College of Liberal and Fine Arts

Department Chairs

Department of Anthropology
Jason Yaeger, Chair

 

I am an anthropological archaeologist who studies Mesoamerican and Andean civilizations, particularly the Maya and Inka. My research interests include the organization of ancient households and communities, urbanism, landscapes and environments, the relationship between climate change and culture change, material culture and identity, ethnohistory, the politics of archaeological research, and Maya epigraphy and iconography.
Much of my research has sought to understand the organization of Classic Maya rural communities and the practices, institutions, and constructs that linked rural householders into extra-community socio-political entities. I have surveyed the countryside in Belize’s Mopan River valley, mapped hundreds of houses and agricultural terraces, and excavated several rural houses in detail. My investigations also have taken me to the larger centers like Xunantunich, where I excavated monumental temples and palaces. My current research project focuses on documenting the changing relationships between Xunantunich and the rival center of Buenavista and understanding how competition between these two polities impacted the people who lived in the intervening countryside.

 
 
 

Department of Art & Art History
Gregory Elliott, Chair

 

Mr. Gregory Elliott begins his position as Chair of the Art Department at UTSA effective August 18, 2008. Mr. Elliott earned his MFA degree from Southern Methodist University in 1988, where he also received his MA degree in 1980. In 2003 Mr. Elliott, began serving as the Chairman for the Department of Art at the University of Texas at El Paso. During his tenure, the number of art majors grew by approximately 50% and he was instrumental in developing and implementing UTEP's Quality Enhancement Plan. Professor Elliott also served as head of the sculpture area and graduate coordinator at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana from 1998 to 2002.

Professor Elliott comes to UTSA as a widely acknowledged leader of the arts in the El Paso region, and is credited with being instrumental in accomplishing the opening of the Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts Center, the cornerstone of cultural activities at UTEP. As a tenured professor, he has shown a dedication to making education a priority and is committed to improving teaching and learning in the visual arts. Mr. Elliott also has a long list of artistic and scholarly awards and exhibitions and has received numerous grants and fellowships.

 
 
 

Department of Communication
H. Paul LeBlanc III, Chair

 

Dr. Paul LeBlanc began his position as Chair of the Department of Communication on September 1, 2010. He previously served as the Graduate Advisor of Record for the MA Program in Communication for three years. He received his MA in Communication in 1992 from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and his PhD in Communication in 2000 from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. He has been a faculty member at UTSA since 2001. His research focuses on health communication, family communication and communication education. He is currently conducting research on marital communication. His primary research question is "How do relational partners communicate inclusion?" Dr. LeBlanc has received a faculty research award and served as a faculty mentor for the Lancy Scholarship program. In addition to research, Dr. LeBlanc teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in social interaction and interpersonal communication He also teaches in the communication core with a particular interest in research methods. He is an active supporter of graduate and undergraduate student research, and has supervised 14 student papers presented at conferences, three of which received honors. He has also supervised three student projects that were subsequently published. He has directed and reviewed both graduate and undergraduate theses.

 
 
 

Department of English
Mark Bayer, Chair

 

Dr. Mark Bayer began his tenure as department chair in 2013. His research focuses on the reception of early modern drama--both the local conditions of dramatic performance in sixteenth and seventeenth century London, and the reception of  Shakespeare’s plays in contexts ranging from the modern Middle East to nineteenth century America.  In his first book, Theatre, Community, and Civic Engagement in Jacobean London (University of Iowa Press, 2011), he claimed that playgoing enhanced social capital and contributed to community formation in early modern London—especially in the neighborhoods where specific playhouses were located.  His current project looks at the emergence of Shakespeare studies as an institutionalized academic discipline in the United States during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

 
 
 

Department of History
Gregg L. Michel, Chair

 

Gregg L. Michel received a B.A. from the University of Chicago and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. Dr. Michel's scholarly work focuses on movements for social change in post-World War II America, particularly in the 1960s South. His book, Struggle for a Better South: The Southern Student Organizing Committee, 1964-1969, examines the turbulent history of the leading progressive white student organization in the 1960s South. His current work focuses on government surveillance of student activists in the South in the 1960s and 1970s. Dr. Michel has served the university in a variety of capacities, including as chair of the Athletics Council and a member of the Core Curriculum Assessment Committee. He began his term as Chair of the Department of History in 2010.

