Purdue University

Roderick Hart, dean of the Moody College of Communication, announced Monday that he will resign from his post in May 2015. Hart has served as dean for 10 years and will return to teach at the university after a year of writing and researching.

Photo Credit: Amy Zhang | Daily Texan Staff

After a decade of administrative service, Roderick Hart, Moody College of Communication dean, announced that he will resign from his post in May 2015, in an email sent to faculty Monday.

Hart said after he completes his tenure as dean, he would most likely spend a year researching and writing before returning to teach at the University.

“I think it’s time for me personally,” Hart said. “I have not been able to teach as much [as dean], and I love teaching.”

Stephen Reese, associate dean of academic affairs at Moody, said serving 10 years in an administrative position is a lot for any dean.

“We’re thankful to have gotten him for more than one [year],” Reese said. “It’s a lot of pressure. It’s a lot of difficult decisions to make. He’s probably been our most successful dean to date.”

Hart has worked at the University since 1979, after serving as a professor at Purdue University for nine years.

During Hart’s tenure as dean, The Moody Foundation donated $50 million to the college in 2013, placing its name on the college. In Hart’s email that announced his resignation, he listed the opening of the Belo Center for New Media in 2012 and the college launching UT3D, the nation’s first comprehensive 3-D production program, as other highlights during his deanship.

After Texas Student Media moved from the Division of Student Affairs to the communication college in the spring, Hart worked to keep The Daily Texan on its five-day-a-week print schedule by requesting transitional funding from President William Powers Jr. to prevent TSM bankruptcy.

Hart said when he took the position of dean of the College of Communication in 2005, the college was lacking in discretionary income to create new programs and construct a new building to provide enough space for the large amount of communication students.

“I set my mind on trying to raise money for a new building, which we were able to do, and to refurbish the Jesse Jones Complex,” Hart said. “It’s just really satisfying that we were able to get all that work done.”

In a joint statement, Powers and Gregory Fenves, executive vice president and provost, said Hart will go down in the college’s history as a pivotal leader and as a favorite with students, faculty, staff and alumni.

“[Hart] has been not only a steady hand in a time of rapidly changing media environments and economic challenge but an active leader who has transformed the college for the better,” Powers and Fenves said.

Hart said he plans to spend his last year as dean teaching a communication and government course, “Voices of Citizenship,” in the fall and continuing to raise money for new programs, such as the Texas Program in Sports and Media and the new Center for Health Communication.

“They’ve gotten started, but they still need more help in raising the sails,” Hart said.

Hart also said he intends to take up men’s basketball head coach Rick Barnes on an offer made 10 years ago, when Barnes personally invited Hart to play point guard in a Longhorns basketball game. Barnes issued the invitation after Hart announced that the only thing that would make him happier than being dean was playing for the University’s basketball team.

“In spite of your lack of speed and agility, we believe you still possess qualities that may be an asset to us,” Barnes wrote to Hart in 2005. “Our players have a lot of pride in what they do, and we are confident that your presence on the team will increase that spirit and energy.”

In an interview with the Texan, Fenves said the University will start looking for the Moody college’s new dean in the next month. According to Fenves, the University will establish a search committee of faculty, staff, alumni, students and members of the UT community to conduct the search.

“It’s an exciting time in communications and [for] so many successful programs,” Fenves said. “I know we’ll be able to identify a great leader for the school.”

This story has been updated since its original publication.

With the help of colleagues, one UT professor is attempting to alleviate waiting room times when patients do not show up for their appointments.

Kumar Muthuraman, associate information, risk and operations management professor, along with two professors from Purdue University produced an algorithm that computes variables such as the probability a patient may not show up to an appointment based on past history, as well as weather conditions and day of the week, according to Muthuraman. Those variables will allow schedulers to suggest to patients the best available appointment times.

“The algorithm minimizes the chances of extremely large waiting times, nobody waiting in the waiting room and it minimizes the chances of physician’s status of the feeling,” Muthuraman said. “So it tries to be intelligent about the utilization with all the knowledge to rescue the total amount of time people wait and the total amount of time that physicians have no patients in the waiting room.”

Muthuraman said this specific algorithm typically applies to clinics with one physician. He said with the Dell Medical School being built, his team is working on scheduling mechanisms that would work in complex networks such as larger clinics and even hospitals.

Assistant nursing professor Terry Jones said scheduling is challenging because schedulers must predict how long certain visits will take and schedule visits at times convenient for the patients. Jones said most clinics have some idea of what their no-show rate is, and when clinics overbook their schedules, it is in response to no-show rates.

“If I know that I have 100 spots open in my practice or clinic, and I know that on average 20 percent of the patients don’t show up, then I’m probably going to overbook by 20 percent counting on the fact that some people are not going to show up or cancelation, and that my schedule is still going to be OK,” Jones said. “If, on the other hand, nobody canceled that day, then you really are overbooked, and so patient dwell times then are going to get larger because we are backed up.”

Mark Lawley, biomedical engineering professor at Purdue University, said his main role was to work in the field to understand and clearly define the problems health care workers expressed with scheduling.

“We wanted to develop methods to create optimal outpatient schedules that balance patient access and patient satisfaction with clinic revenue and clinic costs such as overtime and patient waiting,” Lawley said. “Our models do a very good job of balancing these things and increasing the number of patients you can see.”

Jones said she believes more health care-efficient innovations will continue in the future, but one aspect will remain the same. 

“At the end of the day, we deal with humans, and you can never, with 100 percent [accuracy], predict what some people are going to do,” Jones said.

