Preface to The Eagle Feather 2011

In this, our eighth volume of The Eagle Feather, we continue to have strong participation from departments that have been with us from the beginning, to expand to include new areas of research in other departments, and, sadly, to lose some of our old friends. We were delighted to have Dr. V. Lane Rawlins, the 15th President of the University of North Texas, as the Keynote Speaker for the University Scholars Day 2011. His speech serves as the introduction to this volume as is our tradition He discusses the role of accidental discoveries in basic research that contribute to important scientific breakthroughs.

From the College of Visual Arts and Design (CVAD), we continue to have strong research papers from seniors in the Department of Art Education and Art History under the leadership of Dr. Kelly Donahue-Wallace. Students in this year’s capstone seminar focused on the work of Goya and his pivotal contributions to the world of art. As the student authors document, his work is built on the classic foundations of western art but subtly adds social commentary on the plight of workers in early industrial society in Europe.

Our strongest innovative piece in this volume also comes from the CVAD but from a new department–Studio Art. Artist Peter Rand submitted a video of his interactive artwork, “Technology and Our Emotional Selves.” Through three interactive pieces, he allows the audience to explore their relationships with television, music boxes and pinwheels. This is our first time to include video material. We are very grateful to Rand’s faculty mentor, Dr. Jennifer Way, and to Neena Weng, Head, User Interfaces Unit, Digital Libraries Division, for working with him to adapt his work to our electronic journal format.

Dr. Joseph Oppong from the Department of Geography in the College of Arts and Sciences, has again assembled an interesting selection of articles exploring the geographic distribution of illness in the population of the State of Texas. Dr. Oppong, a leader in undergraduate research education at UNT, instructs his medical geography students in the use of the Geographic Information Systems in the analysis of current public health data. This year, his students focused on HIV/AIDS and on breast cancer.

Social science faculty in the College of Public Affairs and Community Service and the College of Arts and Sciences mentored six undergraduate research projects that appear in The Eagle Feather this year. Funding was provided for projects in this section by the McNair program under the direction of Dr. Diana Elrod, and by the Undergraduate Research Initiative funded by Provost Warren Burggren and directed by Dr. Gloria Cox in the Honors College. The students represent five academic disciplines across the two Colleges, including anthropology, history, international studies, philosophy, and political science. Finally, we received one innovative social survey from a student in the Department of Dance and Theatre exploring the attitudes of students toward live theatre versus video postings on social networks such as YouTube.

In the area of the natural and physical sciences, we have a delightful paper on the development of robots from the Department of Electrical Engineering in the College of Engineering. The second paper, which is from the Department of Biological Sciences, involves a study of oxygen chemoreceptors in the gills of catfish and the nerves that carry information about oxygen levels to cardio-ventilatory centers in the brain.

In the 2007 issue, students and their mentors in the National Science Foundation’s Summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates in Anthropology in the College of Public Affairs and Community Service became the first of the summer programs at UNT to publish their research in The Eagle Feather. The six articles in this issue will bring the total number of Summer REU publications from this program to 37 over the past four years, representing students from 15 states and the District of Columbia, from Maine to Hawaii. Faculty members from the Department of Anthropology who have administered the program as well as mentored students over the past five years include Dr. Beverly Davenport, Dr. Doug Henry, Dr. Lisa Henry, Dr. Ann Jordan, and Dr. Mariela Nunez-Janes. This was the last year for this program at UNT. We congratulate the anthropology faculty on their outstanding contributions to undergraduate research education at UNT and we look forward to continuing to publish the work of students in their program.

Finally, we are very pleased to continue for the second year the publication of the work of undergraduate research students from the Department of Political Science’s Summer NSF REU program directed by Dr. John Ishiyama. All papers in the Political Science section are on the topic of political conflict and the search for solutions. We have ten articles this year and look forward to many more in the future.

As always, members of the User Interfaces Unit, Digital Libraries Division have transformed the articles we sent over into the beautiful issue you see before you. Thanks to those who work such wonders, including Neena Weng, Head, User Interfaces; William Hicks, Technology Coordinator; Dianne Jansing, Project Assistant; and Michelle Bowles, Student Assistant.