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UNT Briefs

Atkinson named to Corps board

Sam Atkinson, professor and interim chairman of the University of North Texas Biology Department, has been named a member of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Environmental Advisory Board.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers designs, engineers, builds and maintains infrastructure throughout the United States. The Environmental Advisory Board serves to give the U.S. Army Chief of Engineers — always a three-star general — outside, expert and independent advice on environmental issues facing the Corps of Engineers.

Atkinson will serve a three-year term with the possibility of serving a subsequent second term.


Biologist named distinguished lecturer

Lee Hughes, an assistant professor of biology in the University of North Texas College of Arts and Sciences, has been named an American Society for Microbiology Distinguished Lecturer.

The American Society for Microbiology Distinguished Lecturer Program annually selects a scientifically diverse group to deliver lectures at ASM branch meetings throughout the U.S. Lecturers are chosen through a competitive nomination process, and only the most distinguished lecturers and researchers are chosen to participate in the program.

Hughes will travel throughout the U.S. through June 30, 2015, delivering lectures at various ASM state meetings.

Hughes began his career as a microbiologist, later became an adviser in UNT’s Biology Department and then began research in science education. An area he is currently focusing on is improving student retention through research experiences and hybrid and online classes for the sciences.


History portal wins library award

The Portal to Texas History, administered by the University of North Texas Libraries, has received the Wayne Williams Library Project of the Year Award from the Texas Library Association.

The award recognizes a project that exemplifies the highest levels of achievement, professional standards and inspiration to other libraries. Martin Halbert, dean of the UNT Libraries, accepted the award Thursday during the association’s annual conference in Fort Worth.

The Portal to Texas History was created in 2002 by the UNT Libraries’ Digital Projects Unit to provide online access to books, photographs, artifacts, maps, newspapers, letters, and other historic materials from more than 200 archives, historical societies, small and large libraries, museums and private collections from all areas of Texas. With more than 3.3 million pages of materials, the portal includes many primary source historical materials, such as diaries and personal accounts of events and daily life. Browsers of the portal use these materials to learn history from the perspectives of those who lived it.

The portal also includes a Resources for Educators section, which provides history lessons for elementary and middle school students that are compliant with Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills standards, as well as teacher resources and services and downloadable Texas History Trading Cards. In 2008, the portal was chosen as one of the best online resources for education in the humanities by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

In addition to the Wayne Williams Library Project of the Year Award, the UNT Libraries received two TLA PR Branding Iron Awards, which recognize public relations activities conducted by staff members at libraries and library organizations.

The UNT Libraries received the Branding Iron’s “Best of Show” distinction for 2013 based on its nine submissions to the contest. “Best in Show” is awarded for the best comprehensive approach to public relations planning and activities.

The UNT Libraries received the top awards for its Identity Guide and for its Liaisons In the Stacks posters, which promote the libraries’ campaign to connect students with librarians who specialize in the students’ field of study. Posters picturing the librarians, with their contact information, are placed in the book stacks for the librarians’ specializations. The posters include QR bar codes to link students to online resources for certain subjects.


Perry appoints Lee as new regent

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has appointed Milton B. Lee, retired chief executive officer of CPS Energy, the municipally owned electric and gas company serving San Antonio, to the University of North Texas System Board of Regents.

Prior to joining CPS Energy in August 2002 as a senior vice president, Lee served as CEO and general manager of Austin Energy, the municipally owned electric and gas company in Austin. He has also held positions with General Electric Co. and the Texas Public Utility Commission. Lee currently is serving a two-year appointment as vice chairman of the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission.

A native of Austin, Lee graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering in 1971. He is a registered professional engineer and has held a number of prominent positions in the electric utility industry including serving as a member of the ERCOT board of directors and on the Technical Advisory Committee. Lee is a member of the University of Texas at Austin Engineering Foundation Advisory Board, the Texas Society of Professional Engineers and is a former member of the Huston-Tillotson University Board of Trustees. He participated on the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Board of Directors in Austin and on the Leadership Austin Board of Directors.

Lee’s philanthropic service includes membership on the Cancer Therapy Research Center Board of Governors, San Antonio’s Economic Development Foundation, Southwest Research Institute Board of Directors, Texas Research and Technology Foundation, San Antonio Medical Foundation, Southwest Biomedical Foundation Research Board of Directors, Alamo College’s Foundation Board of Directors, Masters Leadership Program Board of Directors, P16Plus Council of Greater Bexar County Foundation, Inc. Board of Directors, The Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and BioMed San Antonio Executive Board of Directors.

Lee’s appointment is subject to Senate confirmation.