Knowledge is Power

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Dr. Leslie Huling

Leslie Huling, EdD

By Carol Wilkinson and Jael Perales

The world of public education is changing every day. As the demands on high school graduates increase, public educators in the state of Texas are under pressure to prepare their students for a more rigorous college and/or career environment. To ensure state-wide improvement in students’ educations, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) has developed a new standardized exam which has once again raised the bar for students and educators alike. In an effort to update local communities on this rapidly evolving situation, Texas State Round Rock Campus will be hosting a Public Education Forum entitled, “College and Career Readiness and STARR: An Update for Educators, Parents and Community Member.” The forum will be held on Thursday, January 31, 2013, starting at 5:45pm in Avery 252. Scheduled to speak at this event are Leslie Huling, EdD, and David D. Molina, PhD.

Dr. Leslie Huling is a professor in the College of Education’s Curriculum and Instruction Department at Texas State University and the director of the Educations Policy Implementation Center (EPIC) here at the Round Rock Campus. She is the principal investigator on several grants related to college and career readiness, including the grants that support the operation of the CCRI Mathematics Faculty Collaborative and Success Initiative in Developmental Education – Mathematics (SIDE-M) project. Under Dr. Huling’s direction, EPIC has generated more than $25 million in educational grant funding for Texas State, contributing to the university’s success in being named one of eight Emerging Research Institutions in the state of Texas.

For the Public Education Forum, Dr. Huling will discuss “Texas College and Career Readiness Initiative and Texas State’s Leadership in Faculty Development for the State.” The Texas College and Career Readiness Standards was enacted by the 79th Texas Legislature and seeks to increase the number of students who are college and career ready when they graduate high school.

Dr. David D. Molina serves as president of David Molina & Associates, Inc., an educational consulting and professional development provider. A former high school teacher, Dr. Molina served as a program director at the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin and on the faculties at UT and Trinity University.  His work includes contributions to public education policy, curriculum development, and teacher preparation reform. Today, Dr. Molina works with schools and districts on teacher and leader professional development; the design and implementation of mathematics curriculum and assessment; the improvement of instructional practice; and data analysis, strategic planning and school improvement.

For the Public Education Forum, Dr. Molina’s topic is entitled “STAAR: A Focus on Academic Readiness – Are We Ready?” STAAR (State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness) is a new, mandated testing program put in place by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) that will soon be administered throughout the state. This testing program takes the place of the TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills).

Educators, students, and parents are encouraged to attend this forum, as well as all other members of the community. There will be an opportunity to ask questions at the conclusion of this event. For more information, contact Dr. Leslie Huling by phone – 512.716.4531 – or by email – la03@txstate.edu. You can also find more information on the RRC Events page.


Gearing up for the fall

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By Kristen McLaughlin

College student studying in Park

College student studying in Park (Photo credit: CollegeDegrees360)

Many students probably have mixed emotions about the fall semester starting, but hopefully there is a part of you that is excited to be back on campus. We hope you experienced some fun vacations, enjoyed your nights off, and spent quality time with loved ones.  As someone who just graduated from a Texas State University master’s degree program in May, I know that each semester comes along with a healthy amount of preparation.  With only a few weeks left before it is back to the daily grind of balancing school with work or other daily tasks, don’t forget to:

  • Enjoy. Do something fun during the short time you have left before school starts again. Go swimming, take a mini vacation, bake cookies, see a movie or read a good book.  Enjoy the free time you have before you get into the school routine.
  • Prepare. Research the text books and supplies you will need for your courses and purchase them in time for classes. Several professors begin assignments right away. Research your professors as well and see if they have a website with some information about the course.
  • Rest. Get plenty of rest and be prepared to adjust your schedule once classes start, especially if you are taking night classes.
  • Get organized.  Get binders and notebooks for the appropriate classes. Keep all of your course subjects separate. Organization definitely helps when you are taking college courses! Organization also extends to your computer or laptop. Create a separate folder on your desktop for each course you plan to take.
  • Practice time management.  Without a doubt, schedules quickly fill up at the beginning of the semester. With multiple projects, papers, a social life and possibly work, it is important to set a daily routine. Keep a planner and mark important dates. It is also helpful to set reminders on your computer or phone.
  • Review information. Review paper work, such as loans and degree programs, especially if this is your first semester. Ask if you have questions.
  • Talk to your advisor. Make sure you are on track with your program. Get in touch with your advisor prior to the semester if you have not already to review your semester plan and overall degree plan.
  • Watch your finances. Be prepared for additional costs such as tuition, books, supplies and school-related events. If you can cut back on eating out or something extracurricular the few weeks before school, it could be beneficial. Every little bit helps!

