against 1,890 other entries from 42 states. The Videographer Awards, a division of The Communicator Awards, is a national awards organization that helps set standards for the video production industry.

The Association of Blind Athletes of New Jersey recently recognized Charles F. Gunderman, assistant professor of exercise and sport science at Penn State DuBois, for his ongoing contributions over the last 20 years to the association and to the quality of life for blind athletes. Gunderman's wife, Sharon, was also recognized for her contributions to blind athletics.

The Society for Music Theory has recognized Associate Professor Robert Hatten of the School of Music with the Wallace Berry Publication Award for his book, Musical Meaning in Beethoven: Markedness, Correlation and Interpretation (Indiana University Press, 1994). The award is the highest honor bestowed by the Society for Music Theory for outstanding publication of a book by a senior scholar. Hatten shares the award this year with one of the leading scholars in the field, Allen Forte, whose book examines American popular ballads of the early 20th century.

Hatten's book develops an original theory of musical expressive meaning based on Beethoven's late style.

Drew Hyman, professor of public policy and community systems in the College of Agricultural Sciences, was elected chair of the Scanning Certification Program Board of Advisers. The certification program is the only independent board in the United States that addresses supermarket pricing accuracy and certifies scanner programs.

Austin J. Jaffe, Philip H. Sieg professor of business administration and research director of the Institute for Real Estate Studies, gave presentations overseas: "Economics, Institutions and European Housing in Transition," was the topic of his keynote address at the Young Housing Researchers Seminar in Budapest, Hungary; in Tallinn, Estonia, he presented a paper titled "Achieving Satisfaction in Housing Markets: Bricks and Mortar or Social Rules?" for the reunion of the CIB-W69 Commission; and in Hong Kong, he addressed "Housing Privatization: The Eastern European Experience," in a presentation at the Asian Real Estate Society International Conference.

Iam-choon Khoo, professor of electrical engineering, has been elected a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers [IEEE] for "contributions to optical, electro-optical and nonlinear optical phenomena in liquid crystals and their application in optical devices."

Sridhar Komarneni, professor of clay mineralogy in the Department of Agronomy and Materials Research Laboratory, gave an invited talk on "Tailored Silica Gels for Natural Gas Storage" at Chiba University, Chiba, Japan. He also co-organized a symposium on "Porous Materials" at the International Union of Materials Research Societies meeting in Chiba, Japan.

Herbert H. Lipowsky, professor and chairman of the Department of Bioengineering in the College of Engineering, has been named president of the Biomedical Engineering Society. Lipowskywill serve as the society's president for one year.

Barnes W. McCormick, professor emeritus of aerospace engineering, gave an invited lecture at Middle East Technical University in Ankara,Turkey, titled "Some Observations Related to Aircraft Accidents."

Robert E. Newnham, Alcoa professor of solid state science, and Gary L. Messing, director, Materials Research Laboratory, gave invited lectures at the 6th International Symposium on Ceramic Materials & Components for Engines (Nagasaki, Japan). Messing gave a presentation on "Processing of Organized Ceramic Microstructures by Templated Grain Growth." Newnham spoke on recent advances in piezoelectric materials and devices. He also gave a presentation on this topic at the International Symposium on Ceramic Matrix Composites in Tokyo.

J. Sweeney, professor in the Department of History, was a recent guest lecturer of the Department of History at the University of Haifa, Israel. Sweeney's topic was "Andrew II of Hungary in the Holyland: A Reappraisal."

Michael J. Taleff, assistant professor of education and coordinator of the College of Education's master's degree program in chemical dependency counseling, has been selected as president-elect of the International Coalition of Substance Abuse Educators (INCASE) for 1998-99. INCASE is a professional society of faculty and educators created to address interests of educational programming in alcohol, drug and other addiction studies. It also promotes research, networking and policy development.

Paul S. Weiss, associate professor of chemistry, recently gave several invited international lectures. At the International Workshop on Surface Chemistry on the Nanoscopic Scale in the The Netherlands, Weiss gave the closing talk titled "Natural and Artificial Means of Controlling Molecules on Surfaces." He also gave an invited lecture titled "Atomic-Scale Views of Interactions and Dynamics of Molecules on Surfaces" at the University of Cambridge in England, at the FOM Institute for Atomic and Molecular Physics in The Netherlands, and the Fritz-Haber-Institut der Max-Planck-Gesellchaft in Germany.

Donald J. Willower, distinguished professor of education, received the Roald Campbell Award for Lifetime Achievement at the Annual Conference of the University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA). UCEA is an organization of more than 50 universities in North America with doctoral programs in educational administration. The award recognizes long-time service as a teacher, researcher and leader in education, and superior contributions to the field.

