Scholarship in the College of Arts & Sciences includes professional advancements, accomplishments, appointments and the progress of ongoing endeavors.
Arts & Sciences faculty are encouraged to contact Toni Salama, Senior Editor, Office of the Dean, to submit items of interest.
Witmore Finds Value in Digital Artifacts
Christopher Witmore, associate professor of archaeology and classic is the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures, was quoted an article posted Feb. 13 at Archaeology magazine. The story, "Digging Up Digital Music," tells the story of a few early artifacts from the dawn of the computer age: the Computing Machine Laboratory in Manchester, England; the Mark I computer that generated its first "notes" in 1948, sounding "like a cello playing underwater"; and the Mark II computer that in 1951 was programmed to play "God Save the King." Whitmore observed: "The digital world moves so fast, it's constantly refreshing itself to such a degree that it is creating all kinds of opportunities for archaeology," he was quoted as saying. "Archaeology is rich enough to encompass all of these things."
McKee Quoted on Increasing Latino Vote
Seth McKee, associate professor in the Department of Political Science, was quoted in a Feb. 13 FOX-34 report about the number of Latino voters in Texas. The story, "Texas Sees Increase in Latino Vote" reported that nearly 30 percent more Texas Latinos voted in 2016 than in 2012, while non-Latino voters increased by slightly more than nine percent. "Even with this jump in their participatory numbers, they're still way too low to threaten Anglo preferences for a Republican majority in the state," McKee was quoted as saying. He also observed: "Politics is all about an action and a reaction and this is the thing that makes the Latino question in Texas so interesting is that if Latinos do become more mobilized and they start voting at higher rates, what do you think Anglos are going to do?" McKee asked. "They're probably going to participate more as well."
Olson Helps Craft Science Teacher Workshop
Matt Olson, Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, assisted Patricia Hawley, a Professor of Educational Psychology in the College of Education, in creating a workshop that is designed to give science teachers more confidence when teaching evolution, according to a Feb. 8 article in Texas Tech Today. "Declawing the Dinosaur in Your Classroom: Reducing Teachers' Anxiety about Evolution" is meant for teachers who find themselves in the crossfire of the creation-vs.-evolution debate and promises tools to help them allay misconceptions, reconcile faith and science for themselves and answer questions from schoolchildren and their parents.
Perkins on New Secretary of Education
Jared Perkins, Visiting Professor in the Department of Political Science, was quoted in a Feb. 7 FOX-34 news segment about the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. Perkins told the Lubbock television station that the split confirmation vote indicates an atmosphere that does not bode well senate Republicans and Democrats working well together in the future. "We're definitely going to see a difference in what's being talked about in Washington and a shift from standardization and testing to a conversation about the expansion of charter schools and vouchers," he was quoted as saying. "Whether or not that affects things on the ground, I think that really depends on the political climate in the states."
Cunningham on Firing of Sally Yates
Sean Cunningham, Chair of the Department of History, has been quoted Jan. 31 in mainstream news outlets such as USA Today, CNBC, Newsmax, and Yahoo.com regarding President Donald Trump's firing of Attorney General Sally Yates for refusing to enforce his immigration policy. Some Trump critics compared the Yates firing to the so-called "Saturday Night Massacre," when in 1973 then-President Richard Nixon fell out with the Attorney General's Office—an event that ended with the resignations of the attorney general and deputy attorney general. Cunningham's take on the comparison: "Clashes between presidents and attorney generals aren't unprecedented, but neither are they common," he told USA Today. Cunningham did not compare Yates' firing to the "Saturday Night Massacre," the story reported, but he did say that "One of the important takeaways is that Nixon's efforts to control the attorney general and control the Watergate narrative, backfired badly."
Sievert Weighs in on Voter Fraud Investigation
Joel Sievert, a Visiting Faculty member in the Department of Political Science, was quoted in a FOX-34 news item about President Trump's call to investigate voter fraud. The Jan. 25 story said that some people think the investigation might be used to expand voter identification laws. "One would imagine that the line of attack the administration is likely to follow is the way we're going to get around voter fraud is that we need stricter laws," Sievert was quoted as saying. Sievert will join the Department of Political Science as an Assistant Professor in Fall 2017.
Ramkumar Evaluates India Cotton Market
Seshadri Ramkumar, Professor in the Department of Environmental Toxicology/The Institute for Environmental & Human Health, wrote an article about India's cotton crop that was published Jan. 24 in Cotton Grower and Jan. 25 in Cotton Association of India. In the report, "Indian Cotton Crop Estimated at 34.1 Million Bales," Ramkumar compares the estimated crop for the October 2016-September 2017 season with the previous year and evaluates the factors—such as mill consumption and supply delivery times—that may cause price volatility.
Perkins Finds Trump Speech Non-Partisan
Jared Perkins, Visiting Professor in the Department of Political Science, was quoted in a Jan. 20 FOX-34 news segment about Donald Trump's inauguration speech. Perkins was quoted as saying that Trump's speech was non-partisan in many ways, reflecting the president's approach to his campaign. "He was really speaking to the Americans that invested a lot of their hope in him, and voted for him, and really felt left out of the political process," Perkins told the Lubbock television station. "The first few minutes were really targeted towards politicians, and elites on both sides of the aisle who he says haven't been doing anything for the American people."
