AU REPORT
November 1, 1999
Headlines
Insurance premiums may go up
Few custodians change shifts
AU readies for Y2K's worst hit

Last kicks
Auburn students are getting in their last kicks this quarter in soccer matches on Max Morris Field. AU has selected D&J Enterprises Inc. of Auburn as the contractor for the second stage of the university's parking improvements master plan. The first stage, which involved rerouting of streets around Morris Field, cleared the way for the construction of 700 additional landscaped parking spaces on a major portion of the ROTC drill field and student recreation area. The project is part of a $5.7 million master plan developed in 1996 and updated earlier this year. Work at Morris Field is to start before the end of the year and is scheduled for completion next spring.



Insurance may go up to offset rising costs

The AU Board of Trustees is scheduled to consider a 14.9 percent increase in employee health insurance rates on Friday in a move to make sure enough funds remain on hand to pay claims.

If approved at the 9 a.m. meeting in the Dixon Conference Center, the health insurance increase will go into effect on Jan. 1. The increase will add $10.25 per month to each covered employee's cost for individual coverage and $21.50 additional per month for family coverage.

The proposed new costs will be $79 per month for individual coverage and $166 for family coverage.

The university will see its matching costs rise by $1.3 million under AU's self-insurance plan, under which employees pay 40 percent of the cost of coverage and AU pays the remaining 60 percent. The funds are used to pay claims, which are expected to total $19.6 million in calendar year 2000.

A related proposal would increase the cost of dental insurance -- held by 25 percent of AU employees -- by $2.25 per month for single coverage and $7 per month for family coverage. The dental plan, which provides limited coverage and is fully paid by participants, will then cost $8.25 per month for single coverage and $26 per month for family coverage, if approved by the trustees.

AU's Insurance and Benefits Committee -- an 11-member panel of faculty, staff and administrators -- recommended the increases after reviewing cost projections by the plan's administrator, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Alabama for 2000.

The committee recommended a 15 percent increase in health insurance premiums instead of a 20 percent increase suggested by Blue Cross. The committee concluded that the Blue Cross suggestion seemed too conservative an approach to money management and would prove too costly for the lowest-paid employees.

However, the committee cautioned that the smaller increase will make another increase more likely in 2001 if health care costs, which are projected to increase 10 percent next year, continue to rise faster than other parts of the economy.

Blue Cross projected that claims for AU's health insurance plan next year would outstrip payments and reduce AU's self-insurance reserve by almost $4 million if current rates continue. The committee noted that, without an increase in contributions, the remaining reserve would fall under the industry standard 15 percent minimum.

Executive Vice President Don Large noted that health insurance rates have increased only 5 percent since 1993.

"We have had only one, modest increase in six years, but costs continue to rise and it would not be sound management to deplete the reserve," he said.

The reserve fund guarantees that funds are on hand to cover health insurance claims filed by employees, he added.
The committee ruled out the option of reducing benefits after determining that any significant cuts in benefits would severely damage the plan. The area in which costs are rising fastest is prescription drugs, which rose 16 percent in total cost this year, but the committee noted that this is one of the most popular benefits in the plan.

"The committee was reluctant to recommend an increase this year, but that appears to be the best alternative if we are to maintain a fiscally sound plan without reducing coverage," said committee chair Paul Johnson of the Department of Political Science.

Johnson said the university may need to look at more frequent small increases in insurance coverage to avoid double-digit increases in the future.

The dental insurance plan is projected to lose $27,000 this year, but the committee recommended that the university limit the increase in the plan's cost to employees. A larger increase could backfire, driving participants out and killing the plan, the committee concluded.
The committee recommended that the university maintain and expand employee participation to overcome what it described as short-term growing pains for the dental plan, which started in January 1997.



Board to receive proposed designation guidelines

The AU administration is scheduled to present proposed guidelines to differentiate colleges, schools and departments when the Board of Trustees meets at 9 a.m. Friday at the Dixon Conference Center.

The proposal, which outlines guidelines for designating academic units as colleges, schools and departments, was developed by the Provost's Office based on recommendations in January by a committee of deans.

If approved by the trustees, the guidelines could be used in evaluating a request by the School of Human Sciences to be renamed as a college. The board delayed consideration of that request in August until guidelines are in place for naming of major academic units.

The guidelines would not affect the names or status of existing units unless they seek to be redesignated.

The last time a school was renamed as a college was in 1995, when the College of Architecture, Design and Construction acquired its present name.

