AU REPORT |
Guidelines prompt new reviews
AU sets first Saturday graduation
New trustee joins AU Board
New guidelines prompt fresh review of departments
The Provost's Office is reviewing academic departments in the context of guidelines approved by the AU Board of Trustees on Nov. 5. The guidelines establish principles and criteria which program areas must meet for elevation into higher classifications as departments, schools and colleges.
In accepting the guidelines developed by the administration, the board asked Provost William Walker to report back on Jan. 28 with review plans for academic units that do not meet those criteria for their current designations.
"If we are going to create things, we need to have a mechanism to uncreate them," said Trustee Bobby Lowder of Montgomery. "What does the university plan to do with those that do not meet the guidelines?"
Walker said some existing units would not qualify if the numerical guidelines were the only criteria, but the overarching principles would also need to be considered.
He noted that the College of Veterinary Medicine does not meet the numerical criteria for designation as a college but more than satisfies the requirements of the overarching principles for the designation.
Using Veterinary Medicine as an example, Walker said classification as a school rather than a college would put Auburn's veterinary programs at a competitive disadvantage.
The overarching principles are:
* Designation would enhance the unit's ability to serve all three areas of Auburn's mission.
* Units with similar missions in peer institution 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.
* Such designation will provide a clear and compelling benefit to the university and will enhance the performance of the university's mission.
Using the guidelines as criteria, the board approved the elevation of Human Sciences from school to college status.
The numerical criteria have the most widespread effect at the departmental level, where they call for a typical department to have one baccalaureate degree program; 50 majors across all degree programs; 10 faculty at the assistant professor level or above; and production of at least 5,000 student credit hours per academic year.
On Nov. 9, the numerical part of the guidelines drew expressions of concern from faculty representatives on the University Senate, who said they do not want to see numerical criteria used as the primary basis for program terminations.
John Pritchett, associate vice president for academic affairs and dean of the Graduate School, responded that most departments falling below one or more of the guidelines should easily qualify under other parts of the new standards. Pritchett added that four departments which might have been endangered have already merged into other departments and four others are now involved in mergers.
First graduation on Saturday set for this quarter
Auburn's fall quarter graduation, its last commencement of the millennium, will also make history in another way. The Dec. 11 ceremony will also be the first Saturday commencement in modern Auburn history. But it won't be the last.
In fact, only one more ceremony of those scheduled through 2001 will not take place on Saturday. Graduation for summer 2000, the final quarter before Auburn moves to the semester system next fall, is set for Monday, Aug. 14.
Sidney James, chair and a 17-year veteran of AU's graduation committee and an assistant professor of electrical engineering, said the decision to move the ceremony to Saturday was made to accommodate students and their guests as well as ease time constraints on AU officials.
"The decision was made at the recommendation of the calendar committee," James said. "It had been recommended by a number of students so that their parents or other guests wouldn't have to take off work to attend. Also, in the case of this quarter, it allows ample time for the new five-day finals schedule and for the registrar to gather and confirm the grades of those students expected to graduate."
John Fletcher, registrar and interim assistant vice president for enrollment management services, said that, by far, the most compelling reason was to accommodate the students' families and friends.
"As a committee, we felt like it's the students' graduation and we should try to make things easy for them," said Fletcher, who is a member of the calendar committee. "That's what it's all about and that was most important to the committee to make it so more family members can attend."
The Dec. 11 commencement will be at 2 p.m in Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum. Pharmacy and Veterinary Medicine will continue to hold separate ceremonies.
New trustee gained university experience as administrator
AU's newest trustee, John G. Blackwell of Huntsville, brings to the university's governing board extensive experience in higher education as a financial avdministrator and development officer.
"I hope the experience will make me more aware of and sensitive to all aspects of the issues in university life," said Blackwell, who spent 20 of the past 35 years in Alabama higher education professional and administrative posts.
Blackwell, who was named by Gov. Don Siegelman on Nov. 4 to the post formerly held by the late James Tatum, was development officer at AU for the College of Sciences and Mathematics from 1991-93.
