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  • Transition: Coach Eddie Robinson

    EDDIE ROBINSON, 88 In 56 seasons as a football coach, Robinson brought national stature to Grambling State University, a small, historically black college in Louisiana. His program sent more than 200 players to the NFL, including four Hall-of-Famers and a Super Bowl MVP.When Robinson retired in 1997 with a career mark of 408-165-15, he was the winningest coach in college-football history. But he'll be best remembered as a mentor who cared for the education and character of his players. His refrain: "You've got to coach each boy like you want him to marry your daughter."
  • Pet-Food Recall: What's a Cat to Do?

    Last month's massive pet-food recall sent worried pet owners scrambling for what to feed their furry loved ones. The message from vets? Don't panic. "If a commercial food that's not on the recall list is working well for your pet, stick with it," says Dr. Rebecca Remillard of the Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston."In general, I would not abandon the commercial diet." Vets also urge caution for those pet owners tempted to make their own pet food. "Homemade diets are really difficult to balance," says Dr. Sandy Willis of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. Dog and cat diets call for high amounts of calcium and fat and require a specific set of vitamins and trace minerals. But if you're willing to make the effort, preparing homemade pet meals is doable, says Remillard, a veterinary nutritionist.A serving should include a meat, grain, vegetable and vitamin/mineral supplement formulated for cats and dogs (and absolutely no onions, garlic, chocolate, grapes or...
  • How Far The G.I. Bill Really Takes You

    You’ve seen the ads on TV, on billboards, in magazines promising that if you sign on the dotted line, after four short, easy years of military service, college will get paid for. Aww, thanks Uncle Sam. But is it always true?For starters, the money available to veterans through the Montgomery GI Bill, the 1984 revamped version of the original legislation, is a fixed amount. It doesn’t change if you go to a $30,000 a year private school in Connecticut or a $26 a credit community college in California. For someone who served in the active-duty military, the standard allotment is $1,075 tax-free dollars a month. That number goes down to $309 for reservists, but bonuses throw in as much as $950. Here’s how some of our veterans faired at their respective schools...Ex-Marine and University of Wisconsin-Madison junior Jake Warner gets a monthly check for $1,185, enough to cover his living expenses ($510 for rent + $250 necessities) plus four 30-packs of Miller High Life. But, he says, “you...
  • Combat Veterans Confront Life on Campus

    The lanky University of Wisconsin-Madison sophomore was searching for the keg when another partygoer spotted him.“Everybody, this is Jake Warner,” he announced. “Jake was in the Marines and he’s been to Iraq,” he continued, his voice rising.Oh shit, here it comes; Warner groaned.“He’s killed people before!”Warner’s smile evaporated. “Thanks,” he grumbled. “Thanks for that introduction.” But the damage had been done. His camouflage of anonymity, of normalcy was gone—he could no longer pass as a physics geek. He was the killing machine. He was the Marine.This wasn’t exactly the picture of college life Warner had dreamed up—and for most war veterans, college never is. It’s not that they face the rabidly anti-soldier environment that Vietnam veterans did, but the transition from soldier—or airman or sailor or Marine—to student can be a strange and lonely trip any way you cut it. While some veterans want people to buy them beer and thank them for their great service to the country, most...
  • Cuddle my world

    Maybe the first night of your freshman year was awkward. At least you didn't ask a stranger if you could caress his shoulder. But, according to REiD Mihalko and Marcia Baczynski, founders of Cuddle Party, that's your loss."We need more touch in our lives. Period," Mihalko says. Since 2004, his answer to this problem has come in the form of Cuddle Party, a company devoted to throwing self-described "affectionate play events for adults."This February, the University of Southern California invited them to join its Gender and Sexuality week. In Cuddle Party's campus debut, 20 students in pajamas transformed a regular dorm common room into the site of nuzzling, spooning, backrubs and the signature Cuddle Party puppy pile finale.The parties are facilitated by certified Cuddle Lifeguards who ensure consensual cuddling. Questions like, "Can I hold you now?" and, "May I touch you here?" are encouraged, and their website states clearly that erections should be embraced. ...
  • Theses Pieces

