September 2018

EMDS Chair interviewed for CNN story

Dr. Gary Webb, professor and chair of UNT Emergency Management and Disaster Science, has been in the news lately talking about hurricane recovery.

Check out this feature on CNN

New UNT urban planning degree will meet needs of growing workforce

The degree will prepare students for an influx of jobs in DFW – the fastest growing region in the United States.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – The North Central Texas Council of Governments projects an additional four million people will be moving to North Texas by 2030 – which is more than the population of the entire state of Oklahoma.

“City officials are aware that this growth is coming and are becoming proactive to better plan for the next 20-30 years,” said Doug McDonald, president of the American Planning Association Texas Chapter.

With a projected 13 percent increase in demand for urban and regional planners over the next 10 years, the University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service’s new bachelors of arts degree in urban policy and planning is addressing the need for skilled workers.

“This will be the first degree of its kind in the DFW region,” said Jennifer Evans-Cowley, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, who also is a professor in the Department of Public Administration. “The North Texas region is booming and professional city planners are needed to work in the region’s cities and for planning consulting firms to keep pace with the growth.”

The degree, which is offered in the Department of Public Administration, will concentrate on the study of urban development, the history of cities and the impact of urban space on communities. It will include a combination of face-to-face and online courses that accommodate students’ busy schedules, as well as allow for a seamless transfer for incoming students. Students also will receive practical planning experience through a required urban planning studio.

“Student’s graduating with this degree will be career ready for a pursuit of professional opportunities in the public and private sectors,” said Laura Keyes, public administration lecturer and undergraduate program coordinator. “A major strength of the program is its close affiliation with city governments and planning consulting firms within the Dallas-Fort Worth region.”

Students may begin taking courses for the degree in spring 2019. Dean Neale Chumbler is ready to expand on the award-winning programs in HPS.

“I am thrilled that the college will be adding this novel academic program to the list of many high-achieving, cutting-edge offerings for our students. In fact, I am excited that the students who graduate from this program will bolster the workforce needs of DFW,” Chumbler said.

Ken Schmidt, lead planner for the City of Plano, echoes the importance of UNT training the urban planners of tomorrow.

“The urban policy and planning program will be a tremendous asset for the region,” Schmidt said. “The research and practitioners produced by this new endeavor will have a long-lasting impact, contributing to a more sustainable and vibrant future for our communities.”

HPS is excited to welcome new department chairs

Behavior Analysis, Public Administration and Social Work are all under new leadership.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – The University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service is welcoming three new chairs for this semester – all of whom are involved in research that’s changing lives.

Manish Vaidya, Department of Behavior Analysis

Manish Vaidya is an associate professor who earned his Ph.D. at the University of Florida . He is interested in issues related to stimulus control, and his current research involves behavioral health and medicine, technology-infused contingency management, health technologies and generative learning. Dr. Vaidya has developed an alternative to anesthesia used when children receive radiation treatments for cancer. The process involves teaching young patients to stay mostly motionless while awake for the sessions by pausing a cartoon they are watching if they move.

Dr. Vaidya aims to make behavior analysis more relevant to community and society:

“Many of the world’s problems and their potential solutions involve the behavior of individuals, it’s here that we can help.”

His goal for the department is to prepare students for a variety of in-demand careers.

“Behavior analysts stand poised to offer real and lasting solutions to the behavioral challenges confronting individuals and communities,” Vaidya said. “The faculty and staff of the Department of Behavior Analysis are enthusiastic about contributing to that vision by working with other disciplines and training the next generation of behavioral scientists and practitioners.”

Brian Collins, Department of Public Administration

Brian Collins is an associate professor and the former masters of public administration coordinator. He earned his Ph.D. at Indiana University and began his service to the Department of Public Administration in 2008. Dr. Collins’ research interests include local government management, policy implementation and intergovernmental relations. He conducts applied research and has forged strong relationships with local, regional and state government agencies. Those connections are invaluable to the department’s Ph.D. program.

“I have been fortunate to lead teams that have pushed the department’s graduate programs to new heights,” Collins said. “Our department created a new, healthy doctoral program culture that has resulted in regular faculty-student publications and grants, national awards for doctoral students and placement of doctoral students at prestigious universities in the United States and globally.”

In his role as chair, Dr. Collins wants to continue the department’s vision to be the premier resource for public managers in Texas, the Southwest region and the US.

“We want to train the current and future generation of leaders and problem solvers in government and nonprofits,” Collins said. “We are doing that now with the nationally ranked local government MPA program and two new undergraduate programs, the Nonprofit Leadership Studies and Urban Policy and Planning degrees. This programing not only prepares students for careers in the complex world of nonprofits and governments, but also highlights the necessity of cutting-edge research and knowledge that our faculty and doctoral students provide.”

Sharon Bowland, Department of Social Work

Sharon Bowland is an associate professor and licensed clinical social worker who worked in community mental health for more than 20 years before obtaining her Ph.D. at Washington University in St. Louis. She specializes in recovery approaches with survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse. Her current research focuses on older women and African American women.

“I see many opportunities for social workers working with older persons,” Bowland said. “Our older population is growing rapidly and the workforce will be increasingly geared toward providing social services that promote healthy aging, managing chronic illness and improving the quality of life for older persons. As a gerontologist, I hope to make a contribution in training newly minted social workers to meet our workforce needs.”

Dr. Bowland says UNT Social Work is developing capacity for our region by educating social workers at a beginning professional level in the Bachelor of Social Work Program. And the new Master of Social Work Program will have a strong impact on social service delivery in our region.

“Social Workers have varied careers including healthcare, the Veteran’s Administration, mental health, substance abuse and The Department of Family and Protective Services,” Bowland said. “We are mental health service providers, healthcare navigators, experts at working in interdisciplinary teams, agency administrators and policy makers.”