Texas Tech University

Faculty News

December 2020

Higgins Appointed as Faculty Fellow by Provost

TTU math professor Raegan Higgins

Raegan Higgins, an associate professor in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics, has been appointed as Faculty Fellow in the Office of the Provost. While she continues in her faculty role, Higgins' duties with the Provost Office will include establishing new strategies for faculty recruitment, retention, and success, with a focus on diversity and inclusion of underrepresented groups and minorities. "I hope to engage, or increase engagement with, those on our campus whose research, teaching, creative work, and community engagement support faculty success and support equity and social, restorative, and racial justice," Higgins said. "I believe we can find solutions with implementation strategies to some of the most challenging issues among our faculty." Higgins said that she hopes to begin the process of reviewing institutional policies and procedures to identify structural barriers to recruitment, hiring, onboarding (i.e., creating a sense of belonging), retention, mentoring, and promotion—including to administrative positions—of minoritized/marginalized groups of faculty. 

Rudes Help Students Through Memorial Scholarship

former TTU professors Carolyn and Don Rude, and son Benjamin

Former Texas Tech University English professors Carolyn and Donald Rude, shown above right, established a memorial scholarship fund named for their son Benjamin, shown above left hugging dog Freckles. In the 30-plus years since a skiing accident took Benjamin's life, the Benjamin Rude Memorial Scholarship has helped many students continue their education. In the last 10 years alone, more than 20 Texas Tech English students have benefitted from the scholarship.

Michelson Receives Research Early Career Award

TTU French professor Kristen Michelson

Kristen Michelson, an assistant professor of French and Applied Linguistics in the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures, has won the 2020 Research Special Interest Group Early Career Award from the American Council of Teachers of Foreign Language (ACTFL). Michelson's approach to language research and teaching is based on the idea that acquiring a new language is a matter of encounters, all types of encounters. In addition to person-to-person interactions are those of immersion in a culture; of experiencing new sights, smells and sounds; of navigating virtual environments; and, most intriguingly, finding common ground where all those elements converge to move the learner forward in a new tongue. 

Wright Makes Case for #GivingTuesday

TTU political science professor Nathaniel Wright

Nathaniel Wright, an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science and director of the Master of Public Administration program, is an expert in nonprofit management and philanthropic fundraising. Wright is available to discuss the importance of #GivingTuesday—Dec. 1, 2020—and why it's so badly needed in a year where so many things are outside of the ordinary. In the face of the pandemic, another Giving Tuesday, #GivingTuesdayNow, was held May 5,2020, to promote giving and unity. As 2020 draws to a close, many still seek assistance with basic necessities. With the resulting strain on nonprofit organizations, the need is keenly felt. 

November 2020

Victor, Van Allen To Examine Precursors to Suicide Attempts

Sarah Victor, an assistant professor, and Jason Van Allen, an associate professor, both clinical psychologists in the Department of Psychological Sciences, have received a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to address fundamental, and yet unanswered, questions about the estimated 10.7 million American adults who have thought seriously about trying to kill themselves. Victor is the principal investigator on the two-year project titled "Dynamic Regulatory Processes in the Transition from Suicidal Ideation to Action: The Roles of Cognitive Control, Emotion-Related Impulsivity, and Sleep in the Context of Negative Affective Experiences." Work on the project begins Dec. 1, 2020. 

Wang Speaks at Roundtable

Yanlin Wang, an assistant professor of practice and director of the Chinese program in the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures, was one of nine speakers at a roundtable discussion held by the Asian Section of the American Association of University Supervisors, Coordinators and Directors of Language Programs (AAUSC). With more than 20 years of experience teaching Chinese language in both China and the United States, Wang's contribution to the roundtable proved valuable to those who attended the Nov. 19, 2020, online program, entitled, “Language Program Development During COVID-19: Challenges and Strategies.”

Surliuga Holds Virtual Book Discussion

TTU professor Victoria Surliuga, her book, and Ezio Gribaudo

Victoria Surliuga, an associate professor of Italian in the Department of Classical & Modern Languages & Literatures, held a virtual discussion on Nov. 19, 2020, about her newest work, the bilingual book, "Homage to Ezio Gribaudo/Omaggio a Ezio Gribaudo" (Texas Tech University Libraries, September 2020). Her book compiles six years' worth of Surliuga's previously published writings in Italian and English about Ezio Gribaudo, a contemporary Italian artist. It was published in September as an open access e-book through the Texas Tech University Libraries Open Repository. The virtual discussion featured Gribaudo himself; his daughter Paola Gribaudo; Janis Elliott, Texas Tech associate professor of art history; Ian Barba, Texas Tech associate librarian; Heidi Winkler, Texas Tech digital services librarian; and Guido Moltedo, journalist, publisher and editor of the online journal ytali.com.

Sandip Pal Reviews 50th Journal

Atmospheric scientist Sandip Pal, an assistant professor in the Department of Geosciences, has reached a remarkable milestone in his career. With his latest work for the journal Scientific Reports, a Nature Publishing Group journal, Pal has served as a journal referee, or reviewer, for more than 50 different international scientific journals. Pal, who also leads the Boundary Layer Meteorology research group at Texas Tech University, said his work as a reviewer began when he was a postdoctoral scholar in Germany and France. 

