Supplement helps kids feel at home on the range
By Nancy Allison
In Texas we know all about the cowboy. After all, he was born here, right? “Oh, the cowboy is much older than Texas,” says Janet Kelly ’75 (MAT), associate professor of education.
Kelly, a Texas native and horsewoman, discovered a lot about cowboy culture recently when she wrote the teacher’s resource guide for the IMAX film “Ride Around the World.” The film premiered at the Fort Worth Museum Omni Theater in May, and it will run until Oct. 1.
Opening this summer in museums from San Antonio to Seattle, “Ride” is a sweeping film about the global cowboy, covering 1,500 years of cowboy history and culture. Dramatic visuals include footage shot in Morocco and Argentina, Mexico, Texas and Canada. But Kelly’s guide begins when the footage ends — back in the elementary and middle school classroom.
“Teachers are so busy teaching that they don’t have time to do all the research and come up with activities that can help them explore a film like this,” she said. To make the facts come to life, Kelly devised cowboy anagrams, cryptograms, map games, crosswords and math puzzles. She found riddles, recipes (beef jerky or buttermilk biscuits anyone?) and songs, all related to life on the range.
Kelly follows the film’s progression with background information and learning activities that hew to national social studies standards as well as offer math, science and English/language arts fun. Teachers everywhere can rustle up Kelly’s guide at www.ridearoundtheworld.com.
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It’s more than lights, camera, action for budding broadcast journalists.
Friday afternoons are crunch time in the newsroom, with reporters editing sound clips, anchors hurriedly writing scripts to read for the camera and tapes being popped in and out like candy in dispensers.
“We’ve got to get this tape to Tager (now known as the Center for Instructional Services) by 4, or we’ll have to wait until Monday before they start running it,” said John Miller ’69, director of student/TV media, hoping his statement will put the extra push on his students.
Lose any mental images of a TV station where anchors sit in makeup before perching at a sleek desk to read from a teleprompter. This is TCU News Now, where students cram their volunteered time and bodies into a small conference room-turned-lab to record voice-overs in a closet-sized studio.
In four semesters the class has won eight regional and national first-place awards, including an Emmy for best student newscast and best student feature from the National Television Academy. Most recently, Robyn Kriel ’05 was named a national winner in television in-depth reporting for her feature “Our Neighbors, Ourselves.” Kriel previously placed first in the Society of Professional Journalists’ regional competition and also won a national first place in TV features from the Hearst Journalism Awards Program.
How does Miller raise such stars? He says he just throws them into the deep end, and no one’s drowned so far.
Take senior Leslie Winchell, who dreams of being the next Katie Couric. This afternoon she sits at the Avid editing station (the same kind used by the pros), watching her taped interviews for a story on TCU’s new student apartments, the GrandMarc at Westberry Place.
She’s a little embarrassed, somewhat proud and altogether befuddled about how to put her first story together. Miller rolls up a chair beside her. He shows her how to mark the intro track and sync it with the video feed, then the sound bytes.
“It’s a different process than print reporting,” Winchell says. “If I want to tell anything, I have to have pictures. You actually have to go out, shoot, write the script and then edit. It’s a lot more time-consuming than I thought it would be.”
The students seem to know how good they have it with Miller, whose broadcast career spans 35 years, including news directorships at WFAA-TV Channel 8 and KTVT-TV Channel 11. For one thing, there’s no hierarchy in his student newsroom — everyone gets to be an anchor, video journalist, reporter and producer.
Miller notes that most students come in not knowing that 70 percent of the people working in television are behind the camera, so he requires his students to learn everything, from camera operation to copy writing for lead-ins.
“The style of news we produce is completely different now than 20 years ago,” he says. “New editing capabilities mean a faster pace and lots of sound bytes. Today’s television viewer wants something fast. The pace is so much different, so that’s how I teach.
“In news reporting, we’re just observers at an event with a camera. We bring other people into the excitement of what that event was. I’m teaching them how to go around things (at an event) they can’t control like lighting, sound and doing it all with one camera.”
Each 30-minute news program includes about 12 stories, and a new show is created every week during the semester, usually released on Monday.
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Improving inner-city education is the goal of new center.
By Rachel Stowe Master '91
In April, Jennifer Giddings Brooks ’71 took the reins as the first director of the School of Education’s Center for Urban Education, which works with teachers and administrators in urban schools to bolster academic achievement.
