Weiss Brings ‘Frame,’ Indie Films to KERA

September 10, 2014

“Frame of Mind,” a series of 13 episodes, will air on KERA TV this fall. The series is a collection of homegrown documentaries, feature films and video shorts and is produced by Associate Professor Bart Weiss (Art & Art History).

The first episode premiered Thursday, Sept. 4. The second episode airs tomorrow at 10 p.m. Weiss said the episode will featuring work from Texas independent filmmakers, including UT Arlington alumna Iris Lopez (’13).

Films by three UT Arlington students — Jean-Patrick Mahoney, Julie Gould and Gabriel Duran — will air on Oct. 16 in Episode 7. And the show’s intro includes work from UTA graduates Joe Ramirez and Sai Selvaraja.

Weissa is excited about the level of exposure his students will receive from the KERA broadcast.

“An airing on public television reaches so many more people than anything at a film festival,” he said. “Every one of these students, at some point, will be some place and someone will recall they’ve seen their work on television. That doesn’t happen to many people.”

For more about this series, visit the KERA website.



COLA Notes for September 2014

September 10, 2014

News and notes from around the College of Liberal Arts…

ART & ART HISTORY: Senior Lecturer Mark Clive and MFA students Ryan Britton and Brendan Feltrup-Exum will work on safety training documentary for UTA’s Division for Enterprise Development. The Centers for Disease Control and National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health awarded the UTA group a grant worth $1 million over the next four years for its education projects. … This year, Dallas VideoFest and the Video Association of Dallas have a plan to reframe events and allow audiences to rediscover all that the festival has to offer, according to a Dallas Observer story that mentioned Associate Professor Bart Weiss, an organizer of the festival. The story also said the Dallas VideoFest will screen a special Native American film at UT Arlington on Oct. 13. …. Visiting Assistant Professor Stephen Lapthisophon made the Dallas 40 list as an artist, D Magazine reported in its annual issue of what’s best in Dallas. Over the past decade, Lapthisophon has been one of a number of artists and art professors in Dallas who have helped a younger generation of artists. … This summer, Associate Professor Marilyn Jolly and Senior Lecturer Carlos Donjuan presented an exhibit depicting illegal immigration at the Nave Museum in Victoria, Texas, Crossroads Today reported. The exhibit closed Aug. 31. The Victoria (Texas) Advocate included a video of the exhibition on the website. … Assistant Professor Ya’Ke Smith offered his favorite Texas films in a DFW.com article. Smith included “Jason’s Lyric,” “Go Down,” “Death!,” “No Country for Old Men” and “The Legend of Billie Jean” as his choices. … Both Professor Benito Huerta and Assistant Professor Sedrick Huckaby are featured in new promotional material from Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth. … Professor Kenda North discussed her fascination with underwater photography in a Q&A with the Oak Cliff Advocate. “I’ve always loved the figure. And I’ve always enjoyed working with fabric. And I love to swim. The water just provides this really wonderful environment to shoot in,” North said. … Times of India and New Delhi Television.com carried a story that quoted Assistant Professor Melia Belli Bose about Ram V. Sutar, who the New York Times said “may be history’s most prolific monumental sculptor.” … BFA graduate Nick Billalba is a full time employee for professional artist Lee Ware, who is working in Lubbock. … Alumna Randi Kolbe continues to work on her mobile glass facility, which is fabricated out of a recreational vehicle. The fully functional mobile glass studio will accommodate hot glass working, as well as neon, and ready to roll next summer. … Kelley McCabe accepted a summer internship at SiNaCa Glass studios in Fort Worth. … Ray Queen accepted an internship at the Tulsa Glassblowing Studio in Oklahoma. … Kalle Tiihonen recently received a partner scholarship from the Pittsburg Glass Center. … BFA graduate Hayley Fowler accepted a six-week internship as a technician and assistant coordinator to the Studios. MFA graduate Neal Paustian claimed a three-week internship with the same group. … Jean Fernandes spent the summer as a teaching assistant to American artist Aimee Sones, as well as Anjali Srinivasan, an Indian artist who is currently working in Dubai. … Shannon Brunskill (’11) recently served as teaching assistant for South American artist Silvia Levinson. … Graduate student Michelle Pennington received the Dubois grant, a $3,000 juried scholarship, which enabled her to take a three-week course with South American artist Silvia Levinson. She also received funding from the Charles T. McDowell Center for international research and travel to Istanbul.

