AU REPORT |
April 12, 1999
Governor shows support
Gov. Don Siegelman, left, joined AU President William Muse and others from throughout Alabama in a show of support for higher education on Thursday, April 8. Siegelman promised to reverse the cuts imposed during the previous administration.
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AU Board cuts seven programs, spares three
Three programs earlier marked for termination, including the bachelor's degree in aviation management, were spared as the board wrapped up a year-long process of program review and priorities-setting.
Besides the Economics Ph.D., the board voted to drop the master's program in political science and the master's degree in music. The board also voted to merge the degree in criminal justice, which is also in the Political Science Department, into the criminology program in the Sociology Department.
The remaining cuts were in the College of Education, where the board
approved the termination of the master's degree in instructional design
and bachelor's and master's degrees in trade and industrial design.
Besides sparing aviation management, at least temporarily, the board agreed to keep the bachelor's degree in geography and the bachelor's degree in anthropology.
The full effect of the cuts will take several years to materialize. Current students in the terminated programs will be permitted to complete their degrees, but the programs can no longer accept new students. Tenured faculty will teach other courses in their department or college, with cost savings projected to come as faculty leave or retire and their positions are eliminated or reassigned.
In acting to reprieve or terminate programs, the board accepted the
recommendation of the president on nine of the 10 items, including
aviation management, but disagreed with him on the economics Ph.D.
Despite a review committee recommendation that aviation management be terminated, Muse asked the board for more time to see if it can be moved from the College of Engineering to the College of Business. Muse indicated he will have an answer by the board's June 7 meeting.
The president had agreed with the committee's recommendation to spare the economics Ph.D. on the grounds that it is nationally respected, is well within viability standards for numbers of students and graduates and is central to the university's mission.
The program is one of only three nationally associated with free-market economics, said Trustee John Denson of Opelika, who argued that the board was killing an outstanding program. Free-market economics, which advocates total separation of government and markets, was a major influence on U.S. government policy during the Reagan presidency.
Despite strong objections from Denson, a majority of the board said they
did not want to send the matter back to the College of Business where its
dean, Wayne Alderman, would have to find another program to cut if that
one were spared.
|For background, see Review Process.|
AU to hold two ceremonies for spring graduation
In a break with tradition, Auburn will hold two graduations in one day this spring.
The university will have morning and afternoon graduations on June 11 to
accommodate the families of approximately 2,000 students who will
receive degrees at spring commencement, President William Muse has
Although common at other large universities, the dual graduations will be a first for Auburn, according to AU Archives staff members who researched Auburn graduation records.
Students graduating from the colleges of Agriculture; Architecture, Design and Construction; Education; and Business will receive diplomas at a 10 a.m. ceremony. Those from the schools and colleges of Forestry, Human Sciences, Nursing, Engineering, Liberal Arts and Sciences and Mathematics will receive degrees at a 2 p.m. ceremony.
Previously, the university has had a single ceremony at 2:30 p.m. All
colleges and schools participated in that ceremony, except the College of
Veterinary Medicine and the School of Pharmacy, which hold earlier
ceremonies in their facilities and will continue to do so.
Both commencement ceremonies will be in Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum. Last year, the 11,000-seat arena went past its seating capacity with families of more than 2,000 graduates at the spring graduation.
Muse said the dual ceremonies will enable the university to accommodate all the graduates and their families in the air-conditioned and weather protected comfort of the coliseum. Rejected alternatives would have limited the number of guests per graduate or retained the single ceremony and moved it to Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Graduation Committee chair Sidney James of Electrical Engineering said Auburn's pending switch to semesters in fall 2000 would mean even larger ceremonies as the number of graduations is reduced from four to two per year. But, he added, spring graduation crowds were already too large for a single ceremony indoors.
Muse said his experience with similar arrangements at other institutions had been successful. "I have no reason to believe that two ceremonies on one day will not be successful here, as well, with careful planning," he said.
The Reserve Officer Training Command ceremony for new graduates
receiving commissions in the U.S. armed services has been moved from
mid-morning to 8:30 a.m. ROTC commissionings are in Langdon Hall.
The School of Nursing pinning ceremony for new registered nurses will remain at 11 a.m. at Auburn United Methodist Church.
Food Services workers to stay on AU payroll during privitization
Employees of Food Services who are within two years of retirement or of being vested in the state retirement system will remain on the university payroll for that period under the privatization plan accepted Friday by the AU Board of Trustees.
The board agreed to turn over Auburn's food services units to Sodexho Marriott, which will spend $1.4 million renovating the food courts in Foy, Terrell, Haley and other sites during the summer. The facilities will reopen in time for fall quarter with franchise operations replacing those now run by the university.
In return, the company will pay the university 9.5 percent of revenues generated by the operations.
AU Executive Vice President Don Large said the agreement will enable Food Service employees who have been with the university eight or nine years to reach the 10-years necessary to be vested in the state retirement system. Also protected, he said, will be those employees who are within two years of the 25 years they need to retire with full benefits.
Sodexho Marriott will reimburse the university for the employees' pay
until they reach that stage, he said.
Large noted that Auburn is one of the last major universities in the region to privatize its food services. Tastes are changing so fast and the market is becoming so competitive that universities cannot keep up with private enterprise in responding to the market, he said.
"This is not about the quality of the people; we have good people," said Large. "It is about market conditions, rapidly changing tastes and trying to stay competitive."
