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September 19, 2012

In case you missed it …

Here are just a few of the stories you may have missed while Currents was on its summer break. Read more on the University’s Newsroom,

Scientists rate University a ‘Best Place to Work’

The Scientist magazine has named the University one of the best places in the world for scientists to work.

The University is rated 22nd in the magazine’s worldwide survey of “Best Places to Work” for scientists in the life sciences. In Rochester, that work is primarily done at the Medical Center, as well as in the department of Biology, and the  department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences.

“An outstanding research enterprise requires the creation of an environment where creativity, hard work, and teamwork can flourish,” says Bradford Berk, CEO of the Medical Center. “Such an environment is a hallmark of what we offer at the University. It is gratifying that our scientists feel they are in one of the best settings in the world to undertake their work.”

The results are based on questionnaires filled out by more than 1,000 full-time life scientists working in academic or non-commercial research institutions. The Rochester scientists gave high marks in the categories of job satisfaction, management, and policies.

“The rankings are a testament to the collegial values of our faculty,” says Provost Peter Lennie. “Their collaborative engagement with colleagues in other disciplines has contributed greatly to making the University a world-class research institution.”

This is the third straight year Rochester has appeared on the list.

Medical Center appoints chief HR officer

Jeff Stevens

The Medical Center appointed Jeffrey Stevens as its chief human resources officer. Stevens most recently served as vice president of human resources for the University of Massachusetts Memorial Healthcare in Worcester, Mass., a five-hospital system anchored by an 800-bed academic medical center.

A native of Brooklyn, Stevens holds an undergraduate degree in economics from Clark University and a master’s degree in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University and Baruch College of the City of New York. He has more than 20 years of experience working for organizations like the National Labor Relations Board as well as social service and complex health care organizations.

Stevens reports to Chuck Murphy, the University’s associate vice president for human resources, and to Medical Center CEO Bradford Berk.  He directly supervises the manager of the Medical Center HR Office and works with the HR directors of Medical Center affiliates at Highland Hospital, the Highlands at Pittsford, the Highlands at Brighton, and Visiting Nurse Service.

“Jeff is skilled at managing organizational resources in areas of staffing and scheduling, organizational development, employee engagement, and patient-centered care,” Murphy says. “He’s a terrific addition to the University’s Human Resources team.”

“As health care evolves, Jeff will bring the experience and fresh ideas we need to remain a preferred employer,” Berk says. “During the search process, Jeff really stood out for his ability to gain employees’ and managers’ trust and enthusiasm.”

College Prep Center expands to Franklin High School campus

teacher and student with college dorm model
Franklin’s College Prep Center will be modeled after the one at East High School. In the last year, East’s center hosted 90 classroom workshops focused on goal setting, career exploration, college preparation, and academic support, and students participated in 25 college admissions visits and field trips.

In its first year, the University’s College Prep Center at East High School worked with nearly 700 students, providing one-on-one advice and assistance and hosting workshops and events about the college admissions process. Now, thanks to a grant from the Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation, students at the Vanguard Collegiate High School and other schools on the Benjamin Franklin High School campus will receive the same support and outreach through their own College Prep Center, slated to open this fall.

Funded by a $75,000 grant from the Farash Foundation, the Franklin College Prep Center will be a partnership between the school and the University’s David T. Kearns Center for Leadership and Diversity in Arts, Sciences & Engineering. The grant will enable the Kearns Center to place one full-time staff member and up to two AmeriCorps members at the center.

Franklin’s center will be modeled after East High’s, which is funded by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation and officially opened its doors in August 2011. In the last year, East’s center hosted 90 classroom workshops focused on goal setting, career exploration, college preparation, and academic support, and students participated in 25 college admissions visits and field trips. As a result of the collaboration, East High students are enrolling in area colleges and universities. East High’s center will operate for a second year, thanks to a renewed $90,000 grant from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation.

Beth Olivares, director of the Kearns Center, says Franklin’s center will be a hub for college- and financial aid-related advising and academic support activity. Rochester undergraduates will visit the center at least once a week to tutor, provide Regents Exam preparation, and serve as mentors for the high school students.

$2.2 million NSF grant helps enhance math instruction

A new National Science Foundation (NSF) grant will allow a professor at the Warner School of Education to study and help streamline this transition as school districts set out to adopt and implement the Common Core Standards for Mathematics and improve math instruction for all students.

Under the four-year, $2.2 million grant, Jeffrey Choppin, associate professor in teaching and curriculum at the Warner School, will lead research to support middle school math teachers in designing instruction that addresses the content included in the common core, standards which require teachers across the country to align their curriculum and instruction to address the more rigorous standards, especially during the middle school years.

Funded through the NSF’s Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings, the award enables Choppin, principal investigator for the project, titled Developing Principles for Mathematics Curriculum Design and Use in the Common Core Era, to expand his research on how teachers draw from curriculum materials to provide high-quality education for all students. Choppin will collaborate with scholars and coprincipal investigators Jon Davis, from Western Michigan University; Corey Drake, from Michigan State University; and Amy Roth McDuffie, from Washington State University.

The common core standards, developed by the Council of Chief State School Officers and National Governors Association in consultation with teachers, parents, experts, and school administrators from across the country, were released in 2010 and have been adopted by 45 states. The goal is to make students college– and career-ready by the time they graduate from high school.

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