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SHSU Update For Week Of March 2

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Health Center To Get Proactive With ‘Sexual Health Week’

To encourage students to spend their spring break as responsibly as possible, the SHSU Student Health Center will host a series of awareness days that promote sexual health March 3-6.

Sexual Health Week will include beach-themed activities that promote contraceptive use and pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection awareness, and will also offer students the ability to start spring break knowing their status by getting tested for free.

“The health center typically sees an increase in sexually transmitted infections and pregnancies after spring break. Our main purpose is to educate students on ways to protect themselves and let them know the health center offers a variety of contraception methods,” said Lisa Clarkson, SHC programming coordinator.

“During Sexual Health Week, health programming will deliver all of this information in a fun way. We will have games and a chance for students to take their photos with our Hawaiian-themed cut out,” she said. “There will be some surprises, so come by our table and see us.”

On Monday (March 3), students can learn about contraceptives, pricing of contraceptives at the SHC and receive a coupon for 10 free condoms that can be redeemed at the SHC pharmacy during activities from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Lowman Student Center Mall Area.

To get the condoms, students will go to the SHC, located at 1528 Ave J, and tell the staff at the front desk that they want to go to the pharmacy. The SHC staff will write down the student's Sam ID number and then direct the student to the pharmacy.

On Tuesday (March 4), students can “feel what it’s like to be pregnant in the last trimester” by strapping on a mock pregnancy belly for pregnancy awareness day, from 9-11 a.m. in the LSC Mall Area.

Students also can participate in a “What will you catch?” fishing game and receive handouts, coupons and other information.

On Wednesday (March 5), students can come and see “what’s between the sheets” with a game designed to raise awareness on sexually transmitted infections and diseases from 10 a.m. to noon in the LSC Mall Area.

Finally, on Thursday (March 6), students can start out spring break knowing they won’t be putting others as risk through the “Get Yourself Tested” program, wherein they can receive free HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and hepatitis C testing from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the LSC Ballroom.

Sexual Health Week, and all SHC activities, is designed not to encourage or discourage students but to advocate responsibility.

“If they are not ready for the responsibilities of sex, then it is OK for them to wait; it is their choice,” Clarkson said. “If they choose to be sexually active, then students can come by the health center before they leave for spring break to pick up either male or female condoms or refill their birth control if they have a prescription.”

For more information, contact Clarkson at 936.294.4347.


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Forum To Get Medieval With Lecture On Malory Sources

Authorial intent is one of many areas that serves as a source of discussion for literary scholars.

When an author publishes a work, how do meanings change as works go through multiple rounds of editing?

This can be especially tricky in older materials, for which good records do not exist and there are discrepancies among editions printed by different editors.

Adjunct English professor Ralph Norris will examine that dilemma in Sir Thomas Malory’s “King Arthur and Emperor Lucius,” a tale found in Malory’s “Morte Darthur,” on Friday (March 7).

The English Friday Faculty Forum presentation will be from 3-4 p.m. in Evans Complex Room 212.

"Morte Darthur" is a medieval collection of stories about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, written in the late 1400s. Since then, it has undergone a number of different versions by various editors, including the scribes of one referred to as the Winchester Manuscript, William Caxton, Eugène Vinaver, and, most recently, P. J. C. Field.

Norris’s presentation will examine these editions, and most especially, the section of the "Morte Darthur" called “King Arthur and Emperor Lucius.”

“This tale is based upon Malory’s most important English source, the alliterative 'Morte Arthure;' the archaic vocabulary and heavy alliteration that Malory took from this poem give ‘Arthur and Lucius’ a distinctive flavor that is unlike the rest of the ‘Morte Darthur,’” Norris said. “This different style seems to have disquieted the producers of the early copies, for both traditions show signs of active interference.

“Much of the anticipation for the new edition has been caused by an eagerness to see how Field would reconstruct the text of this section in the light of this discovery.”

Norris’s presentation will point out an area where he feels Field “missed an opportunity” and will propose further emendations based on Norris's own research that “try to recover Malory’s authorial text in every possible detail.”

An Atlanta native, he earned his bachelor’s degree from Kennesaw State University in Georgia, his master’s degree from Georgia State University and his doctorate from the University of Wales, in the United Kingdom.

Norris has studied “Morte Darthur” extensively—his doctoral dissertation was on the collection’s minor sources and published “Malory’s Library: The Sources of the 'Morte Darthur'” in 2008.
He has been teaching courses in Chaucer, Early English masterworks, world literature and composition at SHSU since 2012.

