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Updated: 2 hours 32 min ago

New WEST Center to Address Water Issues

Tue, 11/24/2015 - 11:04am
Story Contacts: 

Lucio Guerrero

UA Office for Research & Discovery

520-621-3513

luciog@email.arizona.edu

The $5.5 million facility, built by Pima County, will bring together industry, government and academia for the development of new technologies.

Leaders from the University of Arizona, Pima County and city of Tucson were on hand for the grand opening of the WEST (Water & Energy Sustainable Technology) Center — a new, state-of-the-art facility that will enable UA researchers, public officials and business leaders to work together in developing new technologies that will help communities deal with water scarcity and re-use.

The $5.5 million center, built by Pima County, represents an important partnership — among few in the nation — that brings together various stakeholders to help solve the issues of water and water usage. The center represents a working partnership involving Pima County, Tucson Water, numerous industrial partners and the UA. Researchers from the UA’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and College of Engineering will be working on site at the facility.

"WEST has established a unique public/private/academia partnership tackling the issue of water scarcity and the dwindling resources. This project brings the strength of UA research and pairs it with industry experience," said Kimberly Andrews Espy, senior vice president for research at UA. "By partnering, we can look at solving the problem together, collectively."

Located within Pima County’s new water reclamation facility, Agua Nueva, near Interstate 10 and West El Camino del Cerro, WEST also is adjacent to reclaimed water recharge basins and constructed wetlands, all of which are part of the water reclamation campus and play an important part in the research being conducted in WEST laboratories.

"Addressing high-quality water resource availability for our region is necessary to assure our community’s long-term viability, and Pima County’s investment in our wastewater treatment facilities is a major step in that direction," said John Bernal, deputy county administrator for Pima County. "WEST will bring together public- and private-sector capabilities to explore improved methods for further securing our water future."

With about 25 percent of the U.S. currently affected by drought, the WEST Center is poised to answer some of the nation’s biggest questions about sustainable water and energy use. Research at the new facility also may lead to new technology regarding the re-use of potable wastewater.

"The WEST Center will target the water-energy nexus by ensuring a supply of safe drinking water to meet community needs for the foreseeable future, while meeting sustainable energy requirements," said Ian Pepper, co-director at WEST and a UA professor of soil, water and environmental science.

"In addition, the WEST Center aspires to not only become a global leader in new water and energy technologies but also focus on creating additional jobs and economic development in the region, while simultaneously providing advanced educational and training opportunities," said Shane Snyder, co-director at WEST and a UA professor of chemical and environmental engineering.

By finding ways to better society while also promoting economic growth in Arizona, WEST Center research also fits the UA’s Never Settle strategic plan.

"The UA has a long-standing history as a leading academic institution in the multifaceted study of water," Espy said. "The WEST Center advances our standing by providing state-of-the-art facilities that enable our faculty and partners to develop and demonstrate the technologies necessary for water security."

Category(s): Science and TechnologyNovember 24, 2015UA Office for Research & Discovery

New WEST Center to Address Water Issues

Tue, 11/24/2015 - 11:04am
Story Contacts: 

Lucio Guerrero

UA Office for Research & Discovery

520-621-3513

luciog@email.arizona.edu

The $5.5 million facility, built by Pima County, will bring together industry, government and academia for the development of new technologies.

Leaders from the University of Arizona, Pima County and city of Tucson were on hand for the grand opening of the WEST (Water & Energy Sustainable Technology) Center — a new, state-of-the-art facility that will enable UA researchers, public officials and business leaders to work together in developing new technologies that will help communities deal with water scarcity and re-use.

The $5.5 million center, built by Pima County, represents an important partnership — among few in the nation — that brings together various stakeholders to help solve the issues of water and water usage. The center represents a working partnership involving Pima County, Tucson Water, numerous industrial partners and the UA. Researchers from the UA’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and College of Engineering will be working on site at the facility.

"WEST has established a unique public/private/academia partnership tackling the issue of water scarcity and the dwindling resources. This project brings the strength of UA research and pairs it with industry experience," said Kimberly Andrews Espy, senior vice president for research at UA. "By partnering, we can look at solving the problem together, collectively."

Located within Pima County’s new water reclamation facility, Agua Nueva, near Interstate 10 and West El Camino del Cerro, WEST also is adjacent to reclaimed water recharge basins and constructed wetlands, all of which are part of the water reclamation campus and play an important part in the research being conducted in WEST laboratories.

"Addressing high-quality water resource availability for our region is necessary to assure our community’s long-term viability, and Pima County’s investment in our wastewater treatment facilities is a major step in that direction," said John Bernal, deputy county administrator for Pima County. "WEST will bring together public- and private-sector capabilities to explore improved methods for further securing our water future."

With about 25 percent of the U.S. currently affected by drought, the WEST Center is poised to answer some of the nation’s biggest questions about sustainable water and energy use. Research at the new facility also may lead to new technology regarding the re-use of potable wastewater.

"The WEST Center will target the water-energy nexus by ensuring a supply of safe drinking water to meet community needs for the foreseeable future, while meeting sustainable energy requirements," said Ian Pepper, co-director at WEST and a UA professor of soil, water and environmental science.

"In addition, the WEST Center aspires to not only become a global leader in new water and energy technologies but also focus on creating additional jobs and economic development in the region, while simultaneously providing advanced educational and training opportunities," said Shane Snyder, co-director at WEST and a UA professor of chemical and environmental engineering.

By finding ways to better society while also promoting economic growth in Arizona, WEST Center research also fits the UA’s Never Settle strategic plan.

"The UA has a long-standing history as a leading academic institution in the multifaceted study of water," Espy said. "The WEST Center advances our standing by providing state-of-the-art facilities that enable our faculty and partners to develop and demonstrate the technologies necessary for water security."

Category(s): Science and TechnologyNovember 24, 2015UA Office for Research & Discovery

New WEST Center to Address Water Issues

Tue, 11/24/2015 - 11:04am
Story Contacts: 

Lucio Guerrero

UA Office for Research & Discovery

520-621-3513

luciog@email.arizona.edu

The $5.5 million facility, built by Pima County, will bring together industry, government and academia for the development of new technologies.

Leaders from the University of Arizona, Pima County and city of Tucson were on hand for the grand opening of the WEST (Water & Energy Sustainable Technology) Center — a new, state-of-the-art facility that will enable UA researchers, public officials and business leaders to work together in developing new technologies that will help communities deal with water scarcity and re-use.

The $5.5 million center, built by Pima County, represents an important partnership — among few in the nation — that brings together various stakeholders to help solve the issues of water and water usage. The center represents a working partnership involving Pima County, Tucson Water, numerous industrial partners and the UA. Researchers from the UA’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and College of Engineering will be working on site at the facility.

"WEST has established a unique public/private/academia partnership tackling the issue of water scarcity and the dwindling resources. This project brings the strength of UA research and pairs it with industry experience," said Kimberly Andrews Espy, senior vice president for research at UA. "By partnering, we can look at solving the problem together, collectively."

Located within Pima County’s new water reclamation facility, Agua Nueva, near Interstate 10 and West El Camino del Cerro, WEST also is adjacent to reclaimed water recharge basins and constructed wetlands, all of which are part of the water reclamation campus and play an important part in the research being conducted in WEST laboratories.

"Addressing high-quality water resource availability for our region is necessary to assure our community’s long-term viability, and Pima County’s investment in our wastewater treatment facilities is a major step in that direction," said John Bernal, deputy county administrator for Pima County. "WEST will bring together public- and private-sector capabilities to explore improved methods for further securing our water future."

With about 25 percent of the U.S. currently affected by drought, the WEST Center is poised to answer some of the nation’s biggest questions about sustainable water and energy use. Research at the new facility also may lead to new technology regarding the re-use of potable wastewater.

"The WEST Center will target the water-energy nexus by ensuring a supply of safe drinking water to meet community needs for the foreseeable future, while meeting sustainable energy requirements," said Ian Pepper, co-director at WEST and a UA professor of soil, water and environmental science.

"In addition, the WEST Center aspires to not only become a global leader in new water and energy technologies but also focus on creating additional jobs and economic development in the region, while simultaneously providing advanced educational and training opportunities," said Shane Snyder, co-director at WEST and a UA professor of chemical and environmental engineering.

By finding ways to better society while also promoting economic growth in Arizona, WEST Center research also fits the UA’s Never Settle strategic plan.

"The UA has a long-standing history as a leading academic institution in the multifaceted study of water," Espy said. "The WEST Center advances our standing by providing state-of-the-art facilities that enable our faculty and partners to develop and demonstrate the technologies necessary for water security."

Category(s): Science and TechnologyNovember 24, 2015UA Office for Research & Discovery

UA Delegation to Attend Climate Conference

Tue, 11/24/2015 - 9:51am
Extra Info: 

Members of the delegation also will also report on the conference over social media.

