|Associate nursing professor, faculty leader named UHV interim provost|
A longtime nursing faculty member with administrative experience has stepped into an interim role as University of Houston-Victoria's top academic officer. On Monday, UHV President Phil Castille named Denise Neill interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. She started the position immediately. "I have the utmost regard for Dr. Neill and her dedication to the success of both UHV and the nursing profession," Castille said. "She has been instrumental in launching and expanding the nursing school and has served admirably in many teaching and administrative capacities." Jeffrey Cass, who had held the UHV provost position since February 2012, now serves as a special assistant to the president and accreditation liaison. He will continue to lead UHV's preparation for next month's accreditation review by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Denise Neill Neill, an associate professor of nursing, will largely work from UH Sugar Land, where UHV offers many courses and degree programs. She will continue to teach classes in Greater Houston and make regular visits to the university's main campus in Victoria. "In my new role, I look forward to working more closely with the UHV faculty and administration, as well as the UH System," Neill said. "I think that having a UHV administrative presence in the Greater Houston area will be positive." The provost is the president's primary adviser for academic planning, development, oversight, program evaluation and student success. The deans of UHV's four schools report to the provost, and she sits on the President's Cabinet and university budget committee. She also chairs the Deans' Council and the Academic Council. Neill has taught nursing for 18 years, including the past eight at UHV. She played a critical role in getting the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to approve a proposal in 2007 to create the UHV School of Nursing and to start the Master of Science in Nursing program. She served as interim co-director of the nursing program before assuming the role of Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing and MSN coordinator. Neill was promoted to associate professor and earned tenure in 2012. She has served on the UHV Faculty Senate since 2009 and was Senate president during the 2012-2013 school year. "It is a mark of Dr. Neill's leadership that she is past president of the Faculty Senate and thus holds the respect of her faculty colleagues at UHV," Castille said. "The faculty is the heart of the university, and faculty members have to feel there are clear lines of communication open to the upper administration." In 2012, Neill relocated to the Lone Star College University Center at Montgomery to oversee the expansion of UHV's RN to BSN program in The Woodlands. She previously has taught at UH Sugar Land, the UH System at Cinco Ranch and UHV's campus in Victoria "Dr. Neill has taught at multiple locations in her many years of service to UHV," Castille said. "Her experience with academic programs, facilities, technology and students throughout UHV's service area makes her uniquely qualified to hear from and speak for UHV faculty members, whether they are teaching face-to-face, hybrid or online classes." Born in South Arkansas, Neill grew up in the Houston area and began her nursing career at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Central Arkansas in Conway and completed her doctoral studies at Texas Woman's University in Denton. In addition to teaching at UHV, Neill is leader of the Gulf Coast Regional Texas Team, a nonprofit organization formed to advance health in Texas, and chair of the Lone Star Nursing Advisory Board, which serves the five Lone Star community colleges in the north and west Houston area. She also serves on the Texas Nurses Association's audit committee. She is a past president of the TNA District 20. This past summer, Neill was one of 40 educators nationwide selected as a 2013-2014 fellow of the Leadership for Academic Nursing Program presented by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. In November, she was named among the top 20 outstanding nurses in the Houston region by TNA District 9. Neill and Cass are two of several UHV administrators and faculty members getting ready for the accreditation review on April 6 to 9. Although UHV already is accredited by SACSCOC, member institutions from Texas to Virginia must go through periodic reviews that show the university is continuing to provide quality education consistent with guidelines and standards. UHV's last SACS visit took place in 2003. "I want to extend my thanks to Dr. Cass for all he has done for UHV the past two years," Castille said. "Among his many accomplishments are leading the teams that have prepared UHV's accreditation audit, Quality Enhancement Plan, new strategic plan and new core curriculum. I look forward to continuing to work closely with him in all these areas and others in his new role."
