January 30, 2002: Notebook
Photo by: Denise Applewhite
Nonconsequential reasoning and decision-making is an area that psychology professor Eldar Shafir has been working in for several years, and he has come to the realization that when people make decisions, they are often affected by inconsequential details.
Shafirs studies involving medical professionals and students show that people tend to look for more information than they need and give more weight to facts they pursued or had to wait for than to information that was already available. Even if the information was irrelevant, study subjects tended to let it affect their decisions.
One example Shafir uses from his research with Princeton students involves a hypothetical Princeton applicant, who has a B average and an SAT score of 1250, plays varsity soccer, has supportive letters of recommendation, and is editor of the school newspaper. More than half of those who reviewed this file accepted the applicant.
A different group of students who reviewed the same application received conflicting information about the students grade average. One source gave the student an A average, while another said B. Most of this group chose to wait for a clarification of the applicants grade average. When they found out it was a B average, the majority of them decided to reject the applicant.
Most of us think that the things we choose are the kind of things we prefer or like better. But we rarely think what we chose could have been exactly opposite if it had been presented to us in another way, says Shafir, who has been at Princeton since 1990 and this semester is teaching Decision-Making in the Context of Poverty, a freshman seminar.
The university announced in early December that it was committing $1 million to four programs to help individuals and New York City recover from the terrorist attacks on September 11. The donations were made in large part in response to students, faculty, staff, alumni, and trustees, who wanted the university to help, said President Tilghman.
The four programs are Arts Alive, a $500,000, one-year endeavor that will allow as many as 10,000 New York City-area schoolchildren to attend cultural offerings; a $250,000 scholarship program at John Jay College of Criminal Justice to honor the memory of the firefighters and police officers who were alumni of John Jay and who died in the attacks; a summer program at Princeton which will be offered to young people who lost parents in the attack; and a two-year fund that will provide support to faculty and staff whose expertise can help in the recovery and that will also provide research funds to students to work on projects about the attack and its aftermath.
Arts Alive will be done in partnership with Hospital Audiences, Inc. and members of the Class of 2004, which has adopted the program as its class project.
The scholarship program at John Jay, a school that has very little scholarship money, will allow the liberal arts college to develop undergraduate researchers, practitioners, and scholars in the areas of public service and criminal justice as well as to recruit students to the college.
In the summer program, children will have week-long experiences, either on campus or at the Princeton-Blairstown Center, which offers outdoor experiential education on a 275-acre site in northwest New Jersey. Alumni will be invited to participate and to develop mentoring relationships with the children.
In announcing the programs Tilghman said that they were in keeping with Princetons mission in that they involve teaching and research and meet the needs of young scholars.
Captions: On campus, John Nash, left, talks with Russell Crowe, who played him in A Beautiful Mind.
In a scene filmed outside Henry and 1901 Halls, Crowes character Nash attends a reception for new students. Photos by eli reed
A Beautiful Mind, the film based on the life of Nobel laureate and paranoid schizophrenic John Forbes Nash, Jr. *50, may put Princetons math department in the same company as the decks of the Titanic and the Colosseum of ancient Rome as the setting for an Oscar-winning film.
The movie, which was filmed on campus last spring and stars Academy Award-winner Russell Crowe, has already received six Golden Globe nominations. Oscar nominations will be announced on February 12.
Nash, 73, won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1994 for work he had begun at Princeton when he was 21. Since the films release, he has said that the films creators, including director Ron Howard, took liberties with the biographical material in Sylvia Nasars 1998 biography of the same name. Nasar has also characterized the film as historic fiction.
But both Nash and Nasar hope the movie raises awareness about mental illness. Russell Crowe as Nash will do more to raise public consciousness about schizophrenia than a dozen books, said Nasar.
Nash, who continued his research at the university after his recovery from schizophrenia in the late 1980s, attended a special screening of the film on January 6 in Princeton. He was honored by the Mercer County chapter of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill at a dinner before the screening and helped raise an estimated $30,000.
Though largely laudatory, the press has taken potshots at the films historical shortcomings. A few of the items deleted from Nashs life include his fathering a child before his marriage to Alicia as well as their 1963 divorce and recent remarriage.
Brian J. McDonald 83 has been named vice president for development, effective February 1. He succeeds Van Zandt Williams, Jr. 65, who is retiring after 22 years in that position. As the universitys chief fundraising officer, McDonald will be responsible for all of Princetons private sector fundraising. He will oversee the offices of annual giving, leadership gifts, principal gifts, corporate and foundation relations, development relations, communication and information, and the office of the recording secretary.
