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UTA In The News — Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011

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Deficit reduction appeal

More than 130 university presidents, including UT Arlington President James D. Spaniolo, sent a letter yesterday to the members of the Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction urging them to reach a “big agreement – not incremental steps” while working to close the nation’s budget deficit, the Association of American Universities website reported. The university leaders also called on the committee to “reach a balanced agreement that reduces budget deficits, reins in the nation’s debt, and creates economic and job growth.”

Biology professor appointed to committee

The U.S. Department of Interior reported on its website that Secretary Ken Salazar has announced new members of the Invasive Species Advisory Committee, which includes Robert McMahon, a UT Arlington professor of biology.

Encouraging science research

The Dallas Morning News Education Notes section reported that Kayunta Johnson-Winters, an assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry at The University of Texas at Arlington, received a grant of $199,988 from the National Science Foundation’s Research Initiation Grant for Broadening Participation in Biology program. The grant aims to propel more underrepresented minorities toward future federal funding for science research.

UT Arlington creates $250,000 professorship in social work

The University of Texas at Arlington has created a $250,000 endowed professorship focused on family violence issues in honor of the Arlington police officer and university alumna killed in the line of duty last year, the Dallas Business Journal reported. The School of Social Work Advisory Council members committed a total $125,000 to UT Arlington to create the endowment, a gift believed to be the first of its kind from a university advisory group. That sum has been doubled through the Maverick Match program, which pairs natural gas royalties with new endowment commitments to encourage philanthropic gifts. KXAS/NBC5 broadcast a similar report.

The reality behind those music tv shows

The Christian Science Monitor interviewed Ben Agger, director of the UT Arlington Center for Theory and a sociology professor, about the popularity of such television shows as X-Factor and American Idol. Agger said such reality shows have succeeded by tapping into a deeper emotion – envy. “Amateurs like you and me, want to be stars, even celebrities… But the culture industry, including the music business, ensures that access to celebrity status and stardom is restricted to those with a track record, an agent, the right contacts.”

New direction for Dallas Video Fest

The Dallas Morning News interviewed Bart Weiss, UT Arlington associate professor of Art and Art History, about Dallas Video Fest. After 23 years leading the event, Weiss has selected a team of curators to help him put together the 24th annual festival, which runs Wednesday through Sunday. Pegasus also featured Weiss in a story about the festival.

Un-bee-lievable attention

The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News,, The Huffington Post, Yahoo!, and several other media reported that the final round of a college golf tournament in Fort Worth was called off because of bees. The event, Texas-Arlington’s UTA/Waterchase Invitational, was canceled after a limb from a tree holding an estimated 70,000 bees fell and exposed a beehive at the 18th hole. Bees were swarming the area in minutes, and several people were stung, though none seriously.