Francis T.S. Yu, Evan Pugh professor of electrical engineering, was awarded the 1998 Donald G. Fink Prize by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) for a paper titled "Optical Pattern Recognition: Architectures and Techniques." Yu co-authored the paper with Don A. Gregory, associate professor at the University of Alabama. The paper discusses the development of and recent advances in the field of optical pattern recognition

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Keith E. Whitfield, assistant professor of biobehavioral health, has found education
and health to be the most important predictors of cognitive function in older African Americans.
Photo: Greg Grieco

Elderly African Americans
offer clues to successful aging

Barbara Hale
Public Information

A study of elderly African Americans has shown education levels and health status to be important intervening factors in the failing memory, declining language skills and other deteriorating cognitive processes often thought to be inevitable consequences of advancing age.

"Aging is synonymous with cognitive decline in the public's mind and science's perspective has been one of decline in old age, too," said Keith E. Whitfield, assistant professor of biobehavioral health and lead author of the study. "However, when we looked over several factors, education and health were the most important predictors of the status and course of cognitive functioning in older African Americans.

"In more than 30 years of research conducted on cognitive aging, few studies have focused specifically on cognitive aging among African Americans. Identifying risk factors for maintenance, decline or enhancement of cognitive functioning that are prevalent in African Americans contributes to our understanding of cognitive aging for all elderly."

The study was based on data derived from personal interviews with 224 successfully aging African Americans 70 to 80 years old living at three different sites. The participants, a subset of the larger MacArthur Successful Aging Study, were tracked over two years to identify risk factors for maintenance, decline or enhancement of cognitive functioning.

One of the most striking aspects of the findings, according to the researchers, is that decline in cognitive function is not an inevitable consequence of advancing age. Nearly half of the subjects improved or maintained their level of cognitive performance over the two-year period.

Whitfield said study participants were at the top of their age group in physical and cognitive functioning. By studying them, the researchers hoped to find out why they were aging so successfully; what kinds of things influence successful aging; and what interventions might help keep other people living a good quality of life.

Among the researchers' findings:

* Women are less likely to experience decline in cognitive functioning than men.

* Current health and health compared to a year ago were significant predictors of improvement as was the person's self-rating of health.

* A person's ability to perform a forced expiratory volume test (blowing into a tube), was a statistically significant predictor of decline but the presence of a chronic disease was less significant.

* Education also was a significant predictor, with lower education associated with greater decline.

Whitfield worked with Teresa E. Seeman, Andrus Gerontology Center, University of Southern California; Toni P. Miles, former Penn State professor of biobehavioral health and now professor of family practice, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio; Marilyn S. Albert, Massachusetts General Hospital; Lisa F. Berkman, Department of Health and Social Behavior, Harvard School of Public Health; Dan G. Blazer, Duke University Medical Center; and John W. Rowe, Mount Sinai School of Medicine and The Mount Sinai Hospital.

College of Medicine earns
grant to continue HIV research

Dr. Michael Katzman, assistant professor of medicine and microbiology and immunology in the College of Medicine, has been awarded $116,000 to continue his HIV research. The award will fund the project "HIV-1 Integrase, the Next Target for Antiretroviral Therapy."

Katzman is investigating how the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) incorporates its genetic information into the DNA of infected human cells. This process ultimately results in the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

"We are planning to study the problem at the molecular level in hopes of ultimately blocking this step in virus replication. This research also may have relevance to other retroviruses and to some cancers," Katzman said.

He has been investigating retroviral integration since 1986. Katzman developed a biochemical assay that is used throughout the world in labs studying retrovirus integration and by drug companies trying to develop inhibitors for clinical therapy of patients.

The grant is sponsored by the W. W. Smith Charitable Trust in Newtown Square, Pa. The trust makes grant funds available to scientists in support of basic heart disease, cancer and AIDS research projects. This competitive award brings to $221,000 the total amount of support provided by the trust to Katzman's laboratory for this research project.

New shielding device helps reduce
radiation exposure for patients

Researchers in the College of Medicine have invented a way to protect the eyes, thyroid gland and female breasts during CT scans.

"Certain areas have always been shielded when they were not in the primary field of view. However, we have now developed a method where these areas can be in the primary X-ray field and still be protected and even with this new shielding, the diagnostic portion of the image is not affected," said Dr. Kenneth D. Hopper, professor of radiology and the inventor of the product. "For each area, we have formed a bismuth latex material into unique shapes. The garments are easy to use and can be put on and off, and there are no side effects," Hopper said.

Computer tomography, or CT, is an important radiology test needed by thousands of patients each year. The CT scan is an X-ray that is taken 360 degrees around the patient. While the information can be essential in guiding their treatment, unfortunately a patient does receive significant doses of radiation from the X-rays. Several superficial parts of the body are more sensitive to this radiation than others, including the eyes, thyroid gland and in women, breasts. By placing this thin bismuth garment over these areas, radiation exposure can be reduced to breasts by 57 percent. Radiation to the thyroid was reduced 60 percent and radiation to the eyes was reduced 40 percent. In addition, the bismuth material was far more elastic and moldable to the body's surface than the traditional leaded material.

"When you realize that radiation is cumulative throughout a lifetime, you see that cutting the radiation during these procedures can be significant for individuals," Hopper said.

Hopper said the reusable protective garment for the breast will probably cost less than $30. The shields for the eye and the thyroid are about $5, and all are widely available.

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