SHSU Update For Week Of Nov. 30



Tree Ceremony To Light Up Plaza Area

Faculty, staff and students will celebrate the spirit of the holiday season during the 88th annual Tree of Light ceremony on Tuesday (Dec. 2).

The tree-lighting event will be held from 6-7 p.m. in the central campus plaza area.

University president Jim Gaertner will speak, the Orange Pride dance team and university choir will perform, and hot chocolate, hot wassail, gingerbread and cookies will be served.

This year an additional ring will be added to make the tree 30 feet tall, according to Brandon Cooper, Student Activities manager.

“The Tree of Light is truly one of the greatest traditions that SHSU maintains,” he said. “It is a chance for the entire Bearkat community to share in that great holiday spirit that brings us all together.”

All students, organizations, faculty and staff are invited to participate, as well as bring an ornament to decorate the tree either before or during the ceremony.

In addition, the Department of Student Activities will collect canned goods for a drive that will benefit an area organization.

"The Tree of Light is the university's oldest and most cherished tradition," said Student Activities assistant director Angie Burns. "This tree-lighting ceremony is also a time of giving and reminds students and the university community what the holiday season is all about."

Student Activities will also feature the history of the ceremony and a slide show of the tree assembly during an exhibit in the Lowman Student Center Art Gallery beginning Monday (Dec. 1). The display will run through Dec. 5.

For more information, call Student Activities at 936.294.3861.


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Lecture To Address Globalization Of Trade, Competition

Duaine Priestley, director for the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service’s Houston Export Assistance Center, will discuss “Globalization, The Future of International Trade and American Competitiveness” on Wednesday (Dec. 3).

The department of management and marketing’s fourth Global Business Lecture will be held from 12:30–1:45 p.m. in the Bud and Joan Haney Auditorium, located in Smith-Hutson Business Building Room 186.

Priestley has served as the director of the Houston office of the U.S. Commercial Service since July 2004.

Part of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, the Commercial Service provides U.S. businesses with a variety of services to assist them in identifying export opportunities.

Prior to his current position, Priestley worked for the telecommunications company MCI as manager of international regulatory compliance, in trade development for the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, and as a research analyst for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s international division.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Houston and his master’s degree in international relations from American University in Washington, D.C.

For more information, contact Irfan Ahmed at 936.294.1276 or


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Economics Prof To Discuss Illegal System In India

Hiranya Nath, associate professor of economics, will discuss the traditional system of dowry in India on Friday (Dec. 5).

The Economics Brown Bag Seminar Series lecture will be held from 12:15-1:30 p.m. in Smith-Hutson Building Room 140.

“My focus will be on a hypothesis that relates the recent increase in female enrollment in higher education to the traditional system of dowry,” Nath said. “At the family level, investment in daughters’ education is seen as a substitute for dowry in my model.”

While the dowry system is not legal, it still exists, according to Nath.

“Systematic data on dowry are not available for obvious reasons,” he said. “What I am going to present is a theoretical construct based on several observations about the economy and the society.”

If his model’s prediction is true, the substitution of education for dowry is a good thing, he said.

Nath said he hopes to be able to empirically test his model, “still in a very preliminary stage,” one day.

After the lecture, Nath will open the discussion up to feedback on his topic.

For more information, contact Darren Grant, in the economics and international business department, at 936.294.1265.


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Nominations Sought For Distinguished, Service Awards

The SHSU Alumni Association is seeking nominations for Bearkat graduates who have distinguished themselves through their personal and professional achievements and service for its annual service, distinguished alumni and outstanding young alumni awards.

The nomination deadlines for the Service Awards and Distinguished Alumni Awards are Feb. 1 and April 1, respectively.

The SHSU Service Award recognizes individuals who exemplify the SHSU motto "The measure of a Life is its Service" and demonstrate a continued interest in the university or Alumni Association through their contributions of time, talent, influence or funds.

Eligible individuals can be alumni, faculty, staff or friends of the university.

“The highest honor” the association and university can bestow upon alumni, the Distinguished Alumni award recognizes graduates or former students who “have made significant contributions to SHSU and/or society, and thus have brought honor and distinction to our university,” according to the nomination form.

The Outstanding Young Alumni Award is given to one individual based on criteria as the Distinguished Alumni Award, except the recipient must be under 40 years of age.

Any individual or group may submit a nomination for an award.

Nomination forms, with a complete list of award criteria, are available online at and should be returned to the SHSU Office of Alumni Relations, in the Ragsdale Visitor and Alumni Center, or by mail to P.O. Box 2022, Huntsville, Texas 77341-2022.

Nominations received after the deadline will not be considered; however, the forms will remain on file for consideration the following year.

For more information, contact the Alumni Relations Office at 936.294.1841 or

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Festival To Put Spotlight On Bearkat-Created Films

Bearkat filmmakers will have the opportunity to show off some of their works and possibly earn a prize during the Sam Houston Film Festival on Wednesday (Dec. 3).

