The Weekly Blab

Vol. 1, Number 10—November 1, 2006

Dear Colleagues,

 

Here we go with the tenth issue of the Weekly Blab. Some of the items that may appear here are preliminary, and may later disappear without a trace upon further consideration!

 

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Follow-ups on Previous Items

 

Systems Engineering

As previously announced in several venues, we will be going forward with a full proposal for a Bachelor of Science in Engineering—Concentration in Systems Engineering.  The proposed timeline (which is aggressive, so I hope we can meet it) is to have this in front of the faculty senate at their next meeting, and in front of the full faculty at the November 30 meeting.  The proposal will therefore go downtown with the Doctorate of Professional Studies letter of intent, which is also on the November 30 faculty meeting docket.

 

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New Issues

 

New Funding Request

Something you may not have heard is that we had an opportunity to submit a new funding request as part of our budget, which could amount to up to 5% of our budget (which would be just shy of $1 million).  Just to remind folks, I mentioned what we were thinking of doing at the last faculty meeting, and invited those who were interested to participate in a meeting we had on October 23.  The ideas were to get funding for the articulation we have been talking about with the DTAE system, and to be able to offer ET courses online so that we could serve a more statewide audience.

 

We had a good meeting on the 23rd, with representatives there from Business, CET, Construction, ECET, IET, and MET, as well as Dean Caudill, Tom Currin and me.  After some discussion, we thought that the proposed topics were worth pursuing, and that each department would identify two courses that they would like to offer online, and provide a rationale as to why they would work well in this project.  The whole idea is to explore the various ways that laboratory courses (and other key courses in ET or technology or business programs) can be taught online, without compromising learning outcomes.  If funded, we will develop the courses in the Summer and Fall of 2006, and pilot them in the Spring 2007.  The articulations with the DTAE schools would take place in the summer and fall of 2006 as well, though some preliminary investigation has, of course, already been going on.

 

In case you’re wondering where the BAS proposals (discussed on several occasions earlier) are, three are complete, the fourth has been proposed and I’ll look at it later this week, and the last is in the process of being revised.  They should be going to the UCC as a group in the next few weeks.  More on this topic as things develop.

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Dan Papp Inauguration

Last Tuesday as many of you are aware, Dan Papp (former interim president of SPSU from 1997-1998 and former senior vice chancellor of USG) was formally inaugurated as president at Kennesaw State.  I had the pleasure of representing SPSU at this event, so I got a nice dinner on Monday night (held at the Marietta Country Club, where I’d never been before to that point). 

 

On Tuesday, it was “putting on the regalia” and walking in the academic procession.  Interestingly, they had us lining up in order of “oldest university first”, so a representative from Dartmouth (founded 1769!) led the way.  You may not know that Dan Papp attended Dartmouth as an undergraduate.  Assuming everyone does it this way, it means that Georgia Gwinnett College is doomed to be last in everything, having been founded in 2005.  I was surprised to see that SPSU was in the middle of the pack—I thought we were much younger than most USG institutions, but I guess we’re now proudly in middle age.

 

Anyway, the installation was enjoyable—lots of greeting from various groups and places, live music, installation by the Chancellor and a speech from Dan, saying his goal was to make Kennesaw a pre-eminent university nationally for learning excellence.  I gave Dan our best wishes in his new position, and reminded him that he was ours first.

 

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Capital Equipment—The Big Picture

Last Wednesday, the Deans and I went over the capital equipment requests.  The good news is that we have more money than before for capital equipment—we have our “traditional” $395,000 in the academic affairs budget, and additional funds from lab fees.

 

Several things struck me during the discussion, though.  First, a very large chunk of requests are related to computers, smart classroom equipment and related items.  This makes sense, of course, at “Georgia’s Technology University”, but as mentioned in last week’s BLAB, we need to find a different way of funding routine replacements and upgrades—a way that does it routinely, as part of an overall campus technology replacement plan.  As mentioned, a draft plan has been circulated to the Deans, and will be discussed at today’s ALC meeting.

 

Second, there was very little in the way of “big ticket” items—major equipment that would put our labs at the cutting edge, give our current students the best possible training, and create a “wow factor” with potential students.  I know that the reason those proposals aren’t there is that the departments have more basic needs that must be taken care of first.  Also, large proposals haven’t been given much consideration in the past, due to lack of funding.

 

I believe we have to move forward aggressively in outfitting our labs and equipment to the highest standard.  The greatest needs, I believe, are in the ET/Engineering departments and in BCP.  It’s my feeling that CSE and Architecture are in better shape, due to their higher reliance on computers and related technology.  Is this an accurate view?  I’d like to hear some feedback from folks if there are other areas that have big needs.

 

Anyway, moving forward will involve developing a strategic plan for laboratory improvement for the ET/engineering areas and a plan for BCP—plans that includes identifying the major equipment we would like to get, describing the great things we would do with it, identifying realistic potential sources of funding, and laying out a timeline for making it happen.  The funding sources would be a combination of grants (NSF, etc.), equipment manufacturer donations and fundraising.

 

I’ve asked Deans Gabrielli and Caudill to help me move forward with this, working with faculty and chairs to start developing these strategic plans.  If other areas are identified, we’ll add them to the plan.  You’ll hear more about this in the near future.

 

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Teacher of the Year

The Teacher of the Year festivities were held last Wednesday for the Cobb County schools, and it was my pleasure to see SPSU’s teacher of the year, Gouranga Banik (Construction) receive his award at the pep rally.  If you’ve never seen the pep rally, you should make an effort to do so next year—the Roswell Street Baptist Church was filled to the gills with elementary, middle school and high school students, all carrying banners and signs saying their teacher of the year was the best.  Brass bands played, and there was even a very good musical theatre troupe from Pebble Brook High School.  Quite an event.  I think it was filmed for Cobb public access TV, so you may be able to see it there.  Then, it was off to the Cobb Galleria for a lunch in honor of the teacher’s of the year.  Congratulations Gouranga!

 

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Scholarship Dinner

On Thursday night, SPSU’s Development Office hosted a scholarship dinner, honoring student recipients of various scholarships and the donors who funded them.  It was really something to see the many of our students who benefit from this type of philanthropy, and to hear them tell what a difference the scholarships made to their professional advancement and in their lives.  After they spoke, I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house.  Our donors had an opportunity to see, first hand, what a difference they are making.  A great event.

 

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Congratulations Time

Congratulations to the Construction Management program for their 2006 fundraiser, held at the Cobb Galleria on October 18.  The event was organized by the Construction Industrial Advisory Board.  The guest speaker was Dr. Gena Abraham (State Property Office and Director of Construction of the Georgia State Finance and Investment Commission), who spoke about the state’s asset management program.  In her talk, she noted the leadership role played by the CM program in supporting Georgia’s construction industry.  There was also a silent auction, and I was tempted to buy a framed, autographed picture of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., and Joey Bishop.  When I saw the $1100 price tag, though—well, sorry Rat Pack—I don’t love ya that much!

 

Click on the link below to see a picture of the event.

 

            http://fac-web.spsu.edu/aa/group2.jpg

 

Congratulations also to Prof. Tom Rotnem (SIS) on his op-ed article “Teach Young Americans Why Their Votes Count” in the November 1 AJC.  You can read it at the following link:

 

            http://fac-web.spsu.edu/aa/TomRotnem.pdf

 

 

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That’s it for this week.  Your opinions on these and other matters are always valued and invited.