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New provost

Howard Johnson

Howard Johnson

UNT has selected Howard C. Johnson of Syracuse University as its new provost and vice president for academic affairs. Johnson, who was executive vice provost for academic affairs at Syracuse, served that university in a number of teaching, scholarly and administrative roles for 30 years. At UNT he will oversee the academic side of the university and reports directly to President Norval Pohl. He replaces David Kesterson, a professor of English who became provost in 1998 and is returning to the classroom.

Johnson's accomplishments at Syracuse include enhancing the quality of doctoral programs, developing new professional master's programs, encouraging program improvement through rigorous review, creating aggressive graduate student recruitment strategies and implementing programs to attract outstanding faculty. Charged with increasing the diversity of the Syracuse faculty, he played a major role in the recruitment, retention and mentoring of at least 55 new African American and Latino faculty and professional staff members.

Johnson, a professor of mathematics and mathematics education, earned his bachelor's degree from Chicago State University, master's degrees from the University of Illinois and Chicago State, and a doctorate in mathematics education from Northwestern University.

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TAMS bill

Thanks in part to the passage of Texas House Bill 1363, the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science welcomed 214 new students and 162 returning students this fall after months of uncertainty about the academy's funding. The bill, authored in the Texas House of Representatives by Rep. Myra Crownover and sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Craig Estes, was signed by Gov. Rick Perry in Austin July 23. The academy's legislative funding, which was in jeopardy because of the state's $9.9 billion budget shortfall, was eventually cut by 12.5 percent.

  Governor Rick Perry

Gov. Rick Perry (center) signs legislation this summer providing funding for UNT's Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science. Also pictured are (from left) Barbara Erickson, executive assistant to Sen. Craig Estes; Richard Sinclair, TAMS dean; Estes; TAMS students Steven Petsche and Megan Fowlkes; Rep. Myra Crownover; TAMS student Lucas Gong; and Hilary Dennis, chief of staff for Crownover.
(Photo by Amy Hubbard)


TAMS also faced a decrease in the money it receives from the Foundation School Program of the Texas Education Agency, which allocates funding to districts based on property values and school attendance. House Bill 1363 separated TAMS' funding rate from that of the Denton Independent School District, providing the academy with $1.3 million for the 2003-04 academic year.





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UNT at Dallas progress

Two bills passed in the Texas Legislature's 78th session and approved by Gov. Rick Perry in late June bring UNT at Dallas — the first public university within the Dallas city limits — closer to reality. Senate Bill 1297, authored by Sen. Steve Ogden, makes previously authorized funds available for the first UNT at Dallas building and allows construction to begin as early as late next year in order to handle the current UNT Dallas Campus student enrollment — even before the new university is officially established. The UNT Dallas Campus, also known as the System Center, is an extension of UNT.

Senate Bill 1652, authored by Sen. Florence Shapiro and co-authored by Sen. Royce West, declares that once the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board certifies enrollment at the UNT Dallas Campus has reached 1,000 full-time equivalent students (rather than the 2,500 previously required), the UNT System may begin securing approvals and accreditation to offer courses and grant degrees through UNT at Dallas as a freestanding university.

On Oct. 30, the UNT System plans to celebrate at the future site of UNT at Dallas (Camp Wisdom and Houston School roads) with Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick and other key legislators responsible for authoring and sponsoring the bills.


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Research funding

NSF Grant

UNT has received a $992,000 National Science Foundation grant, in collaboration with Texas Instruments Inc., for research designed to improve the speed and reliability of integrated circuits like those used in computers and cell phones. When support from UNT and TI is added to the grant, the project — Nanoscale Characterization and Development of Ultra Low-k Dielectric Xerogel Films — will be funded for a total of $2.2 million over four years.

With the grant, UNT faculty members Richard F. Reidy, assistant professor of materials science; Moon J. Kim, research professor of materials science; and Dennis W. Mueller, professor of physics, along with TI scientist Phillip D. Matz, will conduct studies on materials used to insulate copper wires in integrated circuits.

Welch grant

The university recently received $900,000 from the Welch Foundation for the support of research into some of chemistry's most complex issues. The money will be divided among six professors who will each receive $50,000 a year for three years.

The faculty members and their areas of research are: Paul Braterman, Regents Professor of chemistry, control of structure and reactivity in layered double hydroxides; Witold Brostow, Regents Professor of materials science and engineering, uncrosslinked and crosslinked macromolecular systems; Jeffry A. Kelber, Regents Professor of chemistry, reactions of ultrathin ordered oxides in non-UHV environments; Floyd D. McDaniel, Regents Professor of physics, impurity characterization in compound semiconductor materials; Martin Schwartz, Regents Professor of chemistry, electronic structure and properties of conducting polymers; and Ruthanne Thomas, professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry, organolithium clusters.


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South Pole doctor

Jerri Nielsen
Jerri Nielsen

Emergency room physician Jerri Nielsen, who discovered a tumor in her breast while serving as the only medical officer at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica in 1999, will be the featured speaker at the UNT College of Business Administration Leadership Luncheon Nov. 14. Nielsen could not be evacuated for eight months due to weather conditions, so with the help of e-mail instructions, jury-rigged equipment, air-dropped supplies and friends, she performed a biopsy on herself, diagnosed her cancer and began chemotherapy to ensure her survival.

Tickets to the luncheon, which begins at 11:30 a.m. at the Hotel Inter-Continental in Addison, are $150 per person. Tables of 10 are $1,250. For tickets, call (940) 565-2848.

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Recent deaths

Martin Staples Shockley

Martin Staples Shockley, 95, Professor Emeritus of English who was at North Texas from 1950 to 1974, died Aug. 6 in Colorado. Born in Stuart, Va., he received his bachelor's degree from the University of Richmond, a master's from Duke University and his doctorate from the University of North Carolina.

Before joining the North Texas faculty, he taught at numerous schools, including the Citadel, the University of Oklahoma, Carleton College and Evansville College. He also was a Fulbright professor of American literature at the University of Capetown in South Africa and a visiting professor of English at Sul Ross University.

Shockley, who was especially interested in the literature of the Southwest, served as president of the Poetry Society of Texas, the Texas Folklore Society, the Texas American Studies Association and the Texas Conference of College Teachers of English. He also chaired the Texas and Southwest conferences of the American Association of University Professors and was a member and officer of numerous other organizations. He wrote two widely used textbooks and published poetry, fiction, essays and scholarly articles. Among his most successful students is novelist and UNT alumnus Larry McMurtry.

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