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The Weekly Blab 3.3

The Weekly Blab

Vol. 3, Number 3—September 9, 2008


Dear Colleagues,


As I’m in my office typing away at this issue of the Blab, listening to Helen Forrest (anyone remember her?) sing “East of the Sun and West of the Moon” with the Harry James Band, thoughts turn to fall and cooler weather, as well as SPSU’s 60th anniversary celebration next week.  Hope to see you all at the activities!


Here’s an advance heads up—the Engineering Technology Center groundbreaking ceremony will be on September 25 from 9-11 AM.   Governor Perdue is scheduled to attend.  Hope to see you there as well.



Fall Numbers

We did very well with our fall enrollment.  The numbers aren’t final yet, but we’re up about 7.5% (even higher in first year students), taking us to a record enrollment of 4838 at the moment.  If all goes well, we should break through another major milestone next fall.  The numbers looked good pretty much across the board, including in some areas that had been relatively flat in the past.  So, congratulations to all involved, and thanks to everyone who’s helping accommodate and meet the needs of all our new students.


Department of What’s Going On With the Budget

As of this moment, we still haven’t heard about what the final budget cut will be.  An email from the system office said that a decision would be made this week about whether the raises will stay in or be pulled from the budget.  New revenue estimates are expected on or about September 29, so maybe we’ll know more about the size of the cut at that point.


Department of What’s New at SPSU

We just received word that the system office has approved both of our letters of intent—one was for an M.S. in Information and Instructional Design (in ETCMA) and the other was for a B.S. in Political Science (in SIS).  Both departments will now be developing full degree proposals, so expect to see them going through the SPSU legislative process.


A new degree proposal for a B.S. in Game Design has come forward from CSE, and will now be under discussion.  For those who missed it, the opening of the new computer gaming lab took place yesterday.  The lab looks great, and I’m pleased to say that the initial competition, a Wii tennis match between me and Barry Birckhead ended in a tie of one win apiece.  Pictures of this sports extravaganza appeared in the September 9 Marietta Daily Journal.  I won’t mention the part when I swung the racquet and nearly broke a window.


The draft Academic Plan was looked at by the Deans Council and the Academic Leadership Council.  The ALC suggested a small number of additional points be added to the plan, which is currently being done.  Faculty should expect to get a copy of the draft plan in the next day or two.  We will schedule a couple of open forums so that we can discuss it and make any desired changes.  The goal is to begin working on the implementation plan (prioritizing the goals in the academic plan, and setting up a procedure to implement them) this spring, assuming the Academic Plan is completed and approved by then. 


The SACS self-study is complete, and should be going out by FedEx this afternoon.  Thanks to all who participated and helped in drafting it and generating and gathering the information therein, especially Becky, Jo, and Bob for their major efforts.  As you can imagine, everyone was sighing a big sigh of relief.  Of course, the SACS folks now get to look at it, and tell us if we fell short anywhere.  We get another chance at addressing any issues that may arise before their campus visit this spring.


Here’s something very preliminary—a suggestion has come forward that we take up the issue of how our current administrative policies can be streamlined.  There are certainly some opportunities here—I’m sure you’ll agree that we evaluate faculty entirely too often and in essentially the same way.  Is there really any purpose to having both a reappointment evaluation and an annual evaluation for probationary faculty?  Could we combine landmark evaluations (promotion, pre-tenure, tenure, and post-tenure) with the annual evaluation that year, so that we’d only do one?  What other ways do our policies hamstring us, and how could they be improved?  Please share your opinions with your chair or dean (or with me) and we’ll incorporate them into the discussion.


Whatever Happened To…


The evening engineering programs?  We should be hearing the results of the demand survey at any point now, and our proposals will head downtown immediately thereafter.


The PSLSAMP program?  Patrick Bobbie has stepped down as director (thanks for all your years of fine work in this, Patrick!), and Phil Patterson has agreed to assume this role.


The Science Education program? We should hear from Kennesaw within the next two weeks what their involvement will be as a partner in this program, and proceed from there. 


The First Year Studies program?  Mark Nunes has agreed to chair the First-Year Studies Committee.  Expect to hear from them as work progresses.


The Tutoring Center?  The furniture is mostly in, and the Center should open at the end of September.  Stay tuned…



Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?

I was interested to see Kathy Cox win $1 M on “Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader”, and to see the million dollar question (as well as the $175,000 question that they asked Kathy Ireland in the earlier episode).  So, here are those two, and two more for you to try from the fifth grade files—a nice Dusty Springfield CD to the first person to get all four correct.


(1)    Which British monarch had the longest reign?

(2)    What war preceded the “Era of Good Feeling”?

(3)    Which of the following did not sign the US Constitution?

George Washington, Ben Franklin, John Hancock, Alexander Hamilton

(4)    What is the name of the poem on the bottom of the Statue of Liberty?


No cheating by using the internet!