Under the proposed guidelines, a college would be expected to have: 10 academic degree programs at the undergraduate/graduate level; 1,000 majors across all degree programs; 40 faculty at the assistant professor level or above; and at least 25,000 student credit hours per academic year.

Programmatic units seeking school status would have: 100 accredited baccalaureate or first professional degrees; 100 majors across all degree programs; 20 faculty at the assistant professor level or above; at least 5,000 student credit hours per academic year.

A programmatic unit seeking department status would have: One bachelor's degree program; 50 majors; 10 faculty; and at least 5,000 student credit hours per academic year.

John Pritchett, associate vice president for academic affairs, said the guidelines would describe how a new department, school or college would look, but existing units would not be affected.

The most important parts to the proposal, he said, are a series of overarching principles which a unit would have to meet to earn designation as a department, school or college. Those principles are:
* Designation would enhance the unit's ability to serve all three areas of Auburn's mission.
* Units with similar missions in peer institutions are commonly designated as such.
* The unit has identified metrics for the assessment of its quality, peer institutions to which it can compare itself on those metrics and a strategy for improving its performance on those metrics.
* There is a clear and compelling need for such designation.
* Such designation will provide a clear and compelling benefit to the university and will enhance the performance of the university's mission.


Site preparation
Several pieces of heavy construction equipment have begun site preparation at the
College of Veterinary Medicine for a new large animal hospital adjacent to McAdory Hall. The first stage of construction is scheduled to begin when funding is available from a state agricultural bond issue approved in a 1998 referendum.

Few custodians take new shift

Few AU custodial employees opted for an alternative shift which started Oct. 1 in response to employee requests for a choice of duty hours.

Twenty-four custodial staff members accepted the 6 a.m. starting time, which was offered by the Facilities Division as an alternative to the standard 5 a.m. shift for custodial staff across campus. Eight of those have since moved back to the earlier shift, leaving 16 on the 6 a.m. 2:30 p.m. shift and 92 on the 5 a.m.-1:30 p.m. shift as of Oct. 26.

The option for a later starting time was one of four changes requested by President William Muse after a meeting with Facilities and other hourly staff employees in June.

Facilities also complied with other requests from the president, including:
* Increasing the pay of some longtime workers, effective Oct. 1, to give more weight to years of service.
* Developing a training curriculum for supervisory personnel.
* Developing a training program by October 2000 to help nonsupervisory workers develop skills necessary for career advancement.

Custodians have been reporting at 5 a.m., since the shift was moved up an hour three years ago to add more time for cleaning classrooms before they fill up for 8 a.m. classes.

Catherine Love, executive director of Facilities, said the division was prepared to reconfigure and reassign the custodial work zones if demand for the 6 a.m., shift had been heavy. With the limited number reporting at the later hour, there was no need to move people from their current assignments, she said.

Early in the process, Facilities dropped the idea of a shift starting at 4 p.m. after custodial workers overwhelmingly rejected the notion.

Among reasons cited by custodial workers for sticking with the 5 a.m., shift, were concerns about breaking up work groups, possible shifts to other buildings and the earlier end to the work day.

In response to concerns about pay compression, Facilities adjusted its pay matrix to provide longevity adjustments ranging from $334 to $2,128 per year for about 40 percent of Facilities employees, starting Oct. 1.

The pay compression issue arose last year following widespread salary adjustments within the division to bring Facilities workers' pay in line with the pay of workers in the same trades outside the university. In a number of job classifications, the increases narrowed the compensation gap between newer hires and with more senior workers.

Love said Facilities is making progress in development of the training programs.

The first training module for supervisory personnel is almost ready to start, she said. A consulting firm, APT, Inc., is helping the division to develop and implement the training program, which focuses on basic supervisory skills.

Love noted that AU's Department of Human Resources is assisting Facilities in developing a training program to help the division's employees develop skills necessary for advancement. "We do not anticipate any problems in meeting the Oct. 1, 2000, target date for implementation of the employee training program," she said.


Work in progress

Stacks of concrete blocks have become an ever-shifting scene at Auburn as work continues on a steady stream of building projects on campus. These blocks are stacked awaiting use in the renovation and additions to Dorms 5 and 6 in the Quadrangle. The buildings are scheduled to be ready for occupancy next fall.


AU prepares for Y2K's worst hit, just in case

With two months to go until the Y2K bug either bites or slips harmlessly away, AU's Year 2000 Response Teams are entering the final stages of preparation.