Natalie Lucas will blog at www.careaboutclimate.org/blog

Valerie Trouet will tweet at: @epispheric

 

Story Contacts: 

Stephanie Doster

UA Institute of the Environment

520-626-3451

scdoster@email.arizona.edu

A diverse group of faculty, researchers and students will participate in a highly anticipated international gathering in Paris.

A delegation of University of Arizona researchers and a coalition of students from around the country will travel to Paris to participate in a highly anticipated United Nations conference on climate change.

The two groups, with funding support by the UA's Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice, will attend the 21st Conference of the Parties, or COP21, which will be held from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.

The COP is an annual climate meeting under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change that brings together representatives of governments, companies and charities from around the globe to set goals and agreements that address climate change. President Barack Obama is one of the many world leaders scheduled to take part in the conference.

"We knew the risks back in the 1970s and we’re still at a point where we don’t have a key agreement on climate and on development," said Diana Liverman, co-director of the UA Institute of the Environment and a veteran of six previous COPs who will attend COP21. "We're hoping that Paris will be successful."

Liverman, a Regents’ Professor of Geography and Development and expert on climate change policy, noted that the level of voluntary commitment to emission reductions going into the conference is greater than ever. This, along with the public impact of recent high-profile news such as Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline, has garnered hope for climate negotiators and activists, who also will be at the conference.

Liverman is leading the UA delegation, which includes faculty members Don Falk and Valerie Trouet and graduate students Sonya Ziaja, America Lutz Ley and Miriam Gay-Antaki. Representing both the social and natural sciences, the researchers will attend meetings, interview global leaders on climate policy, network, and help share the UA’s knowledge and research on climate with other attendees.

"As an ecologist, I am very aware of the likely adverse impacts of global change on the ecosystems we all depend on and treasure," said Falk, an associate professor in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment. "The Paris summit looks like our best chance to start bending the curve toward conditions that will give both terrestrial and marine ecosystems a chance to survive the next century."

Gay-Antaki, a doctoral student in geography, studies the effects of climate change on women, particularly in Mexico.

"In many cases, women have been, are and will be more vulnerable to climate changes because of gender roles and social relations that position women in disadvantaged positions compared to men," she said.

While attending last year’s COP20 in Peru, Gay-Antaki became a member of the gender and women's caucus and had the opportunity to interview many leaders in gender and climate change. During COP21, Gay-Antaki will interview several delegations to help her understand how climate policy is shaped and what role gender has in climate negotiations.

Vince Pawlowski, a student of the UA's connecting environmental science and decision-making certificate program, and Kimi Eisele, a Tucson artist active in the Institute of the Environment's Arts and Environment Network, also will attend the talks.

A second group heading to the conference is a coalition of undergraduate and graduate students from different colleges and universities who are part of an initiative funded by the Haury program and organized by Natalie Lucas, a 2015 UA alumna. Collaborating with the Sierra Club and SustainUS, Lucas has visited nine states and given 17 "Roadtrip to Paris" presentations this fall to raise awareness about climate change and the COP.

"Because of the Haury program, seven students from historically black colleges and universities, Mexico, Kentucky coal regions, the Gulf Coast, and New York coastal regions will be attending the COP," Lucas said. "This will be an opportunity for these students to share their stories and demand climate justice for the communities that they represent."

Anna Spitz, director of the Haury program, said that Lucas' project exemplifies many goals of the Haury program by providing the framework for more diverse voices to be heard on climate change.

Reflecting on her travels around the country this fall, Lucas has been inspired by many community responses to climate change.

"Cities have clean energy programs, clean vehicle programs, green building programs and climate resiliency plans," she said. "Individuals are getting involved with these initiatives, greening up their own lives, or are working in their own neighborhoods to develop ideas on how they can work together to improve food security, carpool and help one another use less overall."

Connecting local responses to global responses to climate change has been one of the goals of her trip.

"Paris is a big deal this year, but many people do not know what it is, why it is important or how they can get involved," Lucas said. "I wanted to help inspire people to act locally and show them how they fit into the global conversation."

Category(s): Science and TechnologyTeaching and StudentsEric MagraneNovember 24, 2015UA Institute of the Environment

UA Delegation to Attend Climate Conference

Tue, 11/24/2015 - 9:51am
Extra Info: 

Members of the delegation also will also report on the conference over social media.

Natalie Lucas will blog at www.careaboutclimate.org/blog

Valerie Trouet will tweet at: @epispheric

 

Story Contacts: 

Stephanie Doster

UA Institute of the Environment

520-626-3451

scdoster@email.arizona.edu

A diverse group of faculty, researchers and students will participate in a highly anticipated international gathering in Paris.

A delegation of University of Arizona researchers and a coalition of students from around the country will travel to Paris to participate in a highly anticipated United Nations conference on climate change.

The two groups, with funding support by the UA's Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice, will attend the 21st Conference of the Parties, or COP21, which will be held from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.

The COP is an annual climate meeting under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change that brings together representatives of governments, companies and charities from around the globe to set goals and agreements that address climate change. President Barack Obama is one of the many world leaders scheduled to take part in the conference.

"We knew the risks back in the 1970s and we’re still at a point where we don’t have a key agreement on climate and on development," said Diana Liverman, co-director of the UA Institute of the Environment and a veteran of six previous COPs who will attend COP21. "We're hoping that Paris will be successful."

Liverman, a Regents’ Professor of Geography and Development and expert on climate change policy, noted that the level of voluntary commitment to emission reductions going into the conference is greater than ever. This, along with the public impact of recent high-profile news such as Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline, has garnered hope for climate negotiators and activists, who also will be at the conference.

Liverman is leading the UA delegation, which includes faculty members Don Falk and Valerie Trouet and graduate students Sonya Ziaja, America Lutz Ley and Miriam Gay-Antaki. Representing both the social and natural sciences, the researchers will attend meetings, interview global leaders on climate policy, network, and help share the UA’s knowledge and research on climate with other attendees.

"As an ecologist, I am very aware of the likely adverse impacts of global change on the ecosystems we all depend on and treasure," said Falk, an associate professor in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment. "The Paris summit looks like our best chance to start bending the curve toward conditions that will give both terrestrial and marine ecosystems a chance to survive the next century."

Gay-Antaki, a doctoral student in geography, studies the effects of climate change on women, particularly in Mexico.

"In many cases, women have been, are and will be more vulnerable to climate changes because of gender roles and social relations that position women in disadvantaged positions compared to men," she said.

While attending last year’s COP20 in Peru, Gay-Antaki became a member of the gender and women's caucus and had the opportunity to interview many leaders in gender and climate change. During COP21, Gay-Antaki will interview several delegations to help her understand how climate policy is shaped and what role gender has in climate negotiations.

Vince Pawlowski, a student of the UA's connecting environmental science and decision-making certificate program, and Kimi Eisele, a Tucson artist active in the Institute of the Environment's Arts and Environment Network, also will attend the talks.

A second group heading to the conference is a coalition of undergraduate and graduate students from different colleges and universities who are part of an initiative funded by the Haury program and organized by Natalie Lucas, a 2015 UA alumna. Collaborating with the Sierra Club and SustainUS, Lucas has visited nine states and given 17 "Roadtrip to Paris" presentations this fall to raise awareness about climate change and the COP.

"Because of the Haury program, seven students from historically black colleges and universities, Mexico, Kentucky coal regions, the Gulf Coast, and New York coastal regions will be attending the COP," Lucas said. "This will be an opportunity for these students to share their stories and demand climate justice for the communities that they represent."

Anna Spitz, director of the Haury program, said that Lucas' project exemplifies many goals of the Haury program by providing the framework for more diverse voices to be heard on climate change.

Reflecting on her travels around the country this fall, Lucas has been inspired by many community responses to climate change.

"Cities have clean energy programs, clean vehicle programs, green building programs and climate resiliency plans," she said. "Individuals are getting involved with these initiatives, greening up their own lives, or are working in their own neighborhoods to develop ideas on how they can work together to improve food security, carpool and help one another use less overall."

Connecting local responses to global responses to climate change has been one of the goals of her trip.

"Paris is a big deal this year, but many people do not know what it is, why it is important or how they can get involved," Lucas said. "I wanted to help inspire people to act locally and show them how they fit into the global conversation."

Category(s): Science and TechnologyTeaching and StudentsEric MagraneNovember 24, 2015UA Institute of the Environment

UA Delegation to Attend Climate Conference

Tue, 11/24/2015 - 9:51am
Extra Info: 

Members of the delegation also will also report on the conference over social media.

Natalie Lucas will blog at www.careaboutclimate.org/blog

Valerie Trouet will tweet at: @epispheric

 

Story Contacts: 

Stephanie Doster

UA Institute of the Environment

520-626-3451

scdoster@email.arizona.edu

A diverse group of faculty, researchers and students will participate in a highly anticipated international gathering in Paris.

