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UTA In The News — Monday, April 9, 2012

Monday, April 9, 2012

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Smith's "Wolf" prepares for Dallas International Film Festival

The Dallas Morning News featured Ya’Ke Smith, assistant professor in the UT Arlington Department of Art and Art History, in a cover story for Sunday’s Arts/Entertainment Section. His first feature film, Wolf, shows this week at the Dallas International Film Festival. The movie, about a sex abuse scandal that rocks a family’s faith and turns them against the bishop they once revered, was filmed in Smith’s hometown church in San Antonio. Administrators were hesitant when he requested to film there, but his bishop approved of the idea. “He basically said whatever you need, you can have,” Smith recalled. “He stood up in church one Sunday and said, ‘I don’t have an issue with anything Ya’Ke is shooting. What he’s doing is going to be powerful. Although it may be controversial, it’s going to help people.’”

Virtual program gives nurses "Second Life"

In the virtual world, nurses in training from Texas, New York and Denmark can practice alongside other emergency personnel before an anthrax attack, pandemic or tornado grabs headlines, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. Via computer, students participate in a simulated event that provides a role rehearsal, say experts at The University of Texas at Arlington's College of Nursing, where educators are taking lessons, discussions and conferences into the 3-D virtual world of Second Life. The program received much hype about six years ago as a fantasy place to re-invent oneself. Now, it provides an educational tool for many universities. On April 14, nurses can attend the conference, "Therapeutic and Ethical Implications of Genomics for Nursing Practice," at a virtual UT Arlington. Participants will take part via avatar in specialized discussions about the genetics of drugs commonly used in the elderly or terminally ill.

H-1B Visa Program gets another look

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram interviewed Jean-Pierre Bardet, dean of the UT Arlington College of Engineering, about the H-1B visa program, which has been a source of controversy, particularly among long-term unemployed workers. The issue was highlighted in January when a Fort Worth woman asked President Barack Obama in an online chat why companies are allowed to hire foreign workers while her engineer husband can't find a job. Last year, Texas ranked third among the states in H-1B visa applications, used by businesses to fill jobs they supposedly can't fill at home, with more than 31,000, trailing California and New York. Eight Texas cities ranked among the top 100 in applicants including Houston at No. 2, Dallas (11) and Fort Worth (91), government figures show. "At a time of globalization, it makes so much sense," said Bardet. "These people who have technical expertise will create more jobs. If we have more technical skills, it will benefit everyone."

New Shimadzu Center launched

Shimadzu Scientific Instruments, a world leader in the analytical instruments industry, has announced plans to establish the Shimadzu Center for Advanced Analytical Chemistry at The University of Texas at Arlington through an in-kind gift valued at nearly $3 million, the Fort Worth Business Press reported. The new center, located in UT Arlington’s Chemistry and Physics Building, will be a home for scientific exploration and will contain $6 million worth of state-of-the-art chromatography, mass spectrometry and spectroscopy equipment.

Augusta spurring conversations about gender equity

The Financial Times quoted Ben Agger, professor and director of the Center for Theory at UT Arlington, about the Augusta’s decision not to extend an invitation to IBM’s new female CEO. He described prestigious country clubs around New York and Washington as the true “corridors of power” where important work relationships are cemented. He added that women, even when full members at such exclusive clubs, often find they are relegated to the worst tee-times, making the Augusta membership issue “both highly symbolic and substantive,” Agger said. “For a conservative, cautious company like [IBM] to pull out would make a profound statement.”

Changes ahead for Tarrant County legislative delegation

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram interviewed Allan Saxe, associate professor of the Department of Political Science at UT Arlington, about Tarrant County’s legislative delegation, which could see a dramatic turnover next year. "There ... will be many new 'names' in the Legislature from the entire state for various reasons, and that may lessen our own freshman class's lack of seniority," Saxe said. "Though new members may not have seniority, they will still have some political heft if they stay together on main issues like the budget, looking out for constituent interests, colleges and universities in their districts, school finance [and] Medicaid."

Plans for sustainable business development

The Dallas Business Journal reported that a North Texas development group aims to test and prove the theory that sustainability pays off in business. Earth NT Inc. plans to purchase up to 1,000 acres of abandoned or underused urban land in one or more North Texas locations to create a campus of sustainable business development. Organizers include Jyl DeHaven, an adjunct professor in the UT Arlington School of Urban and Public Affairs. She described the project as a place to grow viable business ideas and showcase them to the world. “We have lost the luxury of just doing the right thing for the right thing’s sake,” DeHaven said. “Now we have to actually do the right thing because it makes economic sense."

Concerns about zebra mussels

State officials are urging the public to help stop the spread of zebra mussels amid test results that indicate the highly invasive and destructive mollusk may have been introduced to several North Texas Lakes, Lake Country Sun reported. Zebra mussels, native to Russia, were previously found in Lake Texoma and in a stream that feeds Lake Lavon near Dallas. However, recent tests conducted by a University of Texas at Arlington researcher found zebra mussel DNA in six area lakes, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Despite the results, the mussels do not appear to have become established at the lakes, said the researcher, Dr. Robert McMahon, professor emeritus of biology at UT Arlington.

Ryan receives special recognition

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram Work Faces reported that Scott Ryan, dean of The University of Texas at Arlington School of Social Work, was named an American Council on Education fellow.

Tornado warning systems

In a story about warning systems that sounded during last week’s tornadoes, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram mentioned that UT Arlington has outdoor sirens that can be activated by the city.