The University of Texas Pan-American


COMM Highlights for Spring 2011 From the Department of Communication

Department of Communication

  • Congratulations to Eric! Please reference his positive review (attachment) for Crawling with Monsters from New Orleans Fringe Festival. Since the debut of Crawling with Monsters in New Orleans, Dr. Wiley has received a number of other possible invitations including theatre festivals in New York and Miami and possible invitations to conferences in Chicago and Baltimore.
  • Congratulations to Yanrong! The paper she co-authored with Jing Liu received a Top Four paper award from the Intercultural Communication Division of the International Communication Associations. Their paper titled,  "Native Message in Nonnative Form: Self Mention as Distinct Speech Codes in English Language Use in Intercultural Communication," will be presented in Boston, MA during the May 26-30 conference.
  • Congrats to Professor Lemanski. The logo and name developed by her students Lileana Cantu, Daniel Flores, Maria F. Garza, and Enrique Lastra from her Creative Strategies class in Summer I 2010 has officially been adopted by the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council for their bus system.
  • Congrats to Professor Grabowski. He took 5 students to the USITT-SW Winter symposium in San Antonio. He was able to tour backstage at Sea World, the vaults of the Tobin Theatre Collections at the McNAy Art museum and a number of hands on workshops in lighting, costume rendering, scene painting and molding techniques.  There were over 60 entries in the student design competition of which Theatre major Carmen Jordan's work and display took the TOP PRIZE in the prop design/construction section. Her work was for 13 O'Clock's production of Dave DaVinci saves The Universe.

I am working on our faculty productivity report and hope to get that to you soon.

1. The Department of Communication’s graduate program has quadrupled in size (SCH generation) since 2007. Compared to Spring 2010, graduate SCH is up 67% making if the largest percentage increase out of the university’s 32 graduate (masters) programs.

This growth (and continued growth) is attributable to the following:

  • Two new graduate certificates in Communication Training and Consulting and Media Relations and Strategic Communication. Since 2009, almost 20 certificates have been granted.
  • A Communication Teaching and Learning Academy, which prepares graduate students to teach lower division courses in Communication. Graduate teaching assistants are a sustainable resource in that they provide high quality teaching in lower division courses while taking a full graduate course load of three seminars per semester.
  • Offering graduate seminars at the McAllen Teaching Site
  • Being one of the first graduate programs to participate in the new University Center at Harlingen program.
  • Developing a strong partnership with the Department of Communication at The University of Texas at Brownsville.

2. The Department of Communication is committed to helping resolve the shortage of Hispanic PhDs in Communication (only 3.1%) by developing future faculty members. Since 2007, the department has 3 (and soon to be 4) former graduate students who are pursuing terminal degrees in some of the country’s top tier doctoral granting institutions.

3. The Department of Communication is developing an emphasis in Latino Theatre, which is long overdue. Our vision for the Latino Theatre program is to eventually become a signature program in the College of Arts and Humanities, similar to the mariachi and ballet folklorico programs.