The response teams are preparing for a worst case scenario -- a prolonged and complete utilities failure during a winter freeze -- but are taking steps to minimize the chances of anything unpleasant happening, says Syd Spain, co-manager of AU's Y2K response efforts.

Although major utilities which supply electrical power, water and gas are also taking precautions to avoid shutdowns due to computer error at midnight on Jan. 1, 2000, Spain said the AU team wants to ensure that Auburn has a plan in place for foreseeable contingencies.

"It's better to be prepared and have nothing happen than to be unprepared if there should be problems," Spain said.

Campus police, medical, communications and technology workers will be on standby on New Year's Eve to respond to any emergencies that should result from an undetected Y2K problem that could result from computer or microchip error, regardless of point of origin.

In a worst case scenario, on-campus shelter will be available at Beard Eaves-Memorial Coliseum and Greene Hall on the Veterinary Medicine campus. Both buildings will have emergency generators to ensure that they have heat and light.

Spain said final details are being worked out to ensure that adequate bedding plus emergency food and water supplies will also be available. The amount and source of supplies will depend on discussions under way with the Red Cross to determine whether the coliseum serves the immediate campus area or the entire community. If the Red Cross designates the coliseum as a shelter serving the entire community, that agency will help AU secure supplies to serve a larger number of people.

The Year 2000 Office is working with major units on campus to ensure that telephones, computers and other technology-dependent systems perform without a glitch, but units are preparing plans to operate without those systems if one or more should malfunction as a result of undetected Y2K problems.

Y2K coordinators throughout campus have been working with the response team to identify and correct any computer codes that might misread the year code "00" as 1900 instead of 2000. Response team members will assess the impact in the early morning hours of Jan. 1 and share that assessment with the public at noon that day.

"The planning will prove worthwhile regardless of what happens on Jan. 1," Spain said.

"Every unit on campus has been testing its equipment, fixing problems that otherwise might have gone undetected and developing contingency plans that can be used in the event of technological problems in the future."



Official portrait of Gov. Don Siegelman by AU photographer Jeff Etheridge.


AU photographer shoots official portrait of Alabama governor

A photograph shot by Jeff Etheridge, manager of AU's Photographic Services, has been selected by Gov. Don Siegelman as the governor's official portrait.

Etheridge made the photograph of Siegelman on April 1 with the governor at his desk at his state Capitol office. As governor, Siegelman serves as president of the AU Board of Trustees.

Etheridge, 36, who has been photographing AU since 1988, has been manager of Photographic Services since 1995.

In 1997, Etheridge won second place in the People and Portraits Division of the University Photographers' Association of America annual slide competition. He won for his image of an Auburn basketball player.


New community service grants are available

The Partners in Community Service program has announced competition for 10 grants of up to $1,500 each for instructional development and a grant of $2,500 for evaluation.

The program was developed by the interdisciplinary Center for Partners in Community Service and is funded by a grant from AU Outreach.

"The grants are a way to assist faculty and students in combining learning and community service in the curriculum," said Holly Stadler, the center's coordinator and head of the Department of Counseling and Counseling Psychology in the College of Education.

"There is a significant amount of service learning already at Auburn, but a lot of people are not aware of how their efforts fit in with the efforts of others," Stadler. "The grants are one way to build awareness of these efforts and create interest in developing more opportunities for service learning."

Stadler said students who are involved in community service while learning become better citizens as they see the link between theory and application of their studies.

Faculty in any school or college at Auburn may apply for the grants if a course combines student learning and community service, she said. Only courses that will have a parallel on the semester system will be considered.

The grants will be available Jan. 4-June 10, 2000. For forms or details, check the Partners web site or contact Stadler at 844-5160 or by e-mail at stadlha@auburn.edu.


AU & APA to honor print media leaders

Three newspapermen, including one who went on to become executive director of the Alabama Press Association, will be inducted into the Alabama Newspaper Hall of Honor during Auburn's annual Media Day on Saturday.

Robert Gaston Bozeman Jr., William Cooper Green Jr. and Michael Thomas Ryland will be inducted posthumously by the Alabama Press Association

The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. in the Alabama Newspaper Hall of Honor Room in Draughon Library. Registration will start at 9:15 a.m.

A barbecue and musical entertainment on the north lawn of the library will follow the APA ceremony.

Meanwhile, Bob Howell, news director of Montgomery television station WNCF, will address a meeting of broadcasters at 9:30 a.m. Howell's presentation will be in Foy 213.

