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* University leads nation in awards from new program for researchers
* Three who embody Jeffersonian ideals earn one of CU's highest honors
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Former NBC producer named director of leadership institute


Stephen Grace, former general manager of the largest educational cable access channel in the country and a producer for NBC's "Today" show, has been appointed executive director of the Presidents Leadership Institute at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

The institute is home of the nationally recognized Presidents Leadership Class (PLC), a rigorous academic and experiential four-year leadership training program for top CU-Boulder students. Each year, 50 of CU's top-ranked entering freshmen are selected to be PLC Scholars and awarded merit-based scholarships.

Grace has more than 25 years of experience in nonprofit management, broadcast journalism and academia. He served as president of the Los Angeles Cable Television Access Corporation and as general manager of cable access channel LA36. During his tenure, he raised more than $2 million in grants and production fees and built closer ties to the community and local colleges and universities. He won an Emmy Award for local programming and the Carrie Chapman Leadership Award from the League of Women Voters for his efforts to broadcast local election information.

He traveled around the world while producing "Today" show segments and programs for NBC News. He later was a founding partner of Popular Arts Entertainment, one of the largest independent news production groups in the United States. More recently, he was an adjunct faculty member in communications studies at California State University Los Angeles, where he specialized in new media and technology.

Disney exec to bring media expertise to telecommunications program


Preston Padden, executive vice president for government relations for the Walt Disney Co., will join the University of Colorado at Boulder in the fall as an adjunct professor in the Interdisciplinary Telecommunications Program and as a senior fellow at the Silicon Flatirons Center.

Padden, who recently announced plans to retire from Walt Disney, has been a regular speaker at the center's conferences since 2000, discussing piracy and media regulation. He will participate in a Jan. 31-Feb. 1 Silicon Flatirons Center conference, "The Digital Broadband Migration: Examining the Internet's Ecosystem."

Dale Hatfield, adjunct professor of telecommunications and interim director of the center, said he expects Padden will co-teach a course on new media and cable television in the fall.

"Preston understands the media business probably as well as or better than anyone in the U.S.," Hatfield said. "We've been talking to him for a long time about coming to teach at CU."

Padden joined Walt Disney Co. in 1998 after serving a year as president of the ABC television network. Prior to that, he was president of network distribution for the Fox network and part of the original team that created the fourth broadcast network. He holds a law degree from George Washington University and a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Maryland. His son, Joseph, lives in Boulder.

"We are pleased that Mr. Padden will be teaching part-time at the University of Colorado," said engineering Dean Robert Davis." To have an individual with his extensive practical experience and record of achievement join our faculty is of tremendous benefit to our students."

The Interdisciplinary Telecommunications Program, which is hosted by the College of Engineering and Applied Science, is the nation's oldest and one of the most prestigious graduate telecommunications programs in the world. For more than 35 years, the program has educated leaders who can bridge the engineering, business, economics, policy and legal fields.

UC Denver educator selected for national research award


Phil Strain, director of the Positive Early Learning Experiences (PELE) Center in the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver, has been selected as the 2010 recipient of the Council for Exceptional Children's Special Education Research Award.

The national award will be presented at the council's annual convention, April 21 in Nashville. Strain is an expert on intervention research specific to young children with autism, young children with early onset problem behavior and children's social/emotional development.

The Council for Exceptional Children is the largest international professional organization dedicated to improving the educational success of individuals with disabilities and/or gifts and talents. CEC advocates for appropriate governmental policies, sets professional standards, provides professional development, advocates for individuals with exceptionalities, and helps professionals obtain conditions and resources necessary for effective professional practice.

University of Colorado Cancer Center awards grants to faculty
Six faculty members have been awarded University of Colorado Cancer Center American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grants. The 2010 recipients each will receive $30,000 to explore a cancer research topic for one year.

The awards are for junior faculty members who have not obtained national funding and are intended to jump-start their independent research programs in order to help them receive more funding, said the center's interim director, Andrew Thorburn, Ph.D.

Grant winners are:
No Photo Available Gagan Deep, Ph.D.
research instructor, pharmaceutical sciences;
University of Colorado School of Pharmacy

Dohun Pyeon, Ph.D.
assistant professor; microbiology;
University of Colorado Denver

Schweppe Rebecca Schweppe, Ph.D.
assistant professor; endocrinology/metabolism/diabetes;
University of Colorado School of Medicine
Vibhakar Rajeev Vibhakar, M.D., Ph.D.
assistant professor, pediatrics;
University of Colorado School of Medicine
Yang Xiaoping Yang, Ph.D.
research instructor, medical oncology;
University of Colorado School of Medicine
Yi Rui Yi, Ph.D.
assistant professor, molecular, cellular and developmental biology;
University of Colorado at Boulder

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