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SHSU Update For Week Of Feb. 23

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Cajun Band To Bring Mardi Gras Spirit To Campus

Sam Houston State University will highlight the music and culture of Mardi Gras, getting into the spirit a few days early this year during the 12th annual Cajun Mardi Gras Festival on Thursday (Feb. 27).

band members on stage in mardi gras costumes playing guitar, accordion, violin and drums
The Jambalaya Cajun Band, performing above at the 2010 Liberty Theater Mardi Gras, will join D.L. Menard to bring the Mardi Gras spirit to SHSU as part of the 12th annual Cajun Mardi Gras Festival on Feb. 27. —Photos courtesy of David Simpson

Festivities will include a symposium on Mardi Gras and Cajun music and culture, as well as the annual Mardi Gras dance.

The symposium, which will begin at 6 p.m. in Evans Building Room 105, will feature a panel discussion with Jambalaya Cajun Band Members Terry Huval and Reggie Matte, Cajun music hall of fame member and Grammy nominee D. L. Menard and moderator and Cajun historian Terry Thibodeaux, professor of communication studies at SHSU.

The group will discuss the history of the Cajun people, its music and the tradition of Mardi Gras.

“D.L. Menard always bring a certain humor and charm to the proceedings,” said Thibodeaux, who created the festival at SHSU in 2003. “Songs will be played and discussed by the musicians to illustrate the various traditional and popular Cajun styles of music.”

The symposium is open to the public, who are encouraged to ask questions and participate.

That evening the five-member Jambalaya Cajun Band, from Lafayette, La., joined by Menard, will play a traditional dance in the “fais do do” style during the Cajun Mardi Gras Dance, from 8-10 p.m. in the Estill Building Atrium.

“The ‘fais do do’ style has chairs around the edges of the room and dancers wind their way around the center as they dance in the traditional counter-clockwise pattern found at any Cajun dance anywhere in Louisiana,” Thibodeaux said.

“Regulars at the SHSU dance are happy to show rookies how to do the Cajun version of the waltz and two-step,” he said, “and dancers often find themselves dodging not only other dancers but also Terry Huval as he occasionally plays his fiddle amidst the dancers.

"They play some wonderful dance music, and we have a good time every year.”
Admission to both events is free.

For more information, contact Thibodeaux at 936.294.1356.


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‘Jar Wars’ To Engage Students In Philanthropy

In the spirit of Student Engagement and Philanthropy Day on Thursday (Feb. 27), the Sam Houston State University Office of Annual Giving will offer students the opportunity to “give” to their peers through the second “Jar Wars” competition.

Initiated as a competition between classes, the Jar Wars allows students to give their loose change in jars designated for each class. Tables will be set up in the Lowman Student Center Mall Area Monday through Wednesday (Feb. 24-26), from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and on Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., to collect the change.

Jar Wars promoMonies collected will help build on each class’s Senior Class Legacy scholarship, which is awarded annually to fellow students. The Senior Class Legacy program was initiated to bring awareness of philanthropy and cultivate a culture of giving among students.

The class of 2013 raised more than $4,000, with more than 300 seniors participating, according to Meggan Thompson, assistant director of annual giving.

SHSU is joining nearly 100 educational institutions worldwide to participate in the second annual Student Engagement and Philanthropy Day.

Student Engagement and Philanthropy Day is part of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education’s Affiliated Student Advancement Programs, designed to increase student understanding of philanthropy and grow engagement on campuses.

The initiative’s goal is to foster and enhance student involvement in all areas of advancement, including fundraising, alumni relations, communications and marketing.

In addition to the Jar Wars competition, Annual Giving will host a weeklong social media student “thank you” campaign.

“We are so excited to participate this year with CASE ASAP to spread the message about philanthropy and students giving back,” Thompson said. “We hope to see a large turnout of students wanting to participate in Jar Wars and understand how important giving back can be.”

CASE is the professional organization for advancement professionals at all levels who work in alumni relations, communications, fundraising, marketing and other areas. CASE ASAP comprises student alumni associations, student philanthropy groups and similar organizations around the world, while providing unique opportunities for students to explore careers in higher education advancement.

