Today@Sam Article

SHSU Update For Week Of Jan. 29

Jan. 27, 2017
SHSU Media Contact: Lane Fortenberry

CVI Releases Report On Victimization In Texas

The Crime Victims’ Institute released a summary of key indicators of victimization in Texas, which reflects changes in reported incidents, service utilization and offender accountability over the last five years.

“The 2016 Crime Victims’ Institute Dashboard” monitors trends in victimization across Texas between 2010 and 2015. The information can be used to strengthen intervention policies and practices, to implement prevention strategies and to revise existing policies and programs to aid victims and survivors. Among the findings are:

  • The number and rate of rape incidents and the number of college campuses reporting rapes were considerably higher in 2015 when compared CVI logo good-280b-185r-transpto 2010 (This may be due, in part, to an expansion of the definition of rape in 2014.)
  • In 2015, the rate of rape incidents reported to police in Texas was 44.4 per 100,000, compared to 39.3 per 100,000 for the U.S. The Texas rate was 13 percent higher than the U.S. rate.
  • The number of intimate partner homicides reported was 20.4 percent higher in 2015 than they were in 2010.
  • The number of hate crime incidents rose 13 percent between 2010 and 2015.
  • There were 285 human trafficking incidents reported in 2015, the first year the crime was added to statewide crime reports from the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The report also found a 10.8 percent decrease in the number of child physical and sexual abuse incidents reported over the last five years, and child fatalities affiliated with abuse/neglect also dropped 30 percent during this time period. In addition, investigations of elder abuse and maltreatment also declined.

Fewer adults and children sought assistance from shelters and hotlines over the last five years, but it is unclear whether the 10 percent drop indicates fewer people needing services or more individuals who are reluctant to access services. The number of victims who receive notification and participate in victim-offender mediation also increased between 2010 and 2015.

Finally, all indicators of offender accountability, including the clearance rate for forcible rape and the percentage of cases with a conviction, declined over the last five years.

Although the survey represents reported cases in Texas, many crime victims do not report incidents to police, especially those involving intimate, family, and sexual violence. Victims are often reluctant to report for a variety of reasons, which may include fear of reprisal, financial dependence on the offender, or fear of the criminal justice system response.

“It is important to remember that these numbers reflect only those incidents reported, while a vast amount of victimization goes unrecognized,” said Leana Bouffard, director of CVI.

“The 2016 Crime Victims’ Dashboard,” by Bouffard and Sara B. Zedaker, is available here.

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Faculty To Showcase Art In 57th Annual Exhibit

Twelve faculty members in the Sam Houston State University Department of Art will present their works beginning Monday (Jan. 30) for the 57th Annual Faculty Exhibit.

The exhibit, which will run through March 3 in the Gaddis Geeslin Gallery, will include drawing, painting, design, video, sculpture, and photography.

Faculty whose works will be on display include Jack Barnosky, Kate Borcherding, Chuck Drumm, Rebecca Finley, Michael Henderson, Caleb Jackson, Taehee Kim, Cynthia Reid, Cesar Rivera, Tony Shipp, Mica Smith, and Anthony Watkins.

Cynthia Reid titled Pensacola Foam, watercolor on paper, 2015
Cynthia Reid's work titled "Pensacola Foam."

An opening reception will be held Thursday (Feb. 2) from 6-7 p.m. in the gallery. Light refreshments will be served.

Faculty panel discussions also are scheduled on Feb. 2, from 5-6 p.m., and on March 2, from 5-6 p.m. Both panel discussions will be held in the Art Auditorium, located in Art Building E Room 108.

“At the beginning of each spring semester, half of the faculty in the Department of Art exhibit their work in the Gaddis Geeslin Gallery,” said Max Manning, art department gallery technician. “Each faculty member in the department shows every other year, and their diverse explorations of content and media compose an exciting survey of contemporary art.

“This exhibition provides an opportunity for students and members of the community to see the exceptional work being created by the faculty in the Department of Art,” he said.

The Gaddis Geeslin Gallery is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday from noon to 5 p.m.

The exhibit and all corresponding events are free and open to the public.

The Gaddis Geeslin Gallery is located at 1028 21st St. Parking is free for events after 5 p.m. Visitor parking permits for daytime guests may be obtained at the Sam South Complex, at 2424 Sam Houston Ave.

