Saint Mary’s to host student, faculty research symposium

first_imgSaint Mary’s will host the second Symposium of Research and Creative Scholarship, showcasing scholarly work of students and faculty alike from a variety of departments, Friday.Laura Williamson Ambrose, department chair of Humanistic Studies and coordinator of the event, said the event was inspired by a colloquium series where Saint Mary’s faculty members could present their research. Last year’s symposium consisted of seniors presenting their work for an hour, with a few panels focused on faculty research spread throughout the day, but Williamson Ambrose said she wanted to expand the symposium’s content to fill an entire day.“This year, what we decided to do was really expand it in scope and in scale,” she said. “We have a full day of events. … We asked for students to submit proposals as well as faculty, and we had a selection process for those proposals and created a series of interdisciplinary panels of a mixture of faculty and students throughout the day.”The symposium will have various conference portions throughout the day featuring students and faculty members from different departments and will conclude with a senior showcase and social hour. Williamson Ambrose said she hopes the event will celebrate all research conducted on campus, especially senior student research.“This kind of work, of course, has always gone on, but we realized that we need to make it more visible,” she said. “To make it more visible to the entire community and to the region, but also take an opportunity to celebrate, particularly for seniors as they prepare for their last month, or really, by that point, just a few weeks left on campus. It’s an opportunity to sort of sit back, congratulate yourself for your work and look and learn at the work of your friends and peers. You may know folks very thoroughly but not know very much about the kind of everyday scholarly interaction they have, particularly if you don’t have them in class or don’t share a major with them.”This celebration and exposure of research is one of the reasons senior psychology major Mara Egeler decided to present her studies on television as a coping mechanism at the Symposium, she said in an email.“I decided to say yes to presenting because it gives me the opportunity to educate others about my research,” Egeler said. “My project can be applied to all college students, not just those in the psychology department. I’m excited to spread my newfound information to a variety of students and faculty.”Similarly, senior music and psychology double major Franny Wall’s desire to share her research on music’s effects on dementia patients inspired her to present at the symposium, she said.“I’ve always heard great things about the symposium, and knowing that I would have a project put together that I was excited about, it greatly impacted my desire to present this year,” Wall said in an email.This symposium is not only a way for members of the community to share their findings, but it is also an opportunity for those not participating in the event to show support for their peers, Egeler said.“Everyone who is presenting at the symposium has put many hours into their projects and feels a great sense of pride about them,” she said. “We are excited to be sharing what we have learned with everyone in the Saint Mary’s community. Going to this symposium will help to show that you support all the research being conducted at Saint Mary’s. You may find new ideas in projects that you would like to further explore in your own research.”Similarly, Williamson Ambrose said she hopes the various presentations will inspire students to learn more about something that interests them or even lead them to a new path that may be seen as completely different from what interests them. She said she purposefully paired seemingly disparate disciplines to showcase the integration of learning Saint Mary’s strives to instill in its students.“There’s an integration in that way that I hope is going to be surfaced during the event itself,” Williamson Ambrose said. “In other words, we have integration that happens implicitly because of the majors and the kind of work the students do or collaborative projects between faculty and students or one another. But then we also have this in-the-moment kind of integration that can happen when sparks fly when you just put two people in a room together with two different ideas and see what happens. That’s what I’m excited to see happen on Friday.”The symposium will take place Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and a schedule of the symposium’s events can be found on the College’s website.Tags: academic research, department of humanistic studies, saint mary’s symposiumlast_img read more

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Here’s one thing you can do right now to succeed in 2020

first_imgWhat have you done this year? Was it different from what you did last year? Was it more of the same? Most importantly, did it help you achieve the results you wanted? If not, what are you going to change next year to make sure you don’t repeat that lack of success? Maybe you’ve spent the last few weeks—or the last few months—racking your brain and trying to figure out what needs to change.Some changes are easy. Others are more challenging. Fortunately, one of the easiest changes is also one of the most effective. You need to get a fresh perspective. I know that sounds simple, but I can tell you from personal experience, it works.Earlier this year, I realized I was stuck. I had been working with the same coach for more than five years. While he had helped my team and me achieve great things, I realized that we all needed a different point of view. I needed someone who could look at us with new eyes, someone who would ask new questions and encourage us to try different things. With that in mind, I started working with another coach over the summer. Just as I hoped, the creative floodgates opened. New questions and new ideas gave me the fresh perspective I was looking for. It did the same for our team. continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