COMMUNICATION: Assistant Professor Erika Pribanic-Smith traveled to Alexandria, Va., in July to conduct research on political Journalism in the 19th-century South. Pribanic-Smith will also travel to St. Paul, Minn., in October to present an original research paper entitled “Assassination of Jason Clarke Swayze: Libel Press Freedom, and Editorial Civility in 1870s Kansas” at the American Journalism Historians Association. She will also be inducted as president of the organization. … Pribanic-Smith, Assistant Professor Dustin Harp and Assistant Professor Mark Tremayne traveled to Montreal, Canada in August to attend the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) Conference. The professors presented original research papers. Tremayne’s paper, co-authored with Milad Minooie, is entitled “Using Social Media to Analyze Candidate performance and Public Opinion.” Harp’s paper is entitled “Alternate Spaces for Feminist Voices: Social Media’s Influence on CNN’s Steubenville Rape Coverage.” Pribanic-Smith’s paper is entitled “Southern Values and the 1844 Election in the South Carolina Press.” A poster she created also won Best Poster in the History Division at the conference. … Harp and research collaborators from universities in Chile and the University of Oklahoma conducted new research that examined the presence of female columnists in U.S. opinion pages. The new research was recently published in the June issue of Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly. … Associate Professor Shelley Wigley traveled to Chicago in June to attend the 2014 Academic Summit Conference “Storytelling at the Speed of Now.” … Associate Professor Chyng-yang Jang attended the Corporate Communication International Conference in Hong Kong this summer to present a paper entitled “Small Local Business on Facebook: An Initial Survey.” … Broadcast lecturer Julian Rodriguez and 13 students representing UTA and UTA News en Espanol attended the National Association Hispanic Journalist Conference in San Antonio last month. … Associate Professor Thomas Christie traveled to Nice, France, this month to present an original research paper at the World Association of Public Opinion Research Conference. Christie’s paper is entitled “Agenda Setting and Polling during Gun Control Debate: A Study of News Media Reporting of Public Opinion Polling and Social Media Trends during the Sandy Hook Tragedy.” … Associate Professor Charla Markham Shaw traveled to Austin last week to serve as a panelist for the Experienced Chair’s Roundtable for New Department Chair Orientation. … Journalism lecturer Kim Jones traveled to Nashville, Tenn., this month to attend the Society of Professional Journalists’ Conference as a UTA representative and an officer of the Fort Worth chapter of the organization. … Broadcast Lecturer Lance Liguez will travel to Seattle, Wash., in October to attend the College Broadcasters, Inc. Conference. His panel, “Essential Equipment: The Smartphone in News & Social Media,” will explore recommended apps and techniques for use in student electronic news gathering. UTA Radio is also a finalist for a CBI award in the category of Best Sportscast. … Assistant Professor Rachel Stohr will travel to Chicago, Ill., in November to present an original research paper at the National Communication Association. … Undergraduates Porfirio López and Maritza Moreno are two of the four winners of this year’s Press Club of Dallas scholarships. THe awards were announced last month. … Candace Sweat (’06) is now working as a reporter for WRAL in Raleigh, N.C. … Daniel Armbruster (’08) is now a weekend co-anchor at 40/29 KHBS/KHOG-TV in Fayetteville/Fort Smith, Ark. … Matthew Linguist (’09) is now a full-time photographer at KCCO Fox 25 in Oklahoma City. Linguist worked previously as Digital Content Specialist at KXII in Sherman. … Chris Mead (’10) is working as Video Creative Services Manager for Texas Stars Hockey Club. … Himanshu Patel (’14) was hired at the Richards Group in Dallas as a brand manager. … Alyxandra (Crawford) Jones (’13) is working in production at CBS 11 alongside other UTA alum Sean Noell (’12) and Omar Castillon (’14). … Francesca Washington (’10) is a reporter at KLTV in Tyler. … Mayde “Mimi” Gomez (’11) was recently named correspondent and multi-media journalist at KSAT in San Antonio. … Broadcast majors are interning with a local television, radio and media outlets. Jimena Fraga is interning with KDFW FOX 4. Dylan Fry, Brandon Gordon, Marlene Herrera, Parker Hillis and Grant McKinley are working with CBS Radio this semester. Froylan Guerrero is interning with local affiliate CBS Channel 11. Derek Guthrie Kaufman is working with UTA Movin’ Mavs. … Public relations majors are also gaining practical experience this fall. Fabian Brown is working with Parkland Health and Hospital System in Dallas. Mary McKena Honnoll is interning with Solkissed Swimwear while Jasmina Kazic is at TheCelebrityCafe.com. Vanessa Suarez is spending the semester at DFW International Airport, and Elizabeth Pugh is working with the North Central Texas Council of Governments, Elisa Tapia with Allied Integrated Marketing and Shelby Cummings with College Park District. Edrea Au is interning with the Red Balloon Network at Children’s Medical Center this fall. … Advertising majors have also landed coveted internships. Michael Colman II is interning with Moroch Partners and Hieu Duc Hoang with Atomic DC. Matthew Fomby is spending the semester with Texas Motor Speedway. … Journalism major Erik Velasquez is working with UTA Athletics. … Communication Technology major Michelle Do is spending the fall semester, working with Vietnamese Baptist Church of Arlington, and Daniel Mancillas is working with Functional Food Center Inc. … Communication Studies major Kacie Everhart is interning with TheCelebrityCafe.com. … For Moviemaker.com, Eddie McGee, an actor with an amputated leg, discussed his fight against onscreen stereotypes, and his experience co-starring in the upcoming thriller, “The Human Race.” McGee attended UT Arlington in 2000, majoring in broadcasting and minoring in theater.

