Monthly Archives: September 2007

Nice guys finish first after all

A new book by Peabody researcher Stephen Elliott finds that basic social skills, such as listening, following directions and just being nice, are just as important to a student’s ability to succeed as their academic instruction.

“If we increase social skills, we see commensurate increases in academic learning. That doesn’t mean that social skills make you smarter; it means that these skills make you more amenable to learning,” Elliott, Vanderbilt Peabody education and psychology researcher and co-author of the newly published The Social Skills Improvement System—Classwide Intervention Program, said. “In our research, we found that elementary kids and teachers value cooperation and self-control. When we teach and increase those behaviors, we reduce problem behaviors and maximize learning time.”

Elliott and co-author Frank Gresham have been studying this issue for over 20 years and interviewed over 8,000 teachers to come up with the Top 10 Social Skills Students Need to Succeed. See that list and the rest of the story on VUCast.


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Filed under Education

Cockroaches: they’re not morning “people”

Before I go any further let me say the fact that I am even writing this is evidence of my dedication to share the latest and greatest Vanderbilt news with you, dear readers, regardless of the great personal toll it may take on me. Because even writing about cockroaches gives me the shivers. And to write about them, I had to first read about them. Which meant I had to think about them. Color me creeped out. But I digress, again.

So, yes, cockroaches. Turns out the little devils are completely brain dead in the morning. They only turn on their clever one-day-we-will-rule-the-world ways in the evening. Takes them time to ramp up. That’s what Vanderbilt biological sciences researcher (and all around great guy) Terry Page has discovered. “This is the first example of an insect whose ability to learn is controlled by its biological clock,” says Page, who published his findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science this week. Don’t make me write about this any more, see for yourself on Exploration.

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Filed under Science

U-CAN learn more about your favorite U on a new Web site

Ed. note: The corniness of these headlines will continue in an attempt to goad you, dear readers, into commenting on this blog, even if it is only to bemoan said corn. Consider yourself warned.

The National Association for Independent Colleges and Universites today launched a new Web site, U-CAN (University and College Accountability Network), that aims to serve as a clearinghouse and comparison-resource for vital information about American colleges and universities. Take a look at the Vandy section.

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Filed under Administration

Olympian at Peabody

Lynn Fuchs, Nicholas Hobbs Chair in Special Education and Human Development, has been tapped by President Bush to be one of the United States’ reps at the opening ceremonies of the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Shanghai, China, on Oct. 2. Congratulations, Professor Fuchs. Get the whole story.

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Filed under Athletics, Education

Professor Sharpley-Whiting goes to Washington

Tracy Sharpley-Whiting, director of the Vanderbilt Program in African American and Diaspora Studies, is set to testify Tuesday, Sept. 25, in Washington before the Congressional Subcommittee on Energy and Commerce on the topic of “From Imus to Industry: The Business of Stereotypes and Degrading Images.” The hearings will begin at 10 a.m. in Room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. Sharpley-Whiting’s testimony is expected to begin about 1 p.m. eastern time.

Can’t make the hearings? You’re in luck–the hearing will be streamed live here. And, as we mentioned recently on this blog, Professor Sharpley-Whiting talked about this same topic earlier this month at the Nashville Public Library as part of our Thinking Out of the Lunch Box series. Watch the video.

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Filed under Government & Politics, Social Sciences

Adjunct law professor Karl Dean is Nashville’s new mayor

Well the votes are in and Karl Dean, former Metro Nashville law director and of course Vanderbilt adjunct professor of law, has won the Nashville mayoral race. Congratulations, Mayor-Elect Dean! In other Vanderbilt-related election news, Megan Barry ran away with the run-off for one of the remaining contested at-large council seats. Barry, ethics and compliance officer for health-care group purchasing org. Premier, Inc., earned her MBA at Owen and is married to Bruce Barry, professor of management and sociology and chair of the Vanderbilt Faculty Senate. Congratulations Councilwoman-elect Barry!

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Filed under Government & Politics

The Vanderbilt connection

There’s not ALWAYS a Vanderbilt connection but it seems, lately, there often is. Like in today’s top political story. Fred announced last night on Jay. He’s an alum, of course (Fred, not Jay). See all his Vandy connections here and read others’ coverage of it here, here, here and here. And that’s not all – read Vanderbilt pundits talking about the Vanderbilt-connected pol here and here. More, obviously, to come on this story.

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Filed under Government & Politics