CLASS NEWS is brought to you by the University of Houston's College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences
Dean Antonio D. Tillis and the CLASS Office of Communications.

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Summer 2018

Looking Back: Economics Professor Instrumental in Student Rescue

UH Student Amana Waheed and Dr. Polly Hardee Recognized at 2017 Fall Address

Dr. Polly Hardee, an assistant instructional professor in the Department of Economics, was cited for her contribution to the rescue of UH student Amana Waheed during Hurricane Harvey. Dr. Hardee’s extraordinary efforts were an inspiration to the UH community during tragic times and caught the attention of President Renu Khator, who honored Hardee in her 2017 Fall Address. Read More

UH CLASS Professors Shed Light on Physical, Mental Trauma of Thai Soccer Team

By now, the story of a Thai junior soccer team’s remarkable rescue has been heard around the world. While the boys’ safe return provided many reasons to rejoice, it is a mistake to assume that the soccer team’s harrowing ordeal is now over. Dr. Anka A. Vujanovic, associate professor of psychology and director of the UH Trauma and Stress Studies Center, and Dr. Emily LaVoy, assistant professor in the Department of Health and Human Performance, believe it is important for the boys and those around them to understand the physiological and mental consequences of trauma as they work toward full recovery. Full Story

UH Communications Professor Explains the Appeal of Feel-Good Viral News Stories

They’re best known for eating your garbage, carrying rabies, and creeping around mischievously in the dead of night. But one raccoon defied all stereotypes this summer, embarking on a feat of daring that vaulted her to international stardom. Assistant Professor Erica Ciszek, an expert on digital communications in the UH Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, believes stories like these capture so many hearts because they allow us to access “feel-good emotions” and “temporarily tune out our reality.” Read More

UH Psychologists Respond to Suicides of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade

The nation was in mourning this summer as it lost two beloved cultural icons to suicide. Clothing designer Kate Spade grew a small handbag company into a women’s fashion behemoth, and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain brought a hard-boiled, unconventional approach to culinary writing and television travelogues. Their deaths reignited a national conversation on suicide and mental health, with many expressing shock that two wealthy, successful public figures with fans around the world would choose to take their own lives. But research suggests psychological wellness can’t be attained through a robust bank account or a widespread following on social media. Learn More

English Professor Sunny Yang Earns AAUW Award for Tackling Educational Barriers

Dr. Sunny Yang, an assistant professor of English literature, was awarded an American fellowship to support completion of her first book, Fictions of Territoriality. It considers how ideas about race and geography came together to structure forms of American inequality. To examine this, Yang focuses on the competing legal and literary narratives in the U.S. from 1844 to 1914. Read More

CLASS Professor Named College Art Association’s Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion

Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Professor of English Dr. Roberto Tejada has been named vice president for diversity and inclusion at the College Art Association. The College Art Association (CAA) is the largest international scholarly organization dedicated to intellectual engagement in the visual arts. As the first person to serve in the newly created role, Dr. Tejada is at the forefront of the CAA’s new strategic plan to promote opportunity and equity for artists of color, LGBT artists, and others who have struggled to gain access to institutional spaces. Read More

Economics Professor Janet E. Kohlhase Elected as Fellow of the Regional Science Association International

Dr. Janet E. Kohlhase, professor of economics, was elected as a Fellow of the Regional Science Association International (RSAI) and gave the keynote address at the RSAI World Congress in Goa, India. The RSAI promotes the scholarly exchange of ideas and knowledge that apply to urban and regional phenomena in North America and across the globe.

History Professor Receives National Endowment for the Humanities Grant

Dr. Frank L. Holt, a professor in the Department of History, has received a 2018 Public Scholar Program grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The NEH’s Public Scholar Program supports “well-researched books in the humanities intended to reach a broad readership.” Dr. Holt will use the grant to complete his latest project, From Croesids to Cryptocurrency: Money and the Making of Civilization, which examines the significant role of numismatics (the study of coins) in shaping society as we know it. Read More

Health and Human Performance Professor Supports Adaptive Athletics Camp for Women’s Wheelchair Rugby Players

University of Houston Adaptive Athletics was proud to host the 2018 Halliburton Charitable Foundation Women’s Wheelchair Rugby Camp with the support of Dr. Michael Cottingham, an associate professor in the Department of Health and Human Performance. The event brought together female quadriplegic rugby players from around the United States for four days of cutting-edge athletic training and intensely competitive tournament play. Read More

CLASS Welcomes New Faculty for 2018-19 Academic Year

CLASS is proud to introduce 20 new faculty members across 13 departments, schools and programs. Read More

Can Personality Change or Does It Stay the Same for Life?

Dr. Rodica Damian, professor of psychology, was featured in Forbes for her research on personality changes over time. Using data collected over a 50-year period, Dr. Damian’s study considered various personality traits—including agreeability, emotional stability, and gregariousness—and tracked whether they tended to be fixed or malleable throughout the course of individuals’ lives. Read More

Fighting Tobacco Use Among Adults with Mental Illness

Of all the groups that try to quit smoking, it seems hardest for those who suffer from anxiety and depression. The health effects are jarring: People with mental illness or substance use disorders die about five years earlier than those without these disorders and many of those deaths are caused by smoking cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s why University of Houston psychology doctoral student Brooke Kauffman is targeting that group, creating personalized feedback to help them quit smoking. Read More.

