(Nov. 24, 2009)--In 2006, the UTSA College of Liberal and Fine Arts invited Sonja Lanehart to join the faculty as the Brackenridge Endowed Chair in Literature and the Humanities. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, Lanehart holds master's and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Michigan. She came to UTSA from the University of Georgia.
The endowment for the chair was established in 2003 with funds from the San Antonio-based George W. Brackenridge Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. A key area supported by the endowment is UTSA's innovative English doctoral program, which offers students opportunities for advanced study and research in cross-cultural, transnational approaches to English language and literary studies.
Lanehart is a sociolinguist who specializes in the study of English literature and linguistics, humanities, education and African-American studies. She is the author of "Sista, Speak! Black Women Kinfolk Talk about Language and Literacy" (2002, University of Texas Press).
In her three years at UTSA, Lanehart has distributed endowment funds to support student professional development; organize scholarly conferences, symposia and institutes; and support student enrichment programs.
"I really enjoy having the endowment because it allows me to do things that most professors would only dream of being able to do, without competing for funding and writing grants all the time," Lanehart said.
Much of Lanehart's endowment use focuses on helping students -- from the undergraduate to the doctoral level -- develop professionally. In academia, the first step on the professional ladder is conducting research that is shared at conferences or published in journals or books.
"Any student who takes my class and either publishes a paper or writes a proposal and submits it to a conference -- and it gets accepted -- receives $500 -- something I am able to offer because of the endowment," Lanehart noted. She also supports research assistant positions with her funding.
In 2008, her students experienced a memorable opportunity for professional engagement -- they helped to plan and host the first-ever conference on African-American women's language. The conference tied into a class by the same name that Lanehart taught that spring.
"Those students got to work closely with me in preparing for that conference? They got to talk with these people they had been reading about up close and personal," she said. "It was a great experience."
"Professor Lanehart's commitment of time and funding to encourage her students to reach beyond classroom experiences and into the real-life applications of their academic accomplishments gives students a bright future as they move forward in their professional careers," said Emily Denman Thuss, trustee for The Brackenridge Foundation. "This is an innovative and exciting use of the George W. Brackenridge Foundation bequest."
Lanehart currently is at work on several other conferences, symposia and institutes -- sharing knowledge and raising UTSA's profile in English literacy and language studies nationally.
The Brackenridge endowment also makes it possible for Lanehart to attend national and international conferences in her field, she said, noting that the summer of 2009 was "a busy conference summer." Bringing conferences and scholars to UTSA, a fostering the academic exchange of ideas, is one of Lanehart's key goals.
In addition to teaching, research and conference work, Lanehart's scholarly projects in progress include serving as editor or co-editor of several publications. One example: Oxford University Press has asked her to edit a new volume tentatively called the "Oxford Handbook in African-American Language."
The UTSA Consortium for Social Transformation; African American Studies Program presents guest speaker Dr. Gaye Theresa Johnson, associate professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies, and African American Studies, University of California at Los Angelesand author of "Spaces of Conflict Sounds of Solidarity: Music, Race, and Spacial Entitlement in Los Angeles" and "Futures of Black Radicalism." The event is free and open to the public.
University Center, Denman Room (UC 2.01.28), Main Campus
Put on drunk goggles and navigate a pedal cart at the U in the Driver Seat Alcohol Awareness event, hosted by UTSA PD and Sigma Lambda Gamma.
Sombrilla Plaza, Main Campus
The UTSA Honors College hosts a sneak CineFestival preview of the documentary Somos Lengua, a new documentary about the Mexican hip hop scene. Jim Mendiola, the CineFestival Director, will screen the movie and present a festival overview.
University Center, Bexar Room (UC 1.102), Main Campus
Grab your friends, family, kids and dog for this annual fun run on the UTSA Main Campus benefititng the UTSA Alumni Association.
Convocation Center, Main Campus
Join the Department of Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching for the 13th annual Storytelling Festival. The festival will feature keynote speaker Carolina Quiroga-Stultz, a Colombian Storyteller and journalist. This event is free and open to the public.
Main Building, ground floor, Main Campus
The IDS Colloquium showcases the excellent scholarship done by the IDS students in the College of Education and Human Development at UTSA. In addition, this event also honors the legacy of Dr. Marian Martinello.
Business Building, University Room (BB 2.06.04), Main Campus
The Department of Biology and the Be the Match Team will collaborate to engage and educate our students in the importance of a life saving donation through peripheral blood stem cells and a marrow harvest.
UC Paseo and Central Plaza, Main Campus
UTSA welcomes the Italian-born duo Bandini-Chiacchiaretta. They've toured the world performing Argentine Tango music on guitar and bandoneon, the instrument of Astor Piazzolla. Tickets are $10 or free with UTSA Student I.D.
Arts Building, Recital Hall (ARTS 2.03.02), Main Campus
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