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University of Houston
November 2015

CLASS professors help UH establish
Phi Beta Kappa chapter

The Phi Beta Kappa Society (ΦΒΚ), the nation's oldest and most prestigious academic honor society, has established a chapter at the University of Houston (UH). UH is one of three institutions chartered to join the 283 existing Phi Beta Kappa chapters at America's most esteemed colleges and universities. read more

Houston Mayor Candidates

Houston's next mayor will be a CLASS alumnus

State Rep. Sylvester Turner and former Kemah mayor Bill King both earned bachelor's degrees in political science at the University of Houston – so no matter the outcome of the run-off election on December 12, a CLASS alumnus will be elected mayor of the City of Houston.
read more

John Quiñones

Center for Mexican American Studies to host annual scholarship banquet on Nov. 6

The 19th Annual Noche Cultural Banquet is from 5 – 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6 in the Conrad Hilton Ballroom at the Hilton University of Houston. Emmy award-winner and veteran broadcaster John Quiñones, host of the ABC network's "What Would You Do?" program, is the keynote speaker. read more

More in the News

'Aspies' bring challenges to Communication Sciences and Disorders professor
Houston History magazine to release Asian Americans in Houston issue on Nov. 19
The first Provost's Prize for Creative Writing awarded to CLASS undergraduate
Politics, Policy and a Legacy of Teaching: Prof. Richard Murray on 50 years at UH
Professor Emeritus Robert Heath continues research and receiving honors in retirement
Sports administration and hospitality students gear up for “Super Four” experience


Political Science Professor Jeronimo Cortina's article,"Subsidizing Migration? Mexican Agricultural Policies and Migration to the United States" has been honored with the 2015 Theodore J. Lowi Policy Studies Journal Best Article Award by the American Political Science Association.

Political Science Professors Justin Kirkland and Jonathan Slapin's paper, "Ideological and Strategic Party Disloyalty in the U.S. Congress," has been recognized with the 2015 Leon Weaver Award for best conference paper presented in the Representation and Electoral Systems Section of the 2014 American Political Science Association Meetings.

CLASS Students Success

Troy Loftin
"Cuckoo," a play written by senior Troy Loftin and directed by School of Theatre & Dance professor Rob Shimko, will be performed Nov. 20 – 22 in the University’s Studio 208. Loftin is the fourth student playwright who has premiered a play during the School of Theatre & Dance's performance season. For more information about Loftin and the performances, visit
The Hundred Year Flood - book cover

Creative Writing Ph.D. candidate Matthew Salesses discussed the publication of his debut novel, The Hundred-Year Flood, on Houston Public Media’s Houston Matters talk show.

Dance Student
Students from the UH Dance Ensemble recently danced in conjunction with the Houston Symphony’s performance of The Pilgrimage of the Rose. According to the Your Houston News article, Houston Symphony presents rarely performed Schumann masterpiece featuring dancers from The University of Houston dance ensemble, the symphony’s music director incorporated contemporary dancers to act out certain parts of the story.
Corey Campbell
Corey Campbell, a PhD student in creative writing, interviewed writer Charles D’Ambrosio for the literary journal Waxwing. The Q&A formatted article, An Interview with Charles D’Ambrosio, touched on a variety of topics, from D’Ambrosio’s childhood to his latest work.
Mark Chen
The winner of the TED-style talks at the 2015 UH Graduate Research and Scholarship Day is Mark Chen, a candidate for a Master’s of Fine Arts in Art. His brief talk on his creative activity was on how he raises environmental awareness through art.

Student Spotlight

Mayela Rodriguez

CLASS Expertise in the Media

Michael Ray Charles
The University of Texas celebrated the installation of artwork by Michael Ray Charles, professor of painting, at an event on October 15. The piece titled (Forever Free) Ideas, Languages and Conversations consists of hundreds of crutches suspended in the atrium of UT’s Gordon-White Building.

See a video here of Charles discussing his artwork and view pictures of the event here.

Blaffer Exhibit
The African & Afro-Diasporan Art Talks blog included the Blaffer Art Museum’s international debut of Zina Saro-Wiwa’s Did You Know We Taught Them How to Dance? exhibition in its post, 17 International Art Exhibitions To See This October.
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
The Henrico County Public Library recently announced “One Amazing Thing” by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, professor of creative writing, as the 2016 All Henrico Reads book. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch article, Chitra Divakaruni chosen as All Henrico Reads featured author, a spring event will feature the author.
Professor of creative writing Mat Johnson was featured in The Culture Trip’s article The 10 Most Inspiring Video Interviews With Houston Creatives. In the interview, Johnson discussed the complexity of growing up biracial.
Jim Granato
Jim Granato, director of the Hobby Center for Public Policy, has been named an inaugural member of the University of Houston Energy Fellows Program. The program is a forum to bring together UH faculty and students from across the nine energy-related colleges and showcase them as thought leaders in their field. Each Energy Fellow will contribute postings on an energy related topic in an area of interest to the Energy Fellows Blog.
Ryan Kennedy
Ryan Kennedy, associate professor of political science, co-authored an article which recently ran in Wired titled, What we can learn from the epic failure of Google Flu trends.
Garth Jowett
Houston Matters recently aired a story titled, In the Internet Age, Is There Still a Place for Professional Critics? In the piece, professor of communications Garth Jowett offers his expertise on the subject.
Paul Gregory
Paul Gregory, professor of economics, recently authored an article that ran in Politico titled, Putin’s foreign legion.
Robert Zaretsky
Professor of modern and classical languages, Robert Zaretsky, wrote the following articles:
Steven Craig
Steven Craig, interim dean of CLASS and professor of Economics, offered expertise in the Houston Public Media story, Proposition 7 Promises More Roads Across Texas Without Raising Taxes.

