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Coming to UTSA: Free NYT and teaching workshop

By Tim Brownlee
Assistant Director of Public Affairs

(March 11, 2009)--As part of the New York Times Collegiate Readership Program, approximately 400 copies of The New York Times will be distributed free of charge on a trial basis to 10 UTSA locations. The newspapers will be available March 16-April 24 with the objectives of encouraging newspaper readership and their use in the classroom. The Office of the Provost and Academic Affairs initiated UTSA participation in the program.

>> As part of the initiative, the UTSA Teaching and Learning Center and The New York Times will host a reception and presentations for faculty, graduate students and staff members from 3 to 4:30 p.m., Monday, March 16 in the Business Building University Room (2.06.04) on the UTSA Main Campus. Todd Halvorsen, New York Times Southwest education manager, and Pulitzer prize winning journalist Ford Burkhart of the Times foreign desk will discuss practical and creative ways to use newspapers in the classroom. Register for the session at the UTSA Teaching and Learning Center Web site or contact Terri Kadala at (210) 458-7374.

The newspaper has compiled more than 3,400 syllabi from faculty around the nation who incorporate the newspaper into their curricula. The speakers will discuss some of these teaching ideas and monographs available at The New York Times Web site that outline classroom activities and assignments in a range of disciplines.

"Because of the Times' depth of coverage internationally and nationally almost every discipline can benefit from our daily source of record on issues and events," said Halvorsen. "The Times strives to help readers achieve a richer understanding of the world -- from politics to poetry, technology to hip-hop, the business arena to the sports arena, and new technology to career opportunities."

"I think this initiative is a tremendous opportunity for our faculty and students," said Richard Diem, dean of the UTSA Honors College. "Challenging students to analyze editorials, weigh evidence and compare articles with competing points of view can build the critical thinking skills needed as a college student, as a productive worker and as an informed citizen."

"My former institution made The New York Times available to faculty and students," said Barbara Millis, director of the Teaching and Learning Center. "It was gratifying to see students poring over a challenging newspaper and talking with faculty about the creative ways they integrated newspaper assignments into their courses. I encourage everyone to come to the reception and presentations."

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Bio: Todd Halvorsen

Todd Halvorsen became an education manager for The New York Times in August 2007. He provides The New York Times and programs to university students, faculty and administration across the Southwestern United States.

Halvorsen formerly was a marketing manager working with retailers such as Starbucks. Previously, he was the circulation director of the East Valley and Scottsdale Tribune in Phoenix, Ariz., and was the sales and marketing manager at the Austin American-Statesman. A native of Oklahoma City, he received a B.A. degree in marketing from the University of Missouri, Kansas City.

Bio: Ford Burkhart

Ford Burkhart was a staff editor at the foreign desk of The New York Times for 11 years through 2007. He was a writer for the "Portraits of Grief" package in the Times after the 9/11 attacks. The package was part of "A Nation Challenged," a section cited in the Pulitzer Prize for Community Service that year. Burkhart was an editor for parts of the reporting from Afghanistan that won another of the Times' seven Pulitzers that year. He also wrote science and medical obituaries for the Science Times section.

He works as a science writer for the Research Corp., the only U.S. foundation devoted exclusively to the promotion of science. He also writes for The BIO5 Institute at the University of Arizona, the leading institute for collaboration in the biosciences.

He earned a Ph.D. in public administration from Arizona State University and has taught at several universities overseas and in the United States, including the University of Arizona and the American University in Cairo, Egypt. He has conducted workshops on the press for Stanford University and Columbia University. Additionally, he has worked for The Los Angeles Times, The Miami Herald and The Associated Press. He reported from China for The AP in 1973, when he was a supervising editor of the AP Foreign Desk.

Burkhart has received three Fulbright Fellowships to teach in Nigeria, Uganda and Malaysia, and received two Asia Foundation Grants to teach political journalism in Mongolia and Singapore. He has a B.A. in history and journalism from the University of Arizona and an M.A. in communications theory from Stanford. In 2008, he was named to the Journalism Alumni Hall of Fame at the University of Arizona.

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