July 11, 2016 | Christian Science Monitor
Some 385 to 360 million years ago, fish came out of the water and began to colonize the land. But how could an aquatic animal, accustomed to swimming, learn to walk on land? To help answer that question, some scientists have turned to a living fish that can do just that: the mudskipper. And it turns out, those strange fish use their tails to navigate difficult terrain, according to new research published in the journal Science.
Miriam Ashley-Ross, a biologist studying functional morphology at Wake Forest who was not part of this study, says it would be a mistake to read this paper and assume that all early tetrapods moved like a mudskipper.
Other research teams have previously found that limbs began to evolve on fish before the move to land, Ashley-Ross says. So the first land-dwelling vertebrates were likely already well on their way to being tetrapods, she says, and their tails may not have functioned like modern mudskippers’ do.
“What this study does is show that limbs aren’t the whole story for moving on to land – that the tail, which had widely been considered more of a hindrance than anything else for the early tetrapods, might have made it easier for them to move on land,” she says.
July 11, 2016 | The Atlantic
A 2014 study of the Collegiate Learning Assessment test – administered to some 13,000 undergraduates as they entered and exited university – found that business, health, and education majors substantially underperformed students in the humanities, sciences, social sciences, and engineering. The authors then adjusted their results to account for the academic abilities of students entering these majors – and found that business and education majors still showed substantially lower gains in writing, complex reasoning, and critical thinking by the time they’d graduated.
Those are the weaknesses that a liberal-arts education can address. “Liberal arts majors … are the students who have the active minds, who are asking the big questions,” said an assistant dean at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. That, she said, was a mindset that all students require.
“We have become so myopic in solving business problems that we don’t think about those problems from the perspective of other disciplines,” said Charles Iacovou, dean of the School of Business at Wake Forest. And that sort of context offers a critical competitive edge, even if not all undergraduates understand that.
July 11, 2016 | WFU News & Communications
The WFU News Center Media Report for June 25 – July 8 is now available online.
July 1, 2016 | WFU News & Communications
View selected media highlights (March – June 2016) from Wake Forest University’s Office of Communications and External Relations.
June 27, 2016 | The Winston-Salem Journal
Now that students are out of their dorm rooms for the summer, Wake Forest University has kicked into high gear as it continues a 10-year, $625 million construction plan on campus.
University officials said that the aim of the construction is to offer the best residential college experience in the country. “Wake Forest is determined to deliver the premier face-to-face liberal arts residential community, and our strategic vision includes investing in spaces that enhance all aspects of our students’ well-being,” said Nathan Hatch, the university’s president.
Since July 1, 2015, the university has invested $55 million in construction and renovation projects. They include the opening of the Sutton Center, an extension of Reynolds Gymnasium; McCreary Field House, an indoor practice center for student-athletes; a building adjacent to Worrell Professional Center for the health and exercise science department; and renovations in the law school, including a central commons.
WFU also started an overhaul of the 1950s Reynolds Gym, broke ground for a new residence hall on the south campus and is doing extensive renovations on several of the original residence halls on Hearn Plaza. Overall, the university has completed more than $325 million in construction projects over the past five years and has plans for $300 million more over the next five.
June 27, 2016 | New York Magazine
There’s a reason bullying bosses are such a potent cultural trope: Bosses who are domineering jerks are real, they’re everywhere, and they make a lot of people’s lives miserable.
Bully-bosses, writes Wake Forest School of Business professor Sherry Moss in Harvard Business Review, have been linked not only to individual “psychological distress, job dissatisfaction, and emotional exhaustion,” but also to drags on the larger organization as a whole. Bully-bosses, Moss writes, may lead to “counter-productive behaviors, from the organizational to the interpersonal…Not surprisingly, bullying also increases turnover.”
June 27, 2016 | The Washington Post
I couldn’t help but wonder if somehow, perhaps unconsciously, the father I loved and admired had somehow set me up for a life of questionable romantic attractions. There’s quite a bit of research that indicates that may be true. In fact, there’s been an increase in studies in recent years on how fathers impact their children in general – from language development to depression.
It’s just as bad if fathers are physically present but emotionally absent. “The daughter who has a fulfilling relationship with her father is usually more trusting, more secure and more satisfied in her romantic relationships than the daughter with troubled or distant relationship with her dad,” regardless of whether her parents are married or divorced, according to Linda Nielsen, a professor of education and adolescent psychology at Wake Forest and an expert in father-daughter relationships.
Detroit Free Press also covered this story.
June 27, 2016 | The Boston Globe
Children might bring joy, pride, and a considerable tax break – but they don’t necessarily bring happiness.
So says a soon-to-be-published study, which found that parents in a majority of the 22 industrialized countries claimed to be less happy than their non-parent counterparts. The largest discrepancy, however, was in the US, where parents reported being 12 percent less happy than those without children.
The report – which was co-authored by Robin Simon, a sociology professor at Wake Forest University – is slated to appear in the September issue of the American Journal of Sociology.
June 27, 2016 | WFU News & Communications
The WFU News Center Media Report for June 11-24 is now available online.
June 13, 2016 | Nature
Long-running concerns about the environmental effects of gold-mining in the Peruvian Amazon came to a head recently. Peru’s government declared a 60-day public-health emergency on 23 May in an attempt to address the problem of mercury pollution caused by unregulated gold-mining along the Madre de Dios River.
Since 2009, studies by tropical ecologist Luis Fernandez at the Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University, have found high mercury levels in some species of fish, particularly large catfish and in fish that eat other fish.
Because of the growing concerns about mercury exposure, Fernandez is leading a project at Wake Forest University to study the metal’s effects on human and environmental health in the Amazon. As director of the Center for Amazonian Scientific Innovation at Wake Forest, Fernandez will lead a team of U.S. researchers – including Wake’s Center for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability Director Miles Silman, who will serve as the associate director for science and Michelle Klosterman, director of academic development and assessment in the Office of Global Affairs – who are collaborating with colleagues at the Peruvian Amazon Research Institute and the National Amazonian University of Madre de Dios.
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