VP of Academic Affairs

» SPSU Home / Vice President Academic Affairs / The Weekly Blab /

The Weekly Blab

Volume 6, Issue 3—August 29, 2011



Those of you who have never watched a serious soccer game should do two things:  watch the English Premier League on Fox Sports (there are reruns of matches throughout the week, but the main games are on Saturday and Sunday morning and afternoon), and also go see SPSU’s soccer team, which is quite good.  I can usually be found watching the game of the week on Saturday mornings at 10, and often at 12:30 or Sunday morning if Chelsea is playing then.  While the top teams in England will vary from year to year, the top four generally include Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Manchester United.  Chelsea, as you probably already gathered, is my favorite team for no reason whatsoever—I started watching and following it some years ago, and have gotten into it to the point that I even have a Chelsea app on my iPhone. 


This week’s game against Norwich City was unusually interesting. Norwich City has the distinction of having been promoted into a higher league two seasons in a row.  For those who don’t know, English football is divided into leagues at progressively higher levels.  At the end of the season, the top three teams from a given league are promoted to the next higher league (until the Premier League is reached), while the bottom three teams are relegated to the next lower league (until one reaches the bottom).  This is one of the best features of English football—you can’t coast, and even a “small time” team can work its way up.  Norwich City is an example of this upward mobility possibility. 


The first half of the game was quite even. Chelsea scored early on a stunning goal from Jose Bosingwa from more than 30 yards out—an early candidate for goal of the year.  Bosingwa hasn’t scored since November 2008, which isn’t unusual because he’s a full-back.  Norwich City played well and had a number of good scoring opportunities that went unfulfilled.  So, at the half, it was Chelsea 1-0. 


At the 63rd minute, Chelsea’s goalie Hilario came out too far to stop a shot and got tangled up with defenseman Ivanovic.  This allowed Norwich City’s Grant Holt to backheel the ball into the open goal (without looking!), to tie the game up—a second candidate for goal of the year.  A few minutes later, Chelsea’s top striker Didier Drogba was making a charge at the goal and collided hard with Norwich City’s goalie John Ruddy, who attacked the ball late.  Since Drogba was called off-side, no penalty or card was given.  Drogba had to be taken off the field on a stretcher with a concussion and his condition as of this writing is unknown.  Later in the match, Chelsea player Ramires tore down the field with the ball and was brought down by the goalie’s flailing arms.  A red card given was given (throwing the Norwich City goalie out of the game), as well as a penalty to Chelsea.  The ever dependable Frank Lampard scored the penalty, making it Chelsea 2-1.   In overtime, newly acquired player Mata scored in his first game, giving the final score of Chelsea 3-1.  Thus, in 15 minutes, Mata has now scored exactly as many as Fernando Torres (who Chelsea acquired last year for £50M) has in a season plus three games.


Two Touchdowns!

Congratulations to Tom Currin, Ilseok Oh, Sung-Hee Kim, Wasim Barham, Sam Beadles, Cinthia Barnett, and the entire Engineering crew (as well as their colleagues in Construction Management) on successfully earning ABET accreditation for the Construction Engineering program.  This is the first engineering program (though it won’t be the last) to be accredited on the SPSU campus. 


The Construction Engineering program was approved by the Board of Regents in 2006. SPSU had earlier engineering degrees (the B.S. and M.S. in Software Engineering and the M.S. in Systems Engineering), but Construction Engineering was the first of our “core” engineering programs.  The B.S. in Mechatronics Engineering and the B.S. in Systems Engineering followed a year later, and the evening programs in Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering in 2009.  Today, SPSU has well over 1000 students majoring in engineering.


ABET does not accredit programs until the first student has graduated, which occurred in Construction Engineering in 2010.  SPSU applied for ABET accreditation in Fall 2010, with the commission releasing the results this past Friday.  So, it’s been a long run down the field in a game that many thought we couldn’t win, but the Division of Engineering has now scored the winning touchdown. 


Was that the only score for the Division of Engineering this week?  Not at all.  There was also the small matter of receiving official word that the Suncoast Company in Texas will be donating $4.5M in new Kawasaki robots to the Mechatronics Engineering program this past Monday. 


Now back to work!



Fumbling the Ball…

No one denies that economic times are tough and that budgets need to be cut somewhere.  Still, whenever a budget has to be cut, there are better places and worse places to cut it.  Cutting unnecessary optional programs?  OK.  Burning one’s seed corn?  Very bad idea. 


Across the country, higher education has taken one large hit after another and there are serious consequences to the cuts.   Bill Prigge (VP for Finance) forwarded an article from Minnesota Public Radio News On Campus called “10 Consequences of State Cuts to Public Higher Education”, which does a pretty thorough job of enumerating what problems are caused when higher education budgets are cut. 


Let’s hope we’ve seen the end of budget cuts for the University System, but don’t bet the farm on it.



Game Called on Account of Rain

While the hurricane missed us all in Georgia, both sides of my family and many others were on the path further north, including my parents in Syracuse, NY (only on the edge of the path), Jill’s sister Ellen in Long Island, NY, and various cousins in Worcester, MA.  Word so far is that Worcester and Syracuse had a day of rain but not anything more.  Ellen is yet unheard from, but hopefully all is well.



Trivia Contest!


Last Week’s Winner

The winner of the Annette Funicello trivia contest was Donna Colebeck (ETCMA), with a respectable 3/5 correct.  Of course Donna may have been channeling her inner Mouseketeer, since she and Annette are both from the same hometown, Utica NY.  Donna wins a Sheryl Crow DVD.  Here are the correct answers:


  1. What was the first major television show to feature Annette?  The Mickey Mouse Club
  2. What brand of peanut butter was Annette the spokesperson for? Skippy
  3. What did Annette reportedly promise Walt Disney when she started to appear in beach movies (a promise that she did not ultimately keep)? To wear a modest (one-piece) bathing suit.  Annette does appear in a bikini in some of the beach movies.
  4. What song does Annette sing in the movie “Back to the Beach” with Fishbone?  She originally sang it 23 years earlier on the album “Annette at Bikini Beach”.  Jamaica Ska
  5. On what two TV shows in the late 1950’s did Annette have a recurring role?  The Danny Thomas Show (Make Room for Daddy) and Zorro.



This Week’s Challenge

Our questions this week focus on songs that have the word “moon” in their titles.  First with the correct answers gets a Bruce Springsteen DVD.  No looking up the answers now!


  1. Henry Mancini song most commonly associated with Andy Williams.
  2. Harold Arlen song, Tatum O’Neal won an Oscar in the movie.
  3. Cat Stevens was followed by one.
  4. Moon song by composer Claude Debussy (of course the title is in French)
  5. The only Beatles song with “moon” in the title.