For more information on Jar Wars, Student Engagement and Philanthropy Day, or SHSU’s Annual Giving program, contact Thompson at 936.294.2401.


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Faculty Musicians To Collaborate For Clarinet, Piano Recital

Three SHSU School of Music faculty members will come together to perform a recital that will include a variety of works, including a faculty-composed world premier, on Monday (Feb. 24).

The concert, featuring clarinet professor Patricia Card, adjunct clarinet professor Dmitry Perevertailenko and assistant professor of piano Ilonka Rus-Edery, will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Gaertner Performing Arts Center Recital Hall.

The program will feature a variety of chamber and solo works, beginning with “Sonata for Two Clarinets and Piano” by Gary Schocker, a “beautiful composition” that won the International Clarinet Association Composition Competition in 1996, according to Card.

Perevertailenko and Rus-Edery will perform Andre Bloch’s 1938 work “Denneriana,” and Card will play Olivier Messiaen’s "Abyss of the Birds," an unaccompanied clarinet solo which is a part of a larger work, “Quartet for the End of Time.”

“Messiaen wrote this piece while he was imprisoned in a concentration camp during World War II,” Card said.

The final work in the recital will be a “brilliant showpiece” for two clarinets and piano by Amilcare Ponchielli.

“This performance will be the world premiere of the edition by faculty member Dr. Henry Howey,” Card said. “Dr. Howey is a world-renown Ponchielli expert, and we are excited to perform his edition.”

The recital is free and open to the public.

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


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Interdisciplinary Conference To Be Held Feb. 27-28

Scholars from across the country will present their research on areas where the humanities, arts and social and hard sciences converge during the sixth annual Medicine, Humanities and Social Sciences Conference Feb. 27-28 on the Sam Houston State University campus.

Hosted by the SHSU College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the conference is an interdisciplinary meeting of scholars, health care professionals, social and behavioral scientists, students, and others working at the intersection of medicine, humanities, and the social sciences.

This year’s conference will open on Thursday with plenary talk by James Olson, SHSU distinguished professor of history, who will share his work on “The Rise and Fall of the Radical Mastectomy, 1895-1980” at 7 p.m. in the Academic Building IV Olson Auditorium.

Olson is an expert on recent America, the Vietnam War and American immigration. He has also published extensively on many medical issues, including medical psychology, cancer treatment, leukemia and disease.

On Friday, a series of panel sessions will begin at 9 a.m. in the Lowman Student Center Ballroom on an array of topics, including medicine and the environment; medicine, power, and authority; the future of medicine; health and communication; and the body and mind in literature and art. All presentations are free and open to the public.

Some of those panels will include discussions on the language of medicine and patient perception, by Rosann O’Dell, from Johnson County Community College; “Medical Education, the Environment, and Relationships between Environment and Health,” by Nina Stoyan-Rosenzweig, from the University of Florida; and the implementation of medical humanities and technology to improve the physician-patient relationship, by Elizabeth Fehsenfeld, from Drew University.

SHSU professors from many disciplines also will represent their departments, including English professor Paul Child, presenting “Hacks and Quacks: Publication and Medical Authority in 18th-Century Britain;” history professor Terry Bilhartz, presenting “Disadvantaged at Birth: Examining the ‘Healthy Immigrant Effect’ in Texas;” and associate professor of nursing Kelly Zinn, presenting “An Exploration of Diabetes Self-Care among Older Adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes: A Focus Study Group.”

There also will be a full poster exhibition, including a graduate student poster competition.

The CHSS Medicine, Humanities and Social Sciences Conference reflects interdisciplinary nature of both academic studies and professions associated with those fields, according to Child, who is the program committee chair.

“Too easily we make distinctions between various academic and professional disciplines like the arts and sciences and the so-called ‘hard’ sciences and social sciences, but if we examine the boundaries between these fields, we find that they are elastic and permeable,” Child said. “The conference is important because it shows the possibilities for breaking down—or at least reexamining—whatever formal boundaries there are between various disciplines and professions.

“Although other colleges like criminal justice and education certainly take interdisciplinary approaches in their various subjects, fields like English, history and sociology have always been interdisciplinary by nature,” he said. “There have been attempts to make more rigorous ‘sciences’ of them—formalism in studying literature, quantitative and statistical methods (cliometrics) in studying history. But even then, the humanities and social sciences have remained interdisciplinary by definition. The College of Humanities and Social Sciences is the natural home for an interdisciplinary conference in medicine, humanities and social sciences.”

