Fall 2000
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TCU Magazine "Alma Matters"

Head of the class

New Education Dean Samuel Deitz says no school is an island -- or at least
shouldn't be.

An avid gardner, Samuel Deitz knows what it takes to grow flowers and vegetables in Georgia. He admits he'll have to learn how to make those same plants thrive in Texas.

But after spending 29 years at Georgia State University and the last decade as its education dean, Deitz does know what it takes to grow good teachers.

"There are sets of expertise in other colleges that are not represented in the School of Education, nor should they be," said the 55-year-old Deitz. "The schools of arts and sciences and others have content, and we have the teaching skills. We have to work together to produce a teacher."

An expert in behavioral analysis and education, Deitz developed a program at GSU that takes students from the law and education colleges into the local school district to teach conflict resolution, the type of collaboration he plans to initiate here.

"We need to have lots of our students in the public schools, tutoring students," he said. "A school of education has to be partnered with the local schools, not only to help them improve their schools but to help them prepare our students for what they need. "An education student might be taking math classes, but when they get to the classroom, they sometimes haven't learned what the schools need them to know. The public schools can tell us that."

Partnering with the business college is also high on his list. Many skills taught in business are desperately needed by teachers, especially those who go on to become administrators.

"If you look, most communities are trying to get businesses involved in schools, but they don't know what to do," he said. "If we could have a partnership between business and education, we could find ways business could get involved in the community that would be helpful."

Just like figuring out the Texas soil, Deitz said he will be looking for new and innovative ways to make TCU's education helm bud and bloom.

"That's going to be one of my pushes, to get the School of Ed to look at things in a different way," he said. "Not to say, 'This is how we've always done it,' but to say, 'How can we do it that's really skipping over old thinking?' "


Samuel M. Deitz Dean, School of Education Deitz and wife Tricia, a homemaker, put family activities with their three kids -- Jacob, Celia and Joshua -- as a top priority. But with two kids now in college, he'll probably have more time for golfing, another favorite hobby.

BAE University of Florida, English and education, 1966
MAE University of Florida, educational psychology, 1969
PhD University of Florida, educational psychology, 1971

Professional: During his 29-year tenure at GSU, the College of Education saw increases in both external funding and student enrollment. As dean, Deitz formed vital partnerships with disciplines across campus, resulting in programs that impacted the business community, the university and public schools in Georgia.

"I hope to create innovative partnerships to complement the work already under way at TCU in urban education and math, science and technology education, to improve the quality of teachers for our schools. I am confident the faculty is ready to reach for and grasp a new level of national distinction."

Math + science = fun

With a $240,000 grant, TCU's School of Ed is teaming up with campus departments, community to explore better ways to teach youngsters.

Richland High School sophomore Katy Albury wanted to be a pilot someday. But after a week-long Introduction to Fabrication engineering camp in June, "I've got to rethink all of that," said Albury, her workspace and clothing littered with tiny metal shavings from a metal lathe drilling project. "It has been very exciting."

Albury was one of seven Fort Worth-area high school students who participated in the project led by TCU's Institute of Math, Science and Technology Education and funded by a $260,000 Sid Richardson Foundation grant, which will bring an increasing number of camps and workshops to campus.

"In students nationwide, we see that the interest in math and science begins to wane after the third grade, and we really lose them in middle school and high school," said Education Assistant Prof. Janet Kelly. "Our goal is to help the teaching of math and science in grades K through 12; we want to show that science and math can be interesting and can go beyond just memorizing formulas and facts."

One look into the Winton-Scott lab where the engineering camp spent much of its time proves Kelly's point. Taught by engineering professors Bob Bittle, Becky Bittle and Stephen Weis, students constructed circuit boards that were able to switch a light on and off with a simple touch and measured and drilled and tapped aluminum slabs to produce seemingly simple screw holes needed to attach almost anything in today's devices.

"We showed the students what goes into bringing a product to market," the professor Weis said. "They have CD players and other things that they have no idea what goes into making them; we wanted to give them a taste of what's involved. While I think this is a good way to recruit new students, we also wanted to do the camp as a way to get involved with kids in our community."

The Institute is also working closely with the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, the Fort Worth Zoo, the Botanical Research Institute of Texas and numerous public and private schools, including the Fort Worth Independent School District and four other neighboring ISDs.

Kelly and Biology Prof. Ray Drenner also led a workshop addressing individual teacher needs in the classroom; the engineering faculty conducted a similar workshop. And this fall, approximately 300-400 elementary students will be selected by area teachers to participate in a math and science "mini-university," with TCU pre-service teachers assisting lead teachers.

"That's what this is all about," Kelly said, "building partnerships and finding ways together to improve math and science education."

City beat

TCU's Urban Journalism Workshop continues a 22-year tradition.

In the Spring of 1999, a local high school held its annual cheerleading tryouts for the upcoming school year. Fifteen girls made the squad. A few months later, five became pregnant -- despite sexual education, the threat of AIDS and ads urging teens to use protection.

So opens the lead story in Minority Mind, an eight-page newspaper produced by high school students attending the TCU Urban Journalism Workshop in June.

Sponsored by Dow Jones, Inc., the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Dallas Morning News, the 22-year-old program is designed to give minority students a chance to see how the process works.

Various professionals contributed during the workshop, including a reporter from the Star-Telegram whose assignment for the two weeks was helping at the workshop. By the end of the two-week workshop, said Assistant Prof. Earnest Perry, the eight students gathered, wrote, edited, designed and printed a newspaper issue tackling teen pregnancy, TCU girls basketball camp, popular fashion, movie and music reviews, even an opinion piece about the lack of Latin American representation on prime-time television.

