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Colleges and Schools Highlights

May 6th, 2011 Posted in Highlights

Center for Achievement and Lifelong Learning

The UNT Travel-Learn programs offer a unique educational opportunity to broaden your horizons as you travel the world alongside a member of the UNT faculty. Trips are designed with you in mind, and every trip is built around the expertise and insider knowledge of our faculty. But we haven’t forgotten that travel can be great fun, too! Each customized itinerary combines leisure and sightseeing with the center’s commitment to lifelong learning. For information on these trips, please click on or call Dianne Gibbons at 940-565-3482.

Friday, April 29 – Plano tea and tour day led by Stephanie Miller, who is the Associate Editor of Tea in Texas. The $35 fee includes a tea and lunch at Nee Nee’s Tea Room, tour of the historic Carpenter House and the Interurban Railway Museum, and a lecture on tea covering the origins and history of tea and how to brew the perfect cup.

May 20 -22 – Mark Twain trip to Hannibal, MO, boyhood home of Twain.  This tour will be led by Emeritus Provost and Professor Emeritus David Kesterson. We have space left for three people on this tour. If you are interested, please contact Gibbons as soon as possible.

July 27 – July 31 – Iceland golf trip led by UNT golf coach, Jeff Mitchell. USA TODAY named Iceland the top travel destination for 2011. Golf on three different courses and enjoy golf clinics by coach Mitchell.

September 22 – October 2 – Travel to Prague and Southern Moravia with Dr. Milan Reban. Dr. Reban has 40 years of experience teaching and conducting research on and in the regionand has hosted 25 study trips there. His interests are rooted in his Czech heritage and escaping Communist Czechoslovakia years ago.

College of Education

The third Texas-Jalisco Conference in Education and Culture, “Celebrating 200 Years of Mexican History and Culture,” was held April 28 in the Golden Eagle Suite. Keynote addresses were given by Ambassador Juan Carlos Cué Vega, Consul General of Mexico in Dallas; Mark Hugo Lopez, Associate Director of PEW Hispanic; and various UNT faculty and students.

College of Information

Outstanding Alumna Service Award

Margaret Irby Nichols (’45, BA Library Science) completed the master of library science program at the University of Texas at Austin after earning her bachelor’s degree at what was then North Texas State Teachers College. After working 10 years in the library and information field, she returned to Denton in 1955 to a faculty position in the School of Library and Information Sciences, which ended with her retirement in 1996.

Throughout her many years of teaching, she acted as mentor and friend to thousands of information professionals who subsequently endowed the Margaret Irby Nichols Scholarship. Her influence as an educator was not limited to teaching at North Texas. She conducted more than 400 workshops throughout the country and published six books and numerous articles on reference and information services.

Her peers have recognized her contributions by electing her president of the Texas Library Association (TLA), including her as a TLA Twentieth Century Library Champion, and honoring her as recipient of the TLA Distinguished Service Award. Since 1988, Mrs. Nichols has edited the alumni magazine for the College of Information.

Outstanding Alumna of the Year, Library and Information Sciences is Wendy Beecham, MS ’87. Wendy was honored at the annual alumni dinner held at the Texas Library Association. Wendy also hosted a presentation. “Untraditional Careers for Information Professions & How to Find Them.

Mayborn School of Journalism

In an effort to nurture the next generation of storytellers and journalists, the organizers of the University of North Texas’ Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference have teamed up with the Education Department at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum to create literary nonfiction programming and an annual biography writing competition.

The new literary competition invites students to research and write biographies about individuals who have left a deep and lasting legacy in their community in order to help students build life skills applicable in a variety of fields and encourage intergenerational conversations.

Biographies will be submitted to UNT’s Frank W. Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism by May 13. Five Texas winners will be selected and another five will be selected through a national campaign, led by the Mayborn Institute and its partner, Big Thought, a nationally renowned non-profit organization building partnerships that allow all children access to quality learning opportunities.

Each winner and a teacher of his or her choice will be awarded scholarships to this summer’s Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, which will be held July 22-24 at the Hilton DFW Lakes Executive Conference Center in Grapevine, Texas. The winners will be recognized during the conference’s Literary Lights dinner on July 23, and the winning biographies will be published in The Dallas Morning News.

For additional information about the biography competition or the Mayborn Conference, contact Jo Ann Ballantine, conference manager, at 940-565-4778 or

Toulouse Graduate School

For the first time in recent memory, UNT alumni holding advanced degrees gathered at an event hosted by the Toulouse Graduate School and Alumni Association. Invitations were sent for an evening of reunions and opportunities to connect as graduates. More than 50 alumni representing different graduate programs attended the event, many of whom had both a masters and doctoral degree from UNT!

The evening kicked off with a wine and cheese reception held at the Alumni Center, located at the UNT Gateway Center. Dr. James Meernik, Dean of the Toulouse Graduate School, made remarks inviting alumni to participate in reconnecting themselves with the UNT community by attending events, lectures and other activities. Dr. Meernik also extended an offer to those attending to become ambassadors for UNT graduate programs. After the reception, those attending were also invited to hear Jorge Cham, creator of Piled Higher and Deeper comics, as a guest speaker for UNT graduate students during Graduate Student Appreciation Week, April 4-8.

Dr. James Meernik talking with UNT graduate alumni at the wine and cheese reception.

For more information on how to engage with the graduate school, please contact

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