UT Tyler Magazine, Spring 2012

Around Campus

University, Discovery Science Offer Joint Community Programming

UT Tyler and the Discovery Science Place have combined resources to enhance educational programming available to the community. The Tyler-based museum provides an informal learning environment to ignite curiosity in young minds through fun, hands-on exploration. While DSP will remain a stand-alone museum with its own governing body, the UT Tyler Ingenuity Center will strengthen educational programming the museum offers. UT Tyler will design programs based on its STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) outreach, along with serving in an advisory capacity for the museum. "We are excited to be working jointly with the Discovery Science Place,'' said Dr. Michael Odell, UT Tyler associate vice president for sponsored research and federal relations. "We believe this collaborative initiative will have a lasting impact on STEM education." The DSP board will maintain creative control over the museum's permanent and traveling exhibit portfolio as well as branding and fundraising activities, while serving in an advisory role in education and programming. The nonprofit museum is a member of the American Science Technology Centers and the Association of Children's Museums, and has been recognized among the top 25 science centers in the nation by Parents magazine.

UT Tyler Debate Team Finishes Season at the Top

The university debate team finished the 2011-2012 season fourth in the country after completing the National Parliamentary Debate Association championship tournament in Bellingham, Wash. Graduating seniors Alex Warren, an economics major, and Travis Smith, a communication and political science major, won the award. About 163 teams across the nation attended the tournament, which capped a banner year for UT Tyler debaters. Warren and Smith had one of the most successful seasons in parliamentary debate history, appearing in seven final rounds, earning four first-place finishes and ranking No. 1 in the nation for most of the season. The two finished their final season with several national records including most number of wins, most career season-long points and most debates in history, according to the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence. "I am extremely proud of Alex and Travis,'' said Dr. Charles Walts, assistant professor and director of forensics. "They are one of the greatest teams to have ever debated in parli.'' As for the future, the national recognition of the program means more people are attending UT Tyler to join the debate team, said Dr. Walts. "We will double in size next year because of how well we have done. Debaters want to win, and want to be part of a winning culture.''

Model UN Students Sweep International Awards

UT Tyler students received top honors at the 2012 National Model United Nations-Europe Conference in Lille, France. The UT Tyler group was named Outstanding Delegation for excellence in committee, the highest award presented by the organization. The award is given to the top five delegations based on teamwork, leadership, speaking and negotiating abilities, knowledge of issues and proper use of procedure rules. UT Tyler honorees were Alisa Cerney of China Springs, Alina Dolzhenko-Tatkova of the Ukraine, Kenisha Schuster of Comanche, Hannah Waggoner of New London and Samantha Winn of Tyler. Representing the Republic of Lebanon on three committees, UT Tyler also received the Outstanding Position Papers award. Schuster, Winn and Cerney were voted Outstanding Delegates in Committee by their peers, and spoke on behalf of their respective committees at the conference's closing ceremony.

UT Tyler Online Nursing Programs Rank Among Nation's Best

The U.S. News & World Report has ranked UT Tyler online master's and doctoral nursing programs No. 3 in the nation for teaching practices and student engagement. The ranking examines how supportive university programs are of students and recognizes strategies to ensure class participation in an online environment. The achievement puts UT Tyler among major universities such as Yale University, University of Florida, Arizona State University, Duke University, Johns Hopkins University and University of Kansas. "We have always been leaders in the use of innovative technology and teaching methods, and we lead the state in conversion to online graduate nursing education,'' said Dr. Susan Yarbrough, associate dean of graduate nursing programs. "To be recognized nationally validates the programs' effectiveness and that our efforts have paid off.''

Innovative Lab Established for Study of Retail Management

UT Tyler has partnered with Brookshire Grocery Co. to develop a first-of-its-kind lab for the study of retail management. The retail lab in the UT Tyler College of Business and Technology features 16 student computer stations and an instructor station; a point-of-sale register system with connections to student computers and Brookshire Grocery to facilitate project management and implementation; and two gondola merchandise fixtures for student practice of visual merchandising concepts. "The College of Business and Technology makes every effort to lead innovation in and outside of East Texas and we have accomplished this in the retail lab,'' said Dr. Harold Doty, dean. "Our future retail management programs will aid industry by providing prepared students that are knowledgeable in future technologies and equipment. This is an example of the achievements possible between a business school and a business community." Brookshire Grocery led the retail industry contributions with equipment and labor donations. Other contributors include Texas Retailers Education Foundation, NCR Point-of-Sale and RedPrairie of SoftGrocer Software System.

Air Quality, Energy Efficiency to be Tested in TxAIRE Homes

The UT Tyler Texas Allergy, Indoor Environment and Energy Institute held a ribbon cutting at the completion of research/demonstration homes construction. The two houses on campus serve as realistic test facilities for developing and demonstrating new technologies in energy efficiency, indoor air quality and sustainable construction materials and methods. "We are extremely happy with the project and believe that what we are demonstrating here will have a significant impact upon how houses are built and operated," said John J. Vasselli, TxAIRE executive director. The Texas Emerging Technology Fund awarded UT Tyler a grant to establish the institute and monies for the project. UT Tyler construction management students and more than 50 local companies participated in design and construction of the houses, which showcase technology products from more than 35 Texas-based companies. Through a competitive procurement process, Pyramid Homes was awarded the general contract to oversee construction. During the ribbon cutting, Anwar Khalifa, Pyramid Homes president, presented UT Tyler $10,000 to create endowed scholarships for construction management students.

HRD Program Recognized for Excellent Academic Standards

The Society of Human Resource Management has recognized UT Tyler's undergraduate human resource development program for fully meeting HR academic standards. The UT Tyler program provides students a rigorous academic curriculum based on the society's HR Curriculum Guidebook and Templates. "With this acknowledgment, graduates are determined to have mastered core HR principles and be highly competitive in the profession," said Dr. Jerry W. Gilley, chair of the UT Tyler HRD department. The program is accredited by the Association of Technology, Management and Applied Engineering. Graduates hold careers in education, training, directing, Web development, and organizational development and change.

President's Letter

Around Campus

Cover Story: UT Tyler Joins Districts in Life-Changing After-School Effort

Focus on Faculty: Dr. Wei Fan Works With TxDOT to Improve Road Safety

Focus on Alumni: Fitness Expert, Author Jimmy Pena Helps Improve Health

Focus on Students: Students Embrace Global Awareness Through Education

Focus on Benefactors: Clements Family Puts Values Into Action

Patriot Athletics: Season Highlights

Class Notes