UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

Archives for September 2011

Judy Smith invites staff and faculty to help tutor Burmese refugee school kids on campus

Every Thursday evening over the last academic year, more than a dozen kids would come to UNCG’s Campus Ministries Building. UNCG students volunteered to tutor them. The kids are largely from Burmese refugee families.

Judy Smith, director of the Office of Space Management and 2010-11 Service Committee co-chair for Staff Senate, is the campus point person for this service initiative.

At the September Staff Senate meeting, she shared information about this tutoring opportunity.

This year, they anticipate 25 school kids ages 8-12 will participate. Volunteers are needed each week for this growing program, and additional volunteers are needed for those weeks when UNCG students are away on break.

Every Thursday night, the young students will come in to the Associated Campus Ministries building beginning at 6:30 p.m.

CW asked her about how the program came about. She and members of her small church have become involved in helping Burmese refugee families in Greensboro, she explains.

“They have been burned out of villages. Have avoided military police, until they could cross the border into Thailand. Most of the families were in refugee camps for up to 10 years.”

How did she get involved?

Her husband has family in Thailand. She knew the needs that refugees may have. And a friend at Greensboro’s Newcomers School told her and a few others at the church about one family that had needs. In the past couple of years, that assistance has snowballed – and includes the tutoring.

Students first became involved with tutoring assistance when Evan Blackerby from the Baptist Campus Ministry approached the church looking for volunteer opportunities for his student members. Later, members of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association, a pre-professional association for Communication Sciences and Disorders majors, provided additional assistance. This past year, along with continued support from the Campus Ministries, members of UNCG’s Golden Key Club have provided assistance for the tutoring sessions.

Senior Chelsea Taylor, an elementary education major, says she likes “applying the skills that I am learning in my courses and seeing the growth the students have made in their reading and math over the year.”

Senior Amanda Headley, a speech pathology and audiology major, says reading with young students on Thursdays is the highlight of her week. “The excitement in their eyes when they finish an entire story book is priceless.” Sophomore Sarah Price adds she loves seeing how much progress they’ve made in their math skills this year.

About 25 school children have participated, Smith says. Last semester, there were about 15 on any given Thursday. The tutors help the young students with homework assignments, or with reading. They may work with letters or phonetics. Learning games can be a fun activity.

They are in families where the adults had limited formal education, Smith explains. That fact, along with limited or no English skills, makes even small tasks difficult for the families. Things others may take for granted – such as knowing the difference between junk mail and important letters, how to make a doctor’s appointment, what insurance is – presents a challenge in a new culture.

There has been an extremely good response from the UNCG community, she says.

Last spring break, a handful of staff members filled in as volunteers while the students were away.

Lou Harrell (Contracts & Grants) and her husband David Franklin were some. She recounts working with first graders learning to read, playing phonics games and working to learn the values of coins. “They were good at that!” she says. Meanwhile, Franklin tutored a sixth grader in math and reading comprehension and spoke some French and Swahili with a high school student from the eastern Congo. Konnie Hauser (Housing & Residence Life) and daughter Bethany Hauser King (Admissions Office) worked with a brother and sister doing art assignments.

Smith says staff and faculty who’d like to volunteer have an opportunity now that the children’s school year has begun. “I was amazed at the amount of interest expressed by the UNCG staff [last spring] and we would like to tap into that again,” she says.

Initially, she says, she simply wanted to reach out to a group of people with extreme needs.

But for her, it has evolved.

“You think you’re going to change others’ lives – but you discover they have changed yours as well.”

See more information.

For additional information, email Judy Smith.

By Mike Harris

Looking ahead: Sept. 21, 2011

Faculty convocation
Wednesday, Sept. 21, 3 p.m., Cone Ballroom

Dedication, School of Education building
Thursday, Sept. 22, 4:30 p.m.

“Immigration – Do we have the right to close our borders?” Bas van der Vossen
Thursday, Sept. 22, 5 p.m., Faculty Center

Jefferson Suites dedication
Friday, Sept. 23, 3 p.m.

Homecoming Saturday
Saturday, Sept. 24, Kaplan Commons and campus

Community Day
Saturday, Sept. 24, 1 p.m., Weatherspoon

Mixed-Use Village open house
Monday, Sept. 26, 11 a.m., Maple Room, EUC

Talk, “Queer Politics and the Marriage Debate,” Sarah Colonna
Wednesday, Sept. 28, 1 p.m., Pecky Cyprus Room, Alumni House

Reception is departmental affair

Correction: Last week, CW ran a piece about a reception for Dr. Terry Nile, who will retire next year. CW was misinformed. The reception is in fact a departmental event, limited to the department and some of Niles’ former undergraduate researchers. It is not a retirement reception.

