KU people

Carta named to national Head Start advisory committee

Judith Carta

Judith Carta, professor of special education and senior scientist at the Life Span Institute, was sworn in as a member of the national Advisory Committee on Head Start Research and Evaluation Jan. 25. She was nominated by and will serve U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

The committee will provide feedback on the published final report for the Head Start Impact Study and will advise the secretary how to improve Head Start and other early childhood programs, essentially helping to set the agenda and funding for the programs.

Carta’s major research interests are evidence-based practices to improve the language and social competence of young children, risk factors affecting children’s development, approaches for monitoring progress in young children and parenting interventions to prevent child maltreatment.

Carta is the director of early childhood research at the Juniper Gardens Children's Project at the Children's Campus of Kansas City in downtown Kansas City, Kan. She has directed numerous federally funded research projects including the Kansas City, Kan., follow-up of the national evaluation of Early Head Start.

Algren takes part in international education trade mission

Mark Algren, director of the Applied English Center, recently participated in the largest education services trade mission in U.S. Commerce Department history.

Accompanying Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez, Algren represented KU in the group of 56 U.S. colleges and universities. The April 3-8 mission highlighted education as an export and included a series of education fairs during stops in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, Vietnam, two of the fastest growing markets in Asia. The mission also involved education sector briefings; meetings with local universities, high schools and recruitment agencies; as well as discussions with experts on opportunities, challenges and marketing strategies for each market.

“Governments of all three nations are committed to expanding the exchange of students and promoting faculty and research collaboration. Young people in Asia still see the USA as the premier destination for a college education,” Algren said.

Yap named Foundation for Defense of Democracies fellow

Fiona Yap

The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a nonpartisan policy institute headquartered in Washington, D.C., has announced that Fiona Yap, associate professor of political science, has been named an academic fellow for 2011-12. She will travel to Israel at the beginning of June for an intensive course in terrorism studies, and in particular, how democracies can defeat the worldwide terrorist threat.

The foundation’s academic fellows program provides a 10-day learning experience to U.S.–based teaching and research professionals to provide them with cutting edge information about defeating terrorist groups. The 2011 program, which will be conducted at Tel Aviv University from June 11 to 22, includes lectures by academics and military and intelligence officials, as well as diplomats from Israel, Jordan, India and the United States. It also includes “hands on” experience through visits to police, customs and immigration facilities, military bases and border zones to learn the practical side of deterring and defeating terrorists.

Alexander named to treasurer’s advisory committee

With a focus on investment performance while attempting to reduce invester risk, Kansas State Treasurer Ron Estes today announced an 11 member Learning Quest 529 Treasurer's Advisory Committee. Raquel Meyer Alexander, assistant professor of business, was among the new members selected.

The committee meets at the request of the treasurer and members serve at the pleasure of the treasurer without compensation. The committee will review and make nonbinding recommendations to the Kansas state treasurer on ways to enhance the 529 plan for the benefit of account owners, beneficiaries and the citizens of Kansas.

The Learning Quest 529 Education Savings Program was created to help families invest for their child's continued education after high school whether at a traditional four-year college, community college or technical/vocational school. Kansas taxpayers can receive a Kansas tax deduction up to $3,000 per child ($6,000 if married, filing jointly) on contributions to Learning Quest or any other state-sponsored 529 plan.

Alexander’s research focuses on higher education savings programs and financial literacy. She is a native of Leavenworth.

Dickson named chair of family medicine teachers committee

Gretchen Dickson, assistant professor of family and community medicine, was recently named chair of a Society of Teachers of Family Medicine special committee to direct and implement a new leadership program.

Emerging Leaders is designed to empower the society’s members to create change through leadership. It will nurture the development of competence and confidence so young leaders can improve communities, organizations and academic family medicine.

The program will launch at the society’s annual spring conference April 27-May 1 in New Orleans.

The society was founded in 1967 with the purpose of advancing family medicine to improve health through a community of teachers and scholars and now has a membership of nearly 5,000 family medicine teachers.

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