A 1964 AU graduate in business administration, Blackwell has spent the majority of his career as a university financial officer at West Alabama, Montevallo, UAB and UAH.
A partner in the Huntsville real estate company Inkana Properties for the past year, Blackwell was director of finance for the City of Huntsville from 1994-98.
Early in his career, Blackwell was an administrator for the Scottsboro City Board of Education, and he worked for and owned several businesses between 1968-1977. A native of Falkville, Blackwell grew up in Scottsboro, where his father, the late C.O. Blackwell, a 1939 Auburn graduate, ran a feed and seed business and where his mother, Clarice Blackwell, still lives.
"I cannot remember a time when Auburn was not important in my life," the new trustee recalled. "It started as early as I can remember with my dad, and it has continued ever since."
In addition to Blackwell, his wife Tommie Ruth and eldest son Taylor are Auburn graduates, and their youngest son, Austin is an Auburn freshman. The Blackwells' middle son Slade graduated from the University of Montevallo, where John Blackwell was a financial administrator for 12 years.
Blackwell said he enters the Auburn trustee post with one priority. "My only priority is to serve Auburn in a manner that will meet the standard established by Jim Tatum. He served Auburn well, and I hope to live up to his standard."
Having worked at Auburn in the early 1990s, Blackwell said he gained a deeper appreciation of all the university's constituencies. "Auburn has outstanding faculty, staff, students and alumni; those are the main ingredients for a great university. I want to see us all working together to achieve that goal, and I think we can do so."
The new trustee, who attended his first board meeting on Nov. 5, said he wants to honor his father through his service to a university the elder Blackwell loved dearly. "Dad always encouraged me to do good," he said. "I hope I can make a contribution in service to Auburn that will adhere to his advice."
Blackwell's appointment is subject to confirmation by the Alabama Senate. His term expires in 2007.
Riders may not notice the difference except in the presence of more and larger buses as AU changes bus systems at the start of summer quarter.
AU changing bus services in June
New, larger buses will provide transit service at AU starting summer
Fifteen 32-passenger buses from Groome Transportation are scheduled to be on campus with the start of summer classes on June 14, replacing the 14 buses of assorted sizes that have served riders this year.
The Virginia-based company won the bid for a new three-year contract in competition that included Tiger Transit, which is in the third year of Auburn's first contract for transit service.
"We have been very pleased with the service provided by Tiger Transit, but Groome submitted the best bid, and it is a nationally respected company," said Jim Ferguson, AU's vice president for administrative services.
Groome provides bus service for airports, military bases and colleges in Virginia and Georgia, including Atlanta's Hartsfield International Airport, Columbus State University and Mercer University.
The change in service will not mean changes in routes beyond what would normally occur to meet rider demand, Ferguson said. With larger buses and one additional bus, rider capacity will increase by 35 to 40 percent, he added.
"The only change most riders will notice will be replacement of the smaller models with new and larger buses," he said.
Ferguson said students, faculty and staff should see no disruption in service during the transition. Tiger Transit buses will run their routes through spring quarter.
Health insurance rates go up Jan. 1
Health insurance rates for faculty and staff will increase 15 percent on Jan. 1, 2000, under a plan approved by the AU Board of Trustees on Nov. 5.
The board accepted the recommendation of the university's Insurance and Benefits Committee after AU Executive Vice President Don Large said the increase was necessary to keep the university's self-insurance fund solvent.
Even with the increase, the fund will operate at a deficit next year, making another increase likely for 2001, he said. AU has had only one increase, which was for 5 percent, since 1994, but rising medical costs are likely to lead to more frequent increases over the next few years, Large added.
The university benefitted during the 1990s from a period of low-inflation in medical costs and from savings due to transfer of retirees to a state supported health insurance program for that category. Additional savings from those circumstances are unlikely in the years ahead, he said.
"This year's increase will not solve the problem," said Large, who added that the university must keep enough funds available at all times to pay bills for medical care of the covered employees.