Professional development for Fall 2011

Human Resource Services announces the publication of the Professional Development Catalog for Fall 2011. As employees of UNCG, we are all seeking ways to acquire new knowledge and competencies that will enable us to excel in our positions, they said in the announcement. Courses are available to all UNCG faculty, staff, and administrators.

“HRS is especially excited to have faculty experts joining us this fall to expand our training offerings. Courses in Conversational Spanish will be offered by faculty in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Culture in the College of Arts and Sciences. Courses in Managing Diverse Work Teams, Conflict Resolution, Cultural Change, Avoiding Stereotyping, Leadership, Myers-Briggs Assessment, and Teamwork, will be taught by faculty in the Department of Business Administration in the Bryan School. A special course on Intercultural Sensitivity will be presented by the International Programs Center. We are grateful for the partnerships with Dr. Timothy Johnston, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences; Dr. “Mac” Banks, Dean, Bryan School; Dr. Kevin Lowe, Chair, Department of Business Administration; and Dr. Amy Williamsen, Chair, Department of Languages, Literatures, and Culture; and Dr. Penelope Pynes, Director, International Programs Center, who have made this program possible.

“Course registration and a link to the HRS fall catalog are now available at http://web.uncg.edu/hrs/Training/ Seating is limited, so please enroll at your earliest convenience to take advantage of these special course offerings.”

WGS salon and film

WGS Film Series screening: Wednesday, Sept. 21 – 7 p.m. – Petty 136 (Auditorium) – “One Nation, Under God”, Discussants, Dr. Sarah Cervenak and Dr. Danielle Bouchard

WGS Salon: Wednesday, Sept. 28 – 1-2 p.m. – Pecky Cypress Room, Alumni House, “Queer Politics and the Marriage Debate”

For more information, Carole Lindsey-Potter at 334-5673.


WAM Fall Community Day Sept. 24

The Fall 2011 Community Day “Peeking Behind the Mask” celebrates creativity, performance and role playing in conjunction with the exhibition Persona: A Body in Parts. It will be Saturday, Sept. 24, from 1 to 4 p.m.

“Each day we go about our routine lives, but inside we are superheroes or explorers, pirates or rock stars, hiding our secret identities behind a mask of an unassuming face and daily clothes. We’ll explore our own secret identities and ‘peek behind the mask’ of famous folks (real or fictional) to imagine their thoughts and lives,” the Weatherspoon says.

One way to enter this secret world is to write a persona poem – persona meaning mask – in which we give a voice to that alternate identity. Join poet and novelist Valerie Nieman in the WAM lobby, 1-4 p.m., for a drop-in poetry experience for all ages. In addition, use a variety of materials to create your own magnificent mask to wear. At 3 p.m. celebrate with live improvisational jazz and spoken word sharing featuring musicians Joseph Dickey, Daniel Faust and Alex Smith.

All ages are welcome to this free event, part of the city’s official 17 Days festival.

‘The Truth Behind Race and Intelligence’

Join Multicultural Affairs in a discussion of race, intelligence and intercultural relations in today’s society. The discussion features Professor Michael D. Cauthen (African American Studies Program). It will be Tuesday, Sept. 20, 4-5:30 p.m., Multicultural Resource Center, EUC Room 062.

Film: “Erased James Franco”

The Weatherspoon presents a film screening that is part of the city’s official 17 Days festival event.

The screening of “Erased James Franc” will be Thursday, Sept 22, 6:30 p.m.

Artist and filmmaker Carter’s 2008 film “Erased James Franco” features actor James Franco’s reenactment of his past film roles and those of others including Julianne Moore and Rock Hudson. Denied the charged interplay with other actors, Franco adopts a strangely flat affect, imbuing the film with a quality that Carter describes as “like bloodletting or a kind of cleansing … a building up and tearing down, simultaneously.”

This program is free and open to the public. Seating is limited. Doors open 30 minutes prior.

Xandra Eden, curator of exhibitions, will give a post-screening talk on Carter’s films and multi-media works in conjunction with the exhibition “Persona: A Body in Parts.”

