CAL Currents: The Newsletter of the College of Arts and Letters

Volume 7 | Issue 1 | December 2023

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A Message from the Dean

The semester has been one to remember! In this edition of CAL Currents you’ll read about some of the great things that our students and faculty have been up to this semester – from ethics competitions to Broadway musicals and award-winning documentaries.

And even though much of the Fall semester is behind us, there is a lot more happening this semester. You’ll want to join us on Thursday, December 7th at 7:30 PM for the Holiday Pops concert in the Falk Theater that promises to be festive and the Ars Sonora holiday concert the following night on Friday December 8th also at 7:30 PM.

If you can't make it to campus, don’t worry, the College of Arts and Letters will come to you! An all new hour-long holiday special produced, filmed, edited by, and starring, our very talented students and faculty will premiere this month on WEDU-PBS (and will be available online nationally through their web platform). I am so incredibly proud of this monumental production, and I hope you make plans to see it on-air or online.


I hope everyone has a wonderful end to the semester. Thank you for your support of the arts here on campus and in Tampa!

David Gudelunas, Ph.D.

Dean, College of Arts and Letters

All Around CAL

The College of Arts and Letters is at the center of the Tampa Bay cultural scene...and the media take note.

New Special Produced by FMX Students and Faculty Gets Ready for Primetime on PBS

Students and faculty from the Film, Animation and New Media Department and Communication Department produced, conceptualized, filmed, and edited a new holiday special for WEDU/PBS. "Merrily Together: The University of Tampa Holiday Special" features student performers and faculty directors from the Music and Theater and Dance departments. Faculty and students in Graphic Design produced the on-air graphics (which feature iconic references to campus architecture). Advertising and Public Relations students helped with a marketing campaign for the program.

Unlike the 2019 special that was produced during one concert, the new student and faculty-led production was filmed over the course of an academic year.

The entire hour-long special was completely done "in house" and on campus at various venues including Fletcher Lounge, the Charlene A. Gordon Theater, and even the virtual production studio in Cass.

There will be a special sneak preview screening December 6th at 6 PM in the Charlene A. Gordon Theater and the special will air on WEDU December 22nd at 10:30 PM, December 24th at 3 PM, and December 25th at 4:30 PM.

"Cabaret" Cast and Director featured on WFLA

Professor Paul Finocchiaro and the cast of the HIT musical production of "Cabaret" were featured on WFLA prior to their opening in November. The musical played for four days to packed audiences in the Falk Theater. You can see the clip here.

College Galleries Programming Generates Buzz

Two shows this Fall in the Scarfone/Hartley Gallery garnered a lot of attention from the press. "Zooming Superheroes: From Dyes to DPI" was featured on ABC/WFTS and on Fox 13. The show was co-curated by College Galleries Director Jocelyn Boigenzhan.

Also in the Scarfone/Hartley Gallery this semester is a new exhibit celebrating the work of local artist Ales Bask Hostomsky who the Tampa Bay Times credited with "helping shape our area's edgy art scene" in a review of the show. The exhibit opened to large crowds and was also covered by Florida Trend and LongListShort. The exhibit, "B.A.S.K: Because Art Should Kill," is on display through December 15th (pictured above).

In The Saunders Foundation Gallery in the Ferman Center for the Arts, the new exhibit "Through Her Eyes: Women Photographers from Tampa Bay" features work from the University of Tampa and the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts permanent collections.

Film Chair Comments on Hollywood Strike

FMX chair Aaron Walker was a source for a WFTS/ABC piece on the writers and actors strikes in Hollywood. You can see the piece here.

The Business of Broadway

Hannah Shankman, understudy for Fanny Brice on the “Funny Girl” National Tour, visited and gave a lecture entitled "The Business of Broadway" to Musical Theatre, Theatre and Music majors in the Charlene A. Gordon Theater. She talked about how to navigate a career in musical theatre. Right as she was entering the building, she found out that she would be on for Fanny Brice in that evening's performance at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts. 

Ferman Center Hosts Communication Scholars from around the Southeast

The Ferman Center for the Arts served as host to the annual gathering of the Florida Communication Association. For three days the "FCA at FCA" featured faculty and student papers, presentations, posters and social events in spaces throughout the building. Dr. Chris Gurrie, from the Department of Communication, is pictured above with colleagues from across the region at the event.

Jeff Vinik Visits the Ferman Center to Speak with Students

Tampa Bay Lightning owner and philanthropist Jeff Vinik participated in a special event held inside the Charlene A. Gordon Theater which was hosted by the UT chapter of the American Marketing Association, the College of Arts and Letters Advertising and Public Relations Program, and the College of Business.

The student-led event was filled to capacity with overflow audiences watching the livestream in the Ferman Center for the Arts lobby.

CAL Student Excellence
Students throughout the college find success in academic, artistic, and professional endeavors

Dance Students Dazzle on Multiple Stages

Dance major Elliot Daugherty turned her research project on dance and psychology into a documentary film funded by the Office of Undergraduate Research and Inquiry (OURI). The film was produced by FMX alum Steven Nye (’22).

