Pre-Law Center Adds New Director

December 15, 2014

The University of Texas at Arlington has hired a North Texas attorney to serve as the new director of its Pre-Law and Legal Studies Center.

Amber White has served at law firms with the U.S. government and as a sole practitioner. Most recently, she served as an account executive at Robert Half Legal, a company that specializes in the placement of highly skilled attorneys, paralegals, litigation support and legal support professionals. She is also a former student attorney for Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, a nonprofit organization that provides free civil legal services to low-income residents in 114 counties throughout Texas.


SLIDESHOW: Scenes from Fall ’14 Graduation

December 15, 2014

SLIDESHOW: COLA Hoods MA Graduates

December 15, 2014

FROM THE DEAN: Reflections of COLA Progress

December 10, 2014
Dean Beth Wright

Dean Beth Wright

After more than 11 years of service as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, I have informed the President and the Provost that I shall be stepping down on December 31st to attend to family matters. I shall return to faculty status in 2016 as Professor of Art History in the Department of Art & Art History. The Provost has announced that a national search for the new Dean of the College of Liberal Arts will begin immediately.

During my period of service as Dean, I have been very fortunate to have been able to rely on a magnificent administrative team including Kimberly van Noort, Eric Bolsterli, Les Riding-In and (most recently) Elisabeth Cawthon. Our team of staff members — Cindy Wilder Graves, Laura Nation, James Dunning, Ami Keller, Aleta Duran, David Prestianni, Emily Shepard and (most recently) Cathleen Anderson — have dedicated their efforts to supporting the faculty, students and programs of the College and extending the College of Liberal Arts’ reputation across the campus and around the world.

There have been many landmarks and points of pride for us. They include (with the assistance of the College’s first full-time development officer) a tenfold increase in philanthropic support and the creation of a Pre-Law and Legal Studies Center (now assisting more than 270 students), the Charles McDowell Center for Critical Languages and Area Global Studies (supporting language instruction and language learning, study abroad, and research and scholarly presentation and creative activity), the Festival of Ideas events and Festival of Ideas Global Research Institute (supporting graduate student research travel and faculty scholarship on immigration and human health and the global condition), and (in partnership with the School of Social Work) the Center for African American Studies. We established more than 50 endowments supporting undergraduate and graduate scholarships and awards, study abroad, students pursuing Latino studies, transformational experiences for undergraduate students, research travel necessary to complete graduate student degrees, faculty research, publication costs and departmental excellence. Among them are the Beth S. and Woodring E. Wright College of Liberal Arts Endowment for Faculty Research and Creative Activity and the Beth S. and Woodring E. Wright College of Liberal Arts Dean’s Accolade Endowment, recognizing faculty members and students for student work of exceptional merit beyond ordinary class assignments.

The College of Liberal Arts has seen many advances in these 11 years. The Department of Art & Art History was granted full accreditation on its first application by the National Association of Schools of Art & Design (an achievement only seen by seven percent of the schools applying) and reaccreditation this year for all of its programs, including a new terminal degree in studio art: the Master of Fine Arts. Other new degrees in our college are a new M.A. in Communication; a new cohort M.A. at the Fort Worth campus in Criminology & Criminal Justice; a B.A. in Linguistics; a B.A. in Critical Languages and Area Global Studies, with tracks in Chinese, German, and Russian; a B.A. in Spanish Translation and Interpreting; an M.M. in Music Performance; and a new track in Musical Theatre in the B.F.A. in Performance in Theatre Arts.

Our college is a living tapestry of extraordinary students, faculty, and alumni – whose achievements transform their disciplines and their community, both local and global. I think of our alumnus Dominic Bracco (who earned degrees in both Communication and Spanish), whose work as a photojournalist reporting on violence in Mexico has appeared in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times Sunday Magazine and has been supported by the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting. Our undergraduate students have won awards from the UT System for their work in art and creative writing. Our faculty have won international awards for their original musical compositions and their poetry. Faculty members have won national awards for their advising of students in History and for their creation of online courses in art, criminology, and political science. Sixteen faculty members in our college have won UT System Regents Outstanding Teaching Awards; two have been inducted into the UT System Academy of Distinguished Teachers.

