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Fall 2013

Awards & Accomplishments

    Professor Michael Finke is ranked ninth on the InvestmentNews Power 20 list of men and women who will play a key role in shaping the financial advisory industry in 2013. InvestmentNews noted research published by Finke in 2012 that estimated the impact of proposed fiduciary legislation on the brokerage industry as the “paper heard ‘round the advisory world.’” Joining him on the list are President Obama, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Elisse Walter, brokerage industry executives and congressional leaders.


    Ron Milan, an associate professor of history, has been named by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund to join the advisory committee for a learning facility planned for construction at the Vietnam Veterans and Lincoln Memorial sites. Milam is a Vietnam veteran and author of “Not a Gentleman’s War: An Inside View of Junior Officers in the Vietnam War.”


    Guy Loneragan, professor of animal and food sciences, has been named by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to the National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Foods. The committee provides impartial scientific advice to federal agencies to use in developing integrated food safety systems from farm to table and to ensure food safety in domestic and imported foods. This advice is used by the agencies to develop science-based policy that will improve the safety of the food that U.S. consumers buy and feed to their families.


    Texas Tech University School of Law Dean Darby Dickerson was the inaugural recipient of the Darby Dickerson Award for Revolutionary Change in Legal Writing presented by the Association of Legal Writing Directors. The award was named to honor her contributions to the field of legal writing. The award will be given periodically to recognize those who have made fundamental and essential contributions to the field of legal writing.


    Two Texas Tech professors and one Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center professor were named Top Professors in Texas, according to rankings released by Online Schools Texas.

    • Elizabeth Trejos-Castillo, associate professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, was recognized as one of the Top 14 Hispanic Professors in Texas.
    • Dottie Durband, professor in the Department of Personal Financial Planning, was recognized as one of the Top 25 Women Professors in Texas.
    • Lori Rice-Spearman, program director at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, also was recognized as one of the Top 25 Women Professors in Texas.

    Criteria for these lists include professors who recently have been awarded or recognized for their outstanding efforts in the classroom and who demonstrate dedication to their fields and students.


    Texas Tech University’s Department of Landscape Architecture undergraduate program ranked 11th out of more than 90 programs in the nation, according to “DesignIntelligence.” The program is one of two in the state.


    Texas Tech’s eLearning program has been ranked 11th overall among online colleges by SR Education Group’s flagship site, Guide to Online Schools. Texas Tech’s retention rate among non-profit schools is tied for first place at 82 percent. The university’s loan repayment rate is 64 percent. Other research universities ranked among the top 25 include the University of Minnesota (17th), Northern Arizona University (24th) and the University of South Florida (25th).


    With a 95.45 percent first-time pass rate, Texas Tech University School of Law graduates led all Texas public law schools on the February 2013 Texas Bar Examination. Twenty-one of Texas Tech Law’s 22 test takers passed the exam, putting the law school’s average well above the 84.78 percent pass rate for all graduates of Texas’ nine law schools and only .11 percent behind Baylor Law School, which had the highest rate. The overall rate for first-time examinees – including graduates from schools in other states and attorneys already licensed in jurisdictions outside of Texas – was 80.74 percent.


    Texas Tech University has been named one of the six best colleges for first-generation students, according to The Best Colleges website. The university was recognized for its efforts, including the Mentor Tech program, aimed at improving retention and graduation rates and the Pegasus Program, aimed at making the transition for first-generation students successful.


    Smithsonian.com named Texas Tech’s Lubbock Lake National Historic Landmark as one of the top five destinations to see evidence of first Americans. The story covers different locations across the U.S. where visitors can see the cultural remnants and animal remains left by the original settlers of this continent. It mentions the exhibits at Lubbock Lake Landmark, such as the hiking trails and the interpretive center, which displays the evolution of the site from a fast-moving streambed to a marsh and documents the peoples who lived at the site.


    Comfort Pratt, Texas Tech professor of bilingual education, diversity studies and secondary education, was named the 2013 Teacher of the Year by the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese. The group is an international association that includes teachers of Spanish and Portuguese and all others interested in these languages from all over the world. It promotes the study and teaching of the Spanish and Portuguese languages and their corresponding literatures and cultures at all levels of education.