Fall Career Day for Students Sept. 28

Representatives from more than 70 business, industry, government, health, communications and non-profit organizations and graduate and professional schools will meet with students and alumni in Cone Ballroom of EUC, on Wednesday, Sept. 28, from 12:30–4 p.m..

The Fall 2011 fair, sponsored by Career Services, will include numerous graduate schools from the Southeast as well as employers representing local, regional and national companies and agencies. Employers will be available to talk with students in all majors about possible careers and internships. Students should bring plenty of resumes and dress professionally. The participation of faculty is highly encouraged. Your involvement can greatly assist in developing solid relationships between employers and the university and lend support to our students. You’re invited to encourage your students to take advantage of this excellent opportunity.

For more information, contact Donna Seckar at 334-5454 or email djseckar@uncg.edu. A listing of participating universities, companies and agencies can be found at www.uncg.edu/csc.

Making connections with Spartan parents, families

Parents and family members play a vital role in the academic and social success of UNCG students. To facilitate effective partnerships with parents and family members, The Office of New Student & Spartan Family Programs distributes Family Connections, a monthly e-newsletter, to Spartan family members who have joined the UNCG Parent Family Association (PFA). Family Connections provides a valuable opportunity for more than 4,000 PFA members to learn about the programs and resources that are available to families and their students within the university community. The newsletter is sent via email through the PFA listserv during the first week of each month to inform parents and family members of upcoming events, resources and deadlines. Additionally, the newsletter includes a spotlight series that showcases the contributions of students and faculty members from the UNCG community. If your office or department will be hosting an event, providing services, or would like to submit a spotlight article for inclusion in Family Connections, please contact Erin Knaul at eeknaul@uncg.edu for details and article submission guidelines. All articles are due five business days prior to the end of the month in order to be included in the following month’s issue.

If you would like to receive Family Connections, please email Erin Knaul at eeknaul@uncg.edu and ask to subscribe to the newsletter. You are also invited to become a fan of our UNCG Spartan Family Programs Facebook page; simply log onto Facebook and search for “UNCG Spartan Family Programs” to “Like” us and become an official fan.

NOOK discount at bookstore

The UNCG Bookstore is now selling the NOOK Color and the NOOK Simple Touch. Faculty and staff will be able to receive their university discount of 20 percent on these items, the bookstore has announced.


See/Hear: September 21, 2011


See QR codes near the McIver Building? University Libraries created a video of the McIver buildings’ histories. Visitors to the present building can utilize the QR code with their smartphone to get an instant history lesson. Check out the video.

Dr. Seung-Hyun Lee

Dr. Seung-Hyun Lee (Media Studies) has a book chapter: “Convergence of Mobile TV with Everyday Life and Culture” in the “Global Media Convergence and Cultural Transformation: Emerging Social Patterns and Characteristics.” Mobile communication technology has become one of the most popular technologies, closely associated with many users’ everyday life, she explains. Mobile communication technology has evolved from a simple communication tool to mobile multimedia. This chapter focuses on ‘mobile TV,’ the convergence of digital broadcasting and telecommunications. She explores the diffusion, adoption and use of mobile Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (TV-DMB) in its early stages and examines the use of mobile TV-DMB in a wide range of everyday practices.

Michael Parker

Michael Parker (English) will receive the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association’s 2011 R. Hunt Parker Memorial Award. The award is given annually to an individual who has made “significant contributions to the literature of North Carolina.” It will be presented Nov. 18 in Raleigh, where he will deliver a keynote address. Parker joined the UNCG faculty in 1992. His most recent novel, the focus of a UNCG Magazine feature story, is “The Watery Part of the World.”

Dr. Nicholas Oberlies

With a $100,000 grant from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, Dr. Nicholas Oberlies and Hillsborough-based biotech company Mycosynthetix will seek a new drug to combat parasites, specifically the worms known as helminths. Global sales of anthelmintics account for more than $5 billion a year. Oberlies, who specializes in isolating bioactive compounds from natural sources, and his lab will explore the Mycosynthetix library of more than 55,000 fungi in search of compounds with antiparasitic potential. “Very few people have looked at using natural products to address the problem of helminths,” said Oberlies (Chemistry & Biochemistry). “Our aim is to find compounds that will kill these worms without harming the host.” Mycosynthetix is led by Dr. Cedric Pearce, an adjunct professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry and a Coleman Foundation Entrepreneurship Fellow at UNCG. Mycosynthetix owns one of the largest collections of fungi in the world and for the past 10 years has been engaged in the discovery of novel medicines and agrochemicals from these organisms. More at UNCG News.