For more information contact Manning at or 936.294.3102.

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Creative Writing Prof To Read From Latest Project

One of the Sam Houston State University Department of English’s newest creative writing professors will kick off the department’s regular First Friday Forum series of the spring with a reading on Feb. 3.

Ching-In Chen, an assistant professor of creative writing, will read from Chen’s latest project, “Formerly Floodland and Desert,” a poetic and genderqueer work. 

The reading will begin at 3 p.m. in Evans Complex Room 212.ChingInChen

“‘Bad Translations:’ Formerly Floodland and Desert” will examine the use of collage, speculative, “bad translation,” mash-up and other experimental creative strategies to generate work about migration, language and ecological and historical trauma and disaster.

Chen, who joined the SHSU faculty in 2015 as a visiting assistant professor, is the author of “The Heart's Traffic,” published by Arktoi Books, and “recombinant,” published by Kelsey Street Press.

Chen also serves as co-editor of the limited-edition poetry collection “The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities,” published by South End Press and AK Press, and “Here is a Pen: an Anthology of West Coast Kundiman Poets,” published by Achiote Press.

A Kundiman, Lambda, Watering Hole and Callaloo Fellow, Chen is part of the Macondo and Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation writing communities, and Chen’s work has appeared in “The Best American Experimental Writing,” “The &NOW Awards 3: The Best Innovative Writing” and “Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics.”

Chen, who also is a senior editor of The Conversant and a poetry editor of Texas Review, who currently teaches creative writing and world literature at SHSU.

Chen received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and international relations from Tufts University, a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from the University of California, Riverside, and a doctorate in English from the University of Milwaukee.

The Friday Faculty Forum highlights research by departmental faculty and graduate students.

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

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Leadership Initiatives To Have Open House

The Department of Leadership Initiatives is holding an open house for students, faculty and staff to visit their new office on Tuesday (Jan. 31) from 1-4 p.m. in the Lowman Student Center Room 328T.

A limited number of T-shirts will be given to students who present their Bearkat OneCard.

Attendees will be able to meet the staff and learn about leadership and the various programs that go along with it.

“The Department of Leadership Initiatives aims to cultivate leadership potential in students to empower them to make positive changes in the world,” said Meredith Conrey, director of Leadership Initiatives. “Each semester, Leadership Initiatives hosts a variety of workshops and experiences to engage students in developing as leaders.”

Examples of workshops include Leadership Over Lunch and Discover Your Strengths. The experiences include Emerging Leaders, the Student Legislative Trip and National Collegiate Leadership Conference.

“Service opportunities are also offered to students each year through various department-hosted service projects, such as the Welcome Week Service Project, Tree of Hope and Arbor day,” Conrey said. “Additionally, a Volunteer Opportunities Fair is hosted each semester to allow students and local community agency representatives to meet in person and chat about volunteer needs. “

The department also provides services for registered student organizations including workshops, 50 black and white copies per week, access to a graphic designer for help with designing needs, paper cutters and computers workstations.

Student organizations also receive a unique page on OrgLINK, which is used to assist with messaging and records.

“Our programs and services help students learn about leadership, engage in service-learning and give them an opportunity to learn skills that are transferrable for a future career,” Conrey said. “Much is learned through student involvement, and Leadership Initiatives is here to assist students.”


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Leadership Initiatives To Host Leadership Over Lunch

The Department of Leadership Initiatives has developed a series of events called Leadership Over Lunch, which starts Wednesday (Feb.1) from 11 a.m. to noon in the Lowman Student Center Room 315.

The theme of the first lunch is "Explaining Leadership."

The event will give students the opportunity to learn about various components of leadership from experienced professionals. The workshop lasts 45 minutes and students will receive a free lunch on a first-come, first-served basis.

Greg Monteilh, Career Services employment specialist, will discuss understanding the value of outside-the-classroom learning opportunities and how those experiences relate to the professional world.

Monteilh will also cover interview questions students might be asked and how to correctly approach them.

“I believe this workshop will serve as a great starting point for students preparing to apply for internships or post-graduation jobs in the coming months,” said Max Walling, associate director of Leadership Initiatives.

The event is free to attend.

For more information or contact information, visit the event page.

