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Selected Media Coverage: November 16, 2006

Even With Internets Influence, College Fairs Continue to Play a Key Role in Recruiting
11/15/2006 - New York Times (cir. 1,142,464)

Leaner Shelves, Leaner Profits?
11/15/2006 - Forbes (cir. 900,000)

SYLLABUS: Course Allows Students to Design Campus Sports Facilities
11/14/2006 - Chronicle of Higher Education, The (cir. 100,000)

Barkey on Todd Feinburg program
11/09/2006 - Todd Feinburg

Kurdish Commander Wants Permanent U.S. Base in Northern Iraq
11/01/2006 - Assyrian International News Agency


Even With Internets Influence, College Fairs Continue to Play a Key Role in Recruiting
11/15/2006 - New York Times (cir. 1,142,464)഍਀ഀ਀
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WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — Even as the Internet has taken over nearly the entire college application process, one vestige of pre-Web days survives: the college fair.

From the Ketchikan College and Vocational Fair at Ketchikan High School in Alaska, to the School District of Palm Beach County’s fair at the South Florida Fairgrounds, high schools nationwide have been asking thousands of college representatives to stand on their feet for hours, marketing themselves to students and their parents. And with application season in full swing — deadlines vary, but most are Jan. 1 or Feb. 1 — colleges of all sizes and reputations are attending fairs, which are generally held in the fall until Thanksgiving, and even later.

To the colleges, the fairs are an effective marketing tool because, admissions officials say, students remember the grinning face and handshake, and are then more likely to follow up with a visit. To parents fretting about sending a child off to a strange land, even one surrounded by a fence, the personal touch found at a college fair is reassuring, college counselors say.

“You can’t shake an Internet hand,” said Richard Shaw, dean of admissions and financial aid at Stanford, which attends more than 100 fairs in the autumn and 50 to 80 in the spring in scores of American cities as well as Paris, London, Istanbul and five cities in Canada.

In some parts of the country, one high school holds a fair for hundreds of students and their parents. A fair in Baltimore on Nov. 15 and one in Washington on Nov. 16 are both expected to be so large that they will be held in convention centers.

The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor had representatives at more than 450 fairs last year, an increase from the year before, officials said. The University of Texas at Austin has also been attending more fairs each year, officials said; last year, it went to more than 800, accepting every invitation it received. Smith College, like many institutions, makes the rounds worldwide.

Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., is invited to more than 1,000 college fairs a year, said J. Bruce Gardiner, the interim dean of admissions and financial aid. He said the institution attended only those where students have had a history of enrolling at Lehigh.

“The college fair may be the driving force that makes them want to come and visit,” Mr. Gardiner said.

Even Harvard, an institution so well recognized that selling itself seems unnecessary, is at many fairs a year, said Robert P. Mitchell, a spokesman for the faculty of arts and sciences at the university.

“It’s still a popular way of recruiting,” he said.

Few colleges have enough admissions officers to send to every fair, so many institutions lean on alumni to represent them.

Kristen Macellaro, a regional admissions counselor for the University of Arizona, stood at a folding table at a fair at Conard High School in West Hartford recently, answering questions from students. The university moved Ms. Macellaro from its main campus in Tucson to the Northeast in March to cultivate new students.

“The number of applications to the university has increased drastically since I’ve been here,” she said. “There’s a big level of interest throughout the Northeast, and I really do feel like there’s a need for that personal connection.”

Katherine Turrow, 16, a junior at the school, stopped at the Smith table with her mother, Linda Scacco.

“I see this as a first step,” Ms. Scacco said. “Some schools that she has seen here she never would have considered otherwise. So we’ll narrow it down, and then look on the Internet.”

A couple of nights earlier and 12 miles east, hundreds of parents and students crowded the aisles of another fair at Glastonbury High School. Parking was chaotic, with visitors crowding cars onto the school’s lawns and in no-parking lanes to create spots.