Dr. Spoma Jovanovic

Dr. Spoma Jovanovic’s collaborative “Reclaiming Democracy” course (team-taught by professors from Bennett College, Greensboro College, UNCG, NC A&T University, Guilford College and Elon University), was written up in a recent issue of Yes! Weekly. The collaboration, now in its third year, brings students and professors from various disciplines, traditions, and institutions to engage in dialogue regarding vital issues of common concern in our democratic society.

Free yoga, Zumba and more

HealthyUNCG is co-sponsoring ActiveU with Campus Rec to provide free classes just for UNCG employees. Employees can earn 10 points per class for a total of 150 points, in the Spartan Points program.

The first class of the year – Zumba – will be Sept. 16. The next two classes will be Simple Strength and Yoga. Classes will in the SRC fitness studio.

Dates and full details for Fall 2011 ActiveU sessions can be found on the HealthyUNCG calendar. They will be offered each Friday, 12:30-1:30 p.m.

They are hosted by HealthyUNCG and Campus Rec.

The ActiveU classes are free and open to all employees, says Dr. Michelle L. Cathorall (PHE), director of HealthyUNCG. As they say, bring your UNCG ID – and a fellow employee or two. Lloyd Douglas (Sponsored Programs), who participated in several classes last semester, noted that it was very well attended, particularly by staff.

You do not have to be a Rec Center member or join the Rec Center to participate. ActiveU is designed to give employees an opportunity to try out different types of physical activity and so the Rec Center and HealthyUNCG wanted to make sure it was available to everyone.

Lea Leininger (Jackson Library) took part in several classes last spring. Not only was it free and convenient, she told CW, “it wasn’t intimidating at all. There were staff and faculty and everyone was at a different level of fitness.”

She added, “For a busy mom working full time, this program was great. It became a regular reminder to get up, unplug, take a break and do something healthy for myself.”

Lane DeHaven Grubar (CFNC Pathways Partnership) explained, “It is a great way to recharge in the middle of the day.”

Marilyn Hanichak (Access Services, Jackson) took all the sessions last spring, she told CW. “I was not fond of boot camp or the other high impact classes, but the instructors always showed how to do exercizes using low impact moves. I really enjoyed yoga, tai chi, and learning to work with the exercize balls – the last two were new to me. I also liked Zumba, just because I enjoy music and dancing.”

She liked being introduced to new exercise techniques, and she liked the variety. But, “One of the greatest things about it was meeting people from across campus.

“I would encourage anyone who asked to get involved,” she said. “I definitely had fun.”

By Mike Harris

From Docabilly to Deep River blues

Doc Watson, the legendary North Carolina folk musician whose skilled fingers can coax a flattop guitar to sing like a mountain fiddle, will perform in concert with fellow Grammy Award winner David Holt Saturday, Sept. 17, at Aycock Auditorium.

The 8 p.m. performance is the first of the 2011-12 Performing Arts Series sponsored by the School of Music, Theatre and Dance. Tickets to the performance are $25-35 and may be purchased online at boxoffice.uncg.edu, by calling 4-4849 or at campus box office locations.

Watson has earned eight Grammy Awards and has been awarded the National Medal of Arts and the National Heritage Fellowship.

Full report at UNCG News.

Photograph by Jim Gavenus

Find your way to Founders Day

Enjoy a cake decorating contest – and the cake – on Monday, Sept. 19, 2011, at the Alumni House.

  • Poetry reading (in Virginia Dare Room), Dannye Romine Powell (winner of the 2011 Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition), presented by N.C. Writers Network, 11 a.m.
  • Student Cake Decorating Contest and Founders Day Party, Noon
  • Founders Day Cake Cutting, Student Cake Contest Winners Announcement, 1 p.m.
  • Campus tours, 1:45 p.m.

Founders Day 2011 marks the start of Homecoming week.

Visit the Founders Day web page to see video highlights of last year’s event, as well as more details.

Photo by David Wilson

Slide in SAT scores is stopped

Provost David H. Perrin presented preliminary Fall 2011 enrollment figures at the Sept. 7 Faculty Senate meeting.

It appears the plan to enhance the academic quality of entering freshmen classes, as measured in SAT scores, is working.

