Preface to The Eagle Feather 2005

Introduction

It is with great pride and pleasure that we present the second volume of The Eagle Feather. On August 1, 2005, the University Honors Program became the Honors College - a great milestone in our odyssey! We thank Dr. Howard Johnson, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, for his vision and leadership in elevating Honors to college status, and specifically for supporting undergraduate research initiatives across the university. Our thanks also to UNT President Norval Pohl and to Chancellor Lee Jackson for their strong support of Honors. Having college status will increase our visibility and our access to the many resources the university has to offer, most especially talented faculty who can teach and mentor our students.

Interest in publishing in TEF has increased substantially this year, thanks to the high quality of research articles our students presented in Volume I! We have grown from 6 research articles in Volume I to 15 articles in Volume II—a 250% increase! We thank all our faculty mentors for their dedication and perseverance in guiding their students to the successful culmination of their research efforts. We congratulate the students for their pluck and gumption in not only stepping out of the safe “lecture-course box” to initiate, implement, and successfully complete an original research project, but then going through the tedious process of writing and revising their articles for publication. These brave young scholars have truly earned the right to wear The Eagle Feather pin that we confer on all our authors to mark their passage from the role of student to researcher.

The students publishing in this issue represent the diversity of the university. The scholars represent six colleges—Visual Arts, Arts & Sciences, Engineering, Education, Public Affairs & Community Service, and Honors—and eight different departments, including the arts, physical sciences, social sciences, education, and engineering. There is a distinct international flavor to this issue. Eight of the 15 papers include research on art objects or topics originating outside the United States. In two cases, the researchers conducted the research on-site in Europe.

Art History: Special Section

We are especially grateful to two of our outstanding professors in Art History—Dr. Mickey Abel and Dr. Jennifer Way—for serving as guest editors of the special section on art history. They selflessly devoted time and energy, not only to mentoring their research students, but also to pulling together a very special section that illustrates the research from an arts and humanities perspective. In their own section preface, they chronicle their frustrations and joys in working within, across, and between disciplines. We thank them deeply for sharing their talent and expertise with TEF and hope that they prove to be role models for future faculty guest editors. Thanks also to their students: Alicia Cornwell, George Neal, Bethany Craney, JoAnna Reyes, Lisa Nersesova, and Rachael Garnett.

Undergraduate Research Experiences and Graduate Education

Among our 8 students in the regular undergraduate scholar section, we have a truly distinguished group of young authors with 10 national or regional conference presentations to their credit. Five of the authors have presented or soon will present their research at national conferences sponsored by the American Psychological Association, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, the American Association of Public Health, the National Collegiate Honors Council, and the Council on Undergraduate Research. Five students have presented at regional meetings, including the Texas Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the Great Plains Honors Council. In addition, six of these scholars, as well as two of the art history scholars, have had at least one research presentation at University Scholars Day 2005 sponsored by the Honors College for all undergraduates on the UNT campus. Three of the projects presented were funded in part by prestigious external research and instructional grants at UNT, including the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute of Justice, the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, and the National Science Foundation, as well as state funds through UNT Faculty Research Funds. Funding allows students to produce higher quality research products and initiates them into the mysteries of research grantsmanship.

Eight of the nine students publishing in this issue have completed their bachelor's degrees and been accepted into graduate school; five report receiving substantial financial support in the form of scholarships or fellowships for graduate study. We encourage our students to engage in thesis research because we believe that it will increase their chances of getting into graduate school and of getting financial support, so we are heartened to have this belief more than amply confirmed by our young scholars.

In This Issue

The research themes addressed by our keynote speakers and by our undergraduate scholars cover a range of issues important to the health, wealth, and well-being of our society and others. The keynote speaker, Dr. Eugenie Scott, set the tone for Scholars Day 2005 and for TEF, Vol. II in her thoughtful discussion of the national debate over the teaching of the science of evolution versus teaching the religious belief in special creation. At no time in our history has science been more important to our national well-being, so there is nothing more important than producing a scientifically literate population that can do, use, and fund science intelligently. Dr. Sam Matteson’s careful response to Dr. Scott demonstrates that the conflict perceived by some between science and religion is more apparent than real.