Assistant Professor Pribanic-Smith poses in front of the poster she created for the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication National Conference in Montreal in August. The entry won Best Poster in the History Division. (Photo contributed)

Assistant Professor Pribanic-Smith poses in front of the poster she created for the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication National Conference in Montreal in August. The entry won Best Poster in the History Division. (Photo contributed)

CRIMINOLOGY & CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Department of Homeland Security’s Senior Special Agent Keith Owens (MA, ’13) recently won the 2014 Texas Children’s Hero Award from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

HISTORY: Assistant Professor Oliver Bateman was a guest on WBAL/1090 AM (Maryland) this summer for a story about grade inflation at U.S. universities and colleges. He said it begins at the elementary school level and “the students have come to expect good marks, good scores as a way of confirming they’re average.” … The Fort Worth Star-Telegram published an article about doctoral student Robert Caldwell, who was running last month to be vice chairman of his native Choctaw-Apache Tribe. Caldwell said the most important issue for him to tackle is to get his tribe recognized by the federal government. He did not win the election. … Doctoral candidate Kristen Burton recently won a Marc Friedlander Fellowship at the Massachusetts Historical Society. She spent part of her summer working on a research project with librarians at an MHS facility in Boston. … The newest edition of Fronteras, an annual newsletter from the Center for Southwestern Studies, is now available online.

LINGUISTICS & TESOL: The Department of Linguistics and TESOL welcomed six new doctoral students to the program for Fall 2014, including one who arrives with Fulbright funding. … Professor Colleen Fitzgerald urged Congress to approve two vitally important bills necessary to preserving Native American languages in a Huffington Post opinion piece. Fitzgerald wrote that “language is essential to our humanity, fundamental for expressing culture and encoding traditional knowledge.” … Doctoral student Ehsan Shafiee Zargar, who plays traditional Iranian instruments, performed at the Association of Friends of Persian Culture meeting in Chicago last month. … Another alum has joined the Chinese teaching faculty in the Department of Modern Languages: Ruby Yi-Ping Wang (MA in Linguistics and MA in TESOL, ’10) is currently a lecturer in Chinese at UT Arlington. … Three faculty from the English Language Institute took the summer off from teaching and expanded their skills in interesting work outside of UTA: Pearl Lee worked for six weeks in China for a non-profit organization, Educational Services Exchange with China (ESEC), at Peking University (Beijing); Kelli Sedervicius conducted training sessions in New York City for a month; Adam Stein (MA TESOL, ’09) did volunteer work in the West Bank of Palestine for two different organizations: Defence for Children International and Al Rowwad. … Four linguists will be presenting research at the Ninth International Conference on the Mental Lexicon in Ontario, Canada, this month: Doctoral student Ehsan Shafiee Zargar and Assistant Professor Naoko Witzel will present the poster, “The timing of morphological decomposition: Evidence from inflected words,” while doctoral student Namrata Dubey, Assistant Professor Jeffrey Witzel and Assistant professor Naoko Witzel will present “Asymmetrical translation priming in highly-proficient early bilinguals.” … Funded by REU supplement from the National Science Foundation, Professor Colleen Fitzgerald will be hiring three undergraduate students to be research assistants this fall in the Native American Languages Lab, working on the documentation of Native American languages. … Two Louisianans are starting to reconstruct Chan-Chuba, a Houma, La., language that hasn’t been spoken for more than a century, the New Orleans Advocate and Native Times reported. One of the Louisianans attended CoLang, the UT Arlington Institute for Collaborative Language Research, this summer where she learned how to reconstruct a language. … A new book by doctoral graduate Joshua Jensen (’14), “Jarai Clauses and Noun Phrases,” was recently published by De Gruyter Mouton.

MUSIC: UT Arlington’s Maverick Marching Band was featured on KDFW/FOX4 for taking the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to promote awareness of the disease. After soaking themselves, they challenged other area bands to do the same. … Pianist Alexey Chernov, a semifinalist in the 2013 Van Cliburn competition, will perform in Irons Recital Hall on Thursday, Sept. 18, and lead a masters class on Friday, Sept. 19. Chernov is also slated to perform for the Arlington Woman’s Club on Saturday, Sept. 13.

PHILOSOPHY: Barry Creamer (Ph.D. Humanities, ’00) has been chosen as president at Dallas’ Criswell College, BRNow.org reported.

POLITICAL SCIENCE: With help from his wife, Natalia Verjat Gutierrez, and graduate student Moises Gurolla, Professor Jose Angel Gutierrez completed a Spanish-to-English translation of “Mas Alla del Rio Bravo: Una breve historia de los Mexicanos en el norte de Texas,” a book published by the Mexican Government’s Secretary of Foreign Relations in 2013. The authors are Manuel Garcia y Griego, former director of UTA’s Center for Mexican American Studies, and Roberto Calderon (University of North Texas). The English version is titled “Beyond the Rio Grande; A Brief History on Mexicans in North Texas.” Publication of the English translation is pending. … Recently, about 400 people protested Israeli violence in the Middle East, KDFW/Fox 4 reported. Israel and Hamas have been exchanging missile fire. Associate Professor Brent Sasley said another round of violence was predictable. He said all the Israelis want is something they call “quiet.” Sasley wrote an opinion piece about the situation for The National Interest. He has also been quoted in recent stories from The National (Abu Dhabi), Politico.com, Vox.com and Haaretz Magazine. … The Fort Worth Star-Telegram interviewed Associate Professor Allan Saxe about thousands of Tarrant County donations flowing in the governor’s race. Saxe was also quoted in a Mansfield News-Mirror story about Mansfield’s increase in property values and tax revenues. … Sophomore Esther Kentish is among 47 winners of the Life Lessons Scholarship, financial awards given to students whose college-going plans were affected when their parent passed away without adequate life insurance, according to an announcement last month on Reuters website.

