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Texas Council for the Humanities elects UTPA dean to board
Posted: 07/17/2003
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Dr. Rodolfo Rocha, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at The University of Texas-Pan American and a 25 year faculty member, has been elected to a two year term on the Board of the Texas Council for the Humanities (TCH).

Rocha, who has also served as a UTPA department chair and curator of the Rio Grande Valley Historical Collection, will be one of three representatives from South Texas on the board and will serve on two TCH committees for 2003 - Grants Review and Humanities.

"I want to be an advocate on the board for grant proposals from South Texas. I'd like to see the number of proposals increase and insure that the proposals from our area are brought to the table," Rocha said.

Dr. Rodolfo Rocha
Rocha began his doctoral studies in history at Texas Tech University under the direction of David M. Vigness, one of the founders of TCH. Rocha has an extensive record of professional presentations and has served as a member of the editorial board for publications of the proceedings of Mexican-Americans in Texas History Conference.

Rocha's professional works include numerous book chapters and articles. He has also co-authored three books, most recently "Mexican Americans in Texas History: Selected Essays."

TCH was founded in 1973 and serves as an advocate for public humanities in Texas. Based in Austin, the private nonprofit organization is governed by a volunteer board of 21 members from throughout the state, including five gubernatorial appointees.

As an advocate, TCH seeks to promote the study of history, literature, philosophy, ethics, foreign language, and other disciplines of the humanities in schools, universities and communities. Financial support is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities and by gifts and grants from foundations, corporations and individuals.

Ongoing TCH programs include the Texas Council for the Humanities Resource Center; the annual Outstanding Teaching of the Humanities award; Teaching with Technology workshops for K-12 teachers; and Humanities Interactive, a web site featuring online humanities exhibits and print materials (www.humanities-interactive.org). TCH also publishes a semiannual magazine called the Texas Journal of Ideas, History and Culture and a newsletter called Humanities.

TCH also plays an important role in providing funding to a wide range of Texas organizations to develop public humanities programs of local interest. Grants are awarded to not-for-profit educational, cultural and civic organizations.

TCH grant opportunities include packaged program and speaker grants, which are small grants that fund a speaker or rental of an exhibit from the TCH Resource Center.

Other types of TCH grants are community project grants and media project grants. Community project grants fund lectures, seminars and conferences, book and film discussions, interpretive exhibits, site interpretations, chautauquas, town forums and civic discussions and K-12 teacher workshops. Media project grants fund film, video, radio or interactive internet programming.

Locally, O'Grady Elementary in Mission is one of several schools that have participated in TCH's Prime Time Family Reading Time initiative, in which families, guided by a storyteller and scholar, read and discuss award-winning children's books with humanities themes.

The Voces Americanas: Latino Literature in the United States exhibition recently held in the UTPA Library is a traveling exhibition provided by the TCH Resource Center. Other Valley institutions, including the Hidalgo County Historical Museum and the Edinburg Public Library, have received TCH grants to provide exhibits, speakers, and educational workshops and resources to area teachers, students and citizens.

"I want to encourage the public to submit proposals. We are willing to work with anyone in developing and writing their proposals to submit to the board," Rocha said.

Rocha said the deadline for the next round of community and media projects is Aug. 1 for the letter of intent/draft proposal and Sept. 15 for the completed application. The deadline for packaged programs and speakers grants is Aug. 15 for a completed application.

For more information contact Rocha at 956/381-2175 or by e-mail at rochar@panam.edu or visit the Texas Council of Humanities web site at www.public-humanities.org

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