UAB Magazine Weekly - Features on Courses and Programs
Students Unravel a Recent Discovery
In early November, Discovery News published a story in which two Italian archaeologists—brothers Angelo and Alfredo Castiglioni—claimed to have found the remains of the lost army of Cambyses, son of Persian emperor Cyrus the Great, in Egypt.
The Greek historian Herodotus recounts the tale of Cambyses’ lost army in his Histories, writing that Cambyses sent an army of 50,000 soldiers to burn the oracle of Zeus. The army was said to have reached the city of Oasis when a great sandstorm buried the men, and the army was never heard from again. While most archaeologists dismiss the tale as folklore, some people have searched the Egyptian deserts for archaeological evidence to corroborate Herodotus’s description.
With skeptical eyes, the Mythbusters students investigated Cambyses, the Italian archaeologists, and the archaeological methodology. The research revealed poor documentation and cast doubt on the credentials of the archaeologists who claimed to make the discovery. The class wrote and submitted an op-ed piece to the Washington Post on their findings.
UAB Students Expose Archaeological Myths
By Jennifer Ghandhi
Sarah Parcak says debunking myths can be crucial to educating students about archaeology.
The ancient Maya have been busted. So have King Tut and the entire population of Atlantis. For that you can thank students in a UAB “Mythbusters” honors seminar led by archaeologist Sarah Parcak, Ph.D. Last fall, they went hunting for the facts behind popular archaeological myths, debunking everything from cursed Egyptian tombs to cities lost beneath the sea.
“I always wanted to take a class like this as an undergraduate, and I’ve been wanting to teach it for a long time,” says Parcak, who hopes to make the course available as a 200-level offering by spring 2011. While most academic archaeologists avoid discussing untruths in the classroom, Parcak believes it is crucial to educate students and the public about what she calls “pseudoarchaeology.” Students investigate hoaxes to identify their origins and the reasons why the myths are so believable and pervasive in modern culture.
Preparing Teachers for the Challenges of Urban Education
By Claire L. Burgess
Donna Jones, a recent graduate of UAB's Urban Teacher Enhancement Program, at Birmingham's Robinson Elementary School
In many urban schools, the biggest dropout risk is at the head of the class. Faced with crowded classrooms, inadequate funding, and a host of other challenges, teachers in these schools are often tempted to quit the profession entirely or transfer to a suburban school at the first opportunity. According to 2005 data from the Alabama Department of Education, approximately 25 percent of new teachers in high-poverty school districts in the Birmingham area leave their positions within their first three years.
Deborah Voltz, Ed.D., knows what those teachers are going through. She taught at a high-needs elementary school in Birmingham for five years before joining the UAB School of Education. But she also is convinced that helping urban students take their first steps to a better life is one of the most rewarding roles any teacher can play. “I feel like I was able to make a real difference, and that was important to me,” Voltz says. “Yes, there were challenges. But there would be challenges anywhere.”
Training Dentists to See the Whole Patient
By Doug Gillett
Mark LaGory and Michael McCracken
Cavities, fillings, plaque buildup, gum disease—dentists in training have a lot to learn about potential problems in the mouth. But at the UAB School of Dentistry, lessons no longer end at the lips. Students now evaluate a host of issues not normally considered part of routine dental care: What other health problems do patients have that might be associated with their dental problems? What aspects of their lifestyles might be contributing factors? And, depending on their socioeconomic status, will they have access to the follow-up care they’ll need down the road?
This new holistic approach can be summed up in three words that are heard frequently around the dental school these days: “the whole patient.” The idea is that patients aren’t just mouths to be worked on but rather whole bodies that are unique members of a diverse society. This is the focus of an innovative new course, “Dentistry and Dental Health: Socio-cultural Factors,” that examines the links between dentistry and daily life.
Stories from UAB’s Accelerated Master’s in Nursing Pathway
Bryan Combs left a career as an athletic trainer to pursue a nursing degree.
By Doug Gillett
One student was headed toward a career in hospital administration until she heard the call of nursing. Another spent several years in UAB’s research labs but decided she wanted a health-care career with more one-on-one contact. Yet another left a successful career in athletic training, working with some of the Southeast’s most prestigious college-football programs, to forge a new path in nursing.
All of these students joined the first class of the UAB School of Nursing’s Accelerated Master’s in Nursing Pathway for Second Degree Students. The program offers college graduates with bachelor’s degrees—even degrees unrelated to health care—a “fast track” to a master’s degree in nursing and an opportunity to sit for the nursing board exams.
From the moment they joined the program in May 2008 until they receive their master’s degrees in August 2010, this first group of students will experience some of the most in-depth training available to nurses anywhere. In this series of audiocasts, the students explain what prompted them to seek out new opportunities in nursing; they also discuss the challenges they’ve faced in the program and talk about the rewards they’ve already found in their new field.