At UT Arlington, enlightenment, inspiration, challenging ideas, innovations, creativity are part of our daily lives, and what we do has a permanent impact for the better on our students, our profession, our community. It has been an inestimable privilege to have served as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Arlington. I look forward to returning as a faculty member in 2016.

Beth Wright
Dean, College of Liberal Arts and
Professor of Art History

COLA Notes for December 2014

December 9, 2014

News and notes from around the College of Liberal Arts…

ART & ART HISTORY: The reported on a new mural that was created, designed and painted by Senior Lecturer Carlos Donjuan and his team from Sour Grapes. … The Nasher Sculpture noted that Professor Nancy Palmeri, printmaker and director of the Master of Fine Arts program, will be featured in the Nasher Gallery Lab on Dec. 13. The Lab series brings the spirit of experimentation to the Nasher galleries.

CENTER FOR AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDIES: The Center’s annual “An Evening With Authors” event Dec. 3 featured retired History professor Reby Cary (UT Arlington), Constance Hiliard (University of North Texas) and Katrina Williams (’12).

COMMUNICATION: Lloyd Clayton Clark Jr. (’42), 91, a longtime supporter of the department and the inspiration behind the Lloyd C. Clark Scholarship, died Nov. 17. He had a long career in journalism, public relations and public service. … The department recently participated in the Golden Key International Honor Society’s 5th Annual Golden Can Food Drive, collecting canned goods to benefit the Tarrant Area Food Bank. The department also adopted angels from the Salvation Army’s Angel tree program with faculty and staff buying gifts for the department’s angels. … Assistant Professor Rachel Stohr traveled to Chicago last to present a research paper at the National Communication Association conference. … Broadcast Lecturer Julian Rodriguez traveled to Burbank, Calif., last month to attend the Television Academy Foundation Faculty Seminar. Rodriguez met with TV executives, visited media companies, and developed connections to further student opportunities. … Journalism Lecturer Kim Pewitt-Jones will earn a Doctor of Philosophy in Mass Communication with a focus in Journalism from Texas Tech University. The graduation ceremony is Friday, Dec. 12. … Graduate Teaching Assistant LaDonna Aiken was awarded a Dean’s Award for Research Travel for $1,000 to travel to Okinawa, Japan from Dec. 29-Jan.13. Aiken also serves as a part-time broadcast lecturer. … Graduate student John Watson was one of four UT Arlington students to be awarded a scholarship from the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, according to a Fort Worth Star-Telegram article. … Allie Woldtvedt (’13) will be starting a new job as morning anchor at KMTR in Eugene, Ore., this month. … Devon Peralta (’08) has accepted a position as Library Assistant II-Customer Experience Assistant in the User Engagement and Services Department of the UT Arlington Libraries. … December 2014 advertising graduate Hieu Hoang will begin working as a junior graphic designer at Atomic Design and Consulting in Plano later this month. … December 2014 public relations graduate Amanda Cruz has been offered a position with More Cabbage, a DFW-based social media, branding and internet marketing PR firm. … Jared Chism (’11) recently joined Enablement Consultant with Why Fargo, North Dakota. … Holland Sanders (’09) was recently honored by The Center for Nonprofit Management. Holland serves as Director of Marketing and Communication for the Fort Worth Opera. The Opera’s Marketing Department won the “Communicator of the Year” award and was featured in a recent article in The Fort Worth Business Press. … Broadcast and public relations major Hillary Fluster has been invited to attend the National Association of Television Program Executives’ conference to be held in Florida in January. … December 2014 broadcast graduate David Kline accepted a news producer position with KVLY-TV in North Dakota this month. … Broadcast student Abel Briceño, a senior member of UTA News en Español, was selected to represent the department at a Ford Media Event on Dec. 11 in Dearborn, Mich. … Sana Syed, Director of Public Information for the City of Dallas, and her colleague Richard Hill visited with public relations students last month to share their experience and insight in dealing with national and international media during Dallas’ recent cases of diagnosed Ebola cases. … KTVT/CBS 11 news reporter Elizabeth Dinh (’03) was featured in a UTArlington magazine story.