Donald Otto and his son, Cody, 15, a sophomore, strolled the aisles, reviewing the long lineup of banners. “You can find a place you’re interested in here, and then go online,” Mr. Otto said. “This gives us the broad picture.”


Leaner Shelves, Leaner Profits?
11/15/2006 - Forbes (cir. 900,000)
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How much is enough?

For stores big and small, the constant battle to keep inventory at optimal levels is as old shopping itself. Today, it's a billion-dollar-a-year risk--perhaps the single biggest for the retail industry.

The risks cut both ways: Too much stock can bring slower turnover and cash flow, while too little can mean lost sales.

The carrying cost of retail inventory includes storage, financing, insurance, theft and damage. Some items, like perishable goods or "hot" cyclical fashion items, carry the additional risk of becoming stale or obsolete before they can be sold.

For a business, the cost of stocking excess inventory averages 20% to 25% of the value of the goods, according to Lehigh University professor Lawrence Snyder, who co-authored a study on how traditional stores can benefit from integrating their inventory management with their online offerings.

GXS, a business-to-business supply chain consultant, estimates that the industry loses $2.5 billion annually on obsolete inventory.

It's not surprising, then, that most retailers tend to err on the side of leaner inventory levels, despite the risk of stocking out and losing sales. Part of the reason is technology, where just-in-time advances have made it easier for companies to plug shortfalls much more quickly than they could in the past. While today's global supply chain can be tough to manage, software now alerts companies to ordering or delivery problems.

"It's about moving goods and replenishment and the ability to plan," says Eric Nilsson, a vice president at Infor, a consultancy specializing in supply chain management. When a retailing system is operating mid-term elections, President Bush has begun acknowledging frustration with the direction of events in Iraq. We discuss this adjustment with Professor Henri J. Barkey, Chairman of the International Relations Department at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. He served as a member of the U.S. State Department Policy Planning Staff (1998-2000) working primarily on issues related to the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean. His areas of expertise are the international relations and domestic politics of the Middle East (especially Turkey and the Kurds); U.S. policy toward the Middle East; and international political economy.

[NOTE: the interview is not yet available on the show's Website]


Kurdish Commander Wants Permanent U.S. Base in Northern Iraq
11/01/2006 - Assyrian International News Agency


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The commander of a major faction of Kurdish troops in Iraq says he would welcome the establishment of a permanent American military facility in northern Iraq, where Kurds are the dominant ethnic group.

"We highly support building a U.S. military base in Kurdistan," says Mustafa Said Qadir, deputy commander of "peshmerga" militia forces in northern Iraq and a senior member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) political party. "We [Kurds] all agree on that and we think it's very important."

His comments, offered early this month via e-mail in response to questions from Inside the Pentagon, came after Congress moved in late September to ban any such permanent U.S. facilities in the Persian Gulf nation. The fiscal year 2007 Defense Appropriations Act, which President Bush signed into law Sept. 29, includes a provision that prohibits spending "to establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing for the permanent stationing of United States armed forces in Iraq."

Critics have called on the administration to address Iraqi insurgent and population concerns about a long-term occupation by clearly disavowing any interest in permanent basing.

But at a press conference Oct. 25, Bush would not rule out the possibility.

"Any decisions about permanency in Iraq will be made by the Iraqi government," the president told reporters. "Remember, when you're talking about bases and troops, we're dealing with a sovereign government. Now, we entered into an agreement with the Karzai government [in Afghanistan]. They weren't called permanent bases, but they were called arrangements that will help this government understand that there will be a U.S. presence so long as they want them there.

"And at the appropriate time," Bush continued, "I'm confident we'll be willing to sit down and discuss, you know, the long-term security of Iraq."

Despite White House protests, there are growing bipartisan calls in Washington to scale back the U.S. troop presence in Iraq. Some opinion leaders support the establishment of a geographic partition along ethnic and religious lines, among them: Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.), ranking minority member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Leslie Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations; and Peter Galbraith, a former State Department official.