A delegation of University of Arizona researchers and a coalition of students from around the country will travel to Paris to participate in a highly anticipated United Nations conference on climate change.

The two groups, with funding support by the UA's Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice, will attend the 21st Conference of the Parties, or COP21, which will be held from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.

The COP is an annual climate meeting under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change that brings together representatives of governments, companies and charities from around the globe to set goals and agreements that address climate change. President Barack Obama is one of the many world leaders scheduled to take part in the conference.

"We knew the risks back in the 1970s and we’re still at a point where we don’t have a key agreement on climate and on development," said Diana Liverman, co-director of the UA Institute of the Environment and a veteran of six previous COPs who will attend COP21. "We're hoping that Paris will be successful."

Liverman, a Regents’ Professor of Geography and Development and expert on climate change policy, noted that the level of voluntary commitment to emission reductions going into the conference is greater than ever. This, along with the public impact of recent high-profile news such as Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline, has garnered hope for climate negotiators and activists, who also will be at the conference.

Liverman is leading the UA delegation, which includes faculty members Don Falk and Valerie Trouet and graduate students Sonya Ziaja, America Lutz Ley and Miriam Gay-Antaki. Representing both the social and natural sciences, the researchers will attend meetings, interview global leaders on climate policy, network, and help share the UA’s knowledge and research on climate with other attendees.

"As an ecologist, I am very aware of the likely adverse impacts of global change on the ecosystems we all depend on and treasure," said Falk, an associate professor in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment. "The Paris summit looks like our best chance to start bending the curve toward conditions that will give both terrestrial and marine ecosystems a chance to survive the next century."

Gay-Antaki, a doctoral student in geography, studies the effects of climate change on women, particularly in Mexico.

"In many cases, women have been, are and will be more vulnerable to climate changes because of gender roles and social relations that position women in disadvantaged positions compared to men," she said.

While attending last year’s COP20 in Peru, Gay-Antaki became a member of the gender and women's caucus and had the opportunity to interview many leaders in gender and climate change. During COP21, Gay-Antaki will interview several delegations to help her understand how climate policy is shaped and what role gender has in climate negotiations.

Vince Pawlowski, a student of the UA's connecting environmental science and decision-making certificate program, and Kimi Eisele, a Tucson artist active in the Institute of the Environment's Arts and Environment Network, also will attend the talks.

A second group heading to the conference is a coalition of undergraduate and graduate students from different colleges and universities who are part of an initiative funded by the Haury program and organized by Natalie Lucas, a 2015 UA alumna. Collaborating with the Sierra Club and SustainUS, Lucas has visited nine states and given 17 "Roadtrip to Paris" presentations this fall to raise awareness about climate change and the COP.

"Because of the Haury program, seven students from historically black colleges and universities, Mexico, Kentucky coal regions, the Gulf Coast, and New York coastal regions will be attending the COP," Lucas said. "This will be an opportunity for these students to share their stories and demand climate justice for the communities that they represent."

Anna Spitz, director of the Haury program, said that Lucas' project exemplifies many goals of the Haury program by providing the framework for more diverse voices to be heard on climate change.

Reflecting on her travels around the country this fall, Lucas has been inspired by many community responses to climate change.

"Cities have clean energy programs, clean vehicle programs, green building programs and climate resiliency plans," she said. "Individuals are getting involved with these initiatives, greening up their own lives, or are working in their own neighborhoods to develop ideas on how they can work together to improve food security, carpool and help one another use less overall."

Connecting local responses to global responses to climate change has been one of the goals of her trip.

"Paris is a big deal this year, but many people do not know what it is, why it is important or how they can get involved," Lucas said. "I wanted to help inspire people to act locally and show them how they fit into the global conversation."

Category(s): Science and TechnologyTeaching and StudentsEric MagraneNovember 24, 2015UA Institute of the Environment

UA Scientist Is Building a Better Pecan Pie

Mon, 11/23/2015 - 1:33pm
Story Contacts: 

James Walworth

UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

520-626-3364

walworth@ag.arizona.edu

With a group of fertilizers known as chelates, zinc levels can be managed in pecan trees — and that's good news for Arizona growers.

Sunlight cuts through the rows of trees that make up the pecan groves just south of Tucson. It’s not yet Thanksgiving, but harvesting has already begun. Thanks to El Niño, farmers are expecting early and substantial rains — conditions ill-suited for gathering nuts once they have been shaken from the trees.

Native to the Mississippi River Valley, pecan trees enjoy that area’s acidic soil, but they also are vulnerable to fungal diseases given the locale’s relatively high humidity. In Arizona, pecans thrive as long as they get the right amount of water and the proper diet, one that includes zinc. Arizona is the fourth-largest producer of pecans in the United States.

"They really love sunlight," says James Walworth, professor of soil science at the University of Arizona. "The more sunlight the better. They perform beautifully in the desert if they’re given the right amount of water and if they’re fertilized properly, particularly with zinc. And if you do all that, the yields will typically be about twice as high as they are in more humid areas."

Walworth has been studying zinc’s effect on pecans for about a decade, so he knows firsthand how important the mineral is to the tree.

There are two ways to manage zinc levels in pecan trees, he says.

The first is amending Arizona's soil to increase its acidity. "Low-acid soils tend to have plenty of zinc, but nonadapted plants don’t know how to get it out of the soil," Walworth says. However, amending the soil is costly.

The second involves fertilization through the surrounding soil or through the leaves, the latter known as foliar fertilization, where growers spray zinc directly on the leaves. Though effective, foliar fertilization can be spotty or uneven. What’s more, when new foliage appears, it has not yet been fertilized, so spraying must be repeated often.

"In pecan orchards, they’ll spray anywhere from four to 13 times per season to get zinc onto the new foliage," Walworth says. "It’s expensive. There’s equipment, labor, materials and soil compaction from driving through the orchard, and that’s been the standard method for the last 60 or 70 years."

So Walworth began looking for better a better way to fertilize the trees through soil applications and has since focused on a group of fertilizers known as chelates, organic molecules that grab hold of a metal and allow the plant to take it up more easily.

Now growers can use their pressurized irrigation systems to fertilize, or fertigate, their pecan groves with zinc chelates.

"The systems are set up to inject other nutrients as well, so it’s very simple to do this with zinc, too," Walworth says. "We’ve been really successful injecting zinc chelate into the microsprinkler systems. Now all of the orchards with pressurized irrigation systems are injecting zinc chelate with the exception of the organic producers."

Walworth is looking into the optimal amount of zinc that pecan trees need to thrive here.

"Growers ask me how much they should or can put on, and I don’t really have an answer tor that yet," Walworth says. "We know it works, we know it’s effective, growers are doing it, but there’s still a bit of guesswork left."

Video of Blue Chip Student Nicole Chapman Category(s): Science and TechnologyRobin TricolesNovember 23, 2015University Relations - Communications

UA Scientist Is Building a Better Pecan Pie

Mon, 11/23/2015 - 1:33pm
Story Contacts: 

James Walworth

UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

520-626-3364

walworth@ag.arizona.edu

With a group of fertilizers known as chelates, zinc levels can be managed in pecan trees — and that's good news for Arizona growers.

Sunlight cuts through the rows of trees that make up the pecan groves just south of Tucson. It’s not yet Thanksgiving, but harvesting has already begun. Thanks to El Niño, farmers are expecting early and substantial rains — conditions ill-suited for gathering nuts once they have been shaken from the trees.

Native to the Mississippi River Valley, pecan trees enjoy that area’s acidic soil, but they also are vulnerable to fungal diseases given the locale’s relatively high humidity. In Arizona, pecans thrive as long as they get the right amount of water and the proper diet, one that includes zinc. Arizona is the fourth-largest producer of pecans in the United States.

"They really love sunlight," says James Walworth, professor of soil science at the University of Arizona. "The more sunlight the better. They perform beautifully in the desert if they’re given the right amount of water and if they’re fertilized properly, particularly with zinc. And if you do all that, the yields will typically be about twice as high as they are in more humid areas."

Walworth has been studying zinc’s effect on pecans for about a decade, so he knows firsthand how important the mineral is to the tree.

There are two ways to manage zinc levels in pecan trees, he says.

The first is amending Arizona's soil to increase its acidity. "Low-acid soils tend to have plenty of zinc, but nonadapted plants don’t know how to get it out of the soil," Walworth says. However, amending the soil is costly.

The second involves fertilization through the surrounding soil or through the leaves, the latter known as foliar fertilization, where growers spray zinc directly on the leaves. Though effective, foliar fertilization can be spotty or uneven. What’s more, when new foliage appears, it has not yet been fertilized, so spraying must be repeated often.

"In pecan orchards, they’ll spray anywhere from four to 13 times per season to get zinc onto the new foliage," Walworth says. "It’s expensive. There’s equipment, labor, materials and soil compaction from driving through the orchard, and that’s been the standard method for the last 60 or 70 years."