    Every year, tens of thousands of your classmates write thesis papers. Most are too long, some are weirdly specific, and a bunch are just plain boring. We grabbed a few, though, that seemed worth a second look."Pardon Martha: An Image Restoration Analysis of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia." Michaela Hermann, Stetson University"Heavy Metal Sub-Genres: A Content Analysis of Lyrical Themes." Paul Gibson, Stetson University"Re-reading Xena: Lesbian Subtext and the Exploitation of Women in Science Fiction Fantasy Television." Margaret Twigg, Stetson University"Breaking All The Rules: Queen Latifah's Representations of the Black Female Body In Film." Angelica ...
  • Classroom: Celeb Studies

    Looking for a class to fill those last three credits? Now, if you’re a student at George Washington University, you can learn how to write for the tabloids.Although pop culture classes have been taught for years, this course covers more than just the history of celebrities, even requiring students to cover and write about a red carpet event.But Linda Kramer Jennings, a former D.C. bureau chief of People Magazine who now teaches the 20-person course, insists that it is not a lesson in tabloid fluff, but, in fact, is worth those three credits. “The field of pop culture within sociology and American studies is very well-developed, and taken seriously,” says Kramer Jennings.Still, students can fill their cravings for gossip. Each week, the class reads articles from the likes of Vanity Fair and the New Yorker, for example.So, might Celebritology 101 be coming to a university near you? Celeb-themed courses are being taught at Syracuse, Georgetown, and the University of Southern California...
  • Bored @

    We’ve all been there. Sitting in the library, not ready to start that paper. Why not invite a fellow classmate to have some library sex? Or share your darkest secrets? Thanks to boredat.net, students at 11 college libraries are able to do just that.Jonathan Pappas started the network in February 2006 during his senior year at Columbia University. The websites, which adopt the name of the particular school’s library, allow students to anonymously post thoughts and respond to others’.“What would students say if they could say whatever they wanted?” asks Pappas.Anything, it seems. Posts include everything from sexual fantasies to political opinions to one bored library-goer’s request for a response from any “gaysians.”The sites, which have since expanded to all the Ivies, Stanford, MIT, and NYU, boasted nearly 500,000 posts as of early March. No more pesky chat room pedophiles to ignore—just your horny classmates.
  • Will: The Insanity of College Admissions

    Ivies," "safeties," "AP prep courses," "legacy," "résumé-enhancing activity," "nonbinding early acceptance," "rolling admissions," "single-choice early action." If this argot is familiar to you, poor you: You have a child in high school, and these are the days that try your soul, the spring days when many college admissions are announced, often by e-mail, which is how AP Harry learned he was deferred by Harvard.Harry is a character in Susan Coll's new novel "Acceptance," set in Verona County, Md., which is the real Montgomery County, Md., thinly disguised—rich, liberal, full of strivers and contiguous to strivers' paradise, Washington. Harry earned the nickname AP because beginning with his freshman year he took almost every Advanced Placement course offered at Verona High School, which is so serious about placing graduates in prestigious colleges that the principal stalks the halls quizzing students on vocabulary words. For Harry, only Harvard will do.But Harry is a white male...
  • Mormons: With Cheney, Even the Faithful Protest

    Is there any place left where the vice president can be sure of a friendly welcome? Dick Cheney is traveling later this month to Utah, the reddest of Red States, to deliver the commencement address at the Mormon Church's Brigham Young University. But even there, support is ebbing for George W. Bush and Cheney. The university has approved a rare campus protest this week against Cheney's visit, and is considering a second on commencement day. One online petition asking BYU to rescind the invitation has gathered more than 2,000 signatures, many from students and professors as well as alumni. The university says such criticism is normal. "On this campus there are many diverse viewpoints on any number of subjects," says spokeswoman Carri Jenkins.Bush met with church president Gordon Hinckley in Salt Lake City in September, but that hasn't stopped a shift in Mormon loyalties—just as the polls have moved among Christian conservatives across the country. According to veteran Utah pollster...
  • Making College More Accessible

    Bidding to take control of Capitol Hill last fall, Democratic candidates vowed to make college more accessible--and more affordable--for American families. The pledge excited education reformers, who had largely focused on No Child Left Behind and the needs of the country’s youngest students during the Bush years. Now that the Democrats run both the House and Senate, the wheels are starting to turn. And late last month, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings hosted the administration’s first higher-education summit and called on colleges to be more accountable to consumers. NEWSWEEK’s Pat Wingert talked to Rep. George Miller, Democrat of California, and chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, about where this momentum comes from and where it may be headed. ...
  • Study: A Downside to Day Care?