For more information, contact Child at eng_pwc@shsu.edu.


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PRSSA To Showcase Off-Campus Housing For ‘Living Expo’

As students begin thinking about where they will live at the end of the spring semester, Sam Houston State University’s Public Relations Student Society of America will lend a hand, bringing all of Huntsville’s most popular apartment complexes on campus for the annual Student Living Expo on Thursday (Feb. 27).

Booths from 11 complexes will be set up in the Lowman Student Center Ballroom from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., during which students can receive information about amenities and current leasing promotions. There also will be free giveaways and games, provided by the apartment complexes.

“This is the ideal time for students to decide whether they would like to move to off- campus living or move to a different apartment complex,” said Kelly Humphrey, PRSSA treasurer. “With our event, we give students the opportunity to get information about all the apartments without having to leave the campus.

“It gives students an easy opportunity to see if off-campus living is something they are interested in, and, if so, which apartment is the right one for them, she said.

Among the apartments that will be on hand include Ridgewood West, Montgomery Village, Villages of Sam Houston, University House, Brook Place, The Connection, Forum at Sam Houston, Encore at Sam Houston, and The Grove.

For more information, contact Humphrey at kmh059@shsu.edu or 254.482.1832.


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New Faculty-Written Text Offers ‘Interactive’ Security Guide

On Jan. 25, 1993, a Pakistani national emerged from his car at a stoplight outside CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., and began shooting at employees waiting in their vehicles for the light to change. Two CIA employees were killed; three more were injured.

Aimal Kasi’s actions were driven by his personal hatred toward Americans in the Middle East. Four years after the attack, the CIA and FBI tracked Kasi to Pakistan and arrested him. After a trial in the United States, he was found guilty of murder and executed on Nov. 4, 2002.

headshot of Willard Oliver
CJ professor Willard Oliver (above) recently completed a comprehensive textbook on homeland security (below).
cover of Oliver's texbook

This was the first attack that suggested that international terrorism was coming to U.S. soil. After Sept. 11, 2001, the threat became all too real and a new specialty was born in criminal justice: homeland security.

To prepare students and professionals to tackle the complex issues in this expanding field, Willard Oliver and his colleagues recent released "Introduction to Homeland Security," a comprehensive textbook that explores the basic issues of homeland security, the history and context of the field, and what the future may hold.

Designed for students in criminal justice and political science, as well as practitioners in the field, it examines the policies, administrations and organizations at the federal, state and local levels.

“It is a definitive textbook in this field,” said Oliver, a professor of criminal justice at SHSU. “Most books just deal with terrorism and counterterrorism measures. This book examines the administration of homeland security, the organizations and policies that carry it out, and the anti-terrorism activities that are involved.”

The book is co-authored by Nancy E. Marion, associate chair of the department of political science at the University of Akron, and Joshua B. Hill, an assistant professor of homeland security and terrorism at Tiffin University and graduate of the SHSU doctoral program.

The book uses real-world vignettes illustrating such key concepts of homeland security as the series of actions taken by the government after the attacks at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and on United Airlines Flight 93. It shifts the focus from terrorism to policy analysis, the functions of the Department of Homeland Security, and the implementation of the field at every level of government.

In addition to examining the history of homeland security and organizations in the field, the book also explores strategies to address the issue of terrorism and natural disasters, including anti-terrorism and counterterrorism, the incident command system, and communications and technology. It also looks at legal and political responses to homeland security and future applications as it relates to attacks or incidents by sea, land and air.

The book takes an in-depth look into two key milestones in the field—the 9/11 attacks and the takedown of Osama Bin Laden on May, 1, 2011.

In addition to the book, the publisher, Jones & Bartlett Learning, has developed a companion website to provide an interactive experience, including review questions, practice quizzes, an interactive glossary, flashcards, crossword puzzles, web links and scenario exercises that immerses participants in the roles of homeland security personnel who make decisions based on what was learned.