Our first two undergraduate scholar papers address different issues related to language. Amy Lefforge (Speech and Hearing & Honors), mentored by Dr. Fang-Ling Lu, examines the effect of aging on pronunciation. Research like hers has implications for treating speech disorders that occur as a result of age and some chronic illnesses. With the aging of the population worldwide, especially in the developed societies, research on this topic will be increasingly important to the well-being of our older population. Lily Page (Foreign Languages and Literatures & Honors), mentored by Dr. Lawrence Williams (Foreign Languages and Literatures), evaluated the relative effectiveness of studying French at home on the UNT campus and in a study abroad program in Caen, France. With increasing globalization, speaking more than one language will be a necessity, even to do everyday business; thus research on how to increase the effectiveness of training in a second language will also increase in importance.

The next three articles are concerned with mental health issues, one of the most neglected social issues of our time. Amy Marks (College of Education & Developing Scholars Program), mentored by Dr. Rebecca Glover (Counseling, Development, and Higher Education), addresses the precursors of aggression in preschool children. Uncontrolled aggression in childhood not only affects learning, it may also lead to seriously dysfunctional behavior in adulthood, like partner violence explored by the next two authors, both of whom were mentored by Dr. Linda Marshall (Psychology) in their work using data from her longitudinal study of 835 ethnically diverse, low-income women in south Dallas, Project HOW (Health of Women). Jessica Sergio (Psychology) studied the effect of violent relationships on women’s mental health. She found that women who have left a violent relationship are more likely to have poor mental health than women who have never been in a violent relationship, and, surprisingly, than women who are still in a violent relationship. Eric Foster (Psychology) studied mutual violence between male and female partners. He found that most relationships are characterized by mutual violence in intimate relationships, although violence by women is more likely to be defensive, and female victims are more likely to sustain serious injury than are male victims. Family violence takes a heavy toll, not only on the physical and mental health of victims, but also in costs to the taxpayers in many direct and indirect ways, including police intervention and health care costs, as well as losses to employers in productivity among victims. Clearly this is another significant societal issue needing more research.

Rumana Rahman (Economics & Honors) participated in a needs assessment study of indigent health care in a rural North Texas County, with her mentor Dr. Susan Eve (Applied Gerontology & Honors). In a telephone survey of 50 county residents who reported having problems getting health care, she found that one in five people reported not being able to get medical care or surgery that they needed in the past year, and that younger adults, ages 18–44, were twice as likely to report problems as were middle-aged or older adults.

The next two papers address issues of international human rights. Sophia Johnykutty (Political Science & Honors), and her mentor Dr. Steven Poe (Political Science), used data on human trafficking worldwide to construct a model that would predict rates of trafficking. They found that democratic political structures, civil rights for women, and GNP per capita reduced rates of trafficking while civil war increased rates. Cassie Davis (Foreign Languages and Literatures & Honors) and her mentor, Kellye Church (Foreign Languages and Literatures) conducted an exploratory survey of eight older women in Spain about their attitudes toward the dictator Ferdinand Franco who governed Spain until 1975. She found that women whose families faired well under Franco’s regime were more likely to see the regime positively, and that those women tended to be among the better educated—a troubling finding for those who value democracy as a social good.

Finally, in our first paper from a student in the new College of Engineering, we have an interdisciplinary case study of the business of engineering. Christian Winter (Engineering & Honors) was mentored in an internship project by Dr. Vijay Vaidyanathan (Engineering Technology) at i2 Technologies. In his internship, he observed the application of Eliyahu’s theory of constraints in a fast growing, high technology business. The major principles of the theory mandate that work should flow smoothly and predictably. He concludes with recommendations for continued use of this valuable model in engineering technology firms.

Conclusion

In closing, we would like to thank Dr. Donald Grose, Dean of the Libraries, and his staff for making The Eagle Feather a reality. We are especially grateful to Kristin Boyett, Project Coordinator, and her supervisor, Neena Weng, Project Manager in the Multimedia Development Laboratory, for their meticulous care in creating the online journal. They have used their extraordinary expertise to craft another exceptionally beautiful issue of TEF.