In other Dance major news, Alexa Clowers and Carly Dell co-presented with UT dance alumna Mads Waterman (‘20) and dance faculty Prof. Amanda GabaldonProf. Susannah LeMarquand, and Prof. Dakota Kuharich Stevenson at the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) national conference in Denver, CO. The panel discussed how brain-compatible dance education methods promote dancer autonomy & cultivate leadership skills. 

Dance students were also involved in a national commercial campaign for Nectar Mattress, choreographed by Prof. Amanda Gabaldon. UT Dance major Jillian Sternick and dance alumna Corinne Hidar (‘18) and Carley Ragsdale (‘23) were part of the cast of performers for the commercial shoot that took place in Celebration, FL. 

You can see the documentary here.

Student Documentaries Filmed Abroad Bring Home Awards

This past Spring, Dr. Christopher Boulton, Communication, and Dr. Andrew DeMil, Languages and Linguistics, took eleven students to Felipe Carrillo Puerto, Mexico, to make documentaries about local non-profits. Since then, all three short films have screened internationally and won awards.

Cadena en Cadena (Stitch by Stitch), produced by Rachel Thompson, Juliana Kasmanas, Andrew Miller, and Sarah Jane Kopecky in collaboration with Artesanías Lol-Chuy, a women's embroidery collective, won Special Mention in the documentary category at The Americas Film Festival New York hosted by the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian. Los Guardianes (The Guardians), produced by Kira O'Boyle, Jharia Morris, and Noah Jones in collaboration with Meliponario U Baàalamo’ob, a stingless bee apiary, won Best College Documentary at the MY HERO International Film Festival and screened for a month at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. And Na'aybi Lu'um (Dreamland), produced by Lucas Dye, Giovanni Diventura, Abigail Bucher, and Kaitlyn Griffin in collaboration with the Tuumben K'ooben conservation collective won Third Place in the Vegan Film category at NHDocs (the New Haven Documentary Film Festival).

Student Ethics Team Competes

The UT Ethics Bowl team competed at the Southeast Regional Ethics Bowl tournament at Rollins College on November 11th, 2023. Ethics Bowl is an intercollegiate competition at which teams from colleges across the US test their critical thinking, argumentation and presentation skills by giving ethical analyses of various cases. The CAL team consisted of Anna Popham, Lucas Badaan, Lucas Glenn, and Lane Clark (pictured above, left to right) and was coached by Dr. Alexandra Lloyd, Philosophy.

English Majors Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

The English Honors society, Sigma Tau Delta, visited Ybor City to honor Hispanic Heritage Month. Seen here are STD student members and Prof. Yuly Restrepo, English and Writing. Dr. Sucheta Kanjilal, English and Writing, is the advisor for STD (and also the unofficial photographer!).

Music Students Selected for State Band

Four music students were selected to the 2024 Florida Intercollegiate Band.

Charlie Bub Alto Saxophone (Senior MUSE)

Garrett Owen – Horn (Junior MUS-T)

Hannah Caraker – Euphonium (Senior MUSE)

Jillian Núñez – Percussion (Junior MUSE)

They will represent UT during the 2024 Florida Music Educator's Conference in January as part of a 72-member ensemble, comprising the best collegiate wind/percussion students in the state.

CAL Faculty Achievements
The College of Arts and Letters is home to a dynamic community of scholars and creatives

Dr. Lesley Wolff, Art + Design, curated the exhibition The Kingdom of This World, Reimagined, which opened this fall (on view through March 2024), dually staged between the art galleries of the University of Pittsburgh and Carlow University, in Pennsylvania. The exhibition showcases work by eleven contemporary artists responding to Alejo Carpentier’s famous and imaginative retelling of the Haitian Revolution, The Kingdom of This World


Dr. Wolff also gave two invited lectures at Tampa Bay area museums. On November 16th, she spoke about British-Mexican Surrealist Leonora Carrington at The Salvador Dalí Museum, in St. Petersburg. A recording of the event can be found on the museum’s YouTube page (and above). On September 21st, she led a gallery conversation at the Tampa Museum of Art about the work of contemporary Latinx artist Pepe Mar and his ties to modern Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo.     


Dr. Wolff additionally authored the curatorial essay for contemporary artist Scherezade García’s solo exhibition, Under the Lace: Stories of Floating Cathedrals, Resilience and Encounters, on view from September-November 2023, at Praxis New York. The essay and details about the exhibition can be found here.

Prof. Amanda Gabaldon, Dance, had her case study "Dancing Doctors and TikTok Meme-ography: Pointing Towards Female Health Access" accepted and published by Routledge in Dance in US Popular


Prof. Samantha Modder, Art + Design, was one of 12 artists selected to be a part of the “No Vacancy Miami Bach Temporary Public Art Project.” Her stunning work (seen, in part, above) will be up in Miami Beach through Art Basel Week, and can be voted for a People's choice award through this link.


This juried art competition “provokes critical discourse, and encourages the public to experience Miami Beach’s famed hotels as temporary art destinations in their own right. 'No Vacancy' 2023 marks the program’s fourth edition presenting 12 artists creating site-specific works at 12 iconic Miami Beach hotels,” according to the project’s organizers.