Bozeman, Green and Ryland will be the 83rd, 84th and 85th inductees in the Hall of Honor, which was established by the APA in 1959. Plaques honoring the three will be placed in the Hall of Honor Room at the Draughon Library.
Bozeman, whose father was inducted into the APA Hall of Honor in 1980, was reared in a family of newspapermen. His brothers, Dickie and Pace, were also weekly newspaper editors and owners at The Thomasville Times, The Sumter County Journal and The Choctaw Advocate.

In 1947, at age 21, Bozeman was named editor of The Evergreen Courant, and he later was owner, editor and publisher of The Dadeville Record and editor of The Brewton Standard. He returned to Evergreen in 1957 when he purchased The Courant from his father, and he was editor and publisher there until his death in 1991.

Bozeman, who was well known for his column, "The Wash," was a World War II veteran who was twice wounded during combat with the Marines in the Pacific.
Green, the son of the late Cooper Green, a former mayor of Birmingham, began his newspaper career in 1957 when he joined The Birmingham News as a promotions manager. He later became assistant state circulation manager and circulation Green became assistant general manager of The News in 1973, later joining The Huntsville Times as vice president and general manager. He was named publisher of The Times in 1985.

At The Times, Green guided the newspaper through design and construction of a new production facility and installation of a modern color-press. Under his leadership, the paper's weekday circulation grew to more than 60,000 and the Sunday circulation to more than 85,000. Green, who served in the Army during World War II, died in 1994.

Ryland, who was born in Lawton, Okla., but grew up in Brewton, will be the youngest person ever inducted into the Alabama Newspaper Hall of Honor. He was only 34 when he died. After graduating with honors from the University of Alabama in 1978, Ryland became managing editor of The Atmore Advance. He was later editor and publisher of The Independent in Robertsdale and a correspondent for The Birmingham News. Ryland joined the APA in 1984 as manager of its Alabama Newspaper Advertising Services. He served as executive director of the APA from January 1991 until his death on March 5, 1992.




Caucus to distribute 'Safe Zone' cards on campus

The Auburn Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual Caucus will sponsor workshops and launch a "Safe Zone" card distribution on campus this month as part of a new awareness project.

Caucus leaders say the Auburn Allies Project seeks to promote an environment of trust, acceptance, and respect for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members of the Auburn community.

The project will allow faculty and staff who consider themselves allies of the LGBT community to identify themselves and receive information and resources, said Becky Liddle, co-chair of the caucus.

The caucus will send a "Safe Zone" card to faculty and administrators through campus mail. The caucus will also encourage interested staff members and graduate assistants to participate.

"Choosing to display this card indicates that you will offer your students and colleagues, regardless of sexual orientation, an atmosphere of acceptance, non judgment and support," said Liddle. "It is not meant to say anything about your own sexual orientation, political or religious perspective, or personal life."

The caucus will present a public one-hour workshop, "More Than Good Intentions: How to Be An Ally to the LGBT Community," at noon Thursday and at 3:30 p.m., Nov. 12 in Haley 2011.

For more information contact algbc@mail.auburn.edu.




Bringing light
Union employees at Chicago's Robert Taylor Homes install one of the six light fixtures designed by Auburn University students and faculty.
AU design helps light way for Chicago public housing

AU Industrial design students and faculty may have found a solution to safe lighting problems at public housing with a new lighting fixture recently installed for testing at Robert Taylor Homes at the Chicago Housing Authority.
Six newly designed prototypes were installed in a gallery and stairwell at Robert Taylor Homes, so residents, officials and others can see and evaluate the light fixtures.

The idea for the fixtures began as a design problem study by an undergraduate class in the Department of Industrial Design of AU's College of Architecture, Design and Construction.

The Auburn group began working on a solution about a year ago after it was approached by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Building Technology, State and Community Programs and the CHA.

The fixture, a 13-inch square, is made of 16-gauge steel with a white powder-coat finish, with slanted sides to help reflect light. The domed-shaped lenses is polycarbonate and two 18-watt compact fluorescent bulbs, with two electronic ballasts, will provide six times the light currently available from two standard 60 watt incandescent bulbs.

Many variables were considered in all phases of the design, including the light level, energy consumption, maintenance, safety, function and cost, said Clark Lundell, professor and head of the Department of Industrial Design.