|UHV assistant professor starts math, science club at local elementary|
Ricardo Teixeira, center, demonstrates how electricity powers a music box on Monday during a Rowland Elementary School Math & Science Club meeting. Teixeira, a University of Houston-Victoria assistant professor of mathematics, recently started the club as a way to volunteer at his daughter's school. Ten Rowland Elementary School students wearing white lab coats gathered around a table, patiently waiting to see if the circuit board they built would light up when they turned on the switch. When it turned on, the group cheered and started asking questions about what happened and if they could build a new circuit. After building a light and music box using Snap Circuits, the students learned where electricity comes from and how it gets to their homes. The students' enthusiasm for science is exactly what Ricardo Teixeira, a University of Houston-Victoria assistant professor of mathematics, was aiming for when he started a new Rowland Elementary Math & Science Club. Earlier this year, Teixeira approached the school's administrators about organizing a club as a way for him to become more active in his daughter's school. "Most math and science professionals chose their careers because they were inspired by the subjects at a young age," he said. "I want to show these young students how fun math and science can be so they can be the next generation of math and science professionals." Teixeira works with Rowland instructional coach Karen Johnson and kindergarten teacher Nache Holub to organize the experiments and students. "The club has been a great addition to our school because it allows the students to foster their own curiosity," Johnson said. "This isn't a structured environment like the classroom, so there is more room for discovery. They are able to learn a lot and have fun by doing the experiments on their own." All Rowland students are able to participate in the free club, which averages about 15 students at each meeting. The club is split into two age groups – first- and second-graders and third- through fifth-graders. Each group meets once a month on Mondays after school. Teixeira said he likes having two groups. "The older group has so many questions and wants to see a lot of experiments, while the younger group wants to touch everything and do things at a slower pace," he said. Each student who joined the club had to write a paragraph about why he wanted to participate. Holub said most of the students wrote that they wanted to do more hands-on projects and see what the club was all about. After the first meeting, they already were telling their friends how much fun they had, she said. "The hands-on experiments are what the students seem to like the most," Holub said. "It makes them think about what is happening in the experiment so that they really grasp the concept." Teixeira doesn't have a set curriculum he is following but is going off what interests the students. At the next meeting, he plans to demonstrate magic tricks, a passion of his, and reveal the tricks by using math. He said he's enjoying the club so far. "I'm used to teaching college students, so this is vastly different," he said. "The kids are always curious and excited about math and science, which is exactly what I wanted to happen with this club."
|High school students building, guiding robots in UHV course|
Victoria West High School students James Easton, left, and Corbin Adams discuss robot movement before class March 3 at the University of Houston-Victoria. Easton and Adams are two of 13 high school students taking a UHV robotics course. When a robot senses it is nearing the wall of a maze, it has a choice to make – right or left. A total of 13 area high school students taking a robotics course at the University of Houston-Victoria are in charge of assembling and programming the robot so it can complete the maze. That's often easier said than done when using artificial intelligence to control movement. "The students have a lot of say in the programming, but at some point, it becomes the robot's choice because it is moving autonomously," said Alireza Tavakkoli, the class instructor and an assistant professor in the UHV School of Arts & Sciences. Zach Janzow, a Victoria West sophomore taking the class, explained that the motors on the robots move the wheels and control the ultrasonic sensor. Each motor is plugged into the robot's onboard computer. "The sensor sends out a sound wave, so the robot can read distance," Janzow said. "It will drive until it's a certain distance from the wall. Then it will shift to the left and right, and read the distance. Whatever distance is farther, it will go that way. There are a lot of engineering components involved, which is what makes it interesting to me." The students will demonstrate their robots moving through a maze during UHV/Victoria College's Math & Computer Science Awareness Day on March 18. The theme for the 19th annual event is "Mathematics, Magic & Mystery." In its third year, the UHV robotics consortium is a program aimed to provide educational, research and development opportunities for high school students in Victoria and surrounding counties who are interested in the fields of robotics, computer science, digital gaming and simulation. The consortium consists of a Math & Computer