McDonald, who lives in Princeton, brings a wide range of experience to the job. Originally a member of the Class of 1982, he majored in history and after graduation joined Kidder Peabody & Co. as an analyst. Two years later he moved to The First Boston Corporation as an associate. In 1987, McDonald left First Boston to open a restaurant in New York. Two years later he left that enterprise to form The McDonald Group, which managed and produced several songwriters and musicians as well as consulting for visual artists. In 1994 he moved to Princeton, where he became a full-time sculptor and also founded The Red Wheelbarrow, a company that designs and fabricates sculptural objects and functional art.
Long involved with Princeton as a volunteer, McDonald has served his class as president and as special gifts chair for its 10th and 15th reunions. He has served on a number of committees, including the executive committee for the Alumni Council. In 1999 he was given the Alumni Council Award for Service to Princeton.
President Tilghman in a statement said, Throughout his professional career and as one of Princetons most extraordinary and effective volunteers, Brian has demonstrated an exceptional ability to plan, to organize, to motivate, to communicate, and to carry out complex and challenging tasks. There is no one of his generation who has made a greater or more wide-ranging commitment to Princeton.
David W. Miller 89, PAWs staff writer from 1991 to 1994, was killed in a car accident on January 6 as he was returning home from the BWI airport in Maryland. Miller, who was working for the Chronicle of Higher Education in Washington, D.C., at the time of his death, was a passenger in a car that was struck head-on by another vehicle that had crossed the median. Two other people were also killed.
Former PAW editor Jim Merritt 66 remembers Miller, a politics major, as a marvelous writer. He was careful, accurate, and meticulous and never handed in a piece until he had it absolutely right, Merritt said. More important, he was an unfailingly thoughtful and considerate human being who was a joy to work with. Miller is survived by his wife, Colleen Fee, and their two children, Jack, 2, and Jonah, 11 weeks.
The average full-professor salary at Princeton rose 4.75 percent last academic year, from $120,000 to $125,700, according to data collected and published last spring by the American Association of University Professors. Last years inflation rate was 3.4 percent. The average salary for full professors at private universities was $93,244, while the national average at all universities was $78,912.
Princeton is one of 45 universities and colleges that paid its full professors more than $100,000 on average and was the fourth highest-paying university in the country, up from fifth last year. The previous year, Princeton had ranked fourth. Rockefeller, Harvard, and Stanford universities on average pay higher salaries than Princeton.
The average salary paid to associate professors at Princeton last year was $80,200 (up from $71,900); assistant professors $62,600 (up from $56,000); and instructors $56,400 (up from $49,200). University officials said former President Shapiro recommended the Board of Trustees use a modest budget surplus in 199900 to increase these salaries across the board to ensure they were at a competitive level.
At Princeton, as at virtually every other university, a gender discrepancy continues to exist between the average salary paid to men and that paid to women. According to the A.A.U.P.s annual salary survey, male full professors at Princeton earn an average of $126,300, while female full professors earn $121,500. Male associate professors earn an average of $80,700, and females $79,500; male assistant professors earn $64,300, and females $59,500. Princeton has 365 male and 61 female full professors, according to the survey.
George Rathmann *51 and David Remnick 81 will receive the universitys highest awards for alumni and deliver speeches on Alumni Day on February 23.
Rathmann, who earned his Ph.D. in chemistry in 1951 and who is considered a biotech pioneeer, will receive the James Madison Medal, which recognizes an outstanding alumnus of the Graduate School. In 1980 he cofounded Amgen Inc. and built it into the nations largest biotech company. In 1990 he founded the ICOS Corporation and was its chair for 10 years. In 2000 he joined Hyseq Inc. as its chair. Hyseq is developing new products to treat inflammatory and cardiovascular diseases. Rathmann is also known for his role in the development of Epogen, a red-blood-cell stimulant that has improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of dialysis patients.
Remnick, a writer and editor who earned his A.B. in comparative literature, will receive the Woodrow Wilson Award, given to an alumnus or alumna who embodies Princeton in the nations service. Before being named editor of The New Yorker in 1998, Remnick had been a staff writer there since 1992. He came to the magazine from the Washington Post, where he had been a reporter. As the newspapers Moscow correspondent from 1988 until 1992, he also wrote Lenins Tomb, which won both the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction and a George Polk Award for excellence in journalism in 1994.