Important dates before the semester:

  • First day of class: Aug. 27
  • Schedule changes:  Aug. 27-Aug. 30
  • Payment deadline Aug. 23 at 6 p.m. For more information and to pay, click here.

Some helpful websites:

With preparation and a positive attitude, you could start the semester stress free! Best of luck as you start a new semester at Texas State.

Texas State RRC celebrates graduates

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By Kristen McLaughlin

graduation reception photo

Group photo at the 2011 Texas State RRC Graduation Reception

It is the time of year that can be both stressful and exciting for college seniors and final semester graduate students. The spring graduation is Thursday- Saturday for all graduating Bobcats. For the Texas State University RRC students who are graduating, services and events are available to help students celebrate and alleviate stress during this time.

Texas State University Round Rock Campus spring graduates and students who graduated in the summer or fall of 2011 are welcome to a graduation reception tomorrow from 6-7:30 p.m. in the Avery Building. Students must register. Attendees can bring a maximum of four guests. The event is free, but you must register with your Student ID to attend.  Group photographs of the graduates will be taken, but family and friends are also encouraged to bring their own cameras to take photos. The purpose of the reception is for the Round Rock campus faculty, administration and staff to celebrate the accomplishments of the graduating students who attended classes at the Round Rock location.

For busy students who need a quiet place to study, the student lounge in Avery 202 is open and there are plenty of computer labs and seating areas and study rooms throughout the Avery Building available.

Graduates may also have financial concerns and need help finding a job. There are also resources available at Texas State that can assist with this situation.  As far as a job search goes, the Texas State Career Services in San Marcos offers a variety of services to assist students and alumni. For those who are interested in entrepreneurship, there is also the Small Business Development Center located in Avery 265. There are also two other locations, one in Austin and one in San Marcos. The center offers training and advice for those who are interested in starting a small business.

Although there is so much to think about during this time, graduation is a time filled with opportunities and excitement.  Commencement will be held May 10-12 at Texas State University-San Marcos at the Strahan Coliseum, 700 Aquarena Springs Drive, San Marcos. For more information about parking and seating, click here. I look forward to seeing everyone as we celebrate the accomplishments of Texas State graduates!

Lazos “embraces Latinidad”

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By Kristen McLaughlin, Texas State RRC Graduate Research Assistant

I have had the pleasure of working on the communications team for Lazos 2012, an event which celebrates students and filmmakers from the U.S. and countries in Latin America. This year’s theme is “Embracing Latinidad”.

Not only have I had the opportunity to be on the student communications team for the event this semester as a part of our class, but I will see the event come to fruition this today, April 27 at Texas State University-San Marcos in the LBJ Student Center Ballroom from 7-10 p.m. Thanks to El Centro (the Center for the study of Latino Media & Markets), student organizations and community sponsors, the event is free. However, registration was required for the event.

This is only the second year for Lazos, but we anticipate a good turnout. Lazos is the closing ceremony for Puntos De Vista, a Latin documentary competition which involves students from Colombia, Peru, Spain, Mexico, Chile and the U.S. The students participating in the competition will find out their ranking at the awards ceremony at Lazos. This year’s film festival included 14 documentaries by students in the participating countries. Student filmmakers will be honored at Lazos.

In addition to awarding students, Lazos will include special entertainment from Texas State’s Mariachi Nueva Generacion as well as Salsa and Latin Jazz Ensembles Salsa del Rio and Orquesta del Rio. Salsa del Rio was the first Latin Jazz Ensemble created at Texas State. The group is dedicated to the performance of music from Latin America, including Cuba, Puerto Rico, The Dominican Republic and Mexico. Orquesta del Rio also focuses on music from these countries. Popular styles include Mambo, Son-Montuno, Cha Cha, Bolero and Morengue.

