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Dean's Alumni Newsletter: November 2004

Photo: Richard Lariviere

Dear Friends,

As the holiday season approaches, I'd like to tell you some of the reasons why I feel thankful to be part of the College of Liberal Arts at The University of Texas at Austin. My colleagues are committed to sharing: whether it's sharing their money to support charities, or sharing their knowledge with others. The College of Liberal Arts makes a difference in people's lives.

The College of Liberal Arts contributed $90,800 to the Hearts of Texas campaign-greater than any other college or department and an increase of more than $13,000 from the previous year. The campaign gives the UT community the opportunity to pledge support to more than 400 different charities. I am impressed by my colleagues' generosity and I am proud that we were able to help with this important effort.


Our faculty members continue to make a difference in and out of the classroom, and as a result, they receive the highest honors and are invited to give endowed lectures around the globe. Toyin Falola, a history professor, was just selected to receive the Association of Third World Studies' most prestigious lifetime award--the President's Distinguished Leadership and Scholarship Award. Robert Helmreich, a psychology professor, was awarded The Royal Aeronautical Society of London's Roger Green Medal for his significant contribution to the theory of human factors in aerospace; and Tom Pangle, a government professor and holder of the Joe R. Long Endowed Chair In Democratic Studies, has been invited to an Intellectual Summit under the patronage of Netherlands Prime Minister Dr. Jan Peter Balkende. Our faculty's research continues to shape the future.

You can read about other faculty achievements on our Web site in the News section ( and in the faculty and staff online newsletter, The Insider.


Tim Schallert and Theresa Jones (Psychology), along with researchers from the University of Southern California, have been awarded $1.8 million to explore new directions in stroke neuro-rehabilitation.

Larry Cormack, Bill Geisler and Eyal Seidemann (Psychology), along with Alan C. Bovik (Engineering), have received $1.2 million from the National Science Foundation to develop a visual search system capable of finding objects in cluttered environments.

Latin American Studies Association (LASA)-the largest professional association in the world for individuals and institutions engaged in the study of Latin America-has elected Charles Hale (Anthropology) as its president.

Brad Love (Psychology) is sole recipient of an NSF CAREER Award in the area of Perception, Action, and Cognition. Through this funding, he will develop a general model of human learning to account for learning from examples and direct instruction.

Tom Palaima (Classics) recently gave a lecture in Greece titled "The Triple Invention of Writing in Cyprus and Cypriote Written Sources for Cypriote History." His lecture used written texts to stress the distinction about Cyprus through history from the advent of archaic Cypro-Minoan in the 15th century B.C. to the final use of Cypriote Syllabic Script in the late 3rd century B.C.


Amazon Week, Nov. 15-30, is an annual conference at The University of Texas at Austin that explores contemporary environmental, social, and cultural issues in the Amazon region from a cross-disciplinary perspective. All events are free and open to the public. To view the conference schedule visit the Lillas website.

"Internet, Culture, and Society: French and American," a conference sponsored by the France-UT Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies, will be held Nov. 18-20. The Internet has given us multifaceted ways of communicating with others, creating new forms of expression, and storing knowledge; which has raised a host of complex questions. This conference highlights the interests and expertise of faculty and students at the university as well as their counterparts from France. To view the conference schedule visit the France-UT website.

"Publishing and the Academy: Current Issues," will be held from 3 to 6:30 p.m., Nov. 30, at the Avaya Auditorium, Applied Computation & Engineering Sciences (ACES) Building. This public symposium will focus on the dramatic changes in academic publishing and their effect on promotion and tenure, library collections, and the conduct of research. A reception follows in the foyer after the program. For more information visit the College Events section.

The College of Liberal Arts Parents' Weekend program was Oct. 29-30. The program kicked off on Friday night with dinner at O's Cafe, and on Saturday, parents gathered in the Gebauer Building for an Open House, before heading off to mini-classes held in Parlin Hall. This was the first time that we have had Parents' Weekend at a time when there was no home football game. The attendance and the comments by the parents indicate that this was a very good idea.

"In and Around Gebauer," by photographer Blake Justice, is currently on display in the Gebauer fourth floor gallery. The exhibit features photos of the historic buildings on The University of Texas at Austin campus, including the Dorothy L. Gebauer Building, built in 1904. Sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts, this exhibit will remain available for viewing through the end of December. Blake Justice is a graduate of the College of Liberal Arts (Philosophy) and serves as assistant director of the Texas Union.

The College is flourishing. There is a sense of optimism and confidence among the faculty that I have not seen before. My sense is that this has to do with the remarkable success that we continue to enjoy in attracting the very best faculty talent to UT. The students continue to get better and better-they are well prepared and they work hard.

We face daunting challenges, to be sure: there is not enough revenue to do what we need to do; there are societal problems that spill into our world; Texas does not yet have a tax system that can sustain the investment in education that is necessary to remain competitive. But I feel a confidence on this campus that we can meet those challenges that fall within our purview here on the 40 Acres. This is a great time to be at UT.

Thank you for your support, for your interest, and for your wish to see UT continue to flourish. The friendship of alumni is one of the great differentiators of the University of Texas. We are grateful to you.