professor

Over his seven semesters at the Texan, Dan Resler worked as multimedia-video editor, a senior videographer and a videographer. Over the course of his tenure, he doled out a total of 241 fun facts.
Photo Credit: Lauren Ussery | Daily Texan Staff

Editor’s note: A 30 column is a chance for departing senior staffers to say farewell and reflect on their time spent in The Daily Texan’s basement office. The term comes from the old typesetting mark (–30–) to denote the end of a line.

One of the first videos I did at The Daily Texan was about a professor who co-developed 3-D printing. I was so eager to get everything perfect that I made him stay twice as long as he said he was available as he painstakingly explained every detail and posed for dozens of video portraits. I then took all that copious footage and audio and edited it together into a simple three-minute video. In my time here at The Daily Texan, I have strived to get as much out of stories as I can while making them simple and accessible for our audience. In my time as video editor, I hope I’ve instilled those same values in my team. Every video is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It’s been a real honor to work with a great team throughout my time here. I’m confident I’m leaving the video department in very capable hands.

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Photojournalism professor Eli Reed recently released his book, “A Long Walk Home,” which chronicles his experiences through 261 black-and-white images in an attempt to represent what it means to be human. Reed’s images will be exhibited at the Leica Gallery in SoHo, New York, and will run until the end of June.
Photo Credit: Marshall Tidrick | Daily Texan Staff

Photojournalism professor Eli Reed’s sharp eye and natural curiosity keep him behind the lens and on the move. From violence in war-torn Lebanon to portraits of Hollywood movie stars, he has captured meaningful moments around the world. 

In his retrospective photo book, “A Long Walk Home,” released May 4, the Magnum photographer chronicled a wide range of life experiences through 261 black and white images, which he said represented what it means to be a human being.

“It’s not something that’s just flowery,” Reed said. “I want to get people to think.” 

Reed’s 40-year career has taken him from his hometown in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, to witness dramatic struggles and scenes of everyday life in countries around the world. Reed’s photographs will be exhibited at the Leica Gallery in SoHo, New York, which opens Thursday and runs through June 20.

At 68, Reed cannot flip through his book without pausing to tell a story or two about his adventures. Each image, from a soldier blissed out amongst hippies to two bratty kids peering through a window, has a rich story behind it.

“I didn’t just want to do a retrospective of my favorite pictures,” Reed said. “Everything that’s ever been written, shot or filmed, wouldn’t you want to know what’s going on and see it?” 

Reed is rarely seen without his signature mammoth tusk necklace or Sony camera strapped to his side, always ready to snap a photo at a moment’s notice. Reed said his job as a photographer is to document history and answer life’s basic questions.

“In a way, all photographers are aliens; all writers are aliens,” Reed said. “Because you observe stuff and report back to the masses.”

Reed dedicated “A Long Walk Home” to his mother and father. The preface of the book reads like an intimate letter to his mother, who died when he was 12. Reed calls it his “personal poem.” 

“I have tried to capture the complicated beauty of life in a visual form,” Reed wrote. “I continue the search and live and breathe and wonder at the beauty of it all.” 

Colleen Devine Ellis, the UT Press publicist behind Reed’s book, said his work stands out among the four to five photography books they publish a year because the photographs span across a large time period and cover such a wide range subjects. She said Reed’s technical skills and unique perspective result in truly affecting images.  

“There’s a lot of emotion and sensitivity in his photos,” Ellis said. “His concern with the poor and with children, [especially]. He treats those subjects with a lot of sensitivity and respect.” 

When Reed is not off on an assignment, he’s in front of the classroom teaching. He hopes his students learn how to follow their instincts and form their own opinions about photography. 

“The biggest thing is thinking past this technical stuff — understanding the value of saying something and not just being like everyone else,” Reed said. 

Photojournalism senior Hannah Vickers took Reed’s darkroom class when she first arrived at UT. She said having Reed as a professor taught her to constantly seek out new perspectives because although everyone has a camera, not everyone is a photojournalist. 

“He opened my eyes to the fact that only the people who are working the hardest will succeed,” Vickers said. “I feel like being taught under him has given me the idea that you should always strive to be different.” 

Reed said moments that reveal the human spirit inspire him. He said he is interested in how people live their lives and the legacies they leave behind. 