The student group Mariachi Nueva Generacion, also a Texas State student group, performs the Mexican art form known as Mariachi. They perform many different styles, including Huapango, Bolero, Polka and many others.

The student communications team included myself and three of my graduate student peers (Shannon Delaney, Eileen Suarez and Doug Seliger), but so many others have spent months coordinating this event and Puntos De Vista. Organizing Lazos was an idea that professors Dr. Sindy Chapa and Olga Mayoral-Wilson thought of when they were brainstorming about Puntos De Vista.  Students from organizations and student workers at El Centro have eagerly assisted them with both Lazos and Puntos De Vista.

This year’s Lazos event is being co-hosted by the Alpha Upsilon chapter of Hermandad de Sigma Iota Alpha Inc.

“To be a part of an event such as Lazos has meant a lot to Hermandad de Sigma Iota Alpha Inc,” said Catherine Arriaza-Ortiz, SIA treasurer and Lazos committee member.

Other organizations and departments are also participating in the event, including Alpha Upsilon SIA, Ballet Folklorico, Communication Disorder Bilingual Cognate, Latinas Unidas, Love Across Borders, LULAC, Sigma Delta Pi, the Texas State Sociology Department, and the Texas State International Student Association.

Lazos participants will be able to learn from Keynote Speaker Robert Bard, the CEO of Latina Style Magazine. In his 11 years leading the company, he has developed four signature programs. These include the LATINA Style Business Series, the most successful ongoing business development program for Latina business owners in the nation; the LATINA Style 50 Awards and Diversity Leaders Conference, reporting on the top 50 companies for Latinas to work for in the U.S.; the National LATINA Symposium recognizing Latina achievement in all areas and professions; and the Distinguished Military Service Awards, honoring outstanding Latinas for their military Service.

For those who want to learn from accomplished professionals such as Bard and celebrate student filmmakers, Lazos is the perfect way to end the semester. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Hope to see you tonight!

SXSW Interactive for Free: One Texas State Class gets the Opportunity of a Lifetime

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SXSW Interactive 2011 - Austin, TX

SXSW Interactive 2011 - Austin, TX (Photo credit: kk+)

By Shannon Delaney

Getting the chance to attend SXSW for free is almost unimaginable, right?  This may be true for most, but Cindy Royal’s Advanced Online Media graduate class has gotten the opportunity to attend SXSW Interactive (SXSWi) for free.

For the past five years, Royal has taken hands-on learning to a whole new level, as students have been able to cover SXSWi for the class blog, sxtxstate.com.  For those who don’t know, SXSWi is an amazing learning and networking opportunity, as it unites journalism, technology and social media professionals at the top of their various fields.  People come to Austin from all over the world to present on panels, and registrants get to choose from over 5,000 panels and events covering topics from data visualization in journalism to sports media.  There is literally something for everyone.  Interested in fashion?  Music?  Film?  There are panels and events for you.

The 19th SXSWi will be held March 9-13 in and around the convention center in downtown Austin.  Not only is the festival an opportunity to see cutting edge presentations, but there are also various events showcasing the latest in new media, journalism and tech, as well as hands-on trainings and networking parties.  These Texas State students get to experience these events alongside these professionals. Each student in Royal’s class will attend SXSWi for two days.  During their time at the festival, students will post blogs about each panel they attend, video interviews with panelists and attendees, photos of various events and so much more.  The goal is to capture the essence and breadth of SXSWi.

This project requires quite a bit of prep work.  Students have been conducting previews of panels for several months in preparation for the event.  Previews allow readers more insight into a panel, including short interviews with the panelists themselves.  In completing my previews for the blog, I have interviewed some interesting professionals in the world of sports media, fashion and journalism, including talking with The New York Times Interactive Editor Aron Pilhofer.  Additionally, the blog also gives weekly news updates of companies who will be at SXSWi and top five panels from various SXSWi tracks, including sports, gaming and non-profits.