The Friday Faculty Forum is designed to highlight research by graduate faculty and fellow graduate students.

For more information, contact Paul Child, professor of English and forum coordinator, at 936.294.1412.


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Research Exchange Draws Record Number Of Graduate Students

The Office of Graduate Studies, together with the College of Education, will host the 18th Annual Graduate Research Exchange on Wednesday (March 5).

Presentations from more than 60 graduate students, quadruple the number who have participated in the past, will share some of their research from 1-3 p.m. in Teacher Education Center Room 279.

“The response has been phenomenal and in line with our goal of building a strong academic culture on campus,” said Kandi Tayebi, dean of graduate students and associate vice president for Academic Affairs. “The challenge has been incorporating the university’s expanding online student population, which is why we plan to implement video conferencing via Skype next year.”

The event encourages graduate students to share their research, prepare for thesis or dissertation defense and hone their presentation skills.

Participants range from master’s to doctoral students and represent various programs from the Colleges of Criminal Justice, Sciences, Education, Business Administration, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Fine Arts and Mass Communication.

“We reached out to all colleges and worked with experts in different disciplines to ensure that a graduate student in dance felt as encouraged to share research as a graduate student from, say, biology,” Tayebi said.

At the Graduate Studies Awards Banquet in April, recipients of the research awards will be given iPads in the categories of “Best in Presentation,” “Most Creative Presentation,” “Most Impactful Research” and “Best Research.” In addition, every participant will be entered into a raffle for one of four, $1,000 scholarships.

Faculty and students are encouraged to attend as audience members to support the presenters.

For more information, contact Weston Rose, media and communications specialist in the Office of Graduate Studies, at 936.294.2359 or at gradstudies@shsu.edu.


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Retired Federal Agent, Bestselling Author To Speak Tuesday

Sam Houston State University’s Global Center for Journalism and Democracy will welcome former federal law enforcement agent Jay Dobyns as the featured speaker for its spring series on Tuesday (March 4).

“Raising Hell!” will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Gaertner Performing Arts Center Dance Theatre.

Jay DobynsDobyns’s presentation will detail his harrowing story as an undercover federal agent and what ensued after his true identity was revealed.

Dobyns, who worked with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for 25 years, and his family were placed in danger as his name circulated on hit lists.

He says that ATF management failed to take reasonable measures to protect his family after receiving numerous validated threats and attempted murders, and, as a result, Dobyns turned whistleblower, seeking refuge with the press.

He has since filed a $22 million lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice for breach of contract, and closing arguments in that case were heard Feb. 18.

Born in Indiana and raised in Tucson, he graduated from the University of Arizona in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in public administration and decided to enter the federal law enforcement field. He was critically injured by deadly criminals within his first few years on the job.

“This decorated agent will share an amazing story with us about successfully infiltrating some of the world’s most violent and illegal criminal enterprises,” said GDCJ executive director Kelli Arena, who broke the story in 2007 while working as a reporter for CNN. “He operated among vicious street and prison gangs, gunrunning groups, drug trafficking organizations, bomb makers and home invasion crews.”

In February 2009, Dobyns became a New York Times bestselling author following the release of his book "No Angel—My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels."

Arena, the first reporter to break the story, will introduce Dobyns on stage at the SHSU campus.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

For more information, call the GCJD at 936.294.4399.


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Ensemble To Present Technology-Inspired Music On March 4

The SHSU School of Music’s New Music Lab ensemble will get “technical” on Tuesday (March 4), presenting a new piece inspired by the Conference of Computer Scientists happening on campus.

The piece, developed in conjunction with a CCS exhibit in the Lowman Student Center Art Gallery, will be performed from 2:45-3:30 p.m. in the gallery.

“It will be a very unusual performance in which the musicians ‘transmit data’ to one another in the form of musical ideas and create melodies based on cell phone numbers,” said Brian Herrington, director of the New Music Lab.

With the transition portion, musicians will stand in a large circle and pass musical ideas to one another.

“It's actually a lot like a musical game of 'telephone' in which the musical ideas are transformed as they pass from player to player,” Herrington said. “The players do not exactly mimic one another but, rather, develop and elaborate on the idea passed to them.

“We have established certain parameters to guide the activity, but the musicians create the melodies and harmonies on the spot,” he said. “There are also sections of the improvisation in which I, acting as a conductor, choose pairs of students to play duets.