CRIMINOLOGY & CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Fort Worth Assistant Chief Rhonda Robertson (MA, ’11) will be named interim police chief in January to replace Jeff Halstead, who announced last month that he is retiring, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. … Senior Lecturer Randall Butler said the towers law enforcement agencies employ in parking lots do work, NBC 5 KXAS reported. But he said the main purpose of the towers should be to prevent crime and not for public relations.

ENGLISH: Associate Professor Luanne Frank (English) was the guest speaker at the Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design Research Forum at Clemson University on Nov. 10. She also spoke with a graduate rhetoric class during her visit. … In October, Senior Lecturer Kathryn Warren gave a lecture at North Lake College titled “The Troubling Politics of a Beloved Book: Revisiting Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’” She also joined two public high school teachers in a panel discussion at the Irving Library, “Mockingbirds, Justice, and Race: A Conversation.”

HISTORY: Assistant Professor David LaFevor discussed daily life in modern Cuba on Nov. 19. His photograph project is on display in the sixth floor of Central Library. … Senior Bree’ya Brown was featured in a UTA Library video, discussing her plans to become a subject historian for German, Russian and Slavic studies. … Former instructor Rollin Phipps, who taught courses on Egyptian antiquity, discussed historical and fictional elements of the PBS series, “Downton Abbey,” at the Betty Warmack Branch Library in Fort Worth last month.

LINGUISTICS & TESOL: Professor Colleen Fitzgerald, director of the Native American Languages Lab, was quoted on the website Global Voices about the Indigenous Language Challenge, an internet campaign to promote indigenous languages. Fitzgerald said programs in the U.S. and Canada that took children from Native families “had an immense effect on Native language acquisition.” … Fitzgerald also tackled the issue of endangered languages for a column in Diverse: Issues in Higher Education last month. She also had a busy speaking schedule: She spoke Nov. 6 at the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) in Dallas, then as an invited keynote speaker Nov. 12 at the 13th International Linguistics Conference in Northwest Mexico at the Universidad de Sonora in Hermosillo, Mexico. … Assistant Professor Suwon Yoon and Masaya Yoshida (Northwestern) presented research, “Two cases of incremental parsing in Korean: conditionals and relative clauses,” at the International Workshop on Children’s Acquisition and Processing of Head-Final Languages (CAPHL) on Nov. 5 at the Laboratory for Developmental Studies at Harvard University. … Assistant Professor Cynthia Kilpatrick attended OpenEd14: Achieving the Potential of Open in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 19-21. … Fred Griffiths, instructor & special assistant at the English Language Institute, presented a talk at the Tex TESOL state conference Nov. 13-15 in San Marcos. … The Native American Languages Lab organized free workshops on Native languages during the month of November at various locations in Texas and Oklahoma, Native American Times reported. The workshops helped participants connect with their tribal language and teach it to others. Six members of Seminole Nation’s Language Program team, including two fluent speakers of Creek, gave a panel discussion Nov. 10 on “Bringing Native American Language into Classrooms,” that demonstrated the Master-Apprentice immersion method of teaching adults. … On Nov. 7, Fitzgerald led a workshop at UTA on “Talking Dictionaries for Indigenous Languages” which brought participants from language programs from both Muscogee Creek Nation and the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes to campus to learn dictionary software. Student helping out included doctoral students Dan Amy, Joey Collard, Nathan Eversole, and Libby Tatz; MA student Kimberly Johnson; undergrad linguistics majors Devin Hornick and Kristina Kavonian; and linguistics minor Tristen Cardwell. … Doctoral student Samantha Cornelius will present at the Linguistics Society of America meeting in Portland next month. Her research investigates the rhymes schemes of American hip hop music. … A book by Vitaly Voinov‘s (PhD Linguistics, ’13), “Politeness Devices in the Tuvan Language” is out now from German publisher Harrassowitz’s Turcologica series. … Doctoral student Iya Khelm had a book review published of “Translation Studies and Eye-Tracking Analysis” in the Dec 4 issue of the Linguist List. … Doctoral student Stephen Self had a paper accepted for publication by the peer-reviewed journal Mon-Khmer Studies. The paper, “Another look at serial verb constructions in Khmer,” should be published at the end of the year. … Doctoral student JungAe Allman will present a paper on case marking of floating quantifiers in Korean called “Unaccusativity in Korean: A Corpus Linguistic Approach” at the Linguistic Society of Korea conference Dec. 13 at Seoul National University. … Linguistics major Jared Weide presented his honors thesis, “The Linguistic Mechanisms of Knock-Knock Jokes,” at the Honors Research Symposium on Nov. 14. … Linguistics majors Nick Matthews and Devin Hornick have been hired as undergraduate research assistants in the Native American Languages Lab as part of a National Science Foundation award in conjunction with CoLang. The grant supports undergraduate training in Native American language documentation and revitalization. … Dr. Nicole Wicha (UT-San Antonio) spoke at the department’s colloquium on Nov. 21 on “Constraining models of language comprehension with brain electrophysiology.”