"This gives ethnic minorities a chance to be on a college campus and see what the possibilities really are," Perry said. "This gets them thinking about getting a degree or furthering a career they wouldn't have thought about otherwise."

Miss Texas. Speech pathology senior Tara Watson was befriended at Frog Camp four years ago by Howard and Mildred Payne, unofficial "parents" for many students. Naturally, the two were on hand in July when Watson won the Miss Texas pageant, her fourth try for the top prize. As many as five other TCU alumni and students competed, including political science senior Marshawn Evans, a Truman scholar and lead TCU band twirler.


Art imitates life. Imagine a flurry of little feet shuffling below large, painted posies. Then trees and bushes saunter out, concealing their taller -- and older -- creators. Finally, two 15-foot jungle beasts perched on spindly sticks battle on a TCU stage as the narrator explains the scene, based on a Henri Rousseau painting. The "living painting" marked the final artistic endeavor for the kids involved in this summer's Art Camp. About 250 students participated in three sessions, including Jeffrey Regan, left; since 1987, elementary and middle school students have flocked to the Moudy building for the opportunity to paint, draw and sculpt. "This brings together young people into a community of artists and gives them a chance to improve their skills," Art Education Coordinator Terri Cummings said. "It is a historic tradition in art and art making that artists give back to that community by helping the younger artists coming up."

The god of wisdom (and maybe music). Spearheaded by TCU violinist Curt Thompson, the third annual Mimir Chamber Music Festival drew six musicians from top orchestras around the world to serve as guest artists and faculty members for a week to some 20 student musicians chosen from across the country. Grammy Award nominee and clarinetist Martin Frost and his brother, pianist Johann Frost, traveled from Sweden to represent the musical traditions of Sweden, from whence the festival's name was drawn -- Mimir was the Norse god of wisdom.


Striking a chord. Two contestants at this summer's International Van Cliburn Amateurs Competition found a prize more valuable than a gold medal; glass installer Greg Fisher, right, of Oklahoma and pediatric cardiologist Miho Yamada of Japan found love. The two met at last year's competition and married last fall. They returned for the 2000 competition, with Yamada-Fisher reaching the second round this June. The Cliburn amateurs event is tuned for pianists above the age of 35 who have pursued any career other than piano performance. Attorneys, homemakers, computer specialists, a massage therapist, an astrologer and a six-time Emmy award-winning news producer were among this year's 81 contestants. The big winner this year was Christopher Basso, a Starbucks assistant store manager from New York.


TCU Tomes -- Lili Kraus: Hungarian Pianist, Texas Teacher, Peronality Extraordinaire

In this TCU Press gem, Steve Roberson '75 (MM), associate dean of the Jordan College of Fine Arts at Butler University, paints a candid, detailed account of acclaimed pianist Lili Kraus. A student of the virtuoso from 1972-75, Roberson admits early on to being infatuated with his former teacher's talent and poise, but still manages an objective account. For those interested in Kraus as performer as well as teacher, this is a book not to be missed. "There is a superstition that the less pedal used in Mozart, the better," Kraus said in 1972, Roberson records. "This is nonsense; it fits in with the distorted picture of Mozart as a pretty Rococo composer in silk breeches and powdered wig. I prefer Mozart in riding pants and boots!"

In brief:

Appointments. Marquette University Admissions Dean Ray Brown called his decision to become TCU's dean in charge of student recruitment "plain smart for my family and me; I'm joining a university that is in the process of moving to the next level of distinction and has the substance to make it happen." Brown, who began his position Aug. 1, replaced Admissions Dean Sandra Ware, who retired this summer. Prior to joining Marquette in 1993, Brown served as associate dean of students and director of admissions at the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business and director of admissions at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis. He grew up in Mineral Wells, 60 miles west of Fort Worth. Brown and his wife Lisa have three children: Sarah, 16, Matthew, 10, and Zachary, 8.

TCU also welcomed a new director of athletics media relations, Steve Fink, who left behind a 13-year career with the Kansas City Royals. "I've been impressed with the administration and its vision and commitment to the future of TCU athletics," he said. "It's a great time to be a Horned Frog." During his tenure with the Royals, Fink served as the primary media contact. Fink and his wife Charlene have a daughter, Lauren, 9, and a son, Ryan, 6.

The future is coming. Last year, some 450 alumni, campus and professional leaders came together to form the Commission on the Future of TCU. Chaired by well-known CBS newsman Bob Schieffer '59 and directed by Vice Chancellor Larry Lauer, the group formed 17 different task forces examining all areas of the university, from technology to undergraduate and graduate education to athletics. On Oct. 9, the Commission will present its full report, breaking down hundreds of recommendations into "action categories" ranging from urgent to long-term. (The Commission recommendations will appear in the Winter issue of the magazine.)

A few good entrepreneurs. The James A. Ryffel Entrepreneurship Center has announced an "entrepreneurial summit" for April 6-7. In addition, said Director David Minor '81, the center hopes to identify everyone in the TCU community who has ever operated his or her own business. The results of the search will be a networking and information database. Former or current business owners can call the center office at (817) 257-5608 or e-mail Minor at d.minor@tcu.edu.

Two new master's. Think global implications, and you'll have a good idea of what TCU's journalism department has in mind for its new graduate degree being offered this fall, said Journalism Graduate Programs Director Doug Newsom. "Reporting becomes a knee-jerk reaction for most news writers," she said. "Our new program will help them think of all the ethical implications that go into news that spreads globally almost instantly."

A second new degree this fall, media arts, will educate students interested in broadcast media, providing a versatile background in production, analyses and the industry, said Roger Cooper, chair of the Radio-TV-Film department. "Technology is changing so fast that it's hard to know what sort of jobs will even be out there in a few years," Cooper said. "This program is based on the idea that success in media is based on a well-rounded knowledge of the media."