“It's very exciting to hear it unfold every time,” he continued. “It's a pretty good metaphor for life: the piece is full of beautiful moments that will never happen in exactly the same way again.”

For the part of the “number” incorporating cell phones, each player has translated part of his or her cell phone number into a musical idea, according to Herrington.

“Each number, one through nine, corresponds to a different musical pitch,” he said. “That is established before the performance. However, the order of students in the circle changes from rehearsal to rehearsal, which creates different effects.”

The ensemble, one of the School of Music’s newest groups, specializes in experimental music created by SHSU student composers.

“Instead of playing traditional, established classical music, we create new pieces through experimentation (but on traditional instruments),” Herrington said. “In most ensembles, the students sit down and play the music in front of them; in our ensemble, on the other hand, the students actually help decide what musical materials we'll use to create a new work.

“We also play works-in-progress by our student composers, coordinating with the department's student composer organization called Ars Perpetua, led by Dr. Kyle Kindred.”

While the ensemble is “very young,” the New Music Lab has performed several times in major venues in Houston, Herrington said.

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


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Event To Join In, Educate On Worldwide Lent Celebrations

The Sam Houston State University foreign languages department will kick off the beginning of Lent with celebrations that are derived from cultures around the world on Tuesday (March 4).

The Carnival and Mardi Gras joint celebration will begin at 5 p.m. in Academic Building IV Room 301.

Carnival and Mardi Gras represent whole seasons of celebrations for various cultures and are historically tied to religious celebrations, according to foreign languages chair and professor of Spanish Debra Andrist.

Mardi Gras—notable for its celebration throughout Louisiana and particularly for the parades and activities in New Orleans—is French for “Fat Tuesday” and refers to the practice of decadence in consumption (of food and drink) before some Christian denominations begin fasting for Lenten season, the period between Ash Wednesday and Easter.

Likewise, Carnival is celebrated in the Hispanic, Portuguese, Italian, German and Netherlands, as well as the United Kingdom and Ireland, as a weeklong celebration leading up to Shrove Tuesday (their equivalent of Fat Tuesday).

“Mardi Gras and Shrove Tuesday are all the same, the ‘blow-out’ day before Lent starts in the Roman Catholic world, when one is supposed to give up something in penance, in preparation for Easter,” Andrist said.

The foreign languages celebration will include an exploration of these celebrations and their cultural histories with screening video clips that highlight the practices as tied to both religious and secular “variations” of the festivals throughout the Western world. Students also will give short summaries of how the season is celebrated in various countries.

The department will also offer King’s bread, a food associated with these celebrations.

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


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College Revives Ambassador Program

The College of Criminal Justice is seeking an elite group of enthusiastic and involved students to serve as ambassadors at various events and to mentor new and prospective criminal justice students as the college revives its ambassador program.

CJ studentsThe CJ Ambassadors will serve as official representatives of the college at various activities and programs throughout the year, including Saturdays@SAM, the Criminal Justice Honors Convocation, Bearkat Family Weekend, Real Talk w/CJ, and the Beto Chair Lecture Series.

mbassadors will also help freshmen pursuing their degrees within the college to find their classes in the fall semester, promote college programs and assist prospective students.

“Being an ambassador for the College of Criminal Justice will present networking opportunities, leadership development, and a chance for you to give back to the university and your specific college as a whole,” said Kalyn Cavazos, College of Criminal Justice advising specialist.

In exchange, students will receive a $150 scholarship from the college and T-shirts and a polo-style shirt to wear to events.

The college is currently seeking five students for the fall semester, and selection will be based on an application process.

To be eligible, students must be a criminal justice or victim studies major with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher; be classified as a junior or senior; be involved in at least two SHSU student organizations; and be familiar with university services and resources.

Applications are available at the CJ Advising Center in Criminal Justice Center Room A214 or by contacting Cavazos at 936.294.1681 or Kalyn@shsu.edu.

The deadline to apply is July 1.


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Finance Professor Named Research Fellow

Jocelyn Evans and Robert Stretcher holding award plaque and shaking hands
Jocelyn Evans, president of the Academy of Economics and Finance, congratulates Robert Stretcher, of SHSU, 2014 recipient of the academy’s research fellow award. —Submitted photo

Robert Stretcher, a professor in Sam Houston State University’s Department of General Business and Finance, recently became the 11th person in the Academy of Economics and Finance’s 51-year history to be recognized with a research fellow award.

The award recognizes extraordinary accomplishment in research in economics and finance.

