Buff Briefs | Search for A&S dean launched


Search for A&S dean launched

The University of Colorado Boulder has launched a national search for a new dean for its largest college, the College of Arts and Sciences.

John Stevenson, dean of the Graduate School, will chair the search committee.

Todd Gleeson, who announced his resignation in August, will complete his 10th year as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in June 2012 and then return to teaching in the integrative physiology department. The new dean selected will begin his or her duties prior to the 2012 fall semester.

Questions, nominations and comments may be directed to Stevenson at John.Stevenson@colorado.edu or 303- 492-2890.

New space discoveries, in Spanish

A group of planetary scientists led by a CU faculty member has released a new Spanish-language teaching resource featuring colorful graphics and explanatory text to spread the word on the latest space discoveries. The resource is called “Descubrimientos en Ciencias Planetarias,” Spanish for “Discoveries in Planetary Science,” and is an easy-to-use computer slide set that college and high-school instructors can present in the classroom.

University of Colorado Boulder faculty member Dave Brain of the Laboratory for Atmospheric Space Physics is the project leader.

The most recent slide set, “A Planet Orbiting Two Suns” is about the recent discovery of a planet nicknamed “Tatooine” outside Earth’s solar system that was announced by astronomers just a few weeks ago.

The slide sets are starting to be used on a regular basis in classrooms and science centers in Spain, according to planetary scientist Jesus Martinez- Frias of the Centro de Astrobiologia in Madrid.

The 23 Spanish slide sets can be downloaded for free at dps.aas.org/education/discovery-spanish. English versions are available at dps.aas.org/education/dpsdisc.

The project is supported by the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society.

CU expands mental health services

The University of Colorado Boulder will become the first campus in the state to offer the Interactive Screening Program, a program allowing students to screen their mental health online and anonymously, with support from a counselor.

The program rollout on Oct. 9 came three days after National Depression Screening Day. A pilot of the initiative was held last spring on campus.

The Interactive Screening Program was developed specifically for college students by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and will be administered at CU-Boulder by counseling and psychological services.

Campus mental health professionals initiate the interactive screenings by identifying groups of potentially at-risk students and emailing them invitations to complete a 10-minute questionnaire. A counselor then sends the screening results to the respondent with a personalized message.

The Interactive Screening Program is in place at 30 college and university campuses across the nation.

New worm findings emerge

A new study of sediments laid down shortly after an asteroid plowed into the Gulf of Mexico 65.5 million years ago suggests that worms may have been the first animals to show themselves following the global catastrophe.

Evidence from North Dakota shows networks of crisscrossing burrows less than three inches above the “K-T boundary layer,” which marks the global catastrophe and the line between the Cretaceous and Tertiary periods.

CU’s Karen Chin, an associate professor of geological sciences, and her colleagues are still working to understand the timing of the fossil burrows as they relate to the K-T extinction boundary.

Chin said she believes that they likely were made within a few thousand years after the extinction event, and that future studies should help narrow that window and provide more precise estimates.

Chin gave a presentation on the new findings at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America this month in Minneapolis.