Speaking of Aron Pilhofer, he will be at Texas State University-San Marcos on Thursday, March 8, where he will conduct a workshop with graduate students during the day. That evening, Pilhofer will speak about the state of data journalism from 6:30-8 p.m. in Old Main, room 232.  This event is open to all students.  For more information, visit the Advanced Online Media website.

The following day, the craziness really begins, as the Advanced Online Media students will begin covering the full SXSWi experience.  Stay tuned to the class blog throughout SXSWi for updated Interactive coverage, including panel posts, video interviews and photos.

While most events require a pass to attend, the festival includes a few free events, including Screenburn, a video game arcade at the Palmer Events Center.  For a list of all free interactive events, please click here.

Shannon Delaney is a graduate Research Assistant for Dr. Judy Oskam at the Texas State University Round Rock Campus. She has taken classes at both Texas State campuses and will graduate in May.

“Show Your Love Campaign”: Bobcats show love to Round Rock ISD

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One Stop Center employees Karen Ripley and Becca Johnson showcase donations during last year's "Show Your Love Campaign".

By Kristen McLaughlin

In the Valentine’s Day spirit, The Texas State University Round Rock Campus is participating in the “Show Your Love Campaign” by donating new socks and underwear for K-12 students to the Round Rock ISD Clothes Closet.

The Clothes Closet was established in 1976 and is one of the first community service projects, started by the RRISD Council of PTAs. The resource supplies families in need with five complete outfits of gently worn clothing as well as new underwear and socks two times during the school year. Students and families in need can benefit from the service project by talking to their campus nurse. The project has already benefited 1,000 children this fall.

During the “Show Your Love Campaign”, Texas State RRC and others in the community are hosting donation drop off locations for new socks and underwear. Donations can be dropped off on campus in the One Stop Center (Avery, Suite 201) by Feb. 20.

“It is a great chance to give back to an organization that does so much for our district, the PTAs and ultimately the children in our own neighborhoods,” said Michelle Jackson, RRISD Community Partnerships Supervisor. “Most of us are here because we believe every child deserves the best possible education, and having the basic necessities is a part of that.”

Last year, 1,100 donations were made by community members as a part of the campaign. Jackson said she hopes to exceed last year’s donations. Other partners for the “Show Your Love Campaign” include Round Rock Express, the Round Rock ISD Food Services Department, Zcore Business Solutions, O’Connell Robertson, The Greater Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and The Lower Colorado River Authority.

The Clothes Closet has two locations, Anderson Mill and Voigt elementary schools. Each semester, the Clothes Closet serves more than 700 students. For more information about the “Show Your Love Campaign” or the Clothes Closet, e-mail michelle_jackson@roundrock0isd.org.

Between the “Show Your Love Campaign”, the Psychology Association Bake Sale and Bobcats Leaving Out Violence (BLOV) awareness day, Texas State University is honoring the generous spirit of Valentine’s Day. Below are some other events on campus this week:

  • Bobcats Leaving Out Violence (BLOV) Awareness, Feb. 14, 2nd floor atrium
  • Psychology Association Bake Sale (Valentine’s Day theme), Feb. 14-Feb. 16, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m., 2nd floor atrium
  • SLAC Learning Style Workshop, Feb. 16, 5:15-6:15 p.m., Avery 419. Food provided to those who RSVP to js213@txstate.edu by 5 p.m. on Feb. 15.  Otherwise, walk-ins are welcome.
  • Trade Up Days, Feb. 13-Feb. 16, 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m., 2nd floor atrium. Trade up another college or university T-shirt for a new Texas State T-shirt. If you don’t have a T-shirt, bring a $5 donation.
  • Teacher Recruitment Program Information Session, Feb. 16, 5-6 p.m., Avery 454.

This is the first post for the Texas State Round Rock Campus blog. The blog is meant to inform students, staff, and faculty of events and programs and to increase awareness of the campus. We are in the process of choosing a name for the blog, and we would like your help! Please e-mail us your ideas. The winner will receive a fun Texas State giveaway. If you have suggestions or comments, please e-mail km1745@txstate.edu. You can also follow us on Twitter or Facebook by clicking on the icons at the top of the blog.