“I don’t look for a commonality,” Reed said. “Everyone has their preconceived notions, but you have to look past that and see what is the reality.” 

Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

When Austin musician Elizabeth McQueen was growing up in Columbia, Maryland, she thought she would become a professor. She didn’t expect to make a living as a musician and certainly never thought she would one day perform a live duet with Willie Nelson.

“I never thought I would make a living as a performer because I didn’t know anyone who did,” McQueen said. “It didn’t even seem like that was something you could do.”

McQueen developed a love for performing when she was young but didn’t decide to pursue it as a career until after she graduated from college. She wanted to escape the East Coast’s fast-paced lifestyle, so she headed to Austin in 2000.

“I came down here thinking, ‘I want to be a musician,’” McQueen said. “That was my plan.”

McQueen spent eight years as the front woman for the Grammy-nominated band Asleep at the Wheel. During this time, she performed with Willie Nelson, released three solo albums and had two children.

Her latest project is recording an album as EMQ, a band she formed with old friends — guitarist Lauren Gurgiolo and multi-instrumentalist Lindsay Greene. On Thursday, EMQ and local artist Jerome Morrison will launch an exhibit at the Museum of Human Achievement called “Infinity + Infinity.”

Infinity + Infinity is an interactive art project in which audience members’ body movements control holographic images projected onto structures Morrison built. EMQ will play live music while spectators walk through the projections.

McQueen said the project is conceptually complex because it combines electronic music, jazz and 1920s songbook-style writing with holographic art.

“I don’t know exactly what [the music] is, and I don’t know how to describe it — but I like it,” McQueen said. “And I like playing it.”

McQueen said she has always been a fan of experimenting with her approach to music. On her previous albums, she explored a variety of genres including Americana and pub-rock. She asked Gurgiolo and Greene to form EMQ with her so that they could experiment musically. 

“I just keep expanding and changing,” McQueen said. “I guess I’m just not the kind of person who is going to make the same record over and over again.”

In addition to writing and recording her own music, McQueen is a DJ once a week for KUT. In her podcast, “This Song,” she asks artists about songs that have had an impact on them.

“It’s not your favorite song — it’s the song that made you realize you could become a musician, or play an instrument, or what influenced your latest project,” McQueen said. “It’s about who inspired us and whose shoulders we are standing on.”

McQueen said the most important song to her is “Empty Cans” by The Streets. She said the song taught her it is possible to be emotionally honest and open with her music.

“When you get really emotionally honest with your music, you are opening up the door for people to really feel something,” McQueen said. “I don’t think I’d ever thought to really attempt to try something that emotionally honest until I heard that song.”

She said her goals for her music career are always changing, but, for now, she wants to focus on emotional honesty.

“My ultimate goal as a musician is to make music that makes people feel something  more than just having a good time, but makes them really feel,” McQueen said. “But that’ll probably change next week.”

After a months-long search for a new dean of the Moody College of Communication yielded no results, UT Provost and President-elect Gregory Fenves named Jay Bernhardt as interim dean Thursday. 

Bernhardt is currently a professor in the Department of Communication Studies and the Stan Richards School of Advertising and Public Relations. He helped launch the Center for Health Communication and serves as its director. Bernhardt will begin his position as interim dean on Sept. 1. 

Bernhardt said although he has been at UT for about a year, he is impressed with the talent of the students and faculty at the Moody College.

 “As interim dean, I plan to use my academic, government, and industry experience to make sure that Moody College continues on the path of excellence and leadership in all aspects of our teaching, research, practice, and production,” Bernhardt said in an email. 

The dean search committee initially brought three finalists to campus to interview for the position and also planned on interviewing a fourth candidate. According to an email Fenves sent in March, the fourth candidate, whose name administrators declined to provide, dropped from the search process. Fenves announced last week that he would continue the search for a permanent Moody dean. 

Barry Brummett, co-chair of the dean search committee and communication studies professor, said the provost made the ultimate decision to continue the search.  

 “The considerations for the new dean continue to be what they were — that we want the best candidate in the country,” Brummett said. “We are actively recruiting applications.”    

Bernhardt will temporarily replace current Moody Dean Roderick Hart, who has spent more than 10 years in the position. Hart announced his resignation in August 2014 and will step down from his position in May.

Hart said he was influential in recruiting Bernhardt from his position of chair of the Department of Health Education and Behavior at the University of Florida.