Science Awareness Day, a semester-long robotics course and a summer robotics camp. Funding is made possible by a $20,000 grant from Alcoa Foundation. Tavakkoli said every year he introduces new elements to the class, which has increased in size and scope. This year, UHV bought new robots and sensors. The students use advanced Lego robotics kits and computer programming software. "This class is about twice the size of past years," Tavakkoli said. "Nonetheless, we are ahead of schedule, so I think we'll be able to cover a couple more items than I originally anticipated. Some of the students already had robotics experience." Tavakkoli, who also is director of the UHV's digital gaming and simulation program, said the students started learning about the sensors and then moved on to locomotion. "Now, we are at the stage where we are implementing artificial intelligence for autonomous movement," he said. "We will end with some more advanced artificial intelligence behavioral modeling in the robots." Victoria West junior Anthony Villarreal said he took the class because he likes challenges. He's faced a few while putting together his robot. One problem was the robot sensor giving an inaccurate reading. When troubleshooting, Villarreal noticed a wire was too short, which caused the sensor to be attached at an angle. "I traded out the wire, and it started working appropriately," Villarreal said. "I like the complexity of programming the robot. It's a great feeling when it gets through the maze." Janzow also likes the hands-on aspects of the class. "I really enjoy building things, so I decided to take engineering classes at my school," Janzow said. "My teachers told me about this class because I'm interested in mechanical engineering." Tavakkoli said the idea is for students to see the applications of what they learned in their school math, computer science and engineering classes. "This is a way for us to show the students that what we do at a higher education level will have real-life implications in energy or medical industries," Tavakkoli said. "The students will have a better idea of how this can be applied in real life." Math & Computer Science Awareness Day will take place on the UHV and VC campuses, starting at 8:30 a.m. March 18 in the Multi-Purpose Room of the UHV University Center, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St. Area teachers who want to register their high school students to attend the event should visit mathcs.aiatuhv.com or contact UHV assistant professor Ricardo Teixeira at 361-570-4206 or email@example.com. Teachers are encouraged to register students by Friday.
|Century-old Victoria architectural drawings find home at VC/UHV Library|
This design sketch of the J.V. Vandenberge House is one of 762 drawings by Victoria architect Jules Leffland available for public viewing at the Victoria College/University of Houston-Victoria Library. Leffland designed more than 80 structures in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Several of the historical buildings in and around downtown Victoria started with Jules Leffland sketching out structural designs in the late 1800s or early 1900s. More than 500 of his architectural drawings now are at the Victoria Regional History Center inside the Victoria College/University of Houston-Victoria Library. They are available for the public to view and will be useful to architects, historians or scholars wanting to get a better feel for local architecture from 1898 to 1929. "The history of Victoria is very much tied up in its structures," said Sheron Barnes, UHV special collections librarian. "It's great to get the drawings and know we can care for them for the future. Jules Leffland was an important architect for the city." Operating out of Victoria, Leffland designed and supervised the construction of at least 80 structures in the late 1800s and early 1900s. He designed churches, schools, banks, city halls, hotels and residences in an area from Wharton to Kingsville. A half-dozen of the Victoria drawings in this collection are buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Jules Leffland The Victoria Regional Museum Association transferred the drawings to the history center when the McNamara House Museum closed. Barnes inventoried the drawings, which included 562 from Leffland and 27 from two of his sons. Barnes said the drawings are in fairly good condition. Architecture paper tends to hold up better than other types of paper. "A lot of the drawings were in tubes, and some were stacked," she said. "I now have them stored in our maps cases and archival boxes." Barnes said this is the first architectural collection donated to the history center. In 2012, the center received a set of drawings by Jackson County architect Hugh L. Ottley. This collection is not yet processed for public viewing. "It's quite a project and responsibility to handle these historical documents, but we're glad to do it so that the public has access to the drawings," Barnes said. "A long-range goal is to digitize the collection both for preservation and easier research access." The Victoria Regional History Center acquires, preserves and makes available to students, faculty and the public archival records of enduring value that document the histories of UHV and VC as well as those records that preserve the social, political, economic