Education and Training

August 8, 2013

University of California to offer free public access to research

The University of California = the largest university system in the world and considered by many to be the most influential will now be making its research results available to the public for free. This decision came after a long battle with the for-profit publishing industry which charges both for publishing articles in journals and then charge again for access to those journals.

As reported by TechCrunch Universities pay millions for access to their colleague’s research, with subscriptions costs up to $40,000 for a single journal and publishing costs many times more for more prestigious closed-access journals. “It’s still ludicrous how much it costs to publish research,” said molecular biologist at the University of California, Berkeley, Michael Eisen.

The San Jose Mercury News reported that the policy will apply to 8,000 faculty members and roughly 40,000 papers they produce each year “on subjects such as planetary magnetic fields, modern Israeli fiction and a host of other topics”. Legislation approving this initiative passed the California Assembly in spite of significant opposition for industry lobbyists, but the fate of the bill is largely irrelevant as the UC system has taken the matter into its own hands. “Taxpayers pay for this research, and we the people, we own it,” said Mike Gatto, D-Burbank, who co-authored the bill with Republican Assemblyman Brian Nestandet. “So it just makes sense to cut out the middlemen who charge taxpayers for something we already own.”

The “Open Access” movement already had signification momentum. The White House is on board and has pledged a significant $100 million to promote open access and to require all federally-funded research to be free of charge. More than 175 research institutions around the world have approved similar initiatives including Duke, Emory, Princeton, Wellesley and the University of Kansas and some schools or departments, such as the Harvard Business School and the Stanford School of Education, have also joined in. With the University of California now giving its stamp of approval, open access may now become the “defacto standard” for public research throughout the world.

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December 2, 2012

Concerned about a brain drain, Taiwan recruiting California students

Taiwan’s minister of education, Wei-Ling Chiang, traveled to California in October, and one of the issues he addressed was and imbalance in the numbers of university students being exchanged by each country. “Just 3,561 American-born students are enrolled in Taiwanese universities, while about 24,000 Taiwanese students enroll in universities in the U.S,” Chiang said. “We really have to address the situation now.” According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, Taiwanese education officials are renewing their efforts to enroll more international students and have opened a dozen Taiwanese college information centers have opened in nine countries in the last few years.

Taiwan’s university recruiters have begun to target a new demographic according to the report: the Taiwanese American teenager. The pitch was perhaps more attractive to parents of the second- and third-generation Taiwanese American students who were the targets of the enrollment push. “Your children will enjoy a high quality education while learning about Taiwan’s culture,” said Chiang, a Stanford graduate. About a thousand people attended the first Taiwanese education fair in the U.S., held in October at the Chinese Cultural Center in El Monte that had been advertiseed in local Chinese language radio and television stations.

While their children didn’t always agree, the idea of a Taiwanese education appealed to parents who believe their children will graduate into a job market increasingly dominated by Asian languages and businesses.

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March 31, 2011

Stanford to open center in China

As reported in the San Jose Business Journal, Sanford University plans an early 2012 opening for a center in Beijing that will serve as a headquarters for faculty and students conducting research in China and as an impetus for more collaboration between Asian and American scholars. The $5 million project will be paid for entirely from gifts made to the Stanford.

The Stanford Center at Peking University will be an architectural combination of east and west, according to university officials. A presentation on the new facility by Coit Blacker, director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford, is scheduled Thursday for members of the university’s Faculty Senate.
Seven university departments — including the School of Medicine’s Asian Liver Center, the Bing Overseas Studies Program and the Center for Sustainable Development and Global Competitiveness — have committed to establishing a presence at the new center.

“China’s position as a global economic leader means that the university should be at the forefront of helping our students and faculty better understand the country’s policies, culture and views while at the same time forging intellectual ties with its brightest and most important thinkers,” Stanford President John Hennessy said in a statement.