For faculty and staff with AU's Blue Cross/Blue Shield health insurance, the Jan. 1 increase will add $10.25 per month to the cost of individual coverage and $21.50 for family coverage. The university matches employee contributions to the plan on a 60/40 basis.
The board also approved increases in premiums for the employee-funded
dental insurance plan. The rate will go up $2.25 per month for individual
coverage and $7 per month for family coverage, effective Jan. 1, 2000.
For more details, see the Nov. 1 AU Report.
Legislative Tiger Award
AU President William Muse, left, helps Rep. Mike Hubbard display the Legislative Tiger Award, which Hubbard received in recognition of his support for Auburn in the Legislature.
Hubbard receives AU's Legislative Tiger Award
Freshman state Rep. Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, has received Auburn University's Legislative Tiger Award for 1999.
AU President William Muse said the award recognizes Hubbard's dedication to and support for Auburn University and its legislative efforts during the 1999 regular session of the Alabama Legislature.
Muse noted that Hubbard's fellow legislators voted him the "1999 Rookie of the Session" because of the freshman legislator's tenacity, style, personal energy and leadership. Hubbard was also selected by the Montgomery Advertiser as the most effective freshman lawmaker.
"Mike has been a strong proponent of Auburn University and its legislative program," said Muse. "His efforts have been undeniably significant."
Muse cited Hubbard's successful efforts on behalf of AU during service on the House Ways and Means-Education Committee. Those efforts were especially notable, added AU Executive Director of Governmental Affairs Buddy Mitchell, because of Hubbard's quick mastery of the legislative process.
"I have seldom seen a freshman legislator step in and be so productive from the first day," said Mitchell. "He fought at every turn for better funding for Auburn University, and he made sure that others knew how legislation would affect Auburn."
Hubbard, president of the Auburn Network, Inc., is the second person to receive the Legislative Tiger Award since the award was established in 1998. Last year's award went to his predecessor as representative of the 79th District, Pete Turnham, who retired after 40 years in the Legislature.
Engineering 'Village Green'
Plans approved by the Board of Trustees would group College of Engineering buildings in a "Village Green" concept, as shown in the darker tone. Area shown is bounded by Magnolia Avenue at the top, Samford Park at right, Thach Avenue at bottom and Duncan Drive at left. Samford Hall is at lower right corner.
AU adopts 'Village Green' concept for Engineering
A new precinct plan of the College of Engineering suggests changes in building locations that would remake the college's part of the campus during the first half of the 21st century.
The precinct plan, which was accepted by the AU Board of Trustees on Nov. 5, anticipates demolition of several aging buildings in the area between Harbert Center and the College of Business. The plan proposes replacing some buildings, remodeling others, moving most remaining parking to the campus perimeter, adding landscaping and providing more direct access for pedestrians.
Architect Tom Tillman of AU's Facilities Division told trustees that the total implementation costs would be about $120 million. Those costs would include such longterm projects as removal of the L-Building, shop buildings, Dunstan Hall, the old physical plant building and the student health center.
The plan, which updated one from 1979, was prepared by the architectural planning firm of Sizemore Floyd of Atlanta in association with Comprehensive Facilities Planning Inc. of Columbus, Ga. The design was based on input from the faculty and administration of the College of Engineering, the Provost's Office and the Facilities Division.
Anticipating developments through 2012, the plan calls for construction of new facilities for Computer and Software Engineering and microelectronics in the area now occupied by the student health center, a research complex on the present site of the shop buildings and a Mechanical Engineering complex in the present parking lot of Foy Student Union, which is also scheduled to be replaced.
Also, the dean's office would move from Ramsay Hall to Ross Hall and Ramsay, Ross and the Textile Building would receive major renovations.
The buildings would be organized and landscaped in a village green concept, with foot traffic routed along an east-west walkway that would extend to the Drake field parking area.
