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News from CLASS

CLASS Event Calendar

Nov. 4: El Paso Corporation Lecture: French novelist and UCLA professor Alain Mabanckou
Sponsored by the Department of Modern and Classical Languages
Alain Mabanckou, the much-decorated French poet, novelist, and essayist, is Professor in French and Francophone Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. He was awarded the Prix Renaudot for his 2006 novel Memoirs of a Porcupine and the in 2012 the Académie Française awarded him the Grand Prix de Littérature Henri Gal for his body of works. Prof. Mabanckou’s talk will be a conversation with Prof. Julie Tolliver at 4 p.m. in the Honors Commons of M.D. Anderson Library.

Nov. 5: Poetry Reading: Adrian Matejka
Sponsored by the, the Department of English, the Rice/UH Visiting Writers Series and the El Paso Corporation Lecture Series
Adrian Matejka’s is the author of three books, most recently The Big Smoke, a finalist for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize and winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for work that makes “important contributions to our understanding of racism and our appreciation of the rich diversity of human cultures.” He’s also the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim and Lannan foundations and has been a finalist for the NAACP’s Image Award for Outstanding Literature. 7:30 p,m, at the Jung Center, 5200 Montrose Blvd.

Nov. 5: $tart $mart Salary Negotiation Workshop for Working Professionals

Sponsored by the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program
$tart $mart prepares women to negotiate salaries and benefits throughout their careers. 6-8 pm in Room 210, Agnes Arnold Hall, Entrance 14 on Cullen. Closest parking is the Stadium Garage on Holman at Cullen.
Nov. 6: Alumni Success in the Arts panel discussion
Presented by the Student Board of the Center for Arts Leadership
During the UH homecoming festivities, the Center for Arts Leadership at University of Houston will welcome UH Arts Alumni back to campus on Nov. 6 with a 5:30 p.m. reception followed by a 6:15 p.m. panel conversation, “Success in the Arts.”  The event will highlight six UH alums and the unique artistic journey each has traveled to launch and sustain careers in their chosen medium. The event will feature recent graduates and mid-career arts professionals, including artist and professor Michael Ray Charles, poet John Harvey and arts administrator Ryan Dennis. It will be in the University Center Theater, Entrance 1 off Calhoun Road.

Nov. 11 12: Nobel Prize Nominee and Kenyan Author Ngugi wa Thiong’o
Presented by the Departments of English, History and Modern and Classical Languages
Kenyan novelist, playwright and social justice advocate Ngugi wa Thiong’o, famous for his call to African writers to abandon English and other colonial languages, is the author of the novels, Wizard of the Crow and Caitaani mutharaba-ini (Devil on the Cross.) He comes to campus for two events, both in the Honors College Commons, 2nd floor of M.D. Anderson Library:
4:00 pm, November 11: Discussion and Q&A with Ngugi wa Thiong’o, a Nobel Prize Nominee and Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irving.

5:30 pm, November 12: Poetry & Prose Reading Series event featuring Ngugi Wa Thiong’o and Peter Kimani, a Ph.D. candidate in creative writing and former columnist and senior editor in Kenya’s national press.

Nov. 14: “What it really takes for art to drive placemaking: A conversation between Jamie Bennett + Jonathon Glus”
Presented by the Center for Arts Leadership and the Houston Arts Alliance
Jamie Bennett is executive director of ArtPlace America, which funds projects that use art and culture to develop and redevelop public spaces around the nation. Jonathon Glus leads the Houston Arts Alliance, which curates and manages the City of Houston’s civic art collection and distributes annually more than $3 million in grants to nonprofit arts organizations and individual artists. 9:30 am University Center Theater, Entrance 1 on Calhoun. Closest parking is the Welcome Center Garage on Calhoun at Entrance 1.

Nov. 14 - 23: The Liar by Pierre Corneille and adapted by David Ives

Presented by the School of Theatre & Dance In this classic French farce, a charming, handsome, incorrigible liar named Dorante comes to Paris seeking pleasure. He falls head over heels for the beautiful Clarice but mistakes her name for that of her best friend, Lucrece. After lying his way into a world of trouble, can Dorante lie his way back out again? Purchase tickets to the School of Theatre & Dance production here.
Nov. 18: Allard Van Hoorn: 021 Urban Songline  in collaboration with
Presented by the Blaffer Art Museum
Watch a group of dancers transform the Blaffer Art Museum into a colorful music box. Allard van Hoorn is a Dutch sound, installation and performance artist collaborating across the disciplines of architecture, design, music, dance and theatre. For this piece, he has collaborated with UH Dance Program professors Leslie Scates, Karen Stokes, Teresa Chapman and Becky Valls. 7 p.m. in Blaffer Art Museum, Entrance 16 on Cullen or Entrance 18 on Elgin. Surface parking lots at both entrances.

