Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I am listed in the new Random House book "The Best 300 Professors"

I was today named  by the Princeton Review as one of the 300 best professors in the United States out of some 42,000 individuals teaching at all colleges and universities. Five of my Austin College faculty colleagues also received this designation: Randi Tanglen (English), Howard Starr (Psychology), Kevin Simmons (Economics), David Baker (Physics) and Stephanie Gould (Chemistry). Published today, The Best 300 Professors (Random House / Princeton Review, $19.99, April 3, 2012) profiles outstanding professors at 122 colleges.  The promotional materials for this book note that all of the professors won high praise from their most important audiences: the undergrad students they teach and inspire, class after class, year after year, in fields that range from Ancient Studies to Neuroscience to Sport Management.  The Princeton Review developed the project in partnership with RateMyProfessors.com and selected the professors in the book based on qualitative and quantitative data from survey findings and ratings collected by both organizations. The book's profiles of professors are organized by academic fields. More than 60 fields are represented from Accounting to Engineering to Writing, and within each field, the profiles are presented alphabetically by professor names. The Best 300 Professors also includes profiles of colleges at which one or more of the book's top-notch professors teach.  The school profiles give students considering attending these colleges information on admissions, tuition, SAT/ACT score ranges of admitted students, and other useful data.

Monday, April 2, 2012

West Texas Historical Association Meeting, 2012

This weekend marked the annual meeting of the West Texas Historical Association in Alpine, Texas on the campus of Sul Ross State University. My friend Bruce Glasrud presided over the meeting at the president, in the process delivering a very interesting address on the history of the West Texas Historical and Scientific Society. My relative E. E. Townsend was one of the founders of this group back in the 1920s. The society ceased to exist in the 1960s. At this meeting, Vicki Cummins presented a paper on the life of artist James Swann, who had attended Sul Ross in the late 1920s. He was a native of Merkel, Texas near Abilene and graduated from Sul Ross in 1927. There he studied with Elizabeth Keefer and Anna Elizabeth Keener. He was the art director for the Sul Ross yearbook and the president of the art club. He received most of his formal art training in Alpine. In the early 1930s, he settled in Dallas and became a recognized print-maker, studying with noted East Texas artist Frank E. Klepper. He moved to Chicago in 1935, where he spent the rest of his career. He maintained his ties with the Texas art community and many of his etchings reflected his west Texas origins. My paper dealt with the life of Frances B. Fisk.  She lived in Abilene in the 1920s and 1930s  before moving to Alpine, where her sister Willa was the wife of Horace Morlock, President of Sul Ross. Fisk, although not an artist, worked very hard to promote painting and sculpture in West Texas. She wrote a landmark 1928 reference book "A History Texas Artists and Sculptors" that is still used today. While in Alpine during the 1940s, Fisk worked closely with the artists at the Summer Art Colony, and with Militia Hill, chair of the Sul Ross Art Department. Mary Bones of the Museum of the Big Bend gave a paper in our session that dealt with the summer art colony at Alpine from the 1920s to the 1950s.The Art Department at Sul Ross State Teacher’s College established an Art Colony in 1932 by inviting guest artists and students to the high desert to challenge themselves in an unfamiliar landscape.  For over 15 years, the Art Colony was a successful and popular summer course