and cultural history of Texas. Leffland was born in 1854 in Usserød, Denmark, where his father and grandfather worked as architects. Leffland received his architectural training at the Institute of Technology of Copenhagen. His education and upbringing are reflected in his architectural style. "The beautiful homes he designed are late Victorian and classic revival architecture style," Barnes said. "A lot of the structures he built are still around. A few have been razed for something else to be built on the property, but most are still standing and in use today." The Victoria structures Leffland designed that are listed on the National Register of Historic Place are: George H. Hauschild Building, 206 N. Liberty St. Jules Leffland House, 302 E. Convent St. Mrs. J.V. Murphy House, 204 E. Santa Rosa St. Old Nazareth Academy, 105 W. Church St. J.V. Vandenberge House, 301 N. Vine St. Victoria Colored School, 702 E. Convent St. Barnes said Leffland's own home is one of the more recognized residences in town. His house and the Vandenberge home are typical Leffland designs with tripartite door and window arrangements, wrap-around porches and double entrances on two sides. In 1879, Leffland married Emilie Sophie Struck of Copenhagen, whose father owned the Horsholm, on the Baltic Sea. The couple had seven children. Leffland and his family immigrated to Texas in 1886 at the urging of Viggo Koehler, a Bee County rancher and friend. His first jobs involved moving homes from Indianola inland to Cuero after the 1886 hurricane. Some of the other buildings he designed in Victoria were the J.E. Ryan building, Bianchi's Pharmacy, Hauschild Cigar Factory and the Mitchell School. His Victoria business was later renamed Leffland & Son after his son, Kai, joined the profession. A second son, Paul, followed suit in the family business a few years later. At age 70, Leffland became a U.S. citizen. He died that same year, 1924, at his home in Victoria. The drawings can be viewed at the center from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays during the fall and spring semesters. For more information, contact Barnes at 361-570-4176 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Speaker shares Compaq's successes, tribulations with UHV business students|
Ron Canion, co-founder and former CEO of Compaq Computer Corp., discusses an early model of the company's portable computer during a University of Houston-Victoria Willis Group Distinguished Speaker Series presentation Tuesday at UH Sugar Land. Also displayed is Canion's book, "Open: How Compaq Ended IBM's PC Domination and Helped Invent Modern Computing." SUGAR LAND – While Compaq set a U.S. corporate record for first-year sales in 1983 by manufacturing portable computers, it was two key production decisions that shaped the future success of the company. In a Willis Group Distinguished Speaker Series presentation for 175 University of Houston-Victoria students, alumni, faculty and staff Tuesday at UH Sugar Land, Rod Canion addressed those two key decisions and the early days of Compaq. Canion co-founded Compaq Computer Corp. and served as its CEO for nine years. The UH alumnus and Houston native answered more than 20 questions from UHV students, several dealing with leadership strategies and how the company strived to compete with industry giant IBM. "Mr. Canion's insightful and fascinating presentation was well received by the overflow crowd we had at the event," said Farhang Niroomand, dean of the UHV School of Business Administration. "It was great to see so many of our students engage with Mr. Canion and learn from his experiences." Compaq was one of the first companies to make portable computers. When Compaq began, Canion thought it would sell a few thousand computers the first year. "As Compaq started showing portable computers to retailers, it found out there was huge demand," said Jeff Blodgett, associate dean of the business school. "It was a real dilemma because company executives had to decide if they could ramp up production that fast. It wasn't easy to build factories, get parts, hire and train workers, and ensure the computers had no defects. But on the other hand, if they didn't meet this demand, someone else might have. They made a bold decision to move forward, and by the end of the first year, Compaq recorded sales of $111 million." How Compaq arrived at the decision was a good lesson, Blodgett said. Canion brought his whole team together to discuss it. "Compaq developed a unique culture as the company grew," Blodgett said. "If an employee didn't think something was a good idea, he was free to voice that opinion. A lot of people gave input, which was very critical." The team had another big decision to make in January 1984. That was when IBM announced it would soon sell a portable computer to go along with its popular desktop models. Many retailers decided to wait for IBM's portable computer rather than order more from Compaq. "Compaq didn't have a lot of warehouse space, so Canion mentioned the company had to rent semi-trailers, fill them up with portable computers and park them in the parking lot," Blodgett said. "When the parking lot became full, Canion had to call friends and use some of their parking lots. Company executives knew if IBM didn't come through, there would be pent-up demand. But at the same