Since Remnicks arrival at The New Yorker, it has won eight National Magazine Awards. He has been a visiting fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and has taught at Columbia and Princeton.
Katharine Buzicky and Lillian Pierce, both of the Class of 2002, have been awarded Rhodes Scholarships, which will provide funding for two or three years of study at the University of Oxford in England.
Buzicky, who is from St. Paul, Minnesota, is majoring in the Department of East Asian Studies. A graduate of Highland Park Senior High School, she has learned Japanese and Portuguese in order to conduct original research on the cross-cultural adaptations and expectations of Japanese immigrants to Brazil who were later invited back to Japan. Buzicky is a member of the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps and earned the ROTC Distinguished Leadership Award in 2000. She plans to study modern history at Oxford.
Pierce, a mathematics major from Fallbrook, California, has won the Freshman First Honor Prize and the Class of 1939 Princeton Scholar Award, and she twice received the Presidents Award for Academic Achievement. This past year, she also was awarded a Barry Goldwater Scholarship. An accomplished violinist who was home-schooled, she serves as coconcertmaster and copresident of the Princeton University Orchestra. At Oxford, she plans to study mathematics. Pierce also won a Marshall Scholarship, but turned it down to accept the Rhodes. She chose the Rhodes because the Marshall program has alternates, so her scholarship will go to another student. Pierces brother, Niles 93, also won a Rhodes his senior year.
Thirty-two American men and women were chosen as Rhodes Scholars from 925 applicants in a nationwide competition. Recipients were chosen on the basis of high academic achievement, integrity of character, a spirit of unselfishness, respect for others, potential for leadership, and physical vigor. The awards were created in 1902 by British philanthropist Cecil Rhodes.
Caption: On October 18, students rallied for cost-of-living adjustments. (frank wojciechowski)
While university officials increased wages for lower-paid Princeton employees and reduced the number of outsourced janitorial jobs at university-owned facilities, one campus group continues to call for more improvements to working conditions at Princeton.
Members of the Workers Rights Organizing Committee (WROC) are hoping that President Tilghmans administration which fast-tracked pay increases for 1,600 office and clerical employees, library and technical support staffers, and maintenance workers at a cost of $1.5 million in September will be open to suggestions for improvement. The wage increases brought salaries for the biweekly employees up to or above local market rates.
Since Tilghman took over as president, the university also decided not to renew a janitorial service contract with Monarch Building Maintenance, Inc. There are plans to hire four janitors, and possibly four more, to take care of the facilities handled by Monarch on Alex-ander Street and other buildings at Forrestal campus, said Mike McKay, general manager of plant and services.
The new janitors will be university employees and will receive health insurance as well as the other benefits available to Princeton employees.
Although the university has made changes, WROC members still believe Princeton needs to do away with its pay-for-performance raises and to make its salary surveys available for employee review. WROC members also want to see cost-of-living increases that they believe will keep all salaries on par with inflation. The bottom end of the scale struggles to make ends meet, said WROC organizer Nick Guyatt GS. Its sad because its obvious that there is a two-tier or three-tier compensation system.
Guyatt said WROC would continue its efforts to organize lower-paid workers on campus, as well as increase its student membership which currently stands at 80. An open mike night was planned for January at which workers were expected to speak to students and faculty about their experiences.
The new year brought changes at the top of the Alumni Council as Margaret Miller 80 took over as the new director. M. Kathryn Taylor 74, who headed the council for the last two years, announced in November that she would be stepping down as director in order to spend more time with her family.
In an e-mail to the Alumni Councils executive committee Taylor explained that this moment in my familys life is simply not the right time for me to be leading the Alumni Council as its director.
Taylor has agreed to take on a new post as director of special projects for the Alumni Council. Working on initiatives in alumni education and communications, she plans to be on campus about four times a month, but will no longer play a role in day-to-day management of the office.
Miller has served as deputy director of the council since September, when Taylor switched to a part-time, 10-month schedule. Miller filled the role of de facto director for part of each day and was scheduled to serve as director for two months in the summer during Taylors absence.
Miller said her focus would be on increasing and improving alumni education and outreach. I see lots of potential for improving those programs and creating new ones, she said. This is really a challenge and an excellent opportunity. Im pleased the university had the confidence in me.
Before returning to Princeton, Miller had been an account executive with Dana Communications in Hopewell, New Jersey since 1996. She also spent nine years with Chemical Bank in New York, eventually becoming a vice president in the commercial real estate lending division.