So Walworth began looking for better a better way to fertilize the trees through soil applications and has since focused on a group of fertilizers known as chelates, organic molecules that grab hold of a metal and allow the plant to take it up more easily.

Now growers can use their pressurized irrigation systems to fertilize, or fertigate, their pecan groves with zinc chelates.

"The systems are set up to inject other nutrients as well, so it’s very simple to do this with zinc, too," Walworth says. "We’ve been really successful injecting zinc chelate into the microsprinkler systems. Now all of the orchards with pressurized irrigation systems are injecting zinc chelate with the exception of the organic producers."

Walworth is looking into the optimal amount of zinc that pecan trees need to thrive here.

"Growers ask me how much they should or can put on, and I don’t really have an answer tor that yet," Walworth says. "We know it works, we know it’s effective, growers are doing it, but there’s still a bit of guesswork left."

Video of Blue Chip Student Nicole Chapman Category(s): Science and TechnologyRobin TricolesNovember 23, 2015University Relations - Communications

Goals for 2025 Mark a New Phase for University

Mon, 11/23/2015 - 8:21am
Extra Info: 

The Arizona Board of Regents last Thursday approved 13 outcome-based metrics, which will be used to monitor benefits for the state through 2025. The metric targets consider the current higher education environment and are designed to reflect each state institution’s unique mission and strategic priorities. The targets also were developed with awareness of peer performance and other states’ educational attainment rates.

The three state institutions adopted thematic goals to establish their performance goals: Drive student educational success and learning; advance educational attainment within Arizona; discover new knowledge; and impact Arizona.

In 2025, the Arizona Board of Regents-approved systemwide metrics are expected to result in:

  • A freshman retention rate of 88.3 percent.
  • More than 224,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at the three state institutions.
  • A six-year graduation rate of 71.5 percent.
  • More than 40,000 bachelor’s degrees awarded.
  • More than 16,200 graduate degrees awarded.
  • More than 24,700 degrees awarded in high-demand fields.
  • More than $1.6 billion generated in research and development activities.
  • More than $191 million spent on public service-related activities.
  • 291 licenses and options executed between the UA and Arizona State University, and 50 invention disclosure transactions at Northern Arizona University.
The UA, along with the two other state universities, has adopted new metrics aimed at redefining the future of higher education in Arizona.

Aligning institutional goals with the realities of a changing economic and social context in the Grand Canyon State, the University of Arizona has adopted an updated set of performance-based metrics through 2025.

The UA’s 2025 benchmarks, which aim to improve the quality of life for Arizonans, are framed for bolstering degree access and improving degree attainment — especially for transfer and online students — while expanding the research enterprise and technology transfer.

The plan is part of a statewide strategic framework presented by UA President Ann Weaver Hart and the presidents of Arizona State and Northern Arizona universities, and approved last Thursday by the Arizona Board of Regents.

"The new 2025 metrics are a continuation of our aggressive initiatives to achieve critical goals for the state and for our students and families, with accountability and transparency at the forefront," said Jay Heiler, chair of the Arizona Board of Regents. "Using these metrics as a guide, the Arizona Board of Regents can advance a strategic growth plan to serve our more than 160,000 individual students and to meet the economic and workforce needs of the state."

In developing the targets, the three universities considered several factors: Arizona has a constitutional mandate to ensure access to higher education; each of the institutions has a different mission; the existing and future higher education marketplace is sharply competitive; and Arizona's economy is not merely growing but changing.

The framework revises earlier 2020 goals originally set by ABOR. The framework is meant to improve flexibilities and efficiencies to ensure that each institution can address complex statewide workforce and economic development demands.

"I see this as governance at its highest form, because it gives us a fundamental way to see where we are going to be in 2025, which is hard to do with any sense of clarity," said Chad Sampson, ABOR’s vice president for strategic planning and initiatives. "The plan provides accountability, and allows us to speak to who we want to be as institutions."

Comparing the 2014-2015 academic year with that of 2024-2025, the UA's plans calls for:

  • A freshman retention rate of 91 percent, up from 81.9 percent.
  • Undergraduate enrollment at 50,466, up from 32,987.
  • Total student enrollment at more than 64,200, with about 20 percent of those students being enrolled via UA Online.
  • Graduate student enrollment of 13,784, up from 9,249.
  • Degrees awarded in high-demand fields (including those in STEM and health care) to reach 5,131, up from 4,347.
  • A six-year graduation rate of 75 percent, compared with 60.3 percent.
  • 11,665 bachelor's degrees awarded, up from 6,745 undergraduate degrees.
  • Research and development spending at $756.6 million, up from about $592.8 million, which will aid in the UA's goal to remain a top 20 research institution in the U.S.

"The board is well ahead of many of its peers in thinking about indicators of success and what they mean," Hart said. "These are stretch goals. We want to set these goals as a group and institute programs that will help us to reach them."

Regarding research and development goals, Hart said it will be important not merely to consider benchmark totals, but also to evaluate faculty productivity and research intensity — areas where the institution consistently outperforms its peers.

Also, speaking to degree attainment, Hart noted that while community college enrollments are on the decline in Arizona, the UA's priority in educating greater numbers of transfer students is "critically important to the indicators of success. Clearly, community colleges are important to us."

The UA's degree attainment goals are crucial, not only for the institution but for students and families across the state, Hart said. "The human costs for dropping out of college, both in terms of personal failure and financial obligations, are dramatic," she said.

Revisiting and redefining the metrics also enables the UA — much like the ASU, NAU and the board — to critically evaluate existing programs, and to design and implement strategies meant to direct positive impact.

Barbara Bryson, the UA's vice president for strategic planning and analysis, referenced the University's partnership with Civitas Learning, one example of a multipronged approach to enhance retention. The collaboration has resulted in the adoption of data and analytics-driven interventions that are helping to improve student retention and success.

"We expect that these targets will drive additional conversations to help us better understand how the University of Arizona will serve the state," Bryson said, "and how we can keep the balance of what we believe is special about the UA and our mission, and what we want to contribute to higher education in Arizona."

Larry Penley, recently appointed to the board, said the newly adopted metrics are what the statewide public higher education system needs to be responsive.

"I'm happy to become a regent on a day when this is part of the discussion," said Penley, who was appointed in October. "The metrics we set drive the conversations and operational change. This is a great way for the board to drive the kind of positive change forward."

Category(s): Campus NewsNovember 23, 2015University Relations - Communications

Goals for 2025 Mark New Phase for UA

Mon, 11/23/2015 - 8:21am
Extra Info: 

The Arizona Board of Regents last Thursday approved 13 outcome-based metrics, which will be used to monitor benefits for the state through 2025. The metric targets consider the current higher education environment and are designed to reflect each state institution’s unique mission and strategic priorities. The targets also were developed with awareness of peer performance and other states’ educational attainment rates.

The three state institutions adopted thematic goals to establish their performance goals: Drive student educational success and learning; advance educational attainment within Arizona; discover new knowledge; and impact Arizona.

In 2025, the Arizona Board of Regents-approved systemwide metrics are expected to result in:

  • A freshman retention rate of 88.3 percent.
  • More than 224,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at the three state institutions.
  • A six-year graduation rate of 71.5 percent.
  • More than 40,000 bachelor’s degrees awarded.
  • More than 16,200 graduate degrees awarded.
  • More than 24,700 degrees awarded in high-demand fields.
  • More than $1.6 billion generated in research and development activities.
  • More than $191 million spent on public service-related activities.
  • 291 licenses and options executed between the UA and Arizona State University, and 50 invention disclosure transactions at Northern Arizona University.
The UA, along with the two other state universities, has adopted new metrics aimed at redefining the future of higher education in Arizona.

Aligning institutional goals with the realities of a changing economic and social context in the Grand Canyon State, the University of Arizona has adopted an updated set of performance-based metrics through 2025.

The UA’s 2025 benchmarks, which aim to improve the quality of life for Arizonans, are framed for bolstering degree access and improving degree attainment — especially for transfer and online students — while expanding the research enterprise and technology transfer.

The plan is part of a statewide strategic framework presented by UA President Ann Weaver Hart and the presidents of Arizona State and Northern Arizona universities, and approved last Thursday by the Arizona Board of Regents.

"The new 2025 metrics are a continuation of our aggressive initiatives to achieve critical goals for the state and for our students and families, with accountability and transparency at the forefront," said Jay Heiler, chair of the Arizona Board of Regents. "Using these metrics as a guide, the Arizona Board of Regents can advance a strategic growth plan to serve our more than 160,000 individual students and to meet the economic and workforce needs of the state."

In developing the targets, the three universities considered several factors: Arizona has a constitutional mandate to ensure access to higher education; each of the institutions has a different mission; the existing and future higher education marketplace is sharply competitive; and Arizona's economy is not merely growing but changing.