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Cohen To Present 'Comedic Night Of Nakedness'

The Office of Health Promotion will host guest speaker Harlan Cohen to present his program “A Comedic Night of Nakedness Featuring Harlan Cohen” on Feb. 7 at 6 p.m. in the Lowman Student Center Theater.

The program is held in collaboration with The Office of Equity and Inclusion and Recreational Sports as a part of their “Celebrate the Heart” week.HarlanMarketing flyer

Cohen was chosen for his ability to give advice on the characteristics of a healthy relationship and college life. He has written a series of best-selling books, including New York Times-bestseller “The Naked Roommate and 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College.”

“We anticipate that Harlan’s comical nature mixed with his ability to facilitate open and honest conversations on uncomfortable topics will leave all attendees with a more confident approach to their current or future relationships,” said Megan Richardson, Health Center program coordinator.

Harlan will discuss dating in the digital age, healthy relationships and consent.

“All of us at one point have had a question we were too nervous to ask,” Richardson said. “Harlan’s series of books touch on many aspects of college life by making the uncomfortable comfortable. Whether it be dating and first loves or how to transition from high school to college or the newfound freedom of adulthood, Harlan knows how to reach his audiences and prepare them for whatever they are about to face.”

Participants will be able to text or email questions to Harlan during the show, which he will answer while on stage.

Students who attend at least three of the six events hosted by the Office of Health Promotion will win a pair of Bluetooth headphones and will be entered into their grand prize raffle.

For more information, visit the event page.

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CHSS To Host Poet Cameron Awkward-Rich

Sam Houston State University is kicking off Black History Month with a creative showcase by students and a poetry craft talk and reading by Cameron Awkward-Rich.

Awkward-Rich is a published poet, editor at “Muzzle Magazine,” Cave Canem Fellow and doctoral candidate in Modern Thought and Literature at Stanford University.AwkwardRichAltGSred

The poetry craft talk will take place on Wednesday (Feb. 1) at noon in Evans Complex Room 212. The Black History Month creative showcase starts at 5 p.m. in Austin Hall followed by a poetry reading and book signing by Awkward-Rich at 6 p.m. A reception will follow at The Vortexan.

Attendees can view SHSU students’ work celebrating Black History Month during the event.

“The showcase will include students performing spoken word, poetry, dance and music, as well as showing film,” said Ching-In Chen, assistant professor of creative writing. “Though the planning committee has planned a full month of programming, we wanted to kick off this month by highlighting the important creative work students are already contributing.

“The creative arts is a vital way for us as a community to engage and understand our history,” Chen said. “In the civil rights movement, and even in today’s struggles for social justice, poetry and other creative arts give voice to individual stories and voices, which might be forgotten otherwise.

Awkward-Rich writes about the intersections of black, queer and trans identities.

“Given the current national conversations in these areas, it was important to bring Awkward-Rich as a writer and scholar who is knowledgeable in these areas,” Chen said.

The events are hosted by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Diversity and Inclusion Committee, SHSU MFA Program in creative writing, SHSU LGBTQI* Faculty and Staff Network, and Gamma Sigma Kappa. It is free to attend.

For more information, visit the event page.

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Bearkat Service Break Application Deadline Is Feb. 2

Interested students can still sign up to participate in the Bearkat Service Break, even if they missed the information sessions, before the deadline on Thursday (Feb. 2) at 5 p.m.

BSB is hosted by Leadership Initiatives as a way for students to help give back to the community over spring break.bearkatservicebreak

“The motto of Sam Houston State University is ‘The measure of a Life is its Service,’ and we feel that those who participate in the BSB program truly embody that ideal,” said Max Walling, associate director of Leadership Initiatives. “Each trip provides an opportunity to learn and directly help an important social issue that is not only relevant in our home communities, but also worldwide.”

This year, BSB will have two separate trips for students to choose from.

“The first is going to Perryville, Arkansas to work with Heifer International,” Walling said. “That trip will focus heavily on food scarcity and sustainable agriculture by having students serve on a functioning ranch with gardening, maintenance and animal care.

“The second trip will be going to New Orleans, Louisiana to serve with Animal Rescue New Orleans,” he said. “This trip will focus heavily on animal issues within the city and helping Animal Rescue with animal socialization, cleaning and a variety of administrative tasks and projects.”