The festival, for which audience members will be able to judge the submitted pieces, will be held at 7 p.m. in the Lowman Student Center Theater.

“The spirit of this event is to feature the creativity of students, regardless of their experience level,” said Daniel Flores, event coordinator.
Submissions can be existing or new work but cannot contain excessive or gratuitous vulgarity. Additionally, the work will be immediately disqualified if anything within the video is illegal.

The work should be submitted on some kind of digital media, through either a burned disc or digital file, to the Program Council office, located in LSC Room 324.

Prizes will be awarded to the winners, who will choose their own prize, or to the organization representing a project, Flores said.

“The amount of entries will dictate the value of the prize,” he said. “A prize will be no less than $250 in value.”

The winning entries will be selected by two judges and the audience, which will act as the third judge.

“Ideally, we would like entries at be no longer than 12 minutes, but the spirit of this program is to get the voices and talent of SHSU heard, so we’re not going to hold it against the artist if it’s a little longer,” Flores said.

Deadline for submissions is Dec. 1.

For more information, call Flores at 956.534.2243 or e-mail


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Performance To ‘Dissambiguate’ Dance

SHSU dance faculty members will present their original choreography performed by dance students during “DISSAMBIGUATIONS” Thursday through Saturday (Dec. 4-6).

The “amazing evening of daring, hilarious and spectacular dancing” will be held at 8 p.m. each day, with a 2 p.m. Saturday performance, at the University Theatre Center’s Mainstage Theatre.

Concert director and dance program coordinator Jennifer Pontius’ “Hesperios,” a new ballet inspired by Flamenco and Celtic music, will open the evening, followed by the premier of College of Arts and Sciences associate dean Dana Nicolay’s premiere of “Mes Ami.”

Using intriguing titles for his sections—such as Sex Prelude, Shy Coco’s Rumba, Desire, and The Big Tumble—Nicolay draws the audience into this new, masterful, movement exploration with the piece, according to Pontius.

“The characters of my five dancers (Julie Davis, Jared Doster, Larry Lozier, Tania Peterson and Crystal Scott) just emerged during the rehearsal process,” Nicolay said.

“La Strada di un Circo,” by dance professor Cindy Gratz, loosely depicts the story of Fellini’s film “La Strada.”

“It has a huge cast of wonderful performers,” Gratz said. “But the piece seems to get bigger and bigger with each rehearsal. It is now this huge extravaganza.”

New dance faculty member Andy Noble, whose “interest in technology and innovative choreographic investigation is evident,” will present his piece “Barrier,” Pontius said.

“A huge steel-looking slab set at an angle near the back of the performance space is used by the dancers to create off-centered, gravity defying movements that will leave the viewers astonished,” she said. “’Barrier’ is further enhanced by enticing video projections.”

The finale of the evening is assistant professor of dance Jonathan Charles’ new work, “Ode Maid.”

“Charles uses his uncanny wit and sense of style to integrate the music of Mozart with the music White Stripes,” Pontius said. “Using a large cast of incredible dancers, crazy costumes and hilarious situations, Charles manages to rock the entire stage, audience and theatre.”

Tickets are $10 for general admission and $8 for SHSU students and senior citizens with an ID.

For more information, call 936.294.3988.


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Concert To Celebrate Holiday Season

The SHSU Symphony Orchestra will serve up some “Holiday Treats” during its seasonal performance on Saturday (Dec. 6) at 7:30 p.m. at the First Baptist Church in Huntsville.

The concert will feature orchestral music associated with Christmas and Hanukkah, as well as “music that quotes some of these tunes or uses them as part of the melodic content of the piece,” according to David Cole, director of orchestral studies.

In addition to very traditional Yuletide music such as Leroy Anderson's "Sleigh Ride" and "A Christmas Festival," the performance will include opera excerpts from Humperdinck's "Hansel and Gretel" and incidental music from the play “L'Arlesienne,” “which quotes a Christmas carol from the Provence region in France,” Cole said.

The orchestra will also perform some seldom-heard holiday works, including "Noel" from American composer George Chadwick's Symphonic Sketches, and Brahms' setting of the Christmas hymn "Lo how a Rose 'ere Blooming."

The concert should last approximately an hour and 15 minutes.

Admission is $10 for adults and children over 6 years of age, $5 for SHSU students with ID and senior citizens, and free for children under 6, Sam Houston faculty and staff with an ID and Sam Houston music majors with an ID.

For more information, call the School of Music at 936.294.1360.


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SHSU Composers To Showcase Original Works

Pieces by School of Music student and faculty composers will be featured during two concerts on Monday and Tuesday (Dec. 1-2).
Both the student composition and faculty composition will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall.

During the student composition recital, on Dec. 1, SHSU’s new music ensemble Intersection will perform two compositions, while student chamber groups and faculty members Kyle Kindred, Vini Frizzo and Trent Hanna will perform a number works, including “Pop Music,” “Gold,” “Ave Maria,” “piece for susi,” and “The Apostle and the Apostate.”