During the summer, Lundell and David Gowan, a technical specialist in the department, finalized the concepts and worked with industry project advisors to create the fixtures.

Robert Taylor Homes, part of Chicago's State Street Corridor, is a four-mile stretch of public housing, which contains the nation's largest and most densely populated continuous segment of high-rise public housing.



Auburn video crew documents Vulcan's dismantling

A video crew from Auburn is documenting the dismantling of Birmingham's historic Vulcan statue in a partnership that the Auburn video project's producer/director describes as historic in its own way. Producer/Director Tom Lenard and assistant Brian Phillip of AU's Telecommunications/ETV Media Production Group are videotaping each stage of the dismantling through a partnership with Robinson Iron of Alexander City.

"The Vulcan statue is one of Alabama's most historic man-made landmarks, so there is a lot of public interest in the restoration effort," Lenard said.

Lenard said he contacted Robinson Iron officials in mid-September, shortly before work was to begin, and the company's officials quickly recognized the importance of recording the process for present and future generations. With funding from Robinson Iron, Lenard and Phillip began taping the dismantling when work started on Oct. 4.

When funding becomes available for editing, a short documentary of the dismantling can be made to assist fund-raising for later stages in the Vulcan restoration, Lenard said.

Lenard predicts that funding will also be found for a documentary for public television as well as a shorter version for continued presentation at a Vulcan visitors center.




Composer, AU Concert Choir scheduled for local concert

New Orleans composer and arranger Moses Hogan will join the AU Concert Choir in presenting a program of his choral works at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 9, at Auburn United Methodist Church.

Hogan, artist-in-residence at Loyola University in New Orleans, is an internationally recognized pianist, conductor, composer and arranger. He is a graduate of the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio.

Hogan won first place in the 28th annual Kosciusko Foundation Chopin Competition in New York.

"Moses Hogan's contemporary setting of spirituals, original compositions and other works has been revered by audiences and praised by critics," said Music Professor Thomas Smith, director the Concert Choir.

Hogan has been commissioned to arrange and perform compositions for the PBS documentary, "The American Promise," and his body of work includes recordings of spirituals by soprano Barbara Hendricks and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.


Pepinsky receives state association's top award

Pete Pepinsky, executive director of AU's Office of University Relations, has been named Practitioner of the Year by the Public Relations Council of Alabama.

The award from the 450-member professional organization recognizes professional accomplishment, career achievement and community service, and is presented annually to a senior public relations professional.

An Auburn graduate, Pepinsky has led University Relations since 1993. He previously worked at newspapers in Florida, South Carolina and North Carolina and in communications offices at Winthrop University and Clemson. He is president of the Auburn Rotary Club and was the founding president of the East Alabama PRCA chapter.

PRCA, the state's largest and longest operating organization for public relations professionals, has chapters in Birmingham, Mobile, Montgomery, East Alabama, West Alabama and North Alabama.


Veterinary Medicine to host largest educational meeting

The College of Veterinary Medicine will host its 92nd annual veterinary conference on Nov. 12-14, when more than 2,000 veterinarians, technicians and spouses will gather for seminars, entertainment and class reunions.

"It's the largest educational conference held each year in Auburn," said Timothy Boosinger, dean of the college. "Guests can earn up to 22 credit hours of continuing education and gain valuable insight from a wide variety of experts."

Sessions will be at the college's Wire Road campus and the Dixon Conference Center.

Richard Cambre of the Smithsonian Institution's National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C., will be keynote speaker on Friday. He is the head of the zoo's Department of Animal Health.

Guest speakers include other well-known veterinarians and medical authorities, such as Fairfield Bain of Lexington, Ky.; Tom Kasari of Texas A&M University; Dennis Macy of Colorado State University; and Michael Dryden of Kansas State University. In addition, more than 50 Auburn veterinary faculty will present seminars.

Edie Swihart, a mystery novelist and 1991 veterinary graduate, will present a writing workshop for attendees and she will have a public book signing on Nov. 13, from 10 a.m.-noon at the AU Hotel and Dixon Conference Center.

For more information, contact the College of Veterinary Medicine at
844-3699.


AU Theatre to present 'To Kill A Mockingbird'

Three plays remain on the Auburn University Theatre 1999-2000 schedule, including a stage version of Harper Lee's "To Kill A Mockingbird."

The Southern classic will show at Telfair Peet Theatre on Nov. 11-13 and Nov. 16 19, including a 2 p.m. matinee on Nov. 13.