Ph.D. Student Naomi Nashell Nubin-Sellers Named 2018-19 APSA Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) Fellow

Naomi Nashell Nubin-Sellers, a Ph.D. candidate in political science, was chosen as a Spring APSA Minority Fellow to support expenses related to graduate studies. The program is a fellowship competition for individuals from underrepresented backgrounds, with the intent of increasing minority scholars in the discipline of political science. Naomi’s research focuses on American politics and public policy, with an emphasis on incorporating intersectionality into our current understanding of the political process, minority representation, and minority behavior. Read More

Political Science Major Invited to Attend Ralph Bunche Summer Institute at Duke University

Isaiah C. Johnson, a senior majoring in political science, was named a 2018 APSA Ralph Bunche Summer Institute (RBSI) Scholar. The 2018 RBSI program took place from May 27 to June 28 at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Participants in the RBSI are drawn from a competitive national applicant pool, and Johnson was one of only 16 students accepted this year. A member of the Honors College and the Dean’s List, Johnson has researched the evolution of political parties on issues like immigration, social policy and foreign policy. Read More

Dr. Peter Kimani Nominated for Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Fiction Writing

CLASS alumnus Dr. Peter Kimani, who earned a Ph.D. in Literature and creative writing in 2014, has been nominated for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. With his third novel, Dance of the Jakaranda, Dr. Kimani has taken a significant step in establishing himself as a preeminent voice in the world of fiction writing. First published in February 2017, the novel is among six works of fiction nominated for the prestigious Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Named for influential black writers Zora Neale Hurston and Richard Wright, the national award recognizes “the best in Black literature in the United States and around the globe.” Full Story

Two-Time Olympian Visits Sport and Fitness Administration Graduate Class

University of Houston alumna and two-time Olympian Dr. Seun Adigun recently shared her Olympic experiences with Health and Human Performance (HHP) students in Associate Professor Dr. Demetrius Pearson’s Sport and Contemporary Society graduate course. Over the years, the course has hosted numerous UH Olympians and star athletes; however, this invited guest was a bit different. Dr. Adigun received a Master’s degree in exercise and health sciences in 2011 and was a former standout for the UH track and field team. She ran in the 2012 Summer Olympics for her native country Nigeria, and also appeared on Nigeria’s first bobsled team at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Read More

— Dr. Ken Brown (Department of Anthropology) Quoted in The New York Times

Remains of Black People Forced into Labor After Slavery Are Discovered in Texas

— Op-Ed Co-authored by Dr. Amanda Baumle (Department of Sociology) Appears in Houston Chronicle

“Keep the Door to Challenging LGBT Discrimination Open”

— Dr. Gerald Horne (Department of History) Featured in African American Intellectual Historical Society’s Black Perspectives

Black Radicalism, Repression, and the "Horne Biographical Method"

— Dr. Daniel O’Connor (Department of Health and Human Performance) Featured in Runner’s World

Your Guide to Running for Weight Loss

— Dr. Brandon Rottinghaus (Department of Political Science) quoted in USA Today

Beto O’Rourke Raises $10.4 million Against Ted Cruz in Texas Senate Race

Colour of Music Festival — September 12 to September 16

The University of Houston College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, the Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts and the Office of the Provost are proud to welcome the Colour of Music Festival to campus from September 12 to 16. The “Petit” version of the festival will feature black classical musicians from around the world performing organ, piano, vocal, chamber and orchestral works. Through live concerts and panel discussions, internationally recognized musicians and scholars will showcase the impact of black classical artists on American and world culture. Watch Video. Event Details

CLASS Career Fair — September 19

CLASS believes students should not have to choose between pursing a rigorous education in the classroom and gaining hands-on career experience. As our students become leaders in their fields and communities, they attract attention from employers throughout the Houston metropolitan area. On Wednesday, September 19 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., the annual CLASS Career Fair will allow CLASS students to connect with companies and organizations that are impacting the global economy in Houston and beyond. The fair will bring together approximately 100 companies, government agencies and nonprofits in search of the skills, talents and perspectives our students offer. University Career Services has also partnered with the Student Government Association to host a simultaneous CLASS Graduate Career Fair for graduate students. Event Details

2018 John P. McGovern Annual Award Lectureship in Family, Health and Human Values — October 25

Professor Sheryll D. Cashin will deliver the 2018 John P. McGovern Annual Award Lectureship in Family, Health and Human Values. An expert on race, class, and activism, Professor Cashin will present the idea of 21st Century abolitionism in an address titled “The Descendants: From Slavery to Jim Crow to Dark Ghettos, A Call for 21st Century Abolition.” Currently a professor at Georgetown Law, Cashin has also clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, served as an advisor to the Clinton administration on urban and economic policy, and contributed to The New York Times. The lecture will take place Thursday, October 25 at the UH Student Center Theater. Learn More

All images used with students’ permission. To view high resolution images click here
Photo Credit: John Bogna

Please visit the CLASS website for more upcoming events.

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