UNCG has stopped the slide in its freshman average SAT scores, he said. UNCG anticipates a slight increase, from 1,030 to 1,032.

The freshmen students’ average high school GPA has also increased, slightly, from 3.59 to 3.60.

“I am especially proud to share with you that these positive results were achieved without sacrificing the ethnic diversity for which UNCG is well known,” he said. Within the freshman class, nearly 41 percent of the students are members of an ethnic minority group. This compares to 38.5 percent last year, he said. Black or African-American students continue to make up approximately 25 percent of the freshman class.

As for the number of freshmen, UNCG dropped nearly three percent, from 2,512 to 2,442. The university had set a reduced freshmen enrollment goal of 2,405, due to the anticipated enrollment impacts of UNCG’s drive to increase the academic preparedness of the freshmen students. Therefore, despite the slight drop, he noted, UNCG actually exceeded its freshmen enrollment goal.

Other preliminary figures he shared:
14,740 total undergraduates
3,685 total graduate students
1,148 distance learners
2,442 new freshmen

Of those new freshmen:
67.1 percent female, 32.9 percent male
33.9 percent ethnic minority (using new method of calculating the figure; see below)
24.9 percent African American
7 percent Hispanic/Latino

New federal regulations have separated Hispanic/Latino students as an ethnic identity independent of other racial identities, he explained. “In total, the way they used to calculate that, that puts us at over 40 percent of our students in our incoming freshman class,” he said in reference to the preliminary figures, “which is fantastic.” That includes students identifying themselves as belonging to a racial minority group or Hispanic/Latino.

The total number of students, according to the preliminary figures, is 18,425.

By Mike Harris


Gardening Work Days on McIver

A walk past the UNCG Garden on McIver Street reveals a bounty of vegetables, herbs and flowers. A lot of weeding has been happening this summer. Two Fall 2011 work days are approaching.

CW asked Dr. Susan Andreatta (Anthropology), a co-chair of the UNCG Gardens steering committee, for an update on the garden. She tells us:

This fall we have a number of people renewing their use of their raised beds, which is exciting for sustainability! We are also joined by a few new participants. A UNCG alumna, Laura Tew, who is also master gardener, is guiding the UNCG Guarantee students. They have two raised beds where they have learned how to prepare the soil, start seeds and plant transplants. Students from the Lloyd International Honors College have raised beds as do students from the Office of Leadership and Service-Learning, and the UNCG Student Garden Club.

We will be having two work days. Faculty can invite their students to complete their service learning hours or community service hours at the UNCGreensboro Gardens on Saturday, Sept. 24, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Oct. 1 from 10 a.m. to noon. Some of the projects we plan to work on during these two work days include: building 10 more raised beds and some flower boxes, filling the raised beds and flower boxes with compost and dirt, laying down woodchips between the new beds and freshening up the wood chips between the beds already established. People planning to help on the community work days should remember to bring garden gloves and dress appropriately for the work and weather. If you have garden tools (wheelbarrows, shovels, heavy duty rakes, power drills, etc.) we could use for the day, it would help out too.

Campus groups or classes interested in potentially taking a plot for Spring 2012 should email s_andrea@uncg.edu

Sitkovetsky@UNCG music events

The music director of the Greensboro Symphony orchestra, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, will lead a series of events at UNCG this academic year.

Sitkovetsky has had a remarkable career.

As a violinist, he has worked with the Berlin Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus, London Symphony, Philharmonia, NHK Symphony Orchestra, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, New York Philharmonic and Cleveland orchestras.

Since 2003, he has been the music director of the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra. Previously, he was the principal conductor and artistic advisor of the Ulster Orchestra.

The events:

Sept. 21:
He rehearses the UNCG Symphony Orchestra 2-3:30 p.m.

Nov. 5:
String Master Class (TBA)

Nov. 11:
Conductor’s Workshop 3-5 p.m.

Jan. 20:
Composer’s Workshop 12-2 p.m.

Feb. 22:
Orchestral Audition Workshop 3:30-5 p.m.

All events are open to the public.

UNCG acknowledges its appreciation to the Greensboro Symphony for making this collaboration possible. Please click here to visit the Greensboro Symphony Home Page.

The constructed nostalgia for the Old South

Karen Cox, associate professor of history at UNC Charlotte, will speak about her recent book, “Dreaming of Dixie,” at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, in the School of Education Building, Room 222. She makes the case that the chief purveyors of constructed nostalgia for the Old South were outsiders of the region – and examines how Southerners themselves embraced the imaginary romance of the region’s past. Cox is an alumna of UNCG, where she received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Full story at UNCG News.