All evening productions begin at 7:30 p.m.

"To Kill A Mockingbird" portrays the life of its original author as Scout, a young girl in a Southern town about to experience the dramatic events that will affect the rest of her life.

"Noises Off" by Michael Frayn, once a Broadway hit, will be presented from Feb. 17 19 and Feb. 22-26, including a 2 p.m. matinee on Feb. 26. "Noises Off" is a farce about farce that takes the cliches of the genre and sharpens them inventively through a series of kaleidoscopic patterns.

AU Theatre will conclude the season with "Arcadia" by Tom Stoppard from May 18 20 and May 23-27, including a 2 p.m. matinee on May 20.

"Arcadia" moves back and forth between 1809 and the present and explores the nature of truth and time, the difference between classical and romantic temperaments, and the disruptive influence of sex in our life orbits.

Season passes are available at the ticket office to Auburn students for $28, to Auburn faculty and staff and senior citizens for $38 and to the general public for $46. Season single-showing tickets may be purchased by Auburn students for $8 with university identification.

The ticket office opens two weeks prior to the opening night of each production, for season pass subscribers only. To order season passes call the ticket office at 844-4154, and for additional information call 844-4748.



Art exhibit honors two new faculty

An exhibition featuring the work of two new members of the Department of Art will be on display through Nov. 18. Works by Julie Spivey and Wei Wang are on display in the Biggin Hall art gallery, which is open Monday-Friday from 8:30-11:30 a.m. and 1-4:30 p.m.

Spivey earned a degree in journalism and mass communication from the University of North Carolina and the master's degree in fine art degree from East Carolina University.

Wei Wang received a bachelor's degree from Shenzhen University in China, a bachelor's degree in fine art from Utah State University and the master's degree in fine art from Louisiana State University.



Brown named interim chair of new department

Alfred E. Brown has been named interim chair of the new Department of Biological Sciences in the College of Science and Mathematics.

The department was created through the merger of the departments of Botany Microbiology and Zoology, effective Oct. 1. Brown, who previously headed the department of botany and microbiology, was named interim chair at that time.
Brown, who came to Auburn in 1980, holds a bachelor's degree from California State-Long Beach and a Ph.D. from UCLA.


Campus Roundup

National technology conference scheduled
Auburn will host a national conference, Nov. 15-17, on remote sensing technology. The activities at Dixon Conference Center will focus on the theme "Bridging the Gap Between Remote Sensing Research and User Communities." Howard Clonts, director of the AU Environmental Institute, said the conference will showcase examples of programs and projects which bridge the gap between applied remote sensing research efforts and user communities.

Fimmakers to discuss latest project
Local filmmakers Bruce Kuerten and John DiJulio will discuss their latest project "The Cracker Man" at 4 p.m. Friday at Pebble Hill, home of AU's Center for the Arts and Humanities. Kuerten and DiJulio, producer/directors with Telecommunications/ETV, wrote and produced the film which was one of 12 selected to receive the Heartland Film Festival's Crystal Heart Award. The film was shot in Alabama last year and was produced at Alerion Films, Inc. in Auburn.

Writer to present reading of her new work
Poet and writer Kelly Cherry will read from her latest fiction collection, The Society of Friends, at 4 p.m., Monday, Nov. 8, at Pebble Hill, home of AU's Center for the Arts and Humanities. The author of more than a dozen books of fiction, poetry and creative non fiction, Cherry wrote the critically acclaimed memoir The Exiled Heart and Writing the World. Since 1977 she has taught at the University of Wisconsin Madison, where she is the Eudora Welty Professor of English.

Industrial design symposium set for Friday
The 21st Annual Design Interaction, a symposium for industrial designers, will be Friday at Parker Auditorium in Dudley Hall, the home of AU's College of Architecture, Design and Construction, starting at 9 a.m. Speakers include prominent industrial designers from universities, industry and NASA.

Enrollment opens for benefits
Open enrollment for Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Insurance, Blue Cross Blue Shield Dental Insurance and Flexible Spending will be Nov. 1-30. The effective date of these programs will be Jan. 1, 2000.

Blue Cross representative to visit
AU's Blue Cross/Blue Shield representative will be on campus from 10 a.m.-noon, Nov. 9, in the Payroll and Employee Benefits Office, Ingram 212. No appointment is necessary.