The framework revises earlier 2020 goals originally set by ABOR. The framework is meant to improve flexibilities and efficiencies to ensure that each institution can address complex statewide workforce and economic development demands.

"I see this as governance at its highest form, because it gives us a fundamental way to see where we are going to be in 2025, which is hard to do with any sense of clarity," said Chad Sampson, ABOR’s vice president for strategic planning and initiatives. "The plan provides accountability, and allows us to speak to who we want to be as institutions."

Comparing the 2014-2015 academic year with that of 2024-2025, the UA's plans calls for:

  • A freshman retention rate of 91 percent, up from 81.9 percent.
  • Undergraduate enrollment at 50,466, up from 32,987.
  • Total student enrollment at more than 64,200, with about 20 percent of those students being enrolled via UA Online.
  • Graduate student enrollment of 13,784, up from 9,249.
  • Degrees awarded in high-demand fields (including those in STEM and health care) to reach 5,131, up from 4,347.
  • A six-year graduation rate of 75 percent, compared with 60.3 percent.
  • 11,665 bachelor's degrees awarded, up from 6,745 undergraduate degrees.
  • Research and development spending at $756.6 million, up from about $592.8 million, which will aid in the UA's goal to remain a top 20 research institution in the U.S.

"The board is well ahead of many of its peers in thinking about indicators of success and what they mean," Hart said. "These are stretch goals. We want to set these goals as a group and institute programs that will help us to reach them."

Regarding research and development goals, Hart said it will be important not merely to consider benchmark totals, but also to evaluate faculty productivity and research intensity — areas where the institution consistently outperforms its peers.

Also, speaking to degree attainment, Hart noted that while community college enrollments are on the decline in Arizona, the UA's priority in educating greater numbers of transfer students is "critically important to the indicators of success. Clearly, community colleges are important to us."

The UA's degree attainment goals are crucial, not only for the institution but for students and families across the state, Hart said. "The human costs for dropping out of college, both in terms of personal failure and financial obligations, are dramatic," she said.

Revisiting and redefining the metrics also enables the UA — much like the ASU, NAU and the board — to critically evaluate existing programs, and to design and implement strategies meant to direct positive impact.

Barbara Bryson, the UA's vice president for strategic planning and analysis, referenced the University's partnership with Civitas Learning, one example of a multipronged approach to enhance retention. The collaboration has resulted in the adoption of data and analytics-driven interventions that are helping to improve student retention and success.

"We expect that these targets will drive additional conversations to help us better understand how the University of Arizona will serve the state," Bryson said, "and how we can keep the balance of what we believe is special about the UA and our mission, and what we want to contribute to higher education in Arizona."

Larry Penley, recently appointed to the board, said the newly adopted metrics are what the statewide public higher education system needs to be responsive.

"I'm happy to become a regent on a day when this is part of the discussion," said Penley, who was appointed in October. "The metrics we set drive the conversations and operational change. This is a great way for the board to drive the kind of positive change forward."

Category(s): Campus NewsNovember 23, 2015University Relations - Communications

Why and When Narcissists Dismiss Advice

Fri, 11/20/2015 - 3:26pm
Story Contacts: 

Liz Warren-Pederson

UA Eller College of Management

520-626-9547

news@eller.arizona.edu

New research involving the UA's Eller College reveals that narcissism among leaders is harmful to decision making.

How many times have you offered advice or suggestions to your boss, upper management or even a client, only to be ignored?

After a few times, it gets a bit annoying, doesn’t it?

Well, maybe understanding why can help. New research by the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management, the University of Chile and Kansas State University reveals that narcissism is an epidemic among leaders who are often mischaracterized as "confident."

In an article published this month by Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, the authors shared their findings from their study, which began in 2011. OBHDP publishes fundamental research in organizational behavior, organizational psychology, and human cognition, judgment and decision-making.

Led by Edgar E. Kausel, a former Eller doctoral student and an economics faculty member at the University of Chile, the study examined the relationship between narcissism and advice taking at both state and trait levels. In studies such as this, state levels refer to changes within people at different times as a result of contextual events. Trait levels refer to behavior and thoughts that are relatively stable over time.

Kausel and his team studied the mechanisms that explain why narcissists are dismissive of advice. In three studies, they found that narcissism and advice taking were negatively related, but only when measuring narcissism at the state level or when controlling for extroversion at the trait level.

"We also tested two mechanisms and found that confidence did not explain the relationship — disregard for others did," Kausel said.

In another study, participants were placed under accountability pressures. Results showed that when people expected to explain their decisions to others, it made them more humble.  As a result, they took more advice from others. However, narcissists were unaffected by this accountability pressure.

"Taken together, these results suggest that narcissists eschew advice not because of greater confidence, but because they think others are incompetent and because they fail to reduce their self-enhancement when expecting to be assessed," Kausel said.

Jerel Slaughter, a Robbins Professor of Management and Eller’s management and organizations department head, said business executives should take note of the study’s findings.

"A good leader will thoughtfully consider advice from supervisors, peers and subordinates, and do what’s best for the company," Slaughter said. "These findings show that organizations should take a closer look at who they are hiring and promoting."

Slaughter said businesses can implement tests to identify people with high levels of narcissism. "There also are development programs to help employees recognize and change their own behavior," he said.

Previous studies had found that the more narcissistic people were, the higher up they were in their job positions. "The paradox is that people who are highly narcissistic are more likely to be promoted. They tend to be extroverted and do well at selling themselves," Kausel said.

Narcissistic leaders also tend to take more risks.

"While not our research, there have been studies that show that CEOs tend to move forward with acquisitions that fail. We were interested in knowing why they took those risks and didn’t listen to others’ advice," Kausel said.

He said that previous research also shows that narcissism is widespread among younger employees who want everything right now.

"It is becoming an issue in the workplace. When employees don’t listen to each other and think about themselves more than the collective organization, it’s a problem," he said. "Research shows that the narcissism epidemic is at least as strong as the obesity epidemic, if not stronger."

However, there is hope. The research study also found that whereas people who were exposed to narcissistic leaders showed high levels of narcissism, those exposed to humble leaders showed low levels of narcissism.

"We think that’s good news and bad news," Kausel said. "It shows that anyone can be narcissistic, but the good news is that we can train people to think and behave differently."

Category(s): Business and LawNovember 20, 2015UA Eller College of Management

Why and When Narcissists Dismiss Advice

Fri, 11/20/2015 - 3:26pm
Story Contacts: 

Liz Warren-Pederson

UA Eller College of Management

520-626-9547

news@eller.arizona.edu

New research involving the UA's Eller College reveals that narcissism among leaders is harmful to decision making.

How many times have you offered advice or suggestions to your boss, upper management or even a client, only to be ignored?

After a few times, it gets a bit annoying, doesn’t it?

Well, maybe understanding why can help. New research by the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management, the University of Chile and Kansas State University reveals that narcissism is an epidemic among leaders who are often mischaracterized as "confident."

In an article published this month by Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, the authors shared their findings from their study, which began in 2011. OBHDP publishes fundamental research in organizational behavior, organizational psychology, and human cognition, judgment and decision-making.

Led by Edgar E. Kausel, a former Eller doctoral student and an economics faculty member at the University of Chile, the study examined the relationship between narcissism and advice taking at both state and trait levels. In studies such as this, state levels refer to changes within people at different times as a result of contextual events. Trait levels refer to behavior and thoughts that are relatively stable over time.

Kausel and his team studied the mechanisms that explain why narcissists are dismissive of advice. In three studies, they found that narcissism and advice taking were negatively related, but only when measuring narcissism at the state level or when controlling for extroversion at the trait level.

"We also tested two mechanisms and found that confidence did not explain the relationship — disregard for others did," Kausel said.

In another study, participants were placed under accountability pressures. Results showed that when people expected to explain their decisions to others, it made them more humble.  As a result, they took more advice from others. However, narcissists were unaffected by this accountability pressure.

"Taken together, these results suggest that narcissists eschew advice not because of greater confidence, but because they think others are incompetent and because they fail to reduce their self-enhancement when expecting to be assessed," Kausel said.

Jerel Slaughter, a Robbins Professor of Management and Eller’s management and organizations department head, said business executives should take note of the study’s findings.

"A good leader will thoughtfully consider advice from supervisors, peers and subordinates, and do what’s best for the company," Slaughter said. "These findings show that organizations should take a closer look at who they are hiring and promoting."

Slaughter said businesses can implement tests to identify people with high levels of narcissism. "There also are development programs to help employees recognize and change their own behavior," he said.

Previous studies had found that the more narcissistic people were, the higher up they were in their job positions. "The paradox is that people who are highly narcissistic are more likely to be promoted. They tend to be extroverted and do well at selling themselves," Kausel said.

Narcissistic leaders also tend to take more risks.

"While not our research, there have been studies that show that CEOs tend to move forward with acquisitions that fail. We were interested in knowing why they took those risks and didn’t listen to others’ advice," Kausel said.

