For the Faculty and Staff of The University of Texas at Arlington

Monday, May 7, 2012


Reducing risk: Dr. Regina Aguirre, left, and Dr. Diane Mitschke have conducted research showing that post-traumatic stress disorder can be controlled.

Researchers discover promising way to combat PTSD in refugees

Regina Aguirre and Diane Mitschke, assistant professors in the School of Social Work, have documented success in reducing the risk of post-traumatic stress disorder in female refugees from war-torn countries.

Conducting research in conjunction with the refugee resettlement program of Catholic Charities Fort Worth, the study began with 47 female refugees from Bhutan, a small country on China’s southern border, who each had exhibited PTSD.

“We set out to see if some women could be helped, and we discovered there might be a fundamental problem with the way we handle refugees in this country,” Dr. Aguirre says. “We observed a method of giving refugees the ability to help themselves, and improve their mental health in the process.”

Read more about the PTSD research.

University's largest class to graduate at College Park Center

The largest graduating class in UT Arlington's history is the first to have Commencement exercises Friday-Sunday, May 11-13, at the new College Park Center.

The Class of 2012 totals more than 4,400 students, an increase of about 700 students from the number of degrees conferred in May 2011. The graduating class includes 3,000 undergraduates, 1,309 master’s candidates, and 97 doctoral scholars.

The 7,000-seat center allows three colleges to have one Commencement exercise each rather than two. In previous years, the colleges of Business, Engineering, and Liberal Arts each had two graduation ceremonies to accommodate their large number of graduates and their families at the 2,709-seat Texas Hall.

The School of Architecture will continue the tradition of using Texas Hall for its graduation ceremony, which begins at 4 p.m. Friday.

See the Commencement schedule for details.

James Franco

James Franco highlights Graduation Celebration at Levitt Pavilion

Graduation Celebration, a free community festival featuring fireworks and remarks by award-winning actor James Franco, highlights Commencement weekend at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 11, at the Levitt Pavilion in downtown Arlington, 100 W. Abram St.

Graduates, their families and friends, and supporters are encouraged to attend along with faculty, staff, and alumni.

Franco is perhaps best known for his role as Harry Osborne in the Spider-Man trilogy. The actor and author is an education advocate who returned to UCLA in the fall of 2006 at age 28 and quickly earned a bachelor’s degree in English.

He then moved on to New York and enrolled in three schools: Columbia University’s MFA writing program; Brooklyn College for creative writing; and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts for directing.

President James D. Spaniolo and nursing graduate student Melissa Sepulveda Tran also will give Graduation Celebration remarks. Tran is earning her master’s degree in nursing and plans to continue working at Baylor Medical Center in Dallas.

In case of inclement weather, Graduation Celebration moves to College Park Center.

Read more about Graduation Celebration.


Dr. Dereje Agonafer

Agonafer named Jenkins Garrett Professor

Dereje Agonafer has been named Jenkins Garrett Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

"This distinction demonstrates Professor Agonafer's excellence in teaching, research, and service as well as his exceptional personal attributes as a superb mentor to our students. We offer our congratulations to him," says Erian Armanios, chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

The award, named for Jenkins Garrett, a generous contributor to the University, is given to a professor who earned distinction and brought recognition to the institution as a result of academic accomplishments, and has shown excellence in teaching, research, and creative scholarship.

Other Jenkins Garrett Professors include Scott Ryan, social work; Fillia Makedon, computer science and engineering; Sandy Dasgupta, chemistry and biochemistry; and J.-C. Chiao, electrical engineering.

Mav Pic African American Awards

Academic excellence

Eddie Freeman, left, president of the African American Faculty and Staff Association, and Provost Ronald Elsenbaumer present the College of Science award to Catrina Campbell at the third annual AAFSA academic and service awards ceremony last week. The event honored 11 African-American scholars who had achieved academic excellence and community service. Freeman is executive director of employment and equal opportunity services for Human Resources.


Monthly selection for Mavs Book Club is 'The Murder of the Century'

The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime That Scandalized a City & Sparked the Tabloid Wars by Paul Collin is the May selection for Mavs Book Club, which meets at noon Friday, May 11, in the University Club at Davis Hall.

The story is about an 1897 murder case seized upon by battling media moguls Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, making the case a publicity circus.

The club meets the second Friday of every month. For more information, contact Diane Shepelwich at

Group exercise classes available during May at Maverick Activities Center

Group exercises, including step and sculpt, pilates, yoga, cycle, cardio kickbox, and ultimate conditioning are available through Friday, June 1, at the Maverick Activities Center.

Register at the services and information desk at the MAC. See the schedule.