A TCU adjunct professor, Brooks’ career has focused on giving children in urban schools the same opportunities for education as their more affluent counterparts. She brings a wealth of experience — from inner-city Los Angeles to the Fort Worth ISD’s Edward J. Briscoe Elementary School, where she was principal — as well as an infectious enthusiasm for the center’s future.
What is the role of TCU’s Center for Urban Education?
The Center will help to connect the pedagogy received by undergraduate and graduate students to what they will need to be successful in an urban environment.
What are some of the
challenges unique to urban educators?
The following challenges are not necessarily unique to urban educators, but they are certainly more prevalent: one-parent households, language other than English spoken in the home, high dropout rate/low attendance rate, discipline problems, low or no parental involvement, limited community resources, high turn over of administrators and teachers (because of frustration or burnout), students who live in low socio-economic neighborhoods, substance abuse concerns, gang concerns, low expectations for academic success.
Why were you attracted to TCU and the Center?
Urban Education and the implementation of research-based urban education best practices have been of interest to me for many years. For 10 years, I was the principal of a high performing inner city school where each year at least 95 percent of the student population was on free or reduced lunch. I am eager to learn, network, and share some part of the practices that helped those I supervised to become successful. I would hope that through the Center a larger number of students can benefit from having well-trained, competent teachers in their classrooms. Students in urban environments can be successful. They need to believe that they can succeed and they need to be surrounded by people that believe they can. Failure cannot and should not be an option.
What are your immediate goals for the center?
We plan to conduct an assessment with area school districts and other urban education centers to see what concerns they have for preparing professionals to work in an urban environment. We want to develop a series of workshops, in-services and training opportunities for students and for professionals currently working in the field. And we will coordinate recruitment opportunities for prospective students.
What do you hope to accomplish long term?
We plan to position the Center to be the expert and the critical resource on urban education issues in North Central Texas, and develop a set of protocols that will inform area policy makers and guide urban educational professionals in best practices.
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Home, smart home
Virtual human under development in artificial intelligence lab.
By Rachel Stowe Master '91
Peek into a small room in the basement of the Sid Richardson Building, and you’ll find students busily creating a world where Jane Jetson might feel comfortable.
Home to the Crescent Lab for Intelligent Systems, the apartment-style space is home to complicated, state-of-the-art equipment designed to make life simpler.
The demonstration lab combines gadgets available now - like RoboMaid cordless floor sweepers - with technology developed by students and faculty to power the next generation of smart home products.
Students have already developed a kitchen software program that inventories the pantry and refrigerator, generating menus that take into account the likes, dislikes or even allergies of different family members as well as the groceries on hand. Projects include creating a personality for the lab’s virtual human - Charlie - who communicates with researchers and guests from a huge flat-panel TV screen in the living room. With semblances of a sense of humor, Charlie hums when she’s bored and rolls her eyes at appropriate times.
Jonathan Clark, a computer science senior, is collaborating with Charles J. Hannon, assistant professor of computer science, on a natural language processing project that takes a cognitive approach in its core intelligence.
“We try to solve this problem of making the home intelligent by emulating human intelligence as opposed to just coming up with algorithms that work,” Clark explained. This would enable the smart home to determine who is speaking as well the speaker’s authority. “For instance, if a small child, like a 4-year-old, says, ‘Make me a meal of two dozen chocolate chip cookies right now’ - well, maybe we don’t want to listen to that.”
A long-term goal is to add a robot arm that could carry out commands like, “Bring me a Frappuccino.” The ceiling is designed to accommodate a track, but researchers are having a difficult time finding a medical company that would like to donate the arm.
While Crescent researchers have a particular interest in technologies to meet elderly and special needs, they’re looking for things that can make life easier for anyone.
“The exciting thing about being an engineer is getting to create things,” said Lisa J. Burnell, associate professor of computer science. “You have the ability to improve people’s lives. It truly is a creative process.”
The work is wide in scope. Crescent researchers are working with the TCU Psychology Department to create a virtual human that can simulate conversation for a Web site designed to offer support to foster families. And Burnell and her students have an ongoing relationship with the University of Texas at Arlington’s Industrial & Manufacturing Systems Engineering Department (the two departments have co-taught courses and shared in the NSF grant), as well as Texas Tech’s Management Information Systems Department to collaborate with business students to help determine market needs.