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Study Examines Correctional Officer Stress

correctional officerConflicts between work and family life were the most significant issues that affect work stress and job satisfaction among correctional officers, a new study by the Correctional Management Institute of Texas at Sam Houston State University found.

In a study of 441 correctional officers from adult prisons in the South, the most significant work-home issues experienced by correctional officers were demands and tensions from work that impact their home life; an incompatibility between the officer’s role at work and at home; and family circumstances that place strain on work experiences.

In addition to work-home conflicts, the perceived dangerousness of the job and family support also weighed heavily on job stress, while supervisor support had a significant impact on job satisfaction.

“Criminal justice careers, particularly those in the field of corrections, consist of unique daily challenges,” said Gaylene Armstrong, co-author of the study. “The demands on correctional employees are numerous, including monitoring a challenging population in a confined space, shift work, and an ongoing potential for danger. All of these aspects contribute to the challenges of successfully balancing demands between work and family life.”

The study recommended training supervisory staff to maintain an open, yet professionally driven, line of communication with employees about family matters and work demands.

“It is critical for supervisors to take notice of the emotional and cognitive state of their subordinates to ensure a high level of job performance and professionalism,” Armstrong said. “Not only are desperate or unhappy employees likely to exhibit emotional distress via job burnout, the odds of compromised decision making is also at stake.”

To assist in the effort, CMIT developed a brochure for correctional officers to recognize the signs of stress and to find ways to address those issues. Stress can manifest itself in several ways, including memory problems, anxiety, racing thoughts, moodiness or irritability, agitation, depression, physical aches and pains, changes in sleep patterns or appetite, isolation, or increased use of drugs or alcohol.

The pamphlet offered several ways to reduce stress, including: exercising regularly and maintaining proper nutrition; regularly using meditation and other relaxation techniques; reaching out to co-workers, friends and family; avoiding drugs and alcohol as self-medication; making a point to do something enjoyable daily; getting enough sleep; and using the confidential employee assistance program.

For more information on the study, contact Liz Berger, with CMIT, at 936.294.1705.


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Staff Council ‘Spotlights’ Psychology Secretary

Debby Mikulin, a secretary II for the psychology department, was selected by the Sam Houston State University Staff Council as the February “Staff Spotlight.”

Debby MikulinMikulin has been working for the psychology department for around four years, coming to SHSU after retiring from the City of Huntsville.

“I retired from the City of Huntsville after 27 years of service, was lazy for seven months and decided to go back to work,” she said.

Mikulin will celebrate her 35th wedding anniversary to her husband Steve this October. The two have three daughters who all played softball for, and eventually graduated from, SHSU.

She said her interests and hobbies during the last 25 years have involved softball in one way or another.

In addition, Mikulin and her husband have become hosts to a Japanese student from Momoyama University, Miki Noguchi, this month through the SHSU Office of International Programs.

“We are loving it and her,” Mikulin said. “It is nice having a girl back in our household again, too.”

Mikulin said she tries to be proactive, rather than reactive, in her work, which is not necessarily creative but comes in handy when the boss and co-workers need help with something they are working on.

Her motivation is to lead by example and hopefully others will follow.


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Submit Update Items Here

In order to assist members of the Sam Houston State University community in publicizing events, the SHSU Communications Office (Today@Sam) is now requesting that students, faculty and staff submit information about events, accomplishments or ideas for feature stories online.

Submission criteria and guidelines, including deadlines, have now been placed online, at https://www.shsu.edu/~pin_www/guidelines.html. This information is also accessible through the “Submissions” link in the right-hand navigation on Today@Sam.

From there, those submitting ideas can access forms that will allow them to provide detailed information about their idea, as well as attach event calendars, vitas/resumes or photos, depending on the type of submission.

Ideas submitted to the SHSU Communications Office are directly utilized in several ways: as news stories, “slider” or SHSU home page stories, hometown releases, and on the Today@Sam calendar.

If your submission qualifies for distribution, we will either contact you for more detailed information, or we will edit the information using SHSU/journalistic style and forward the final release to the appropriate media.

All information is verified before release, so please provide complete, accurate and timely information. Please type all responses in appropriate upper and lower cases.

For more information, contact the Communications Office at 936.294.1836 or today@sam.edu.



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