MILITARY SCIENCE: Department Chair LTC Lora Rimmer was one of several women honored by the Fort Worth Business Press last month. … Retired military and longtime journalist Lloyd Clayton Clark Jr. (’42), 91, died last month of natural causes, The Dallas Morning News reported. Clark was a member of UTA’s Cadet Corp Alumni Council and was inducted into the UTA Military Hall of Honor in 1998.

MODERN LANGUAGE: Led by Catherine Ortiz, the Coordinator of the Lower Level Spanish Program, a team of UT Arlington faculty and staff implemented and managed a new web-cam proctoring program for nearly 400 online Spanish students. The team included: Gillian Walker, Tim Foxsmith, Jessica Hightower, Natalie Wagener, Patricia Arnold, Felicia Dillard and Angela Garner. … Department Chair and Associate Professor Christopher Conway’s article “Gender Iconoclasm and Aesthetics in Esteban Echeverría’s La Cautiva and the Captivity Paintings of Juan Manuel Blanes” will be appearing in the Winter 2015 issue of Decimonónica, a journal on 19th-century Hispanic culture. … Assistant Professor Amy Austin presented research at the International Conference on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, Mich., earlier this year. She also presented a paper “Reading Images of Translatio Studii in Ramon Llull’s Arbre de Filosofia d’amor” at the Mid-America Conference on Hispanic Literature in Madison, Wis., in October. … Associate Professor Raymond Elliott presented a paper at the fall Conference on Indigenous Languages of Latin America at the University of Texas at Austin. … Assistant Professor Lonny Harrison presented the paper the “The Suffering Games: Self-Production and Prodigality in De Quincey and Dostoevsky” at the October meeting of the South Central Modern Languages Association in Austin. … Professor Aimee Israel-Pelletier’s monograph, “Rimbaud’s Impressionist Poetics: Vision and Visuality,” is slated to appear in paperback May 2015. … Associate Professor Sonia Kania was invited to submit a chapter to the forthcoming Diachronical Applications in Hispanic Linguistics, ed. Eva Núñez-Méndez (Cambridge Scholars, peer reviewed in the UK, expected 2015). Her chapter is entitled “Diachronic Perspectives on Varieties of Spanish Pronunciation: Seseo and Yeísmo” and explores the origins and spread of two of the most common dialectal features of Latin American Spanish. … Assistant Professor Neal Liang presented the paper “Best Practices in Online Chinese Language Exchange Program” at the November meeting of ACTFL World Expo at San Antonio. Liang has been instrumental in a new international internship program with the National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU). Beginning this fall, three undergraduate students from NTNU — Yunwen Su, WeiCian Wang and YuTing Yeh — worked with the UTA faculty to assist in classroom teaching, teaching material development, outside classroom tutoring, extracurricular activities (Chinese calligraphy and karaoke) and student recruitment. … Assistant Professor Marko Miletich presented the paper, “Gender in Translation,” at the American Literary Translators Association Meeting in Milwaukee last month. His work has recently been published in the Journal of Translation Studies and the Latin American Jewish Studies Association Newsletter. … Associate Professor Alicia Rueda-Acedo published “Elena Poniatowska sobre Carlos Fuentes: ‘¡Si tuviera cuatro vidas, cuatro vidas serían para ti!’ y ‘El afán totalizador’” in the Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, a journal focused on Hispanic Studies from the University of Liverpool. … Associate Professor Antoinette Sol presented the paper “Historical Fiction and Fictional History: Elisabeth Guénard’s Histories, Scandals, and Secrets” at the October meeting of Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (CSECS) in Montreal. … Several French instructors — Alicia Soueid, Brooke Cunningham-Koss, Courtney Griffitts and Gigi Alameddin — took turns offering free tutoring in the Language Acquisition Center this fall when graduate teaching assistants were unavailable. … Caitlyn Barbee (’13), who graduated with degrees in English and Spanish, wrote a column for the Baptist Standard about student ministry at UT Arlington. Barbee also earned a Spanish translation certificate at UTA.

