People

Deans

Dr. Elisabeth Cawthon

Dean

CoLA - Dr. Elisabeth Cawthon

Bio: Elisabeth A. Cawthon has been a faculty member in the Department of History at UTA since 1988. Her research has focused on English legal and constitutional history, comparative legal history, and medico-legal history. Recent projects include studies of legal and political policy related to alternative medical practitioners, especially physician assistants, in recent U.S. and world history. She is the immediate past Chair of the European History Section of the Southern Historical Association. Her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in legal history are from the University of Virginia, and her B.A. was earned at Louisiana Tech University. She was a visiting assistant professor at the University of New Hampshire and Brown University. She has directed 41 M.A. theses and doctoral dissertations, served on 113 graduate and undergraduate committees, and taught an array of courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Through a grant from the Texas Bar Foundation she began a service learning outreach by UTA students on behalf of the clients of legal aid clinics in North Texas. She has received teaching, service, and advising awards at the college, university, and system levels. Within the college she has led committees on teaching, research, and curriculum matters, and has been engaged in development efforts on behalf of departments and the college. She is a frequent media commentator on forensic medicine and British and U.S. legal and constitutional history. Dr. Cawthon has been the Associate Chair of the History Department and Founding and Interim Director of the Pre-Law Center, and an undergraduate advisor for the Department of History as well as the university Honors program. She has served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs within the College of Liberal Arts at UTA, as well as Acting Dean of the College.

Dr. Eric Bolsterli

Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs

CoLA - Dr. Eric Bolsterli

Bio: Dr. Bolsterli joined the History department as an adjunct in 1994, and became the History advisor in 1998, before moving to the Dean's Office in 2005. He graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1982 with a double major in History and Anthropology. After a short stint outside academia he earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Arkansas, finishing in 1998. His focus was on Modern U.S. diplomatic History, but he has since branched out to include Economic History as well. He has had a strong interest in student success, both in the classroom and in the University environment, evidenced by the Outstanding Adjunct Instructor Award, the Provost's Award for Excellence in Teaching and Outstanding Academic Advisor Award.

Mr. Dan Cavanagh

Interim Associate Dean of Academic Affairs

CoLA - Mr. Dan Cavanagh

Bio: Dan Cavanagh is a composer and pianist who has garnered numerous awards in both areas. He received a 2009 gold medal prize from the International Music Prize for Excellence in Composition for his work for trumpet and piano, from the barrage comes clarity. In 2017 he was awarded a Special Judges’ Citation in the American Prize for Chamber Music Composition for his work for trumpet ensemble and drumset, Waves. As a composer Cavanagh has been commissioned to write for Latin Grammy-winning AfroBop Alliance, the legendary Patti LaBelle, and a wide range of classical and jazz performers across North America and Europe. His work Reach for violin and double bass can be heard on the upcoming album, The Diaries of Adam and Eve, by violinist Martha Walvoord and bassist Jack Unzicker, due out on Albany Records on November 1, 2019. He has released four jazz CDs as a leader, including Pulse and Heart of the Geyser on Seattle’s OA2 Records, and two recordings with Minnesota-based vibraphonist Dave Hagedorn, Horizon and 20 Years. His music can be heard on many other recordings both classical and jazz. His film scoring work can be heard in the documentary The Beat Hotel, a film exploring the hotel in Paris in the late 1950s and early 1960s where the beat poets, led by Allen Ginsberg, lived and created much of their famous work. Cavanagh continues to be commissioned and programmed around the world. Cavanagh’s compositions for jazz big band are published by UNC Jazz Press, Sierra Music Publications, and E-Jazz Lines (formerly Walrus Music Publishing). Cavanagh has performed extensively in North America and Europe as a jazz pianist, and has also performed in Asia and Central America. He has appeared in concert with Grammy-winners Irma Thomas, Adonis Rose, and Joe McCarthy. He has been a finalist in the EuropaFest Jazz Contest in Bucharest, Romania, and in the Jacksonville Jazz Festival Piano Competition. As the Executive Producer of UT Arlington Records, he spearheads a record label that involves students and faculty in all aspects of production and management of a recording project, from conception to release. He serves as the Co-Chair of Region VI for the Society of Composers, Inc., an international organization dedicated to new and contemporary music and composers. From 2018-2020 Cavanagh served as Chair of the Department of Music at the University of Texas at Arlington. He has also served as the Assistant Director of Jazz Studies and Director of the Music Industry Studies program. He has also served as chair of UT Arlington’s faculty senate, and Chair of the UT System Faculty Advisory Council.