Cheryl Cooky, sociology and women's studies associate professor at Purdue University, speaks about the underrepresentation of women in sports media coverage at the Moody College of Communication on Thursday afternoon.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Garza | Daily Texan Staff

The underrepresentation of women in sports media coverage was the subject of a talk by Cheryl Cooky, sociology and women’s studies associate professor at Purdue University, at the Jesse H. Jones Communication Center on Thursday.

The talk, “Framing Silence: The Mainstream News Media Coverage of Sports,” was sponsored by the Moody College of Communication’s Texas Program in Sports and Media and is part of a series offered by the radio-television-film department. The series focuses on issues in sports covering topics including violence, performance-enhancing drugs and race.

Cooky said the absence of women’s sports in news media coverage speaks volumes about the current culture. 

“Silences are not simply the outcome of oppressive power relations,” Cooky said. “Sports can still serve as a site for oppression while also a site for empowerment.”

As part of a longitudinal study of men’s and women’s sports coverage in news media, Cooky and her colleagues have been collecting and releasing data on the issue every five years since 1989. The study has found that 100 percent of the lead stories concerned men’s sports. 

Cooky said since Title IX, which prevents discrimination based on sex and gender, was passed in 1972, more women are playing sports, but coverage of women’s sports has decreased.

“The increased participation of girls and women in sports has not been reflected in the news media coverage,” Cooky said. “Coverage of women’s sports is lower now than it was in 1989 when we started the study.”

Sociology associate professor Ben Carrington said he was upset when he learned about the small percentage of coverage for women’s sports.

“To say that this is getting better is not right — in fact, it’s getting worse,” Carrington said. “We’re slicing it at 1.8 percent right now, and that’s just unacceptable.”

Cooky said that although the objectification of women in sports has decreased since the late 1990s, she still hopes to see less “packaging” of women for men’s sports.

“What puts me to sleep at night is the thought that in getting this work out there and to the people who can bring it to the masses, we could impact a sense of consciousness and bring about some change,” Cooky said.

The college admissions process often causes high school students to think of leadership positions as currency. Consequently, it is easy for students to think of leadership as a title or a means to an end. This mind-set, when it persists at the University level, devalues a rich learning opportunity and contributes to the false impression that leadership in student organizations is a necessary check mark to secure employment or a slot in graduate school. Furthermore, as mentioned in a recent article in The Atlantic by Tara Isabella Burton, American colleges place an overemphasis on leadership, and there are other valuable interpersonal qualities we should regard with similar esteem. 

Ultimately, student leadership is a lot less important in the hiring process than it is for applying to college. A 2008 collegegrad.com survey of 500 entry-level employers listed factors employers consider most important when hiring new graduates. It revealed that employers barely take into account student leadership, which was not even directly included in the list. It fits best under the category of “other miscellaneous qualifications,” which ranked at 5 percent in importance, preceded by major (44 percent), interviewing skills (18 percent), internship/experience (17 percent) and college the student graduated from (10 percent). By a slight margin, it ranks higher than GPA (4 percent), personal appearance (1 percent) and computer skills (1 percent).

For graduate school, where GPA is a much more significant factor, it is important to know one’s ideal balance between leadership and academics. In a study on the relationship between undergraduate student activity and academic performance, researchers at Purdue University found that, although, on average, student leaders above the 3.0 level tended to have higher GPAs than organization members and non-participating students, involvement in more than five organizations caused average GPAs to decline. 

True, organizational involvement can help reveal a bit of one’s personality on a resume. But there is much more to leadership than the impression it leaves on employers, so we should stop allowing ourselves to define it so narrowly. The value of leadership lies in how it can help in one’s personal development. This view, of leadership as a learning opportunity, is what we should emphasize instead—especially as an institute of education. Through leadership positions, students can learn and practice things that aren’t necessarily taught in the classroom. Among other things, it can foster initiative, responsibility, adaptability and interpersonal skills. These are the traits that we should be developing as college students and, simply put, as people. 

In redefining leadership, we shouldn’t allow the term to lose its meaning because we prescribe it as valuable in all contexts. As mentioned earlier, The Atlantic’s Burton makes a case for other valuable interpersonal qualities, such as teamwork, which are often overshadowed with the American obsession with leadership. She also warns against the reduction of leadership to a requirement. Leadership redefined should forge new pathways, and should be one among many interpersonal styles that is lauded by the University. 

Our concern with leadership should not be about a means to an end, a rat race or as the power-hungry ascent up a beaten path. Leadership is a process. It is an opportunity to grow and a chance to pave new roads — and it is okay if it is not for everyone. 

Almeda is a marketing senior from Seattle

 The Cockrell School of Engineering appointed a woman to chair the mechanical engineering department for the first time.

Jayathi Murthy will come to UT in January, leaving her post as director of Purdue University’s Center for Prediction of Reliability, Integrity and Survivability of Microsystems.

“I hope to bring expertise in interdisciplinary research,” Murthy said. “I also have a background in small business, so I hope to bring expertise in the commercialization of advanced research.”

Murthy said she has been looking for an opportunity to test her ideas with interdisciplinary research and cyber learning.

“I think it makes students far more competitive in the workplace because the kinds of work that people are required to do is interdisciplinary and so we have to learn the languages of all these other disciplines,” Murthy said.

Gregory Fenves, dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering, said the committee appointed Murthy because she was “by far the best candidate for the position.”

“She had a vision for the future of mechanical engineering and we think where we need to be going very much aligned with what her vision was,” Fenves said.