Swift Is Featured Expert at Wind Panel Event

Andrew Swift, associate director of the National Wind Institute and a professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, will serve as a featured expert on the 'Wind-Powered Growth in West Texas' virtual panel event Tuesday, Nov. 10, at 9 a.m. The event is hosted by Powering Texas and will feature opening remarks from State Senator Charles Perry. With experts from a variety of fields, the panel aims to bring leaders from the community, education, and business to discuss wind energy investment in the region, including its impacts on workforce and education, economic development, and more. The National Wind Institute at Texas Tech is comprised of three research pillars including energy systems, atmospheric measurement and simulation, and wind engineering. The College of Arts & Sciences is home to the B.S. in Wind Energy.

Weiss Receives Two NOAA Grants

TTU atmospheric scientist Chris Weiss

Chris Weiss, a professor of atmospheric science in the Department of Geosciences, has received two grants from the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to improve the understanding of how tornadoes form in the Southeastern U.S. and how to better predict them to help save lives and minimize property damage. 

October 2020

KSM Awarded for Excellence X 2

TTU Department of Kinesiology & Sport Management

The Department of Kinesiology & Sport Management (KSM) has won two of Texas Tech University's highest departmental recognitions in 2020: the award for Excellence in Institutional Effectiveness and the award for Departmental Excellence in Teaching. Angela Lumpkin, KSM professor and chair, said the department's transformation has been a team effort. "The department looks very different than it did a few years ago," said Lumpkin, who this semester enters her seventh year of leading KSM. During Lumpkin's tenure, the department had a name change, from Health, Exercise & Sport Sciences (ESS) to Kinesiology & Sport Management. The rebranding signaled the launch of more-relevant programs—and a commitment to higher, more precise standards. Today, KSM has a fleet of upgraded minors, as well as a new bachelor's and master's degree in sport management, while the exercise science program rebranded as kinesiology. Meanwhile, the first-ever exercise physiology Ph.D. program is now in its third year.

Sievert Previews Election 2020

TTU political scientist Joel Sievert

Joel Sievert, an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science, is looking at the 2020 election in terms of big themes, starting with the congressional races. "We should expect a tight correspondence between the party that wins the presidency and the party that wins the US senate elections," Sievert said. "In every state, that holds true." He pointed to Georgia and South Carolina as examples of state races that have tied closely to the current presidential race. Sievert, who is co-author of the book, "Electoral Incentives in Congress" (University of Michigan Press, May 2018), also remarked on another big theme: the long-term implications of demographics on party politics. 

Presley: Mosquito Control Becoming Less Effective

TTU environmental toxicologist Steve Presley

Steve Presley, director of The Institute of Environmental and Human Health (TIEHH) and a professor of disease ecology, says mosquito control methods are becoming less effective. "Recent threats to public health from mosquito-borne viruses, particularly Zika virus, have brought to light the critical importance of knowing where potential vector mosquito populations occur and understanding how to effectively control them," he said. Two specific species, the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) and the yellow fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti), are responsible for transmission of Zika, chikungunya, dengue and yellow fever viruses. Since 2016, TIEHH researchers collaborating with entomologists from various jurisdictions and funded by the Texas Department of State Health Services have worked to determine where these two species are and how well methods to control them are working. Presley and his colleagues tested the mosquitoes' resistance to insecticides throughout Texas. "We found that 68% of mosquito populations tested exhibited strong resistance to commonly used public health insecticides," Presley said. 

September 2020

Corsi Named Among Top 10 Scientists to Watch

TTU astrophysicist Alessandra Corsi

Alessandra Corsi, the President's Excellence in Research Professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy, has been named to Science News magazine's sixth annual SN 10: Scientists to Watch. The list of 10 early- and mid-career scientists age 40 and under will be featured in the Oct. 10 issue of Science News. Honorees are chosen by the Science News staff for their potential to shape the science of the future. "I am delighted and extremely honored to be included among this year's SN 10 researchers," said Corsi, who is an astrophysicist. "Working in the field of multi-messenger astronomy has been a wonderful, truly astronomical venture. I would not have achieved this result without the support of my family, the many colleagues I work with, and without the motivation that my students give me every day. I am grateful to all of them."

Ancell, Lindquist Win 2020 Rain Catcher Award

Texas Tech's sustainable home, HUMS, in Junction, Texas

Brian Ancell, an atmospheric scientist in the Department of Geosciences, and Carol Lindquist, a sociologist in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Social Work, are part of a Texas Tech research team working on a new alternative for sustainable living. Their project's rainwater harvesting system has just received the 2020 Rain Catcher Award from the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB). The project has taken shape at a four-bedroom prefabricated test home (pictured above) located in Junction, Texas. The heart of the project is its Home Utility Management System, or HUMS for short, that harnesses the natural power of a wind turbine, solar panels and catchment tanks to capture electricity and water. HUMS then provides homeowners with data to manage and maximize the efficiency of these stored resources.