SOCIOLOGY & ANTHROPOLOGY: Running is one of the best cardio workouts you can get, lifehacker and Computer Tips and Tricks reported. Professor Ben Agger, an avid runner, was quoted in both stories. Agger wrote articles for Truthout about the popular television program “Mad Men”  as well as about dinner decisions made by Americans. … Agger has updated his book “Oversharing: Presentations of Self in the Internet Age” with a new chapter on selfless, job loss due to oversharing and when governments extend too much surveillance over its citizens. … A book by Associate Professor Jason Shelton received an honorable mention in the 2014 Distinguished Book Award competition, The Dallas Morning News reported. Shelton co-wrote Blacks and Whites in Christian America: How Racial Discrimination Shapes Religious Convictions with Michael Emerson, co-director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University. … Sara Skiles-Dutoit (MA, ’03) recently completed her Ph.D. in Sociology at Notre Dame.

THEATRE ARTS: The Musical Theatre Project 2014 begins this weekend and will consist of a devised musical theatre piece with UTA musical theatre students, music composition majors, theatre technology students and acclaimed musical artist Kate Kilbane and The Kilbanes. The Musical Theatre Project will be performed Sunday, Sept. 14 at the Fine Arts Buiding North, Studio Theatre. … Associate Professor Dennis Maher recently performed his one-person production of “The Trouble Begins at Eight” as a fundraiser for Onstage in Bedford. … Maher also performed as Gaston in “Picasso at the Lapen Agile,” a play directed by Lecturer Melanie Mason. Also appearing were UTA alumni Steven D. Morris, Alan Cooke and Stacy (Ingram) Cook, and current student Andrew Beckman.  Theatre Arts major Hailey Eakle was the costumer and alumna Cathy Pritchett was the assistant stage manager. … Senior Lecturer Natalie Gaupp performed in a new play premiered by the Fort Worth theatre troupe, SceneShop. The suspense thriller, “A Long Damned Night,” featured UTA alumnus Joshua Eguia. Gaupp also taught and designed the curriculum for a series of summer theatre classes at Fort Worth’s Arts Fifth Avenue, and directed a staged reading of the Broadway crime drama, “A Steady Rain,” starring senior Travis J. Fant and alumnus David Wilson Brown. … Senior Lecturer Julienne Greer performed in the “The Other Place” at Circle Theatre in Fort Worth. … Scenic Designer Michelle Harvey attended the USITT Commissioner’s Retreat and Diversity seminar in Nashville, Tenn., last month. … Broadway veterans and musical theater faculty gathered last month for the College Audition Prep Weekend at Dallas’ Music Hall in Fair Park, Ask Miss A reported. Assistant Professor Anne Healy was one of the instructors at the workshop, aimed at preparing high school and college students in the fine arts for auditions. She directed a staged reading of the new work “Under the Overpass” at the Margo Jones Theatre. … Lecturer Felicia Berth taught a three-week course last month at Wheaton College. She directed an undergraduate and graduate performance. … Senior Lecturer Brandi Andrade has helped develop the production of Melissa James Gibson’s play “[sic]“. The show will run Sept. 11-27 at Echo Theatre in Dallas. … Over the summer, Professor Andrew Gaupp directed the premiere of “Mi Princesa Perfecta” in Scottsdale. Ariz., for the New Play Development Workshop (NPDW) of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education.  … Danielle Georgiou has joined the Department of Theatre Arts as part of the UTA Dance Ensemble. She is the founder of DGDG: the Danielle Georgiou Dance Group, a performance art dance group that works within ideas of German expressionism and Tanztheater (dance theatre). … Lecturer Seraphina Nova recently published a novel, “Another Stone to Carry” (All That Matters Press, 2014). … Lecturer Laurel Whitsett performed in Kitchen Dog Theatre’s “The 1st Dallas One-Minute Play Festival” in August. … Alumnus Brad Kanouse has been hired as the Production Coordinator for Stages Repertory Theatre in Houston. … Rosalinda Olivares (’14) is working with the Texas Creative Arts Academy this fall. … Senior Kelly Steward played Jamie in the two-person play, “None of the Above,” with Pegasus Theatre at The Bath House Cultural Center. The play ran Aug. 14-30. … Alumna Laura Choate is going on tour with the Dallas Children’s Theater’s “The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley.” The tour begins Sept. 28 and ends in June.  … Winston Daniels (’13) was invited to perform in New York City with the Amphibian Stage Productions (Fort Worth). Winston is a stilt dancers, a specialized performance were actors perform and tell traditional Mexican stories.  … Senior G. Dean McBride has been hired as the Technical Director for “Thinner Than Water” at the Kitchen Dog Theater. Another UTA student, Omar Gonzalez, will assist McBride.  … Molly Pope (’13) was cast as the lead in the premiere of the new musical “Broken,” which ran from July 25-Aug. 17 at Gilley’s in Dallas. Theatre Arts major Glenn Long was cast in the musical as well. … Anna Marie Boyd (’14) performed as Dainty June in “Gypsy” at the Stolen Shakespeare Guild in August. … Joshua Eguia (BFA ’14) has been hired as a teacher by the Grand Prairie ISD.