Each trip costs $200 per person, which covers transportation, lodging and food. During the trip, the group will take a day off from servicing to spend in the community. The costs will also cover that day.

The Heifer International trip is March 11-17 and the Animal Rescue New Orleans trip is March 12-18.

If students are selected, they will be asked to attend weekly team meetings leading up to BSB.

More information and how to sign up is available here.

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Renamed Department To Hold Ribbon Ceremony

To celebrate the recent name change of the Department of Foreign Languages to the Department of World Languages and Cultures, a ribbon ceremony will take place Friday (Feb. 3) from 2:30-5 p.m.

The ceremony will be on the fourth floor of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences building and is open to all faculty and staff.

“We wanted to change the name so that it better reflected the expertise, in terms of both teaching the languages in the department and researching,” said department chair Leif French. “The use of foreign language is kind of an archaic term because the languages taught in our department are clearly dynamic living languages.

“They’re spoken on a daily basis inside and outside of classrooms all over the world, so that is clearly more reflective of a globalized world and an increase of the sharing of culture worldwide,” he said.

The ceremony will include a tasting of the international foods that represent the languages taught by the department.

“It will entail a word from the dean and myself,” French said. “It’s a mingle event and we’ll talk about the history of the department and why the change is so important. We’ll share our plans on what we plan on doing going forward with the name.”

There will be a separate departmental activity for students to celebrate the name. In mid-February, a contest will be announced to design a new symbol for the department. The person’s work that is selected will receive a $200 certificate to the campus bookstore.

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Mass Comm To Host Classic Silent Film Screening

The Sam Houston State University Department of Mass Communication, in partnership with Huntsville’s Old Town Theatre, invites community members to experience a different kind of entertainment at the free screening of the 1920s silent comedy “Sherlock Jr.” on Tuesday (Jan. 31) at 6 p.m.

“Many historians consider ‘Sherlock Jr.’ the most creative and hilarious American silent film comedy, and among the greatest American movies of allsherlock-Jr-featured time,” said Grant Wiedenfeld, assistant professor of film. “It was directed by Buster Keaton, who rivaled Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd as great silent comedians and filmmakers.”

Wiedenfeld described the movie as the “Alice in Wonderlandof its time because of its modern editing and visual techniques, referencing the most famous scene of the film, where Keaton’s character falls asleep in a movie theatre and awakens inside the movie. 

Even though the film has modern techniques, audience members may not be used to completely silent entertainment.

“What makes silent films so interesting to see is that they use visual creativity to tell the story,” Wiedenfeld said. “It's a fun way to stretch your imagination, and it can change the way you watch other movies and television.”

Old Town Theatre is located at 1023 12th St.

For more information, contact Wiedenfeld at

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Program Council To Show ‘Doctor Strange’

The Program Council will present Marvel’s “Doctor Strange” on Wednesday (Feb. 1) at 6 p.m. in the Lowman Student Center Theater as a part of their ongoing PC Cinema events.

The film was released in theaters Nov. 4, 2016, and features Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Rachel McAdams and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

It follows a former surgeon who becomes a sorcerer under the guidance of the Ancient One. It currently holds a 90 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

All currently registered students are invited to attend. Snacks and refreshments will be provided, while supplies last.

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Send Experts, Story Ideas Here

Are you an expert in a topic might be of interest to reporters? Or even a unique topic? Would you like to have your research interests highlighted or discuss your expertise with reporters seeking interviewees?

The university Communications Office is collecting information and story ideas for its ongoing projects, including the online SHSU Experts Guide, the SHSU home page and Today@Sam. 

The SHSU Experts Guide was established as a resource for the media, who turn to university experts lists for potential interviewees for news stories. Faculty who are interested in being a part of the university's database of experts can submit their biographical and personal information, as well as their areas of expertise, through the Experts Guide Submission Form.

Other story ideas, both news and features on faculty or student research and accomplishments can be sent to or For news stories, please include the date, location and time of the event, as well as a brief description and a contact person.

All information, including news 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. Feature story ideas for the SHSU home page ("sliders") should be sent a minimum of two months in advance. 

To see a full list of the Today@Sam submission guidelines, or to access submission forms for news and feature stories or hometown releases, visit the guidelines page.

For more information, call 936.294.1836.

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