    A new study finds that children who regularly attend day-care centers develop more behavioral problems in kindergarten than those that don't. What's a parent to do?
  • Das: India's Love of Bureaucracy

    On Feb. 28, India's ruling congress party-led coalition introduced its latest budget, aiming, according to Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, "to lift the poor" and close the income gap. The new plan, however, is no more likely to succeed than past efforts. The problem is best understood by focusing on two numbers hidden in the document. One represents a promise to hire 200,000 new schoolteachers; the other, to grant 100,000 scholarships. These two figures underscore both what is right and wrong with India today, and why its leaders fail to help their neediest constituents.India as a country is getting richer at a bewildering rate. Somehow this chaotic, billion-person democracy has become one of the world's fastest-growing economies, expanding 8 percent in the past three years and 9.2 percent this year. Since 1980, per capita income has tripled. Some of this progress has trickled down: 1 percent of the poor have crossed the poverty line each year since 1980. That adds up to a total of...
  • Grow the Market

    Last year MIT computer guru Nicholas Negroponte started his One Laptop per Child initiative to bring computing to the world's poor. Chipmaker Intel wouldn't participate in the program, opting instead to introduce its own machine for the masses—the Classmate PC. It's a much more luxurious device than Negroponte's—it comes with a one- or two-gigabyte flash hard drive and a WiMAX chip for networking. To persuade schools to buy the $300 PC, Intel will provide training to 10 million teachers over the next five years. (It will also donate 100,000 PCs.) The firm has collaborated with a handful of countries, including Thailand, Turkey and Ireland, to create online educational programs for science and math. "We're growing the market together—that's the concept," says Intel VP John Davies. Intel plans to ship hundreds of thousands of PCs to 30 countries this year.
  • Dumped: Inside DePauw’s Sorority Meltdown

    In all honesty, Carolyn Thatcher, a senior theater major at DePauw University, doesn't see how she fell short of the standards of a Delta Zeta sorority girl. "I don't think I am unattractive," she says, although she admits she can be "introverted," is not blond and wears jeans and T shirts to class instead of designer outfits. In fact, she was chapter president, but even that didn't save her in December when the national DZ office, alarmed by a drop in pledges at the DePauw chapter, concluded that the way to prop up its failing fortunes was to purge 23 of the 35 women in the house. Thatcher was promoted to what the sorority euphemistically called "alumnae status" even though, as a size 8, she made the unofficial weight cut. "There's no one left in that house bigger than a size 10," says Joanna Kieschnick, who left of her own accord.It's not news that the social life of a heavily Greek campus—like DePauw, with 2,400 students, in a rural part of Indiana—is ruled by snobbery. Nobody...
  • Are Americans Ignorant About Religion?

    Steve Prothero is the kind of professor who makes you want to go back to college. During an hour lecture of his Boston University course "Death and Immortality," 200 students sat rapt last week as his train of thought led him from the Docetics (early Christians who believed that Jesus was all-God, not flesh), to reincarnation, to Disney World, to Hindu cremation rituals, to Plato's account of Socrates' trial (the day's assigned reading), to "Beauty and the Beast," to a hypothetical suicidal bunny, to a discussion of the merits of exile versus death for a man such as Socrates. To describe Prothero as "quick-witted" or his interests as "interdisciplinary" wouldn't quite do him justice. Prothero is a world-religions scholar with the soul of a late-night television comic.This month, HarperSanFrancisco will publish Prothero's new book "Religious Literacy," a work whose message is far more sober than its author's affect. In spite of the fact that more than 90 percent of Americans say they...
  • Academia: Gallaudet's Bad Grade