WOMEN’S STUDIES: The Center for Women’s and Gender Studies will begin its inaugural “Women in the Americas” lecture series today; the series examines global women’s issues. Dawn F. Stinchcomb (Purdue University) will present “Dangers to Society: Examining Single Women in the Margins.” The lecture begins at noon at Trimble Hall, Room 200. … UTA alumna Lizette Barrera will screen her short film, “Rubies,” during the annual Lunafest film festival Oct. 16. … Whitney Peoples (Emory University) will discuss issues surrounding women’s reproductive health in the U.S. during a brown bag lecture on Nov. 5. … The center’s newsletter, “Got Gender?,” is now available online.


FROM THE DEAN: Join Our Celebration

September 9, 2014
Dean Beth Wright

Dean Beth Wright

Welcome to Fall 2014!

This is an exciting time at The University of Texas at Arlington. UT Arlington has been recognized by the Chronicle of Higher Education as the 6th fastest growing public research university in the United States. This might be the year in which our enrollment goes beyond 34,000! Princeton Review named UT Arlington one of the Best in the West in its 2014 Best Colleges and Universities by Region. And we are very proud of the achievements of College of Liberal Arts faculty, students, and alumni.

We began the Fall 2014 semester with MavsMeet Convocation. The College of Liberal Arts was prominently featured and I was tremendously proud to see our students and faculty perform and to hear the admiring comments from one and all. It’s very impressive not only how well our marching band performed but how quickly they reach this standard after such a short period of preparation. We also had the pleasure of hearing the alma mater sung by the UTA Choir select ensemble and the UT Arlington jazz ensemble had the students literally dancing in the aisles – unscripted rapture! And when President Karbhari gave examples of exceptional achievement by undergraduate students, he included our own Samantha Jones, an English major who won the Spring 2014 UT System Outstanding Student Award in Arts and Humanities for Creative Writing. It was a magnificent occasion and a wonderful way to enter the new academic year.

The UT System celebrated the 2014 Regents Outstanding Teaching Award winners: 57 of them across the UT System. Of the four faculty members from UT Arlington, three are in the College of Liberal Arts: Dr. Krystal Beamon (Assistant Professor of Sociology), Darryl Lauster (recently promoted to Associate Professor of Art) and Dr. Allan Saxe (Associate Professor of Political Science). In the second year of the UT System Academy of Distinguished Teachers, Dr. Kenneth Roemer (Professor of English) joined not only Dr. David Silva (Professor of Linguistics & Vice-Provost for Academic Affairs), one of the inaugural class of Regents Outstanding Teaching Awards honorees in 2009 and one of the inaugural Fellows of the UT System Academy of Distinguished Teachers, but his own former doctoral student: Dr. Beth Brunk-Chavez, now an Associate Professor at UT El Paso. UT Arlington’s students — graduate and undergraduate, majors in Liberal Arts disciplines or majors in other fields — are fortunate to have the opportunity to study with these dedicated, creative, and excellent faculty members, and our faculty are fortunate to have the benefit of their expertise.

Because of our faculty expertise, new programs and curricular tracks are already drawing student interest. The Department of Modern Languages is now approved to offer a new bachelor’s degree in Spanish Translation and Interpreting. The Department of Theatre Arts has a new B.F.A. track in Musical Theatre.

Meanwhile our friends are providing support for our activities with exceptional generosity. Last year, the College of Liberal Arts received more than $1 million dollars to support student scholarships, faculty research and creative activity, and programmatic excellence. Their support recognizes the many achievements of the College of Liberal Arts – including yours!

Throughout the year we will continue to be in touch with you, and let you know some of the ways our faculty and our students are using their knowledge and their talents to have an impact in their discipline, their community, and around the world. For now, welcome to Fall 2014. I wish you a wonderful semester.

Dr. Beth Wright, Dean of Liberal Arts

Q&A: Conway Eyes Global Impact on Language

September 9, 2014


For nearly 15 years, Associate Professor Chris Conway has been teaching and researching at The University of Texas at Arlington, amassing academic credit and accolades along the way. This year, Conway begins a new chapter as chair of the Department of Modern Languages.

COLA Communications Coordinator James Dunning sat down with Conway to talk about his plans for the department and the future of languages at UTA.

Q: Apart from a short stint at Brown University (2000-2004), you’ve spent your entire career at UTA. What motivated you to tackle this new role as department chair?

A: This department hired me out of graduate school. I’ve always felt like UTA was family. When I was starting out, I felt like I got tremendous friendship and tremendous support from the office staff and my colleagues, so I’ve always felt a deep connection to this department. I’ve always thought that if it came my turn to serve the department, that I would do so, and do so gladly. Much of what I’ve accomplished as a research and a teacher ties to my experiences here in the 1990s.

Q: How has the department changed over the past two decades?

A: When I first came, the department was primarily wonderful old-timers – and I don’t mean that negatively — who were ending their careers as teachers. There were a few young guns who were allowed in. Some of those young guns were Kimberly van Noort (Associate Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies and Director of University College) and Toni Sol (Associate Professor and outgoing department chair); they were in their second year when I arrived. The department was beginning to transition, like much of UTA, into a more research-intensive format. There was slow, but noticeable changing of the guard. Now, the newbies from the ‘90s have inherited the department. The department is much younger, and much more research oriented.