President William Muse said the university is proceeding with plans to replace the student health center with a more modern facility. Muse said he anticipates appointing a committee within a few months to assist in planning the new building.
While most people see signs of fall in the foliage of trees, some signs of the season are unique to Auburn. This scene of afternoon shadows cast by a line of bicycles outside Haley Center provides a sense of the season as surely as the most colorful photo of New England maples.
International Programs gains interim director
H.N. "Nick" Conrad, who retired from AU's College of Engineering in 1998, has been appointed interim director of Auburn's Office of International Programs.
Conrad, who returned to university service at the start of fall quarter, directs programs for Auburn students studying abroad and international students at Auburn. The office helps Auburn students identify, arrange and obtain credit for study at American and foreign university sites around the world, and it helps foreign students monitor and comply with U.S. State Department regulations for the students and their families.
"Both for students going abroad and for those coming here from abroad, it is important that we provide seamless transition for the students in dealing with the large number of decision points and obstacles they face in international study," said Conrad.
"There are many opportunities for students to study abroad, including fellowships for which they can compete," he added. "Part of our role is to help them identify these opportunities and guide them through the process."
International Programs is a unit of the Graduate School, but its programs are open to undergraduates, as well as graduate students. Conrad fills the position formerly held by Harlan Henson, who left to become head of the College Consortium for International Studies in Washington, D.C. The search for a permanent director is in its early stages and is expected to take several months.
Before his retirement last year as assistant dean of Engineering, with responsibility for the college's Office of Student Services, Conrad had been a faculty member, professional staff member and administrator at Auburn for 20 years, the final 14 in Engineering Student Services. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of West Florida and master's and doctoral degrees in education from Auburn.
Spirit of Excellence
Each month, the university presents Spirit of Excellence awards to four employees for exceptional service. Recipients for October were, at left, from left, Marilyn Knight of the College of Education's Learning Resource Center; Sandra Walker of Facilities and Beth Landreth of Pathobiology; and, at right, Linda Caudle of Alumni and Development.
Princeton Review gives AU high ratings
Auburn has been ranked among the best colleges and universities in the
United States in the
Princeton Review's annual college reference publication.
The new guide Best 331 Colleges, 2000 Edition gives Auburn high marks in each of its four major categories -- campus life, academics, admissions and financial aid. The rankings and other information in the book are based on more that 59,000 surveys of college students at colleges and universities across the country.
The guide provides prospective students with basic statistical and contact information on each school. But the publication also includes lists of "party schools," conservative and liberal schools, schools where athletics are important, schools with outstanding libraries and more -- all based on the student surveys.
Surveys of Auburn students indicated they are proud of Draughon Library, among the happiest, most satisfied students compared to others across the country, conservative, religious, get along well with members of the local community, enjoy reading The Auburn Plainsman campus newspaper, and intercollegiate and intramural sports are popular.
The only negative was the students' dissatisfaction with campus dormitories.
The Princeton Review also listed information about other colleges to which those interested in Auburn apply. According to responses to the surveys, students who apply to Auburn often also apply to Mississippi State University, Florida State University, the University of Georgia, the University of Tennessee, Georgia Tech, the University of Mississippi, Vanderbilt University and the University of Alabama. Of those schools, student surveys indicated that they are least likely to prefer Alabama over Auburn.
The publication calls Auburn's agriculture, engineering and veterinary medicine programs "exceptional," its architecture, pharmacy and nursing programs "highly regarded," and says the College of Business is gaining a reputation ("up and coming").
Also drawing raves were opportunities for involvement in student centered activities, from playing in the jazz ensemble to working at WEGL-FM, the campus radio station.
The publication adds that Auburn largely attracts students from traditional Southern families, but quoted an unnamed AU student as saying, "Coming to Auburn from up North was the best thing I ever did. The people are real in the South."
AU professor helps pets ward off fleas, ticks
An Auburn professor has quickly become the go-to source for major animal health companies that seek to build better mousetraps, so to speak. But this "mousetrap" involves cats and dogs and the desire to rid them of heartworms, fleas, ticks and other harmful parasites.