    Texas Tech doctoral student Jeevan Maddala has been awarded a $225,000 National Science Foundation Small Business Technology Transfer (NSF STTR) grant to help commercialize his doctoral work that could take years off of biomedical and pharmaceutical trials, and thereby save lives.

    Maddala came to Texas Tech in the fall of 2009 hoping to develop new technology and to commercialize it through a startup company. He developed an interest in microfluidic devices—tiny plumbing systems with “pipes” the size of human hairs that are frequently used to transport fluids at very high speeds. This allows scientists to speed up drug discovery by processing large amounts of chemicals.


    For the seventh time, Texas Tech electrical and mechanical engineering students have won the Educational Design Contest of the Sandia MEMS University Alliance Design Competition for microelectromechanical systems (MEMS).

    Their winning design, the Semaphore Man, is an interactive educational tool that teaches science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) concepts. The device acts as a flagger that moves his arms and legs to display a message, therefore students must learn to send the correct electrical signals to display the correct message.


    Ten Texas Tech University faculty members accepted grants from the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program for the 2013-2014 academic year. According to the Fulbright Program’s archives beginning in 1998, this is the most grants awarded to Texas Tech faculty members in the university’s history.

    • Arthur Durband, associate professor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work, will travel to Flinders University in South Australia to study skeletons from the Early Holocene site of Roonka.
    • William Lan, a chairman and professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and Leadership, will conduct seminars for graduate students on the discipline of educational psychology, as well as how to write empirical research reports. The seminars will be conducted at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand
    • David Lektzian, an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science, will conduct research at the Institute for International Relations and Political Science at Vilnius University in Lithuania. He plans to study the relationship between economic sanctions and militarized conflicts.
    • Timothy Matis, an associate professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering, will teach and conduct research at the Catholic University of Valparaiso, Chile. During his time there, he will expand ScholasticChallenge to include videos produced with Chilean companies in Spanish. He will also conduct research in analytics related to copper mining.
    • Susan Myers, an associate professor in the College of Education, will conduct research and teach seminars focusing on mentoring practices in India. She is placed at the University of Pondicherry in Pondicherry, India.
    • Paul Paré, a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, will study how bacteria increase iron content in casaba at the Federal University of San Paulo in Brazil. This is Paré’s second time to receive the U.S. Scholar Fulbright award.
    • Kelly Phelan, an associate department chair in the College of Human Sciences, will teach a course in Ecotourism and Sustainable Development at the University of Botswana. She plans to conduct research related to tourism development in Southern Africa.
    • John Poch, a professor in the Department of English, will teach American Poetry, Modern and Contemporary at the University of Barcelona and the Autonomous University of Barcelona. He will also be writing a new collection of poems.
    • Sarraf Hamed Sari-Sarraf, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, will conduct research and teach on applied computer vision at Baku State University in Baku, Azerbaijan.
    • Trenia Walker, an associate professor in the College of Education, will be at the University of Pristina in Kosovo conducting research and teaching. The research focuses on the ways teachers and administrators use data to drive decision making and its effectiveness. She will also continue a study she began 10 years ago on Civics Education curriculum.

    The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It is designed to increase mutual understanding between citizens of the U.S. and residents of other countries.


    George Asquith, a Texas Tech professor of geology and former Joe Pevehouse chair, has received the Harrison Schmitt Award, given by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG).

    Asquith, the AAPG’s all-time best-selling author, received the award for his significant contributions to geology through his petrophysical research, writing and teaching, as well as his commitment to the AAPG.


    The Texas Tech Honors College announced that 32 students will receive Terry Scholarships, making the university the fastest-growing school in the foundation’s 25-year history. No other university has grown in number of scholars as quickly. In total, the 2013 class of scholars will be awarded a projected $454,000. The university received more than 500 applicants for the scholarship.

    The Terry Foundation provides four-year scholarships for Texas residents attending Texas Tech University and several other universities in Texas. Terry Scholars are selected from a highly competitive applicant pool of incoming freshmen who demonstrate exceptional leadership, character, financial need and scholastic ability.

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