News Archives July 31, 2012

News for July 31, 2012



Dr. Fernando Gomez, Vice Chancellor and general counsel of the Texas State University System, will deliver the address at Sul Ross State University’s summer commencement exercises Saturday, Aug. 11.

Ceremonies will be held at 10 a.m. in the Pete P. Gallego Center.

Gomez has served as the TSUS Vice Chancellor and general counsel for 22 years (1986-1990 and 1994-present). A native of Gallup, N.M., he studied for the priesthood for five years, attending Franciscan seminaries in Cincinnati, Ohio and Southfield, Mich., before earning degrees from the University of New Mexico (B.A., cum laude) and the University of Michigan (J.D. and Ph.D., American Culture).

He attained tenure at Michigan State University before serving as assistant attorney general in Michigan and in Texas and as general counsel of the California State University System. Gomez is a member of the Texax, California and Michigan bars and is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court and other federal courts.

He has authored three books, consulted and lectured extensively on higher education, educational leadership, ethics and legal topics throughout the U.S. and overseas, including Cuba and Yemen.

In December 2011, Texas Review Press published "A Texas State of Mind," a pictorial history edited by Gomez. The book commemorated the Texas State University System, its colleges and universities in celebration of the System’s centennial year.




Sul Ross State University counselor Eleazar Cano gave a presentation at the 2012 NCCEP/GEAR UP conference, held July 22-25 in Washington, D.C.

Cano, a counselor with Counseling and Accessibility Services, presented "Performance Enhancement as seen through the Emotional Intelligence Lens," during a concurrent session.

Sponsored by the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships, the conference convened GEAR UP and other college access professionals, as well as their partners, for concurrent sessions, speakers and networking opportunities.

The event also serves as an important gathering for all college access professionals, particularly those who coordinate their efforts with GEAR UP programs; and local, state, and federal policy makers who want to learn more about creating and sustaining K–16 education/community collaboratives designed to improve public education and promote student success.

Members of the Sul Ross GEAR UP program staff also attended the annual conference. The Sul Ross GEAR UP is a federally funded grant program that serves and tracks a cohort of area students who entered seventh grade in the fall of 2011. The program continues through a summer college bridge program following high school graduation in 2018 and through their first year in college.




Sul Ross State University summer enrollment was virtually equal to 2011 figures during the first session, but showed a 7.8 percent decline in the second.

A total of 682 students were enrolled during the first summer session, two less than last year’s figures. During Summer Session II, 578 students are enrolled, compared to 627 in 2011.

Freshman numbers showed the largest gains during both sessions. Freshman totals were up 13.8 percent during the first summer session and 9.3 percent during Summer II.

Total summer semester credit hours declined, from 6,066 in 2011 to 5,679 in 2012.





by Steve Lang, News and Publications

New technology to be showcased to universities across the nation will include a distinct Sul Ross State University presence.

Sul Ross students and faculty will travel to Los Angeles this week to produce an old play with new technology. The experience, in turn, will be applied to new classes in computer gaming design and technology that will be taught for the first time this fall.

A four-minute movie trailer to be produced with innovative motion capture equipment will include clips of Sul Ross actors performing the Shakespearian play, "The Merchant of Venice."

"The trailer, with clips from ‘The Merchant of Venice’ and background clips of how we did it will be marketed to 2,000 universities in the United States," said Dona Roman, Sul Ross professor of Theatre, who is directing the Sul Ross players in local rehearsals.

"This gives us (Sul Ross) an opportunity to really be a substantial player in this new field."

By definition, motion capture is a process of recording movement of one or more objects or persons. In film making and computer games, the term refers to recording actions of human actors, and using that information to animate digital character models in 2D or 3D computer animation. When including face and fingers or capturing subtle expressions, it is referred to as performance capture.

Scenes from "The Merchant of Venice" will be recorded with motion capture equipment from PhaseSpace, a California-based company recognized as an industry leader. The Sul Ross group will participate in the Studio portion of the annual SIGGRAPH conference, Aug. 5-9 in Los Angeles. The conference is recognized as the premier international event on computer graphics and interactive techniques. SIGGRAPH 2012 is expected to draw more than 20,000 professionals from five continents.