The latest breakthrough product to be tested by Byron Blagburn, a parasitologist in the College of Veterinary Medicine, is Pfizer Animal Health's Revolution, a liquid that is administered in small drops behind a dog's or cat's neck once a month.
"Its strength is that it combines heartworm prevention and flea control into a single-entity product," Blagburn said. "In the past it would take two separate steps, or products. If you've ever tried to make a cat or dog swallow a pill, you'll appreciate the ease of applying a drop to its neck."
Blagburn has been involved in every worldwide development in the parasite-control market since the early 1990s, including products such as Novartis' Program and Sentinel, Bayer's Advantage, and Merial's Frontline. He has collaborated with Pfizer since 1993 and his laboratory began testing Revolution in 1995.
Revolution prevents heartworm, kills adult fleas and prevents their eggs from hatching and treats and controls ear mites in cats and dogs. It also treats hookworms and roundworms in cats, and it treats and controls sarcoptic mange and controls American dog tick infestations in dogs.
New procedure aids wildlife
You can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear, but you can repair a red tailed hawk's elbow from a pig's small intestine.
The new procedure is the result of a veterinary product that uses the submucosal lining of a pig intestine to enhance the wound healing process, says Steven Swaim of Auburn's College of Veterinary Medicine.
"It looks like parchment paper and it has several uses, one of which is wound management," said Swaim, who recently used it to repair the injured skin on a hawk's elbow joint. "I didn't know exactly what results to expect, but it was well healed and looked like actual skin. It reportedly provides a matrix into which the body's own repair cells can grow."
The new innovation, Vet BioSISt, was among several new wound care products that Swaim presented last weekend at Auburn's annual three-day veterinary conference. The name, Vet BioSISt, incorporates the acronym SIS which means swine small intestinal submucosa.
Software gift boosts Industrial Design
Two software design companies -- think3 of Santa Clara, Calif., and Perception Kayak of Easley, S.C. -- have donated more than $100,000 in 3 D software to Auburn's Department of Industrial Design.
Tom Dempsey, director of design and product engineering at Perception Kayak and a 1989 graduate of AU, made the presentation at an Industrial Design symposium on the AU campus.
Perception Kayak is the world's largest manufacturer of kayaks for the fastest growing outdoor recreational sport. In the past 18 months, the company has used think3's software to design its lineup of state-of-the art kayaks, including whitewater, touring, recreational, sit-on-top and expedition models.
"I'm honored to have the opportunity to give back to the educational institution that has given so much to me," said Dempsey. "Auburn provided me with an excellent foundation to go out into the world and build a successful career doing something I love -- designing really sweet kayaks for paddlers everywhere."
"Companies like think3, teaming with academia and industry, can play a critical role in preparing the next generation of talented designers to make great contributions, even in their very first jobs," said Clark Lundell, head of the Department of Industrial Design. "Think3 software will help our students get the experience they need in 3-D solid and surface modeling as an integral part of our curriculum."
Authors to present readings from their books
Authors Wayne Greenhaw, Bob Sanders and Sena Jeter Naslund will be speaking at Auburn's Center for the Arts and Humanities in November and December.
Greenhaw, one of Alabama's best-known writers, will speak on Nov. 29; Sanders, the familiar voice of radio station WAUD in Auburn since 1955, will speak on Dec. 6; and Naslund, a professor at the University of Louisville, will speak on Dec. 14. All three author-led readings and discussions will be at 4 p.m. at Pebble Hill.
Greenhaw, a former journalist and ex-director of the Alabama Department of Tourism and Travel, will read from his new novel Beyond the Night.
Sanders will read from his book, Friends, Family and Frontier Country: Growing Up in West Alabama. The book is a collection of columns Sanders wrote that relate stories of growing up in the 1930s and 1940s in Lamar County.
Naslund, founding editor of The Louisville Review and the Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Louisville, will read from her bestselling new book, Ahab's Wife.