Dr. Les Riding-In

Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs

CoLA - Dr. Les Riding-In

Bio: Dr. Les Riding-In was appointed Assistant Dean and Director of Graduate Studies on August 1, 2012. He has been a member of the UT-Arlington community since 2005, holding professional academic advising and recruitment positions with the college of Business and, most recently, the Honors College. Dr. Riding-In began his higher education career in Residential Life as a Center Coordinator at the University of Oklahoma. He presently serves as the primary advisor for the Native American Student Association (NASA), which sponsors DFW’s 3rd largest powwow. In 2012, NASA was honored to win the Outstanding Contribution to the Greater Community Award. Additionally, Dr. Riding-In is the chair for the Native American and Tribal Colleges Interest Group for the National Association of Academic Advisors (NACADA. He also serves on the executive board for the NACADA Emerging Leaders Program. Dr. Riding-In is a member of the Pawnee and Osage tribe and a native Oklahoman.

Administrative

Lee Banda

Director

Academic Resource Planning

CoLA - Lee Banda

Bio: Lee comes to UT Arlington from the University of California, Riverside in Southern California. He is originally from San Antonio and is a military veteran. Lee served in the US Navy from 1985-1993. He has Bachelor’s degrees in Accounting and in Business Management. He also has a Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance. Lee has been in higher education for over 23 years. He began his higher education career with the San Diego Community College District in early 1995. He was in accounting and finance for 10 years while at the SDCCD before moving onto the University of California, San Diego in 2005. He spent the first 5 years at UCSD in budget and finance for the School of Medicine and then moved onto the Department of Physics as the Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Chief Operating Officer for the next 5 ½ years until late 2015. He has been at the University of California, Riverside for the past 2 ½ years as the Director of Planning and Budget for the University Library. Lee enjoys playing baseball and softball, golfing with his wife as much as time and the weather will allow, and reading.

Laura Nation

Assistant to the Dean

CoLA - Laura Nation

Bio: Laura is a UTA graduate with degrees in Communication and Electrical Engineering. After a successful career at TU Electric she began working at UTA, first in the Electrical Engineering Department for one year and then in the Office of Special Events for almost six years. Laura recently transferred to the Dean’s Office as Assistant to the Dean. She is responsible for overseeing the budget for the College of Liberal Arts. Outside her duties at UTA, Laura sings with the renowned Oratorio Chorus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. Other spare time activities include playing the flute and spending time with her husband and their Norwich Terrier, Gus.

Cindy Wilder Graves

Executive Assistant to the Dean

CoLA - Cindy Wilder Graves

Bio: Cindy is a native Texan and proud of it. She has literally grown up on this campus. Her mother came to work here when Cindy was only three years old. Cindy worked for the Dean of the Graduate School from 1980-1985, then took a leave in order to spend time with her two children. In June, 1990 she came to work for the Dean of Liberal Arts office, working three years for the Associate Deans, 12 years as the Administrative Assistant to the Dean and the last few years as the Executive Assistant to the Dean. Cindy keeps the Dean's schedule and handles all of her correspondence. She keeps up with all matters dealing with faculty, from their offer letters when they are hired, through their career to tenure and promotion, and on to retirement. She handles various reports, supports all committees at the College level, works closely with Development, oversees the annual elections, coordinates the graduation ceremonies for the College, and takes care of day-to-day tasks as office manager. She loves her job and plans on retiring from UTA. She is married to a retired Air Force Master Sergeant, who also works at UTA, and has two wonderful children - a grown son who is married and who has made Cindy the proud Grandma of the most beautiful little girl, and a grown daughter who is married to a young man in the Coast Guard . She is very involved in the music program at Lamar Baptist Church. Her hobbies are singing, reading, and spoiling her family, as well as their Chihuahua and Pomeranian.

Phebe Erwin

Administrative Assistant I

Dean's Office

CoLA - Phebe Erwin

Bio: Phebe received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Texas Woman’s University in 1994. She received her Master of Arts degree from Dallas Baptist University in 2001. She has served in higher education administration for more than 30 years as an instructor, proctor, registrar and administrative assistant. Currently Phebe serves as Administrative Assistant to the College of Liberal Arts’ Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family. She is a soccer mom and proud “Memaw” to her four grandchildren. Phebe, along with her wonderful husband of more than 30 years, have partnered in raising three beautiful children.

Ami Keller Garnett

Administrative Assistant II

CoLA - Ami Keller Garnett

Bio: Ami Keller Garnett graduated with honors with bachelor degrees in History and International Studies from Stephen F. Austin State University. She received her Master's Degree in Public History from UTA. Besides Public History, her areas of interest are Diplomatic History, English History and Irish History. In addition to her scholarly interests, she enjoys photography, reading, traveling, playing with her dogs and spending time with family and friends. She joined the Dean’s Office staff in August 2012, after working in the UTA History Department for three years. Ami supports Associate Dean Watson, Assistant Dean Riding-In and the CoLA Academic Recruiter. Additionally, she teaches online history courses at UTA.