Nov. 19: $tart $mart Salary Negotiation Workshop for Students
Sponsored by the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program
$tart $mart prepares college women who are approaching the job market with the confidence, knowledge, and skills they need to negotiate salaries and benefits. 9am – 1pm in Room 210 Agnes Arnold Hall.

For more events, check the CLASS calendar.

CLASS Alumni/ae Notes

Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta Air Lines, majored in political science at UH. His journey up the corporate ladder is explained in the Business Insider-Australia article, 29 People With 'Soft' College Majors Who Became Extremely Successful.
Jim Parsons
Jim Parsons, a graduate from the School of Theatre & Dance, recently won his fourth Emmy for his role on The Big Bang Theory. The KPRC story, Parsons wins fourth Emmy, makes Houston proud, details Parson’s Houston roots.
Nandita Berry
Texas Secretary of State Nandita Berry returned to her alma mater recently to encourage UH student leaders to keep their constituents updated on state election-related details including the voter registration deadline (Oct. 6), voter eligibility, polling options for college students, election dates and where to access voting information. Berry earned bachelor’s degree in political science and a Juris Doctorate degree from the UH Law Center.
Debra Barrera
Debra Barrera’s first solo museum exhibition, Debra Barrera: Avalon, is on display at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston now through Nov. 30. In Avalon, Barrera’s ongoing exploration of the very human desire for escape is explored in drawing, installation, and objects. Her artist talk for the show will be on Oct. 16 at the CAMH. Barerra earned her Masters of Fine Arts from the School of Art.
Gail D. Storey
Several awards, including the National Outdoor Book Award, Nautilus Silver Award and the Colorado Book Award, have been bestowed on I Promise Not to Suffer: A Fool for Love Hikes the Pacific Crest Trail, the most recent book by alumna Gail D. Storey. She earned a Master of Art in English.
Alexander W. Obregon
The Hobby Center for Public Policy recently awarded Alexander W. Obregon the first Leadership Award during the 2014 Fall Luncheon according to the article Crosby High School graduate receives leadership award in the Lake Houston Observer. The award is given to honor a previous Hobby Center intern that has demonstrated leadership in government and public service. Obregon earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology.

CLASS Students in the Media

CLASS sophomore and music major Michael Phillips discussed how he spent his summer practicing and performing on his euphonium on the Houston Matters program, How a College Student Spent His Summer.

American Sign Language Interpreting (ASLI) students will perform the National Anthem during the 5:30 p.m. pre-game show at the Thursday, Oct. 2 UH football game against the University of Central Florida in TDECU Stadium. The 6 p.m. game will be televised live on ESPN.

The ASLI program also partnered with the Houston Astros to host the Major League Baseball franchise’s first Deaf Awareness Night at Minute Maid Park on Sept. 19. ASLI students did interpreting during a pre-game tour of the stadium for members of the Deaf community and their allies. The UH ASL & Interpreting Club sold 190 tickets to the Astros game against the Seattle Mariners in support of the ASLI Program and Deaf Community Awareness Night at the ballpark.

CLASS Faculty in the Media

A research study about information recall by people who read printed news or online news led by Arthur Santana, assistant professor in the Jack. J. Valenti School of Communications, was featured in national and regional news outlets:
Readers Remember More From Newspapers Than Online: Study — NBC News
Is reading online different from reading print? My research says yes. — Houston Chronicle
The page is mightier than the iPad — NewsFix: KIAH-CW39
UH study: Print readers recall more than online readersHouston Chronicle
Traveling the world to record accents and dialects used to help fellow actors is the purpose of, a website launched in 2006 by Jim Johnson, director of the School of Theatre and Dance. The Houston Chronicle article, Need to master a Texas drawl quickly? Ask them, details how their website works.

Professor Johnson is also spearheading a collaboration between the School of Theatre & Dance and local theater companies this fall and spring. UH students will act in plays produced by Main Street Theater Company, Stages Repertory Theatre, Stark Naked Theatre Company and Alley Theatre. Additionally, Alley actors will contribute their talents to UH’s production of Moliere’s “The Miser” in spring 2015. The article, Creative Collaborations connecting UH actors with new performance opportunities in The Humble Observer, explains the partnership. took note of the passing of Jemimah Noonoo, a former lecturer in the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, in the article, A Journalism Teacher Blessed with ‘Effortless Eloquence.’

