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The Weekly Blab 5.26

The Weekly Blab

Volume 5, Issue 26—March 27, 2011


Lotsa Events…

Many things going on at SPSU this past week.  Here’s a rundown of some of them.


On Monday, we had a meeting to discuss how SPSU’s new research foundation will operate.  The BoR recently approved the research foundation, which will allow us to do a number of things related to faculty research much more easily.  For example, grant money will now flow through this foundation, which will mean that overhead funds (for example) can be rolled from year to year.  Also, spending rules are less restrictive (though there are still rules to be followed)—for example, funds in the research foundation accounts will be able to be spent on student travel, which isn’t the case with state funds.  There’s no change in the way that overhead will be allocated to departments, etc.  Each department with research overhead will get an account at the research foundation, which will be credited with funds as before.  


Also on Monday, UITAC had a meeting to discuss how the new procedure for Tech Fee and other such proposals will be handled.  You will recall that UITAC will be playing a larger role than in the past.  UITAC will generate a list of questions/omissions on the proposals, such as “What are the installation costs?”, “Who will pay for software updates and renewals?”, “Are there any facility issues?” and so on.  These will be sent to the proposal writer, who will have a chance to update the proposal so that it will be stronger and more complete.


At the Deans Council meeting on Wednesday, we had our second round of discussions on capital equipment.  We’ve spent well over $1M each year for the past several years on capital equipment, in addition to money for equipment for the new buildings and money generated from the lab fees.  When all of this is added up, it comes to quite a total.  Most people don’t realize how expensive providing a strong technological education is, and that tuition doesn’t come anywhere near covering it. 


Also discussed was the first pass at a schedule for Fall Kickoff for next year.  The fall semester starts on Wednesday, August 17, and as was discussed at Faculty Meetings last year, this means a compressed kickoff.  Current plans call for New Faculty Orientation to take place Thursday-Friday, August 11-12.  On Monday, August 15, we’ll have school meetings in the morning, a reception for new faculty at 11:45-12:45, a faculty meeting at 1-2:15 PM, and department meetings after that.  The semester kickoff will take place on Tuesday, August 16.


The Honors Lunch for prospective honors students was held on Thursday.  It was well attended by students who seemed quite excited about honors and SPSU, and featured a Q&A session by current honors students.  This event was ably put together by the troika of Alda Wood, Ann Parker, and Nancy Reichert. 


After a new faculty interview, it was off to KSU to deliver a talk with Rich Halstead-Nussloch on e-Citizenship (and some of the ways it takes place at SPSU) at the ACM meeting being hosted there.  The conference was held at the KSU Center on Busbee Drive, which also is home to two interesting exhibits:  “Parallel Journeys:  World War II and the Holocaust” and “V for Victory:  Georgia Remembers World War II”.   Both are well worth seeing, and free of charge.


On Saturday, it was off to the Science Olympiad, ably organized by Lance Crimm and supported by more than 100 faculty and student volunteers.  A good time was had by all, with the top two winners (Brookwood H.S. 1st, and Gwinett School of Math, Science, and Technology 2nd) getting to go to the National Science Olympiad in May.  I was there to greet the crowd at the awards presentation, and to hand out the medals and trophies. 


Then it was into my office, closing the drapes, changing into a tuxedo, and driving to Atlanta for the Regents Scholarship Dinner.  The drive was horrible, with rain squalls breaking out every so often, and the traffic nearly stopping on I-75.  It stopped for a minute or two when I got to the Marriott Marquis, so I parked at the lot across the street, luckily snagging the single spot closest to the hotel.  The event was classy as always, with perhaps the highlight of the evening being an alumni recognition award given to Rosalynn Carter in honor of her work for Georgia Southwestern, her alma mater.  Other notable moments were a brief talk by Governor Nathan Deal, and sitting at the same table as Congressman Phil Gingrey and his wife Billie, and Shan Cooper (the new General Manager at Lockheed) and her husband Eddie.  The drive home featured a slight drizzle, which turned into a downpour just after I got home.  As always, timing is everything.


High Museum

As promised in the last BLAB, here’s the information about SPSU’s affiliation with the High Museum.  I’m happy to note that we’re the first USG institution to have such an affiliation, with benefits such as:

  • Faculty can take their classes on university-sponsored field trips to the High at no cost to the students or faculty.  Just contact the High’s Group Sales Department in advance, and book the date. 
  • On individual visits, students get in for free at any time by showing their ID’s.  Faculty get a discount by showing their ID.  Faculty and staff can also get a 20% discount on Individual, Dual, or Family memberships.
  • The High will take up to two SPSU students a year (one per semester) for internships.  If you have a student who might be interested, let me know
  • The High will provide two lectures or programs on campus each year.  They will also provide access to visiting artists or scholars for students and faculty.
  • Copies of each catalogue will be placed in the Library.
  • The High will host an SPSU event each year.  The first such event will be the first night of the Polytechnic Summit (June 8), which will also include access to the “Modern by Design” exhibit from the Museum of Modern Art.

Please take advantage of our affiliation relationship, and let me know when you do so.

I’m going to set up an ad hoc committee to work with representatives from the High to coordinate and plan events and ways we can work together.  If you’re interested in serving on that committee, please let me know.


Courageous Conversations Series—NOTE DATE CHANGE

As mentioned in the last BLAB, we’re launching a new series on campus called “Courageous Conversations”, which is designed to promote campus discussions on a broad range of issues. The first event is at 12 noon on Wednesday, March 30, in room Q-202.   It’s a talk by Dr. John H. Carter about the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial project in Washington D.C., entitled “The Man, The Movement, & The Message”.  Dr. Carter was the initial project manager for the project foundation.  He supervised the passage of the two laws that authorized the memorial, coordinated the site and design selection, and raised $15M for the project—a 28 foot sculpture of MLK.  Dr. Carter manages his own consulting firm and is an adjunct at Strayer University, after retiring as a VP from AT&T. 


Last Week’s Trivia Contest

Last week’s contest was about Wonder Woman, and Bill Griffiths of the Math Department got ‘em all right, taking only 30 minutes to do so. 


1.  What is Wonder Woman’s secret identity?  Diana Prince

2.  On what island was she “born”?  Themyscira, also called Paradise Island

3.  What is the name of her air-force colonel boyfriend?  Steve Trevor

4.  In question 2, above, why did I write the word “born” in quotes? She wasn’t born—her mother sculpted her from clay.

5.  Who was the psychologist who created the character Wonder Woman?  William Marston (pen name:  Charles Moulton).  Go to Wikipedia and read up about this rather interesting (and somewhat weird!) man.


This Week’s Trivia Challenge

This week’s contest, as suggested by Keith Hopper, is about Elizabeth Taylor, who left this mortal coil a few days ago.  First with the most takes the prize.  No peeking on the internet, now!


1.  What color were Elizabeth Taylor’s eyes?

2.  In what country was Elizabeth Taylor born?

3.  How many times was Elizabeth Taylor married, and to how many men?

4.  What was the first movie Elizabeth Taylor appeared in?

5.  For what movie was Elizabeth Taylor’s first Oscar nomination?