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Today @ Sam

SHSU Update For Week Of Jan. 26

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Art Exhibit To Showcase Faculty

Nine new and veteran faculty members in the SHSU art department will present their work in animation, sculpture, painting, photography and drawing for the 54th Annual Faculty Exhibit beginning Monday (Jan. 27).

still from Ramsay-Morin's animation; a head in the middle of the screen with two figures on either side holding up spheres
A still from assistant art professor Edward Ramsay-Morin's 2013 animation "As Dreams Sometimes Do." The three-minute and 19-second animation will be on display among the other faculty works in the Gaddis Geesling Gallery through Feb. 13. —Submitted

The exhibit, on display through Feb. 13 in the Gaddis Geeslin Gallery, will include the works of Martin Amorous, Ron Hollingshead, Pat Lawler, Daniel McFarlane, Tudor Mitroi, Edward Morin, Valerie Powell, Tom Seifert and Petrina Sowa.

“The faculty exhibit is a great way for students to experience their current faculty’s work first hand,” said Annie Strader, assistant professor of art and 3G committee chair. “Each year we feature approximately half of the faculty’s work, allowing us to have an exhibit that displays more or larger works from individual faculty member in order to give more depth to each individual artists practice.”

As with professors in all areas of the university, art faculty conduct research that becomes part of their artworks and is “critical to our success as teachers,” Strader said.

“Being professionally active and producing and exhibiting work that is critically engaged with the current dialogue in our field supports our teaching in the classroom,” she said. “The exhibit provides a peek into the work of our very talented faculty.”

An opening reception will be held on Thursday (Jan. 30), in the 3G.

abstract art made with plastic and wire; primary colors are green, yellow, and blue
Assistant art professor Valerie Powell's "Hide N Seek Noyers," a plastic-and-wire sculpture created in 2012.

Preceding that reception will be the first of two artist lectures held in conjunction with the exhibit.

Assistant professor Valerie Powell will give a lecture about her artistic practice—which includes installation, sculpture, painting and drawing—before the exhibit reception from 5-6 p.m. in Art Building E Room 108.

One of Powell’s current projects works with Shrinky Dinks, a shrinkable plastic material that transforms from a thin, two-dimensional sheet of plastic into a three-dimensional when heat is introduced.

In its transformation, the toy, Powell said, becomes an “exciting metaphor for the human condition,” especially in regard to the “shrinking and smallness of memory.”

“I see our memory in a constant state of rebuilding, reassessing, rewinding, reconsidering, rewording, remaking and recovery. I find this reality, both on a macro and micro level, to be fascinating and incredibly relevant to my art making process,” she said. “This allows my work to investigate conceptual ideas about time and space, specifically complex issues of recovery and how time tends to heal, transform, and redefine the human spirit. This plastic material is put through intense stress; it contorts, shrinks, melts and folds into itself, only then to rebound and emerge as something new and stronger.”

On Feb. 3, adjunct lecturer Tudor Mitroi and visiting assistant professor Ron Hollingshead will discuss the works they are exhibiting for the second lecture, from 5-6 p.m. in the gallery.

For more information, contact Strader at 936.294.1322.


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College To Host Interdisciplinary Conference On Campus

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 a dinner and 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.”

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. 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.

Some of those presentations 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.”

Participants and attendees must register for the conference by Feb. 3. The cost is $50, which covers the Thursday dinner and other activities.

In addition, CHSS is offering up to 20 graduate students interested in attending the conference scholarships/fee waivers, provided by Olson. Those interested should contact Child by Feb. 1.

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


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Program To Tell Winter Sky’s ‘Tales’

The SHSU physics department will aim for the stars with its first planetarium series program of the spring semester on Friday (Jan. 31).

“Winter Tales” will begin at 7 p.m. in SHSU’s Planetarium, in Farrington Building Room 102.

The program highlights constellations associated with the winter skies, including Orion, Canis Major, and Gemini, according to Michael Prokosch, physics department staff laboratory assistant.

“The winter sky is known for a lot of very bright stars such as Sirius, Procyon and the twin of Gemini Castor and Pollux, and this program does a very good job helping guests find them; you even learn how to connect the brightest stars into a giant letter G,” Prokosch said.

“I also plan on talking a little about a recent supernova detected in the Cigar Galaxy M82,” he said. “Discovered earlier this week, the supernova already shines at magnitude 11 and could get brighter; not enough to be seen naked eye, but still very bright considering it is about 22 million light years away.”

