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Liberal Arts Insider: May 2008

The College of Liberal Arts publishes The Liberal Arts Insider four times per year for its faculty and staff. The newsletter highlights faculty awards, honors, media coverage and new publications. For more news about the College of Liberal Arts' community of scholars and alumni, visit Life & Letters, the college's alumni magazine.

Awards and Honors

Photo: Ronald Angel

Ronald Angel

Photo: Jason Baldridge

Jason Baldridge

Photo: Daniela Bini

Daniela Bini

Photo: Daniel Birkholz

Daniel Birkholz

Photo: Marc Bizer

Marc Bizer

Photo: Cynthia Buckley

Cynthia Buckley

Photo: Robert Crosnoe

Robert Crosnoe

Photo: Diane Davis

Diane Davis

Photo: Katrin Erk

Katrin Erk

Photo: Toyin Falola

Toyin Falola

Photo: Wilson Geisler

Wilson Geisler

Photo: Sam Gosling

Sam Gosling

Photo: Daniel Hamermesh

Daniel Hamermesh

Kurt Heinzelman

Kurt Heinzelman

Photo: Paul Hudson

Paul Hudson

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) appointed Ronald Angel (Sociology) to the board of scientific counselors for the National Center for Health Statistics.

Jason Baldridge, David Beaver and Katrin Erk (Linguistics) earned a $120,000 grant from the New York Community Trust through the Morris Memorial Trust for their project, “Research on Multilingual Text Interpretation.”  This study carries on work conducted by the late Carlota Smith (Linguistics) on linguistic and computational modeling of the structure of written texts.

The Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost awarded five faculty members the President’s Associates Teaching Excellence Award for 2007-08: Daniel Birkholz (English), Diane Davis (Rhetoric and Writing), Sam Gosling (Psychology), Daniel Hamermesh (Economics) and Daron Shaw (Government).

The President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, awarded the title of Cavaliere dell'Ordine della Stella della Solidarietà Italiana (Knight of the Star of Italian Solidarity) to Daniela Bini (French and Italian), for her contribution to Italian studies in North America.

The American Political Science Association selected Catherine Boone (Government) to lead an international workshop on African politics in Senegal. Boone is one of four leading specialists chosen to lead the project, which is funded by an $896,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship Foundation.

The Renaissance Society of America awarded Marc Bizer (French and Italian) a research grant in the senior scholar category for his project, “An Epic Longing: Homer and the Politics of Authority in Renaissance France.”

Cynthia Buckley (Sociology) received a teaching fellowship from the Social Science Research Council for her course, “Introduction to Central Asian Societies.”

The International Museum of Women featured Mounira Maya Charrad’s (Sociology) research on family law in Morocco in the online exhibition “Women, Power and Politics.” View the exhibit.

Robert Crosnoe (Sociology) earned the 2007 Early Career Award from the Society for the Study of Human Development for his research on the educational experiences of children and adolescents.

Steve Black and Susan Dial, co-editors of, a virtual museum created by the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory, won the 2008 Award for Excellence in Public Education from the Society for American Archeology.

The Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers awarded Diana Davis (Geography and the Environment) the 2008 Jim Blaut Award for her book “Resurrecting the Granary of Rome.”

Toyin Falola (History) earned the 2008 Quintessence Award from the African Writer’s Endowment for his literary achievements and outstanding contributions to African history.

Wilson Geisler (Psychology) was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, one of the highest honors for a scientist or engineer in the United States, for his research on how we perceive the world. Geisler directs the university’s interdisciplinary Center for Perceptual Systems.

The American Psychological Association (APA) honored Sam Gosling (Psychology) with a 2008 APA Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award.  Gosling was recognized for his early career contribution to psychology in his research on animal personality.

Kurt Heinzelman (English) organized the exhibition, “If These Walls Could Speak: the Blanton Poetry Project,” which opened in April at the Blanton Museum. 

Robert Helmreich (Psychology) earned the Franklin V. Taylor Lifetime Award from the American Psychological Association for outstanding contribution to the field of applied experimental and engineering psychology.

The Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board awarded Paul Hudson (Geography and the Environment) a 2007-08 fellowship for his research project, “Flood Management and Environmental Change along the Rhine River, Netherlands.” Hudson’s host institution is the Department of Physical Geography and Earth Sciences at Utrecht University, The Netherlands.

Orlando Kelm (Spanish and Portuguese) earned the Gold Award in the 2008 Innovative Instructional Technology Award Program (IITAP) for “Tá Falada,” a podcasting Web site that teaches Brazilian Portuguese pronunciation. Marc Bizer (French & Italian) earned the Silver Award for the French poetry Web site “Reading Between the Lines.” IITAP is an initiative of the provost and the Division of Instructional Innovation and Assessment.

Troy Kimmel (Geography and the Environment) was elected to the National Weather Association Council for 2008-10.