In addition, Antonio Sanchez, lecturer of computer science, is collaborating with three universities in Mexico to bring graduate students to work alongside TCU faculty and undergrad researchers, and the lab is working on a proposal to partner with faculty and students in Trier, Germany.
Looking ahead, Crescent faculty members want to remain on the cutting edge of technology, but they have neither the desire or the financing to pursue commercialization of their products. But as faculty (and students) publish and present their findings in academic circles, others may pick up the baton. “Many of the ideas we’re looking at will become products - not by us, but by someone else,” Sanchez said.
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Life imitates art
RTVF students found new perspective in Tuscania
A coming-of-age film script about an American student in Italy came to life quite literally for about 20 RTVF students in the summer of 2005. Instructor Chuck LaMendola accompanied the students on a study-abroad semester in Italy, where they shot a 38-minute film, “Il Mio Viaggio a Italia,” (My travels to Italy.)
LaMendola, with the help of department chair Richard Allen and instructor Greg Mansur, wrote the outline of the script before the trip. He got the idea for the storyline while walking around campus and noticing how many students were absorbed in cell phone conversations, unaware of what was going on around them.
“Students today are not connected to the world, they’re connected by cell. I thought how different that is from the European perspective of family and community connections,” LaMendola said. “Wouldn’t it be interesting to take a college student and dump him or her into this other world, and at the end of story, he or she would open up and feel a connection to the community?”
Filming took place in Tuscania, a small town northwest of Rome, where David Whillock, associate dean of the college of communications, had established ties to the Florence-based Lorenzo de’Medici School. Virtually untouched by tourist trappings and where little English is spoken, Tuscania was the ideal setting for the script.
Local residents were cast in all roles except the female lead, which was played by then-TCU student Haely White ’05. The rest of the students scouted locations, directed and filmed.
They began living the plot right away - their cell phones didn’t work, Italian culture doesn’t run on American time, and needs expressed in English don’t always translate accurately to Italian.
Assistant director Jeff Keith ’06 said the 30-day experience changed his perspective.
“Efficiency isn’t in the Italian vocabulary; they take their time when they do things,” he said. “It’s more about relationships there, not about work and financial status. We all learned that, and it’s demonstrated in the film.”
At first, the students felt frustrated and inconvenienced, Keith said. But most learned to slow down and roll with the culture - and the locals learned from the students, too.
“I value relationships more, the way families interact as one unit. Many live in the same house where four or five generations have lived. The history in that kind of house took me aback,” Keith said. “At the same time, the Italians were blown away because they never would have been able to make a film in a month."
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Radicals, rhetoric and war
By Rachel Stowe Master '91
Due out this summer from Palgrave Macmillan, Radicals, Rhetoric and the War: The University of Nevada in the Wake of Kent State by Brad Lucas, English assistant professor, is already generating positive buzz. Though the book details an event that occurred at the University of Nevada, Reno more than 35 years ago, it seemed especially timely this spring as students locally and nationally took to the streets in protest of immigration law changes.
Radicals, Rhetoric and the War spotlights a “little-known” campus anti-war protest at UNR following the U.S. invasion of Cambodia and campus protests at Kent State University where National Guardsmen killed four people and wounded nine others.
“Comparatively, the protest was tiny but nearly violent, and the consequent firing of a tenured English professor makes it a case study about academic freedom and the Vietnam era,” said Lucas, who began working on the project in 1998 while he was a doctoral student at UNR.
Though UNR’s only significant war protest, its repercussions reverberated for years.
How do the events at UNR 36 years ago apply now?
Students and faculty back then were frustrated by institutions that turned a deaf ear to human concerns, and those frustrations turned to action when our leaders became arrogant and more cavalier in their agendas. I think there’s a growing sense of frustration today with the current state of our political institutions — our low voter turnout is a testament to this. And you don’t have to look far back in history to see that the rhetoric of immigration reform, the attempt to hermetically seal borders, is a big step in any government’s ideological shift.
What can it apply to the vital issues of culture and diversity on today’s campus?
One of the biggest myths about the 1960s era was the predominance of the anti-war movement. Granted, the war in Vietnam was of huge concern, but most of the actual campus protests were focused on racial discrimination and student rights. In several cases, the anti-war demonstrations didn’t catch fire until an anti-racism protest had sparked attention. So these issues have not gone away, and that’s important to remember, especially when folks say that everything was fixed in the 1960s, or that it was only hippies and Black Panthers making all the fuss.
How can university administrators be more proactive?
