News Briefs-Faculty & Staff News - Carnegie Mellon University

Thursday, December 5, 2013

News Briefs

Campus Street Parking Rates Have Changed

Hourly parking rates on several streets adjacent to the CMU campus changed Dec. 1 as part of an ongoing study being conducted by two CMU faculty members, Stephen Spear and Mark Fichman, in cooperation with the City of Pittsburgh. 
 
Premium parking rates will be reduced to $1.75 per hour on Tech Street and the 4000 block of Frew Street, adjacent to Hunt Library. Economy parking rates will be set at $1.25 per hour on Margaret Morrison Street and Schenley Drive between Tech Street and Panther Hollow Road. Additionally, the rate for the 5000 block of Frew Street, adjacent to Skibo Gym, will be lowered to $1 per hour.
 
The research, which began in January 2013 and has been extended to continue through 2014, adjusts the monthly rates on these streets based on daily usage. The objective of the study is to allow the marketplace to identify the optimum parking rates on these streets, balancing parking revenue with availability.

University Store Sale Friday

The University Store Annual Faculty and Staff Sale will be held on Friday, Dec. 6. The store will be open until 6 p.m. All faculty and staff members are invited to save 20 percent on purchases made in the University Store and the Art Store, or online at www.cmu.edu/bookstore with code staff13. Some exclusions apply.

Group Exercise Classes Free Dec. 9-13

Relieve your academic stress during Finals Week with free group exercise classes Dec. 9-13, compliments of the Fitness Group in the  Department of Athletics. A schedule of classes is available at the Equipment Desk in the University Center.

Also, the Fitness Group invites you to a free JourneyDance class from 4:30-5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 17.  JourneyDance is a sensual and exhilarating union of dance, visualization and ritual that’s fun and liberating. The class moves you through deep, personal exploration into a loving, intimate relationship with body, mind, and source energy.  For more information on JourneyDance, go to http://journeydance.com/.

Nominations Now Open for Graduate Student Awards

The nomination period for the Graduate Student Service and Teaching Awards is now open and nominations are due on Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. The committees would greatly appreciate your support in soliciting and submitting nominations of graduate students who have excelled in teaching or service so that their efforts can be recognized by the university community. Nomination information can be found at http://www.cmu.edu/celebration-of-education/graduate-student/index.html

The awards will be presented on Thursday, April 3, 2014, at "Innovation with Impact: Graduate Student Celebration of Research, Teaching and Service" during Graduate Student Appreciation Week. Recipients also will be recognized at the Celebration of Education on Tuesday, April 22, 2014.

CMU To Help Improve Math Instruction in City Schools

Professor John Mackey, associate head of the Mathematical Sciences Department, is a co-principal investigator of a National Science Foundation grant to help mathematics instruction in the Pittsburgh Public School District.

The NSF is providing $8 million to help the district improve math instruction in grades 6 through 12 and to close the opportunity gap faced by minority and low-income students. One key component of the initiative is to bring together teachers with mathematicians to strengthen teaching practices.

In addition to CMU, participants in the initiative include the Education Development Center, the University of Pittsburgh and Duquesne University. Read more.

Improving Web Access for the Disabled

The U.S. Department of Education is sponsoring a five-year, $3.7 million project led by Carnegie Mellon to develop methods that enable people with disabilities to take full advantage of the resources available on the Internet.

The Disability Rehabilitation Research Project (DRRP) on Inclusive Cloud and Web Computing includes researchers at Syracuse University and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

"Our projects are focused on finding ways to create inclusive user experiences on the Internet," said Aaron Steinfeld, the team director and an associate research professor at Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute.

The researchers are working on methods for easily modifying software to meet the needs of people with disabilities. Researchers will develop ways to make it easier for people with disabilities to log on to the Web, make user interfaces more accessible, and change the presentation of information on the Web to streamline experiences for people with disabilities, caregivers and service providers. The researchers also will look for ways to leverage help from other people on the Web — crowdsourcing — to increase accessibility for all.

Read more.

Clearing the Clutter To Impact Learning

With more than 205 trillion instructional options available to teachers, improving education is not as simple as choosing one technique over another. In a paper published in Science, Ken Koedinger, Julie Booth and David Klahr break down exactly how complicated improving education really is when considering the combination of different dimensions — spacing of practice, studying examples or practicing procedures, to name a few — with variations in ideal dosage and in student needs as they learn. The researchers offer a fresh perspective on educational research by focusing on conclusive approaches that truly impact classroom learning.

Koedinger is a professor of human-computer interaction at Carnegie Mellon, director of the Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center (PSLC) and co-coordinator of the Simon Initiative. Booth received her Ph.D. in psychology from CMU and is now an assistant professor of educational psychology at Temple University. Klahr is the Walter Van Dyke Bingham Professor of Psychology at CMU.

Read more and watch a video.

Pittsburghers More Civic-Minded Than Most

Pittsburgh residents are significantly more civically healthy than other Pennsylvanians and average Americans, according to a new report conducted by Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh and produced by the National Conference on Citizenship.

Civic health, a measurement of community participation in activities such as voting, interacting with and trusting neighbors, and other actions to further public interest, has been shown to be a major factor in a community's ability to be resilient during economic downturns.