Q: You have earned recognition as a professor here, joining the Academy of Distinguished Teachers in 2011 and receiving the UT System Regent’s Outstanding Teaching Award in 2012. But your own research has seen some significant changes since you started. What’s different?

A: I started out as a literary critic of 19th-century Latin American literature. Over the years, I’ve grown into the field of cultural history. Most of my research publications in the last few years have been historical and interdisciplinary. The culmination of that work is a forthcoming book, “19th Century Latin America: A Culture History.” I examine theatre, literature, music, city life, art — everything that’s associated with culture in Latin America during that time period.

Q: While your research interests have grown, there has also been growth in the number of critical languages like Chinese, Arabic and Russian that is now offered by the department. Do you see that trend continuing?

A: I think there will be more growth in that area than any other part of the department. We’ve been growing steadily the last few years and will continue to do so. To a great degree, our future is in Arabic and Chinese. That doesn’t mean the other languages don’t matter, but simply it reflects the ways we’re growing and adapting to include lesser taught, critical languages.

You have to know which languages are important to global politics. After the Cold War ended, enrollment in Russian went down. There was a sense that knowing Russian was less relevant to national security. But recent events remind us Russia is one of the most important geo-political rivals the U.S. has in Europe and people have talked about the Cold War starting again. It’s a great lesson that languages do matter and you can’t predict what’s going to be important tomorrow.

Given the current conflict in the world, I imagine new students are thinking about Chinese, Russian and Arabic as possible languages to learn. They could master one of those languages and immediately go work for our government through international relations. The world would open up to them.

Q: That’s a great selling point for undergraduates considering options for majors. Do you think you can make a case for earning a language degree when so many jobs seem geared toward business or technology?

A: Universities prepared people for life in the real world. And in a multicultural world, language is vital. We’re true to the mission of the liberal arts and civic dimensions of education. We prepare our students to be able to interact with those from other cultures. I see the diversity of languages in this department as a reflection of where we are in the U.S. right now.

Q: What goals do you have for the department as you prepare to serve as chair for the next four years?

A: There are general objectives: increasing enrollment, increasing graduation rates, creating a strong department culture for faculty, staff and students. Increasing the number of faculty would be valuable. But I’m less focused on four-year goals than I am on short-term goals. I plan to approach this job by setting yearly, concrete, do-able goals. I would like to incorporate SharePoint into our department to help us work more efficiently. I want to survey the undergraduate students in all language programs so we can better understand who they are and where they are coming from. This will enable us to make better plans and programs instead of relying on ideologies and gut feelings. I also want to set up and enact strategies for graduate recruitment.


Russian Pianist Brings Music to UT Arlington

August 27, 2014


A former Van Cliburn semifinalist will bring his music back to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex this fall.

Russian pianist Alexey Chernov is slated to play two concerts next month, including a solo recital Sept. 18 at The University of Texas at Arlington. He will also teach a master class for the Department of Music the following day.

Chernov was a semifinalist in the 2013 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Fort Worth. Raised in Moscow, he began studying music at age 4 and began winning international piano competition as a teenager. In 2012, he took the top prizes at competitions in Italy and Spain and has more than a dozen first-place awards to his credit.

Chernov is currently a teacher at the Central Music School at the P.I. Tchaikovsky State Conservatory in Moscow where he once studied.

Chernov’s recital – featuring waltzes from different eras – will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18 in Irons Recital Hall. Tickets are $10 for students, $15 for UT Arlington faculty and staff and $50 for non-UTA guests. Tickets may be purchased through UTATickets.com.

Chernov will also perform at an Arlington Women’s Club event Sept. 13.


Students Find Freedom in Civil Rights Event

August 25, 2014

While most UT Arlington students spent their summer working or studying for their future, two College of Liberal Arts undergraduates traveled into the past.

Communication junior Nadajalah Bennett and Art & Art History junior Christian Vasquez – alongside Biology senior Iriel Hampton – were among a handful of college students invited by the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education to celebrate this summer’s 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The trio represented UT Arlington by traveling to the Washington, D.C., area and spending time with the original Freedom Riders – men and women who traveled through the South during the tumultuous 1960s in protest of civil rights issues.

“It was a very impactful experience,” said Bennett. “We got a chance to connect with other students and see their involvement in civil rights … and all the things you can get involved in. We spent time with the Freedom Riders and discussed how civil rights has evolved.”

The trio spent several days during the Fourth of July holiday weekend visiting government buildings in D.C. and Richmond, Va. But the highlight of the trip was a two-hour bus ride through Virginia where students engaged with the Freedom Riders, shared stories and discussed current issues surrounding civil rights, public policy and immigration.

“It was revelatory in many ways,” said Vasquez, who is completing a documentary on the trip. “There seemed to be a sort of transference of ideas and history going on. The Freedom Riders were just as excited and invested in the events as the students were. They were very willing to share. They were open and honest.”

Vasquez said the experience reminded him how the Freedom Riders were college-age when they embarked on their journey into the South. There, they were met with hostility, scare tactics and violent attacks. Several participants were killed.

“They were our age and rolled out of school to participate,” Vasquez said. “They were among the first wave. At the time they left, they didn’t understand the level of violence they would encounter. They described themselves as naïve in that way. Most of the Freedom Riders we were riding with were on the bus in Birmingham that was bombed.”