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Mercer floats alternative valuation approach to reduce IAS 19 P&L charge

first_img“But it is important to air these issues and start a debate. We want to see the IASB or the International Financial Reporting Standards Interpretations Committee look at this question and reach a position on it.”IPE has also learned that Jardine Lloyd Thompson (JLT) has raised the possibility of using a yield-curve valuation method.Executive director Hugh Nolan said: “We don’t see this becoming mainstream because of the potential risks, and smaller companies might find that the expenses outweigh any gains. As a result, the population of sponsors that might seek to benefit from this approach is very limited.”The IASB published its revisions to IAS 19 on 16 June 2011. The changes focus on three areas of pensions accounting – recognition, presentation and disclosure.As a result, from this year, DB sponsors must apply the net interest approach to disaggregate and present items of pension expense.They must also report service cost as a component of profit or loss, net interest income/expense on the total DB asset/liability, and pension plan remeasurements as a component of other comprehensive income.But new doubts over the wording in paragraph 85 of IAS 19 have brought into question the basis on which companies should calculate the net interest income/expense line item.Until now, the mainstream understanding has been that sponsors will calculate the net interest cost/credit by multiplying the balance sheet liability/asset by the discount rate.In its November client briefing, Mercer notes that, although this “simplified approach” is one possible interpretation of the standard, another is to use “a full-yield curve valuation using market-implied discount rates for each individual future year.”The impact of any change in the net interest calculation under current market conditions could lead to a substantial reduction in a DB sponsor’s P&L charge.“While the yield curve is upward sloping,” Mercer said, “a yield curve valuation may also lead to a lower service cost as it will use, on average, the higher discount rates at the longer end of the curve.”On the current shape of the yield curve, any entity adopting the alternative approach could expect to use a one-year forward rate running at less than 1%, with typical discount rates of around 4.5%.The approach is not, however, without its opponents.Simon Robinson, an employee benefits consultant with Aon Hewitt, told IPE: “IAS19 is quite vague in this respect, which is why some people are interpreting it as allowing this approach.”Robinson, who also chairs the Association of Consulting Actuaries’ Accounting Committee, added: “Looking at paragraph 85, it says the discount rate should reflect the timing of the projected benefit payments, but then goes on to say a practical approach is to use a single weighted average discount rate.“So it appears to suggest that the theoretically correct approach is to use more than one discount rate, but a practical expedient is to use a single discount rate.”Early signals suggest any DB sponsor planning to adopt the new approach could run into opposition from their auditors.Audit sources close to the issue, who spoke to IPE on condition of anonymity, signalled a lack of support for the idea among auditors.Securities regulators have also put pensions accounting under the enforcement spotlight.A spokesman at the European Securities and Markets Authority told IPE that, although enforcers have not yet addressed the specific question of yield curve valuations, “employee benefits are included as part of European Common Enforcement Priorities for 2013 year-end”. Mercer has raised a question mark over the calculation of net interest costs on defined benefit pension funds under International Accounting Standard 19 (IAS 19), Employee Benefits.In an online update to clients, the consultancy said it might be appropriate in some circumstances for DB sponsors to calculate their profit or loss charge on the basis of a one-year forward rate in place of the more traditional approach of using the IAS 19 discount rate.In current market conditions, a company showing a deficit on its DB fund could expect to reach a better P&L result were it to make the switch.Deborah Cooper, a partner with Mercer’s UK retirement resource group, told IPE: “On the one hand, this is a legitimate reading of the standard, but, on the other, practice is entrenched, and there is a lot of inertia against any change.last_img read more

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