Ovations

research  teaching  creativity  outreach

The UTSA College of Liberal and Fine Arts

Contents

On the Air with COLFA Alums

Why Do We Still Care About Shakespeare?

Four hundred years have passed since William Shakespeare penned his last play. Yet his prose, plots and characters are as alive today as they were when the plays were originally staged during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries...

Power and Choice

Power and Choice

For those of us in the midst of it, the breakneck rate of cultural, scientific, and technological evolution is hard to fully appreciate. Harder still to grasp are the radical long-term implications behind this frenzied state of change that so defines our era...

Digitizing the Humanities

Digitizing the Humanities

When archaeologists and anthropologists head off to examine ancient ruins, they still pack the traditional tools – the pointed trowel, the measuring tape, the hand broom and the dustpan...

The Black Madonna

The Black Madonna

Each summer Catholics from across the world embark on a days- and often weeks-long procession from dozens of towns throughout Poland to the Jasna Gorá Monastery in Częstochowa...

Touching the Community

Touching the Community

Few in San Antonio might know that more than 5,000 political refugees from around the world reside in the city, given asylum from political persecution and life-threatening circumstances such as genocide and war...

Is God Good For Us?

Is God Good For Us?

As a graduate student at Duke University in the late 1980s specializing in politics and economic development, Dean’s Distinguished Professor of Social Science Christopher Ellison noted a significant omission in sociology studies...

Understanding Ourselves

Understanding Ourselves

Have you ever wondered what academic research has to do with actual, day-to-day living? if at any point in your life you’ve struggled to gain a sense of social belonging, dealt with crippling amounts of stress, or wondered how to make more meaningful connections in your online interactions, the question may be easier to answer than you’d imagined...

When Theory Meets the Incredible

When Theory Meets the Incredible

A young girl of seven sits transfixed and horrified, tightly gripping the plush armrests of her seat in New Orleans’ iconic Joy Theatre. Looming above her on the seemingly stories-tall screen is the unforgettable image of Katrina, the vampire queen played by Grace Jones in the horror film Vamp...

Alumni Profile: Andrea Anwei-Chen

Alumni Profile: Andrea Anwei-Chen

While most people who chase a career in the film industry aspire to appear on the silver screen, Andrea Anwei Chen is content to work behind the scenes...

Student Profile: Victoria Olivo

Student Profile: Victoria Olivo

As one of 13 children, Victoria Olivo often felt neglected growing up. Her mother, who had problems with alcohol, simply gave up. “She didn’t want to take care of us,” Olivo says...

Welcome to another edition of Ovations, highlighting the outstanding achievements of students, faculty and supporters of the UTSA College of Liberal and Fine Arts.


That Which Endures

John Frederick, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Among the stories in this new issue are several that highlight the enduring nature of cul-tural forms. Culture, as social scientists define it, is paradoxical, in that it embodies and perpetuates lasting truths and values, even while undergoing continuous adjustment as each new generation faces new realities. Why the lasting appeal of Shakespeare? Was it his ability to plumb the deepest, universal psychological truths, or rather was it his talent for crafting stories that can be fit to the times? In the Black Madonna, we see how an ancient symbol of matriarchal holiness is recast again and again to suit particular times and places. It becomes tempting to reverse Karr’s famous epigram: “The more things stay the same, the more they change.”

In examining questions about cultural stasis and change, UTSA students go way beyond the ability to recite a Shakespearean sonnet or date a medieval icon; they develop lasting capacities to evaluate human behavior and further human knowledge. They learn how to understand large bodies of traditional information and creative work, to think through the historical or philosophi- cal issues they pose, to imagine alternatives, and to communicate their new vision. They prepare to preserve the best that the past bequeaths us while further informing and improving the human condition.

And this is exactly the kind of intellectual ability that today’s employers desire in prospective employees. A new study on behalf of the Association of American Colleges and Universities1 finds that nearly all those employers surveyed (93%) agree: “a candidate’s demonstrated capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems is more important than their under- graduate major.”

Few think that having field-specific knowledge and skills alone is what is most needed for indi- viduals’ career success. Eighty percent of employers agree that, regardless of their major, every col- lege student should acquire broad knowledge in the liberal arts and sciences.

As you read our stories, imagine yourself in the classes and research projects described, explor- ing under the guidance of an excellent faculty member. You will see why COLFA endures as a cen- tral component of the UTSA mission.

Daniel J. Gelo,
DEAN

1It Takes More Than a Major: Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student Success. Washington, DC: Hart Research Associates, April 10, 2013, p. 1-2.