Cyrus Contractor, instructional assistant professor, commented extensively about the terror group ISIS in the News 92.1FM stories, UH Professor: ISIS Threat Can Be Eliminated, Professor: Assad May Not Object to Attacks on ISIS in Syria, and Is It ISIS or ISIL?

Art in America Magazine recently ran an article titled, Theory and Matter, which was written by professor of critical studies Raphael Rubenstein.

Houston Matters on KUHF-FM 88.7 recently aired a piece about the characteristics that make a happier place to work. The story, What Does it Take to Make a Better Workplace Experience?, featured L.A. Witt, professor of psychology.

Robert Zaretsky, professor of history, recently wrote the following articles:
Why August is the Cruelest MonthThe Chronicle of Higher Education
Fascism and France TodayJewish Daily Forward
The Gauche Cadaver and the Socialist Tea PartyForeign Policy
A new, two-part exhibition by artist and assistant professor of art Abinadi Meza, called “Air, Condition” was highlighted on the Houston Matters program, Air, Condition: Portraying the Unseen Landscape of Houston’s Radio Waves.

Professor Meza was also mentioned in a post on TribTalk, the blog of the Texas Tribune, praising the launch of the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts’ CounterCurrent Festival.

Garth Jowett, professor of communications, discussed the changing role of college newspapers in today’s media in the Houston Matters program, What’s the Role of College Newspapers in An Online World?

According to the Houston Chronicle article, Alley Theatre audiences get a bonus this season - art, patrons of the temporarily relocated Alley Theatre can also take advantage of the nearby art museum. The Blaffer Art Museum, next door to the university's Wortham Theatre, is hosting pre-event happy hours, offering beverages and gourmet cheese trays in its dining area.

Nicolas Kanellos, director of Arte Público Press, was the first author of the fall American Book Review Reading series at the University of Houston-Victoria according to the Victoria Advocate article, Renowned Hispanic literacy publisher to open fall UHV/ABR reading series.

A new undergraduate course taught by Shayne Lee, associate professor of sociology, was featured in the Broadway World article, New UH Sociology Course Focused on Writings of Malcolm Gladwell.

Brandon Rottinghaus, associate professor of political science, was quoted on the challenges third-party candidates face in races for elected offices in Rangel: Third-party candidates struggle to be heard in 2-party system, an opinion column in the Amarillo Globe-News.

The website Orange in the Oven in its Flashback Series: Houston 1836 rehashed the naming controversy surrounding the launch of the Houston Dynamo franchise and the alarm raised by Raúl A. Ramos, associate professor of history, that led to the renaming of the soccer team.

CLASS Faculty in the Media

Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, is launching a new review journal: Current Opinion in Psychology. It will be co-edited by Michael Zvolensky, Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished University Professor and Director of the Anxiety and Health Research Laboratory / Substance Use Treatment Clinic, and Paul A. M. van Lange, Professor in Social Psychology at VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Psychology Associate Professor Rheeda Walker is the principal investigator of a study assessing suicide, depression, religion and racism published in the Journal Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior and featured in the article, Religiosity May Reduce Suicidal Thoughts in African-Americans.
The project, ‘Channel/1836’ combines film of a site-specific dance and live performance to portray the history of the Houston Ship Channel, as the Port of Houston celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. Karen Stokes, head of UH’s dance program, created the choreography for the piece that is featured in the Houston Chronicle article, Ship Channel, Santa Anna serve as inspiration for choreographer Karen Stokes
A research study led by Dr. Arthur Santana, assistant professor in the Jack. J. Valenti School of Communication, was featured in the Houston Chronicle story, UH study: Print readers recall more than online readers.
Houston Matters aired a program titled, Sleep and Sleep Disorders, and Your Feedback: Houston Matters for Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014. Candice Alfano, Director of Sleep and Anxiety Center for Kids, was featured on the program.
Professor of Conducting Franz Anton Krager recently led the Moores School Symphony when they performed their season opening concert. An article about the concert titled UH conductor ready for Mahler, which recently ran in the Houston Chronicle, details the event and why he enjoys working with student musicians.
Inprint, a Houston-based literary arts nonprofit, recently held an event that featured a reading and live interview with Antonya Nelson, professor of Creative Writing. The Kingwood Observer article, Inprint Margarett Root Brown Reading Series presents renowned fiction writers Deborah Eisenberg and Antonya Nelson, details the event and Nelson’s successful career.
Robert Zaretsky, professor of history, recently wrote the articles, A French Jew Gazes Longingly Back at Vichy which ran in The Jewish Daily Forward, and Looking Ebola in the eye, with help from Camus, which ran as an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times.
Gerald Horne, the John J. and Rebecca Moores Chair of History and African American Studies, talked about potential Nov. 4 election outcomes in the Final Call article, Black voters needed in mid-term elections, but Black issues are still unwelcome in 2014.
Political Science Associate Professor Brandon Rottinghaus shared his perspective on the 2014 election cycle with KTRH – 740AM for Analysis: Networks Ignoring Mid-Term Elections.
Political Science Assistant Professor Francisco Cantú gave his predictions for the Brazilian presidential elections in a guest articl, Forecasting the Brazilian election, he co-wrote with a professor at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México for the Washington Post’s “Monkey Cage” blog’s Election Reports series.
"Buildering: Misbehaving the City," which is currently on display at the Blaffer Art Museum, was featured in the Houston Chronicle article, Two shows at Houston galleries find beauty in the dusty mess. The exhibit was also featured on Houston Public Media’s VIDEO: "Buildering: Misbehaving The City" At Blaffer Art Museum.

