The Helen and Jeff Herbert Family University Lecture Series

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University Lecture Series

The Helen and Jeff Herbert Family University Lecture Series

Designed to create a campus-wide conversation, the Helen and Jeff Herbert Family University Lecture Series gives first-year students an opportunity to interact with leading members of our faculty—scholars, scientists, and civic leaders who are nationally and internationally renowned. All students, faculty, alumni, staff, and community guests are invited, but the events will be aimed at entering first-year students. The Helen and Jeff Herbert Family University Lecture Series is made possible by a generous gift from the Herbert Family.

View archived ULS events.

Fall 2021 Events

When Texas Froze Over
Dr. Kasey Faust, Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering; Professor Troy Kimmel, Department of Geography and the Environment; and Dr. Varun Rai, Associate Dean for Research and Director of the UT Energy Institute

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Professor Troy Kimmel discusses the forecasts leading up to this historic winter storm and how accurate those forecasts actually were. In addition, are forecasts (and watches, warnings, and advisories, for that matter) all there is to communicating weather hazards to the general public? You may be surprised by the answer to that question!

Dr. Faust considers the cascading impacts of Winter Storm Uri on the water infrastructure system in Austin. This includes understanding the response and recovery across the city, as well as the impacts on our most vulnerable residents (e.g., mothers with children, elderly populations). Importantly, she discusses how we can rethink water infrastructure in Texas to be better prepared for weather extremes in the future.

Drawing from a recent UT report that professor Rai helped coordinate on the February 2021 blackouts in Texas, he offers a holistic, data-driven overview of how the interaction of natural, technological, human, and market factors led to the crisis and the key lessons that have emerged since. He also draws from both personal experiences during the storm and from unique survey data collected across Texas immediately after the storm to discuss how underlying contexts and experiences drive public perceptions regarding causes and solutions for the blackouts.

COVID-19: A Retrospective from Campus Leaders
Dean Clay Johnston, Dell Medical School; Dean Alexa Stuifbergen, School of Nursing; and Dean Luis Zayas, Steve Hicks School of Social Work

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Dean Johnston gives insight into the timelines of the pandemic and what Dell Medical School was doing on the ground and explores what lasting impacts might be expected from the pandemic, particularly in healthcare and research.

Dean Stuifbergen discusses the impact of the pandemic on the School of Nursing undergraduate and graduate students and how faculty creatively managed the challenges of the pandemic – especially related to “in-person” clinical learning. On Dec. 15, 2020, School of Nursing faculty and students administered the first COVID vaccines in central Texas. During the subsequent months, a strong interprofessional partnership between the School of Nursing, College of Pharmacy, Dell Medical School, and the Steve Hicks School of Social Work faculty and students has delivered almost 150,000 vaccines in the historic effort to stop the pandemic. We know that the pandemic has had a greater impact on persons with fewer resources and Dean Stuifbergen describes current efforts to make vaccines available for those with limited access and greater barriers to health care.

The pandemic has had a global impact on economies, political systems, and societies, and families. At the personal level, COVID has created stress, anxiety, isolation, depression, and many other psychosocial issues in the lives of high school and college students (and their professors, too). In some instances, it has meant losses of family members, friends, and neighbors. What have been the effects on our mental wellbeing? What can we do at UT and at home to repair from this historic year? Dean Zayas talks about mental well-being in the age of COVID and how social workers are helping.

Featured Video

Hear from The Helen and Jeff Herbert Family University Lecture Series participants about their valuable experiences with the program.