by Sara Abraham-Oxford
Director of Interdisciplinary Studies Dr. Donna Akers’ research focuses on Native American history, aiming to connect the legal and extra-legal historical actions of the U.S. government and its citizens with consequences for Native Americans. She is currently working on an article titled “Decolonizing the Master Narrative: Treaties and Other American Myths” to be published in the spring edition of the Wicazo Sa Review. She says the article discusses how U.S. college-level history text books tell a less-than-truthful version of westward movement without portraying the authenticity of the Native American experience of warfare, taking of land, conquest and exploitation.
Akers, a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, is also working on a book, Genocide in America: The Destruction of Native Americans by the U.S. Government, to be published in 2014. She has authored two previous books about Choctaw history and culture.
A mainstream narrative in elementary school that contrasted greatly with the history she had learned from family spurred her study of Native American history, Akers recalls. Her Choctaw grandmother’s comment that “we don’t interfere with the stories they tell themselves” also stayed with her and provided additional motivation to pursue graduate school. “I wanted to write about Native American history from an indigenous point of view. Native scholars call this field Decolonization History and it is considered a counter-narrative to mainstream U.S. history,” Akers says.
Akers, who is an Associate Professor in the School of Urban and Public Affairs (SUPA) at UT Arlington in addition to serving as the Director of School’s INTS program, spoke about her research to SUPA’s Ph.D. Colloquium earlier in the semester and presented a lecture titled ‘How to Discover Your Native Roots’ in November as part the University’s Native American Heritage Month.
by Joanne Lovito-Nelson
Dr. Karabi Bezboruah’s paper “Community Organizing for Health Care: An Analysis of the Process” was published in the Journal of Community Practice, Vol 21.
A blog post discussing Bezboruah’s paper and its relevance notes, “New research from The University of Texas at Arlington presents three ways to overcome common barriers that nonprofits face when building capacity to address community needs.”
The blog post states, “Bezboruah offers three conclusions to overcome the nearly universal barriers of exclusion of low-income individuals, stake-holders’ misaligned ideologies and approaches, and public apathy. And they’re not all that different from previous community-based participatory initiatives.”
The post found on Georgia Nonprofit NOW, a blog from the Georgia Center for Nonprofits, outlines Bezboruah’s conclusions as noted below:
Grassroots identification of the problem: Allowing the service beneficiaries to identify the needs of their community will translate to more appropriately informed results as potential solutions and the organizational processes develop.
Identiﬁcation of community speciﬁc solutions through collaborative discussions: With the leadership of a facilitator and the inclusion of all stake-holders — community members, service providers, public officials, and beneficiaries — in the development of goals and objectives, consensus can be achieved, creating more holistic solutions to the community-identified issues.
Building public buy-in: Advocacy is an essential piece of nonprofits’ responsibility in their communities (and even more broadly for more universal issues). Through the “use of community resources to educate the public and generate opinion about the critical problems faced by the community,” awareness and support can be built among stake-holders and the general public alike.
by Joanne Lovito-Nelson
Photo courtesy Ivonne Audirac
Dr. Ivonne Audirac was an invited discussant at a roundtable that addressed ‘The Global Challenge of Shrinking Cities’ as part of the Cities Regrowing Smaller conference held recently in Essen, Germany.
The European Cooperation for Science and Technology website states, “To deal with the results of demographic, economic and physical contraction processes and to plan for the future of considerably smaller but nevertheless livable cities accordingly is one of the most challenging tasks in the near future.”
The site notes the purpose of the conference was to, “bring together experts from different arenas to share their knowledge on the shrinking cities process and to discuss possible approaches to deal with shrinkage.”
by Joanne Lovito-Nelson
Photo Credit: Sacramento Tree Foundation website
Through a project titled Monitoring and Modeling Tree Growth, Longevity and Performance, Dr. Yekang Ko states she, “will examine the effects of shade trees on building energy performance in Sacramento, CA.”
According to Ko, the prime sponsor of the study is the United States Forest Service.
“Using field surveys and remote sensing technologies,” Ko said she will “conduct time series analysis to document changes in tree survival, growth, and energy performance for a sample of Sacramento shade trees planted by Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) around 254 residences from 1991-1993.”
She goes on to say, “This database will be used with the building energy model to calculate effects of each Sacramento Shade Program tree on respective building energy performance over the 20-year period. The long-term effectiveness of different species and locations will be assessed.”
Ko is a professor in the City and Regional Planning Program in the School of Urban and Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Arlington.
Post and photo by Joanne Lovito-Nelson
Drs. Wyman and Cole (left to right)
Dr. Sherman Wyman is retiring from the University of Texas at Arlington after 41 years of dedicated service to the University and the School of Urban and Public Affairs (SUPA).
At his retirement reception held April 16, 2013, Dr. Richard Cole spoke highly of Wyman and his contributions to both the School and the University.
Among the accomplishments noted were Wyman’s service as Director of the Institute of Urban Studies from 1972 to 1978 and later, as the Director of the Center for Economic Development, Research, and Services (CEDRAS). Both the Institute and the Center provided research and services to cities throughout the state of Texas.