In addition, guests will be able to check out Jupiter, Mars and Saturn, which will be visible all winter long and will be in opposition very soon.

“People should come to the show because it is shows some really cool stuff that anyone can see,” Prokosch said. “But be careful; astronomy can get addictive.”

Future presentations include a repeat of “Winter Tales” on Feb. 28; “A Dipper Full of Stars,” on March 31 and April 11; “Extreme Planets,” on May 9; and a double feature of “Chaos and Order” and “Extreme Planets” on May 23. All presentations will begin at 7 p.m.

Admission to all presentations is free.

For more information, contact Prokosch at 936.294.3664 or visit the Planetarium WikiPage.


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International Musicians To Perform On Thursday

Two internationally recognized guest artists will visit SHSU for two days of concerts and classes beginning on Thursday (Jan. 30).

Clarinetist Rocco Parisi and pianist Maurizio Barboro will perform “monuments of the clarinet and piano literature” on that day for a concert beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Gaertner Performing Arts Center Recital Hall.

The program will include fantasy pieces by Robert Schumann; "Arpeggione" by Franz Schubert; and works arranged for bass clarinet and piano, including selections from the immensely popular operas Rigoletto and Carmen, said Patricia Card, professor of clarinet.

In addition, both artists will conduct master classes with SHSU students.

Barboro’s piano master class will be from 3-5 p.m. on Jan. 30 in the GPAC Concert Hall, and Parisi’s clarinet master class will be on Friday (Jan. 31) from 2-4 p.m. in the GPAC Recital Hall.

Born in San Pietro a Maida, Italy, Parisi studied in Holland with at the Rotterdam Conservatorium and earned his master’s degree at the Conservatorio “F. Ghedini” of Cuneo, Italy. He also participated in master classes at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena for four years and was subsequently asked to serve as an assistant at the academy.

Recognized as a talented interpreter of contemporary music and as an innovator of new techniques for the bass clarinet, Parisi has won several international competitions, conducted master classes around the world and has performed across Europe and North America at prestigious venues.

He is currently professor of clarinet and bass clarinet at the Antonio Vivaldi Conservatory in Alessandria, Italy.

Barboro studied music at the Paganini Conservatoire in Genoa, Italy, and at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome.

Winner of Italian multiple piano competitions, he performed the major cultural centers in Europe, Asia and North America, collaborating with famous conductors and prestigious orchestras.

Since 1996, Barboro has been currently “artist in residence” and “permanent soloist” of the Dumitrescu Philharmonic Orchestra of Valcea, Romania.

“They will be visiting several universities while in the United States,” Card said. “We are very excited to have performers of this distinction perform and work with our students.”

Tickets are $12-15 for general admission and $5 for SHSU students for the Thursday concert. Both master classes are free and open to the public.

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


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Piano Day To Offer Concerts, Workshops

The SHSU School of Music will offer area pianists the opportunity to learn from its faculty for the inaugural Piano Day on Sunday (Feb. 2) in the Gaertner Performing Arts Center Recital Hall.

The event will feature a series of performances, master classes and workshops. The event will begin at 12:30 p.m.

“Piano Day at SHSU is an event designed for the Texas community of piano teachers and their students, as well as anyone with a love for piano and who wishes to continue learning,” said Brooks Hafey, visiting assistant professor of keyboard studies. “It is a great opportunity for middle school and high school students to participate in a master class and learn about the process of preparing for auditions and competitions.”

The schedule will include a welcome session at 12:30 p.m., followed by a faculty performance, featuring Hafey and director of keyboard studies Ilonka Rus-Edery, at 12:45 p.m.

Educational programming will include a master class lessons with Hafey at 1:30 p.m., and with Rus-Edery at 3 p.m. and a dual session for students and teachers on “Setting yourself up for success: Preparing for auditions and competitions,” at 4 p.m.

At 2:30 p.m., SHSU piano students will perform, and the day will wind down with a closing ceremony at 5 p.m.

Piano Day is free, but registration is required. Registration information can be found online at shsu.edu/piano-day.

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


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Book Focuses On Lesser-Known, Highly Accomplished Director

When people ask who are among SHSU associate professor of film Tom Garrett’s favorite directors, he lists a lot of familiar names—Francis Ford Coppola, Sam Peckinpah, Bob Fosse and Quentin Tarantino.

But also among them is John Avildsen, whose name is often met with the question “Who’s that?” Garrett said.

