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SHSU Update For Week Of May 25

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Museum Offers Free Admission Through Blue Star Program

Sam Houston Memorial MuseumFor the fourth year, the Sam Houston Memorial Museum is joining with more than 2,000 museums across America to offer free admission throughout the summer to military personnel and their families in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families and the Department of Defense.

Through the Blue Star Museums program, active duty military personnel and their families can visit the Sam Houston Memorial Museum, and any of the other participating museums, for free from Memorial Day through Labor Day, Sept. 1.

“We are participating in our fourth year of Blue Star Museums as a way for the museum to give back to the men and women who are serving our country and their families,” said Megan Buro, museum marketing coordinator. “We will actually start honoring the free admission to active duty military personnel and their families that entire Memorial Day weekend beginning Saturday, May 24, since we are closed on Mondays.”

This year’s Blue Star Museums represent not just fine arts museums, but also science museums, history museums, nature centers, and 75 children’s museums in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and American Samoa.

“Blue Star Museums has grown into a nationally recognized program that service members and their families look forward to each year,” said Blue Star Families chief executive officer Kathy Roth-Douquet. “It helps bring our local military and civilian communities together, and offers families fun and enriching activities in their home towns. We are thrilled with the continued growth of the program and the unparalleled opportunities it offers.”

The free admission program is available to any bearer of a Geneva Convention common access card, a DD Form 1173 ID card, or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card, which includes active duty U.S. military—Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, as well as members of the National Guard and Reserve, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps—as well as up to five family members.

The complete list of participating museums is available at arts.gov/bluestarmuseums.

The Sam Houston Memorial Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4:30 p.m.

For more information on the museum’s summer events and exhibits, visit samhoustonmemorialmuseum.com or call 936.294.1832.


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Summer Program To Examine Loan Repayment Options

With the average student loan debt across the nation continuing to rise, the Student Money Management Center will host a summer session of its popular “After Graduation: Student Loan Repayment” program on June 11.

The presentation, which will begin at 6 p.m. in Lowman Student Center Room 315, will review various rebates and programs available to potentially help students reduce the total amount of student loan debt owed.

The class of 2012 graduated with an average college loan debt of $29,400, according to figures released in December by the Institute for College Access and Success’s Project on Student Debt.

While those numbers constituted a consecutive increase from 2008-20012, during which time student loan debt had risen at an average rate of 6 percent per year, there are a number of loan forgiveness programs that are available to students who work in certain fields, according to SMMC director Patsy Collins.

Among those, the Public Service Loan-Forgiveness program provides loan forgiveness for public school teachers by allowing those who work in various governmental organizations and non-profit organizations to qualify for interest or, in some cases, principal forgiveness.

“Many of our students are specially trained in fields of public service, such as criminal justice and education majors,” Collins said. “These students may be eligible to have a portion of their federal student loans forgiven.”

The presentation will also address tuition rebate and how to process the forgiveness feature of a “Be on Time” loan or TEACH Grant, as well as loan deferment or forbearance for students who are not able to immediately begin making loan payments.

“The Student Money Management Center wants to help future graduates learn how to thrive,” said Andrea Rabon, SMMC program coordinator. “We are here to teach them about valuable resources that they may qualify for such as tuition rebates and student loan forgiveness programs.”

For more information, contact the SMMC at 936.294.2600 or smmc@shsu.edu.


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SHSU Leaders Sought For Academy’s Second Cohort

The SHSU High Potential Employee Leadership Academy is currently accepting nominations for its second cohort.

The leadership academy is a nine-month developmental program for employees of SHSU, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and leaders from the Huntsville community.

Eighteen employees attend monthly sessions that address various components of leadership. Participants are also paired with a senior leader coach to mentor them throughout the program.

Alberto Gonzales and the academy
(Above) Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales talks with the first cohort during one of its monthly meetings. (Below) Academy facilitator David Yebra (far left) prepares the participants for team-building exercises at University Camp. —Photos by Brian Blalock
Academy at University Camp

“An experience like the SHSU Leadership Academy focuses on developing the leadership potential that exists in all of us,” said leadership academy facilitator David Yebra. “The power of relationships, communication, understanding culture, implementing change, decision-making, and sustaining an organization each have unique leadership challenges that we can all learn from. Leader development is a journey that begins with the desire to do the best job that you can.”

The academy will run from August 2014 until May 2015.

“I think the lesson plans Yebra has put before us have been very beneficial. The team building, (exercises in) understanding leadership in the roles of the leader, and getting different books about leaders, not only in our nation but around the world, put a different view in my mind of what I need to do better and that I need to understand my weakness to become a better leader,” said Eric Guerrero, regional director for TDCJ and first cohort participant.

