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The Weekly Blab 4.6

The Weekly Blab

Volume 4, Issue 6—November 17, 2009


Good Stuff This Week:

I think that most faculty and staff are aware that SPSU is one of the five partner universities in the Peach State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (PSLSAMP, one of the worst acronyms ever!—the other partners are UGA, Fort Valley, Savannah State, and Georgia Perimeter), but did you know that SPSU has more students participating than any other campus?  Well now you know!  PSLSAMP is funded through an NSF grant, by the way, and our campus director is Phil Patterson (Physics).


Anyway, the annual meeting was just held down at Fort Valley State University, and SPSU students took home four awards:


In the area of Life Sciences/Environmental Biology Oral Presentation:

  • Eddie Macham and Shavaun Johnson took 3rd place, on the topic “Age, Growth, and Mortality of the Alligator Gar, Atractosteus Spatula”.   The professor working with them was Peter Sakaris (Biology).

In the area of Technology and Engineering Oral Presentation, SPSU had a clean sweep:

  • Tiffany Murrell and Shane Turner took 3rd place, on the topic “Categorizing the Human Impact Potential of Engineering as a Recruitment Tool to the Field”.  The professor working with them was Christina Scherrer (IET).
  • Sherman Turner and Victor Arokoyu taking 2nd place, on the topic “Medline Data Mining Experiments”.  The professors working with them were Orlando Karam (CS) and Venu Dasigi (CS).
  • Aaron Love, Delilah Stanley, and Yvette Jordan took 1st place, on the topic “Resurrecting Our Roots, Bringing the Past to the Present”.  The professor working with them was Marietta Monaghan (Architecture).

Other faculty who worked with our PSLSAMP students included Max North (Business), Maria Salazar (Architecture), Andy Wang (IT), Bernice Nuhfer-Halten (SIS), Jennifer Vandenbussche (Math), and Mir Atiqullah (MET).

Congratulations to all the faculty and students who participated!

Diversity in the Classroom

Still looking for faculty who want to share stories of how they incorporate diversity into the classroom…


Students and Graduation

As many of you know, there’s a big push from the Board of Regents this year on improving graduation rates.  They’ve created a template with five questions on it, and I’ve gathered answers to those questions from the chairs and deans.  I wanted to share a few of the questions more broadly, and invite you to submit answers. 

Now, before you all get started, I am well aware that students who started as first-time full-time freshmen (F5) are only a small fraction of the students who attend SPSU.   Transfer students are a much bigger fraction.  Nonetheless, the USG will be measuring data for F5 students, and our rates aren’t all that much better for transfer students.


Here are the questions.  No need to answer them all—just pick and choose the ones you may want to address.

  • What are the most important variables that dampen SPSU’s 4-year or 6-year graduation rates?  [i.e., the graduation rate for F5s]
  • What are the most appropriate quantitative metrics for success, in graduation and retention?
  • What is the best way to involve key campus stakeholders (faculty, students, staff, and friends of the university) ­in the mission of increasing graduation rates?
  • How can SPSU enhance a culture of student success, and make retention and graduation rates university-wide, shared priorities?


This Week’s Trivia Contest

The most correct wins the prize, which is, as usual, a Jazz CD.  Since Thanksgiving is almost here, today’s topic is turkey.  No looking on the web, please.


  1. What is the capitol of Turkey?
  2. Which famous American advocated for having the turkey be the national symbol, instead of the eagle?
  3. Where do the French (and Israelis, for that matter) think that turkeys originally came from, as indicated in their word for the bird?

And two hard ones:

  1. In what Broadway show was the Turkey Trot dance first popularized?
  2. The drink “Southern Death Cult” is made, in part, with Wild Turkey.  What other two liquors are used in the drink?


Last Week’s Contest: 

Last week’s contest involves SPSU history.  Our winner was Leah Kim (Library), who got all five right.  Leah wins a Chet Baker CD.


(1)    In what year was SPSU founded?    1948

(2)   Who was the first president of SPSU?  Dr. Cheshire

(3)   What was the name of the first women’s organization at SPSU?  The Tech Annes

(4)   In what year was the first SPSU bathtub race? 1966

(5)   Which two of the following were not one of the first five programs to be offered at SPSU?  Aeronautical Technology; Building Construction Technology; Electrical Technology; Electronics and Radio Technology; Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning Technology; Industrial Safety Technology; Mechanical Technology

Aeronautical Technology and Industrial Safety Technology, which were added later.


Happy Thanksgiving to all.  No Blab next week, which should make your holiday even better!