  • Congrats to Dr. Jessica Raley, Dr. Timothy P. Mottet, and Graduate Student Ms. Alyssa Cerroni. Their paper titled, The Development of the Assessment of Pediatric Resuscitation Communication has been accepted for presentation at the annual conference of the Eastern Communication Association in Washington DC in April. Also, this team of researchers (including graduate student Monica Mercado and undergraduate Mix Reyes) has been given permission to begin collecting data and will be coding emergency room resuscitations the week of February 28th at Dell Children’s Hospital in Austin. Dell Children’s Hospital is a pediatric trauma center and a member of the Seton Family of  Hospitals.  
  • Mitchell Communications Group is a full-service public relations agency in Fayetteville, Arkansas ( They are actively recruiting our students for a Spring Break week where they fly students in for a week of agency work including room and board. I received this message this week from this prestigious agency: We are please to let you know that we have selected TWO students from University of Texas Pan-American to participate in Big Break. Both Lilli Lopez (junior) and Amanda Perez (senior) have accepted our invitation and will be working with seven other interns during our first mini-internship program. They are both lovely, bright and interested students. Since Amanda will be graduating this year and Lilli anticipates graduating in May 2012, our recruiting possibilities are maximized by including both of them.
  • Congrats to the Communication Studies Club: Under the superb leadership of Professors Liz Garcia and Marisa Saavedra, and student leader Ms. Mix Reyes, the Communication Studies Club had 30 students who participated in a service learning project on Friday and Saturday, March 18th and 19th for Proyecto Azteca in San Juan, Texas. Proyecto Azteca is a local Habitat for Humanity-like organization that aids in building housing for those in need.
  • Congrats to student Ms. Natalie Arriola, Broadcast Journalism major and Bronc Radio & TV publications member, who was recently hired by “Border Media,” KURV Radio as a sports producer.
  • Congrats to Professor Fred Mann. Mr. Mann was a broadcast team member for “ MITV McHi-Memorial Football”  sports program that received a First place in the Sports category at the annual TSPRA (TX School Public Relations Association)awards recently. This broadcast will advance to nationals later this year. Mann served in the broadcast booth and along the sidelines for this broadcast.
  • Congrats to Professor G. Selber and The Pan American newspaper and Professor Pazdera and the Panorama magazine. These student publications have been selected to receive Region 8 Mark of Excellence Awards. The awards will be presented during the Mark of Excellence Luncheon at the upcoming Spring Conference April 8-9 in Norman, Oklahoma. The conference will be held at the University of Oklahoma. The following awards will be received:
  • Breaking News Photography-4 Year College/University/Alma E. Hernandez/The Pan American
  • DREAM Act, Online Feature Reporting-4 Year College/University/Jose Villareal, Joao Calhandro, Kristen Cabrera/The Pan American Online
  • SGA Elections 2010, Editorial Cartooning-4 Year College/University, Anthony Salinas, Elias Moran/The Pan American
  • Science, Perry and UTPA TOONS. Feature Writing-4 Year College/University, Benny Salinas/The Pan American
  • Artist, author finds Valley inspiration
  • Best Student Magazine-4 Year College/University/Panorama Magazine Staff/Panorama Magazine
  • Theatre student Mr. Tim Pedro was one of 8 students accepted into the United States Institute for Theatre Technology’s (USITT) Elite training weekend in Las Vegas. He will be training at the Cirque du Soleil Training Center where he will get experience working with automation, media projection, rigging and sound. A special thanks to Professor Grabowski for mentoring Mr. Pedro.
  • Congrats to Dr. Wiley: The  CRAWLING WITH MONSTERS theatre project directed by Dr. Wiley has been invited to perform at the national conference of the American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE) in Chicago in July. AATE is the oldest and most prestigious national association that focuses on theatre and education in grades K-12.
  • Summer Schedule Update: I had a three-hour meeting on Friday with Drs. Dahlia Guerra, Cynthia Brown, and Ana Maria Rodriguez regarding summer schedule. We have received some new direction for the summer. This summer, our goal is to maximize yield (high class enrollment) and use some of the profit to subsidize the Fall semester. This will allow us to hire lectures and possibly GTAs. Together, each department chair sat with this team and went department by department and line by line eliminating classes using the following criteria: classes that do not have a history of yielding high enrollments in summer and classes that were not offered last summer. I will be contacting faculty impacted by these decisions. We can discuss scheduling options.
  • Congrats to Dr. Greg Selber who received word last week that he is the 2011 recipient of the prestigious Putt Powell Award for high school sports writing. This state-wide award is sponsored by the Texas High School Coaches Association, which includes 800 members. The award has been given annually to a Texas Journalist since 1950. Nominees from each region within the state are forwarded to this coaching association. Only three journalists from this region of Texas have earned this award. Dr. G. Selber has published between 200-300 sports-related articles and 2,000 photos. He will be honored at a banquet in Ft. Worth and will receive a championship ring. Congrats Greg!
  • Congrats to Student Publications who walked away from with a total of 28 awards this year at the 2011 Texas Intercollegiate Press Association in Fort Worth. Here’s a list of the awards. We salute and honor our students, student leaders, and faculty advisors. A special thanks to Kristen Cabrera for compiling this list.



