Former Moonwalker Pushes Colonization of Mars From Florida Tech

Former Moonwalker Pushes Colonization of Mars From Florida Tech

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Although renowned for long-ago exploits, Buzz Aldrin, at 86, seems as focused on shaping the future as on celebrating his past.

Buzz Aldrin
Florida Institute of Technology

Although renowned for long-ago exploits, Buzz Aldrin, at 86, seems as focused on shaping the future as on celebrating his past.

The second man to walk on the moon, in 1969, Mr. Aldrin was the first astronaut with a doctorate in astronautics, or anything else, when he was selected by NASA, in 1963. For decades, he has pressed federal aerospace officials and corporations to plan a permanent settlement on Mars.

To advance that mission, last summer he and the Florida Institute of Technology said they would set up the Buzz Aldrin Space Institute there. Mr. Aldrin became a research professor of aeronautics at Florida Tech and senior faculty adviser to the institute. At the same time, the university said its John H. Evans Library would establish the Buzz Aldrin Special Collection and Archives.

Mr. Aldrin says he chose Florida Tech, a private research university, because of its history of collaboration with the nearby Kennedy Space Center and because he moved from California to Florida last year. His son, Andrew Aldrin, an aerospace-industry veteran, is the institute’s director and an associate professor of business and liberal arts.

Many observers might view Buzz Aldrin’s purpose as quixotic, but the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has been edging along its plans for landings, possibly on Mars, by astronauts. By phone from the institute, Mr. Aldrin faults the agency for "stingy" Mars budgets, and he says he hopes to steer federal officials toward "a much longer-term progression of recovery of our space program, in the human-space-flight area, certainly."

Since 1985, in collaboration with scientists at leading space-mission research centers, he has developed his system of "Cycling Pathways to Occupy Mars." NASA and other agencies’ plans "frankly, to me, are stale," he says. His system depends on establishing permanent bases on the moon and on a moon of Mars, and then taking advantage of moon and planetary orbits to shuttle missions and supplies between Earth and Mars.

The Aldrin institute’s core function is to foster collaboration among universities and businesses around the world that will push forward the analysis, cost calculation, and planning of a Mars settlement. In January the institute brought together scientists for a two-day workshop on the aeronautic, physiological, psychological, and robotic challenges of meeting the goal.

Mr. Aldrin says the United States should be wary of ceding leadership in space exploration to other nations; rather, it should take the lead among "nations who could land on the moon." Very important, he says, will be "commercial, private-sector investment, looking for a return."

Mr. Aldrin worries that the American public is apathetic, distracted by Hollywood-style space travel — "the bizarre, the impossible, the impractical, Star Wars and Star Trek." His vision for Mars colonization, he says, is "not just to make a series of visits and then leave it alone. That’s not going to inspire people." — Peter Monaghan

Yvonne Hinson

When it started counting, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants came up short. Not enough students were choosing to study accounting, not enough people were pursuing Ph.D.s to become professors, and not enough qualified CPAs existed to meet employers’ rising demand.

None of those pools was nearly as diverse as the American population, either.

To improve matters, in March the association hired Yvonne Hinson, its first academic in residence. Ms. Hinson, who most recently worked as an associate professor of accounting at Wake Forest University, will draw on more than 15 years of experience as a professor and administrator as she helps institutions seek solutions to the shortages.

Her new job "is a signal to the academic community that the AICPA wants to build those deeper relationships, work with them, and build greater levels of support," says Ms. Hinson. "The AICPA is saying, we are here to help you, and we want to understand what you are going through, so we are going to hire one of your own." She hopes her efforts will help create a more inclusive environment at colleges and at firms that hire CPAs.

In the 2013-14 academic year, only 7 percent of the students enrolled in bachelor’s or master’s programs in accounting were black, and only 7 percent were Hispanic, a survey by the association of CPAs found. In Ph.D. programs, only 2 percent of students were black and 1 percent Hispanic.

Ms. Hinson will also work to improve the association’s programs to assist students considering the field, such as This Way to CPA. To widen the pipeline of young talent, Ms. Hinson is taking a holistic approach, getting involved in all steps of preparing young accountants. The effort starts in high school, when students learn what a CPA is, and continues through college and afterward, when graduates get help studying for the CPA exam.

Ms. Hinson wants to make sure "that students understand what a fantastic career this is," citing the years of enjoyment she has drawn from it and the fulfillment she has gained by serving the public interest. "The opportunities are limitless." — Rio Fernandes

Junya Kaneko
Robert Schalkoff

After spending the past 26 years teaching in Japan, Robert Schalkoff will return to the United States in July to be the inaugural director of Centre College’s rigorous Lincoln Scholars Program.

"It’s a big leap for me," he says. The job attracted him because, he says, Centre sets high standards, "and I think they really set the bar high on the new program."

He will leave a tenured faculty position at Yamaguchi Prefectural University, where he leads a program for the development of global talent and teaches in the department of intercultural studies.

Centre College, in Kentucky, created the Lincoln Scholars Program to provide a distinct educational experience to high-achieving students from around the world. Born out of an anonymous $20-million donation, the program incorporates summer enrichment experiences encompassing international opportunities, internships, volunteer work, and research.

This summer’s orientation for the first 10 freshman scholars includes a colloquium on Abraham Lincoln as a leader and a learner, an intensive leadership course, and a four-day Outward Bound trip to train students to take risks and, Mr. Schalkoff says, to "develop grit and tenacity." The scholars receive "full-ride-plus" scholarships, renewable for four years.

Mr. Schalkoff says he gained a different perspective on work-life balance in Japan, where he learned "how to multitask on a very intense and rigorous schedule" without burning out. That experience will help him shape the scholars’ four-year curriculum and summer enrichment. He will show students how to travel abroad and then apply their international experiences to their studies and life goals. He will also help students balance their academic studies and the program’s demands.

During the past 15 years, Mr. Schalkoff has worked with Centre College to develop a student-exchange program with Yamaguchi, and, beginning in 2009, a faculty and staff exchange. He says he was impressed with Centre’s ability to provide "transformational experiences" for its students.

Abraham Lincoln "was a self-directed, transformational learner, and a great agent of change," Mr. Schalkoff says. "We’re looking for students who will be great agents of change, in whatever profession they choose, with realistic ideas for changing the world." — Rin-rin Yu

2 Long Tenures to End

Christopher B. Nelson, president of St. John’s College, in Maryland, will retire at the end of the 2016-17 academic year.

At his departure, he will have led the college for 26 years.

To remain involved in what he called "the real work of the college," he taught many seminars on great literature over that time to faculty, staff, students, and community members, said a news release from the college.

Another longtime chief, William E. Troutt of Rhodes College, will retire in June 2017.

When he steps down, Mr. Troutt will have been the president of Rhodes, in Memphis, for 18 years and a college president for 35. From 1982 to 1999, the year he joined Rhodes, he was president of Belmont University, in Nashville. — Ruth Hammond

Obituary: ‘Educare’ Pioneer

Bettye Caldwell, a former Syracuse University professor of child development who played an influential role in early-childhood education, died on April 17. She was 91.

In the early 1960s, she collaborated on the creation of the Children’s Center of Syracuse University, which provided care for — and fostered the cognitive development of — the babies and young children of working mothers. The groundbreaking center helped inspire the Head Start program.

During her career, Ms. Caldwell was a professor at several universities besides Syracuse, among them the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. She earned a doctorate in psychology at Washington University in St. Louis in 1951. — R.H.

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