"A city's civic health is structurally connected to a city's overall health, and it is imperative that we embrace this opportunity to cultivate a spirit among citizens to become more involved," said Robert Cavalier, director of CMU's Program for Deliberative Democracy.

"The results highlighted in the 'Pittsburgh Civic Health Index' reinforce what I have long believed — Pittsburghers care deeply about their neighborhoods and our city as a whole, and they're willing to work with each other and our neighboring communities to make it better," said Pittsburgh Mayor-elect Bill Peduto.

Read the full story.

Heinz Club Collecting Flash Drives for Students in Need

During the month of December the Heinz College Education Policy Club will be collecting flash drives for students in need. From Dec. 6 until the end of the month there will be a box in the University Center recycling center where anyone can donate new or gently used, working flash drives. These will be collected and donated to The Education Partnership (http://www.theeducationpartnership.org/).

The club encourages everyone to donate their extra flash drives or to purchase flash drives for donation. There are no size or space requirements. Students will typically use these to help with basic Microsoft Office files and do not need much storage space.

For more information contact Andrea Zimmer at azimmer@andrew.cmu.edu.

Book Fair To Benefit Children's School

The Children's School is hosting a Book Fair at Barnes & Noble at the Waterfront from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7. A percentage of your purchases will go to the Children's School. 
 
If you can't make it to the Book Fair, you can shop online from Dec. 7-14 at www.barnesandnoble.com and the Children's School will receive a percentage of the total cost of your purchases. Simply enter Bookfair ID# 11106606 when checking out.

Review Your Employee Payroll Data

Payroll Services is beginning a year-end review of employee payroll data and is asking CMU employees to validate all personal and tax information on pay stubs no later than Dec. 13, 2013. Particularly, you will want to review your address and social security number. The accuracy of this information is critical to ensure correct information on your 2013 W2 form. Incorrect information will result in a corrected W2, and may require you to file an amended return if you have already prepared and filed your 2013 taxes.

To review and update your personal information:

  • Log into HRConnection
  • Select Demographics on the left hand navigation
  • Click Next to continue
  • On the Demographics Information screen, validate your “mailing address” – this is where your W-2 will be mailed
  • Should you find any of the information to be incorrect, please make the necessary address corrections in the HRConnection screens.
  • The system will prompt you to complete a new Local Earned Income Tax Residency Certification Form. The form will identify both your residence location and taxation (PSD) and EIT rate along with the same info for your employment location. This is the basis for how your earned income tax is withheld.

If your Social Security Number is incorrect, please contact your HREM Administrator. Payroll Services thanks you in advance for your efforts in helping us achieve a successful 2013 - W2 season.

Support Toys for Tots

Carnegie Mellon's Toys for Tots campaign, sponsored by the College of Engineering's First-Year Advisory Board and the Carnegie Mellon Police, is collecting unwrapped toys for needy children. Members of the university community are encouraged to support the drive by placing unwrapped toys in collection sites across campus by Monday, Dec. 9. 

The CMU drive ties into the national U.S. Marine Corps program that has been collecting toys for needy children since the early 1950s.

Make Your Pledge to United Way Today

Carnegie Mellon's annual United Way Campaign to help the health and human service organizations United Way supports has received more than $112,000 in pledges thus far from nearly 200 donors, but it is still behind last year's total of more than $175,000. The good news is there's still time to make your donation as the campaign ends Friday, Dec. 13.

One way to contribute is to support relief efforts in response to the Typhoon Haiyan disaster in the Philippines. United Way Worldwide has set up a fund for disaster relief, and donors can give to the United Way Worldwide/Philippines Typhoon fund, at no fee, using code number 11480944. You can give to this fund through CMU’s United Way campaign at http://www.cmu.edu/hr/unitedway.

To learn more about the campaign, and to make your pledge, visit http://www.cmu.edu/hr/unitedway.

University Store To Renew Reading Series

The University Store is renewing its Faculty and Staff Reading Series. If you have recently published a book and would like to give a reading or short talk, please RSVP to Katie Charles-McGrath at katiec@andrew.cmu.edu. Presentations will be scheduled from 5:30 – 7 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month beginning in January and running through April (Jan. 21, Feb. 18, March 18 and April 15). Please RSVP by Jan. 2. (Overstock books must be returnable to the publisher without penalty after the event.)

Purchase Discounted Tickets to Kennywood’s Holiday Lights

Staff Council is offering discounted tickets to Kennywood Park’s Holiday Lights, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 22. Tickets for CMU staff are $13 ($16.99 regular price). Children 2 years old and younger are free. The park is open from 5 – 9 p.m. those days, weather permitting. There is a limit of 12 tickets per person. For more information on Kennywood’s Holiday Lights, visit http://www.kennywood.com. For discounted tickets contact Nicole Stenger at nstenger@cs.cmu.edu.

Spring Textbook Adoptions Due

Faculty and departmental administrators are reminded to submit Spring course material adoptions as soon as possible via cmu.verbacollect.com or by email to Matt Senvisky at msenvisk@andrew.cmu.edu. Early adoptions mean more rental textbooks, more used books and better textbook pricing for students.