    Students at Gallaudet rebelled last year over whether the appointed president was "deaf enough" to lead the nation's premier university for the deaf and hard of hearing. But while debate focused on issues of Deaf culture, the university's foundation was crumbling.Now an academic-certification group has warned the school that its accreditation status is "fragile" and could be revoked. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education's stinging Jan. 13 letter, released last week, cites concerns over eight standards including academic integrity, low graduation rates and a lackluster response to previous inquiries. Accreditation affects major parts of university life, like federal financial aid. "Yes, we have some serious things we need to address," says university spokesperson Mercy Coogan. "But we've been slugging away at it."
  • English Orated Here

    Asia has long yearned to create its own Ivy League for the great mass of students who can't afford to make it to Harvard. Now it has found a shortcut. Two years ago Yonsei, South Korea's oldest and most prestigious private university, set up the Underwood International College (UIC), which offers a four-year program of all-English-language classes to compete with the best institutions in America and Europe. By providing generous scholarships and high pay, the UIC has attracted top students and faculty members from around the world, making it an academic landmark in Asia. "Classes here are as tight as Ivy League classes," says Park Se Ung, a freshman at Yonsei's UIC. "For the final exam, I couldn't sleep at all for days."...
  • Time On The Mind

    How does the brain track time intervals? A new paper in the journal Neuron by Dean Buonomano of the UCLA Brain Research Institute proposed a theory that time is measured not like a clock, but by tracking changes in neurons as they propagate through the brain following some kind of signal or event, such as hearing a sound that could be either the word "the" or the start of "this." Imagine throwing a pebble into a pond, he says; you could calculate how much time has gone by at any moment by comparing how far the ripples have spread with a set of reference pictures for different intervals. The brain does something similar, he believes-- and within a 10 percent margin of error. Measuring small intervals could prove useful in other sensory modes, such as touch. This insight could someday be useful in treating conditions, such as dyslexia, that involve impairments to language.
  • Fourth-Grade Slump

    Terri Bollinger, principal at the Ridge Central elementary school, has noticed a troubling trend. Her third graders are doing incredibly well. Most of them meet or exceed Illinois state reading standards. But her fifth graders aren't showing the same kind of improvement--and in 2005, their reading scores even dropped a little. Bollinger thinks she knows why. For complicated reasons, some kids lose their mojo when they get to fourth grade.Principals and teachers around the country are growing increasingly concerned with what they call the fourth-grade slump. The malaise, which can strike children any time between the end of the second and the middle of fifth grade, is marked by a declining interest in reading and a gradual disengagement from school. What's causing it? Some say fourth graders get distracted by videogames, organized sports and after-school activities. Others worry that kids are burning out. No Child Left Behind has created an intense push to teach kids the fundamentals...
  • Stop Pandering on Education

    The crazy thing about the education debate in the United States is that anyone with an ounce of brains knows what must be done. Each political party is about half right. Republicans are right about the need for strict performance standards and wrong in believing that enduring change is possible without lots more money from Washington. Democrats are right about the need to pay teachers more but wrong to kiss up to teachers unions bent on preventing accountability.As President Bush's flawed (but landmark) No Child Left Behind (NCLB) program comes up for reauthorization this year, the onus is on Democrats. Will they cave to their party's biggest special interest--or do what most of them acknowledge in private is essential? Among Democratic presidential candidates, supporting accountability with teeth and more charter schools should be a litmus test for anyone serious about proving he or she is not just another hack.The good news is that we're getting some leadership in New York, long a...
  • More Than the Anti-Summers

    When Larry Summers was named president of Harvard in 2001, the university was seeking a strong leader who could command all of its powerful fiefdoms while reasserting its unique “bully pulpit” in higher education. But during Summers’ five-year stint at the Harvard helm, he came to be viewed as more of a bully without the pulpit. His confrontational style had already produced many ruffled feathers when, in 2005, Summers speculated publicly that women might be innately inferior to men in math and science. The subsequent outcry provoked a drawn-out battle that ultimately led to his resignation. On Sunday, after a yearlong search, Harvard is expected to name Drew Gilpin Faust, dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, as its new president. Faust, 59, would be the first woman president in Harvard’s history (and the fourth now among the eight Ivy League schools) as well as the first without a Harvard degree. But what may be most important at Harvard is that she is viewed as a...
  • No Child Left Untested?

