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University Relations

Volume 55, Issue 2

March 13, 2009

Mountain Lion Research Day to highlight university research

If there is to be peace in the Middle East, there must be an understanding of the psychological forces that promote violence, according to a leading expert in the field of terror management and UCCS professor.

“Because these and other intractable conflicts are rooted in a sense of injustice and humiliation that one side perceives as being inflicted on it by the other, these conflicts will never be resolved by purely military action, by one side overpowering the other,” Tom Pyszcsynski, distinguished professor, Psychology, said.

Pyszcsynski will discuss the theories and research he and his colleagues have developed over the past 25 years and some ideas about how they could be used to reduce support for violence in the Middle East and other conflict-ridden regions of the world as keynote speaker for Mountain Lion Research Day April 3 at UCCS.

“Solving the many problems we face in today’s world requires that we first understand what causes them – and virtually all of these problems have something to do with the way people think, feel, and act, which is exactly what psychology seeks to understand” Pyszczynski said. “Too often policy-makers ignore these psychological forces. My goal is to figure out how normal human attitudes and feelings can be used to help us figure out ways of solving the problems that seems so daunting to us these days.”

Pyszczynski will provide the keynote address at the research day, scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. April 3 at the Upper Lodge. The event is designed to showcase the research efforts of UCCS faculty and graduate students and to encourage collaboration between UCCS faculty, faculty at other colleges, as well as with local business.

More than 50 faculty members and graduate students will display ideas from disciplines ranging from physics to nursing in poster-sized summaries, according to Michael Larson, associate vice chancellor, Research and Innovation.

“As a regional university, UCCS researchers must engage with other public and private entities in Colorado Springs,” Larson said. “UCCS can support companies who are here or who may relocate here.”

Faculty members from Colorado College and the U.S. Air Force Academy, in addition to representatives from private organizations such as Agilent Technologies and Mitre Corporation, were invited to research day.

“Innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum,” Larson said. “The more people we have involved, the higher our odds of finding the combination that sparks a new idea.”

The event is sponsored by the El Pomar Institute for Innovation and Commercialization based at UCCS. There is no cost to attend but lunch reservations are required. Contact Bev Wasinger,, or 255-3631 for reservations or for more information.

The schedule of events is:

  • 7:30 a.m. – Presenter set-up
  • 8:30 a.m. – Poster presentations
  • 9:00 a.m. – Featured speaker, Andrew Ketsdever, assistant professor, Engineering.
  • 10 a.m. – Featured speaker, Thomas Wolkow, assistant professor, Biology
  • 11 a.m. – Featured speaker, Amy Silva-Smith, assistant professor, Nursing
  • 11:45 a.m. – Luncheon welcome, Pam Shockley-Zalabak, chancellor
  • Noon – Tom Pyszczynski, distinguished professor, Psychology

Communique is the online newsletter for UCCS faculty and staff. It is published weekly during the fall and spring semesters, monthly during the summer semester. Communique is sent to faculty and staff e-mail lists and, by request, to other e-mail addresses. Previous issues are available in the Communique Archives at, and the current issue is always at Suggestions and comments are welcome. Send ideas to or call Tom Hutton, 262-3439.

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