“Having an opportunity to work with others from TDCJ and HMH has been great because their perspectives have caused me to reflect on issues in a new light,” said SHSU health and kinesiology assistant chair and professor Ryan Zapalac, who was also a part of the first cohort. “Additionally, I now feel as though I have a network of people whom I could call upon in those organizations, which will benefit our department, our college, and the university as a whole. I know that I would not have had any of these opportunities if I hadn’t been a member of this experience.”

The deadline for university nominations is June 1 and should be submitted to the Office of the President.

Leaders from the external organizations will identify their participants.

For more information, visit shsu.edu/dept/leadership.


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SHSU, ‘Trust’ To Examine Rural ‘Arts’ Through NEA Grant

Sam Houston State University’s Center for Rural Studies and the Texas Cultural Trust recently were awarded a $15,000 National Endowment for the Arts Research Grant to explore ways to stimulate rural community and economic development through the arts.

The study will look at rural community impacts of the arts and cultural sectors, specifically community attachment, quality of life, and satisfaction with arts and cultural activities.

Several communities will be surveyed over the next year, including current cultural districts, as well as areas that are in the midst of implementing arts-based development.

“As we continue to witness numerous rural places across the state pursue the arts for economic reasons, it is imperative that this arts-based development be guided and informed by empirical research to be most effective and sustainable,” said Cheryl Hudec, associate director for the Center for Rural Studies. “There is a need to recognize the creative economy as more than just a market, but also as one that has the potential to contribute to the development of community.”

The study will focus on quantitative research to investigate the arts as a rural development strategy and understanding key factors related to sustainable arts participation.

This will not only benefit rural locations that are seeking this route to revitalization and resilience, often with limited resources, but national and state policy makers and organizations seeking to fund and promote related initiatives, according to Jennifer Ransom Rice, executive director of the Texas Cultural Trust.

The rural development study will be guided by empirical research drawn from a variety of disciplines, including arts, sociology, and community development, and will bring together applicable measures for vague concepts such as community, community development, community satisfaction, community attachment, quality of life, and community capacity around art.

The researchers will develop and administer a new survey instrument, the Texas Rural Survey on Arts and Culture, and will share their findings statewide.

Grants awarded in this category support projects that build evidence on the value and impact of the arts, and foster partnerships, and information sharing among researchers.

“The Texas Cultural Trust whole-heartedly believes that the arts are a key component to economic development for both urban and rural communities. Our 2012 study concluded that our state’s arts and culture industries generate $4.6 billion in taxable sales,” Rice said.

“Certainly, the creative sector wields considerable social and economic clout in the state’s major cities, like Dallas, Houston, and Austin, but in smaller Texas communities, we have seen that the creative sector not only stimulates economic activity, but creates jobs, generates tax revenue, and establishes a sense of community,” she said. “We view this grant as validation of the work we have done to highlight the importance of arts in sustaining our vibrant Texas economy.”


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Hammonds, SHSU’s HR Department Recognized For ‘Innovation’

David M. Hammonds, associate vice president for Human Resources and Risk Management, will be presented with the 2014 “Human Resources Innovation Award” by the Texas Higher Education Human Resources Association at the THEHRA 2014 summer conference in Houston on June 8-10.

The award will be given in recognition of Sam Houston State University’s Human Resources Professional Development and Training team’s development of a staff professional development program.

It includes a $500 donation to be used exclusively for future human resources professional development.

Hammonds said the award reflects all the good people he works with and the good work that they do.

THEHRA's main focus is working with its members to enhance the field of human resources in higher education and to maximize their largest assets—human resources.

In keeping with this mission, the THEHRA membership awards the annual THEHRA Innovation Award to individuals or teams who improve the quality of programs and services on their own campuses through effective human resource administration practices.

All 34 Texas state colleges and universities and their human resources professionals were eligible to nominate an individual or team for this award.

THEHRA was founded in 1975 and has a membership of more than 500 human resource professionals from more than 34 colleges and universities across the state.

Its mission is to contribute to the professional advancement of human resources administration in state-supported senior colleges and universities in Texas.


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SHSU Develops Forensic Certification Course For TEA

The Texas Education Agency recently launched a free, online professional development course for high school teachers assigned to teach forensic science.

Designed by the Sam Houston State University Department of Forensic Science and Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas, the course is available to all public kindergarten through 12th-grade districts and open-enrollment charter schools in Texas through Project Share, TEA’s online learning community.