time, they were making all these computers without being sure they would have orders." Canion said Compaq stayed with full production, and it paid off when IBM announced in February 1984 that its portable computer wouldn't come out until that summer. John O'Dell, a UHV Dean's Advisory Council member and CEO of Connections Intelligence in Houston, said there were several important takeaways from Canion's speech. "I thought he was candid, entertaining and really informative about some of the critical points in Compaq's life," O'Dell said. "In a startup company, there's a critical need to get to market and not get outrun by competitors. Compaq had to use its best judgment about next steps even when it was unclear what was happening in the market." During his tenure as CEO, Compaq reached the Fortune 500 and the $1 billion revenue mark faster than any other company at the time. By 1991, Compaq employed more than 10,000 people and operated in 65 countries worldwide. Since leaving Compaq in 1991, Canion has been involved in a long list of startups and early-stage companies as an angel investor, adviser and director. He helped found the Houston Technology Center in 1999 and the Goose Society of Texas in 2005, two organizations focused on encouraging entrepreneurs and helping early-stage companies succeed. He currently is a director of Invesco, ChaCha Search and Houston Methodist Research Institute. Similar to many UHV business students, Canion had to work his way through school. He worked at Texas Instruments and took electrical engineering courses at night. "Industry luminaries such as Rod Canion reinforce the value of the working student," said Joseph Babaian, a 2012 UHV business graduate. "Meeting with students and alumni, Rod shared his experiences working his way through school and underlined the positive ways this shaped him as a successful entrepreneur and leader. The UHV School of Business Administration continues to provide relevant opportunities to encourage, inform and stimulate its stakeholders." The Willis Group Distinguished Speaker Series brings in local executives to discuss contemporary business issues. The Willis Group includes multiple companies that address a variety of business staffing needs and solutions. Through its agreement with the UHV School of Business Administration, the Willis Group creates opportunities by providing business students with professional development and career placement assistance, supporting faculty research and classroom instruction, and actively participating in events to promote the success of the business school and its students. The series began in 2011. Past speakers have included Houston-area executives in the health care, oil and gas, real estate and staffing industries, such as Farouk Shami, founder and chairman of Farouk Systems; Steven Kaufman, president of Zeus Mortgage; Herber Lacerda, president and CEO of Regency Nursing & Rehabilitation Centers; and Jim McIngvale, founder and owner of Gallery Furniture.
|GetEducated.com names UHV MBA programs Best Buys|
GetEducated.com recently ranked the University of Houston-Victoria Global Master of Business Administration fifth in the nation and the Strategic MBA 25th on its Online MBA "Best Buys" list. The national organization rates online college programs, including the MBA list that focused on UHV and other schools accredited by AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Less than 5 percent of business schools around the world have earned the accreditation from AACSB International. "Our school continues to strive to offer quality degree programs for reasonable prices, and this ranking confirms that we are meeting our goals," said Farhang Niroomand, dean of the UHV School of Business Administration. "With two of our online programs making the GetEducated.com list, we find ourselves not only among the elite in accreditation but also in affordability." The average cost of an online business master's degree is $37,011, according to GetEducated.com. The UHV Global MBA costs about $11,400, and the Strategic MBA costs about $18,200 for Texas residents. This does not include financial aid, which often reduces actual out-of-pocket expenses. Farhang Niroomand The GetEducated.com Online MBA "Best Buy" ranking is based on a national survey of 93 regionally accredited universities that offer 147 different online MBA degrees. The survey covered the major areas of business administration. The list is updated every two years. GetEducated.com first recognized UHV in 2004. It currently ranks the business school's Bachelor of Business Administration program first in Texas and eighth in the U.S. as a "Best Buy." This is the fourth consecutive time the Global MBA has made the list since the degree was first offered in 2006. The program teaches students how to understand and manage cultural differences in a global workforce and apply knowledge of theories, models and tools to solve global business and managerial issues. The online Strategic MBA made the list for the sixth consecutive time. The program uses a cross-disciplinary approach to complex business problems and incorporates real-world, applied learning through discussion of current business issues, case studies, simulations and team projects. For more information about UHV's MBA programs, call 361-570-4231 or visit www.uhv.edu/bus.
