JOURNALISTS: Here are story ideas and a list of selected Purdue events during the next two weeks.
February 3, 2003
1. Purdue prof: Serbia building bridge to the West
Feb. 5 Acclaimed author Maya Angelou to speak
Feb. 6 Physicist to discuss Buddhism, science links
Feb. 14 Board of Trustees to meet
Feb. 14 Strategic innovation author to speak at Krannert
Feb. 17 University Senate to meet
Feb. 24-26 Heartland Wine School to take place in Bloomington
Purdue prof: Serbia building bridge to the West
If a Serbian province votes on Feb. 11 to turn over alleged war criminals for trial, the country will take a major step in building bridges with the West, says a Purdue University historian.
For almost a year Charles Ingrao, a history professor in the School of Liberal Arts, has lobbied the parliament of Vojvodina, Serbia's largest and wealthiest province, on the issue. The vote on the resolution, which is expected to be successful, would demand Serbia send indicted war criminals, now in hiding, to the international criminal tribunal.
The vote has the potential to change the political structure in Serbia, according to an analysis written by Ingrao. His analysis is available on the Web.
The United Nations War Crimes Tribunal was established at the Hague in 1993 to prosecute crimes committed during wars in the former Yugoslavia.
Contact: Ingrao, (765) 463-9658 or (765) 494-8385, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Purdue professor can talk about NASA management issues
A professor at Purdue University's Krannert School of Management says the discussion of the Columbia shuttle disaster will shift from technical issues to management decisions past and future.
"There are several million parts in the space shuttle, and it's a testament to the technical and managerial skills at NASA and its contractors that it works at all," says Dan E. Schendel, professor of strategic management. "I have great respect for NASA's work, but once we get past the mourning, we're going to have to look at the technology and ask, 'What went wrong and can we fix it?'"
Schendel has an engineering background, has served in the U.S. Air Force, is the co-author of a book on corporate whistle-blowing and founder and current editor of the Strategic Management Journal. He says the public has grown accustomed to safe space travel and does not have a realistic view of the risks involved.
"There's risk in any enterprise from the simplest to the most complex and in management you make choices based upon the best information you have to minimize risk and maximize gain," he says. "I'm not interested in Monday morning quarterbacking, but these aren't new issues, and we need to look at this from both the management and technical sides.
"Management is about choices. So, for example, if your organization has a 40 percent budget cut, as I understand NASA has experienced, management has to ask how do you choose what you do and what don't you do."
There have been critics of the shuttle's safety, and an important aspect of the prior shuttle disaster, the Challenger, was the technical advice NASA did or did not take, Schendel says.
"Whistle-blowers were controversial then, and I expect they will be in the current Columbia tragedy. But one of the marks of a good manager is to make certain the minority view is heard and considered."
CONTACT: Schendel, (765) 494-4386, email@example.com.
Rube Goldberg Competition on Feb. 15
It's time again for the annual Rube Goldberg Machine Contest at Purdue University. This year's task: select, crush and pitch a 12-ounce aluminum can into a recycling bin in at least 20 steps.
The annual competition pays tribute to the late Rube Goldberg, a cartoonist who poked fun at man's need to complexify daily tasks (and life in general) by drawing complex machines to perform simple tasks.
Journalists can begin coverage of the 21st annual Rube Goldberg Machine Contest at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15, at Cumberland Place Exhibition Center in West Lafayette, Ind., near the Purdue campus. Journalists can see teams begin to set up and run their machines before the contest begins, as well as interview students and judges. A satellite uplink will be provided the day of the competition.
Time: 4 p.m. Indiana (East), Saturday, Feb. 15
In addition to a satellite uplink of contest highlights, a news release and photos will be issued the day of the contest. An ISDN line is available for radio interviews, but must be arranged prior to the contest. Video b-roll is available by request.
Experts can discuss impact of possible war
NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: Here is a list of Purdue University experts who can discuss the economic and social impact of the possibility of war with Iraq.
Industry, universities team up to promote diversity
As the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments on the University of Michigan's affirmative action policies, colleges and universities arent the only ones watching.
Industry also has a stake. Corporate America has noted the changing demographics: Minorities will dominate the work force of the future. Not only is industry looking to universities to educate more minorities, it also is urging universities to teach students to value diversity.
To that end, industry has invested in workshops to help university faculty and staff understand and value diversity, so they, in turn, will inspire their students. One university that has taken up the challenge is Purdue University, a leading research institution in Indiana.
For the past five years, Purdues Schools of Engineering have offered two-day multicultural and gender diversity forums for its faculty and staff. So far, more than half of the engineering schools' 265 faculty and 80 staff members have participated.
"The results of our just completed survey show that the forum has been a success story in engineering," said Klod Kokini, assistant dean for strategic initiatives.
The forums began at the suggestion of a alumna working for E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. Additional corporate partners have included Daimler Chrysler, Eli Lilly and Co. and Procter & Gamble Co.
Participants in the survey reported having a significantly better understanding of ethnic history, diversity issues, stereotypes and prejudices. They also felt more empathy for people of color and began to assume personal responsibility for the racial climate around them.
The next engineering schools' diversity forums are scheduled for March 9-13.
CONTACT: Klod Kokini, (765) 494-5340, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Expert explains why reality TV dominates rankings
A Purdue University communication professor says it's no surprise that reality shows, such as "American Idol," "The Bachelorette" and "Joe Millionaire," are expected to be leaders in this month's television sweeps.
Glenn Sparks, an expert in mass media in the School of Liberal Arts, can talk about why people are attracted, and in some cases nearly addicted, to reality television programming.
"Many of these shows encourage us to get deeply involved in the lives of a few people, and that may be catering to a need to fill a void that many of us have in the domain of close relationships," Sparks says. "Some of us are living vicariously through these programs.
"At the same time, reality programs can create opportunities to bring people together. We hear about groups of friends getting together for 'Survivor' parties."
Sparks, whose specialty is cognitive and emotional effects of media, has authored "Media Effects Research," and is the co-author for "Refrigerator Rights," a book that deals with the loss of close interpersonal relationships in America.
CONTACT: Sparks, (765) 494-3316, email@example.com.
Acclaimed author Maya Angelou to speak
Physicist to discuss Buddhism, science links
Board of Trustees to meet
Strategic innovation author to speak at Krannert
University Senate to meet
Heartland Wine School to take place in Bloomington
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; firstname.lastname@example.org