sealPurdue News

March 29, 1996

The National Rube Goldberg Machine Contest drew nationwide media coverage again this year. A Purdue team representing the School of Technology placed first among four competitors from other universities. The "Quick Draw" team won with a machine based on the Wild West, which used 24 steps to complete the task of putting coins in a bank. Video highlights from the contest were made available via satellite from campus and aired nationally on CNN, CNN Headline News and NBC's Sunday Today, as well as on CNN's web site on the Internet. Highlights also ran regionally on network affiliates across the country, including those in New York City, Chicago, Indianapolis and other stations throughout Indiana. An Indiana Associated Press story ran nationally; articles with photos also ran in publications including The Scientist, Dayton (Ohio) Daily News, the Tennessean and the Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier . The Chronicle of Higher Education also will run a story. (960329 aas)

Science, engineering and business graduate programs ranked among the top 25 in the country in a recent US News & World Report survey. In the special edition of the magazine, "America's Best Graduate Schools," the doctoral program in analytical chemistry ranks No. 1; the Schools of Engineering rank No. 10; and the Krannert Graduate School of Management ranks No. 21. The magazine ranks doctoral programs in six general areas of science, but doesn't rank each school's overall science program. School of Science programs that were ranked are: Department of Chemistry, No. 16; Department of Computer Science, No. 22; and the Department of Mathematics, No. 24. The engineering school survey also calculates the five best schools in 12 specialties. Purdue ranked third in agricultural engineering; fourth in civil engineering; and second in industrial/manufacturing engineering. In business specialties, Krannert ranked third in productions/operations management.

Friendly co-workers are a benefit to both employees and their bosses according to a study by Shelley MacDermid , associate professor of child development and family studies, and Margaret Williams , assistant professor of organizational behavior and human resource management. MacDermid says when family and work responsibilities collide, co-workers often help each other out. "To the extent that employees are intelligent people who can make informed decisions about their lives, it makes sense for businesses to encourage such friendships," she says. The study was featured in a syndicated column carried on the Tribune News Wire, and was picked up by newspapers across the country. (960321 baf)

According to a story carried by the Associated Press , quality customer service in large financial institutions is something consumers are banking on, but aren't getting. The story featured Richard Widdows , professor of consumer sciences and retailing. "Customers don't think banks are totally up front about their charges," he says. "The current era in banking is perceived by consumers as one where big banks take over friendly neighborhood banks, eliminating customer service." The story appeared in several publications, including the Wisconsin State Journal, Toledo Blade and the Bureau of National Affairs Inc. Banking Report . (960126 vbh)

College students who live on campus have many more creature comforts than they did a generation ago, says a story in the Chicago Tribune . John A. Sautter , director of Purdue's residence halls, says talking to students and treating them like customers now drives hall changes. Student suggestions were important in the design phase of Hillenbrand Hall, which features air conditioning, two telephone and two computer connections per room, and a bathroom for every two rooms. Other recent additions Sautter mentioned are a movie service and food branding in dining areas. (960329 jmw)

An article in the Toledo Blade noted that agriculture is a fertile field for employment. The article quoted a study conducted by Purdue and the U.S. Department of Agriculture that predicted a 4.5 percent surplus of jobs nationwide for graduates in agriculture, environmental sciences, veterinary medicine, and nonmedical areas of life science research. Allan Goecker , assistant dean of agriculture and co-author of the study, says a well-rounded education is more critical now because of the volatility of the job market. "The job you train for may be quite different in five years," he says. "We're encouraging students to place more emphasis in communications, basic sciences and international experience." (960228 swt)

In her syndicated column, Job Talk, Joyce Lain Kennedy says only two schools in the recent US News and World Report's top 25 business school ranking offer on-line MBAs. Both schools' programs are directed at executives: Purdue's Krannert Graduate School of Management with its executive master's, weekend master's and international executive program; and Duke University's Fuqua School. According to the story, most top business schools still rely on face-to-face instruction. The story was distributed by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate and was carried by newspapers across the country such as the Times & Post-Intelligencer in Seattle. (960329 vbh)

The NSF Center for Collaborative Manufacturing in the Schools of Engineering was featured on a segment of High Tech Shower International, a daily news program that introduces the newest advances in science and technology to a large audience in the Far East. (960329 aas)

Bruce Hamaker , associate professor of food sciences, explained why some popcorn kernels don't pop for a radio feature produced by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The segment "Why Is It?" airs on the Mutual Broadcasting Network. (960228 swt)

Your Health magazine is among the many news publications with recent articles on the value of animal companionship. The magazine quotes Alan Beck , who says, "Everyone has always suspected animals have value for humans, but since the late 1970s studies are proving it." Beck is director of the Center for Applied Ethology and Human-Animal Interaction in the School of Veterinary Medicine. (960126 ler)

David Fasenfest , assistant professor of sociology and anthropology, was interviewed by Voice of America for a story in connection with an international conference on poverty. Fasenfest says one of the biggest dilemmas facing our country is the problems of the working poor. (960329 baf)

Laughter may be the best medicine, according to "Mature Focus," an American Association of Retired Persons' radio program that featured Ann Hunt , associate professor of nursing. Hunt, who has written articles on the subject, believes that humor should be included in medical schools' curricula. (960329 ler)

A recent Washington Post article pointed out that America has never been more church-going than it is right now, according to a book co-written by Roger Finke , associate professor of sociology and anthropology. In "The Churching of America," he and co-author Rodney Stark of the University of Washington show that only 17 percent of the country's population belonged to a church in 1776. Today it's estimated that 65 percent of Americans do. The story states that much of early America was frontier land filled with untamed frontiersmen who preferred drinking and wenching to tithing and praying. (960126 baf)

The benefits of full-day kindergarten were discussed in a story in the Saint Paul Pioneer Press . James Elicker , assistant professor of child development and family studies, says his research shows that schoolchildren perform better academically when they have previously attended full-day kindergarten. Elicker cautions against making kindergarten a "mini-first grade," but says expanding its length can relieve some of the stress put on 5-year-olds. "Kindergarten has gotten more academic over the years. It has become a pressure cooker. Expanding to all day can relieve some of that pressure for students and teachers," Elicker says. (960229 baf)

The Minneapolis Star Tribune recently ran a story on the risk factors associated with developing carpal tunnel syndrome. The article was based on the research of Gavriel Salvendy , NEC Professor of Industrial Engineering, and his former doctoral student Aura Matias. "We hoped to develop a model to assess people's risk before they acquire the problem," Salvendy says. "That, we hoped, would make it possible to prevent the problem by reducing risk." According to the study, the leading risk factors are time spent typing on a keyboard, wrist thickness, sitting position and wrist position. (960326 aas)

If you raise taxes, they won't come. That's what Stephen Hiemstra , professor of restaurant, hotel, institutional and tourism management, says in a 1991 study cited in a recent article in the Charlotte Observer . The story reported on a Myrtle Beach City Council proposal to increase the tax on hotel rooms from 7 percent to 10 percent. According to Hiemstra's study, for every 10 percent increase in room rates or taxes, hotels can expect a 3.1 percent decrease in occupancy. (960126 vbh)

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