Miller had been the fundraising campaign director and company manager for Princetons Triangle Club since 1995. She also served as an annual giving campaign volunteer and a class agent.
Continuity and proven ability played a role in Millers appointment as director, according to Robert Durkee 69, vice president for public affairs. With searches conducted to fill the positions of director and deputy director within the last two years, another search was unnecessary, according to Durkee.
It was our judgment that this would be the most effective way to sustain the momentum that Kathy has established over these past two years, especially at a time of so much other turnover at the university, Durkee said. But we would not have proceeded in this way if Margaret had not been hired for the kind of deputy director role that we created.
Alexandra Shaw 02 was seriously injured after she fell nearly 40 feet while climbing a spiral staircase inside the north tower of the University Chapel at night on December 13. Shaw, who became trapped in the chapels ventilation system, broke both legs and had to be stabilized by emergency crews before being lowered to the ground in a bucket suspended from a fire department ladder truck. The chapel tower is not open to the public. Shaw reportedly had been in the tower before and had returned that night to show the view to another student, who was not injured. More than 100 people gathered to watch the 90-minute rescue, which was also viewed by circling news helicopters.
A lawsuit filed by computer science professor Edward Felten against the recording industry and the Justice Department was dismissed by a federal judge in November. Felten and his research team had asked for immunity from prosecution under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act should they publish their research describing how to break encryption technology that restricts access to digital music. Last April, an industry group threatened to sue Felten if he discussed weaknesses in the technology. The 1998 Act makes it a crime to distribute decryption technology that circumvents access controls on copyrighted works. Later, the group backed off, and Felten presented his work at a conference, but did not publish it. The dismissal of Feltens suit does not resolve the issue of how researchers can publish their findings without reprisal.
Mathematician Donald Spencer, a Princeton faculty member for 23 years, died December 23 in Durango, Colorado. He was 89. Spencer was well known for developing the modern theory of deformation of complex structures with colleague Kunihiko Kodaira of the Institute for Advanced Study. That research has been important in such fields as geometry and mathematical physics. Spencer earned bachelors degrees from the University of Colorado and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. from Cambridge University. He taught at M.I.T. and Stanford University before joining the Princeton faculty in 1953. Spencer again taught at Stanford from 1963 to 1968, but returned to Princeton for 10 years until he was granted emeritus status. He retired to his native Colorado, where he was an avid environmentalist and outdoorsman.
A few years ago, Herb Hobler 44 spearheaded a group creating a commemorative walk in Tiger Park on Nassau Street. The walk is complete, as is a book about the project, Bricks and Mortals. According to the book, which denotes the donors and the location of the various bricks, 480 of the names engraved are those of Princeton graduates, representing 93 of the 100 classes in the 20th century. A smattering from the 19th century are represented, as well as the first four classes of the 21st century. In addition, several bricks honor various presidents of the university.
On November 15, actor and activist Danny Glover spoke on State Execution: The Death Penalty in America in a lecture sponsored by local chapters of Amnesty International. A human rights crusader, Glover is a recipient of the Amnesty International USA Lifetime Achievement Award for his efforts to bring worldwide attention to the human rights struggle.
Lynne Cheney, wife of Vice President Dick Cheney and an advocate for educational reform, spoke November 29 about the teaching of history in secondary schools.
The Reverend Jesse Jackson came to Princeton November 30 to deliver the keynote address of a conference titled Puerto Ricans: Second-Class Citizens in Our Democracy.
During the final months of 2001, numerous specialists spoke about the Middle East, Afghanistan, Islam, and terrorism. They included:
Yael Tamir, of Tel Aviv University, who spoke about Global War, Class Struggles;
Robin L. Raphel, vice president of the National Defense University, who spoke on Afghanistan at the Crossroads;
Karim Raslan, a lawyer and author, whose talk was entitled Kuala Lumpur Is Not Kabul: Militants and Tolerance in the Asian Core of the Muslim World;
Paul Pillar, of the CIA, who spoke on Terrorism and U.S. Foreign Policy;
Suhnaz Yilma, of Koc University in Turkey, who gave a talk called Opening Pandoras Box: The Reconfiguration of Power Structures and Religious Identity in Central Asia;
Hafiz al-Mirazi, the Washington bureau chief for Al Jazeera television, who gave a lecture, Al Jazeera, the Arab World and the International Media;
Arun Gandhi, founder of the M. K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, based in Memphis, who spoke on Terrorism, Nonviolence, and Justice; and
Senator Bill Frist 74, who spoke about the state of the countrys economy after the September 11 attacks.