He said that previous research also shows that narcissism is widespread among younger employees who want everything right now.

"It is becoming an issue in the workplace. When employees don’t listen to each other and think about themselves more than the collective organization, it’s a problem," he said. "Research shows that the narcissism epidemic is at least as strong as the obesity epidemic, if not stronger."

However, there is hope. The research study also found that whereas people who were exposed to narcissistic leaders showed high levels of narcissism, those exposed to humble leaders showed low levels of narcissism.

"We think that’s good news and bad news," Kausel said. "It shows that anyone can be narcissistic, but the good news is that we can train people to think and behave differently."

Category(s): Business and LawNovember 20, 2015UA Eller College of Management

The Steep Cost of a Lack of Sleep

Fri, 11/20/2015 - 1:20pm
Story Contacts: 

Rebecca Schultze

UA College of Medicine – Tucson

520-621-0214

raschultze@email.arizona.edu

A study involving a UA College of Medicine psychiatrist shows that 56 percent of workers report trouble sleeping. The impact: up to $3,000 more in annual health care costs and increased absenteeism.

Employees who live with sleep problems are likely to have annual health care costs as much as $3,500 higher than people who normally get a good night’s sleep. Those with sleep disturbances also are more likely to miss work and have higher rates of "presenteeism," meaning that they show up for work but do not get as much done.

Those are some of the conclusions of a study published in the October 2015 Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. The study is based on employees’ answers to health questionnaires administered as part of the Kansas State Employee Wellness Program. The data showed 56 percent of 11,700 employees who completed the surveys had some degree of trouble getting a good night’s sleep.

"I’m hoping this raises some eyebrows," said sleep and health researcher Michael A. Grandner, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson.

"I would like employers to take the sleep of their employees as seriously as obesity and exercise and diet. They offer healthful food in their cafeterias, but sleep is related to many of the same health outcomes."

Grandner is the second author on the study, which he and colleagues began in 2014, when he was an instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The lead author of the study is Siu-kuen Azor Hui, a research assistant professor at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia at the time the study was conducted. She is now with Public Health Management Corp. in Philadelphia.

"Employers need to be invested in the well-being of their employees by allowing them proper time during and after work to recover from workplace stress," said Allison Gabriel, assistant professor of management and organizations at the UA Eller College of Management who is an expert in employee well-being. "Sleep is a critical component of that equation."

The findings echo those of a 2010 World Economic Forum report that said employees’ sleep problems lead to absenteeism, poor performance and workplace injuries that cause $150 billion in indirect costs to employers. 

Of the 56 percent of Kansas state employees who reported some sleep problems, nearly 12 percent said they often or always had trouble sleeping, while 44 percent said they seldom or sometimes experienced sleep problems. The remaining 44 percent said they never had trouble sleeping. Those 12 percent with the most frequent problems also missed the most work, had the lowest levels of performance and were responsible for the highest health care expenditures.

The Kansas state employees who took part in the surveys "were a real cross section of the diverse workforce," Grandner said. "They included a wide range of job types, from manual laborers to teachers to office workers."

After adjusting the analysis for age, gender and health status, the people who said they always have trouble sleeping still had about $3,500 more in annual health care expenses than those who always slept well, Grandner said.

"Current science tells us a healthy lifestyle really needs three life components to work together: diet, exercise and sleep," Hui said. "But sleep is often a neglected health behavior in health-promotion programs, like employee wellness programs offered by many employers. They offer nutrition counseling and weight management, but very few also offer sleep improvement in their wellness programs. Employers really don’t invest enough to help their employees develop good sleep habits.”

Hui and Grandner concluded: "If employers were to invest in their employees’ healthy sleep, they may see lower rates of injuries, accidents and illness, including serious diseases like heart disease and diabetes. They also may see fewer missed workdays and improvement in productivity. At the end of the day, healthy sleep may be a good investment." 

Category(s): HealthNovember 20, 2015UA College of Medicine

The Steep Cost of a Lack of Sleep

Fri, 11/20/2015 - 1:20pm
Story Contacts: 

Rebecca Schultze

UA College of Medicine – Tucson

520-621-0214

raschultze@email.arizona.edu

A study involving a UA College of Medicine psychiatrist shows that 56 percent of workers report trouble sleeping. The impact: up to $3,000 more in annual health care costs and increased absenteeism.

Employees who live with sleep problems are likely to have annual health care costs as much as $3,500 higher than people who normally get a good night’s sleep. Those with sleep disturbances also are more likely to miss work and have higher rates of "presenteeism," meaning that they show up for work but do not get as much done.

Those are some of the conclusions of a study published in the October 2015 Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. The study is based on employees’ answers to health questionnaires administered as part of the Kansas State Employee Wellness Program. The data showed 56 percent of 11,700 employees who completed the surveys had some degree of trouble getting a good night’s sleep.

"I’m hoping this raises some eyebrows," said sleep and health researcher Michael A. Grandner, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson.

"I would like employers to take the sleep of their employees as seriously as obesity and exercise and diet. They offer healthful food in their cafeterias, but sleep is related to many of the same health outcomes."

Grandner is the second author on the study, which he and colleagues began in 2014, when he was an instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The lead author of the study is Siu-kuen Azor Hui, a research assistant professor at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia at the time the study was conducted. She is now with Public Health Management Corp. in Philadelphia.

"Employers need to be invested in the well-being of their employees by allowing them proper time during and after work to recover from workplace stress," said Allison Gabriel, assistant professor of management and organizations at the UA Eller College of Management who is an expert in employee well-being. "Sleep is a critical component of that equation."

The findings echo those of a 2010 World Economic Forum report that said employees’ sleep problems lead to absenteeism, poor performance and workplace injuries that cause $150 billion in indirect costs to employers. 

Of the 56 percent of Kansas state employees who reported some sleep problems, nearly 12 percent said they often or always had trouble sleeping, while 44 percent said they seldom or sometimes experienced sleep problems. The remaining 44 percent said they never had trouble sleeping. Those 12 percent with the most frequent problems also missed the most work, had the lowest levels of performance and were responsible for the highest health care expenditures.

The Kansas state employees who took part in the surveys "were a real cross section of the diverse workforce," Grandner said. "They included a wide range of job types, from manual laborers to teachers to office workers."

After adjusting the analysis for age, gender and health status, the people who said they always have trouble sleeping still had about $3,500 more in annual health care expenses than those who always slept well, Grandner said.

"Current science tells us a healthy lifestyle really needs three life components to work together: diet, exercise and sleep," Hui said. "But sleep is often a neglected health behavior in health-promotion programs, like employee wellness programs offered by many employers. They offer nutrition counseling and weight management, but very few also offer sleep improvement in their wellness programs. Employers really don’t invest enough to help their employees develop good sleep habits.”

Hui and Grandner concluded: "If employers were to invest in their employees’ healthy sleep, they may see lower rates of injuries, accidents and illness, including serious diseases like heart disease and diabetes. They also may see fewer missed workdays and improvement in productivity. At the end of the day, healthy sleep may be a good investment." 

Category(s): HealthNovember 20, 2015UA College of Medicine

UA's Talanquer Among Top Professor Honorees

Thu, 11/19/2015 - 11:48am
His innovative, student-focused teaching made him a state-level winner in the 2015 U.S. Professors of the Year Awards Program.

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education has recognized University of Arizona professor Vicente Talanquer as one of the nation's best undergraduate educators.

Talanquer is a Distinguished Professor in the UA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry whose innovative, student-focused teaching techniques have made him one of the University's most engaging and well-respected educators and a state-level winner with the 2015 U.S. Professors of the Year Awards Program.

"We are extremely proud of Professor Talanquer and this recognition of him as a U.S. Professor of the Year," said UA Provost Andrew Comrie. "Professor Talanquer is not only a great teacher, but also a leader in the science of redesigning courses and teaching for better student learning. With colleagues, he has identified active, problem-solving approaches that are more effective and more engaging for the students."

Talanquer contributes to research in the fields of chemical and science education for both the English- and Spanish-speaking worlds, developing theories of learning that impact the practice of science teaching from early education through graduate school.

"I try to approach teaching the same way I approach my research — with creativity and experimentation," Talanquer said. "It's important to constantly try a variety of ways to help students increase their own understanding."

In 2014, Talanquer and UA chemist John Pollard garnered national attention with a pilot course that brought a drastically different approach to science education. "Chemical Thinking" was the result of nearly a decade's worth of curriculum development that shifted the focus from lecture-based rote memorization of formulas and drills toward a more holistic way of thinking about chemical processes.

"We are seeing students who took part in this program perform much better on standardized final exams, and that improvement has followed into subsequent courses, where they are continuing to implement these learning techniques," Talanquer said. "In our department, we are making a much stronger effort to reform the traditional lecture and create more opportunities for students to actively engage with the material."