AGLBC sets meeting schedule
The Auburn Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual Caucus will meet at 5 p.m. on Nov. 12 and Dec. 3 in Haley 2011. AGLBC is a faculty/staff group dedicated to making the campus safer for GLB students and employees. For more information, contact Becky Liddle at liddlbj@mail.auburn.edu or 844-2881.

Therapy Center offers help
If you or your family are having marital, child, family or related problems, AU's Marriage and Family Therapy Center can help. Call 844-4478.

Mileage reimbursement goes up
The State of Alabama recently changed the mileage reimbursement rate for travel to the prevailing IRS rate. The new rate -- 31 cents per mile -- went into effect Oct. 1. Contact Accounts Payable at 844-4612 for more information.

Teaching award nominations sought
The Auburn Alumni Association is seeking nominations for Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Awards. Winners will receive a recognition plaque and a $1,000 honorarium. Send letters of nomination to Liz Peel, Alumni Teaching Awards, Auburn Alumni Center, campus, before Dec. 11. The letter should describe the nominee's teaching performance, knowledge of subject, interest in students, impact on the nominator's personal educational experience and the nominee's influence within the university. Contact Peel at 844-1146 for additional information.

Project Uplift seeks volunteers

Project Uplift is seeking volunteers to be Big Brothers and Sisters for Lee County children. Call 844-4430 for details.



Achievements

Architecture Professor Sambo Mockbee will be one of nine speakers at a Nov. 6 Atlanta symposium discussing contemporary dwellings in the South. Mockbee, co- founder of the College of Architecture, Design and Construction's Rural Studio, will participate in the symposium "The Way We Live Now: Place and Space in the Contemporary South," at Georgia Tech.

Auburn Entomology Professor Ed Cupp is one of three recipients of the University of Illinois' College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Alumni Achievement Awards. Cupp, who received his Ph.D. from Illinois in 1969, was honored for helping develop the first successful control method for river blindness, a parasitic disease that has blinded or incapacitates an estimated 18 million people in sub-Saharan Africa and Central America.

Dale Foster, head of Special Collections at AU Libraries, received First Place in the One-Act Play Category in the Alabama Writers' Conclave 1999 Writing Competition. His script "Revelation, Alabama" won the award. The Alabama Writers' Conclave is the largest writers group in the state and actively encourages writers and writing competitions.

Gregory Pettit, Alumni Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, was recently elected Fellow of Division 7 (Developmental) of the American Psychological Association.




Unsung Hero: Dianne Townsend of Business Outreach

This week's Unsung Hero is Dianne Townsend, program associate in Business Outreach and associate editor of The Shareholder magazine of the College of Business. She has been a staff member at AU since 1977. She was asked:

What do you do in your current job? "My job takes me in many different directions and that's what makes my job so enjoyable and challenging. I'm privileged to direct the Robert and Charlotte Lowder Visiting Executive program which brings prominent business executives to campus to interact with students and faculty. This is a wonderful opportunity for our students to meet the players and learn first-hand about the issues and the complexities of the business world.

"It is always exciting to bring renowned business leaders to our campus -- people that we read about in major business magazines and The Wall Street Journal. Sergio Zyman, senior vice president of marketing for Coca-Cola; Ron Zarrella, General Motors' vice president of marketing; and Roy Johnson, editor-at-large with Fortune magazine are among those who have visited our campus. But it's not always easy convincing major executives to spend a day or two in Auburn.

The Shareholder magazine, an alumni publication of the College of Business, is another important direction that my work takes me. The success of this magazine has been gratifying, as well as the recognition it has received. I'm fortunate to work with such talented individuals who assist with this project. A student once told me about clipping one of my articles that she found inspiring and displayed in her dorm room to read each day.

"Another area I work with is the African-American Entrepreneurship Summit, which promotes the free enterprise system and economic opportunities. I've made many lasting friendships through this association and proud that Auburn University is involved with this meaningful organization."

What is the most rewarding part of your job? "Every day is different, involving me in many heterogeneous situations. Time is critical when conducting an interview as it's important to quickly establish a rapport so I can discover a nugget that makes the person unique. Some days, I may stand on a printing line discussing color resolution with a pressman. An hour later I may be interviewing a CEO, learning how the direction of the executive's company has changed. ..."

If you were not doing this job, what would you most like to do? "I would like to write for Time-Warner in Manhattan or do public relations in Washington, D.C., or New York. And some day I plan to write a series of children's books."

What word best describes Auburn as a work environment, learning environment or just a place to be? "Opportunity. Auburn is what you make of it. New opportunities are presented to you every day, allowing you to make a difference in your own small way. When we throw a stone into the pond, we never see the ripples hit the other side of the shore."

