eighth blackbird. (University of Chicago News Office)
University news
Boyer’s unprecedented leadership, the status of women on the faculty, and the rising curtain at the Logan Center.

A third for eighth blackbird

Contemporary classical sextet eighth blackbird, the University’s ensemble in residence, won its third Grammy Award in February. The wind, string, piano, and percussion group won in the small-ensemble-performance category for its recording of Steve Mackey’s Lonely Motel: Music from Slide. The ensemble won two Grammys in 2006 for its recording Strange Imaginary Animals.

Another cycle

In March John W. Boyer, AM’69, PhD’75, was appointed to an unprecedented fifth term as dean of the College. Highlights of Boyer’s 20-year tenure include innovations in the Core curriculum, the expansion of international study programs, student-life improvements, and a fourfold increase in financial aid. Boyer, the Martin A. Ryerson distinguished service professor of history, also has written 17 monographs on the University’s history.  

Gender studies

The University’s Women’s Leadership Council issued a report in February quantifying the status of women on the faculty. Between 2001 and 2010, the report showed, tenure-track faculty as a whole increased 11 percent, and the number of women increased 31 percent. In 2010 women made up 25 percent of the 1,092 tenure-track faculty members. Women had the largest presence in the School of Social Service Administration (58 percent of tenured and pretenured faculty) and the humanities (38 percent), with the smallest at Chicago Booth (13 percent) and in the Physical Sciences Division (10 percent). From 2001 to 2010, women held 25 percent of deanships, 15 percent of departmental chairs, and 8 percent of College master positions.  

Gift fuels energy research

With a $1.5 million gift from the Fuel Freedom Foundation, the Energy Policy Institute at Chicago will establish the Future of Transportation Fuels Initiative. Funding research on the economic and policy implications of oil and alternative energy sources, the gift also will support PhD students, a visiting professorship, and public outreach programs.  

Winning team sleeps on it

A team of six second-year Chicago Booth students won the $75,000 first prize in the Wake Forest University Marketing Summit. The group, led by Christina Maria DesVaux, who received the event’s MVP award, had 36 hours to create a marketing plan for Hanes. Among their strategies for success: sleeping on the first night to be fresher than competitors who worked around the clock.  

Historic appointment

Kenneth Pomeranz, a leading scholar of modern China, joins the faculty July 1 as University Professor of History. Coming from the University of California, Irvine, Pomeranz becomes the 18th person to hold the title of University Professor and the sixth on the current faculty. Pomeranz received the 2000 John K. Fairbank Book Prize in East Asian History for The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy (Princeton University Press).  

Plumbing the depths

Exploding toilets, hot-water outages, exposed heating pipes, and elevator outages were among maintenance problems in Pierce Hall that the University spent much of March working to fix. First-year Michelle Rodriguez detailed the problems in a video for Student Government. “On the floor, there were just rivers of excrement, urine, and pieces of porcelain” after two plumbing explosions in 24 hours, Rodriguez says in the video. In addition to repairs and upgrades  that included a new water pump, pipe wrapping in all student rooms, and elevator maintenance, residents received $500 each to spend at the campus bookstore, the Seminary Co-op, and the campus computer store. Each of Pierce’s four houses received $25,000, and $10,000 went to the Pierce Tower Council.  

A library blockbuster

Scan & Deliver,” the library’s pilot program to e-mail researchers requested photocopies from its books and journals, sounds like a movie title—and the reviews have been enthusiastic thumbs up. The service “has revolutionized my work!” history PhD student Patrick Kelly wrote. Committee on Jewish Studies graduate student James Jacobson-Maisels called  Scan & Deliver, which received 2,581 requests in its first month, “the most amazing innovation of the Library ever.”  

Strier’s a renaissance man

Richard Strier, the Frank L. Sulzberger distinguished service professor in English, received the 2011 Robert Penn Warren-Cleanth Brooks Award for Literary Criticism. Strier’s book The Unrepentant Renaissance: From Petrarch to Shakespeare to Milton (University of Chicago Press, 2011) depicts “an era happily churning with surprising, worldly, and self-assertive energies.”  

Logan Center: Now in previews

With the start of spring quarter in March, the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts began a six-month preview period. The first classes in the building and more than 40 performances, exhibitions, and conferences were scheduled before the grand-opening celebration October 11–13. Designed as a “mixing bowl for the arts,” the 11-story,  184,000-square-foot Logan Center includes classrooms, studios, rehearsal space, and exhibition and performance venues for academic and extracurricular programs. “Nothing quite like it,” Chicago Tribune arts critic Howard Reich wrote, “ever has arisen in the Chicago area.”  

Degrees by the dozen

Beginning in 2013–14, doctoral students who do not complete their degrees within 12 years will be withdrawn from their programs. A two-quarter grace period will follow the withdrawal, maintaining students’ access to the University’s IT resources, which will then be gradually eliminated over the following year. Students who get permission from their department and school or division may be allowed to graduate past their 12th year.