Teacher analyzing fingerprints
A teacher analyzes fingerprints as part of one of the College of Criminal Justice's many professional development opportunities offered to public school teachers. —Submitted photo

The 90-hour course, located at projectsharetexas.org, provides academic and hands-on learning activities in forensic science, including safety and the scientific method, crime scene investigations, trace evidence, firearms and tools marks, fingerprints, forensic biology, forensic toxicology, questioned documents, and forensic anthropology.

“The benefit for teachers is that they will be given the required knowledge from an accredited university course with live professors,” said David Webb, program manager for the project. “For the university, it makes us review what high school students need if they want to take science courses in college so that we are far more joined up in the process.”

The 10 modules include presentations, experiments, pictures and graphics. The courses were filmed at Sam Houston State University.

The TEA selected SHSU because of its outstanding reputation in forensic science; SHSU offers a master’s degree in the field and undergraduate minors in forensic science and forensic anthropology, and also houses the Southeast Texas Applied Forensic Science Facility, one of only six body donation facilities in the country dedicated to the study of forensic science.

“It is nice to be acknowledged as one of the best forensic science programs in Texas,” Webb said.

The online course can be taken at any time.

Among the faculty and staff that participated in course development were David Gangitano, Chi-Chung Jorn Yu and Kelsie Bryand, from the forensic science department; and Webb and Andrea Hoke, from LEMIT.

The College of Criminal Justice also annually hosts other opportunities for high school instructors and students, including criminal justice summer camps that introduce students to the diverse career opportunities in the field. Past camp speakers have included the DEA, U.S. Marshals, FBI, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Homeland Security, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, and STAFS.

STAFS also provides ongoing face-to-face classes for high school teachers. This summer’s offerings include the analysis of bloodstains, forensic entomology, digital forensic, advanced CSI, and criminal investigations and the courtroom.

For more information about the summer programs, contact STAFS director Joan Bytheway at 936.294.2310 or jab039@shsu.edu.


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Staff Council ‘Spotlights’ Facility Coordinator

Julian Flores and Jaice Wetuski
Staff Council member Jaice Wetuski (right) presents Julian Flores with a basket of goodies as the Staff Council Spotlight selection for May. —Submitted photo

Julian Flores, facility project coordinator for Sam Houston State University’s Facilities Management department, has been selected as the SHSU Staff Council’s final “Staff Spotlight” for the academic year.

Flores has been working with Facilities Management since April 2010 and has experience in assisting with decision making under adverse situations.

He serves as president of Physical Plant employees committee and also assists with military-related functions in the community.

His great organizational strategies to assist construction project processes are an asset in his area, according to colleagues.

Flores said he motivates others by maintaining a positive attitude in order to promote a positive working environment, which contributes to the mental uplifting of those within the work area.
“Witnessing this uplifting is a motivating factor,” he said.

Flores and his wife have two boys.

In his free time, he enjoys RV-ing, fishing and traveling.


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Faculty Books Sought For Heritage Magazine 'Shelf'

Sam Houston State University's Heritage magazine will continue recognizing the research and accomplishments of the SHSU faculty in the "Bookshelf" section of the publication.

Faculty and staff members who have published a book, or expect to have a book published, within the academic school year (2013-2014), are encouraged to e-mail book information—including the title of the book, its publication (or anticipated publication) date, and a brief summary of the topic—to today@sam.edu or jenniferg@shsu.edu. Cover art will also be accepted in the .jpg format.

The details will be used in the Fall 2014 Heritage, anticipated to be printed in August. To see the "Bookshelf" from the Fall 2013 Heritage, visit shsuheritage.com/2013/08/16/bookshelf.

The deadline for submissions is May 30.

For more information, contact Jennifer Gauntt at 936.294.4406.


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Today@Sam Seeks Summer, Fall Calendar Info

The university Communications Office is now collecting information on campus events for its summer and fall calendar pages.

Departmental calendars or events can be sent to today@sam.edu or jenniferg@shsu.edu or faxed to 294.1834. Please include the date, location and time of the event, as well as a brief description and a contact person.

Information collected for the Today@Sam calendar pages, at shsu.edu/~pin_www/calendars, is used by various media outlets, as well as the Communications Office for news stories and releases.

All information, including story ideas and update items for Today@Sam, should be sent a minimum of a week in advance of the event in order to make necessary contacts and write a story.

To see a full list of the Today@Sam submission guidelines, or to access submission forms for news or feature stories, calendar submissions, or hometown releases, visit shsu.edu/~pin_www/guidelines.html.

For more information, call 936.294.1836.


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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 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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This page maintained by SHSU's Communications Office
Associate Director: Julia May
Manager: Jennifer Gauntt
Located in the 115 Administration Building
Telephone: 936.294.1836; Fax: 936.294.1834

Please send comments, corrections, news tips to Today@Sam.edu.

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