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March 29, 2011

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke Takes Export Tour to Los Angeles

From the U.S. Department of Commerce blog:

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke traveled to Los Angeles, Calif., today for the second stop of the New Markets, New Jobs small business outreach tour.  Joined by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and USC Marshall School of Business Dean James G. Ellis, Locke discussed the importance of exports to America’s economic recovery and job creation, and the resources that the government is providing to connect local small- and medium-sized businesses with foreign buyers, especially those from the Asia-Pacific markets, in order to help them sell more overseas and hire more at home.  

Announced on the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s National Export Initiative, New Markets, New Jobs is a year-long, interagency, multi-city outreach campaign designed to proactively bring government services to businesses across the country that are interested in exporting.  The tour was launched in Minneapolis in February, and will continue on to New Orleans, Louisiana in April and Wilmington, Delaware in May.

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February 3, 2009

NASA and Google will form Singularity University at Moffett Field

A technology-focused school called Singularity University will open on the Moffett Field campus of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration this summer, the San Jose Business Journal has reported. 
The Mountain View school will focus on coordinating the latest advances in a number of fields to help solve problems such as global warning and energy needs along with famine and disease.  The school’s chancellor is Ray Kurzweil who wrote “The Singularity Is Near” in 2005.  The first session will be limited to 30 students but will then expand to 120 in the following year, the school said. In addition Singularity University plans to offer three-day and 10-day programs.  Peter Diamandis, CEO of the X Prize Foundation — which gives $10 million awards for scientific breakthroughs — will be vice chancellor and trustee. Executive director will be former Yahoo Inc. executive Salim Ismail.

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January 20, 2009

Stanford announces $100 million energy institute

Stanford University has received $100 million to create a new energy institute where scholars can study everything from solar cells to energy markets and economics, according to a report in Mercury News:

The institute will expand Stanford’s role in energy research and national energy policy. It will consolidate Stanford’s existing energy-focused efforts onto one site — and allow the hiring of new faculty, support additional graduate students and offer seed money for major research projects
The donations came from three alumni who said they were motivated by the desire to protect the environment from greenhouse gases, improve energy efficiency and reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil.  Oil and gas executive Jay Precourt donated $50 million to create what will be called the Precourt Institute for Energy. Farallon Capital Management partner Thomas Steyer and his wife, Kat Taylor, gave $40 million to create a new research center within that institute, the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy. The final $10 million came from other donors.

“These generous gifts will help us overcome the enormous challenges that we are facing in energy research,” Stanford President John Hennessy said at a Monday news conference. “It will create an independent institute for researchers on campus and around the world.” The new institute will be directed Lynn Orr, professor of energy resources engineering and director of Stanford’s Global Climate and Energy Project. He plans to pull together 136 faculty members in 21 departments to create interdisciplinary projects. Other recent gifts from alumni include a $75 million pledge in 2007 by Jerry Yang, co-founder and a director of the Internet search engine Yahoo and his wife, Akiko Yamazaki. Of that, $50 million was used to build the Environment and Energy Building, which will house the new Precourt Institute for Energy. In 2006, Stanford University trustee Ward Woods and his wife, Priscilla, committed $30 million for what is now named the Woods Institute for the Environment. The energy institute will work in tandem with Woods’ environmental researchers; the two are in the same building.

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January 7, 2009

UCSF wins grant to address health worker shortage in Tanzania

The University of California, San Francisco has won a $7.5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help address the shortage of health-care workers in Tanzania, in East Africa. As reported in San Francisco Business Times, The two-year grant will support a collaboration between UCSF Global Health Sciences and Tanzania’s Muhimbili University of Health Allied Sciences, that nation’s only public university of health sciences, to develop and implement strategies for Dar es Salaam-based Muhimbili and other African institutions to meet their countries’ health workforce needs.

Solving sub-Saharan Africa’s health-care worker shortage has long been a priority for governments, universities and international organizations, according to the two universities, who say Tanzania’s leaders recognize the need to educate and train more health-care workers. The partnership aims to develop an “institutional partnership model” that can be replicated in other low-resource settings.