  • Honorable Mention - Overall Excellence
  • Third Place - Cover Design
  • Third Place -Illustration: Delvis Cortez
  • Second Place - Poem - Jennifer Mendoza

Bronc Radio/TV

  • Honorable Mention - TV Single Public Affairs Program: Oscar Margain, Daniel Ledezma, Andrew Sanchez
  • Honorable Mention - TV Audition Tape: Lilliana Lopez


  • Honorable Mention -  General News Photo: Daniel Flores
  • Honorable Mention - Feature Photo: Daniel Flores
  • First Place - Feature Photo: Joshua Garza
  • Third Place - Overall Design
  • Third Place - Overall Excellence

The Pan American

  • Honorable Mention -  General Column: Sara Hernandez
  • Honorable Mention - Feature Page: Alexis Carranza
  • Third Place - News Feature Story: Kristen Cabrera
  • Third Place - Critical Review: Nadia Tamez-Robledo
  • Third Place - Single Subject Presentation: Jennifer Tate, Sara Hernandez, Delvis Cortez
  • Second Place - Overall Excellence
  • Second Place- Online: Best interactive Graphic: Jose Villarreal, Joao Calhandro, Kristen Cabrera
  • Second Place- Online: Best Multimedia Package: Sara Hernandez, Alma E. Hernandez, Kristen Cabrera, Pamela Morales, Heather Arevalo
  • First Place - Online: Best Multimedia Package: Jose Villarreal, Joao Calhandro, Kristen Cabrera
  • First Place - Online: Best Use of Data: Jose Villarreal, Joao Calhandro, Kristen Cabrera
  • First Place - Information Graphic - Jennifer Tate
  • First Place -Picture Story: Alma E. Hernandez, Freddie Martinez, Tammy Ayala, Mayra Godinez

On-site Competition awards by the following students:

  • Best of Show: Honorable Mention - The Pan American
  • Editorial Cartoon: Honorable Mention - Anthony Salinas
  • Headline Writing: Honorable Mention- Kristen Cabrera
  • Radio News Writing: Second Place - Kristen Cabrera
  • Magazine Design: First Place - Jennifer Tate
  • Congrats to Dr. Petra Guerra who presented, “From the Fields to the Ivory Tower:  Testimonies of an older woman,” as part of the panel, “From the fields to academia: A migrant symposium,” at the Chicano Latino Studies Program Conference, Michigan State University, April 15-17, 2011.
  • Congrats to Ms. Anita Reyes who was awarded the Meritorious Service Award for student publications recognizing employees whose loyal dedication and efficient performance surpass standard expectations.
  • Congrats to Theatre graduate student Ms. Essie Morris who successfully passed her written and oral examinations.
  • Congrats to Ms. Elvan Galvan for 10 years of service to UTPA.
  • Congrats to Theatre student, Ms. Nancy Amaro, one of the work study employees in the costume shop, who won an award last week for being the third of three Work Studies of the Year. As the third place winner, she received a small scholarship.

Congrats to Dr. Jack Stanley for being the department’s recommended interim chair for AY2012. Dean Guerra will recommend Dr. Stanley to Provost and President who will make the appointment. I will keep you informed as information becomes available.

Congrats to Dr. Wiley was notified this week that his Latino Theatre Initiative has been invited to the New York International Fringe Festival. This is a highly-competitive, world-class theatre festival, “the theatrical equivalent of the Sundance Film festival.” The festival is held in August and the show is an original, bilingual piece of experimental theatre dealing with border issues, an abbreviated version of which went to the New Orleans Fringe Festival and which has also been invited to the national convention of the American Alliance for Theatre and Education in Chicago. The following was extracted from the email: Your production of Crawling with Monsters has been ACCEPTED, and on behalf of The Present Company and the entire FringeNYC team, we want to welcome you to FringeNYC. We have chosen you to participate because we believe you will make an invaluable contribution to this year’s festival. It is our goal to make FringeNYC the most dynamic festival possible, and we invite you to help make this happen!

Dr. Wiley and some of his cast members, along with Dean Guerra and myself, were invited to the President’s Office to discuss this important theatre initiative and the recognition that it is bringing to UTPA.

1201 W. University Drive Edinburg, TX 78539-2999
956/665-UTPA  1-866-441-UTPA
UTPA Bronc