Sign up to tour College Park Center

Join the Staff Advisory Council for a tour of College Park Center at 3 p.m. Tuesday, May 8. To reserve your spot and for meeting location, RSVP by today, Monday, May 7, to Kevin Schuck at or 2-3313.

Feedback needed on safety, sustainability, drug surveys

Three campus surveys seek anonymous input.

The safety and security survey will be used by the University Police Department to establish service benchmarks and serve as the basis for crime prevention initiatives on campus.

The sustainability survey will help with better campus recycling.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to ask students to take the University AOD (alcohol and other drugs) survey with the code 18363 to start the survey.

Benefit Yourself
Living well

UT System Benefits for Your Dependents

Whether you have family members who are covered or you want to add coverage for someone in your family, you should know the eligibility rules for the UT System Benefits program. Learn more about dependent eligibility and required documentation in the May issue of the UT System Benefits Newsletter.

Behavior Intervention Team

Faculty and staff are urged to call on the Behavior Intervention Team, a network of professionals from across campus committed to a caring, confidential program of identification, intervention, and response. Visit the BIT website for tips on recognizing troubled students and information about how to deal with incidents you may encounter. If you have questions or concerns, contact a BIT chair or email questions to

Kids and Teens University

Reading, foreign languages, guitar, and photography are among the summer youth programs available through Continuing Education. Register your children at Kids and Teens. Continuing Education, 2-2581.


Blackboard Workshops for Faculty/Staff

Choose which type of workshop best meets your needs: Blackboard Comprehensive or Essentials. Free. Workshops available May 9-31. Webinars also available. Check the Blackboard workshop schedule. Blackboard Faculty/Staff Resources., Center for Distance Education.

Writing Effective Email

Explore the keys to effective emails as well as proper cyber manners and how to avoid email overload. Free. Register. 9-11 a.m. Wednesday, May 9, Room 200, Wetsel Service Center. See a list of HR training classes.

Mindful Moments

Take a break with Mindful Moments. Free. 12:15-12:45 p.m., Wednesdays, Room 236, Business Building. Health Services, Marie Bannister, 2-2771.

Employment Information

Check out employment opportunities at Have questions? Call Human Resources/Employment Services at 2-3461 or TDD 2-8139, or email The University of Texas at Arlington is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer.

Going Out

Wednesday, May 9

War Horse

$2 Movie: War Horse Rated PG-13. 5:30 p.m.; also 5:30 p.m. Friday, May 11, and 2:30 p.m. Saturday, May 12. Planetarium.

Friday, May 11

School of Architecture Commencement President James D. Spaniolo delivers the Commencement address. 4 p.m., Texas Hall. Commencement.

Graduation Celebration Featured speaker is Oscar-nominated actor and Golden Globe winner James Franco. President James D. Spaniolo and Melissa Sepulveda Tran, a nursing graduate student, also will speak. A Texas-sized fireworks show, music, and a street fair of free food are on the agenda. Open to the public. In case of inclement weather, Graduation Celebration will move to College Park Center. Free. 7:30 p.m., Levitt Pavilion, 100 W. Abram St., Arlington. Graduation Celebration.

Saturday, May 12-Sunday, May 13

Commencement Ceremonies Tickets needed for admittance. Check with school or college for more information. See Commencement schedule. College Park Center.


Hollywood Smiles

BFA Exhibition Recent work by 59 graduating seniors of the Department of Art and Art History is showcased, demonstrating concentrations in painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, glass, printmaking, film/video, photography, and visual communication. Among the exhibits are "Hollywood Smiles," right, featuring oil on canvas over panel by Adrian Zuniga. Free. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, Noon-5 p.m., Saturdays. Through Saturday, May 12. The Gallery at UTA, Fine Arts Building.

India Unveiled A collection of 35 images by photographer and author Robert Arnett. Free. 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Mondays, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays. Through Saturday, May 26. Special Collections, sixth floor parlor, Central Library.

Novus Ordo Seclorum In his works, Anthony Thompson Shumate uses the design that appears on the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States. Free. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays; 2-6 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays. Through Thursday, May 31. Gallery 76102, Fort Worth Center.

Planetarium Dynamic Earth explores the inner workings of Earth’s climate engine with visualizations based on satellite monitoring data and advanced supercomputer simulations. Free showings during May. 3:30 p.m. Sundays. Planetarium.

(For an expanded list of events, see the UT Arlington Calendar.)



Editors: Jim Patterson, Teresa Newton

Executive Director for University Publications: Mark Permenter

Associate Vice President for Communications and Marketing: David Johnson

Vice President for Communications: Jerry Lewis

Published by University Communications. Photography, video, design, and online services provided by the Department of Communications and Marketing.

© 2012 The University of Texas at Arlington


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