Roman’s Sul Ross cast includes fellow professor Greg Schwab and students Melissa Embrey, Gainesville; Mandy Mata, Alpine; Julian Johnson, El Paso; and Greg Gonzales, San Antonio. Part-time instructor Juliette Schwab will be assisting with the production. Since the close of the summer theatre production of "Anything Goes," the troupe has been spending 40-hour weeks rehearsing 12 scenes from "The Merchant of Venice."

In Los Angeles, they will work with PhaseSpace technicians and Los Angeles-based actor Riley Critchlow.

"They (students) will all play multiple parts utilizing motion capture equipment, which is a very cutting edge approach to film and theatrical production," Roman said. "In this Studio setting, we get to show other industry leaders how to use this equipment while learning from the pros ourselves."

While the first few days in California will be dedicated to the production, students will also have the opportunity to attend afternoon workshops later in the SIGGRAPH conference.

Roman said Sul Ross was invited to participate in April, after she had met with industry representatives during a game design conference held this past March in San Francisco.

Roman’s interest in motion capture will carry over into new classes she is teaching during the 2012-2013 academic year. Sul Ross was recently awarded a $4.3 million Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) grant to increase degrees through the Computer Science Initiative. A Fine Arts component is included.

Four concentrations have been added within the Computer Science degree plan and two of them, Gaming Design and Technology and Communication Design and Technology, begin Fall Semester 2012. Students enrolled in the Gaming Design and Technology concentration will learn to create animations, games and applications for Apple, PC and Android platforms.

The Communication Design and Technology platform, including classes to be taught by Roman, offers courses to provide the technical knowledge and training needed for professional design work for publication media, corporate design, and interactive electronic media.

"I will teach basic TV, including camera and lighting, this fall," she said. "In the spring, students will learn sound techniques, how to design story boards and come up with story ideas. They will produce short film projects using motion capture."

Motion capture is also being used to artistically enhance video games. "Video games artistically are not very satisfying," Roman said. "Motion capture will create more intrinsically satisfying experiences for the player."

She added that the participating students should see significant benefits from their California experience. Three of the students are theatre majors and the other is a new Game Design major.

"The new gaming students will benefit greatly from what we all learn about the technology and the real-time working elements of performance capture," said Roman. "The students will be using the equipment and interacting with industry technicians in a way that will provide a true-to-life experience for them."

She said that the timing of the new computer gaming curriculum and experience with new technology can be very advantageous for Sul Ross.

"What I didn’t realize at first is that this (motion capture) is a pretty new concept....It’s a new field and Sul Ross can have a very important role."

For more information, contact Roman, (432) 8219 or




A feature story on Western artist Wayne Baize, written by Sul Ross State University faculty member Dr. Barney Nelson, is published in the August issue of Texas Monthly.

Nelson’s article, "All the Pretty Horses," features the nationally-renowned artist, who lives near Fort Davis.

Nelson, associate professor of English at Sul Ross, has written hundreds of magazine articles, including "Cowgirl Up," the cover story for the August 2011 Texas Monthly. She has lived on Texas ranches, written many forms of livestock journalism and has incorporated the rural perspective into many of her courses.

A member of the Sul Ross faculty since 1990, she has written several books on western and nature topics and has authored numerous scholarly papers.

For more information, contact Nelson, (432) 837-8154 or




The Sul Ross State University GEAR UP grant is providing backpacks to all incoming eighth graders in the Alpine, Del Rio, Presidio and Terlingua school districts.

Backpacks may be picked up either at the GEAR UP office on the Sul Ross campus (Morelock Academic Building, Room 104), during middle school registration at the partner schools or during distribution in the first week of the school year. If students and parents need assistance in acquiring additional supplies for the school year, the GEAR UP grant is prepared to help in providing essential academic materials to families in need.

For more information, contact Patrick Clingman, (432) 294-3041 or the GEAR UP office, (432) 837-8024.