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Interim vice presidents, CIO named for SPSU

Interim vice presidents, CIO named for SPSU

Interim vice president for Academic Affairs Richard Cole

JUNE 12, 2014 – As Southern Polytechnic State University (SPSU) moves toward consolidation with Kennesaw State University in January 2015 and the university prepares to gear up for the fall semester, several interim appointments have been made to ensure a smooth transition despite the departure of various key administrators.

Shortly after University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby named Dr. Ron Koger as interim president of SPSU in late May, Dr. Koger, in consultation with departing President Lisa A. Rossbacher, appointed Prof. Richard Cole (right), dean of the School of Architecture and Construction Management, to serve as interim vice president for Academic Affairs (VPAA) He will take on the duties of Dr. Zvi Szafran, who is leaving this month to become president of the State University of New York Canton. Prof. Cole will maintain his responsibilities as dean in addition to serving as interim VPAA.

Dr. Rossbacher is moving to the West Coast to become president of Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif.

Dr. Koger announced two more key appointments in early June: Karl Staber, currently director of recreational sports, will serve as interim vice president for Student and Enrollment Services, and Jim Herbert, currently director of information technology, will serve as interim chief information officer (CIO) now that Dr. Sam Conn has accepted a new post in New York.

Here is some background on the appointees, all of whom are expected to serve in their interim positions until the consolidation becomes official: 

Prof. Richard Cole, interim vice president for Academic Affairs

Prof. Cole (pictured above) has been dean only since summer 2012, but the licensed architect joined SPSU (then Southern Technical Institute) as a full-time faculty member in 1987 and has taught second-, third-, fourth-, and fifth-year Design Studio courses since that time. He served as an adjunct faculty member prior to 1987. The student Government Association chose him as the Outstanding Faculty member of the year for the 1989-90 academic year, and again for 2012-13. The SPSU faculty awarded him the Outstanding Faculty Award in 1989, and he served as moderator of the Faculty Senate during the 1989-90 academic year. Prof. Cole holds a master’s degree in architecture from Georgia Tech and a certificate from the National Council of Architectural Boards (NCARB). He is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and sits on the Georgia Board, American Institute of Architects. Prof. Cole has maintained an architectural consulting practice in the area of commercial design since 1989.

Karl Staber, interim vice president for Student and Enrollment Services

Staber has been a fixture on the SPSU campus since 1985 when he was named the director of recreational sports. In 1997, he was appointed director of recreational sports and athletics, taking on the additional duties of overseeing SPSU’s intercollegiate athletic programs. Under Staber, SPSU developed its first women’s basketball and men’s soccer teams, and several squads enjoyed great success. Staber remained in charge of both recreation and athletics until the summer of 2012, when he went back to his original title of director of recreational services, an area that has expanded greatly with his guidance. During his time at SPSU, Staber also served as acting director of housing and residence life (1988), was the Student Government Association Staff Member of the Year (1991) and was chosen as a special assistant to the president (2004). Staber earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physical education from Eastern Kentucky University.

Jim Herbert, interim CIO

Herbert has been a member of the SPSU Information Technology division since 1996. As director of information technology, he led the data center, telecommunications and information security teams while serving as chief architect of the university's technology infrastructure. He was instrumental in deploying the first voiceover-IP (VoIP) telephone system in the University System of Georgia, and he significantly reduced operating costs and improved service to the university community when he led a pilot project to transition SPSU’s student information system away from high-cost proprietary hardware and operating systems to commodity hardware running Linux. He is also responsible for the design of several enterprise and academic data centers, the latter of which provides SPSU students real-world hands-on experience, making them more marketable as they seek careers in Information Technology.

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