The UA was one of only eight institutions selected to participate in this National Science Foundation-funded program, and the pair will soon publish a book on their findings. Their paper, "Let’s Teach How We Think Instead of What We Know," published in Chemistry Education Research and Practice in 2010, is among the most widely cited pieces of research in the area of STEM education.

The U.S. Professors of the Year program salutes the most outstanding undergraduate instructors in the country — particularly those who positively influence the lives and careers of students. Sponsored by CASE and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, it is the only national program to recognize excellence in undergraduate teaching and mentoring. Since launching the program in 1981, CASE has sought to honor those professors who display an extraordinary dedication to undergraduate teaching.

Talanquer has won a number of teaching awards since joining the UA faculty in 2000, including the Distinguished Achievement in Science Education Award in 2013, the Henry and Phyllis Koffler Prize in Teaching in 2012 and the Leicester & Kathryn Sherrill Creative Teaching Award in 2007. As an associate professor in the school of chemistry with the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Talanquer was named an Outstanding Young Professor in Physical Sciences Education in 1998.

Category(s): Science and TechnologyNovember 19, 2015University Relations – Communications

UA's Talanquer Among Top Professor Honorees

Thu, 11/19/2015 - 11:48am
His innovative, student-focused teaching made him a state-level winner in the 2015 U.S. Professors of the Year Awards Program.

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education has recognized University of Arizona professor Vicente Talanquer as one of the nation's best undergraduate educators.

Talanquer is a Distinguished Professor in the UA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry whose innovative, student-focused teaching techniques have made him one of the University's most engaging and well-respected educators and a state-level winner with the 2015 U.S. Professors of the Year Awards Program.

"We are extremely proud of Professor Talanquer and this recognition of him as a U.S. Professor of the Year," said UA Provost Andrew Comrie. "Professor Talanquer is not only a great teacher, but also a leader in the science of redesigning courses and teaching for better student learning. With colleagues, he has identified active, problem-solving approaches that are more effective and more engaging for the students."

Talanquer contributes to research in the fields of chemical and science education for both the English- and Spanish-speaking worlds, developing theories of learning that impact the practice of science teaching from early education through graduate school.

"I try to approach teaching the same way I approach my research — with creativity and experimentation," Talanquer said. "It's important to constantly try a variety of ways to help students increase their own understanding."

In 2014, Talanquer and UA chemist John Pollard garnered national attention with a pilot course that brought a drastically different approach to science education. "Chemical Thinking" was the result of nearly a decade's worth of curriculum development that shifted the focus from lecture-based rote memorization of formulas and drills toward a more holistic way of thinking about chemical processes.

"We are seeing students who took part in this program perform much better on standardized final exams, and that improvement has followed into subsequent courses, where they are continuing to implement these learning techniques," Talanquer said. "In our department, we are making a much stronger effort to reform the traditional lecture and create more opportunities for students to actively engage with the material."

The UA was one of only eight institutions selected to participate in this National Science Foundation-funded program, and the pair will soon publish a book on their findings. Their paper, "Let’s Teach How We Think Instead of What We Know," published in Chemistry Education Research and Practice in 2010, is among the most widely cited pieces of research in the area of STEM education.

The U.S. Professors of the Year program salutes the most outstanding undergraduate instructors in the country — particularly those who positively influence the lives and careers of students. Sponsored by CASE and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, it is the only national program to recognize excellence in undergraduate teaching and mentoring. Since launching the program in 1981, CASE has sought to honor those professors who display an extraordinary dedication to undergraduate teaching.

Talanquer has won a number of teaching awards since joining the UA faculty in 2000, including the Distinguished Achievement in Science Education Award in 2013, the Henry and Phyllis Koffler Prize in Teaching in 2012 and the Leicester & Kathryn Sherrill Creative Teaching Award in 2007. As an associate professor in the school of chemistry with the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Talanquer was named an Outstanding Young Professor in Physical Sciences Education in 1998.

Category(s): Science and TechnologyNovember 19, 2015University Relations – Communications

UA's Roger Angel Inducted Into Inventors Hall of Fame

Tue, 11/17/2015 - 4:30pm
Extra Info: 

Roger Angel's bio on the National Inventors Hall of Fame website: http://invent.org/inductees/angel-roger/

 

Story Contacts: 

Paul Tumarkin

Tech Launch Arizona

520-626-8770

pault@tla.arizona.edu

His pioneering work in astronomy and optical sciences has been "emblematic of our greatest inventors" and contributed to the ability to see deeper into the history of the universe.

Regents' Professor Roger Angel of the Colleges of Science and Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona, whose pioneering work has helped to expand the horizons of astronomy and optics, is one of 16 inductees this year into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Angel and the other inductees will be honored at a ceremony on May 5, 2016, at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Over the course of a career spanning almost half a century, Angel has developed concepts for imaging and searching for Earth-like planets orbiting nearby stars, explored innovative ways to cool our warming planet and invented revolutionary methods for manufacturing large-scale optics for telescopes.

"Roger’s ability to think deeply about apparently simple physical principles and find innovative, tractable solutions to problems that previously seemed impossible to solve is emblematic of our greatest inventors," said Buell Jannuzi, head of the Department of Astronomy and director of the Steward Observatory at the UA.

Angel is best known for inventing ways to make extremely large, parabolic glass mirrors with a lightweight, strong honeycomb structure. Historically, large mirrors for telescopes were cast as heavy, solid structures. But what began as an experiment in Angel’s back yard to fuse together two glass custard cups in a homemade kiln led to a revolution in manufacturing these huge mirrors.

Angel’s basic methodology has grown into what is today the core operation at the Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab at the Steward Observatory, which has a large rotating furnace capable of spin-casting parabolic mirrors of up to 8.4 meters in diameter — the largest optics of their kind in the world.

In astronomy, larger mirrors equate to telescopes that have the ability to collect more light and see farther out into space and deeper into the history of our universe. They also enable higher-resolution imaging, so that astronomers for the first time can discern planets orbiting nearby stars. 

Two such mirrors are used in the Large Binocular Telescope located on Mount Graham in Arizona, and seven will be configured to form a single huge dish reflector for the Giant Magellan Telescope in Chile. With each mirror taking approximately a year to create, the GMT is scheduled for commission in 2021.

The GMT will have a resolving power 10 times greater than the Hubble Space Telescope by using very thin flexible secondary mirrors to correct images for atmospheric blurring — another invention by Angel, made with Italian colleague Piero Salinari.

"There’s a bunch of stuff that we didn’t patent but probably should have," Angel said, such as ways to polish and test mirrors developed with UA colleagues Buddy Martin and Jim Burge. Early on with the UA’s John Hill, a student at the time, Angel invented a way to use fiber optics in astronomy to obtain spectra of many galaxies at once. This method is widely used across the field today.

Most recently, Angel worked with Tech Launch Arizona — the office of the UA that works with faculty and researchers to protect and commercialize inventions stemming from academic investigation — to patent a system he developed for solar energy generation. REhnu, a startup company Angel co-founded with UA Regents’ Professor Peter Strittmatter has exclusively licensed the solar technology from the UA to bring it to market.

"Roger not only has the capacity to make remarkable inventions, but also the courage and perseverance to push major undertakings forward to a successful conclusion even when conventional wisdom claims that they are impossible," Strittmatter said of Angel’s tenacity as an inventor.

Thomas L. Koch, dean of the UA College of Optical Sciences, said of Angel: "Roger has been an intellectual leader and an amazing fountain of creativity for the optics and astronomy communities. It's wonderful to see this strong recognition of his impact."

Kimberly Andrews Espy, the UA's senior vice president for research, said: "Roger's innovative work in solar energy builds upon his fundamental research in how to manipulate light. His efforts go end-to-end, from basic discovery to an innovative technology that harnesses the energy from the sun. His discoveries have all been for the betterment of society, a hallmark of research at the University of Arizona. This award is well deserved, and recognizes Roger's boundless creativity and dedication."

Angel has 12 patents to date, with his inventions focusing primarily on technologies related to solar reflectors and concentrators. He has been highly regarded throughout his career, with past honors including the Kavli Prize in Astrophysics (2010); a MacArthur Fellowship (1996-2001); and an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship (1970-1974). He is a Royal Society fellow and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Founded in 1973, the National Inventors Hall of Fame, located in Alexandria, Virginia, houses an interactive gallery of more than 500 inventor inductees and their technological achievements.

Category(s): Science and TechnologyNovember 18, 2015University Relations – Communications

UA's Roger Angel Inducted Into Inventors Hall of Fame

Tue, 11/17/2015 - 4:30pm
Extra Info: 

Roger Angel's bio on the National Inventors Hall of Fame website: http://invent.org/inductees/angel-roger/

 

Story Contacts: 

Paul Tumarkin

Tech Launch Arizona

520-626-8770

pault@tla.arizona.edu

His pioneering work in astronomy and optical sciences has been "emblematic of our greatest inventors" and contributed to the ability to see deeper into the history of the universe.