What do you like to do when not at work? "I specialize in homemade desserts as I never met one that I didn't like! I also model for a few department stores, and there is nothing like digging in a garden to keep you in touch with your soul and close to God. Perhaps, Albert Schweitzer said it best: 'I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.'"


Campus Views
More horror tales from the halls of academe

By Herbert Jack Rotfeld, Professor of Marketing

There are too many stories I wish I never heard from people at various universities around the world. All are true, or so I was told, but as before, names are changed so more people can feel guilty....

Cynthia was told that she failed her comprehensive doctoral exams because she exhibited too much originality and analysis in her answers. She was supposed to just repeat what she was told in her classes....

At Why bother University, the department faculty discussed possible assignments for the spring capstone course. For the first half of the semester, the student groups worked on a campaign for a national competition, with the best team refining their work to later represent the school at the regional eliminations. As the faculty debated assignments for the other seven teams who did not win the intra-school competition, Jill sarcastically said that the students could be told that the course was over for them and that they were done for the semester after the eight weeks. To her surprise, the dean later sent a note that thanked Jill for her suggestion and he implemented it....

Jeni told her favorite teacher why so many of her classmates disliked the course. "They have a problem with you because you're different. You want them to think."...

As a journal's associate editor, Frank spotted an error in the editor's selection of Wat Meaworry as one of a manuscript's referees: the senior author of the paper was at Professor Meaworry's school, and an acknowledgement note on the cover page thanked him for comments on earlier drafts of the manuscript. Calling the editor to point out the error and suggest alternate reviewers, Frank was told that Meaworry had already returned his review and checked the box on the form, indicating that he did not recognize the paper or know the authors....

The students' teacher evaluations had many complaints about the pop quizzes. In one typical statement, "The quizzes force me to do all of the readings for each class and that takes up too much time. We have other things to do with our lives besides study." Student complaints like these are heard by many faculty, but in this case the department chair focused on it to conclude the faculty member was a poor teacher....

Department chair Klept Ockressy faced a difficult problem with only 5
percent available for raises plus an administrative directive that salaries be brought in line as compared to other faculty of equal rank, discipline and seniority. Noting that some senior faculty had originally earned doctorates from areas outside the primary discipline of the department, Ockressy came up with the novel solution to make their equity comparisons to faculty in the lower-paid fields of their degrees. This allowed conclusions that these salaries were "equitable" even though thousands of dollars lower than some junior members of the department....

Though only a doctoral student, Ronya was a very prolific researcher, with articles submitted to many conferences and journals. And while her advisor, Kar Edit Grabbit, had not done any work on these papers other than retype the title page, he was a co-author on every one. Ronya "allowed" this because Grabbit told her that no journal or conference would even consider a paper that did not have a full-time faculty member as co author. Having no basis to know any different, she believed him. And when one paper was accepted at a major journal, Grabbit told Ronya he was taking her name off since she wasn't ready for such visibility....

A comment from the students' teacher evaluations: "I am not sure how much I've learned because I do not know any of my [final] grades yet." ...

Heather told her mother that her professors are getting so bad about caring that some of them hardly expect students to turn in assignments and the professors still pass students when they don't. Her teachers are amazed when she comes in to ask questions and find out about Internet exercises listed in the back of some textbooks. After all, she's asking about something that won't be on the exam....

Teaching a capstone course and seeing several weeks of limited progress from his students' efforts, Terry asked them to write a short paper stating what they wanted to get from the class, what they were willing to do to get it and what they needed from the teacher to get there. The first paragraph of one student's paper bluntly said: "Since I am paying $640 for this class, and not you, I think I should have the right to do whatever I choose. I want an A [and] I think that by coming to every single class on time and staying until it is over, talking in class and completing all of the assigned required work, should earn me an A."...

There are more stories, but I wish I didn't even know these. I think these are enough.

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Views expressed in Campus Views columns are those of the contributors and are independent of official university policy.





Editor: Roy Summerford. Contributing editors: Bob Lowry, Janet McCoy and David Granger. University Relations Executive Director: Pete Pepinsky. The AU Report is the faculty/staff newsletter of Auburn University and is published by the Office of University Relations at Auburn University. Direct correspondence to AU Report, 23 Samford Hall, Auburn University, Ala. 36849-5109. Telephone 334/844-9999.
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