“This is someone I have great, great regard for,” Hart said. “I’m glad we were able to get someone of his caliber.”

Bernhardt said he was honored the provost selected him to be interim dean and said he is going to work to that standard.

“My main goal is to be a great listener and spend time with people at every level and from every unit throughout the college and do what I can to help them to be successful in their work and their studies,” Bernhardt said.  

Fenves said the search committee will continue looking for a new dean of the Moody College during Bernhardt’s term.

Photo Credit: Debby Garcia | Daily Texan Staff

An ornately designed logo printed on Shakespeare’s works suggests an earlier rise to prominence than previously thought, according to a UT professor.

English professor Douglas Bruster said his research shows that Shakespeare created a type of brand and gained recognition from his peers earlier in his career through an ornate design that Bruster refers to as “Lady 8.” The logo depicts a female face, birds and leaves and appears on the title pages of the poems “Venus and Adonis” and “The Rape of Lucrece.”

The design previously appeared only on the inside pages of books and often accompanied the names of aristocrats, Bruster said.

“Getting such a sumptuous image on your title page may have said, to Elizabethan readers, that something quite elegant, and important, was inside these books,” Bruster said.

English sophomore Taylor Moore said Bruster’s findings confirm what she has always thought and heard about Shakespeare.

“He had to work extremely hard to overcome class and educational boundaries to situate himself as a respected writer within the Elizabethan era,” Moore said. “The discovery of an ornamental brand, used to signify prestige to readers, just further supports this idea.”

Richard Field, Shakespeare’s friend and publisher, was very deliberate in his use of ornaments and printed the design on the title page of each of Shakespeare’s poems, Bruster said.

Shakespeare lacked the educational background that other writers during his time had, but his poems “Venus and Adonis” and “The Rape of Lucrece” cemented his reputation as a leading writer, Bruster said, and the Lady 8 ornament that embellished these poems added a visual luxury to his poetry and came to stand for his achievement.

“The Lady 8 ornament was employed for a few books earlier,” Bruster said. “But when it was used for his first publications, it came to stand for them, their success and eventually the era he represented. It stands as a long-neglected ‘brand’ for a writer who was much more famous — much earlier than we sometimes like to think.”

Moore said Bruster’s research may change the way society views Shakespeare’s rise as a poet.

“I think these findings will force modern readers to think even more about the impact class had on the reception of Shakespeare’s work,” Moore said.

English professor Mary Blockley said Bruster’s research offers new knowledge about the highly acclaimed poet.

“The forging of this link … does prove there is always more to be known about even this best-known of English authors,” Blockley said.

Photo Credit: Lydia Thron | Daily Texan Staff

Although use of computers for note-taking purposes at the University is up to each professor’s discretion, research shows that students who take handwritten notes typically perform better than those who use a computer.

According to a study, which the Chronicle of Higher Education released last week, out of 95 students who responded, 86 percent of them said they paid the same or more attention in class without using a laptop. 

Management Information Systems professor Clint Tuttle said test results in his Business System Development class showed that students fared better on exams when they wrote their reference sheets by hand as opposed to digitally making and printing them.

“I let them bring in a resource sheet … but they have to write it,” Tuttle said. “One semester, I allowed people to copy-paste from my notes and stuff like that, and a bunch of people brought digital sheets. [Students] did a little worse because they didn’t force themselves to write it all out.”

At the beginning of each semester, Tuttle used to employ a no-technology policy, only allowing students to use laptops after the first exam. 

“By not giving them the crutch of the laptop, like, they had to work a little harder to focus,” Tuttle said. “Once they did it … they just stuck with it.”

Note-taking style depends on individual students, said Ruben Cardenas, government and communication studies junior. He said using printed versions of the professors’ PowerPoint slides and writing alongside each slide is his method for both note-taking and studying.

“That’s how I learned how to study — just writing out my notes because it reinforces what I’m learning and I’m seeing it again in my mind,” Cardenas said. “I get better grades doing that, but to someone else, it may be different.”

Journalism professor Robert Jensen said using technology for notes can be useful in lab-based classes.

“The laptop and the smartphone is a tool we use in journalism, so they’re incorporated much more easily [in class],” Jensen said.

Jensen also said using laptops in lectures may distract other students.

