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SHSU Update For Week Of April 1


Ring Ceremony To Be Held April 12

More than 200 Bearkat juniors and seniors will receive their official class rings on April 12 during the SHSU Class Ring Ceremony.

The ceremony will be held at 6:30 p.m. at Austin Hall.

University president Jim Gaertner and Vice President for Student Services Frank Parker will speak at the event, as well as senior and 2006 homecoming king Willie Dean, who will discuss what the ring means to him as a student.

Registration for the event will begin at 4:30 p.m. in the Quadrangle.

Students who want to participate can still sign up to do so by verifying their name and registering at The sign-up deadline is Friday (April 6).

After the event, a group picture and reception will be held, and orders for individual pictures will also be taken.

A shuttle service will be provided from Bowers Stadium and paid parking will be available at the University Parking Garage.

Guest seating is expected to be limited for the ceremony, with more than 1,200 anticipated to be attending the event.

For more information, call the Office of Alumni Relations at 936.294.1841 or 800.283.7478.


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SHSU Seeks Professional For First Dan Rather Chair

The SHSU mass communication department is seeking a high-visibility professional broadcast journalist for its first Dan Rather Chair recipient.

Establishment of the chair was made possible by a $2 million gift by Dan and Jean Rather to the university 's capital campaign, and is the largest single monetary gift in the university's history. Rather is a 1953 graduate of Sam Houston State Teachers College.

The Dan Rather Chair holder is expected to present a regional and/or national reputation in broadcast journalism, as well as teach two classes in the broadcast journalism area each semester, work with students in the department and work with the department to develop workshops, seminars and other programs that bring professionals to campus to work with students and the campus community, including outreach activities.

Significant industry experience in broadcast journalism and a bachelor’s degree are required, though an advanced academic degree is preferred.

“The opportunity this brings for our students is phenomenal,” said Janet Bridges, chair of the mass communication department. “It should also be good for the field of journalism as our ‘future journalists’ will have exceptional, personal interaction with professionals who are well-known in the field.”

The position includes a competitive salary with funds for travel and support of research and professional activities.

The search committee is hoping to have the nine-month to one-year position filled by the fall 2007 semester, Bridges said.

SHSU’s mass communication department houses approximately 600 students and 14 faculty.

The department offers emphases in broadcast/electronic journalism and production, media sales and management, print journalism, and public relations.

Students produce a semi-weekly newspaper and the department operates one FM radio station and a local cable-access channel.

Candidates should submit a cover letter indicating interest in the position, vita or resume and the names of three references.

Materials should be sent to: Michael Blackman, Dan Rather Chair Search Committee, Department of Mass Communication, Sam Houston State University, P. O. Box 2207, Huntsville, Texas, 77341-2207.

For more information, visit the department’s Web site or call SHSU’s Human Resources Department at 936.294.1070.


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Speakers To Discuss ‘Mutiny, Tragedy’ In Houston

On the night of August 23, 1917, an armed confrontation between black U.S. soldiers and Houston police officers and citizens left 20 persons dead.

It resulted in the largest court-martial ever in U.S. history and the hanging of 19 soldiers for their alleged participation, according to David Mayes, assistant professor of history.

On Thursday (April 5), three individuals who turned the Houston Riot of 1917 into a theatre drama and documentary film will discuss the “Mutiny and Tragedy on the Streets of Houston.”

The lecture, part of the Joan Coffey Symposium, will be held at 7:30 p.m. in Academic Building IV’s Olson Auditorium.

The guest speakers include John Britt, a historian from Lee College, Celeste Walker, a Houston playwright and writer of “Camp Logan: A WWI Drama” and Mike Kaliski, project director for the documentary film.

For more information, call the history department at 936.294.1475.


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Jeopardy! Champ, Prof To Give Public Reading

Doug Dorst, a past Jeopardy! champion and assistant professor of creative writing at St. Edward's University in Austin, will read from his works on Thursday (April 5).

The public reading, sponsored by the English department, will be held at 6:30 p.m. in Austin Hall.

Dorst is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and a former Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University.

His short stories have appeared in McSweeney's, Ploughshares, The Atlantic Unbound, Epoch, and other journals.

His first novel, “Alive in Necropolis,” will be published by Riverhead in January 2008, followed by a short-story collection, “The Surf Guru.”

In addition to the reading, Dorst will spend the day visiting the undergraduate creative writing workshops.
The reading is open to the public, and refreshments will be served.

For more information, contact Scott Kaukonen, assistant professor of English, at or 936.294.1407.


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Theatre To Visit ‘South Pacific’

The SHSU department of theatre and dance will present Rodgers and Hammaerstein’s Pulitzer Prize-winning musical “South Pacific” April 11-14 in the University Theatre Center’s Mainstage Theatre.

Show times are at 8 p.m. each evening, with a 2 p.m. Saturday matinee.

“South Pacific” is the love story of a naive young Navy nurse and an older French plantation owner who meet on a U.S.-occupied South Sea island.

Tickets are $12 for general admission and $10 with an SHSU or senior citizen ID.