Sectarian violence in Iraq has risen sharply despite a change in strategy this summer that bolstered U.S. forces in the Baghdad area. The United States has 141,000 troops in Iraq.

In the past, Bush administration leaders have said there are no plans to establish permanent bases in Iraq. But in public statements they have never clearly ruled out the possibility.

Asked about the prospect by a Marine at a "town hall meeting" in Fallujah last December, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said, "We have no idea, but at the moment there are no plans for permanent bases here in this country."

In March, Zalmay Khalilzad, the Bush administration's ambassador to Baghdad, was quoted as saying on Iraqi television that the United States had "no goal of establishing permanent bases in Iraq."

Though the United States has turned over dozens of bases to the new Iraqi military, it has also continued to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into construction at a handful of installations occupied by U.S. forces, including Balad air base and logistics center north of Baghdad, al-Asad air base in the western desert, and Tallil air base in the southeast.

The Congressional Research Service reported last year the spending appears to suggest plans for a long-term U.S. presence. But a Pentagon spokesman said last spring the bases are being built for the Iraqis.

In his response to questions, Qadir also said the PUK is working with the Kurdistan Democratic Party, with whom his group has forged a sometimes uneasy alliance, to integrate their separate militias. The PUK dominates eastern Kurdistan while the larger KDP is centered in the west.

"We have a plan and [have] moved towards reuniting the peshmerga forces of Kurdistan, and establishing a force for protecting the Kurdistan region according to the Iraqi constitution," Qadir said.

"Along with the recent, ongoing merger of the PUK and KDP ministries in general, this is yet another sign of a stabilizing and maturing region capable of standing on its own two legs," says one U.S. Army officer in the region, speaking on condition of anonymity.

But the idea has raised concerns in Turkey and Iran, where some believe peshmerga integration is a significant step toward a fully independent Kurdish state, according to experts.

The Turkish military has long battled the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a Kurdish militant group, along the border with Iraq. And Turkey's leaders have expressed serious concern about a Kurdish nationalist movement that could destabilize its eastern region. In August, artillery shells fired from Iran hit remote Kurdish villages, killing at least two civilians and injuring more.

The Kurdish general brushed aside worries that an integrated militia could prove destabilizing to the region.

"Providing the Kurdish rights is the best guarantee for [stability], because Kurds have been persecuted for a long time and we never tyrannized anyone," Qadir said. "We are peaceful and seeking . . . democracy and only our rights."

Merging the two militias is "part of the integration of the two [Kurdish party] governments," says Henri Barkey, a State Department policy-planning official during the Clinton administration. But the desire for a permanent U.S. base in Kurdistan constitutes "hedging" against future violence, he says.

"Anyone looking at the situation in Iraq would say you need to prepare for that eventuality," Barkey told ITP in an Oct. 24 interview. "Having an American base is the best insurance policy they can get against the neighbors doing something against them, or the Shias or Sunnis going against them."

Now chairman of the international relations department at Lehigh University, Barkey called the latter possibility "unlikely." But he added, "If you're a Kurd, you have to worry about it."

The thriving Kurdish community in northern Iraq has been a boon to Turkey, even as its military maintains a presence on both sides of the Iraqi border to counter PKK activity, according to regional experts.

"Turkey certainly is reaping the huge economic benefits from the most stable and prosperous -- by far -- region in Iraq," says the Army officer in the region. "It would all be put at risk by [any] significant military action by Turkey against the Kurdish villages. . . . Reasonable minds on both sides of the border see this, but not everybody is reasonable."

The Turkish military "cares little about the economic ties," he said.

"The Kurds have every right to be independent," says Najmaldin Karim, president of the Washington Kurdish Institute. "After all, the Kurds are the largest group in the world not to have an independent state. It is the hope of every Kurd to have that."

A Kurdish state may be in the cards only if Iraq fractures, he told ITP in a late-August interview.

"Circumstances do not currently permit" an independent Kurdish nation, Karim said. "But if the circumstances permit, sure, I think it will happen," he said.

Posted on Thursday, November 16, 2006

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