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UA looks at tools for data analysis

FAYETTEVILLE -- Contract negotiations will begin between the University of Arkansas and Academic Analytics for data analysis tools to keep track of scholarly activity and faculty productivity, according to an Aug. 23 letter from UA.

Two other companies, Information Builders and Daten System Consulting, also submitted information in response to UA's request for qualifications published in July. The Aug. 23 letter, stating an intent to award business to Academic Analytics, states that an evaluation committee recommended the company.

The American Association of University Professors in a March statement said colleges "should exercise extreme caution in deciding whether to subscribe to external sources of data like Academic Analytics." The group expressed concern about contracts making it difficult for faculty members to access their own records to correct any errors.

UA spokesman Mark Rushing has said the tools are not designed to "evaluate" individual faculty productivity but to collect aggregate data and "highlight our areas of strength while pointing out areas where we need improvement, so that we can best make use of available resources."

Rushing has said UA expects to spend $150,000 yearly for the data tools.

Grant to aid study of gene, fruit flies

FAYETTEVILLE -- A $440,613 grant from the National Institutes of Health will help a University of Arkansas researcher study the connection between genes and nerve connections in fruit flies.

Timothy Evans, a UA neurobiologist, will study a gene known as "robo2" as part of the three-year grant, according to UA.

"The more we learn about robo2 in the fruit fly, the better equipped we are to understand the roles of its human counterparts in the contexts of development, neurodegenerative disease and repair after injury," Evans said in a statement.

$898,073 to fund geospatial project

FAYETTEVILLE -- An $898,073 federal grant will support an initiative led by a University of Arkansas center to teach geospatial technology skills at rural community colleges.

UA's Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies received a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation's Advanced Technical Education program. Students will learn computer-based mapping skills and how to analyze geographic information systems.

Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas in De Queen, Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas in Helena-West Helena, University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville and University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton will integrate the teaching of geospatial technology skills into current programs.

$500,000 to aid in DNA research

FAYETTEVILLE -- A $500,000 National Science Foundation grant will support a University of Arkansas researcher's project to develop software that simulates the molecular self-assembly occurring in nature.

Matt Patitz, an assistant professor of computer science and computer engineering, received the Faculty Early Career Development Program grant and will develop a new interdisciplinary course, Introduction to DNA Nanotechnology, as part of his work.

Study on primates receives $219,000

FAYETTEVILLE -- A $219,000 National Science Foundation grant will help a University of Arkansas researcher's study of teeth, jaws and related joints in 16 primate species.

Claire Terhune, an assistant professor of anthropology, will study a group that includes humans to "show how changes occur during the lifetime of an individual, and how primate species differ from one another in these changes," she said in a statement.

Terhune will work with Siobhan Cooke, a researcher at Johns Hopkins University, and Claire Kirchhof, a researcher at Marquette University.

NW News on 08/29/2016

Print Headline: UA notebook

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