    The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy announced last week that it will be holding four regional summits promoting random student drug testing in public middle and high schools. The controversial program, which has already been implemented in nearly 1,000 middle and high schools across the country, requires that kids submit to random drug testing if they want to participate in competitive extracurricular activities like athletics. The Department of Education offers grants to schools that want to develop or expand a drug-testing programs for children in grades 6-12, but decisions about whether to test and which drugs to test for are made on an individual school level. The testing is usually done by a school nurse with a urine sample taken on school premises. If there's a positive result, the sample is sent out for verification by a lab. Tests can also be done with blood or saliva. Samples are generally tested for cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy, opium-based substances,...
  • The Threat From Within

    This may be the first generation in which children live a shorter life span than their parents. If this were caused by a new virus or pathogen, or if some madman was harming our children, there would be a call to action from most parents, an uprising and an uproar. But it's not some external germ or sinister force that's eating our young; it's what our young are eating—too much fat, salt and sugar. And it's not only what they're doing, but also what they're not doing—a lack of regular exercise.So many kids in our country are overweight, they're getting sick and dying prematurely. Overweight kids suffer disproportionately from diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure and other serious health problems. A study last summer in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that being overweight at 18 is associated with an increased risk of premature death in younger and middle-aged women.Since 1970, the percentage of kids who are overweight or obese has risen almost fourfold, from 4.2 percent to 15...
  • Gender And The Pulpit

    In 1973, Eric Karl Swenson was ordained in the Presbyterian Church and went to work doing what he’d always dreamed of: ministering to a congregation of the Southern Presbyterian Church in Atlanta. More than 20 years later, one dream almost ended when another began. When the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta discovered in 1996 that Swenson had finally fulfilled another lifelong desire—having sex-change surgery to become a woman—it started proceedings to revoke Swenson’s ordination.At the time of her “transition,” Swenson did not resist the church’s questions nor blame its reluctance. “I had been in the closet for 30 years, learning to accept myself,” she says. “It is difficult for me to be angry at others for not accepting.” Married with two daughters before her transition, Swenson described her struggle, years later, in a sermon: “I had spent the better part of four decades wrestling secretly with the unreasonable and incorrigible desire to be female.” After almost three years of...
  • Education: Learning Takes Time

    It doesn't sound like much at first. Students attending a public school in urban Chicago go for 5 hours and 45 minutes daily, while the New York City school day is 65 minutes longer. Now, factor in that New York City kids attend school 12 more days than their Windy City counterparts. Add it up, and it's clear the New York kids have gained a distinct advantage--eight more weeks of instruction time a year.Those striking inequities--and others--were highlighted by a new database produced by the National Council on Teacher Quality, a Gates Foundation-funded watchdog group. Researchers waded through phone-book-size union contracts and school-district policy booklets to come up with a portrait of how the 50 largest school districts are educating American kids (nctq.org/cb).The dramatic disparities--for example, kids in Memphis get about five weeks less schooling than kids in Houston--have reignited enthusiasm for an old idea: close the achievement gap by making the school day longer. This...
  • Beliefwatch: Ivy League

    In your prayers tonight, you might want to thank God that no one has put you in charge of the Task Force on General Education at Harvard.The job wasn't going to be easy. Harvard has been looking at revising its core curriculum--established in 1978 to ensure that all undergraduates are educated in certain subject areas--for years. Committees were convened and disbanded, defeated by internal politics and conceptual stalemates. The most recent iteration, the aforementioned task force, is now drafting its final recommendations for a vote next month by the faculty. It will likely succeed, but not without sustaining considerable damage from the culture wars.In October, the task force issued an innocent-enough proposal. Given the prominence of religion in the world today, all students should be required to do coursework in an area called "Reason & Faith." "Religion is realpolitik , both nationally and internationally," the report said. "By providing [students] with a fuller...
  • A Life In Books: Nathan Englander

