Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2006 | 7:26 a.m.
For most scholars, the doctoral dissertation is the gateway to a career in academia, the last big push to earn the right to call yourself a professor.
For Carlos Campo, dean of liberal arts at the Community College of Southern Nevada, his dissertation had two added bonuses: personal correspondence with Arthur Miller and the chance to host an international conference on the renowned American playwright.
Campo's dissertation, looking at classical views of friendship in Miller's work, got him involved in the Arthur Miller Society. Then, because of his connections as the former vice president for that academic nonprofit group, CCSN got the chance to host this year's annual conference at its Cheyenne campus.
"To have the conference here is a boost for the community college, the English department and certainly for Carlos," said English professor John Esperian, who on Thursday will be summarizing a writing project with his students that puts "Death of a Salesman" lead character Willy Loman on trial.
CCSN is already known nationally as the third-largest community college in the country, and internationally for its large body of foreign students.
The conference will immediately benefit students and professors who will be able to hear from some of the foremost Miller scholars in the world, Campo said.
"We want to open students to other books other than 'Death of a Salesman,' " Campo said.
Campo's dissertation was aided by his uncle, actor Jose Ferrer, whose friendship with the author allowed Campo to correspond with Miller about his work. Campo received four letters from Miller over the course of his dissertation work, so Campo could test his ideas against Miller's and include the author's thoughts in his work. It won Campo dissertation of the year at UNLV in 1993.
The academic conference looks at the influence of the West on the American playwright's work, with presentations from leading scholars, a screening of the movie "The Misfits" and a staged presentation of "All My Sons" at the Backstage Theater.
The keynote speech by Christopher Bigsby, director of the Center for Arthur Miller Studies in East Anglia, United Kingdom, and the productions associated with the conference are open to the public. The lecture begins at 6 p.m. Thursday in Lecture Hall 2407. The play starts at 8 p.m.
A historical moment went relatively unnoticed Friday, when the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents voted to allow Nevada State College at Henderson to begin offering its first master's degree.
The state college will offer a master's degree in speech pathology starting this spring to fill a growing need for speech therapists in the Clark County School District, President Fred Maryanski said. Regents developed the college as a way to train more professionals to meet community needs and to take some of the burden off of UNLV to train teachers and nurses.
Nevada State's concentration is on bachelor's degrees, and some regents were concerned that the college was creeping into UNLV's territory, but UNLV officials signed off on the degree. Nevada State offers a bachelor's degree in speech pathology that certifies graduates to work in local schools. The master's degree will allow students to continue their professional development while working in Las Vegas.
After three years of work, and four months waiting for delayed paperwork , UNLV engineering professor Biswajit Das won unanimous approval from the regents last week to go forward with his nanotechnology research center.
Regent approval gives Das greater leverage in applying for grants, securing contracts and recruiting scholars. His work is focused on how to mass-manufacture nanoelectronics, nanolighting and sensors.
UNLV promoted the center this week by saying regents had taken a "big step for small science."