The Graduate School awarded Wayne Lesser (English) the 2008 Outstanding Graduate Advisor Award.

Eric McDaniel (Government) earned a fellowship with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Scholars in Health Policy Research Program. McDaniel will serve as a fellow for two years at the University of California at Berkeley and San Francisco campuses.

The Friar Society awarded Howard Miller (History) the 2008-09 Friar Centennial Teaching Fellowship. Miller is known for his popular religious studies courses. The $15,000 prize is the university’s largest award for undergraduate teaching excellence.

David Oshinsky (History) delivered the keynote address to the annual convention, “TexMed 2008,” of the Texas Medical Association in San Antonio.

The National Science Foundation awarded Tasha Philpot and Daron Shaw (Government) a $490,000 grant to study African-American political opinions and behavior during the 2008 presidential election.  The project is in collaboration with the University of Michigan’s 2008 American National Election Study (ANES).

The National Conference of Black Political Scientists awarded the 2008 W.E.B. DuBois Outstanding Book Award to Tasha Philpot (Government) for “Race, Republicans, and the Return of the Party of Lincoln.”

Richard Ribb, academic advisor in the College of Liberal Arts’ Student Division, was elected to chair the Assessment and Advising Commission of the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA).

BB&T Corporation, one of the nation’s largest banks, awarded $2 million to the Department of Philosophy to establish the BB&T Chair for the Study of Objectivism. Tara Smith (Philosophy) was named the first holder of the chair.

The Lehmann estate and Dr. A. Richard Diebold, Jr. contributed more than $547,000 to the Linguistics Research Center, directed by Jonathan Slocum, to support research on historical and computational linguistics. 

Christen Smith (Anthropology) completed a new translation of the Brazilian play “O Pagador de Promessas” (“The Promise Keeper”) that debuted in a production by the School of Fine Arts at SUNY-New Paltz.

The Fulbright Commission awarded Nancy Stalker (Asian Studies) a 2007-08 Fulbright Research Fellowship to study the development of ikebana (flower arranging) during the 20th-century at Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan.

Rabun Taylor (Classics) earned a 2008-09 Sabbatical Grant from the American Philosophical Society for his research project, “Ancient Naples from Greece to Rome.” Taylor will investigate archeological sites in Greece.

The Center for Human Values at Princeton University named Jeffrey Tulis (Government) a Laurance S. Rockefeller Visiting Fellow for 2008-09. Tulis will complete his manuscript “Legacies of Loss in American Politics” during the fellowship.

James Wilson (History) earned the Phi Beta Kappa Texas chapter’s Fifth Annual Award for Distinction in Teaching. Phi Beta Kappa is the nation’s oldest honor society.

The National Endowment for the Humanities awarded Jeff Walker (Rhetoric and Writing) a 2007-08 fellowship for his research project “The Genuine Teachers of this Art: Rhetorical Education in Antiquity.”

The Bibliographical Society of America awarded its annual St. Louis Mercantile Library Prize in American Bibliography to Michael Winship (English) for “A History of the Book in America, Vol. 3: The Industrial Book, 1840-1880,” which he co-edited.

Photo: Troy Kimmel

Troy Kimmel

Photo: Wayne Lesser

Wayne Lesser

Photo: Eric McDaniel

Eric McDaniel

Photo: Howard Miller

Howard Miller

Photo: David Oshinsky

David Oshinsky

Photo: Tasha Philpot

Tasha Philpot

Photo: Daron Shaw

Daron Shaw

Photo: Carlota Smith

Carlota Smith

Photo: Christen Smith

Christen Smith

Photo: Tara Smith

Tara Smith

Photo: Rabun Taylor

Rabun Taylor

Photo: Jeff Tulis

Jeff Tulis

Photo: James Wilson

James Wilson

Photo: Michael Winship

Michael Winship

In the News

The Wall Street Journal reviewed John Rumrich's (English) collection of John Milton Poetry Feb. 1.

Black Enterprise magazine quoted Juliet Walker (History) in a February story about love and money.

The London Times (UK) featured David Buss's (Psychology) research in a Feb. 14 story.

The New York Times quoted Norval Glenn (Sociology) for a Feb. 17 story on divorce.

Jonathan Brown (History) commented on Castro's resignation for a Feb. 20 story with Cox News Service. featured Sam Gosling's (Psychology) research on personal space in a Feb. 21 story.

The New York Times quoted Gretchen Ritter (Center for Women’s and Gender Studies) in a Feb. 24 story about the Democratic primaries.

Numerous media outlets tapped Bruce Buchanan's (Government) expertise for stories about the presidential primaries this spring, including the Associated Press, Dallas Morning News, Financial Times, Houston Chronicle, CBS MarketWatch,, San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

Numerous media outlets interviewed Jim Henson (Government) about Texas politics for stories about the Democratic primaries this spring, including CBS Evening News, CNN Live, PBS Online NewsHour, Wired News, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and Dallas Morning News.