    While writing his upcoming novel, "The Ministry of Special Cases," Nathan Englander was wary of picking up any old book because he was afraid of messing up his own voice. Now that he's done, his nightstand is in danger of collapse. An Important Book that you admit you haven't read: "The Magic Mountain" by Thomas Mann. I keep climbing up the mountain and then I stop. I've read the first 150 pages three times. Which classic did you go back to and find disappointing?There are things that I loved in high school that I will not revisit for fear that they will not hold that place anymore.
  • Models: A Big Step to the Left

    It's hardly surprising that Chilean President Michelle Bachelet didn't take them seriously at first. They were just a bunch of chiquillos --kids--decked out in their black-and-white high-school uniforms complaining about the quality of education. But those "kids" are part of a new generation that has grown up free of the repressive 17-year dictatorship of the late Gen. Augusto Pinochet.Coordinating protests through e-mail, blogs and cell phones, they turned out for three weeks last June--an estimated one million of them--to boycott classes, close schools and clash with police in the largest student movement in Chile's history. Their "Penguin revolution," as it came to be called, rocked a complacent establishment and focused a spotlight not only on education but on the 12th worst income gap between rich and poor among countries worldwide. By the end of the year, the protests had spread to strikes by workers at hospitals and schools, and Bachelet was aggressively pushing an agenda of...
  • The Wrong Plan For Schools?

    For Ayumi Yabe, now 18, the agony started back in first grade. A boy in her class singled her out for harassment. "Go die!" he'd scream at her--and a crowd of others soon joined in. As she got older, still other boys took to harrying her with taunts and threats on the way home. Sometimes the bullies would push her to the ground and make her eat berries that made her sick. Most painfully, she says, her teachers refused to help. Once, after receiving a death threat from a fifth-grade classmate, she passed the note to her teacher, who then read it in front of the class. "Our school was so detached," she remarks. Small wonder that she soon began to think about finding a way out. "I began to wish I was dead. I just didn't have the energy to live."Luckily for Yabe, her resourceful mom managed to track down a refuge--one of Japan's rare alternative schools. Most children in the country aren't so fortunate. In recent months the media have been rife with gruesome stories about school-age...
  • Stepping Out of Line?

    During the making of “Stomp the Yard,” the new movie set in the world of black fraternities and their traditional style of step-dancing, producer Will Packer made authenticity his top priority. “I was on the set every day screaming about how everything had to be real,” Packer says. “I went and put up all my old pictures, paddles and paraphernalia so that everybody could get a feel for this.” As a 13-year member of Alpha Phi Alpha, Packer wanted to share his passion for the country’s oldest African-American fraternity with the cast and crew by draping the set with the symbols of his experience. “I kept saying, it has to be right, because if it isn’t, people within these organizations will know.” Yet, of all the places Packer displayed Alpha Phi Alpha’s symbols during the production of “Stomp the Yard,” there’s one place from which the symbols are now conspicuously missing—the film’s final cut.Prior to the film’s release, Packer and business partner Rob Hardy, who pledged with Packer...
  • The Trouble With Boys

    They're kinetic, maddening and failing at school. Now educators are trying new ways to help them succeed.
  • Pro: Diversity Is Essential...

    When I became president of the University of Michigan in 1997, affirmative action in higher education was under siege from the right. Buoyed by a successful lawsuit against the University of Texas Law School's admissions policy and by ballot initiatives such as California's Proposition 209, which outlawed race as a factor in college admissions, the opponents set their sights on affirmative-action programs at colleges across the country.The rumor that Michigan would be the next target in this campaign turned out to be correct. I believed strongly that we had no choice but to mount the best legal defense ever for diversity in higher education and take special efforts to explain this complex issue, in simple and direct language, to the American public. There are many misperceptions about how race and ethnicity are considered in college admissions. Competitive colleges and universities are always looking for a mix of students with different experiences and backgrounds--academic,...

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