MUSIC: Associate Professor Martha Walvoord and Assistant Professor Jack Unzicker performed Nov. 21 at the Stephen F. Austin State University College of Fine Arts and School of Music in Nacogdoches, Texas. … The UT Arlington Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Orchestra showcased legendary jazz artists William “Count” Basie and Duke Ellington at the Dallas City Performance Hall on Nov. 19. Guest performers included tenor saxophonist Shelley Carroll, who has performed with the Duke Ellington Band and Chris McGuire. The performance was conducted by Adjunct Instructor Ken Edwards and Associate Professor Tim Ishii. … National Medal of Arts, Pulitzer Prize, and Grammy Award winner William Bolcom held a concert and Q&A session for students Nov. 12 in Irons Recital Hall. … The 10th annual UTA Jazz Alumni Concert, held Nov. 23, featured Adjunct Instructor Ken Edwards, Associate Professor Tim Ishii, and retired professor Bill Snodgrass, who served as director of jazz studies at UT Arlington for more than three decades. Check out photos from the event on the group’s Facebook page.

PHILOSOPHY: Dr. Juan M. Pascual (UT Southwestern) spoke on the foundations of neurology and psychiatry Nov. 19 in a lecture hosted by the Department of Philosophy.

POLITICAL SCIENCE: Associate Professor Brent Sasley wrote last month about security and peacemaking in Israel in a Washington Post op-ed column, which also appeared in … A Vox article on the ruling coalition of political parties in Israel’s parliament also quoted Sasley. … Associate Professor Allan Saxe kicked off this holiday tradition Nov. 24 by flipping the switch to officially light “Santa Saxe’s Christmas Tree.” Thousand of additional lights will illuminate the entire Central Library Mall and will remain lit until the end of the year. … Steven Hussain (’12) was recently promoted to Director of Community Services for the mayor of San Antonio.

SOCIOLOGY & ANTHROPOLOGY: KTVT/CBS 11 interviewed Associate Professor Jason Shelton (Sociology) on Nov. 25 about the rioting and protesting that followed the decision by a grand jury not to indict a white police officer in Missouri who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager. … Adjunct Instructor Julie Adkins (Anthropology) presented a paper on urban religions at the American Anthropological Association annual conference this month. … Senior Lecturer Scott Ingram (Anthropology) recently finished a book project, “Traditional Arid Lands Agriculture: Understanding the Past for the Future,” set to publish spring 2015 by the University of Arizona Press. … A BBC story about emoticons included comments from Professor Ben Agger (Sociology). Truthout published a commentary by Agger on Thanksgiving and the socialist imaginary.