In early December, UCSF announced a $4 million grant from the Gates Foundation to support planning for a potential systemwide UC School of Global Health. The proposed school, which the university envisions as training new leaders to help tackle global health issues, would be UC’s first multicampus, systemwide school, the university said.

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January 2, 2008

Governor proposes program to train more engineers

Governor Schwarzenegger has proposed an education initiative that is intended to boost the number of California-trained engineers during the next decade by building new partnerships with schools, the military and businesses. The goal of the Engineer Initiative is to bring 20,000 to 24,000 new engineers into the state’s workforce. There are currently too few graduates to meet the demand for civil, electronics, mechanical, aerospace and industrial industries, according to the state’s Labor and Workforce Development Agency. The proposal would establish a program with the California State University and University of California systems that would speed certification of veterans with engineering backgrounds, sending them more quickly into open jobs. It also would send $1 million in federal funds into an apprenticeship program for community college students, expand K-12 charter school high-tech engineering preparation programs and launch the Engineering Education Council, which is designed to attract private funds to help guide math and science students into engineering programs at colleges and universities.

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September 27, 2007

AT&T gives $500,000 to Mexican-American Opportunity Foundation

Press Release:

AT&T today announced a $500,000 contribution to be paid over the next two years to the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation (MAOF), a community-based organization providing a wide range of family services to low-income residents throughout California. The contribution will fund a pilot program called “BeSchoolReady”, an Internet-based educational tool that introduces young children to computer technology through Internet-delivered learning modules designed to develop learning, language and cognitive skills. The purpose of the program is to prepare preschool students to begin their formal education and increase their chances of kindergarten success.

AT&T’s contribution will provide over 1,300 preschool students from low-income families within the next two years with the opportunity to use the BeSchoolReady program. For many children, and their parents, it will be a first-time experience with computers, so the project also helps to encourage technology literacy in the Latino community. MAOF preschool children are already using the BeSchoolReady web program at several Los Angeles County MAOF Centers.

“We are thrilled to partner with AT&T to help encourage technology literacy in the Latino community,” explained Martin Castro, MAOF President & CEO. “The launch of the BeSchoolReady program will help ensure our preschoolers are comfortable with computers and can be better prepared to succeed in the public school system when they enter kindergarten.”

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June 1, 2007

Sonoma State unveils Wine MBA program

San Francisco Business Times reports that:

Sonoma State University, in the heart of the North Bay’s Wine Country, is offering what officials are calling the nation’s first Wine MBA program.  The school said Wednesday that the MBA program is meant to fill a growing need for winery executives and managers who understand both management techniques and the wine business’ unique needs. The program is “100 percent industry funded,” James Robinson, dean of Sonoma State’s school of business and economics, said in a statement. The university’s nine-year-old wine business program, the result of a public-private partnership between Sonoma State and the wine industry, now offers both a B.S. in business administration with a concentration in wine business strategies and the new MBA degree, with a concentration in wine business… Sonoma State’s wine business program is aided by an advisory board that includes industry executives from Diageo Chateau & Estates Wines, F. Korbel & Bros., Gallo Family Vineyards, Girard Winery, J. Lohr Winery, Wells Fargo, the Wine Institute and the Woodward-Graff Wine Foundation.

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May 16, 2007

Palo Alto public schools to start Mandarin immersion program

“An optional Mandarin-language immersion program could begin in Palo Alto public schools in 2008 after receiving support from school board members, reports the Chinese-language Sing Tao Daily. The school board voted against the Mandarin immersion program in January, citing unfairness to other language programs. Board members said at the time that they did not want a separate, charter program for Mandarin. But board members have voiced their support for the new plan which would integrate the optional Mandarin immersion program into local public schools. The school board will vote later this month on whether Ohlone elementary school will begin the program. The school district’s decision is being closely watched in this Silicon Valley city where many Chinese and non-Chinese families want their children to learn the language.”