NPR featured several liberal arts faculty members in March. Evan Carton (English) provided expertise for "All Thing's Considered" in a discussion of "The Scarlett Letter" on March 2. Daron Shaw (Government) discussed the Texas GOP on "Day to Day" March 3. Bruce Buchanan (Government) discussed the presidential primaries on "Morning Edition" March 4.

In a March 3 article in, Henry Dietz (Government) discussed political parties in Latin America.

David Buss provided expertise on relationships for a March 3 article in The Los Angeles Times.

USA Today tapped Daron Shaw (Government) for a March 5 story on the end of Huckabee's campaign.

David Buss (Psychology) appeared on The Today Show on March 19 to discuss relationships and adultery.

The Chronicle of Higher Education and Austin Business Journal covered the new chair for the study of Objectivism held by Tara Smith (Philosophy).

The San Francisco Chronicle and Wall Street Journal quoted John Hoberman (Germanic Studies) for April 10-12 stories on the mix of politics and the Olympics.

The Austin American-Statesman profiled Jamie Pennebaker (Psychology) in a feature story April 13.

The New York Times tapped Dan Hamermesh’s (Economics) expertise in an April 26 story about companies making trade-offs to provide profitable service., a virtual museum created by the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory, was featured in the April issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine and the May issue of Texas Highways Magazine.

The Austin Chronicle featured Fred Valdez (Anthropology) and the College of Liberal Arts’ Maya research in a May 1 feature story.

New Publications

Image: State Fair book cover
Image: Snoop book cover
Image: Life After Welfare book cover
Image: Origin of Speech book cover

“State Fare: An Irreverent Guide to Texas Movies” by Don Graham (English).  Texas Christian University Press, 2008.

“Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You” by Sam Gosling (Psychology). Perseus Book Group, May 2008.

“Life After Welfare: Reform and the Resistance to Poverty” by Laura Lein (Anthropology). University of Texas Press, 2007.

“The Origin of Speech (Studies in the Evolution of Language)” by Peter MacNeilage (Psychology). Oxford University Press, 2008.

Image: Homeric Hymn book cover
Image: Chinese Americans book cover
Image: Prophet Motive book cover
Image: Life of the Buddha book cover

“The Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite: Introduction, Text, and Commentary” by Andrew Faulkner (Classics). Oxford University Press, 2008.

“Chinese Americans the Politics of Race and Culture” edited by Madeline Hsu (Asian Studies). Temple University Press, 2008.

“Prophet Motive: Deguchi Onisarburo, Oomoto, and the Rise of New Religions in Imperial Japan” by Nancy Stalker (Asian Studies).  University of Hawaii Press, 2007.

“Life of the Buddha” by Asvaghosa, translated by Patrick Olivelle (Asian Studies). New York University Press, 2008.

Retired Faculty

Ten faculty members are retiring from the College of Liberal Arts this year.  The college thanks these scholars—and friends—for their many years of academic service and contributions to their fields of study.  Learn more about this year’s retired faculty.

In Memoriam

Photo: Charles Bonjean
Charles Bonjean

Charles Bonjean, emeritus professor of sociology, died Feb. 20 at the age of 72. Bonjean, former executive director of the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, taught at university for 40 years. During Bonjean's term as executive director, he established the foundation as a leader in philanthropic collaboration. Bonjean served as chair of the sociology department from 1972 to 1974 when he was appointed Hogg Professor of Sociology, a position he held until he retired in 2002. His research interests included formal organizations, evaluation research and mental health.


Tony Hilfer, the Iris Howard Regents Professor of English Literature, died April 11 in a car accident at the age of 71. He taught at the university for 45 years. Hilfer was a renowned scholar of popular genres. His book, "The Crime Novel: A Deviant Genre" (1990), was one of the first to define the characteristics of crime fiction and provide a critical treatment of the genre. His recent book, "The New Hegemony in Literary Studies: Contradictions in Theory" (2003), won the admiration of playwright David Mamet. Hilfer also was the long-time editor of the journal, Texas Studies in Language and Literature.

Photo: Tony Hilfer
Tony Hilfer
Photo: John Slatin
John Slatin

John Slatin, professor of Rhetoric and Writing and English, died March 24 at the age of 55. He taught at the university for 29 years. Slatin, who was visually impaired, was founding director of the university's Accessibility Institute, which monitored the university's compliance with national accessibility standards and promoted Web accessibility for all users. He authored numerous articles about technology and learning, and the book "Maximum Accessibility: Making Your Web Site More Usable for Everyone" (2002). His work on accessibility issues with the World Wide Web Consortium earned international acclaim.



Please submit news items and updates to Jennifer McAndrew, editor of the Liberal Arts Insider.