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Stories this week at Wake Forest University

December 10, 2008

FORUM EXPLAINS INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE PROGRAM – The directors of admission at Duke University, Wake Forest University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Davidson College will speak about the benefits of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program during a community forum jointly sponsored by Wake Forest and the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.  The forum will be held at 7 p.m. Dec. 15 in Carswell Hall’s Annenberg Forum on Wake Forest’s campus and will be moderated by Denise Franklin, general manager of radio station WFDD.  The event will provide information to Winston-Salem/Forsyth County families and students about the program’s curriculum and its value in helping students prepare for college.  IB programs are recognized worldwide for their high quality and international standards.  “Because the International Baccalaureate program is a newcomerto Forsyth County, we are pleased to host a forum highlighting this premier curriculum,” said Martha Allman, director of admissions at Wake Forest. “College admissions officers have come to regard the IB programas a gold standard of academic excellence.  We are delighted that this opportunity enjoyed by outstanding students throughout the United States and abroad is now available for local students and we are eager to raise public awareness of IB.”  After the presentation by admissions directors, IB students from the local school system will talk about their experiences in the program and parents, administrators and teachers from Winston-Salem’s three schools with IB programs will be available to answer questions.  For more information, contact Parkland High School at 771-4700 or the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools at 727-2519.

Contact: Cheryl Walker, or 336-758-5237.

ACCOUNTING CLASS REVISITS 1998 HEDGE FUND COLLAPSE – When the financial crisis broke in September, Terry Baker, associate professor of accounting at Wake Forest, quickly altered his syllabus and asked graduate students in his class, “Accounting for Derivatives,” to compare and contrast current events with the 1998 collapse of the hedge fund, Long-Term Capital Management (LTCM).  Like banks caught up in the current crisis, LTCM made extensive use of quantitative risk models, credit default swaps and highly leveraged investments in derivatives.  As they prepare to embark on careers in finance and accounting, the students gained valuable insight into the lessons learned, and especially those not learned or since forgotten.  “Professional skepticism is now solidified as one of the things at the forefront of my mind when interacting with client personnel,” wrote Daniel Lovrich, a fifth-year Master of Science in Accountancygraduate from Johnstown, Penn. Renee Roedersheimer, a Cincinnati, Ohio, MSA candidate, gained a stronger appreciation for the interconnectedness of the financial world.  “One event truly does have a ripple effect on the rest of the economy, especially in the financial services sector,” she wrote.  Baker, who joined the Wake Forest faculty in 1998, notes that none of his students, who were only 10to 12 years old a decade ago, had heard of LTCM before the class.  “The fact that many of us have forgotten about Long-Term Capital Management says something about the current crisis, in my view,” Baker says. “While the current financial crisis is disconcerting for students preparing to start their careers, the historical lessons it has prompted them to learn may prove invaluable in the long run.”  Baker and his students are available to discuss the insights that emerged from their study of LTCM.

Contact: Eric Frazier, or (336) 758-5237.


OBAMA’S ECONOMIC PLANS RESEMBLE THOSE OF U.K.’S BLAIR David Coates, Worrell Professor of Anglo-American Studies, says as President-elect Barack Obama prepares his economic plan prior to inauguration, it is useful to compare the similarities of his proposals to those of Prime Minister Tony Blair entering office in London in 1997. “Superficially, the contexts faced by the two incoming governments are and were different – Obama faces a global meltdown, a looming internal recession, a broken banking system and a housing crisis as Tony Blair did not,” Coates says. “But beneath the surface both face – or faced – similar entrenched problems:  a loss of international competitiveness and a shrinking manufacturing sector; a fragile currency and a large trade deficit; a skills shortfall and an over-stretched school system; unprecedented levels of personal debt and entrenched income inequality; a crisis in health care provision and persistent unemployment; and an excessive overseas military burden accumulated through years of world leadership.” Coates is available to discuss the remarkably similar responses both leaders have developed to these longer-term issues, how those responses actually worked out in the U.K. and what lessons the Obama team can learn from Blair’s experience.

Contact: Audrey Fannin, or (336) 758-5237.


LESSONS FROM THE LIBBY TRIAL AND U.S. ATTORNEY FIRINGS Katy Harriger, professor and chair of the political science department and expert on the position of federal special prosecutor, is available to discuss the politicization of the post and presidential influence on the independent investigation process. “The Libby case and the U.S. attorney firings demonstrate the ongoing, and probably inevitable, tensions between the political role of the Attorney General as adviser to the President and the legal role as chief law enforcement officer,” says Harriger. “Few would disagree that Alberto Gonzales crossed the line, creating a highly politicized department and consequently undermining public and congressional confidence in the department. And Gonzales is not the only Attorney General to have crossed that line. The challenge for the Senate in confirming Attorney General appointments, and for the Congress as a whole in overseeing the department, is to recognize when nominees have such a strong personal political loyalty to the President that they may be unable to fulfill their role as impartial enforcer of the law.” Harriger is available to discuss her findings and the recent appointment of a special prosecutor to continue the investigation into the U.S. Attorney firings. She is also available to discuss the nomination of Eric Holder for Attorney General, who she says poses an interesting and not entirely clear case for the Senate. “Given that the U.S. Attorney investigation is still alive within Department of Justice, we should expect that the Senate will grill him on this issue as well as his ability to maintain an appropriate distance from partisan politics.”