Alumni/ae Notes

Cougar 100 Logo
HHP alumna Katharine Forth & her co-founder Erez Lieberman Aiden have used NASA technology to create the En Pointe balance scale to track balance and predict the risk of a person losing balance in an effort to prevent falls among the elderly. Their startup, iShoe, Inc. is one of 22 companies in the inaugural class of Texas Medical Center’s accelerator, TMCx that launched this year.
Margaret Spellings
Alumna Margaret Spellings, a former U.S. Secretary of Education, has been elected president of the University of North Carolina System. Ms. Spellings earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at UH and served in the cabinet of President George W. Bush.
Loretta Devine
CLASS alum Loretta Devine stars in the NBC television program, The Carmichael Show. The show debuted this fall with six episodes and has been picked up for a second season. In the show, Devine plays Cynthia Carmichael, the main character’s loud, proud, Christian mother. Devine graduated from UH with a BA in speech and drama. The Emmy Award-winning actress has also received a Doctorate of Humane Letters as well as a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Houston.
Woody Witt
According to the Lake Houston Observer, Woody Witt, who holds a doctorate in musical arts from UH, was the special guest at the “Jazz @ Lee College” concert on Nov. 6. The article, Saxophonist Woody Witt to be special guest for ‘Jazz @ Lee College’, details Witt’s musical expertise and experience.

Alumni Spotlight


November 6: 19th Annual Noche Cultural Scholarship Banquet
Keynote speaker - John Quinones, host of ABC’s "What Would You Do?"
5 – 8 p.m. in Conrad Hilton Ballroom in the UH Hilton Hotel
Presented by the Center for Mexican American Studies
This event raises money for scholarships for University of Houston students. This year, the banquet will honor Associate Professor of Sociology Tatcho Mindiola for his 40 years of service to the University of Houston including 34 years as the director of the Center for Mexican American Studies. For more information contact Sonia Ramirez at or 713-743-3136.

November 7: Boldface Write-a-Thon
8am-5pm in CBB Building, Writing Center, Room 238
To support Glass Mountain, The Undergraduate Literary Journal at the University of Houston
A Write-a-Thon is like a marathon, but instead of running, the participants write. Writers solicit sponsors who will pledge money in their name either by the hour or as a set amount. All money raised benefits the Boldface Conference. The event will also include writing contests, door prizes and drawings.

November 9: STEM in the Americas Speaker Series
1:30-3:30pm in the UCBB, Room 510
Dr. Elisa V. Mariscal, Managing director, Global Economics Group, director, Market Platform Dynamics, member, Expert Advisory Council, Instituto Federal de Telecommunicaciones (Mexico) will speak on the subject, “Women in academia, consulting and government: are we becoming a competitive threat or is there a market failure?” For more information visit and to rsvp visit

November 10: Got Gender? Major in WGSS Launch Party
10 am - 2 pm in the M.D. Anderson Library Rockwell Pavilion
Hosted by the Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program
Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies is now offering a major and the department is marking this accomplishment with a celebration for students, faculty, alumni and the community. For more information email or call 713-743-3214.

November 11: "Towards a New Theory of Masculinity & Violence on the US/ Mexico Borderlands" lecture with responses by UH borderlands scholars
1 p.m. Lecture and 2:30 p.m. Responses in the Rockwell Pavilion of M.D. Anderson Library
Presented by the Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program
Writer and cultural anthropologist, Dr. Cecilia Ballí­ is a research associate at the University of Texas at Austin's Humanities Institute. Her narrative journalism and personal essays have appeared in Harper's Magazine and Texas Monthly, where she is a writer-at-large. The responses will be delivered by three CLASS professors: Maria C. Gonzalez, associate professor of English; Christina L. Sisk, associate professor of Hispanic Studies; and Sarah Luna, postdoctoral fellow in Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies.

November 13-15 & 18-22: Three Sisters, written by Anton Chekhov, adapted by Michael Frayn, and directed by John Tyson Wortham
8 p.m. performances except 2 p.m. matinees on the 15th and 22nd, Wortham Theatre on campus
Presented by the School of Theatre & Dance The three Prozorov sisters lived a grand life with their father, so once he passes, they yearn for something magical to transform their seemingly ordinary lives in a small town: work, love and moving to Moscow! When the regiment comes to town, there's hope for something greater - but even as they find what they think they want, it's not enough, turning the home into a place where passions and tempers fly, creating heartbreak and frustration. Purchase tickets here.

November 20: Annual "Spirit of Houston" Cougar Marching Band benefit concert
7:30-9p.m. at TDECU Stadium, 3847 Holman St.
Presented by the Moores School of Music
Support the "Spirit of Houston" Cougar Marching Band at a fun-filled, exciting evening of music and dance led by Director of Bands David Bertman and Spirit of Houston director Marc Martin. Admission is $20.

November 20-22: Cuckoo written by undergraduate Tory Loftin and directed by Professor Robert Shimko
Nov. 20, 21 at 7:30 p.m. & 21, 22 at 1:30 p.m. at Studio 208
Presented by the School of Theatre & Dance
Patrick and Joan Brisby live a comfortable, conventional life, and that's exactly the problem. Hoping to inject new thrills into their relationship, Patrick has devised a plan to satisfy a kink he's had for a while. Their big night turns into a fiasco as unexpected people show up, and the doors of this madhouse start flying.

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