Regents' Professor Roger Angel of the Colleges of Science and Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona, whose pioneering work has helped to expand the horizons of astronomy and optics, is one of 16 inductees this year into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Angel and the other inductees will be honored at a ceremony on May 5, 2016, at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Over the course of a career spanning almost half a century, Angel has developed concepts for imaging and searching for Earth-like planets orbiting nearby stars, explored innovative ways to cool our warming planet and invented revolutionary methods for manufacturing large-scale optics for telescopes.

"Roger’s ability to think deeply about apparently simple physical principles and find innovative, tractable solutions to problems that previously seemed impossible to solve is emblematic of our greatest inventors," said Buell Jannuzi, head of the Department of Astronomy and director of the Steward Observatory at the UA.

Angel is best known for inventing ways to make extremely large, parabolic glass mirrors with a lightweight, strong honeycomb structure. Historically, large mirrors for telescopes were cast as heavy, solid structures. But what began as an experiment in Angel’s back yard to fuse together two glass custard cups in a homemade kiln led to a revolution in manufacturing these huge mirrors.

Angel’s basic methodology has grown into what is today the core operation at the Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab at the Steward Observatory, which has a large rotating furnace capable of spin-casting parabolic mirrors of up to 8.4 meters in diameter — the largest optics of their kind in the world.

In astronomy, larger mirrors equate to telescopes that have the ability to collect more light and see farther out into space and deeper into the history of our universe. They also enable higher-resolution imaging, so that astronomers for the first time can discern planets orbiting nearby stars. 

Two such mirrors are used in the Large Binocular Telescope located on Mount Graham in Arizona, and seven will be configured to form a single huge dish reflector for the Giant Magellan Telescope in Chile. With each mirror taking approximately a year to create, the GMT is scheduled for commission in 2021.

The GMT will have a resolving power 10 times greater than the Hubble Space Telescope by using very thin flexible secondary mirrors to correct images for atmospheric blurring — another invention by Angel, made with Italian colleague Piero Salinari.

"There’s a bunch of stuff that we didn’t patent but probably should have," Angel said, such as ways to polish and test mirrors developed with UA colleagues Buddy Martin and Jim Burge. Early on with the UA’s John Hill, a student at the time, Angel invented a way to use fiber optics in astronomy to obtain spectra of many galaxies at once. This method is widely used across the field today.

Most recently, Angel worked with Tech Launch Arizona — the office of the UA that works with faculty and researchers to protect and commercialize inventions stemming from academic investigation — to patent a system he developed for solar energy generation. REhnu, a startup company Angel co-founded with UA Regents’ Professor Peter Strittmatter has exclusively licensed the solar technology from the UA to bring it to market.

"Roger not only has the capacity to make remarkable inventions, but also the courage and perseverance to push major undertakings forward to a successful conclusion even when conventional wisdom claims that they are impossible," Strittmatter said of Angel’s tenacity as an inventor.

Thomas L. Koch, dean of the UA College of Optical Sciences, said of Angel: "Roger has been an intellectual leader and an amazing fountain of creativity for the optics and astronomy communities. It's wonderful to see this strong recognition of his impact."

Kimberly Andrews Espy, the UA's senior vice president for research, said: "Roger's innovative work in solar energy builds upon his fundamental research in how to manipulate light. His efforts go end-to-end, from basic discovery to an innovative technology that harnesses the energy from the sun. His discoveries have all been for the betterment of society, a hallmark of research at the University of Arizona. This award is well deserved, and recognizes Roger's boundless creativity and dedication."

Angel has 12 patents to date, with his inventions focusing primarily on technologies related to solar reflectors and concentrators. He has been highly regarded throughout his career, with past honors including the Kavli Prize in Astrophysics (2010); a MacArthur Fellowship (1996-2001); and an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship (1970-1974). He is a Royal Society fellow and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Founded in 1973, the National Inventors Hall of Fame, located in Alexandria, Virginia, houses an interactive gallery of more than 500 inventor inductees and their technological achievements.

Category(s): Science and TechnologyNovember 18, 2015University Relations – Communications

Documentary Wins Regional Emmy

Fri, 11/13/2015 - 5:04pm
Story Contacts: 

Cody Sheehy

UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

520-621-3633

csheehy@email.arizona.edu

A College of Agriculture and Life Sciences team has been awarded a Rocky Mountain Emmy for "Earthlight."

The documentary "Earthlight" follows the success of the Controlled Environment Agriculture Center lunar greenhouse team in constructing a closed system that recycles all air and water and produces food that astronauts will need for extended missions to the moon and Mars.

The Rocky Mountain Emmys, a division of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, selected the film for an Emmy in the topical documentary category. The Emmy honors the creative effort of video coordinator Cody Sheehy, who worked closely with team members in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' communications and cyber technologies department at the University of Arizona.

"This award for Cody and the CCT team signals a professional recognition of the exceptional science communication done in CALS," said Shane Burgess, dean of the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

"Our production team delivers high-quality videos that bring to life what our college does daily," Burgess said. "The award also highlights a growing interest among the public to understand important, impactful research and to be inspired by it."

Sheehy's role was to shepherd the project from the first spark of an idea to the final edit that was aired on Arizona Public Media. He wrote, produced and directed the film.

"For the story to work, the lunar greenhouse really had to become a character," Sheehy said. "We had to convince the audience that it's not an inanimate object, but a living, breathing entity with a story to tell: how it has grown and changed over the years from a small greenhouse in the Antarctic, to a functioning system established at the Admundsen South Pole Station, to something designed for the moon that someday may spread its wings toward Mars."

The film features Gene Giacomelli, a UA agricultural and biosystems engineering professor and director of the Controlled Environment Agriculture Center's lunar project team. Phil Sadler, of Sadler Machine Co. in Tempe, was the greenhouse originator and consultant.

Arizona Public Media executive producer John Booth brought "Earthlight" to air in July 2014, which qualified the video to compete for the Emmy.

"It's the professional environment and incredible support here in CALS that allowed for an idea like this to take root and bloom," Sheehy said. "When it comes to the reality behind the science, that’s where our documentary can fill the void for a smaller audience, one that’s really interested in the current technology with growing food in space and what the future might be."

The team's next project, a feature-length documentary and innovative Web experience, "Beyond the Mirage," will disentangle the complex water issues gripping Arizona, Nevada and California.

Category(s): Science and TechnologyNovember 16, 2015UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Documentary Wins Regional Emmy

Fri, 11/13/2015 - 5:04pm
Story Contacts: 

Cody Sheehy

UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

520-621-3633

csheehy@email.arizona.edu

A College of Agriculture and Life Sciences team has been awarded a Rocky Mountain Emmy for "Earthlight."

The documentary "Earthlight" follows the success of the Controlled Environment Agriculture Center lunar greenhouse team in constructing a closed system that recycles all air and water and produces food that astronauts will need for extended missions to the moon and Mars.

The Rocky Mountain Emmys, a division of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, selected the film for an Emmy in the topical documentary category. The Emmy honors the creative effort of video coordinator Cody Sheehy, who worked closely with team members in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' communications and cyber technologies department at the University of Arizona.

"This award for Cody and the CCT team signals a professional recognition of the exceptional science communication done in CALS," said Shane Burgess, dean of the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

"Our production team delivers high-quality videos that bring to life what our college does daily," Burgess said. "The award also highlights a growing interest among the public to understand important, impactful research and to be inspired by it."

Sheehy's role was to shepherd the project from the first spark of an idea to the final edit that was aired on Arizona Public Media. He wrote, produced and directed the film.

"For the story to work, the lunar greenhouse really had to become a character," Sheehy said. "We had to convince the audience that it's not an inanimate object, but a living, breathing entity with a story to tell: how it has grown and changed over the years from a small greenhouse in the Antarctic, to a functioning system established at the Admundsen South Pole Station, to something designed for the moon that someday may spread its wings toward Mars."

The film features Gene Giacomelli, a UA agricultural and biosystems engineering professor and director of the Controlled Environment Agriculture Center's lunar project team. Phil Sadler, of Sadler Machine Co. in Tempe, was the greenhouse originator and consultant.

Arizona Public Media executive producer John Booth brought "Earthlight" to air in July 2014, which qualified the video to compete for the Emmy.

"It's the professional environment and incredible support here in CALS that allowed for an idea like this to take root and bloom," Sheehy said. "When it comes to the reality behind the science, that’s where our documentary can fill the void for a smaller audience, one that’s really interested in the current technology with growing food in space and what the future might be."

The team's next project, a feature-length documentary and innovative Web experience, "Beyond the Mirage," will disentangle the complex water issues gripping Arizona, Nevada and California.

Category(s): Science and TechnologyNovember 16, 2015UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

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