SHSU Update For Week Of Aug. 31



Economics Profs To Kick Off Fall Lecture Series

Economics professors Darren Grant and Bill Green will discuss how students respond to grade incentives at universities on Thursday (Sept. 4).

"The Simple Economics of Thresholds: Grades as Incentives," part of the Economics Fall 2008 Seminar Series, will be held from 3:30-5 p.m. in Smith-Hutson Building Room 139.

The topic is the result of research the two conducted on the effect of incentives on behavior at various universities.

“We gathered grades from professors at SHSU and elsewhere, and looked at the effect of being on a grade borderline (A/B, etc.) on final exam performance using a statistical model,” Grant said.

“We find that grades provide surprisingly little motivation to students,” he said. “Students motivated by the chance to go up a letter grade should try harder on the final exam, but we didn't find that to happen.”

Grant, an assistant professor of economics at SHSU since last year, earned both his bachelor’s degree and his doctorate from Florida State University.

Green, director for the Center for Business and Economic Development for SHSU’s College of Business Administration, has taught in the economics department since 1974, also serving as department chair for 22 years.

He earned his bachelor’s degree from Lamar University and his master’s degree and doctorate from Louisiana State.

For more information, contact Grant at or 936.294.4324, or the economics and international business department at 936.294.1265.


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Professor Prepares Second Edition Of 48-Year-Old Book

A new edition of a book that hasn’t been updated in more than four decades will receive its first update by an SHSU foreign languages professor.

Enrique Mallén will prepare the second edition of Pablo Picasso’s prestigious “Trozo de Piel” (“Hunk of Skin”) and write an accompanying introduction for the book, which will be published by the Instituto Municipal del Libro in Málaga in 2009.

“The importance of this book is highlighted by the fact that the first edition was prepared in 1960 by none other than the Spanish Nobel Prize writer José Camilo Cela,” Mallén said. “The new edition includes the original text as reflected in archived manuscripts, including misspellings that the poet had (intentionally?) used.”

Though probably more well known for his art work, Picasso wrote hundreds of poems, “most of which were published in prestigious journals in France,” according Mallén.

“Picasso also wrote two plays, which are recognized as revolutionary, and he is again a precursor of the much later ‘theatre of the absurd’ of Beckett or Ionesco,” he said.

“Picasso’s poetry was influenced by the surrealist movement. He was a close friend of many of the surrealist writers: Breton, Desnos, Eluard, Reverdy, Soupault, etc,” Mallén said. “As is typical in surrealist poetry, he places considerable emphasis on chance and spontaneity in his technique. Also, his focus on language itself in his poetry identifies him as a precursor to ‘Language Poetry,’ an avant-garde literary movement in the U.S.”

Mallén, who directs the Online Picasso Project, which is dedicated to chronicling all of the Spanish artist’s works, was asked to prepare the new edition of the poetry by another major Picasso scholar, Rafael Inglada, who also serves as director of the research department at the Picasso Foundation in Málaga, Spain.


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Marine Band Performs Prof’s Work, Century-Old Piece

A musical piece by the Italian composer Amilcare Ponchielli, which had not been heard for 136 years, has been performed again thanks to Sam Houston State University music professor Skip Howey and the United States Marine Band.

Not only did the Marine Band perform Ponchielli's variations on "Carnival of Venice" 13 times during their 2007 national tour, but one of those performances is now available online at Howey calls Ponchielli's 15 variations "the most difficult variations on ‘Carnival of Venice’ ever composed.”

"Carnival of Venice" is a Neapolitan melody used by many 19th-century composers, Howey said. Ponchielli's variations were for the entire band with a solo quartet of clarinet, cornet, trumpet and euphonium.

"People familiar with Ponchielli's ‘Dance of the Hours’ from 'La Gioconda' will hear pre-echoes of that beloved piece in the brilliant introduction to the variations first performed in 1868," said Howey.

For non-opera fans, "Dance of the Hours" is the melody for the hippo dance in Walt Disney's Fantasia. It was also used by Allen Sherman as the melody for his novelty tune "Hello Mudder, Hello Fadder/Here I am at Camp Granada."

In addition to their performing the Howey arrangement, the United States Marine Band has another Sam Houston State University connection. M/Sgt. Donald Patterson, who joined the band as a trombonist in 1991, studied under Howey at SHSU and is now the band’s staff arranger.

Ponchielli's "Carnival of Venice" variations were among the manuscripts reconstructed by Howey in 13 years of digging through old Italian documents, sometimes using modern image-enhancing technology to refresh the fading notes.


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December Graduation Applications Due Sept. 10

Students who anticipate graduating in December are to file degree applications by Sept. 10 with the Registrar’s Office.

Those who fail to apply by the deadline will be assessed a $25 late application fee in addition to the $25 graduation fee.

Applying late may also result in names not appearing in the commencement program or the honors program.

Final exams will be held Dec. 15-18, with a study day scheduled for Dec. 12, and commencement is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 19-20.

The Registrar’s Office is located on the third floor of the Estill Building.

For more information, call 936.294.1040.


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SAM Center To Give Study Tips

The Student Advising and Mentoring Center will teach students to “study smart” with a workshop series beginning on Monday (Sept. 8).

The first Study Skills Workshop Series is comprised of six one-hour sessions that focus on studying smart, procrastination, time management, reading textbooks and note taking, test taking strategies and stress management.

Sessions will be held on a variety of days and times to accommodate student schedules, and a second session will begin on Oct. 20.

All sessions will be held in the SAM Center, located in Academic Building IV Room 210.

Space is limited, and students are encouraged to call or stop by the SAM Center to sign up.

For more information, call 936.294.4444, e-mail or visit the SAM Center, located in Academic Building IV Room 210.


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Biology Students To Present At Conference

The work of two biology graduate students has been selected for presentation during the 2008 joint annual meeting of five professional organizations.

Justin Degrate will discuss his work, “The Utilization of Geographic Information Systems for Inferring the Paleoenvironment of the Koanaka Hills,” conducted with grad student Timothy Campbell, associate professor Justin Williams and assistant professor Patrick Lewis in Africa.

Julie Sculley will discuss “Preliminary Systematic Analysis of An Avifaunal Assemblage from Roland Springs Ranch of Western Texas,” research she conducted with Lewis and Texas Tech professor Eileen Johnson.

The Oct. 5-9 conference includes professionals from the Geological Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and the Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies will be held at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston.


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Information for the SHSU Update can be sent to the Office of Public Relations electronically at or to any of the media contacts listed below.

Please include the date, location and time of the event, as well as a brief description and a contact person.

All information for news stories should be sent to the office at least a week in advance to give the PR staff ample time to make necessary contacts and write the story.

For electronic access to SHSU news see the Public Relations Web page Today@Sam.



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SHSU Media Contacts: Frank Krystyniak, Julia May, Jennifer Gauntt
Aug. 29, 2008
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