Dr. Bradford Blackburn, Music, released When Gaia Falls on Big Round Records. The album of original music, ecopoetry, and soundscapes by Blackburn is a call for environmental conservation.

The album features students and alumni from the Music department as performers, narration by Associate Professor Emeritus, Dr. Bob Gonzalez, as well as other guest artist performers. The album was recorded in the Ferman Center for the Arts recording studio. Additionally, in October, one of Blackburn’s computer music compositions, Canticum Avium, was performed in its 8-channel audio version at the “EM-visia 2023” electroacoustic music festival in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Prof. Kirk Hazlett, part-time faculty in Advertising and Public Relations, is frequently quoted in media on a variety of topics. You can see his comments on effective networking with the team, ethical thought and action, and breakdowns in corporate communication.

Dr. Emma Quintana, Art + Design, contributed to the book Turning Points: Responsive Pedagogies in Studio Art Education, which was published through Columbia University's Teachers College .

Dr. Kyle McIntosh, English and Writing, was named a series editor of Multilingual Matters' New Perspectives on Language and Education (NPLE), which features critical, multidisciplinary perspectives on language teaching/learning and literacy, particularly from scholars working in the Global South, as well as those from marginalized communities within the Global North.

You can read an interview he did as the new series editor here. Dr. McIntosh was also a featured speaker at the 9th Intercultural Rhetoric and Discourse Conference in Indianapolis where he presented a paper titled "Intercultural Aspects of Neo-nationalism."

Pictured right is the catalog designed by Prof. Luciana Gassett, Art + Design, for the "Heart of Nature" exhibit which was staged last year in the Scarfone/Hartley Gallery. It featured bowls from the Ferman Family collection and won the “Best of Show Award” in the Florida Print Awards.

Dr. Marcus Arvan, Philosophy, published two recent journal articles: “Trans Women, Cis Women, Alien Women, and Robot Women Are Women: They Are All (Simply) Adults Gendered Female” in Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, and “(When) Are Authors Culpable for Causing Harm?” in the Journal of Moral Philosophy.

Dr. David Gudelunas, Dean, had his research on newspaper advice columns cited in the Business Insider.

Dr. Vanessa Rukholm, Languages and Linguistics, and Prof. Aaron Walker, Chair of Film, Animation and New Media, were awarded the Albertine Cinémathèque Film Festival Grant for 2023-2024.

Albertine Cinémathèque is a program of FACE Foundation and Villa Albertine in partnership with the French Embassy in the United States and with support of the CNC (Centre National du Cinéma et da l’Image Animée).

The film series is presented at UT in partnership with the Departments of Film, Animation and New Media and Languages and Linguistics. There were multiple screenings happening this semester. All screenings took place in the Charlene A. Gordon Theater.

End of Semester Happenings Not To Miss!

Think the semester is winding down...not even close....come out for holiday concerts, film screenings and art exhibits!

  • University Concert Choir Holiday Concert Friday, December 1, 7:30 PM, Sykes Chapel
  • Damron Concert Artist Series: Let Heaven and Nature Sing – Sunday, December 2, 2 PM and 4 PM, Sykes Chapel
  • Together Merrily: The UT PBS Special Sneak Peek Preview Wednesday, December 6, 6PM, Charlene A. Gordon Theater
  • Wind and Jazz Ensembles Concert – Wednesday, December 6, 7:30 PM, Falk Theater
  • Holiday Pops Concert with the UT Symphony Orchestra – Thursday, December 7, 7:30 PM, Falk Theater
  • Black Box Film Festival – Friday, December 8, 7 PM, Charlene A. Gordon Theater
  • Ars Sonora Holiday Concert – Friday, December 8, 7:30 PM, Sykes Plaza
  • Studio Theater Production “We Are a Crescent Moon” Friday, December 8, 8:00 PM, Ferman Center BlackBox Theater
  • MA in Social and Emerging Media Capstone Exhibit – Monday, December 11, 5:30 PM, Ferman Center for the Arts
  • Film Senior BFA Thesis Showcase – Monday, December 11, 7 PM, Charlene A. Gordon Theater
  • MA in Professional Communication Reunion – Tuesday, December 12, 6 PM, Ferman Center for the Arts
  • CAL Graduate Hooding Ceremony – Wednesday, December 13, 6 PM, Charlene A. Gordon Theater
  • Fall Art+Design BFA Capstone Celebration – Thursday, December 14, 6 PM, Ferman Center for the Arts

Arts & Ideas 2023-2024 Guide

The 2023-2024 Arts & Ideas guide is here! Be sure to pick up a copy from the Ferman Center for the Arts front desk, Sykes Chapel vestibule, or the Falk and Gordon Theater lobbies. The guide contains all the happenings in the College of Arts and Letters for the entire year. All events and parking are free.

The Arts & Ideas guide was designed by Art + Design Prof. Luciana Gassett and features artwork on the cover from Prof. Chis Valle, chair of Art + Design.

You can also access the guide online here. Be sure to share it with friends and join in the excitement on campus.

Click here to support the Arts and Humanities at UT!