Dialogue, dialogue and dialogue. The UNR president was trained in rhetoric, and not in the sense of the ‘mere’ or ‘empty’ sense of the term. He was trained in group communication, in rapport and audience. Immediately after the anti-war protest, he called all of his deans and faculty together and told them to get out of their offices and talk to students. He pushed them all to raise good questions, get students talking and listen to them. After all, you can’t put out the fires that fuel a social movement — the best you can do is redirect the energy into productive directions.
What is the role of rhetoric in the way we shape and remember events?
Most people think of rhetoric in terms of political double-talk or ‘spin,’ but rhetoric is one of the oldest areas of study and practice because it attends to the power of language and persuasion. Without language we have no memories, and any historian will tell you that history is constantly being negotiated, argued and refined. The rhetorical strategies of our leaders and our media machines shape not only how we think about the present, but how we recall the past, so I’d argue that rhetoric is the way we shape and remember events.
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Back to Nature
To Marry an Indian
By Nancy Allison
The time: 1825. The place: Cornwall, Conn. Harriet Gold, the 19-year-old daughter of a prominent white merchant-farmer, announces her engagement to a young Indian, Elias Boudinot. Outraged locals threaten to set Harriet’s father’s house alight; her own brother burns her image in effigy in the town square. Hysterical outbursts in the newspaper result, one writer calling the couple “criminals.”
The story of Harriet, as told through her own words in To Marry an Indian: The Marriage of Harriet Gold and Elias Boudinot in Letters, 1823-1839, by English Associate Professor Theresa Strouth Gaul is a poignant look at 19th-century race relations.
The distress and mayhem surrounding the marriage was based, as Harriet’s father wrote, “on pride and prejudice” toward Indians. Boudinot, educated in mission schools from the age of 6, had excelled at the Foreign Mission School in Cornwall. Founded in 1871 and dedicated to “civilizing heathen youths around the world,” the school enrolled mainly Native Americans.
“The town’s pious people intended that the boys mix with ‘civilized’ community. But they didn’t realize that one of the by products would be attraction between the boy scholars and the local girls,” Gaul said.
To Marry An Indian comprises two sets of letters, the first sent within Connecticut, just after the engagement. Involving 13 family members, the correspondence charts Harriet’s quiet conviction that she has chosen a good man in the face of racism, outrage and skepticism by her family. The second group of letters describes life in New Echota, Ga., the Cherokee community where Harriet and Elias move after they marry. Harriet raises her children there, comes to call the Indians her people, and gives a fascinating portrait of everyday life. She and Boudinot share letter space to the family back in Connecticut. Boudinot writes often of his opposition to Indian removal.
It is a tragic story. Harriet dies of an undisclosed illness at 31, just a few months after giving birth to her sixth child. And Boudinot comes to believe that removal is the only chance for his people. His own experience of deep-seated prejudice from a community that prided itself on Christian tolerance may have led to actions that Gaul believes were “sincerely motivated, but which led to over 4,000 Cherokee deaths.”
It has been suggested that when he signed the treaty, Boudinot knew that he was forfeiting his life. He was right: He and other treaty signers were assassinated on the same day in 1839.
Letters open up passages to another time and place like nothing else can do. But it is Gaul’s 90-page introduction that sets the scene for readers unfamiliar with this crisis in American history.
Stitching together community
Tradition and history woven into handcrafts.
I’d been itching to learn how to needlepoint for years. Needlework is an important part of female community and creative traditions, and my family is no exception. My Momma has a needlepoint stocking for each member of our family, and they’re precious to her. She gets them out every Christmas and hangs them above the fireplace. I’m pictured as a little girl angel on mine. Even though I’m all grown up and have a home of my own, Momma won’t give me my stocking.
“It’s too special,” she says. “What if you lose it?” I think she treasures it because it reminds her of a different time. On the stocking, at least, I’m still a little girl.
I learned needlepoint so I could participate in that family tradition. Having recently completed my doctorate in U.S. women’s literature at TCU, I also wanted to try a new hobby that didn’t involve reading or writing. But I have come to realize that needlepoint is just another way that women write our life stories.
When I took a class at a local needlepoint store, the shop bell rang all afternoon as women stopped in to buy more thread, ask advice about a piece, or chat about their families. The store is a community center of sorts, a place where women gather to sew and talk, recount stories and build friendships.