Online Series Supports Faculty Writing Technical Reports

Using the Open Journal Systems (OJS) software that the Libraries acquired last year to support faculty publication of electronic journals, the Libraries recently began publishing UNCG Technical Reports, which is now available from the Libraries OJS Web site: Visit http://libjournal.uncg.edu/ojs/ or http://libjournal.uncg.edu/ojs/index.php/UNCGTechRpt/index.

In general, technical reports are documents produced by faculty that describe the process, progress, or results of technical or scientific research or the state of a technical or scientific research problem, says Stephen Dew (Jackson Library). Unlike other scientific literature, such as journals and conference proceedings, technical reports rarely undergo comprehensive independent peer review before publication. Reports are frequently posted on the web to fulfill requirements for funding agencies, research projects, or for other purposes. Prior the publication of UNCG Technical Reports, campus faculty were limited to posting technical reports on their personal web pages or archiving the reports as individual documents in NC DOCKS. UNCG Technical Reports now gives faculty the convenient option of permanently archiving their technical reports in one open-access venue with one URL, instead of having to deal with multiple links for their various reports and the problem of providing permanent and perpetual access.

Faculty members interested in publishing their technical reports in UNCG Technical Reports should contact Stephen Dew, Collections & Scholarly Resources coordinator, shdew@uncg.edu

Recruiting volunteers for emergencies, disasters

UNCG is implementing a program for current employees who wish to help during emergencies and disasters impacting campus and who not have a current role during these events. The “Spartans Act” volunteers will play an important role in the university’s response to significant emergencies, says Jason Marshburn, director of Emergency Management, who hopes to recruit at least 100 volunteers.

The goal of the Spartans Act program is to recruit and train volunteers ahead of an incident. Volunteers may be trained as a general volunteer or for a specific role, such as an emergency call center operator, he says. “We would keep them regularly engaged and activate them as necessary. By having a large group of pre-trained volunteers that are university employees, emergency response efforts and times will be improved and it will also greatly improve the safety of those responding to the incident. Further, having pre-trained volunteers will allow critical resources to be better utilized.”

He adds, “I envision this program being a significant part of the university’s response network.”

Interesting in learning more or in volunteering? An online interest form as well as more details are at http://emg.uncg.edu/AboutUs/SpartansAct.htm.

Paul Silvia takes the pain out of public speaking

If you’ve been to enough conference talks and poster presentations, you’ve seen it all. Speakers running an hour over their time. They can’t access their PowerPoint. Or they’re simply ill-at-ease – and they’re making their entire audience wish they were somewhere else, even though the subject matter may be fascinating.

Dr. Paul Silvia (Psychology) recounts a number of these hard-to-forget moments in his most recent book – some of which happened when he was the speaker. He calls each of them “Paul’s Woeful Tale of Woe,” adding humorous, real-life examples of what to avoid when you’re the speaker.

They’re part of “Public Speaking for Psychologists,” which Silvia co-wrote with Dr. David Feldman (Santa Clara). They wrlyly subtitled it “A lighthearted guide to research presentations, job talks, and other opportunities to embarass yourself.” It was written for the American Psychological Association Press, but the advice is applicable for many fields involving speaking in front of groups.

Among the tips they pass along:

  • It may be natural to have fear, but keep in mind that the audience is on your side.
  • Don’t talk too long. “To keep the session on track, vigilant moderators will shut you down, and you will look foolish.”
  • Don’t avoid questions at the end of your talk. Just be yourself.
  • If few people show up, no problem. Just give the talk to those who did.
  • For general audiences, avoid jargon. For them, stories and meaningful anecdotes are more attention-grabbing than stats.

With public speaking, what many fear are the unexpected events:

  • What if your PowerPoint projector inexplicably shuts down? Perhaps a graceful quip – “Wow, even the projector is bored by my talk” – and keep going.
  • What should you do if you’re pregnant and your water breaks, mid-presentation? Simply announce you’re going into labor, you’re leaving – and to please not steal your laser pointer.

Yes, the advice can be sometimes lighthearted. But if you have fear of public speaking, it’s a knowing humor. Calamities don’t happen usually – but if something unexpected happens, make a little joke and get on with it, is their advice. The audience is there because they want to be there and hear what you’re saying. They are on your side.

