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UTPA authors and grant writers touted for their inspirational work
By Gail Fagan, Public Affairs Representative
(956) 665-7995
Posted: 04/12/2012
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A new tradition of honoring inspiration by faculty and staff began April 10 at The University of Texas-Pan American.


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Pictured at UTPA's first reception to celebrate the accomplishments of authors and grant writers at the University are left to right Dr. Hávidan Rodríguez, vice president for Academic Affairs and provost; Dr. Farzaneh Razzaghi, Library dean; Dr. Karen Watt, professor of educational leadership honored for $41,950 grant from College Spark; Dr. Robert S. Nelsen, UTPA president; and Michael Minor, professor of marketing honored for his textbook "International Business--2012."
Published book authors and writers of major research grant awards over the past academic year (September 2010 to August 2011) were celebrated for their accomplishments at the first UTPA authors recognition reception held at the University Library.

UTPA President Robert S. Nelsen greeted 41 book authors and writers of 82 grant awards totaling more than $31 million during the event. He said he knew that UT Pan Am had talented people who have been successful at writing books and doing research and wanted to celebrate those accomplishments.

"We just expected them to do it and we never said thank you. They get our name out there, they are on the cutting edge, they know what they are teaching and it really helps, so we brought two groups together" he said. "Our faculty can stand with any faculty any place and I am very proud of them. They are smart, they are productive, and they are good."

Dr. Catherine Ragland, assistant professor of ethnomusicology and director of the master's program in ethnomusicology in the College of Arts and Humanities, said she was honored and humbled to be recognized among the published authors.

"There are a lot of fascinating, smart faculty here who have a lot of good ideas and I think are and will be producing more work. I hope that I can add more to that as well," she said.

She spent more than 10 years doing research for her book "Musica Norteña: Mexican Migrants Creating a Nation Between Nations." She said the book is a history of how music Norteña evolved on the Mexican side of the border and its influence on Tejano and Texas Mexican Conjunto music and how it became the music of this region.

"It really became this transnational music genre that not only spoke to the border culture and border experience, but also to traveling, migrating and the experiences of people living in the U.S. and then making its way back to Mexico," she said. "It is considered to be music of working class people, particularly of rural parts of Mexico."

Dean of the Library Dr. Farzaneh Razzaghi said it was appropriate to have the event during National Library Week and in University's library, where the books were on display at the event and will be permanently stored. She said the library is establishing an online UTPA Faculty Publication Repository for all faculty publications regardless of what and where they published. At this time, the repository includes citations only and the library has completed the entry of faculty publications of only three of the seven colleges so far, she said.

"We are hoping that we will be able to create access to the full text of their journal articles. Also, if they have online books and we have the book, then a link can be created to link to the full text," Razzaghi said. "The repository is a working document, so we need to keep up with it and add any new publications."