Needlework gives women a way to stitch together friendships by inviting dialogue and storytelling. At first, others merely inquired about my piece - “Is it needlepoint or counted cross stitch? What are you going to do with it?” they asked.
Such questions are really introductions into a deeper conversation. As women tell me stories about their own needlework, they inevitably turn to family and community. My friend Jenny proudly showed me a needlepoint rug made by her grandmother, all the while sharing special stories about her grandmother’s life. Charra told me that after her father died, she needlepointed a kneeler, which she donated to her church in his memory. One of my students proudly told me that a needlepoint Christmas tree ornament his mother designed is part of the White House collection. For these people, as for me, needlework fosters remembrance and storytelling.
The stories also remind me that our feminine pastimes can be political as well as personal. My friend Nadia, an advocate for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, knits scarves as she takes calls from women seeking refuge from domestic violence. Women of all education levels, socioeconomic backgrounds, races, and ethnicities call the Hotline seeking relief from horrific violence. As she listens to callers from across the country, Nadia imagines that she’s knitting their stories into her scarves. These scarves allow her to collect the stories and honor the tellers as they dare to reach out for help. Her knitting also helps her deal with her own secondary trauma, the effect of listening to the tales of such suffering day after day.
All this stitching and storytelling has brought me back to my favorite texts by women writers. I’ve been reminded of Celie and Sofia piecing the sister’s choice quilt in Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. I’ve been thinking about the Awful Grandmother’s caramelo rebozo in Sandra Cisneros’s Caramelo, about how the Awful Grandmother clung to the rebozo as the only connection to her deceased mother and the female tradition she lost when her mother died. Needlework binds and comforts and heals women in literature and in life, creating a female community that expands far beyond my own circle of friends.
With my own needlework, I am creating pieces of art that are part of my story, my heritage, my memory. My needlepoint connects me with my family and the female creative tradition, a tradition that extends far beyond my circle of family and friends. Needlepoint invites others to tell me their stories, initiates a feminine dialogue about women and community. And so I stitch together ties with women in our community.
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Elizabeth Gillaspy, assistant professor of ballet & modern dance at TCU, won the National Dance Association's College/University National Dance Educator of the Year Award for 2006.
TCU’s Image magazine won a National Finalist award in the Best Student Magazine category and recent graduate Robyn Kriel ’05 was named National Winner in Television In-Depth Reporting for her feature titled “Our Neighbors, Ourselves.”
Entrepreneurial management senior Daniel Verboski was the Global Student Entrepreneur Award (GSEA) winner for the Sunbelt Region. The honor is bestowed upon the top collegiate entrepreneur chosen from five states. Verboski owns BossCrete, a company that provides stamped concrete, concrete coatings and acid stains.
Five RTVF students won a Bronze Telly Award in the narrative/documentary category for their documentary “Fort Worth Jazz.” The students produced, directed, wrote, shot and edited the film as a final project for their documentary class. The program was produced by Paul Garza, Rose Maginot, Eugenia Redondo, Ryan Flanagan, and directed by Chelsea Nollner. See the video at www.newsevents.tcu.edu.
Second year MBA student Priscila Soria Sanchez was on the grand prize team at Simon Marketing Association’s Marketing Case Competition in April. Her team was awarded $5,000. Two other students from the Neeley School placed in the top teams. Dana Kendall was on the first runner up team and Ed Poppe was on the second runner up team. Both are first year MBA students. Each participant is randomly assigned to a team of five MBA students the night before competition begins.
In a study involving criminal justice internship students from TCU and three other universities, Associate Professor Ronald “Chip” Burns, director of the criminal justice program, and his fellow researchers examined how well students recognized questionable behavior on the job.
Thirty-six percent observed unprofessional comments or behavior in a private setting. Two percent reported seeing illegal behavior, while 13 percent observed departmental policy violations. About 21 percent were told not to mention something they observed.
Of the 74 students who observed misconduct, 55 discussed it with someone - mostly friends. Thirty reported it to an authority figure. Only two confronted the employee who was observed.
Income vs relationships?
A new study finds that female sole proprietors in professional services tend to charge less for their work than their male counterparts, but this may help them attain income stability and profitability in the long run.
The research, conducted by Bill Cron, associate dean for graduate programs at the Neeley School of Business, and three colleagues, sampled 174 women and 362 men who own veterinarian practices and determined that men focus on maximizing income, while women concentrate on building and maintaining relationships. The results suggest the incomes of male and female proprietors may balance out over time.