Contact: Audrey Fannin, or (336) 758-5237.


KEEPING FIT DURING THE HOLIDAYS – There are many challenges to staying healthy during the holidays:  travel plans change exercise schedules, traditional holiday foods and parties defy even the best diet, while crowded shopping malls increase exposure to viruses. Peter Brubaker, professor of health and exercise science and executive director of the Healthy Exercise and Lifestyle Programs at Wake Forest University, a program designed to develop a healthy and active lifestyle through exercise and education programs, has many helpful tips and advice to enjoy a healthy holiday, such as:

  • Be sure to exercise, even if it’s less than usual. Just taking a walk can do a lot for your mental and physical health.
  • Place a priority on sleep. Everything is more manageable when you are rested.
  • Remember that too much sugar will rob you of energy rather than give you more.
  • Frequent hand washing can minimize the risk of getting sick.

Brubaker also has many strategies for handling those calorie-laden parties, such as having a healthy snack before the party, socializing away from the buffet table and taking only moderate portions of specialty foods you really love. Brubaker is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and wrote the ACSM Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription.

Contact: Audrey Fannin, or (336) 758-5237.


EXPERT: MODERN PIRATES SAME AS IN BLACKBEARD’S DAY –  “In many ways, the Somali pirates bear a striking resemblance to those of the so-called ‘Golden Age’ of pirates in the late 17th and early 18th centuries,” says Eric Bowne, a visiting assistant professor of anthropology at Wake Forest.  Bowne taught the class “Under the Black Flag: the Anthropology of Piracy.”  Bowne has studied the social and political world in which piracy in the Atlantic and Caribbean waters developed between the 16th and 19th centuries and how piracy helped shape the modern world.  He can also comment on how the lives of pirates have been romanticized and how history can be transformed into myth.  “Piracy requires certain circumstances in order to thrive, namely friendly ports, a ready market for stolen goods and/or people willing to accept stolen currency, disgruntled men willing to risk the possible consequences, and lax enough security to operate,” Bowne said.  “Somalia, just like the colonial Atlantic and Caribbean world of Blackbeard and Black Bart, is thus a ‘perfect’ setting for piracy.”  Bowne says piracy is a short-term proposition.  “When it becomes too much of a problem, governments allocate sufficient money and manpower to make piracy too dangerous a profession to pursue.  India has already sunk one pirate vessel and military pressure is sure to increase in the coming weeks.  Soon the pirate boomtowns of Somalia will disappear, but perhaps Somali children will still hear tales of piracy in their country’s waters for centuries to come.”

Contact:  Cheryl Walker, or (336) 758-5237.

ADMISSIONS OFFICE OFFERS VIRTUAL INTERVIEWS – Using a webcam, a microphone and the Internet, some students applying to Wake Forest University can now sit in their living rooms at home and have a “face-to-face” conversation with an admissions counselor at the university.  Wake Forest began offering virtual interviews on a limited basis to early decision applicants in October, and about 30 students have chosen the new option. In December, virtual interviews are available to other applicants. “While a personal visit is the first choice, the virtual interview is an innovative way to use technology to connect individually with those who, because of financial or other reasons, cannot come to campus,” said Martha Allman, director of admissions at Wake Forest. “This combines Wake Forest’s historic commitment to personal attention with our emphasis on technological innovation.” Wake Forest began strongly recommending personal interviews for all applicants in May, after it became the first top 30 national university to drop the SAT/ACT requirement for undergraduate admissions.

Contact: Cheryl Walker, or 336-758-5237.

WFU LAW SCHOOL LAUNCHES INNOCENCE AND JUSTICE CLINIC The Wake Forest University School of Law is introducing a new Innocence and Justice Clinic.  Beginning in the spring semester of 2009, students will examine the legal, scientific, cultural and psychological causes of wrongful convictions. Students will then apply this knowledge to actual cases by reviewing and investigating claims of innocence by inmates and, where appropriate, pursue legal avenues for exoneration and release from prison.  In addition to the creation of the Innocence and Justice Clinic, the student-run Innocence Project has been made a formal student organization. The Innocence Project will explore joint projects with The Darryl Hunt Project for Freedom and Justice to focus on educating the public about wrongful convictions, protesting executions and injustices in the system and supporting families of those incarcerated, among others.

Contact: Lisa Snedeker, or (336)758-5719.

Note to editors: The Wake Forest University News Service will be closed Dec. 22 through 26, while the university is closed for the holidays. The News Service will reopen at 8:30 a.m. Dec. 29.  For urgent matters while the News Service is closed, news outlets may call the News Service main number at (336) 758-5237. A voice mail message will provide instructions on contacting a staff member.

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