Campus Briefs

Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, June 9, 2004

UA South opens childcare center

UA South in Sierra Vista has opened the first licensed campus-based child development center to operate at the University of Arizona.

The UA South Early Learning Center's priority is to provide student parents with full-time and part-time care and education programs for children two to 12 years of age. The center offers a full-time preschool program and a part-time evening program. It also has the capacity to enroll the children of faculty, staff and community members. Providing services to children with special challenges is a program objective.

An advisory committee led by Charlotte Stocek, department chair of teaching and teacher education, guides the center. Stocek brought together faculty from UA South, Cochise College and community representatives to assure that the program supports the academic, research and outreach mission of the university and the needs of the surrounding community.

To address the significant barrier of affordability, the Early Learning Center will accept DES families and can provide financial assistance for Pell Grant recipients whose children are enrolled while they are attending UA South.

The Early Learning Center has the capacity to handle 40 children ages two through five, Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and 20 children through age 12 in the Children's Evening Program, Monday through Thursday, 2:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The UA South Department of Academic Affairs administers the Early Learning Center. Associate Dean June Harris is the principal investigator and Mimi Gray is the project director. The center is located at the University of Arizona South, 1140 N. Colombo, building C, in Sierra Vista, Ariz. Call (520) 458-8278 ext. 2116, fax (520) 458-5725 or e-mail to enroll or for more information.

UA Biology Project tops Google search

Type "biology" into the Google or Yahoo search engines and the first entry that comes up is the University of Arizona's Biology Project (, an on-line interactive resource for learning biology.

The Web site began life as a way to provide additional help and materials to students taking UA's introductory Biology 181 course. The site now has users in more than 160 countries. Just this year, more than 2 million visitors each spent an average of 10 minutes at the site.

"We're tickled," said Ken Williams, a UA Web guru and a founding member of the project. He recently discovered the site's top rank when he idly typed "biology" into Google.

Richard Hallick and William Grimes, professors in UA's department of biochemistry and molecular biophysics, wanted to help their BIO181 students. Even before the advent of the Internet, they created computer-based tutorials to help students understand things such as how proteins fold.

"The three of us founded the concept of putting it up on the Web," said Grimes. And by doing that, the trio started helping the rest of the world learn biology, too.

"As soon as it went up on the World Wide Web," Hallick said, "It was like, 'Build it and they will come.'" They've been coming ever since. High school students, college students and medical school students from all over the world now visit the site. Instructors at other institutions build The Biology Project into their own biology curricula.

The site has gotten all types of accolades and mentions, including being a finalist for a Webby award. Originally funded by the Hewlett Foundation and the National Science Foundation, the site is now supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the University of Arizona College of Science.

Rather than a static textbook approach, the Web site takes full advantage of its medium to be an interactive learning experience. The content also changes and expands regularly. There are currently about 60 learning modules, and more are being added all the time. The Biology Project team, which now involves several additional people, also is translating the pages into other languages. Spanish predominates for now, Hallick said, pointing out that the site gets many users from South America. Williams estimates that the site has had visits from 83 percent of the world's nations, adding, "In some sense, we have legitimate claim to saying we're the number one biology learning site on the World Wide Web."

UA endorses British sex-farce comedy

The UA School of Theatre Arts Arizona Repertory Theatre will host a production of Michael Frayn's Noises Off, directed by Samantha K. Wyer.

An instant and enduring favorite on both sides of the Atlantic, this riotous side-splitter follows the on- and off-stage antics of an inept acting troupe as they stumble from the bumbling dress rehearsal to the chaotic closing night of a touring British sex-farce. Yeah, baby! In break-neck action, everything that can go wrong does go wrong in what has been called "the most uproariously backstage comedy ever written."

Noises will be first shown at the Marroney Theatre on the UA campus on June 13 at 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. for a special preview price of $15. The show will then run from June 16 to June 27 for a $25 general admission, $23 admission for senior citizens and UA employees, and $18 for UA students.