In May 1961, a Freedom Ride bus heading to New Orleans was stopped by members of the Klu Klux Klan in Birmingham, Ala., and burned. All passengers inside were beaten by the mob and nearly killed.

Schnavia Smith Hatcher, Director of the Center for African American Studies, said she was please her group could support the UT Arlington students commemorating the civil rights ride experience. Now, she is excited to see what these students take away from that experience and how they apply it to civil rights efforts in Arlington and North Texas.

“The Freedom Riders expressed that, at the time, there was a sense of urgency for the climate to be changed,” Hatcher said. “This new generation of leaders was able to explore history firsthand from civil rights activists, many who were college-age themselves when they began this journey 50 years ago, and be inspired to actively engage in the struggle for justice. Given the unrest in many of our communities today, a significant amount recently profiled in the media, the status quo still needs to be challenged.”

Bennett said the experience left her pondering ways in which she could address issues surrounding civil rights and equality on the UT Arlington campus. She said she intends to continue working the local chapter of the NAACP, Black Student Association and the University’s Multicultural Affairs staff.

“I have a better understanding of how students today can improve their education in civil rights,” she said.

Vasquez said conversations with the Freedom Riders made a significant impact and caused him to spend more time reflecting the ways in which he can make a difference in his community.

“You should always try to right the wrongs that occur in the world,” he said. “One of the big takeaways I got was that the power of individuals can change the infrastructure around them. It’s incredibly inspiring to be sitting with people who have had an indirect effect on my life.

The Center for African American Studies will host a lecture event on the Freedom Rides on Oct. 1 in the Rosebud Theatre at the E.H. Hereford University Center. Students and faculty are expected to speak. For more information, visit www.uta.edu/caas.

Vasquez said he intends to have a 15- to 20-minute documentary on the anniversary event – commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education – available in early fall.


(By James Dunning/COLA Communications, jdunning@uta.edu)

Q&A: Kunovich Leads Sociology, Anthropology

August 25, 2014


Since 2004, Associate Professor Bob Kunovich has worked to strengthen the Sociology program at The University of Texas at Arlington, supporting new concentrations and coordinating internship opportunities for graduate students. This fall, he begins a new chapter as chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

Communications Coordinator James Dunning sat down with the “distinguished teacher” – he earned University-wide recognition in 2013 and an acCOLAdes teaching award in 2012 – to discover Kunovich’s approach to leading a small, but award-winning group of faculty and students.

Q: How would you describe your department?

A: The department is composed of the Sociology Program, which offers a BA and an MA in Sociology as well as the Anthropology Program, which offers a BA and an MA in Anthropology. Although the department is made up of two distinct programs, we share some common research and teaching interests – for example, immigration and reproduction/the body. We have a great group of scholars who are doing interesting and important research and faculty from both programs have won a variety of teaching awards – including the UT System Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award.

Q: Every department at UTA is looking to increase student enrollment and expand the services each provides. One way to do that is to broaden the scope of the program or degrees offered. Has your department considered an interdisciplinary approach to better connect with students pursuing majors in other Colleges on campus?

A: Sociology and Anthropology are inherently interdisciplinary. Anthropology, for example, offers courses that cover topics such as biological variation, health, food and culture, and migration. In Sociology, some of our courses fulfill requirements for students from Mexican American Studies, African American Studies, Environmental and Sustainability Studies, Urban and Public Affairs and Women’s and Gender Studies. So the interdisciplinary aspect has been a part of what we offer for a long time.

Q: There’s also been talk of collaborating with schools around North Texas or within The University of Texas System as a way to increase available degrees at undergraduate and graduate levels. How might that affect your department?

A: We have considered participation in joint programs at UTA and beyond. I think that some possibilities may exist. Online courses and video-conferencing will continue to make long-distance courses more common. For now, though, we are looking for ways to improve the experience for our existing students.

Q: What is your approach to your first year as department chair?

A: When I was the Sociology graduate advisor, I spent most of the first year learning the institutional history, figuring out how things worked, and formulating goals. After that, I moved on to implementing changes to improve the program. I’m taking that same approach as chair. In the spring, I sat down with all of the anthropology faculty and talked with them about their concerns and hopes. It was very insightful and I learned a lot about the program. I’m planning to do the same with the sociologists this semester. I am also looking forward to completing the program review this year – I hope that going through a critical review will help to identify other ways to strengthen our department and programs. So, for now, I’m trying to listen and to learn as much as possible.

Q: So, do you have some goals in mind?

A: As I mentioned, we will be going through a program review this year. Over the summer, I assisted with the preparation of our self-study, which will be a part of that review. It gave me a great opportunity to think about where we are and where we want to be. There have been considerable changes in both the Sociology and Anthropology faculty since the previous review. Once we learn the outcome of the most recent hiring requests, I would like for us to revisit our curriculum to look for opportunities to increase the number of undergraduate and graduate students that we teach and to increase the number of majors. Along those lines, I have been encouraged by a new wave of recruiting efforts that are being coordinated by the College of Liberal Arts. The resources that COLA is providing will help us to reach many more potential students than we would be able to reach on our own.