Janet Hazelmyer

Senior Office Assistant

CoLA - Janet Hazelmyer

Bio: Janet Hazelmyer joined the College of Liberal Arts in March 2015. Previously, she worked at a DFW-area church for 14 years, following her tenure at Electronic Data Systems (now known as Hewlett Packard). Janet enjoys reading, music, and spending time with friends and family. Janet has one son who recently graduated from Stephen F. Austin University with a Broadcast Communication degree. Her husband, Sam, works at Arlington’s own AT&T Stadium in the Maintenance and Engineering Department. Between he and Janet, they have five children who keep them running in all directions.

Recruiters

Cheyenne Conkin

Academic Recruiter

CoLA - Cheyenne Conkin

Bio: Cheyenne graduated from Mississippi State University in Starkville, Mississippi. There, she earned a B.B.A. in Marketing and a B.A. in French, with an emphasis in International Business and Integrated Digital Marketing. She is currently completing her Master of Business Administration degree, with a coursework emphasis in Public Relations. She has worked in higher education recruitment for two years, and has always had a passion for inclusion, diversity, and accessibility in universities. Cheyenne is joining the College of Liberal Arts as the Academic Recruiter. While she fully intends to increase enrollment, she has also prioritized helping each new student of the college find the right path to address their specific goals and interests. In her free time, Cheyenne loves to travel to new places, coach soccer, and attend concerts.

Development

Jacob Singletary

Director of Development

CoLA - Jacob Singletary

Bio: Jacob and his wife, Shanna, have 4 children (3 boys and 1 girl). He enjoys being outdoors as much as possible, particularly doing activities that center around bodies of water. Jacob is an avid sports fan; and while he enjoys all sports, he is most fond of hockey, basketball, football, baseball, and soccer. Jacob and his family regularly volunteer to support the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, the March of Dimes, MDA, the American Heart Association, and the Heart of Texas Autism Network. Jacob relishes discussions of history, politics, and physics. As a former foster child who aged out of the system, Jacob has a deep personal interest in issues surrounding at risk youth and foster children.

Kirstin Bradfield

Development Coordinator

CoLA - Kirstin Bradfield

Bio: Kirstin grew up in the Arlington-Mansfield area and now lives in the heart of Arlington. She received her Bachelor’s in Communication from UT Arlington’s College of Liberal Arts. After graduation, Kirstin worked in the UTA School of Social Work for five years before joining the College of Liberal Arts team in 2019 as the Development Coordinator. Her mother and sister also work for UTA. It is a family affair! Outside of the office, Kirstin’s passions include spending time with her dog, reading or watching anything in the horror genre, and weightlifting. She trains competitively and hopes to qualify for Nationals someday.

Communication

Jonikka Davis

Assistant Director

Marketing and Communication

CoLA - Jonikka Davis

Bio: Jonikka Davis is a seasoned communications professional with more than a decade of specialized marketing strategy/execution, promotions, public relations and brand-building expertise. A graduate of San Diego State University’s School of Communication, Jonikka earned her B.A. in Radio, Television & Film, with a minor in English, and quickly transitioned to a career in Public Relations. There, she leveraged her “love of all things COMM” and passion for word play in order to mobilize audiences, drive brand recognition and promote engagement for an array of clients including global charities and non-profits, international consumer brands and entrepreneurial start-ups. After earning her M.A. in Management, Jonikka emerged as a consumer promotions maven, leading brands—large AND small—to unprecedented campaign success. Jonikka is also passionate about continuous education and service. She is a community leader who prioritizes integrity, hard work, mentorship and human connection, as evidenced by her experience, reputation and commitment through service to and with numerous local, regional, national and global organizations. Ever-evolving, Jonikka is currently serving the UTA community and engaging emerging leaders as the College of Liberal Arts’ Assistant Director of Marketing and Communication.

El’lesse Thurman

Student Assistant - Graphic Design

CoLA - El’lesse Thurman

Bio: El'lesse Thurman enrolled at UTA in the Fall of 2018. She joined the Dean's Office in August 2020, where her duties include creating graphic designs for use in CoLA marketing and communication. She is majoring in Visual Communications with a minor in Advertising from the Department of Art & Art History and Department of Communications, respectively. El'lesse’s aspirations include becoming a creative director and a business owner. In her spare time, she works on sharpening her creative skills and learning marketing and management fundamentals.

Anusha Vakamalla

Graduate Student Assistant-Web Developer

CoLA - Anusha Vakamalla

Bio: Anusha Vakamalla enrolled with UTA in fall of 2019. She joined the Dean's Office in October 2019 and her duties include maintaining the webpage for use in CoLA marketing and communication. Anusha is a Computer Science graduate student. She is majoring in the fields of Database Systems and Artificial Intelligence with the department of Computer Science and Engineering. She likes to explore in the fields like statistics,data analysis,machine learning and their related methods. Anusha aspires to be a data engineer.