Women's Studies presentations scheduled
Two AU faculty are slated as speakers for the Women's Studies Program's Brown Bag Colloquium series.
At noon, Thursday, Jody Graham, assistant professor of philosophy, will speak in Foy 202. Her talk -- "Does Integrity Require a Unified Self?" -- summarizes changes to the conventional view that integrity is dependent on an integrated, unified self. She will evaluate the theory that oppressed persons have many selves and are many selves to others.
Nirmala Erevelles, assistant professor of education, will speak at noon, Dec. 1 in Foy 203, on "Bodies That Do Not Matter: Feminist Theory Meets Disability Studies." She will explore the intersections of feminist theories of the body and the study of disabilities.
For more information on the series, contact Mary Cameron at 844-2822 or email@example.com.
AU students will have the week of Nov. 22-26 off for the Thanksgiving holidays, but university offices will remain open through Nov. 24. The official Thanksgiving holidays for faculty and staff will be Nov. 25-26. The next AU Report will be Dec. 6. Please notify the AU Report office at 844-9999 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org by Dec. 1 of news items anticipated through the start of winter quarter.
Test Scoring available for finals
Test Scoring Services in Tichenor 120 will provide machine scoring to process final exams for fall quarter from 10a.m.- 4 p.m. on Dec. 4 and 7:45-11:45a.m. and 12:45p.m.-4:45 p.m. Dec.6-9. The expected turnaround time, during final exams, is two to three hours. Scan sheets should be placed in an envelope with the name and telephone number of the person to contact for pickup. A mail slot has been installed for afterhours drop-off. For additional information, call 844-9904.
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 January 1, 2000.
BC/BS representative to visit
Auburn's Blue Cross/Blue Shield representative will be available on campus for consultations from 10 a.m.-noon on Jan. 11, Feb. 8 and March 14 at Payroll and Employee Benefits, Ingram 212. No appointment is necessary.
AGLBC sets meeting schedule
The Auburn Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual Caucus will meet at 5 p.m. on Dec. 3 in Haley 2011. AGLBC is a faculty/staff group dedicated to making the campus safer for GLB students and employees. Contact Becky Liddle for more information: email@example.com or 844-2881.
Center offers help for family problems
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.
Campus Views: Why not let AU's professionals consult
By Michael S. Miller, Past-Chair
Administrative and Professional Assembly
A recent Campus Views article examined the concepts of external consulting by AU faculty, supporting this practice as ethical as well as one that, under proper management, can be a great benefit to the mission of the University as well as the citizens of Alabama. Although this is a sensitive issue to some, it has long been an approved policy, and one that I feel is very important to the University and its employees.
AU Faculty are governed by the policies and procedures of the Faculty Handbook. Administrative and Professional (AP) employees, as well as AU Staff employees, are governed by the policies and procedures of the Department of Human Resources Policies and Procedures Manual. In July of 1998, AU Administration pulled the plug on all current and future external consulting opportunities for AP employees when the Multiple Jobs Policy was approved.
This policy offers AP employees the opportunity to engage in University activities for extra compensation, while clearly stating that all external consulting activities are limited exclusively to faculty. For example, as a Master Information Technology Specialist (an AP classified position), I would be permitted to teach a UNIV0100 class and be monetarily compensated. However, as defined by current policy I would not be permitted to consult with a rural Alabama high school in helping them implement technology in their classrooms. At the time of the policy change the AP Assembly was not made aware of these activities, and as such was never afforded the opportunity to review or offer feedback on the proposed changes. The employees only learned of the new policies after they had been approved.
Numerous attempts on my part (at that time as Chair of the AP Assembly) failed to have external consulting reinstated as a policy for AP employees. The overriding issues were those of ethics and public perception, the effective discharge of an AP employees responsibilities to the University, and the sense that a formal policy was not needed. Although not all inclusive, the definition of an AP employee is an employee that is exempt and in a nontenure track position. The AP employee group is a very diverse group of 900+ employees. Prior to the policy change a small percentage of AP employees conducted external consulting. Now, no AP employee is afforded this opportunity.
