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New Adobe Digital Studio sparks creativity, collaboration

Last spring, Clemson became the only university in the country to provide all students, faculty and staff full use of the Adobe Creative Cloud. And this past fall, a new digital studio in the R.M. Cooper Library opened to give the Clemson community a place to work together, using technology powered by the entire Adobe Creative Cloud and Digital Publishing Solution, the industry-leading solution for creating engaging mobile apps.

Jan Holmevik, associate professor of English and co-director of the Center of Excellence in Next Generation Computing and Creativity, sees it as another step forward for 21st century education. “The big differentiator is creativity, and the studio fits into that larger vision of injecting creativity into the learning process at all levels,” he said. “I hope great ideas will emerge out of the collaborative efforts and sheer inspiration, because seeing what is possible can spark invention.”
The studio features a soundproof audio production studio, a video production studio, collaborative workstations, a high-resolution scanner and a nine-display Behance wall that projects from Adobe’s Behance e-portfolio site based on search criterion. Clemson students also can upload their work to Behance so it will be displayed on the wall, something Holmevik said is appropriate for its library location. “Seeing your colleagues’ work portrayed in an artistic display is not only satisfying, but it helps spark creativity and make you want to do better,” he said.

With a focus on working together, Holmevik likes to call the studio 
“a collaboratory.”

Wesley Smith, manager of the studio, said, “In today’s job market, it’s not ‘what you know’ as much as ‘what you can do.’ We want to give people the skillset and knowledge to allow them to set themselves apart in the job market and flourish in their careers.”

Vice President Biden visits in support of “It’s On Us”

Vice President Biden

Vice President Biden

Vice President Joe Biden visited the Clemson campus to speak in support of the “It’s On Us” campaign, a White House initiative to help prevent sexual assaults on college campuses.

Offensive lineman Eric Mac Lain, captain of the Tiger football team, introduced Biden, who addressed students packed into Jervey gym. Biden urged the crowd to watch out for one another and take the pledge at ItsOnUs.org to work against sexual assaults on campus.

NASA looks to Clemson research stars for answers to Mars mission

Psychology professors, Tom Britt and Marissa Shuffler at Planetarium in Kinard Hall.

Psychology professors, Tom Britt and Marissa Shuffler at Planetarium in Kinard Hall.

A three-year, 70-million mile space voyage takes some serious planning. And the world’s largest space agency has turned to Clemson in preparing for the first-ever manned mission to Mars in 2030.

In laying the groundwork for this marathon adventure, NASA has tapped Clemson psychology 
professors Tom Britt and Marissa Shuffler to make recommendations on the health and performance of astronauts for the 36-month journey. Britt and Shuffler are familiar faces to government-funded research, with both having worked on U.S. Department of Defense projects.

Both researchers are in the first phase of study for the Mars mission, with Britt exploring the issue of meaningful work as a potential antidote to extended boredom in isolation, while Shuffler focuses on the dynamics of multiple teams working together in multi-team systems composed of astronauts and a myriad of international ground personnel.

Even though the maiden voyage to Mars is 15 years away, design work has begun on Orion, the space capsule. The command module is estimated to have less than 320 cubic feet of habitable space and is capable of handling two to six crew members. Britt said the close quarters present many challenges to the astronauts, given the length of the mission — a year traveling to and from Mars and two years living on the red planet.

“The initial research will look at what can offset the monotony and boredom of being confined in a small space for such a length of time, not to mention the psychological effects of extended isolation,” Britt said. “The first phase of the study will provide an analysis about previous research and the operational assessment of astronauts. The result will be recommendations on what the mission planner and crew psychologists can do to better prepare the astronauts for this rigorous journey.”

In providing NASA with research literature, Britt has been asked to interview current and former astronauts and astronaut trainers.

“The idea is to find out what was learned in previous missions about the benefits of meaningful work and how it reduced the negative effects on the astronauts’ stress,” Britt added. “The hope is this work may be a precursor to potentially creating a coping strategy training module for the ground crew to use when communicating with the astronauts.”

Likewise, Shuffler is conducting interviews with a focus on teamwork and multi-team system issues for those who have been involved in space flight or subjected to isolation in environments like the Arctic for extended periods 
of time.

“I’ve talked to astronauts, a retired flight director, scientists involved with space missions and people who have spent winters in the Arctic,” Shuffler said. “One of my charges is multi-team systems and understanding the dynamics between mission control and the astronauts and how all the associated teams can work together toward a cohesive outcome. There’s also the international component of astronauts and support staff and communications from the various mission controls that will be involved.”

Beyond teamwork among the many parties, leadership is another deep dive Shuffler is doing in her NASA research for the estimated $100 billion mission. Shuffler and Britt said the first phase of research could well lead to more questions from NASA and additional studies.

“Marissa and I are just cracking the surface on some of the critical information NASA needs in preparing for a mission of this significance,” Britt said. “It’s a fascinating and rewarding project that we are both honored to be a part of.”