Avildsen is an Academy Award-winning director whose most well-known films include The Karate Kid and Rocky. He’s also the subject of Garrett’s newest book The Films of John G. Avildsen: Rocky, The Karate Kid and Other Underdogs.

The book, co-written with Larry Powell, was released in December by McFarland publishing.

The 252-page work is a critical study of Avildsen’s most significant films, devoting a chapter to each of his critical successes, from Joe and Save the Tiger to his box-office blockbusters and their sequels.

The authors’ observations are enhanced by extensive production notes and by commentary from Avildsen himself, who played a big part in adding to the material. The book’s foreword was written by mass communication department chair Jean Bodon, who introduced Garrett to Avildsen and Powell, Garrett said.

Tom Garrett's book“I have always been a big admirer of his films; the overall body of his work,” Garrett said. “Not many filmmakers have experienced such highs and lows as Avildsen. From major success with Sylvester Stallone to striking out with Marlon Brando, for over 40 years Avildsen’s films have inspired movie goers and have changed filmmaking as we know it.

“With simple story lines, charming characters, and riveting climaxes, Avildsen’s films have pulled at audiences’ hearts and have shaped popular culture for decades,” he said.

Garrett and Powell are currently in pre-production on a documentary on Avildsen’s life, to supplement the book.

“It has been a wonderful experience digging deep into this film artist, from his start in advertising and commercials to independent feature films that win him an Academy Award to studio blockbusters,” Garrett said. “He is a really great guy.”

The book is available through McFarland Books and Amazon.com. A preview of the documentary is also available on Youtube.


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Researchers Take Video Game Music To New Level

Sam Houston State University musicologist Sheryl Murphy-Manley and two undergraduate co-researchers, Michael Salinas and Conner Morgan, recently traveled to Honolulu, Hawaii, to present a paper on video game music at the International Conference on Arts & Humanities.

headshot Sheryl Murphy-Manley
Sheryl Murphy-Manley

Their research topic, “Traversing the Territory Between Diegetic and Non-diegetic: Case Studies of Musical Discovery in the Legend of Zelda Game Series,” examines the limitations of film theory terms when applied to academic discourse in the field of ludomusicology, the academic study of video game music.

“Diegetic music is defined as the type of music a character in a play, film or video game can actually hear, whereas non-diegetic music occurs when the audience can hear it but the character doesn’t,” Murphy-Manley said. “In video games, often the player is both the audience and the character, so the music one hears could be transdiegetic in that case.”

Experiencing music as both an audience member and a participant is not a new concept. In their study, Murphy-Manley, Salinas and Morgan also compare modern aspects of game playing with those in the Esterhazy court during the time of Haydn during the 18th century.

“Often, Haydn would include horn-calls in his instrumental music that audience members knew from hunting excursions, so the people listening to his music were often in on the programmatic narrative in the music,” Murphy-Manley said.

The academic study of video games is a relatively new field and is cropping up in many research disciplines. However, there are few venues in which researchers can meet to discuss their findings.

The ICAH conference, which was held Jan. 10-13, was a cross-discipline event that provided a great opportunity for the exchange of ideas in this exciting field, according to Murphy-Manley.

This is the second conference the students have been invited to attend, having already presented at the regional convention of the American Musicological Society Southwest Chapter at Rice University in the fall.

The experience has also lead to other research opportunities.

“Michael Salinas is a music therapy major, and he is considering a project in which he studies the effect of video games on therapy clients,” Murphy-Manley said. “As academic research fields open up to different aspects of gaming, we are going to hear more and more about the relevance of video games in our society.”


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Today@Sam Seeks Spring Calendar Info, Experts

The university Communications Office is collecting information for two of its ongoing projects: the Today@Sam calendar pages and the online SHSU Experts Guide.

Departmental calendars for spring campus 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.

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.

In addition, the university photographer will be available to take photos for the Experts Guide (or personal use) on Feb. 10-11, from 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m. on both days, in Dan Rather Communications Building Room 209 (the Mass Communication Conference Room).

Information collected for the Today@Sam calendar pages is used by various media outlets, as well as the Communications Office for news stories and releases.

The SHSU Experts Guide was established as a resource for the media, who turn to university experts lists for potential interviewees for news stories.

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 or feature stories, calendar submissions, or hometown releases, visit https://www.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 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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SHSU Media Contacts: Julia May, Jennifer Gauntt
Jan. 24, 2014
Please send comments, corrections, news tips to Today@Sam.edu






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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