THEATRE ARTS: Senior Lecturer Julienne Greer was invited to speak on the intersection of robotics and theatre arts performance at The Robotics Show 2015, in London, England, in October. … Assistant Professor Anne Healy was named Distinguished Alumna of the Year by her alma mater University of Texas at Dallas. … Scenic Designer Michelle Harvey was hired to design for “The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940″ at MainStage Irving. Harvey has also been accepted into USA 829, a professional association of designers, artists and craftspeople. … Senior Lecturer Brandi Andrade is dramaturg and a performer in Theatre Three’s “A Civil War Christmas: An American Musical Celebration,” which runs through Dec. 14. Andrade also had her dramaturgical essay tweeted by the play’s author, Paula Vogel. … Associate Professor Joe Chapa is directing at the Creative Arts Theatre & School’s for the production of “T’was the Night Before Christmas.” The play runs from Dec. 5-20. … Senior Lecturer Felicia Bertch was cast in and filmed a commercial for Service King that will be aired during the holiday season. … Current University of Houston graduate student Jean Carlos Gonzalez (’14) recently worked on “The Liar,” a classic French farce by Pierre Corneille and presented at the University of Houston’s Jose Quintero Theatre. … Theatre Arts major Lauren Moreau was hired as an intern at Hip Pocket Theatre in North Fort Worth for its 2015 season. … Theatre Arts major Austin Bender was hired as an assistant cameraman for the film, “Daylight’s End,” shot in Tyler, Texas. … Anna Marie Boyd (’14), was cast in “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer: The Musical” on their national tour with Wishing Star Productions. … Theatre Arts major Markicia Johnson was hired at the theme park Six Flags Over Texas as a Reindeer and various holiday Characters.

WOMEN’S STUDIES: Nearly 200 people attended the annual Lunafest film festival in October, sponsored by the Women’s and Gender Studies program. … Program Director Sonja Watson (Modern Languages) attended the National Women’s Studies Association Annual Conference last month and participated in a day long Program Administration and Development pre-conference. … Assistant Professor Amy Speier (Anthropology) presented, “Medical Tourism Brokers Promise Patient Consumers a Holiday,” at the American Anthropological Association’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. She also presented at the National Women’s Studies Association Annual Conference. Speier is a Women’s Studies Advisory Board member. … Women’s and Gender Studies Provost Post-Doctoral Fellow Whitney Peoples presented a brown bag lecture on her research which examines the embattled oral contraceptive YAZ and its implications for representing women’s reproductive health in the U.S. public sphere on November 6th. She also presented at the National Women’s Studies Association Annual Conference. … Women’s Studies Advisory Board member David LaFevor (History) showcased and discussed his personal collection of photography on Cuba, “Cuba: Histories of the Present” last month. … The Women’s and Gender Studies program co-sponsored the talk, “Gender Biases in Student Evaluation of teachers,” by Anne Boring (University Paris Dauphine) on Dec. 3rd. The event was co-sponsored by the College of Business, College of Education, and College of Liberal Arts.  … Along with the Disability Studies minor, the Diversity Certificate Program, and the Office for Students with Disabilities, the Women’s and Gender Studies co-sponsored, “Moving Beyond ‘the Spectrum': A Conversation with NeuroQueer Activist Lindsey Anderson” on Nov. 18.


Faculty Highlight Service Learning for Students

December 9, 2014

Each year, College of Liberal Arts faculty seeks ways in which to move students beyond the classroom. The result? Service-learning projects that have real-world impacts.

According to the American Association for Higher Education, service learning is “a method under which students learn and develop through thoughtfully-organized service” through civic responsibility, integrated and enhanced academic curriculum and structured experiences. Several Liberal Arts departments introduce a service-learning component to students early on and make it a mainstay through the program.

As part of a project for the Alliance for Children, Communication major Tino Gonzales, right, presents strategies and tactics for educating teens and young adults that there is an alternative to abandoning infants in unsafe places. (Photo contributed)

As part of a project for the Alliance for Children, Communication major Tino Gonzales, right, presents strategies and tactics for educating teens and young adults that there is an alternative to abandoning infants in unsafe places. (Photo contributed)

In Communication Lecturer Suzy Nead’s COMS 2304 class, student groups spent the fall semester working with several local non-profit organizations, including Mission Arlington, pet shelters in Grand Prairie and Arlington, and an ROTC Secret Santa program benefitting children at the Pythian Home in Weatherford. Other student groups provided letters and donated items for the troops through Package Brigade; developed and filmed a PSA for the North Texas Council of Governments 911 program; and participated in several local after school programs.

Earlier this fall, the Department of Modern Languages partnered with the Arlington Public Library to create a program in which UT Arlington students could promote literacy, the love of writing, library appreciation and family story-telling among Latino families. Led by Associate Professor Alicia Rueda Acedo and Department Chair Chris Conway, students in three Spanish 3000 level courses will help edit and format Spanish language manuscripts for the APL. Spanish interns from UTA will also interview and assist parents at participating Arlington ISD schools with their family stories.