In addition, Wyman obtained federal funding to develop Public Administration and Management programs in the countries of Ukraine, Serbia, and Montenegro. He also served as the Principle Investigator on a Department of Justice (DOJ) grant, Project Safe Neighborhoods: Reduction of Gun-related Violence in Target Neighborhoods in Dallas.
Dr. Wyman spoke very briefly thanking his many guests that included family members, SUPA faculty and staff, officials from various cities, alumni, and students.
by Joanne Lovito-Nelson
Dr. Richard Cole (file photo)
In a unanimous vote of the Urban Affairs Association (UAA) Governing Board, Dr. Richard Cole was inducted as a member of the UAA Service Honor Roll.
In a letter to Cole, the Governing Board noted that the award is well-deserved and stated, “On behalf of the many urbanists who have benefited from your work, and the future generations who will build upon its foundation, we offer our heartfelt gratitude.”
The letter went on to say, “The Urban Affairs Association has created the UAA Service Honor Roll to recognize those members who have contributed outstanding service over the years to the association.”
Cole, along with other honorees, will be recognized at the UAA conference to be held in San Francisco this April.
The association’s website states, “The Urban Affairs Association (UAA) is the international professional organization for urban scholars, researchers, and public service professionals.”
To learn more about the association, visit the UAA website.
Welcome back School of Urban and Public Affairs students.
SUPA is hosting a Welcome Bash for all new and returning students on Thursday, Sept. 20 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Meet us at the Library Mall for hamburgers and say hello to our faculty and your fellow students. You’ll even have a chance to win our drawing for SUPA T-shirts and other goodies.
The School of Urban and Public Affairs is excited to have two new faculty members joining us this semester:
David Arditi, Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies
Before joining UT Arlington, David Arditi earned his Ph.D. from George Mason University in Cultural Studies. At GMU, Arditi taught classes on interdisciplinary studies, globalization and cultural studies. His dissertation explores the condition of the music industry during the transition to digital music production and demonstrates that contrary to the recording industry’s stated position that digital music has harmed the industry, major record labels are in a stronger position today as a result of this digital transformation. Furthermore, it shows that the music industry led this transformation rather than reacting to it. Broadly speaking, Arditi’s research lies at the intersection of cultural studies, media studies and political theory.
Dr. Arditi will teach INTS 4301 – Interdisciplinary Research Process this semester.
Yekang Ko, Assistant Professor of City and Regional Planning
Before joining UT Arlington, Ye Kang Ko received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 2012. At Cal, Ko worked at the Center for Metropolitan Studies and taught courses in GIS and environmental planning. Ko’s research focuses on quantitative assessment of urban sustainability using spatial analysis. Her research and teaching support the long-term resilience of built environments that minimize energy consumption and maximize on-site renewable energy utilization. She is also interested in international planning in the Asia-Pacific region. Her works are based on environmental planning, science, policy and active collaboration with local governments and NGOs.
Dr. Ko’s dissertation research on energy efficient solar cities classifies the energy performance of neighborhoods and as a spin off this research, she has recently submitted an revised article to the Journal of Planning Literature that reviews design principles and research findings related to urban form and energy use. She has also submitted to the Journal of the American Planning Association the article entitled “Solar Sprawl Versus Compact Neighborhoods: Assessing an Optimum Urban Density for Energy Sustainability,” coauthored with K. Jang, D.J. Radke, and R. Cervero.
Dr. Ko will teach CIRP 5327 – Introduction to Green Cities and Transportation this semester.
Congratulations Carl Grodach, PhD, Associate Professor of City and Regional Planning at the School of Urban and Public Affairs! He recently earned a unique grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to study the impact of the arts on cities.
Read more about his NEA grant in this news release from The University of Texas at Arlington:
Continue reading ‘Grodach earns NEA grant to study the impact of the arts on cities’
Michan Connor, Ph.D., assistant professor of Interdisciplinary Studies, will spend the 2012-13 academic year on leave from UTA as a Visiting Scholar at the James Weldon Johnson Institute (JWJI) at Emory University in Atlanta. The JWJI, an interdisciplinary research institute funded by the Mellon Foundation, supports research on the history and ongoing legacy of the civil rights movement and its connections to other movements for justice and equality.
Connor will spend his time in residency in Atlanta researching the historical roots and contemporary politics of a movement by residents of several of Atlanta’s northern suburbs to separate from Fulton County and form a separate Milton County. Opponents have argued that this move would exacerbate significant racial inequalities in the metropolitan area and institutionalize racial and class segregation, while proponents contend that their effort is unrelated to race and simply seeks to empower local communities. By studying how those communities were formed in a longer historical perspective, he will explore links between community, local government, and open and hidden forms of racial ideology to evaluate the claim made by several prominent sociologists that the fragmentation of metropolitan areas into communities of high and low opportunity is the most important civil rights challenge of our time.