It can easily be argued that several AP employees are the leading experts in their field at AU. In addition, many of these employees have a Masters or Doctorate degree in their area of expertise. For example, AP employees in the Office of Safety and Environmental Health are arguably the leading experts with regards to radiological safety, hazardous waste material, industrial hygiene, etc. Many of AU's Information Technology Specialists are the authority in such areas as network management and systems integration. Why should these qualified employees be denied a policy that provides the opportunities to conduct external consulting?
Consulting should provide professional enrichment to the employee and
subsequently provide benefit to the University. Even after the creation of
the AP employee group and the associated reclassification of hundreds of
employees (1994/95) the opportunity to consult existed. What happened
leading up to the July 1998 policy change that caused AP employees to
lose this opportunity? As is the case with AU faculty, external consulting
is a benefit to the AP employee, the University, and the state of Alabama.
On behalf of my fellow AP employees I again ask AU Administration to
revisit this issue and reinstate external consulting opportunities for
those qualified AP employees.
* * *
Views expressed in Campus Views columns are those of the contributors and are independent of official university policy.
Unsung Hero: Barry McConatha, Pharmacy research associate
This week's Unsung Hero is Barry McConatha, a research associate in the School of Pharmacy's Department of Pharmacy Care Systems. He has been at Auburn 18 years. He was asked:
What do you do in your current position? "My current responsibilities primarily involve information management. I maintain the PCS departmental web site. I designed and developed the School of Pharmacy's Doctor of Pharmacy Pharmacotherapy Disease State Modules web site, and now maintain the course material contained therein. ... I recently designed and developed the content for a public health information kiosk called Auburn Answers, in conjunction with Industrial Design and AU Distance Learning. I am also the acting Manager of Information Systems for the PCS department, and general technology troubleshooter."
What is the most rewarding part of your job? "Most recently, the terrific response I've gotten from faculty, students, and administration for my work on the Pharmacotherapy DSM web site has been the most rewarding. During the summer I received a request from a faculty member for help in making his course materials available to the students. I found a web site that offered a means of presenting not only his material, but for the entire sequence of ten modules. I modified the layout, added graphics, restructured sections, and in a matter of weeks created a site that all the faculty can use. And the students now have a consistent interface to find the materials they need to complete the coursework. It's been a great success."
What is the most challenging part of your job? "It's always a challenge to keep up with the technology. Changes occur so quickly, and the School of Pharmacy likes to push the envelope. Invariably, the folks at IT tell us that we're the first to ask for the latest improvements in web based videoconferencing, or automated billing, or online data management. I think we have a vision of where technology is headed because we started developing interactive teaching materials back in 1985, and the web is an extension of that technology."
If you were not doing this job, what would you most like to do? "I would probably be doing what I do now, but through my own company, Ensemble Productions. I thrive on the creative process. ... It all started when I was about 8 years old and my family purchased an 8 mm movie camera. I would write, direct, shoot, and star in productions with my family and friends. I still have those reels."
What makes Auburn special? "When I was growing up in Tuscaloosa, my mother purchased a painting from a young artist and family friend who was in school at Auburn. It was a beautiful watercolor of the University Chapel on the corner of College and Thach, painted for a class assignment. Some 20 years later, my wife and I were married in the Chapel. That picture hangs in our living room today. The friends I've made in Auburn also make this a very special place to me."
What was your first impression of Auburn University? "I got my very first impression of AU when I traveled here with my brother's band back in the late 60s. They played a fraternity party, and I got to sit in and play with them, even though I was only about 15 at the time. It was then, and still remains, a magical moment."
How has that impression changed? "In many ways, the magic exists today. The people I work with have afforded me so much opportunity to learn and grow and expand my abilities. In other ways, I'm disappointed by the harsh reality of politics and financial concerns facing the campus, particularly these past few years."
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.
Electronic mail: firstname.lastname@example.org