Conway said future projects with APL include using service learning in his section of SPAN 4313 next semester to develop an in-depth research report and guide to help their acquisitions department select and acquire Spanish-language comics, and a new internship program in which the department’s best French and Russian language students work with the library to build their collections in those languages.

Often, Liberal Arts majors don’t have to go too far to use the skillset they develop in the classroom. Students in Associate Professor Shelley Wigley’s public relations campaigns class worked with Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) this semester to promote its services to students at UT Arlington. They designed and implemented several on-campus events, including a CAPS Carnival in October, a haunted maze that ended at the CAPS entrance in Ransom Hall and a wishing well on the Library Mall. In early November, PR students hosted a “Wrestling Stress” event and encouraged classmates to sumo wrestle each other to reduce stress.

“I am so proud of our students,” Wigley said. “Two hundred students participated in the Haunted Maze. Approximately 80 students tossed a pebble in the CAPS Wishing Well. The balloon artwork canvass created by our UTA students [at the carnival] now hangs in the lobby of CAPS.”

Other service-learning projects this semester included:

  • Students in Communication Lecturer Carie Kapellusch’s class created reflection journals to record their experiences supporting Heifer International, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending world hunger and poverty.
  • Four student teams from Communication Senior Lecturer Mindia Whittier’s public relations class created and initiated events for Streams & Valley’s annual Friends of the River Party on the Plaza in late October.
  • PR students developed communication plans for Alliance for Children to help the group increase awareness throughout Tarrant County about the “Baby Moses Law” and the Safe Haven Sites.
  • Through the Native American Languages Lab, Professor Colleen Fitzgerald (Linguistics and TESOL) guides her students to partner with members of Native American tribes to work on language revitalization efforts. In November, the lab hosted several workshops in Texas and Oklahoma.

Most faculty, who are required to include a service component in their tenure bids, view service learning as an opportunity to help their students move outside their comfort zone and apply the things they have studied in class.

“We believe in promoting the professionalization and real world learning of our students,” Conway said. “We encourage our students to be proactive about pursuing internship and service learning opportunities through our department’s programs, as well as those of other departments on campus.”


(Story by James Dunning/COLA Communications, Barrie Hill contributed to this story.)

Granola Company CEO to Speak at Graduation

December 5, 2014


CEO and owner of a gourmet food company, alumna Tamara Hext Hilliard (’86) will be the keynote speaker at the December 2014 commencement ceremony.

The College of Liberal Arts graduation will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 12, at the College Park Center. More than 500 undergraduate and graduate students are expected to receive their degrees.

Hilliard created Tay’s Gourmet, a gourmet granola. Her company distributes to retail stores such as Kroger, Albertsons, Fresh Market, Central Markets, Market Street, United Supermarkets and many independents in seven states throughout the Southwest. Tay’s Gourmet has been featured on Good Morning America. Tay’s Gourmet is an affiliate of Children’s Hunger Fund, a nonprofit organization that delivers food and hope to children in crisis.

Hilliard was named Miss Texas in 1984 and was a runner up in the 1985 Miss America contest. Other honors and awards include her being named the National Association of Professional Women’s Woman of the Year.

Miss Texas is affiliated with Miss America, the world’s largest scholarship organization in the world for women. As the fourth runner up to Miss America, this scholarship program and paid for Hilliard’s education, she said.


History Major: Scholarships Make a Difference

December 1, 2014


Two scholarships from the College of Liberal Arts have made an impact on an entire Mansfield family.

History senior Rayanna Hoeft won the Barbara Jordan Scholarship and the COLA Endowed Scholarship at the 2014 acCOLAdes event this past April. For a full-time student and mother of five, the financial award gave her a boost this year.

“The scholarships were a huge help for our family,” Hoeft said.

Hoeft, who is considering a future career in museum studies or secondary education, is financing her education through student loans. But she’s not the only one with college bills: three of her children are in college (two at the University of North Texas and one at Southern Methodist University) and her husband, Todd Hoeft, is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in communication technology at UT Arlington.