|UHV/ABR author expresses cultural identity through stories|
At a young age, author Alex Espinoza realized he could almost hypnotize people with his stories. Alex Espinoza "I would give my sisters my stories to read, and they would stop whatever they were doing to read them," he said. "I realized, as a writer, I could make the world stand still for that reader for just a little bit." He will try to captivate attendees on March 6 as the next author in the Spring 2014 University of Houston-Victoria/American Book Review Reading Series. He will read from his latest novel, "The Five Acts of Diego León," at noon in the Alcorn Auditorium of UHV University West, 3007 N. Ben Wilson St. The public is invited to attend the free event, and light refreshments will be served. Most of his stories in high school had gothic themes and were set in England, similar to the Shakespeare and Dickens stories he read. It wasn't until he attended community college that Espinoza discovered he was missing an entire canon of literature he could relate to – Latino literature. "I encountered authors of color writing about experiences that mirrored my own," Espinoza said. "It was an epiphany for me to realize that I could write stories about people like my family and someone would want to read them. That's when I decided to make writing my profession." In community college, Espinoza participated in the Puente Project, a nonprofit organization that helps first-generation Latino community college students transition to four-year universities. The program offered him mentoring, academic counseling and assistance with navigating the financial aid system. It also focused on writing, where he learned the importance of expressing his cultural identity. "I learned how to take these stories I grew up hearing and the hardships I experienced as a child and turn them into something positive," he said. Espinoza went on to earn a bachelor's degree from the University of California-Riverside and a Master of Fine Arts from UC-Irvine. Now he passes on his love of writing as a literature and creative writing associate professor at California State University-Fresno. When he's not helping the next generation of writers, Espinoza is writing about his Latino culture. His fictional work has been featured in various anthologies and journals such as The Southern California Review, and his essays have appeared in The New York Times. "Still Water Saints," his debut novel, was published in 2008 simultaneously in Spanish and English. In 2013, his second novel, "The Five Acts of Diego León," was published. The novel follows a young Mexican actor working his way up in the movie business during Hollywood's Golden Age. Readers of the inaugural Huizache magazine in 2011 got a sneak peek of the story, which was part of an early draft of the book. Jeffrey Di Leo "We are so fortunate that Mr. Espinoza shared his writing talents in the first issue of our Latino literature magazine," said Jeffrey Di Leo, ABR editor and publisher, and dean of the UHV School of Arts & Sciences. "I am eager to learn more about Mr. Espinoza's journey with writing ‘The Five Acts of Diego León' and hearing him read it to us." Espinoza already is knee deep in his next novel, which explores different levels of masculinity within three generations of a Mexican American family. He recently was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing fellowship, which will allow him to take a sabbatical in the fall so he can finish the novel. With Latinos becoming a majority of the minority population in the U.S., Espinoza stresses the importance of the Latino writing community as it branches out to write about the mix between heritages, cultures and political awareness. "As a society, we must pay homage to the voices that give us a different perspective on what it means to be an American," he said. "Latino writers have the ability to look at the world around them and critique it through a specific set of eyes." Other writers scheduled for the Spring 2014 UHV/ABR Reading Series are: Scott Russell Sanders, March 27 – Sanders is the author of 20 books consisting of collections of nonfiction, novels and personal stories. He also is the author of three children's books and is known for his attention to nature and history in his writings. Through the years, he has collected numerous awards for his work, including the Mark Twain Award and the Lannan Literary Award. Domingo Martinez, April 24 – Martinez is the author of "The Boy Kings of Texas." The book explores his experience growing up in the border town of Brownsville and the cultural collision of two countries. Martinez was a nominee for the 2013 Pushcart Prize and a finalist for the National Book Award. He will be the 70th speaker the UHV/ABR Reading has welcomed to Victoria. Espinoza will be available after the reading to sign copies of his book, which can be purchased at the event. During his visit, Espinoza will meet with students and attend functions in the community. ABR is a nonprofit, internationally distributed literary journal published six times a year. It began in 1977, moved to UHV in 2007 and has a circulation of about 8,000. The journal specializes in reviews of works published by small presses. For more information about the UHV/ABR Reading Series, call the ABR office at 361-570-4101 or go to www.americanbookreview.org.
Quickbooks Hallettsville - 3/12/2014
Baseball @ St. Edward's - 3/12/2014
Baseball vs. Fisher College - 3/14/2014
Softball @ Incarnate Word University - 3/15/2014
Baseball vs. Fisher College - 3/15/2014
Math & Computer Science Day - 3/18/2014
Exploring Franchise Ownership Kenedy - 3/18/2014
Senior math major fast-tracks degree plan - 03/06/2014