Forbis Concerned About Secretary of Energy
Robert Forbis, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, was quoted in a Jan. 19 FOX-34 news story about former Texas Governor Rick Perry, now in his confirmation hearing as President Trump's nomination for secretary of energy. Forbis was quoted in the story as saying that Perry would have to work with scientists to address climate change and the burning of fossil fuels. In the past, Perry was skeptical about human activity's influence on climate change, a position the former governor has since changed. "You do not address climate change without addressing energy policy," Forbis told FOX-34. "The two go hand in hand. And in terms of Governor Perry's remarks today and in the past, those of us who do this research are a bit concerned."
Martin Tapped for EPA Science Advisor
Clyde Martin, a Horn Professor emeritus in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics, has been selected as a member of the Science Advisory Board for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as reported Jan. 19 in Texas Tech Today. He will serve as a special government employee and provide independent expert advice on technical issues underlying EPA policies and decision making. Martin's background includes applying stochastic modeling to environmental problems, in particular to the problem of climate change.
Tang Quoted on Smoking Cessation
Yi-Yuan Tang, Professor in the Department of Psychology and Director of the Texas Tech Neuroimaging Institute, was one of 10 experts consulted for WalletHub's Jan. 17 article, "The Real Cost of Smoking by State." The story showed the costs of smoking over an individual smoker's lifetime and over a year, state-by-state. Total costs per smoker took into account factors such as out-of-pocket expenditures, health-care costs, income loss, and higher insurance rates. Lifetime total costs per smoker ranged from the low of $1.1 million for Kentucky residents to the high of $2.3 million for New York State residents. Tang was quoted as saying that the most effective strategies to quit smoking rely on brain-based treatments that target self-control combined with intention to quit. "If smokers only rely on intention or motivation, it often fails," he told WalletHub. Tang is known for his research on mindful meditation to quit smoking. The article also prompted Tang to weigh in on e-cigarettes and the legalization of marijuana: "Since e-cigarettes have nicotine, the same chemical that induces craving and addiction with cigarettes, in principle they should the treated as cigarettes." And, "Although several surveys and studies have suggested that marijuana legalization leads to increased use of marijuana, while tobacco use decreases in some degree, more rigorous research is warranted."
Hayhoe Blog Featured in Long Beach Paper
Katharine Hayhoe, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Director of TTU's Climate Science Center, was featured in the Jan. 6 edition of the Long Beach College Viking for her video blog called Global Weirding, produced in conjunction with KTTZ-TV.
Sweet Leads Field Trip to San Salvador
Dustin Sweet, Assistant Professor of Geology in the Department of Geosciences, leads a field trip to San Salvador, where graduate students study carbonate sediments, better known as limestone. Sweet's most recent trip was the subject of a Jan. 6 story in Texas Tech Today: "San Salvador Helps Geologists Connect the Past with the Present." Sweet is quoted in the story as saying that he hopes students learn by getting to "take modern carbonate sediment and run it through their fingers, look at the different constituents—there's a snail, there's a clam and there's all this fine-grain sediment—and picture that mass of sediment in their hand being turned into a rock." Sweet explained that carbonate sediments are most commonly created directly from sea shells or are created as a result of erosion caused by fish chomping on corals. Other types of sediments are inorganic and created through physical or chemical erosion that find their way out into the ocean. Living creatures adapt to changing conditions in ways that inorganic sediments cannot, Sweet told Texas Tech Today, so carbonate sediments—and the rocks they form into—can tell geologists about the environment at the time they were created.
Noel Talks Gas Prices with Fox News 34
Michael Noel, associate professor in the Department of Economics, was consulted for a FOX-34 story, "Gas Prices Continue to Rise," broadcast Jan. 2. "Right now, OPEC is getting together some non-OPEC countries and they've agreed to cut [oil] production by a good two percent of world production," Noel told the Lubbock TV station. As a result, "It's possible you could see prices jump, to between $2.50 and $3 a gallon," Noel said. "Keep in mind now with the technology that we have in the oil wells and the Permian Basin, Midland, North Dakota, there is a natural break on gasoline prices now. Once they get to $60, $70, $80 production, the U.S. starts pumping right up and slows down any increasing prices after that," Noel said, adding that the United States consumes less gasoline now than it did 20 years ago, and that Europe consumes less than it did 50 years ago. Now, demand from other parts of the world—China, India, South East Asia—has a large effect on crude prices," Noel explained.
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GUEST SPEAKER ON MONETARY ECONOMICS
The Department of Economics welcomes Sarah Zubairy, Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at Texas A&M University, as guest speaker on Sept. 28. Zubairy’s research is in empirical macroeconomics and monetary economics, with a focus on issues related to fiscal policy.
ECONOMICS OF IMMIGRATION
Armando Lopez, Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics, will give a presentation, “The Demand for Different Styles of Immigration and Implications for the U.S. in a Stylized Model,” on Oct. 12. Lopez’s research interest include macroeconomics, immigration, demographic change and macroeconomics, and international economics.
DAYAWANSA MEMORIAL LECTURE SERIES
The Department of Mathematics & Statistics welcomes Dr. Magnus Egerstedt as guest speaker for the 2016 Dayawansa Memorial Lecture Series Oct. 25-27. Egerstedt is the Schlumberger Professor at the School of Electrical & Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He will give three lectures during the series.