“Using a laptop in the classroom is not only frequently undermining [one] particular student’s ability to focus, but it also undermines other students,” Jensen said. “It’s an effect on the atmosphere of the class, [which is] a collective experience.”

Sami Shalom Chetrit, associate professor at Queens College, discusses his experiences filming a documentary on renowned Israeli poet Erez Bitton in the Peter O’Ddonnel Jr. Building on Monday evening.
Photo Credit: Stephanie Tacy | Daily Texan Staff

Erez Biton used his literary talents to invent a type of language through poetry that had been previously non-existent in Israeli society, according to a visiting Israeli professor from New York.

Prior to Biton’s poetry, Hebrew literature primarily dealt with the motives of Jewish life in Europe, according to Sami Shalom Chetrit, a renowned Moroccan-Israeli poet and professor, who spoke Monday at the Avaya auditorium.

“[Biton] writes about this singer in the court of the king of Morocco, [which] was new and never done before,” Chetrit said. “The essence of his poetry is that he was searching.”

One of the most inspiring aspects of Biton’s story, according to Cherit, was his ability to use his experiences as a blind man to approach poetry in his own way. 

Briton became blind at a young age when he lost his sight in an accident with a hand grenade.

“We went walking around. And that’s when we found that bomb, that hand grenade,” Biton said. “I was so convinced that it was a treasure that I wanted to open it myself. I took it one hand and hit it with a hammer, and it exploded.”

In a documentary produced by Chetrit about the poet’s life, Biton said his disability allowed him to relate to other individuals in unfortunate circumstances. This contributed to his active role with the Israeli Black Panthers, a prominent socialist organization in the 1970s. 

“[When] all the panthers were enlisted into the war, I found myself completely alone,” Biton said in the documentary. “That’s when I started producing poetry.”

Biton spent a period of his life in Morocco and was motivated by the societal injustices he saw to create revolutionary poetry. Chetrit said he created the documentary in order to spread Biton’s story to those who hadn’t heard it.

Middle Eastern Studies lecturer Lior Sternfeld’s said Chetrit inspired him.

“A while ago, Chetrit was the person that, for my generation, revealed another Israeli society,” Sternfeld said.

The descriptive imagery found in Biton’s poetry allows the art to transcend language barriers and be consumed by people of all backgrounds, according to Chetrit.

“It’s a unique way to describe the world in so many colors, sounds and images,” Cherit said. “He sees so many things much better than us.”

Photo Credit: Ellyn Snider | Daily Texan Staff

An exhibit honoring Barbara Jordan, civil rights activist, congresswoman and former UT professor, opened at the Capitol on Tuesday to chronicle her life and work.

 The exhibit, which will be open until Feb. 15, includes an interactive timeline with information about the phases of Jordan’s life. Among these phases is her tenure as the first black woman elected to the Texas Senate, and her election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1972.

The Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs is sponsoring the exhibit along with the Barbara Jordan Foundation and Texas Southern University in honor of Black History Month.

“[Jordan represents] a tremendous amount of history here as a politician and a policy maker here in the state of Texas,” said Susan Binford, assistant dean for communications and outreach at the LBJ School.

Jordan is famous for her extensive work to promote civil rights, including aiding in the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. 

After she left politics, Jordan worked at the University as a professor in the LBJ School for 17 years.

“She was so popular that they actually had to have a lottery to get in to her class because people wanted to get in and there just wasn’t enough seats,” said Gary Chaffee, archivist from the Barbara Jordan archives and special collections at TSU.

Segregation prevented Jordan from attending UT herself, according to Joseph Parker, board member on the Barbara Jordan Foundation. 

Parker said Jordan made a statement for civil rights when she decided to teach at the University.

“To come and give herself to the University of Texas at Austin is a pretty significant statement, and that alone speaks of a journey that she took,” Parker said. “I think in a lot of ways fundamentally [she] was a teacher — a teacher to the nation.”

Jordan’s civil rights efforts paved the way for current student activists, Parker said.

“They are standing on her shoulders and others who have crossed those acres there at UT,” Parker said. “Whether or not they know it.”

Jordan’s efforts at UT are still appreciated and honored at the LBJ School, Binford said. Although the LBJ School is honoring Jordan this month, Binford said they think about her work year round.

“We are in the business this year of training future leaders who are making policy and going out as public servants,” Binford said. “She is a figure that stands for everything that we are trying to impart.”