Hoeft was inspired by her daughter to return to college, and is now inspiring her own children (as well as some of her UTA classmates) to study hard, get good grades and take advantage of the awards available.

“I tell my kids, ‘Pay your dues and do it while you’re young,’” she said. “Now I’m going back and doing it. I’ve seen the hardships for some and have seen rewards for people who stay the course.”

Hoeft also said winning the scholarships has inspired her to explore becoming an on-campus tutor before she graduates in December 2015 as a way to “give back to the University.” Once an alumna, she said she hopes to set up a scholarship fund for non-traditional students.

For more information about scholarships offered by the College of Liberal Arts, visit the College’s website. To inquire about establishing a new scholarship for COLA students, email Cathleen Anderson (COLA Director of Development) or


(Story by James Dunning/COLA Communications,

Dance Finds a Home in Theatre Arts

November 26, 2014

A mixed bag of dance styles and music will be on display next month during the UTA Dance Ensemble’s annual fall show.

The shows will be held at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5, and Saturday, Dec. 6, and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7, in the Mainstage Theatre in the Fine Arts Building.

Director Danielle Marie Georgiou said the show’s theme is “Nothing Good Happens After Midnight” and that student dancers and choreographers will explore the “dark side of human nature” through modern dance, hip hop, tap and jazz styles. Joining the 30 UTA student dancers are four guest artists, including current student Gabriel King (’13), Shelley Ohmes (‘10), Curtis Green and tap choreographer Samantha Ellis (‘14).

Georgiou said she’s excited she was able to include dancers from her professional company, DGDG (the Danielle Georgiou Dance Group), to push the level of professionalism and technique among the student dancers and choreographers.

Of course, students and organizers of the UTA Dance Ensemble have plenty of reason to move these days: the program recently transitioned from the Department of Kinesiology to the Department of Theatre Arts, boosting the newly formed musical theatre degree plan. Georgiou said the move will help Liberal Arts majors be competitive after graduation.

“This makes a huge difference,” she said. “Dance belongs in theatre; the two are integral components of one another. Especially when it comes to musical theatre. To be competitive, you have to offer dance to your students, and this gives our graduates a step up at future auditions.”

Kim LaFontaine, Professor and Department Chair, said the move expands the curriculum for Theatre Arts students.

“We are very excited to have the UTA Dance Ensemble as well as the Dance curriculum as part of our Department,” he said. “The Dance curriculum will positively support our BFA Musical Theatre program and be of service as we develop the Dance Minor.”

While a student at UTA, Georgiou (’06, ’08) was a member, then student leader of the Dance Ensemble. After graduation, she joined the group as Assistant Director, then took over as Director a few years ago. In 2011, she formed her own professional dance company after receiving a commissioning from Teatro Dallas and a successful showing at the National Performance Network’s annual conference.

For Georgiou, the program’s realignment means more opportunities for current students and more recruitment possibilities with talented potential Mavericks.

“Offering technique classes and expanded courses makes our program stronger,” she said. “We’re dancers; we belong on stage. So it makes sense that our home is now in Theatre Arts.”


(Story by James Dunning/COLA Communications,

COLA Dean Steps Down, Returns to Faculty

November 25, 2014


Dr. Beth Wright, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and a distinguished art historian, has announced that she will step down Dec. 31 after serving in her academic leadership position for more than a decade.

A national search for Wright’s successor will begin immediately, according to the Office of the Provost. Wright plans to take a year’s leave and will return to her position as a professor in the Department of Art and Art History in 2016.

The associate and assistant deans of the College of Liberal Arts will guide the College’s 12 departments and eight centers and programs until the selection of  a new dean. Associate Dean Elisabeth Cawthon praised Wright for her legacy in leading the College.

“Dean Wright has been a master of the many details that make the college run smoothly, from faculty searches to research funding, student scholarships, and outreach among members of the community,” Cawthon said. “We will miss her as an administrator but look forward to her return to the classroom and an active research agenda.”

Under Wright’s leadership, the College of Liberal Arts has grown to include more than 4,500 students. The College awarded almost 1,200 degrees in the 2013-2014 academic year.

Read the University’s official release at


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