UNC Today: Thursday, March 20, 2014

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Numbers Game

For 46 years, Professor Bob Heiny has been bringing stats to life with real-world applications in his classes and developing models for predicting outcomes, especially in sports. The March Madness basketball tournament provides just one example. Continue Reading

UNC Music Festival to Feature Latin Grammy-Nominated Composer

Latin Grammy-nominated composer Gabriela Ortiz will visit Colorado for the first time as the featured guest composer for the sixth annual Open Space Festival of New Music, March 27-28 at the University of Northern Colorado.

Ortiz will perform with UNC faculty and students during a concert featuring her music at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 27, in Milne Auditorium in Kepner Hall, 800 17th St.

The concert will include the premiere of a new set of songs that she composed specifically for UNC soprano and doctoral student Juanita Ulloa.

A pre-concert lecture by Oritz, part of UNC's Schulze Interdisciplinary Speaker Series, begins at 7 p.m. in Milne Auditorium.

Ortiz was commissioned by Assistant Professor Paul Elwood and the UNC School of Music to compose the new songs titled Canciones de Agua (Songs of Water) for Ulloa. The music is set to poetry by Mexican and South American poets Octavio Paz, Jose Luis Borges and Pablo Neruda. Additional Ortiz works will be performed by UNC voice faculty, including mezzo-soprano Melissa Malde and doctoral saxophone student Mark Pipes.

Both events, as well as the festival's other events, are open to the public free of charge. The festival is sponsored by the UNC School of Music and a grant from the Schulze Speaker Series Fund.

In 2013, Ortiz, from Mexico City, received her first nomination for a Latin Grammy for Best Classical Contemporary Composition as well as the premiere of her first opera in multimedia style titled Unicamente la Verdad (Only the Truth). Her compositions are played worldwide, and she has written commissions for Dawn Upshaw, Kronos Quartet and many others.

Ortiz trains, writes and teaches composition and has a global background in music studies ranging from Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris and Mexico City's National Conservatory to the University of London, where she earned her Ph.D.

Her parents were folk musicians from the famed Latin American group Los Folkloristas. Ortiz taught at Indiana University in the United States, and currently teaches at, the National Autonomous University in Mexico City.

The festival will conclude with a concert in Milne Auditorium featuring the winners from the Call for Scores Competition.

Building and parking lot locations are available at http://www.unco.edu/uncmap/. Parking is free in UNC lots after 5 p.m. Before then, parking permits can be purchased at automated dispensers located at lot entrances.

A complete schedule of events is at http://www.unco.edu/arts/music/openspace/default.html.

Call for Creative Writing: 'A Community of Voices'

The UNC Summit on Social Justice and Diversity, scheduled for Monday, April 14, invites students, faculty and staff to submit original creative writing by April 7 for consideration as part of "A Community of Voices," the creative writing reading held during the Summit. For additional details, including criteria for submissions and how to submit your writing, click here.

Website Helps Recruit Research Participants

UNC faculty, staff, and student researchers who need human participants for their research projects can recruit them using the Office of Research's website.

The service is available only to UNC researchers who are conducting investigations previously approved by UNC's Institutional Review Board. Having submitted an IRB application with a pending approval does not constitute eligibility.

Instructions are included on the site for obtaining a copy of your IRB approval through IRB-Net in case you don't have your approval notice.

Researchers seeking participants submit information using the electronic submission form on the new website. Submissions will be reviewed and posted on an approximate monthly basis.

Although the need for participants will be communicated periodically to internal and external audiences, to avoid the disappointment of an inadequate sample size, researchers are advised to be realistic about the numbers of individuals who'll see their entry and choose to volunteer, and are encouraged to seek participants through other sources specified in their IRB protocols.

UNC Pilots Online Advising System to Foster Student Success

An English class identified as a critical course for success can help inform biology majors at the University of Northern Colorado if they're on the right track.

That's an example of the idea behind a powerful new advising tool being launched at UNC to reach students before it's too late and support degree completion. The system uses analytics and predictive modeling in identifying courses that are markers for success in a chosen major.

"This helps us identify the not-so-obvious struggling student," said Stephanie Torrez, assistant dean for Academic Support, in describing a student who may be making a combination of mid-range Cs, Bs, and even As on their grade report. "Those students might be at high risk of not completing if they're not hitting marks of what we say are indicators of who's more likely to succeed."

The technology being piloted from the Education Advisory Board allows faculty and staff advisers to compare a student's past performance with the program-specific performance of thousands of UNC students. The system, called the Student Success Collaborative (SSC), alerts advisers to courses in which the student may need additional support — even before the student enrolls. Students can see which classes predict success in their major and can make early adjustments, if necessary.

Using the data, advisers can reach out to students who are not on track to complete these courses on time or when a student's performance in a critical course, which varies by major, suggests the need for additional support.The platform also identifies majors that may be a good fit for students based on their successes in previous coursework.

"We want to provide each biology major with the necessary tools, resources and advising to support his or her success — SSC will enable us to identify struggling students early and to intervene," said Associate Professor Susan Keenan, director of the School of Biological Sciences. In addition to Biological Sciences, the online data-driven advising support system is being piloted in pre-Nursing, Elementary Education, Special Education, and the Office of Academic Support and Advising.

UNC is among more than 90 colleges and universities nationwide using SSC, an initiative within UNC's enrollment plan to support student success amid a growing need for more college graduates in a knowledge-based economy. Rob Reinsvold, associate professor of biology, noted that SSC can "enhance interaction with students, which hopefully will make them feel more valued."

"We want our majors to feel connected to biology and the university," he said.

Add a Page to UNC's Social Media Portal

UNC now has a social media portal at www.unco.edu/social/ containing links to approved social media pages for UNC programs, departments, offices and other entities. If you have an active Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or other social media page you would like listed on the portal, visit Web Communications' website to find out how to get it added.

The site contains the required approval form to create social media pages, guidelines and best practices for creating them, and a training video.

Students, alumni and employees are encouraged to contribute posts to UNC's Facebook page.

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