Education

Putting Pitt to the Test

At the University of Pittsburgh, 2012 will be remembered. It was a year of celebration—with Pitt’s 225th anniversary being commemorated with reflections on the past and focus on the future. It was a year of ordeal—with a series of bomb threats that threatened the lives and fabric of the Pitt community. It was also a …

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The Arts Equation

Bouncing, energetic, at times maddeningly social college students erupt into their academic class on Friday morning wearing black leotards topped with layers of pastel tank tops and an odd assortment of what can only be called shoes because they are on their feet. They seem to verge on dancing every minute as they walk fresh …

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A Crisis in Higher Education

The headline is the same across the nation, and it describes a seemingly inexorable vise that is tightening on colleges and universities. They are attacked for being too expensive and their relevance is questioned as students graduate with higher debt and lower prospects in a tight economy. As public aid is slashed and private donors …

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225 Years of Pitt

When Gwendolyn Hays graduated from high school in Potter County, the idea of a female engineer seemed laughable to some. It was 1960. After rejections from two colleges, she turned to the University of Pittsburgh, which welcomed her and her dream. Pitt commemorates its 225th anniversary this year, and Hays is celebrating the university’s commitment …

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Schools ‘R’ U.S.

College costs are rising, but that has yet to deter one group of students from entering American schools. International student enrollment has surged since the middle of the decade, after dipping during the years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Nearly 700,000 foreign-born students are enrolled in U.S. universities, up from 550,000 a …

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The College Cost Question

Jerry schmitt had just finished paying for the college educations of his two older sons, Ben and Jordan, when it came time for the college years of his daughter, Ameeta. Jerry knew what to expect. Large tuition bills. Loans. Paperwork. A rush of financial decision-making that induced an odd mix of confusion, outrage (how could …

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Major Dilemma

A few months ago, as graduates donned caps and gowns and set their sights on their futures, parents snapped pictures of the end that marked the beginning ​ The day after, however, graduates facing an uncertain future wondered, “Will I get a job?” The good news for recent college graduates is that 19 percent more …

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To Educate or Not

When David Wang graduated at the top of his 2008 Mt. Lebanon High School class, he had his pick of prestigious universities. The University of Pittsburgh offered him a full undergraduate scholarship and guaranteed his admission into Pitt’s School of Medicine after his undergraduate degree. So Wang turned down Princeton, Duke, Cal Tech and the …

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Brave New Search

As new technology and methods of communication develop at an exponential rate, no one stays more current than teenagers. Before parents realize that posting their kids’ baby pictures on Facebook is inappropriate or that using Twitter to detail their daily routines is embarrassing, teenagers have long since moved onto to something new. During the college application …

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Bidding Farewell to a Difficult Decade

Though some purists might argue that the first decade of the new century did not begin until Jan. 1, 2001, and will not end until Dec. 31, 2010, the great mass of humanity marked the end of that decade last Dec. 31. Most observed its passing with relief. The last 10 years have been called, …

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Thank You for the Dance

Every Tuesday and Wednesday morning last fall, students in Laurie Collier’s and Maureen Kedzuf’s fifth-grade class lined up in escort position at Arlington Accelerated Academy and headed to the gymnasium to dance. They were among the more than 300 fifth-graders from six elementary schools participating in Dancing Classrooms’ inaugural year in the Pittsburgh Public Schools. …

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I, Teacher

Early in Isaac Asimov’s speculative fiction classic “I, Robot,” a little girl named Gloria becomes more attached to a robot named Robbie than to her own parents. Originally wary of Robbie, Gloria’s parents grow to love and respect the tin man after it saves their little munchkin’s life by sweeping her away from the path …

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Pittsburgh’s College Corridor

What conjures an image of fun and vitality more than the phrase “college town”? And especially clear in an economy like the present one, what industry offers more stability in roiling financial seas than a solid stable of universities? Western Pennsylvania is home to dozens. At their hub is a group of seven, making a …

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Strategy in the Ivory Tower

The wrecking ball that has moved through the U.S. economy, taking down investment banks, fitness chains and donut shops, is threatening a group of institutions not usually mentioned on the nightly business report. Colleges and universities across western Pennsylvania and the country are bracing for the impact from unemployment, weak credit and stock markets and …

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All the Comforts of Home — and Then Some

In January, The Pennsylvania Board of Education’s Higher Education Council tossed out this idea for a new kind of institution of higher learning: A no-frills, low-cost college where kids could earn a bachelor’s degree sans the on-campus fitness centers, climbing walls, as-comfy-as-home dorm rooms and other expensive amenities found on many campuses today. An emphasis …

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Making a Promise

Pittsburgh has a way of weaseling itself into one’s heart. My wife, a Midwestern girl raised in Sioux City, and I, an Arab boy born in Lebanon, moved to Pittsburgh in 1984. We brought with us our 3-month-old daughter, youthful idealism, boundless energy and lots of naïve inexperience. Into this mix, one year later, were …

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The Pitt Century

On October 2, 1908, toward the close of Pittsburgh’s 150th anniversary celebration, a crowd of dignitaries, distinguished guests and assorted politicos congregated in Oakland, an island of pastoral villas and classical architecture in the middle of the growing, smoky metropolis. The crowd came to see the groundbreaking for Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Hall, a cavernous …

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Where in the World is Point Park?

Back from the endangered list, the “little school that could” has a plan to revive Downtown. Can it create a Latin Quarter by the Mon? Point Park University, as it is now called (it was until recently a college), has been Downtown since the 1930s. For years, though, it’s had an identity problem. When most …

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Inside the Promise

As is his style, Jeffrey Romoff wanted to get to the point. “So, how much is it going to cost?” the charismatic and sometimes acerbic president and CEO of UPMC, the region’s largest employer and dominant health care provider, asked in a Bronx accent still evident after 35 years in Pittsburgh. It was 7:50 a.m. on …

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Give me a “P”

By 1995, a dark cloud had settled over the University of Pittsburgh. It was taking a beating in the press as it struggled to deal with one controversy after another. Leadership at the highest level was in transition. Once-generous state subsidies to support its operations were drying up. And when hopes turned to the notion of …

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