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The Weekly Blab 3.6

The Weekly Blab

Vol. 3, Number 6—October 13, 2008


Dear Colleagues,


Had a really nice weekend—nice weather, a fine Open House on campus, good pizza, etc.  Jill, Mark and I went to see the movie “Wall-E”, which had gotten good reviews.  Turns out it was even better than the reviews indicated.  Good animation, a very nice story line (cynical and uplifting at the same time), and well worth the viewing.  On Sunday, I also found a copy of “The Audience with Betty Carter”—one of the top rated jazz albums (at least according to the Penguin Guide to Jazz, the Bible of Jazz)—which has been out of print for a long time.  I’m looking forward to hearing it.


OK, on to the news…



Do We Know Anything About the Budget Yet?  About Raises?

The answer is still “we don’t know”. 


On-Line Instruction

I didn’t get too much response to the piece in the last Blab about online instruction.  We did have a follow-up conversation at the Deans Meeting (minutes should be up soon), where the consensus of opinion seemed to be that we don’t really have a choice about dealing with this issue, since students will increasingly demand and expect to be able to take courses and/or whole programs online, and we’ll be behind the 8-ball if we don’t. 


Another point that several folks raised was that we already give transfer credit to students who take core courses online at other institutions, so how can we argue that we shouldn’t offer them ourselves, where we can control the content and quality better?  On the other hand, there was some skepticism about the quality of the online experience relative to the in-class experience.  Maybe the best point that was made was that we serve multiple audiences—online instruction may be less appropriate for most first-time freshmen, but we also have large numbers of older students and transfer students for whom it would be more appropriate. 


In a set of responses to the various questions I asked, one faculty member said “I suggest that SPSU move more to expecting faculty to develop courses for multiple delivery modes and provide support, coaching and training to do so”, but felt that teaching online should be “100% voluntary with coaching to meet criteria”.


The approach we’re taking this year fits the “100% voluntary with coaching to meet criteria” philosophy.   We will be supporting a round of online course development via the new Teaching Academy for Distance Learning process (TADL, to be announced soon), which will involve a course for faculty that provides information about best practices in online instruction, and “hands on” instruction and assistance in developing an online course.  I hope that many of you will participate, especially in core areas.


Congratulations to:

The ABET visiting team finished its work evaluating the Civil Engineering Technology, Computer Engineering Technology, Electrical Engineering Technology, Industrial Engineering Technology, Information Technology, Mechanical Engineering Technology, and Telecommunications Engineering Technology programs.  It was a good visit and evaluation, with no deficiencies identified.  Both visiting teams were impressed with what they saw, and with the hospitality given.  Congratulations to all who were involved with this process.


Open House

Thanks to all who participated in this past weekend’s Open House.  This was a new additional session, since the numbers had grown too large at our traditional November event.  There were several new features, including films of a “Bathtub Cam” that was hurtling around the campus and a new top 10 list—the top ten things students shouldn’t do in their first week at college.  About 105 families attended out of 118 who had signed up, a much higher yield than we’ve seen before.  The families I spoke to afterwards were very impressed, with almost all indicating their son or daughter would be attending.


Upcoming Topics

In case you haven’t noticed or heard, there are two committees being formed to look at some issues that have been around for a while.  One, headed by David Caudill, will look at ways in which our evaluation process might be streamlined.  As many of you know, it is quite possible to be evaluated three times in the same year, which I’m sure we all agree is a bit much!  The other, headed by Alan Gabrielli, will look at the possibility of developing our own on-campus evaluation to replace the SIRS.  Please contact David or Alan if you have any comments, suggestions, or concerns.  Both committees will report back with some recommendations at the end of the semester.  Any specific proposals will, of course, be brought to the Faculty Senate and Faculty.


Last Week’s Winner

No winners last week, and darned few entrants!  The answers were:


Ella Fitzgerald (her earliest big hit)—“A Tisket, A Tasket”

Billie Holiday (the #1 song about the South, according to the AJC)—“Strange Fruit”

June Christy (why she’s called “Cool Christy”)—“Something Cool”


Runner up prize (a Charlie Parker CD) for getting the closest goes to Nikki Palamiotis, who got two out of three.


New Contest

OK—three TV trivia questions for you.  The first person to get all three correct wins a Greatest Hits collection by Dick Dale and the Del-Tones.  No peeking on the internet!


1)      On the TV show “Bewitched”, what was the name of Darren’s employer?

2)      On the TV show “Dobie Gillis”, who was Dobie’s love interest (played by Tuesday Weld?)

3)      The TV show “Andy Griffith” was a spin-off of another TV show.  Which one? [Careful—I’m not asking what TV show spun off from Andy Griffith!] 


Good luck!