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Portrait Gallery: Lynn Bissett, associate registrar, Catalog and Curriculum support

Lynn Bissett, assistant director, Catalog and CurriculumLynn Bissett manages publication of the university’s academic catalog. She travels to Central America each summer to help bring public health services and education to rural villages. She will return to the Honduran village of Laguna in June.

What is your title and how long have you been at UNT?

I’m associate registrar for catalog and curriculum support, and some-time adjunct faculty member in the Department of English.

What is your training and background?

I earned a bachelor’s degree in French from Ball State University, master’s in English from the University of Central Arkansas and a master of science degree in library science from UNT. Other positions I’ve held include editorial assistant for the Southern Illinoisan and associate editor of American Journalism.

In other jobs, I developed documentation for a USDA-approved branded product for the Red Angus Association of America. I’ve been an instructor of freshman English at UNT, East Texas State University, Central Missouri State University, Southern Illinois University–Carbondale and the University of Central Arkansas.

Why do we have catalogs?

Each year our catalogs capture our curriculum. Each student enters under a particular catalog, which is an authority the student may turn to between matriculation and graduation. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the State of Texas and the UNT System Board of Regents all require us to publish our catalogs. The catalog supports accreditation and recognition as an institution that meets accepted standards for higher education. It’s an important publication for students and faculty, and it meets accreditation guidelines.

What are trends in catalog publishing?

The move to an online-only catalog allowed us to accomplish three things: produce a more dynamic online catalog, reduce the amount of paper used in production and publication, and lower the cost of catalog production. Catalogs since 2011–12 also are available on mobile devices.

Dental clinic, La Laguna, HondurasYou spend summer vacation on mission trips. What do you do?

Each summer since 2002, I have spent one week traveling to Honduras.  Our group provides medical and dental care, educational activities for school children and assistance to individual families through construction projects. We fill thousands of prescriptions, free of charge. I have the privilege of being involved in the planning and preparation for the trip.

For the past three trips we have worked with the mountain community of La Laguna, right. The people of La Laguna are extremely poor. Many of them eat only one meal a day: tortillas and maybe beans. Some homes have electricity; most do not.

No one has running water, and most do not have access to a well. So they collect rainwater from the roofs of their homes. Because they are not always able to treat this water properly, most of the people in the community suffer gastrointestinal distress caused by parasites.

San Matias, La Laguna, HondurasLast year’s trip was extra special for two reasons. First, my husband, Scott (who graduated from UNT in 1974), and I spent a week in Copán Ruinas, the home of Mayan ruins, studying Spanish at Escuela Ixbalanque.

I stayed with Doña Rubenia in a room built on the roof of her home. Scott stayed with a family who run a pulpería, a small neighborhood shop rather like a convenience store. The week was full of study, adventure, good food and lots of bottled water.

The second reason that last year’s trip was special was that Bess, my daughter (who graduated from UNT in May), traveled with the rest of the brigada (mission team) and joined us for the week serving the people of La Laguna.

It's not possible to know everyone on a big, busy campus. So InHouse periodically publishes Portrait Gallery features to help us learn about our colleagues and their contributions to the university's success. Send suggestions for Portrait Gallery subjects by email to InHouse with "Portrait Gallery" in the subject line.)

Posted on: Mon 03 June 2013

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