Message from the Dean: High Praise in New Year

Dr. Beth Wright, Dean of Liberal Arts
Dr. Beth Wright, Dean of Liberal Arts

Welcome to Spring 2013!

It may be a chilly January day, but we are almost ready to begin Spring 2013 in the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Texas at Arlington.

Only one month ago, almost 650 students crossed the stage at our College Park Center commencement ceremony. It’s a thrilling event — an arena which seats 7,000 filled with people who cheer as students achieve their academic dream.

During the past few weeks we’ve learned of national and international recognition for our faculty, our students and our alumni:

  • Ya’Ke Smith (Assistant Professor in Film) received another award in New York City for his first feature-length film Wolf, which an NPR blog named one of the year’s 10 films most worth seeing.
  • Dr. Gene Rhea Tucker (Ph.D. 2012) published Oysters, Macaroni & Beer: Thurber, Texas and the Company Store (Texas Tech University Press, 2012) (a revision of his master’s thesis), examining the development of the Texas and Pacific Coal Company’s store and other commercial enterprises in the mining town of Thurber, Texas. The Thurber, Texas Collection in the UTA Special Collections Library has been a rich resource for many graduate student research papers and theses.
  • Paul Windle (BFA 2010) was named one of 34 international artists in the 10th cohort ADC Young Guns. He’s worked for the New York Times and ESPN.
  • Young-Hyun Cho (Assistant Professor in Piano) performed in Austria. We’re delighted – but not surprised – that the exceptional quality of our faculty and student research scholarship and creative activity is being recognized and applauded.

The first year of our Center for African American Studies is well underway. In December’s event, five of the six authors were faculty in the College of Liberal Arts: Robert Bing (CRCJ), Marvin Dulaney (HIST), Cedrick May (ENGL), and Jason Shelton (SOCI). The room was packed with students and colleagues who were eager to discuss their research. We look forward to many a similar event this semester. The Pre-Law Center events have also had record attendance: 70 students came to last month’s alumni panel discussion about law school experiences. We’re midway through searches for tenure-stream faculty and have already hired five excellent faculty members: our top choices. They accepted our offer because they want to work with our wonderful faculty and students, and they value what we are already doing.

Our generous supporters value what we are doing as well. Last fall, a permanent exhibition of African art opened to the public as a teaching resource as well as a display of beautiful and meaningful objects. We appreciate the funds which are coming to us to use in Dean’s Excellence (where they support graduate student research travel and conference presentation) and in the establishment and funding of student scholarships. 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students thank you!

Throughout the year we will continue to be in touch with you, and let you know some of the ways our faculty, students and alumni are using their knowledge and their talents to have an impact in their discipline, their community, and around the world. For now – welcome to Spring 2013. I wish you a wonderful semester.

Dean Wright

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