Tuesday, March 21, 2017

UGA is #5 Top PhD Program

The hed says it all, our PhD program is ranked #5 among communications programs in the U.S. by something called PhDs.org. You can check out the page yourself, fiddle with the data and such, but I'm gonna sum up the important stuff below. Oh, and also note if you look at the list that UGA is #1 among those identified specifically as mass communications programs. Woot.

Here are the overall Top 5
  1. Stanford
  2. Cornell
  3. Michigan State
  4. UPenn
  5. Georgia
How about that? We're #1 in the South, #5 in the nation, at least by these rankings. Our nearest SEC competition is Mizzou at #11 and I'm a bit baffled by the University of Florida's lack of appearance, at least early on in the list. Weird. UGA's speech comm program is further down the list too. Just so you understand, this list includes mass and speech comm, with in some places are together and in others far far apart. That's why UNC appears twice.

You can alter the list some depending on how you want to weight it, and we turn out high in terms of student outcomes (i.e., doc students getting jobs). If you order it by lower tuition, we're #2 in the nation. We drop when you order it by minority students and faculty, but not out of the Top 20, and our female to faculty ratio puts us at #3.

So what's this all mean? Not a lot, but it's comforting to see even if I don't deal a lot any more with doctoral students (I'm on, I think a couple of committees, but rarely if ever do I rate a class taught only at the doctoral level).

Monday, March 20, 2017

Oldest Web Pages at UGA

So, you ask, who was first at UGA on the web? Of course you asked that. I heard you.

First, keep in mind the web, as in the World Wide Web, is a relatively recent advance. The Internet has been around, technically, since 1969. (As an aside, I first went online in 1987. It was January. It was raining). The web was invented in 1989 but it was the mid-1990s before it truly became a factor for most folks. I think I played with it some in 1991 or 1992. Too long ago to remember.

Now, back to my point.

Using the magic of the Way Back Machine, we can see UGA's first page appears in February 1997. Not bad. Not great, mind you, but not bad -- and it beats UF by a couple of months, at least as measured by accessing of the Way Back Machine. I agree this is not a perfect measure, but it's what I have, so here are some of the likeliest UGA colleges. I omitted newer ones because, after all, they weren't around.

Oldest First UGA Pages
  • Grady College (journalism) -- Nov. 6, 1996. First, always, even before UGA itself.
  • Family & Consumer Sciences -- Jan. 19, 1997
  • Terry College (biz) April 8, 1997 (UPDATED, see comments below)
  • Ecology -- June 18, 1997
  • Pharmacy -- June 27, 1997
  • Education college -- July 6, 1997
  • VetMed -- Jan. 30, 1998
  • Forestry (later Warnell) (May 30, 1998)
  • Franklin College (arts & sciences) -- Dec. 12, 1998
  • Law -- July 28, 2001 (sigh, lawyers)
It's possible the names of the URLs changed, so maybe law.uga.edu was something else before and I missed it. My initial search for Warnell, as an example, didn't make sense, so I searched for forestry.uga.edu and sure enough they'd been around longer. I tried bizschool.uga.edu and business.uga.edu for Terry, but nothing popped up. I can't believe they didn't have a site until 2000, but then again, maybe they saw no money to be made in the whole Internet thing. I'm guessing I have the wrong URL somehow before they adopted terry.uga.edu.

Why was Grady a bit ahead of the UGA curve? Credit Scott Shamp and the old "mega-lab" that did some of our early Internet stuff, which later became the Dowden Center, which eventually became the New Media Institute here at Grady. Shamp is now at FSU doing some administrative crud, but when here his students were among the first at UGA to mess with the web.

Corrections or additions welcome. I didn't spend time typing in every possible uga.edu URL out there, though I suspect at least some had to predate Grady.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

2017's Happiest Places -- Sorta

Source: WalletHub

Wallethub, which loves to crank data and create clickable shareable content, has its 2017 happiest cities to live list out. Click on the link and you can sort the list lots of different ways, the most obvious one being by rank. California dominates among the highest ranking cities. The first Georgia city, Atlanta, comes in at #83.

Athens, Georgia, where I live and pretend to work, is not on the list. At all. Mainly because Athens, though a metro area, isn't among the 150 biggest cities in the U.S. We missed the cut, basically. Way missed it. By one list, we're 218th largest metropolitan area with a population of 213,189. The metro area with at #150, on that same list, has 340K. If we go by city population rather than metro area, we're at #221 in population. So either way you crank the numbers, we're not even close to the 150 mark and being included on this particular list.

How would Athens do if it did make the list? I'm not about to crank all the weighted data listed on Wallethub's methodology page, so you'll just have to wonder, but we'd have to score higher than Atlanta.

Oh, Detroit and Cleveland score the worst. Coming in at the third worst is Augusta, Georgia, surprising absolutely no one who has spent time there. Columbus, Georgia, is also high -- in terms of being the worst. So congrats to those Georgia cities for being noticed, if in a bad way.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Huh? Fluid-Crystallized Intelligence

As I scoured academe for stuff to blog about, I came across this study. Here's the abstract. Bold face emphases are mine.
Using the theory of fluid-crystallized intelligence, we argue that with growing age, political discussion becomes less important as a complement to news exposure in political knowledge building. We applied moderated mediation analyses to the survey data of N = 69,125 German respondents. The data supported the hypothesis that news exposure influences political discussion, which in turn leverages political knowledge. As expected, we showed that news exposure is more strongly associated with political discussion for younger age groups. The results are discussed with regard to how to integrate a psychological lifespan perspective into further research on knowledge acquisition.
Theory of fluid-crystallized intelligence? Wow. I used to think of myself as moderately well read in the political knowledge literature, but this one kinda frightens me. Sadly, I don't have access to the full manuscript, just the abstract, even with my office computer and IP#. Essentially this seems to be saying age matters. The older you get, the less important talking to people matters in political knowledge. It's based on a huge survey of 69,125 Germans. I wish I had access to the full study so I could peek at it further, but it may be some form of the Eurobarometer, but that seems less likely now that I think of it, as it's a survey of all of western Europe, not just Germany.

I did dig something up on this theory. Here's an older piece that says as you get older, you get less intelligent. Has to do with the plasticity of the brain, best I can tell.