Parker said he hopes the exhibition at the Capitol and her lasting impact at the LBJ school will encourage University students to learn more about Jordan.

 “If they hear her name, and they may not know about her, then I would hope they would be curious and say, ‘Let me find out more,’” Parker said. “In doing that, they will realize the contribution that she made, and that she was a figure and icon at the LBJ School.”

Students and faculty don’t always flip out over flipped classes.

In a “flipped class,” professors provide online video lectures to students prior to class. The professor then uses classroom time to ensure students have a deeper understanding of the material. Flipped classrooms have increased in popularity at UT since the concept was first introduced in a course transformation initiative by administrators in 2009. 

Harrison Keller, vice provost for Higher Education Policy and Research, said using online tools both in and outside of the classroom has increased with the rise of newer online teaching platforms, such as  Blackboard and Canvas.

“We definitely have more requests from faculty who are interested in incorporating technology into their classrooms,” Keller said. “The change from Blackboard to Canvas has been a catalyst for some of this.”

Keller said not every professor wants to flip the classroom, and he acknowledged not all classes would benefit from the change in format.

“I would say there’s people who use lectures very effectively in combination with all kinds of things,” Keller said. “So we shouldn’t be too dogmatic. This is a time when we want to encourage experimentation and innovation.”

Petroleum engineering senior Danny Cervantes said in his experience, flipped classrooms make learning more difficult.

“I feel like it may have gotten in the way of learning a little bit because it doesn’t really give you the chance to ask questions on sight,” Cervantes said. “It’s really good to have something going on while you’re thinking and just to process information a little better.”

Exercise science junior Gabby Mircovich said she experienced a flipped classroom for the first time this semester.

“I feel like you get a lot out of it because you’re putting the practice that you learn outside of class into work, and then you’re having the professor help you and work through everything with you,” Mircovich said.

Keller said faculty members in various departments are constantly working to redesign the flipped classroom model and said student feedback is a critical element in the retooling process.

“It’s really important for the students to talk to the faculty members,” Keller said. “That insight, that suggestion could end up reshaping the whole class going forward.”

David Laude, senior vice provost for Enrollment and Graduation Management, said he began uploading lectures online about eight years ago, long before UT dedicated any resources to flipping classrooms. Laude said in addition to improving student test scores, flipped classrooms make teaching more enjoyable for professors.

“It makes teaching an absolute delight, in my opinion,” Laude said. “Instead of simply repeating what’s on a PowerPoint slide, you have the freedom and the time to do whatever you want with a classroom in terms of engaging the students.”

Laude said not all class instruction, such as in-class writing or laboratory exercises, can be done online.

“I think there are certain classrooms for which it’s ideal, but not for all,” Laude said.

These golden za’atar roasted vegetables with quinoa are easy to prepare and full of flavor, thanks to za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend.
Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

Adding spices to a dish is the equivalent of a professor giving students extra credit just for showing up to class: It requires little-to-no effort and makes everything better. 

Before stocking up and maintaining a spice collection, there are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind. Spices should be stored in airtight containers in dark, cool places and tossed out when their scent disappears — about a year at max for most dried herbs and spices. With the exception of pre-made spice blends, which are perfect for the beginner cook, avoid buying jars of individual spices.

Buying in bulk is economical because it makes it easier to pick an exact amount. Whole Foods, Central Market and H-E-B all have bulk spice sections where plastic bags are filled and weighed before purchase.

When cooking, keep in mind that fresh herbs will pack more of a punch than dried herbs. Fresh herbs, like most produce, aren’t always in season, and that makes their dried counterparts more useful. For both dried herbs and dried spices, you’ll only ever be operating on the teaspoon scale.

Even dishes that require minimal effort, such as dips and sauces, can be elevated by simple seasoning tricks. Simmering brings out the spices’ flavors more than garnishing the dish immediately before serving, so it’s crucial to stir in bay leaves or cumin near the beginning of the cooking process for dishes such as lentil and stews.

For the most boring of dishes — roasted vegetables, for instance — spice blends are a perfect, easy fix to really bring out flavor. One such magical and efficient spice blend is za’atar.

Za’atar, a Middle Eastern spice blend that has a base of sumac and sesame seeds, can transport you out of West Campus during your dining experience and make the most simple dishes into something everyone can enjoy.