Texas Artists Featured in New Gallery Exhibit

August 15, 2014
Work by Andrea Rosenberg. (Photo contributed)

Work by Andrea Rosenberg. (Photo contributed)

Work by two Texas artists will be on display next month in The Gallery at UTA.

Select pieces from Mary McCleary and Andrea Rosenberg will be included in the exhibition that runs Sept. 2-Oct. 4. Gallery officials said the artworks range in scale from the intimate to oversize, but utilizing very different processes, themes and media.

McCleary, of Nacogdoches, crafts labor-intensive 3-D collages, layering materials such as plastic toy figures, beads and paper to depict arresting and dense narratives. Her content ranges from the humorous and surreal to the Biblical in complex pieces that are painstakingly constructed. McCleary received her B.F.A. in printmaking and drawing from TCU in Fort Worth and her M.F.A. in graphics from the University of Oklahoma, and is professor emeritus at Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches where she taught art for 30 years.

Rosenberg, from Dallas, is known for elegant abstract drawings that use the history of botanical art as a starting point to convey her transformed interpretations of various flora. Her work is included in the permanent collections of institution such as the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Dallas Museum of Art, and The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth as well as numerous private and corporate collections

In association with the exhibition, McCleary will discuss her work in an hour-long gallery talk on Thursday, Sept. 4 beginning at 12:30 pm in the Gallery. A reception for both artists will be held Friday, Sept. 5 from 5:30-8 p.m. The exhibition and reception are free and open to the public.

The Gallery is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday. The Gallery is located in the Fine Art Building, room 169, at 502 S. Cooper Street in Arlington.

For more information contact Benito Huerta or Patricia Healy (817) 272-5658 or http://www.uta.edu/gallery.

The 2014-2015 exhibition schedule is made possible by the support of Arlington Camera, the Hanley Foundation, Hilton Arlington and Nerwin & Martin.

Work by Mary McCleary. (Photo contributed)

Work by Mary McCleary. (Photo contributed)




Three COLA Faculty Win UT System Award

August 15, 2014

Three College of Liberal Arts faculty members are among 96 educators recognized this year by The University of Texas System Board of Regents for excellence in the classroom.

The UT System’s most innovative and dedicated educators will share $2.4 million this month as winners of the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award. Faculty members from across the UT System’s 15 academic and health institutions will receive $25,000 each and will be honored at a ceremony Wednesday, Aug. 20, in Austin.

The COLA honorees are:

  • Krystal Beamon, assistant professor of sociology;
  • Darryl Lauster, assistant professor of art and art history; and
  • Allan Saxe, associate professor of political science.

UT Arlington’s Kevin Schug, the Shimadzu Distinguished Professor of Analytical Chemistry, was also an award winner. Since the program’s inception in 2008, 45 award recipients have come from UT Arlington.

The awards highlight the talent and commitment to excellence in teaching among UT Arlington faculty members, President Vistasp Karbhari says.

“Preeminent research universities are distinguished by the quality of their faculty members and the faculty’s dedication to students,” Dr. Karbhari says. “The best teachers instill in their students a shared passion for lifelong learning and discovery.”

Read more about UTA’s Regents Outstanding Teachers recipients.


Art Education Students Train at Kimball

July 10, 2014
UT Arlington students work with visitors to the Kimball Art Museum in Fort Worth. (Photo contributed)

UT Arlington students work with visitors to the Kimball Art Museum in Fort Worth. (Photo contributed)

For the past three years, Assistant Professor Amanda Alexander (Art & Art History) has been taking her art education students to the Kimbell Art Museum for what she calls the “four-part series.”

Students visit the Fort Worth museum four times each spring. In the first three sessions, Kimbell employees — Connie Barganier education manager, and Marilyn Ivy, studio and family programs coordinator — teach Alexander’s class about the strategies of teaching on the art that resides in the museum. The students, in separate groups, create a curriculum about a specific piece displayed at the museum.

In the final session, UT Arlington students teach two dozen students from Kirkpatrick Middle School in Fort Worth. After the lesson, the middle schoolers are given supplies to create their own work of art.

Art education senior Alexia Austin taught a group of middle school students about one of Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux’s sculptures, Portrait of Charles Carpeaux, his brother. The students were receptive to what they were teaching them, she said, they loved the art project to accompany the lesson.

Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux depicted his brother, Charles, a violinist, strumming a violin, the object that defined him.

“The sculpture became especially meaningful to the artist when his brother died shortly after the sculpture was completed,” Austin said. “My teaching group asked our students to emulate Carpeaux’s artwork by creating their own sculptures, which held personal meaning. We gave each student a lump of clay and asked them to think about someone they love and to consider an object that best personified that individual. The students were then instructed to create that object out of their lump of clay, and the results were fantastic!”

Alexander began a similar program in Pennsylvania before she joined the UT Arlington faculty. Once here, she discussed the program with several Metroplex museums, and Kimbell embraced the idea, she said.

“The reason the education manager at Kimbell wanted to do it is because we all see it as a win-win for everyone,” Alexander said. “It is going to benefit my students and make the education program more known. On their side of it, if they get college kids or younger students in the door, [those students] will come back.

UT Arlington students tour Kimball Art Museum in Fort Worth. (Photo contributed)

UT Arlington students tour Kimball Art Museum in Fort Worth. (Photo contributed)


(Story by Elissa Ammon/COLA Communications)


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