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April 28, 2007

Bill Would Trade Student Fees for Civic Service

“In an attempt to quell the swelling cost of attending a four-year university, a new bill in the state Legislature aims to pay student tuition and fees in exchange for two years of civil service upon graduation. The legislation is an attempt to make service to the greater community a more popular line of work, as well as enable students to take such jobs without having to worry too much about making enough to pay loans and living costs after graduation. Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) proposed the bill, AB 1267, to make it financially easier for students to obtain a degree while increasing the number of quality employees in the field of civic service. The bill would finance university tuition and fees for either a one- or two-year commitment to service, depending on what type of occupation the student chooses. Four years of fees would be paid if a student from a University of California or California State University campus works two years as a firefighter, peace officer, medical technician or another similar occupation where recruitment is currently lacking.”

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April 26, 2007

University of California budgets $6.9 million to improve oversight procedures

The University of California, which had a series of outrageous scandals involving almost criminal abuse of its salary and compensation system, has budgeted $6.9 million to improve its administrative systems and oversight procedures”

The University of California has budgeted $6.9 million to spend on restructuring administrative procedures in light of previous controversies over undisclosed staff compensation packages that were brought to light in 2005. The UC intends to conduct a full review of administrative operations to find a way to minimize cost and to save money for students, according to a press release. The university also wishes to increase oversight mechanisms, improve customer service between the Office of the President and the various UC campuses, and better define its employees’ roles. UC Board of Regents Chairman Richard Blum said the move would ultimately allow more money to reach students. “The investment we make now will generate returns many times over and will free up resources for pressing academic priorities,” he said in a statement. But others said they are skeptical of the measure’s timing.

“It’s come as a surprise and a contradiction to what the UC has been telling us,” said Tina Park, external vice president of the Undergraduate Students Association Council, adding that she is uneasy about the cost of the program and its potential benefit to students. “The UC keeps telling us we don’t have enough money and we need to raise fees. They’ve said we’re in a budget crisis, but we see them setting out a $7 million effort to do this. We see the changes in our fees but not in the classroom – so I would like to see the commitment to academic commitment made in writing,” she said.

This is the latest in a series of efforts by the UC to improve transparency that began after a San Francisco Chronicle article in November 2005 revealed that the university had paid staff millions of dollars in undisclosed compensation.

The controversy recalled a similar incident in 1992 when a $1 million severance and pension package was approved without public oversight for former UC President David Gardner, and an audit of university money showed $2 million of staff expenses had been spent on luxury hotel rooms and parties, among other things.

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April 20, 2007

Lt. Governor Garamendi stresses importance of skilled work-force

“California must find ways to produce more skilled workers from its schools system or face an erosion of its economy, a state-organized panel was told here Wednesday. ‘The economy in our state will falter unless we make this investment,’ Lt. Gov. John Garamendi said in an interview… Garamendi had gathered a group of business, education and government leaders at the California State University, East Bay campus to discuss ways to prepare young people to find jobs in California’s knowledge-based economy. The common theme: Not nearly enough money and resources have been deployed to bolster the ability of universities, community colleges and high schools to train people to join the work forces of the future. ‘There is a need for more tax revenues,’ Garamendi said. At the same time, though, colleges and high schools must become more efficient at delivering effective education services and training to students, Garamendi said. He called for a complete revamp of the state’s creaky education laws. ‘Schools have to respond more nimbly to the needs of businesses,’ Garamendi said. Those who gathered at the event at the university’s Valley Business & Technology school pointed to a drastic shortage of job candidates. Some employment seekers struggle to pass sixth-grade math and reading tests given by companies such as the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. auto assembly plant in Fremont.”