The Dec. 2 faculty composition recital will feature works by Hanna, an award-winning composer.

Among his pieces being performed include “Fanfare for Peace,” for brass ensemble, which was composed for the 2004 SHSU Symphony Orchestra Eastern European Tour; and “Elegy,” a piece for a solo guitar that will be performed by faculty member Alejandro Montiel.

“Elegy” was premiered by the composer's best friend and was posthumously dedicated to his mother who passed away just weeks after the performance, according to Hanna.

Also being performed is a piano solo entitled “Little Treasure Box,” performed by Hanna, which is based on a gift he received from his daughter when she was four years old, he said.

After the intermission, criminal justice doctoral fellow Jiletta Kubena will give a presentation entitled “Exxon Valdez: An Exploration of Environmental Crime,” followed by a piece for four percussionists, “Quyannanana,” that is based on the music of the indigenous people most devastated by the spill.

Admission is free for both events.

For more information, call the School of Music at 936.294.1360.


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Department To Carol In Three Languages

The foreign languages department will wish faculty, staff and students a “Feliz Navidad,” “Frohe Weihnachten” and “Joyeux Noël” through the singing of holiday carols on Wednesday (Dec. 3).

The multi-lingual caroling and reception will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the third floor, south landing of the Evans Building.

Copies of French, German and Spanish holiday music will be provided for any students, faculty members or staff members who would like to participate in the singing of the carols.

Christmas cookies, punch and hot cocoa will be served.

For more information, contact the foreign languages department at 936.294.1441.


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Watts Receives ‘Presidential’ Recognition

Richard WattsRichard Watts, professor in the educational leadership and counseling department, was awarded the Texas Counseling Association’s prestigious “Presidential Award” during the organization’s 52nd Annual Professional Growth Conference on Nov. 6.

The Presidential Award is presented to a member of the Texas Counseling Association who has provided outstanding service and commitment to the counseling profession.

Watts, who also serves as director of the Center for Research and Doctoral Studies in Counselor Education, “was honored because his service has not only brought benefits and notoriety to the Texas Counseling Association, but has had a far reaching impact on the profession at an international and national level,” according to EDLC assistant professor and TCA president-elect Judy Nelson, who nominated Watts for the award.

“He maintains membership in 10 professional associations; has served on a variety of committees in professional organizations; held offices and leadership positions in state, national, and international groups; served on many university committees; and has given time and effort to his community through workshops, free counseling services, and active participation in community service efforts,” she said. “It is clear from his extensive list of service activities that he has chosen a life of engagement and service to others.”

In addition, Watts currently serves as editor, in some capacity, or advisory board member for five national and international professional journals or committees.

“One of the most important and time consuming services that Dr. Watts currently provides to the profession is reading and editing the works of colleagues who are interested in publishing in the counseling journals,” Nelson said. “As the editor of several journals and journal sections, he must spend hours reading and editing articles, collaborating with reviewers, and making professional judgments regarding the suitability and worth of submissions.”

Also among Watts’ recent accomplishments is his recognition in a recent study as one of the 20 most prolific authors in counselor education.


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Nelson Article Recognized For ‘Professional Writing'

Judy NelsonAn article on school-wide cultural competence has earned Judith Nelson, assistant professor in the educational leadership and counseling department, The Texas Counseling Association’s 2008 Professional Writing Award.

Nominated by the Spring Creek Counseling Association, a local organization, Nelson received the award during the TCA’s 52nd Annual Professional Growth Conference on Nov. 6 at the Westin Galleria in Houston.

Nelson’s article, “The School-Wide Cultural Competence Observation Checklist for School Counselors: An Exploratory Factor Analysis,” was published in the American School Counselor Association’s “Journal of Professional School Counseling” in April, for which she and colleague Rebecca Bustamante developed an instrument for assessing organizational cultural competence in schools.

“We then applied the idea of school-wide cultural competence to professional school counseling and comprehensive guidance programs,” Nelson said. ”School counselors understand the nature of individual cultural competence; however, most are not aware of organizational cultural competence.”

The idea of organizational cultural competence is not new in the field of mental health, but, so far, there has not been an instrument to assess cultural competence specifically in schools.

Nelson said she believes that professional school counselors, along with other school leaders, will be instrumental in utilizing this tool to identify strengths and need areas in school settings and creating action plans to enhance school environments.

“The comprehensive guidance program is a perfect venue for implementing such action plans to create inviting learning environments for all students regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or ability,” she said.

Nelson and her colleagues are continuing to research organizational cultural competence in schools and to make their instrument available to professional school counselors and other school leaders.

She also presented a 90-minute session at the American Counseling Association’s Annual Conference in Hawaii and submitted a paper regarding her presentation of her research to VISTAS 2008, which was accepted for publication in the anniversary edition.


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Information for the SHSU Update can be sent to the Office of Communications 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 staff ample time to make necessary contacts and write the story.

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



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SHSU Media Contacts: Julia May, Jennifer Gauntt
Nov. 26, 2008
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