And with experience, you can anticipate what may go wrong and prepare. For example, having some handouts, even 4-6 slides to a page, can come in handy if your presentation will not load. To ensure it will, have it on PowerPoint for PC’s, not some lesser-used software, and perhaps email the presentation to yourself so you can access it in case your flashdrive fails.

And get there a little early – so you can make sure everything works and be prepared if it doesn’t.

“We try to take a light-hearted and realistic approach to learning public speaking,” Silvia told Campus Weekly. “People are nervous, and that’s okay. They simply need to get out there, do their best and eventually they’ll feel more comfortable speaking in front of a crowd.”

The book is great for graduate students and newer faculty members, because it lays out the norms of job talks, poster presentations and other talks, so the reader can benefit from those who’ve been there before.

Silvia has used this book several times in teaching his public speaking course for undergraduates, he said.

“As professors, we hope to cultivate specific knowledge and expertise, but we also hope to cultivate global skills, especially writing, public speaking and critical thinking,” he added. “UNCG has always been forward-looking in this respect.”

By Mike Harris

Looking ahead: September 14, 2011

Preview and artist talk, Kate Gilmore
Friday, Sept. 16, 6 p.m., Weatherspoon

Volleyball vs. Memphis
Friday, Sept. 16, 7 p.m.

Women’s soccer vs. Georgia
Friday, Sept. 16, 7 p.m.

Faculty convocation
Wednesday, Sept. 21, 3 p.m., Cone Ballroom

Dedication, School of Education building
Thursday, Sept. 22, 4:30 p.m.

Homecoming Saturday
Saturday, Sept. 24, Kaplan Commons and campus

Homecoming is next week

Next week, CW will preview some of the big Homecoming weekend activities. For a look at the entire week’s events, see the Homecoming 2011 web page.

Education building dedication Sept. 22

Thursday, Sept. 22, at 4:30 p.m. our university will dedicate the School of Education building. Everyone is invited. After the program, there will be self-guided tours and refreshments. There are many events surrounding the dedication. Full schedule is at http://www.uncg.edu/soe/dedication.html

WAM examines the human body

The Weatherspoon Art Museum presents the exhibition “Persona: A Body in Parts,” which opens this weekend. The exhibition examines the human body as a plastic surrogate form from which multiple and complex identities can be defined. The exhibition includes new work by Carter (New York), a series of new Soundsuit sculptures by Nick Cave (Chicago), recent large-scale photographs by Nikki S. Lee (Seoul), Barbara Probst (New York/Berlin) and Gillian Wearing (London), as well as a newly commissioned sculpture/performance work by Kate Gilmore (New York). The opening and and artist talk will be Sept. 16, 6 p.m. See the full story at the Weatherspoon web page.

How much electricity are you using?

Energy 101 is an introductory workshop on how the electricity used by UNCG is created, and how it impacts both the university’s bottom line and the environment. This workshop is open to all faculty and staff. You are invited to bring your lunch and join a conversation following the presentation. The Office of Sustainability values the observations and ideas of faculty and staff, and wants your suggestions and feedback.

The workshop is Sept. 21, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Elliot University Center’s Azalea Room. Questions? Email Jessica Trotman at jgtrotma@uncg.edu.

Estate planning and will writing

The Staff Senate Budget Education Committee presents a brown-bag lunch seminar featuring Lee Knight, director of Planned Giving. He will discuss “Estate Planning & Will Writing” Thursday, Sept. 15, from noon to 1 p.m. in the New School of Education Building, Room 401.

Spartan Steps Fall 2011

Registration is open for the Fall 2011 Spartan Steps Challenge. The challenge, sponsored by HRS, will began at the beginning of this week and will last for 100 days. HRS has some fun events and exciting incentives planned for this challenge, they say. To register, visit the following web page and login using your UNCG credentials: http://web.uncg.edu/hrs/Benefits/Wellness/Spartan_Steps/

73 new faculty members

Provost David H. Perrin announced that there are 73 new members of the faculty. Of those, 29 are tenure/tenure track (14 percent of which are an ethnic minority). Of the 44 additional new fulltime faculty members, nine percent are an ethnic minority.

Jefferson Suites dedication Sept. 23

You are invited to attend the dedication of our newest residence hall, Jefferson Suites, Friday, Sept. 23, at 3 p.m.

The location is 1501 Spring Garden Street. Refreshments and tours will follow the dedication. An RSVP is not required.