Latest News from Sul Ross August 11, 2014


    Fall semester 2014 classes will begin Monday, Aug. 25 at Sul Ross State University.
    Residence halls will open Friday-Saturday, Aug. 22-23 at 10 a.m.. Lobo Orientation Days for new and transfer students will be held Friday-Sunday, Aug. 22-24.
    College and departmental meetings will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Aug. 22. Friday, Aug. 22 is also the last day for regular and online registration.
    Sul Ross will host the annual New Student Convocation on Sunday, Aug. 24, 7 p.m. in the Pete P. Gallego Center.
     Classes, late registration and schedule changes begin Monday, Aug. 25. A faculty-staff meeting will be held at 4 p.m. Monday, Aug. 25 in Marshall Auditorium.    
    Tuesday, Aug. 26  is the last day for students to register in Education block courses.
    Thursday, Aug. 28 is the last day for late registration and schedule changes.
    Monday, Sept. 1 is the Labor Day holiday, with no classes scheduled and offices closed.
    Wednesday, Sept. 10 is the 12th class day.
    Friday, Sept. 19 is the last day to apply for December graduation without a late fee. Sept. 19 is also the final day for students enrolled in Education block courses to drop a course and receive a “W.”
    Monday, Sept. 22 is the deadline for applying to student teach during Spring 2014 semester.
    A University as Community Meal on the Mall will be served on Monday, Sept. 29.
    Monday, Oct. 20 is mid-semester.
    Friday, Nov. 14 is the last day to withdraw from the university or drop a course with a “W.” Drops must be processed and in the Registrar’s Office by 4  p.m
    Thanksgiving holidays will be observed Wednesday-Sunday, Nov. 26-Nov. 30. Holidays begin after the last scheduled class on Tuesday, Nov. 25. Residence halls will close at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 26 and re-open at noon Sunday, Nov. 30.
     Wednesday, Dec. 3 is the final class day. Final examinations will be held Monday-Thursday, Dec. 8-11.
       Fall commencement exercises will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 13 in the Pete P. Gallego Center.

    by Steve Lang, News and Publications

    Like herding cats and life itself, the eventual destination of a documentary film may stray widely from its intended path.
    “The reality (in making a documentary film) is, the footage of what you bring back in your camera is what the film is about,” said Bret Scott, Sul Ross State University assistant professor of Communication. Scott designed and taught a first-ever wildlife documentary production workshop during summer class sessions.
    Students filmed their intended subject matter during the first summer session, and have spent the second session editing the results into eight-to-12-minute films. Several discovered that original intent and actual results were distinctly different.
    Mattie Dunshee, Alpine, a senior Animal Science major, said she planned to produce a film on the changes in leather quality. Her work included an interview with her father, Gary, co-owner of Big Bend Saddlery.
    “I ended up with a film about my family, our business and how leather affects us,” she said.
    For Michael Gallardo, El Paso, who is pursuing a Master’s degree in Liberal Arts, his study of “Nature Deficit Disorder” became more personal. Through a number of filmed interviews, Gallardo sought to show contrasts between urban and rural living and if people lost their connection with nature in urban surroundings.
    “I went to El Paso to interview my mom (and her experiences in the outdoors),” he said, “and after I looked at the footage, I saw it was not so much about Nature Deficit Disorder, but more about my mother and family.”
    “Whatever you start out doing might not be the result,” said Aaron Brooks, Leander, who is pursuing a Master’s degree in Art. Brooks’ project was an artistic view of natural light and color.
    Projects also included studies of research on human-mountain lion interaction and desert bighorn sheep capture.
    “We started with a roomful of students with no experience holding a camera to producing finished films,” said Scott. “Most of the documentary happens in the editing. Alfred Hitchcock said, ‘In fiction, the director is God; in documentaries, God is the director.’”
    And, speaking of desired results, “sometimes the dogs don’t cooperate for the camera,” laughed Dr. Ryan O’Shaughnessy, BRI research scientist, whose project studied relationships with working and hunting dogs.
    “You get a far better appreciation for what you’re presenting,” O’Shaughnessy said. “There is so much more to it (documentary) than filming.”
    The idea for offering the class stemmed from providing an avenue for scientists to better communicate research. Earlier this year, Scott was asked by Dr. Louis Harveson, professor of Natural Resource Management and director of the Borderlands Research Institute (BRI), to film portions of a desert bighorn sheep capture and relocation project to use as a video clip on the BRI website. Harveson also saw increased opportunities for the use of video in natural resource management fieldwork..
    “Scientists are generally poor communicators,” said Harveson, who also enrolled in the workshop.  
    Scott also saw the possibilities.
    “I wanted to help make students better at making science more accessible to students who aren’t scientists,” he said, adding that documentary filmmaking “is a way to better communicate scientific knowledge.”

Bret Scott (left), Mattie Dunshee, Alpine, edit video in Sul Ross wildlife documentary production workshop.

Missy Embrey, Gainesville, reviews footage of desert bighorn sheep relocation. (Photos by Steve Lang)

    Five winners have been selected in the third annual Wind Ensemble Composition Contest, sponsored by the Sul Ross State University Music Program. A winners’ concert will be held Thursday, Oct. 9, 7:30 p.m. in Marshall Auditorium.
    This year’s winners, selected from over 80 entries, are: “Exuberant Overture,” by Vaibhav Mohanty; “High Plains Suite,” by C. Foster Payne, Strasburg, Colo.; “Intermezzo for Wind Ensemble,” by Ricky Chaggar, London, England; “Euphotrombotonia,” by Arthur J. Michaels; and “Bantu,” by Sy Brandon, Cottonwood, Ariz.
    “The contest continues to gain popularity, and this year’s entries came from 35 states and 15 countries,” said Chris Dobbins, Sul Ross director of Bands and Brass Studies. “The Sul Ross Music Program thanks all the contestants for their entries and extends our heartiest congratulations to the winners.”
    For more information, contact Dobbins, (432) 837-8018 or

    Research conducted at Sul Ross State University’s Borderlands Research Institute (BRI) was featured in a recent publication of the Quail Coalition.
    The article detailed BRI scaled quail research in the Trans-Pecos region, which hosts four species of quail: scaled, Gambel’s, Montezuma and northern bobwhite. Several Quail Coalition chapters have helped to fund the BRI desert-quail research program.
    The Quail Coalition is a volunteer organization consisting of 12 Texas chapters dedicated to improving and expanding quail habitat and populations.
    Established in 2007, the BRI is a natural expansion of a long-lasting partnership between private landowners; the Range and Wildlife Program at Sul Ross; and cooperating state, federal, and non-government organizations.
    Research efforts focus on three interrelated emphases: ecology and management of wildlife and their habitats, rangeland management and restoration, and conservation biology.
    For more information, contact Louis Harveson, director, (432) 837-8225 or; or the BRI website at