For more information, call the theatre department at 936.294.1329.


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Conference To Show How To ‘Meet The Needs’

The Sam Houston Council for Exceptional Children will teach College of Education students, current teachers or anyone interested in the field of special education how to meet “the needs of all learners” on April 13.

The 2007 SCEC Special Education Conference will be held from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. at the Region 6 Education Service Center’s Professional Development Center in Huntsville.

The conference features locally- and nationally-recognized speakers and professors who will provide innovative, student-centered sessions regarding critical topics in the field of special education and educational assessment, according to SCEC president James Williams.

Among the many topics participants can learn about, keynote speakers Bonnie B. Carter and Will Carter will discuss “Exploring Nonverbal Learning Disabilities” and “It’s Another Beautiful Mind: Personal accounts of an adolescent recovering from Traumatic Brain Injury,” respectively.

Participants will receive seven hours of professional development credit.

The cost of the event is $25 for pre-registration, or $35 for day-of registration. Those who pre-register will receive a personalized lanyard bag made especially for the event.

Registration forms can be found at, and all proceeds benefit the SCEC’s campus efforts.

The Region 6 Service Center is located at 3332 Montgomery Rd.

For more information, contact Williams at 832.452.3155 or


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Bookstore To Host Student Employment Sessions

Looking for a job? The Barnes and Noble University Bookstore will host two student employment sessions on Monday (April 2) and Tuesday (April 3).

The informal meetings, held at 3 p.m. on Monday and 10 a.m. on Tuesday, will inform students of what employment opportunities are and will be available in the store. Those interested only need to attend one of the two sessions, which will be held in Lowman Student Center Room 320.

Potential applicants are asked to bring a completed application, which can be obtained online at, and class schedules for the summer and fall semesters, as well as a final exam schedule.

University bookstore employees receive a discount on textbooks and other merchandise.

For more information, call the bookstore at 936.294.1862 or visit


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Program To Allow Officers View Of Mexican System

A new program through the Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas will allow Texas police officers to learn about the Mexican law enforcement system.

The Spanish Immersion Program for Law Enforcement, co-sponsored with the Kukulcan Educational Spanish Community in Cuernavaca, Mexico, will allow Texas police officers to tour the prisons, visit the courts, the police academy and meet with police officials to exchange views and ideas while learning Spanish, according to Carolyn Martinez, international police program coordinator for LEMIT.

“The goal is to not only learn Spanish pertinent to law enforcement but to also help law enforcement understand the culture,” Martinez said.

During the program, law enforcement officers will stay with host families and attend classes at Kukulcan during the day, with site visits to the prisons, police agencies and the police academy.

LEMIT will offer 15 partial scholarships for the program, which will be held Aug. 4-18, to Texas Law Enforcement officers.

In addition, Martinez also negotiated terms for a study-abroad Spanish Immersion Program for criminal justice students, which will begin during the summer of 2008.

“This program will focus on Spanish for students planning on working in the field of law enforcement,” she said. “Such cooperation with our Mexican counterparts will provide immeasurable mutual benefits and understanding in law enforcement issues.”

For more information on either program, call Martinez 936.294.4600.


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Publication Party To Be Held For Prof’s Book

Prison City cover

Conversations about living in the city called the execution capital of the world provide the focus for a newly-published book by two communications experts with ties to Sam Houston State University.

"‘Prison City: Life with the Death Penalty in Huntsville, Texas,’ takes an ethnographic approach as it looks beneath the placid surface of Huntsville and sheds light on controversial issues usually hidden behind penitentiary walls," said Ruth Massingill.

Massingill, who has taught communications at SHSU since 1989, and Ardyth Broadrick Sohn, former holder of the Warner Endowed Chair of Journalism, are the authors.

A publication party is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on April 12 in the Sam Houston Memorial Museum's Walker Education Center.

The book includes interviews with Huntsville residents, inmates and guards. Topics include crime and punishment, vengeance and forgiveness. Pictures from local historical archives complement the narrative.

"These stories are poignant and highlight the incarcerated population’s increasing influence in the political and cultural landscape of the United States," Massingill said.

Massingill also credited Debbi Hatton, speech instructor, and Tina Baiter, 2005 SHSU graduate, for their help on the project, as well as Mickey Herskowitz, current Warner Chair holder, who previewed the book and calls it a "remarkable work of scholarship turned drama."

A number of Huntsville residents who are quoted in the book will read from it during the publication party.

Signed copies of the book will be available and the Huntsville and university communities are invited.

For more information, visit the Sam Houston Memorial Museum events listing at or call Massingill at 936.294.1494.


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Send Update Items Here

Please send information for the SHSU Update to the Office of Public Relations at SHSU. 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
March 30, 2007
Please send comments, corrections, news tips to

This page maintained by SHSU's Office of Public Relations
Director: Frank Krystyniak
Assistant Director: Julia May
Writer: Jennifer Gauntt
Located in the 115 Administration Building
Telephone: 936.294.1836; Fax: 936.294.1834