 
 
 

Department of Modern Languages & Literatures
Marita Nummikoski, Chair

 

Associate professor and coordinator of UTSA's Russian program, Dr. Nummikoski was named interim chair of the department beginning with the Spring Semester 2002 and chair the following fall. A member of the UTSA faculty since 1988, she is author of Troika: A Communicative Approach to Russian Language, Life, and Culture, a Russian textbook first published by John Wiley and Sons, New York, in 1996. The updated edition was published in 2011 with extensive multimedia components, including videos filmed in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Dr. Nummikoski is also a co-author of News from Russia, published by Yale University Press in 2004. She received master’s degrees in English Philology and in Russian language and Literature from Helsinki University in Finland and earned her Ph.D. in foreign language education (Russian) at the University of Texas at Austin in 1991.

 
 
 

Department of Music
David Frego, Chair

 

Dr. David Frego began his duties as Chair of the Music Department at UTSA on July 1, 2008. Dr. Frego received his PhD from Florida State University in 1996 and has obtained both a license and certification in Dalcroze Eurhythmics from Carnegie Mellon University. He received his Master of Music Education and Master of Music, Choral Performance from Florida State University. Dr. Frego is considered a first rate musician, as a pianist, a conductor, a dancer and singer. He is supportive of choral and vocal programs and is committed to music performance and education. As an expert in Dalcroze Eurhythmics, Dr. Frego is has received international recognition for his research. Dr. Frego comes to UTSA from Ohio State University where he served as Associate Director of the School of Music and Associate Professor of Music Education and Dalcroze Eurhythmics. He is credited with increasing the scholarship budget and has been successful in developing community financial support. Dr. Frego is admired nationally and internationally as a Dalcroze clinician and performs numerous workshops per year, including workshops in Bosnia-Herzegovina, France, Japan and Egypt. He has been widely published in major research journals, and recently completed a chapter for Oxford University Press and a new chapter for the Revised Handbook on Research in Music Education.

 
 
 

Department of Philosophy & Classics
Eve Browning, Chair

 

Eve Browning joins UTSA as chair of the Department of Philosophy and Classics. She grew up in Florida, graduated from the University of Florida, and holds a Ph.D. from the University of California San Diego. Most recently she was Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Her research centers on ancient Greek and Roman philosophy and culture. In her spare time she enjoys trail riding with her horse Gentle John.

 
 
 

Dan Engster

Department of Political Science & Geography
Dan Engster, Interim Chair

 

Dan Engster began his service as Chair of the Department of Political Science and Geography in the fall of 2015. He earned his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Chicago in 1996 and joined the UTSA faculty in 1998. Professor Engster teaches courses on the history of political thought, including ancient, modern, and contemporary theory, and more specialized upper-level and graduate classes on topics such as Justice and Public Policy and Justice and the Family. His research focuses on care ethics, public policy, and the family. His most recent book, Justice, Care, and the Welfare State, develops philosophically-informed prescriptions for the reform of contemporary social policies in the areas of the family, health care, old age, disability, and poverty. He has also co-edited collections of essays on care ethics, Care Ethics and Political Theory, and political philosophy and the family, Justice, Politics, and the Family. His 2007 book The Heart of Justice developed a theory of justice for politics, economics, and international relations based on care ethics.

 
 
 

Department of Psychology
Rebekah E. Smith, Chair

 

 

 
 

Department of Sociology
Xiahoe Xu, Chair

 

Dr. Xu received his Master’s degree in sociology from Michigan State University and his PhD from the University of Michigan. His research examines how social change, race and ethnicity, and religion affect family lives in the United States. Over the past few years, Dr. Xu has developed a well-recognized expertise in the area of comparative family studies. His research explores the changing trends in marriage and family relationships in the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan and the United States. His current projects examine 1) religion and the timing of remarriage among American Women, 2) correlates and public health consequences of intimate partner violence in urban Thailand, and 3) family violence in African societies. He has served as an editorial board member for American Sociological Review, and is currently serving as an editorial board member for Journal of Marriage and Family and Sociological Inquiry. Dr. Xu’s research has appeared in such journals as American Journal of Preventive Medicine, American Journal of Public Health, Journal of Adolescent Health, Journal of Comparative Family Studies, Journal of Family Issues, Journal of Family Violence, Journal for Scientific Study of Religion, Journal of Marriage and Family, Population Research and Policy Review, Review of Religious Research, Social Indicators Research, Social Science Research, Sociological Quarterly, and Youth & Society. He is presently working on a service project to establish a secured laboratory in the Department of Sociology.

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