The committee cited Stretcher’s significant role in the development of case research in finance and his more recent advances in the area of financial management decision methodology as justification for the award, which targets lifetime achievement.

“It’s an honor to receive the award. It is both humbling and gratifying to have the encouragement of my peers in the academy,” Stretcher said.

Stretcher, now in his 12th year as a professor in SHSU’s College of Business Administration, received the award in February at the academy’s annual meeting in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Stretcher, who has served the AEF in several roles in the past, including as president in 2010, attended his first attendance at the AEF conference in 1979 as an undergraduate student.

“Back then, it was called the MidSouth Academy of Economists, an association representing mainly participation from the southeastern United States,” he said. “Now, 34 years later, its draw is more national and international, and is broader, encompassing both economics and finance.”


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Recent CJ Doctoral Student Recognized For Teaching

Matthew Matusiak, a recent doctoral graduate in Sam Houston State University’s College of Criminal Justice, has been selected as one of 10 junior faculty members for the 2014 SAGE Junior Faculty Professional Development Teaching Award.

Matthew MatusiakSAGE and the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences developed the award in 2008 to recognize new teaching professionals in the criminal justice and criminology disciplines. Each winner received a travel stipend to attend the ACJS Professional Development Teaching Workshop at the 2014 ACJS Annual Meeting, which was held last week in Philadelphia, where they were honored at a reception held in their honor.

“The ACJS annual meeting provides both new and experienced criminologists and criminal justice scholars with a unique opportunity to learn about best practices for teaching and research,” SAGE publisher Jerry Westby said. “We are very pleased that this award will afford 10 new criminal justice teaching professionals with the opportunity to take part in these important discussions.”

The pool of applicants consisted of individuals who received a graduate degree within the last five years and are teaching criminal justice or criminology full time. Faculty teaching in associate’s, baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degree-granting institutions were encouraged to apply.

Matusiak graduated in May 2013 and is now an assistant professor at the University of Central Florida.

The ACJS’ 51st Annual Meeting was one of the largest gatherings of criminology and criminal justice scholars in the United States and Canada. The event engages educators in identifying their strengths and weaknesses and is designed to improve and develop new ways of teaching in the criminal justice sciences.

The award is funded by an annual donation from SAGE as well as from royalties donated by participating SAGE authors.

SAGE is a leading international publisher of journals, books, and electronic media for academic, educational, and professional markets.

The ACJS is an international association established in 1963 to foster professional and scholarly activities in the field of criminal justice.


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Stalking Recidivism Study Receives Federal Grant

Matt Nobles, assistant professor of criminal justice at Sam Houston State University, has received a National Institute of Justice grant to study recidivism in stalking offenses and how it relates to similar crimes.

“We know very little about stalking recidivism rates in general,” Nobles said. “Most of the published studies on recidivist stalkers focus on the characteristics of offenders through clinical or forensic samples. This dearth of knowledge has implications for criminal justice policies and practices, particularly for the correctional management of stalking perpetrators and protective services for stalking victims.”

Recidivism refers to the repeated return to criminal activity or to prison after being released.
The study will use records collected from thousands of offenders in the Florida Department of Corrections from 1996-2004 and identify those with two or more stalking offenses.

The stalking offenders will be compared with other offenders with similar charges, such as domestic violence, sexual assault or harassment, exploring such issues as the likelihood of reoffending, the time to reoffend and other related factors.

Stalking is a relatively new area in criminal law, with the first statutes defining this behavior adopted in the 1990s. A handful of studies have been published in psychology journals about the assessments of psychiatric symptoms and personality traits of victims and offenders, but there has been no large-scale research about the prevalence of repeat offenders of the crime.

By studying a large sample, Nobles hopes to develop generalizations about these offenders that may lead to practical applications in the criminal justice field. The study holds the potential to improve public safety by identifying the patterns and trends of repeat stalking offenders, providing insight for prosecuting cases, or suggesting correctional programming to address recidivism specifically.

Among the issue that will be included in the study are:

  • Demographic data for repeat stalking offenders
  • Similarities and differences between stalking offenders and other inmates
  • Trends and patterns in stalking recidivism
  • A comparison among stalking recidivists, those rearrested for other violent crimes, or those that were not rearrested

Nobles has published several peer-reviewed articles on stalking in top academic journals, including comparisons between stalking and cyberstalking, as well as other forms and aspects of interpersonal violence and victimization.


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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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Telephone: 936.294.1836; Fax: 936.294.1834

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