Deaf Studies and Deaf Education department members create ASL video tours for local museums
Growing up in Beaumont in the 1960s as the daughter of Deaf parents, Kim Hunt witnessed firsthand the lack of access to communication as they visited public places and events. It became her dream to make museums and events accessible for Deaf residents and visitors to her hometown.
To turn this dream into a reality, Hunt, now a nationally certified interpreter of American Sign Language, partnered with Cain Chiasson, an instructor and doctoral candidate in the Department of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education at Lamar University, to found Virtual QR Tours. The mission of this research project is to establish ASL tours in museums throughout the state of Texas and beyond. Read more.
Dept. of Communication faculty, alumni and students collaborate on film
Three graduates of the Department of Communication recently premiered their short film project, “The Example,” a fictional account of historic race riots in Beaumont at the Jefferson Theatre. Helming the project were writer Gordon Williams, studio operations manager for LUTV; director Wyatt Cagle; and producer Kenneth Dupuis. (Watch them introduce their project in the video below.)
“Production for the film happened in summer of 2015, and it was a great opportunity for LU students to get some hands-on work experience with Department of Communication staff, faculty, alumni and other experienced professionals on set,” said Williams. Read more.
Dean Holzthausen named 2016 frank scholar
Derina Holtzhausen, dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication, was a chair and invited speaker at the 2016 frank academic conference focused on public interest communications. Hosted by the University of Florida in February, frank is considered the foremost gathering of people who use strategic communications to drive social change.
The frank conference brings together top researchers from various academic disciplines to collaboratively cultivate research that ignites lasting behavioral, institutional and social change. Public interest communications is the development and implementation of science-based, planned strategic communication campaigns with the main goal of achieving significant and sustained positive behavioral change on a public interest issue that transcends the particular interests of any single organization.
A communications scholar, Holtzhausen’s work explores the intersections of postmodern theory and public relations. She has won numerous awards, grants and scholarships for her research, including a 2012 National Communication Association award for her book Public Relations as Activism: Postmodern Approaches to Theory and Practice.
Drumline and Percussion Ensemble win prestigious world championships
Lamar University's Drumline and Percussion Ensemble both took first place at the annual Percussive Arts Society's International Competition, Nov. 11 - 14, 2015, in San Antonio. Winning first place at the Percussive Arts Society is among the highest honors a collegiate percussion ensemble can receive. The awards establish LU’s percussion program as one of the finest in the world. (Be sure to watch the Drumline's incredible performance in the video below.)
“We are extremely proud of these ensembles,” said Kurt Gilman, chair of the Mary Morgan Moore Department of Music. “They just keep getting better and better, and they really are putting us on the map.”
Travis Fife, director of marching percussion, and Matt Holm, instructor of percussion, conduct the ensembles. Read more.
Outdoor artwork by Prince Thomas permanently exhibited in Houston
The city of Houston recently installed a billboard-sized work of art by Prince Varughese Thomas, associate professor in Lamar University's Department of Art. Located on Jackson Street near Minute Maid Park, “Family Portraits” is a permanent installation commissioned by the Houston Art Alliance.
“I was thrilled to be selected to have my work displayed for the public,” said Thomas. “As an artist, that is our primary goal: to get our work to the public. The location is just perfect for high pedestrian traffic, especially during the Major League Baseball season.”
Thomas created “Family Portraits” to reveal different bits of information from various viewing distances. From far away, viewers see a picture of the family from the television show “Father Knows Best,” which represents the traditional American family of the past. As the viewer walks closer to the artwork, the picture, which is composed of large half-tone dots, “disintegrates” into basic circles. Read more.
Russ Schultz receives dean emeritus status
Lamar University has conferred dean emeritus status upon Russ Schultz, retired dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication. The title of emeritus may be conferred on retired members of the faculty and administration who have given faithful and distinguished service to the university for ten or more years.
“It was an honor to present Russ with the news that he’d been awarded dean emeritus status,” said Kurt Gilman, chair of the Mary Morgan Moore Department of Music, who announced the news at the recent Texas Music Educators Association conference in San Antonio. “His dedicated leadership of the College of Fine Arts and Communication for so many years more than warranted this prestigious distinction. I gained so much from his vast experience in music mentoring over the many years that we worked together. I cannot thank him enough." Read more.
LU celebrates Shakespeare's 400th anniversary with Romeo and Juliet
The Department of Theatre & Dance performed William Shakespeare's beautifully tragic tale of love at first sight, “Romeo and Juliet,” April 7 - 10, to sold out crowds in the Studio Theatre. The production, headed by guest director Rutherford Cravens of Houston's Main Street Theatre, was timed to coincide with the worldwide celebrations commemorating the legacy of Shakespeare on the 400th anniversary of his death in April 1616. Read more...