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April 11, 2007

UC Davis gets $2M for produce safety

“A produce trade association announced it has pledged $2 million to fund a research center at the University of California, Davis dedicated to reducing food-borne illnesses in fresh vegetables and fruits. The Center for Produce Safety will be housed within UC Davis’ existing Western Institute for Food Safety and Security and distribute research grants to scientists from around the country, said Jerry Gillespie, the institute’s founding director. ‘This is a major step forward as far as industry stepping up and providing funds for scientific research,’ Gillespie said Monday. The move by the Produce Marketing Association, which has offices in Delaware and California, follows the nationwide E. coli outbreak linked to California-grown spinach that resulted in the deaths of three people last summer. Bryan Silbermann, the association’s president, said another trade group has promised to provide funds for the center, and that federal and state government officials would be among those deciding how to divide the research money. ‘We want to see this as an ongoing, world-class center of research and a clearinghouse of research,’ said Silbermann, who declined to name the second group before the official announcement planned for Wednesday.”

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April 5, 2007

Tohoku University of Japan Announces the Opening of its U.S. Office in Silicon Valley

“Tohoku University U.S. Office will hold its Opening Ceremony on April 26 and the First Tohoku University International Innovation Forum on April 27 at the Marriott San Mateo at San Francisco Airport, 1770 South Amphlett Boulevard. The U.S. Office is the international promotion center of Tohoku University. The two day event will feature over 50 world renowned experts in their fields speaking on a broad spectrum of science and technology issues to include Nobel Laureate Roger Kornberg, Stanford University Professor, speaking on The Gene Reader in Our Cells. California Governor, the Honorable Arnold Schwarzenegger, is scheduled to present the opening keynote address. The creation of Tohoku’s Silicon Valley California office demonstrates the beginning of its intention to create a portal for the facilitation of collaboration with U.S. companies and educational institutions.”

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April 3, 2007

Racial Diversity program benefits high performing Asians

“Under a system of ‘diversity permits,’ (Beverly Hills) high school began enrolling scores of minority students from Los Angeles each year. For decades, the permit program aimed to bring in a deliberate mix of black, Latino and Asian students from outside the city limits. Today, however, the vast majority of the students enrolled with diversity permits at Beverly Hills High are high-performing Asian students. The dramatic shift stems from California’s stringent anti-affirmative action law, approved by voters in 1996. Concerned with running afoul of the sweeping ban, Beverly Hills school officials have followed what amounts to a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on the diversity permits. Students who apply are not allowed to identify their race or ethnicity. The program has become as competitive as the Ivy League, with about 8% of the students who applied last year being accepted. Critics say the program has shifted by default from a program aimed at increasing racial and ethnic diversity to one that simply brings smart, well-rounded students into the district.”

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March 27, 2007

NASA gives Stanford $348,000 research grant

“The National Aeronautics and Space Administration said Monday it awarded about $348,000 in a research award to Stanford University. The money will go to fund research on multifidelity analysis and design methods for supersonic aircraft”.

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March 16, 2007

Loyola Marymount students spend spring break with farmworkers

“10 students from Loyola Marymount University… lived and worked with San Joaquin Valley farmworkers for a week in March, learning about the history of the rural labor movement and organizing a food and clothing drive for out-of-work field hands. The program, a partnership between Loyola Marymount and the Dolores Huerta Foundation, a Bakersfield nonprofit named for the co-founder of the United Farm Workers union, is among a growing number of ‘alternative’ spring breaks in which students skip the boozy revelry in favor of volunteer work around the world.”

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March 1, 2007

University of California cited for nuclear safety violations at Los Alamos National Lab

“The Energy Department cited the University of California for 15 nuclear safety violations at the Los Alamos National Lab, the department announced Feb. 26.
The violations stem from a series of incidents at the New Mexico lab in 2005. The University of California was managing the facility at the time the violations occurred. It now manages the facility as part of Los Alamos National Security LLC, which also includes partners Bechtel National, Washington Group International and BWX Technologies. In two cases, lab workers were contaminated with nuclear radiation. One of the workers spread the contamination outside the lab and state, according to Energy. While the radiation levels in both cases were below Energy limits for radiation doses, “the effects could have been significantly greater,” according to a statement released by the department. Inspections of the lab in November 2005 found the university had not properly enacted health, environment and safety programs. At the time the violations occurred, nonprofit groups were exempt from civil penalties, so the university will not have to pay $1.1 million in fines that the violations carry.”

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