CLASS Students in the Media

CLASS communications student Kieu Tram is a news anchor at Viet TV, a Houston-based Vietnamese television network. The Houston Chronicle article, Style profile: Kieu Tram aims for a modern take on tradition, details her journey from Vietnam to Houston.

In the Tri-Partisan Student Debate at the UC theater on Nov. 3, political science freshman Zana Shaw and political science junior Charlotte Christian represented the UH Democrats, history junior Matthew Wiltshire and political science and economics senior Sarah Aimad represented the UH Republicans, and political science freshman Dalton Laine and philosophy junior Noelle Mandell represented Young Americans for Liberty, the UH chapter of the Libertarian Party.

The UH Concert Women’s Chorus’ rendition of the Pharrell Williams song, “Happy” was featured in the Houston Chronicle article, Women's chorus sings of UH 'glory times' in 'Happy' rewrite.

Political science and English junior Hadill Calderon was quoted in the The Daily Cougar article, CMAS scholarship banquet highlights the importance of education, about the Center for Mexican-American Studies’ 18th annual Noche Cultural Scholarship Banquet held on Saturday, October 25.

The Spirit of Houston Cougar Marching Band’s collaboration with two Houston high school bands and nationally-renowned choreographers from Austin was spotlighted in Culture Map Houston’s Pix of the Day feature, Battle of the bands creates quite a ruckus on the University of Houston campus: Can you hear them now?

CLASS Alumni/ae Notes

The Pew Charitable Trusts has selected veteran survey researcher and political scientist Michael Dimock as president of the Pew Research Center in Washington. A neutral source of public opinion polling and demographic and other empirical social science research, the Pew Research Center doesn't take positions on policy issues. Dr. Dimock earned his bachelor’s degree in political science at UH before completing his Ph.D. from the University of California – San Diego.
University Press of Mississippi has published Wednesdays in Mississippi: Proper Ladies Working for Radical Change, Freedom Summer 1964 by alumna Debbie Z. Harwell, Ph.D. in history. Dr. Harwell is the managing editor of Houston History magazine, which is published by the Welcome Wilson Houston History Collaborative at the University of Houston.
Darryl Schroeder, who earned a BS in economics in 1969 and is CEO of Lone Star Energy Fabrication, was recently elected to the UH Alumni Association Board of Directors. He was installed on September 4 and will be eligible for two term extensions during his service to UHAA.
The College congratulates two of its alums on the completion of their terms on the UH Alumni Association Board of Directors:  Cathy Frank, who earned a BA in radio/tv/film in 1980 and and is president of Class Act Communications, and Ricky Raven, who earned a BS in Political Science, ’83 and is partner at the law firm Thompson and Knight.
Lacy M. Johnson recently participated in The Iron Horse Literacy Review at Texas Tech University, according to Texas Tech Today article, Lacy M. Johnson to Visit Texas Tech. She read excerpts from her recently released memoir, The Other Side. Johnson received her doctorate from the Creative Writing Program and is currently the director of academic initiatives at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts at UH where she teaches interdisciplinary art.