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Dean's Alumni Newsletter: December 2006

Photo: Judith Langlois, Dean ad interim

Dear Friends,

This fall we celebrated the 123rd birthday of The University of Texas at Austin, along with the installation of our new president, William Powers, Jr. In his inaugural address, President Powers touted liberal arts as being crucial to any truly outstanding education, and this is demonstrated in the success of our remarkable alumni.

Dina Habib Powell (Plan I Humanities '95) and Alisa Manning Peppers (Economics '90) were each chosen as recipients of 2006 Outstanding Young Texas Ex Awards; and University of Texas at El Paso President Diana Natalicio (Linguistics M.A. '64 and Ph.D. '69) was named one of this year's Distinguished Alumnus by the Texas Exes.

Of course our faculty are integral to the college, and if you attended Parents' Weekend this month, you got a glimpse of the breadth and depth of knowledge our students encounter. I hope you will enjoy reading about more of our faculty members' research and accomplishments, and I thank you for your continued interest and support.

Judith Langlois,

Dean ad interim, College of Liberal Arts


The National Security Education Program (NSEP) has selected the South Asia Institute to establish the first National Flagship Language Program in Hindi and Urdu in the United States. NSEP has awarded more than $700,000 to the Institute to fund the program in its first year.

Terri E. Givens (Government) has been appointed to the position of vice provost at the university. She will work with the university’s International Office, the faculty teaching awards program, academic legislation and the academy of distinguished teachers.

Kurt Heinzelman (English) was the lone North American judge for the Dylan Thomas Prize, awarded for the first time Oct. 27, 2006 at Swansea, Wales, Thomas's hometown. The winner will be in residence here at the university in the coming year.

Tracie Matysik's (History) course, "Western Civilization in Modern Times," was identified as an example of best practices in a national study of European History courses conducted by the Center for Educational Policy Research (CEPR) on behalf of the College Board.

Former Liberal Arts Associate Dean Brian Roberts (Government and Economics) will be the new vice president for information technology.

Paul Woodruff (Philosophy), former director of the Plan II honors program, has been named dean of undergraduate studies, a new position created to provide oversight for the university's undergraduate core curriculum.

Michael Young (Sociology) and student Stephen Cherry's co-authored paper, "Secularization of Confessional Protests: The Role of Religious Processes of Rationalization and Differentiation," received the 2006 Distinguished Article Award by the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion.


The History Channel program "Vampire Secrets" featured Thomas Garza (Slavic and Eurasian Studies) discussing vampire mythology and legend.

Angel L. Harris's (Sociology) research with Joseph L Mahoney of Yale University, and Jacquelyn S. Eccles of the University of Michigan, on the positive consequences of youth participation in extracurricular activities and the lack of support for the over-scheduling hypothesis was profiled in or cited by The New York Times, UPI, CBS News, BBC News and a number of health and education media outlets.

Robert Joseph's (Psychology) research on the connection between a dog owner's testosterone level and the dog's stress was featured in the Austin American-Statesman and on KLBJ-AM radio.

David Prindle (Government) talked to the Los Angeles Times about payment disputes and new distribution avenues in the entertainment industry.

Denne Reed (Anthropology) was part of the research team who discovered the oldest child fossil ever found. Their discovery was on the cover of Nature and was featured in numerous other media outlets.


The support of alumni, faculty, staff and friends of the college allows us to recruit outstanding faculty members and provide the best programs for our students. You can learn more about how to make a gift to the College of Liberal Arts at

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