Sodexho Marriott submitted the largest incentive package of three bidders.
The new food courts will include an array of hamburger, chicken, pizza and
other fast food franchises, including Chick-fil-A, the first to be
|For a related web site, see Sodexho Marriott.|
Earnings cap removed for employees to get tuition break
Starting summer quarter, AU employees will receive free tuition for up to five hours of classes per quarter, even if they make more than $25,000 per year, following action Friday by the Board of Trustees.
Since 1994, employees could get free tuition for one course per quarter only if they made below $25,000. Those making $25,000 up to $40,000 received a discount of 75 percent, and those making $40,000 or above received a 50 percent discount for the course.
The board agreed to drop the graduated scale after Executive Vice President Don Large said new business software would make it more expensive to program for the three pay levels than the university is collecting in tuition from its employees.
Employees must still meet participation requirements and must wait until the first day of classes to register for classes which have unfilled seats. Last quarter, 114 employees participated.
Students support increase in fees for new union building
If Auburn's student body has its way, AU could have a new student union within the next five years.
Seventy-eight percent of the students who voted in Auburn's spring
elections April 7-8 voted in favor of a referendum that calls for a yearly
$5 increase in students' union fees over the next 10 years and an
additional $5 increase in the fees every five years thereafter.
According to the referendum, the money generated by the additional fees would be earmarked for the construction, operating and maintenance costs of the new student union.
"I think the students have spoken loudly and clearly of their desire for a new union building," said Debbie Conner, director of Foy Student Union. "We had hoped the vote might even be a little more in favor of the referendum, but three out of four students who voted indicated their support and we plan to go before the Board of Trustees with this recommendation."
Conner said the matter could be taken to the board either in June or in the fall. President William Muse said Friday he will appoint a committee to begin an immediate feasibility study, including a recommendation on a possible site. Muse said he will take the committee's findings to the board.
"The Student Union Outlook Committee really wants to get on the board's
agenda for June, but that will ultimately be up to Dr. Muse," Conner said.
Conner gives much of the credit of the success of the referendum to the student committee.
"They worked extremely hard to get this done," she said. "It will be a facility for the students and the students are the main reason this referendum got as much support as it did."
Conner said a realistic schedule for building the new union could result in its completion by 2003.
"Of course, all sorts of things can work to delay any kind of construction schedule that involves bids, siting and all of that, but we think it's possible to have this new building completed by then," Conner said.
In addition to leading the campaign for the referendum, the Student Union Outlook Committee accompanied Conner on visits to several student unions at other Southeastern Conference universities. Conner said these visits made it obvious that AU's union needs improvements.
"Our union is the smallest of all the SEC schools and is without a lot of the amenities that the others have, such as private food vendors, hair styling salons, ATMs and other shopping venues, plus we don't have the meeting rooms and the recreation facilities that other school unions do," Conner said. "This is something that is badly needed at Auburn."
Conner said that James E. Foy, former dean of students at Auburn and the
namesake of AU's Foy Student Union, was one of the biggest supporters of
the referendum for the new union. Foy was on hand Thursday night at Cater
Hall to announce the results of the student vote.
|For a related web site, see Foy Union.|
AU supporters join forces with others at State House rally
AU students, faculty and staff were among the 1,000 supporters of higher education who rallied at the Alabama State House on Thursday, April 8, to urge state legislators to increase state funding for Alabama's colleges and universities.
They also demonstrated their support for Gov. Don Siegelman's plan for an education lottery.
As AU President William Muse looked on, Siegelman proclaimed higher education's days of cuts and level funding over.
"You can't build the state of Alabama by tearing down higher education," Siegelman said. "The days of Alabama's colleges and universities being slashed and cut, pinched and pruned are over. My administration will show you the respect you deserve."
Siegelman said he plans to "tear down the barriers to higher education" with his proposed lottery referendum. He said an education lottery would provide $43 million for college scholarships in its first year and $85 million by its fourth year and called on those present to help convince voters to support a lottery.
"My lottery bill will pass in the (state) Senate next Tuesday. And when it's placed on the ballot, that's when I need each of you to be soldiers" by talking to friends, family and coworkers about supporting the lottery, Siegelman said.
Coincidentally, the rally, which was sponsored by the Higher Education Partnership, came a day after the state House Ways and Means Committee's education fund committee recommended a six percent increase in higher education funding, which would amount to an approximately $12 million increase for AU. Several steps remain, however, before the final amount of the budget will be known.
"Not only are we here to speak out, but we're here to celebrate" the Ways and Means Committee's vote, said Gordon Stone, executive director of the Higher Education Partnership and an Auburn alumnus.
In addition to Siegelman, other speakers included Alabama State University President William Harris; State Sen. Charles Steele of Tuscaloosa; April McKenzie, president of Students Advocating Realistic Solutions; Tennant McWilliams, chairman of the Higher Education Partnership and dean of the University of Alabama at Birmingham's School of Social and Behavioral Sciences; and Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor of Georgia.
Taylor, as a state senator and former Georgia Gov. Zell Miller's administrative floor
leader, helped push through the state legislature the Georgia lottery, which funds
that state's HOPE scholarship program.
|For a related web site, see Partnership.|
Forum on legislation
Panelists at the recent AAUP forum on legislation affecting AU governance were, from left, State Sen. Ted Little, Provost Emeritus Paul Parks and faculty member Larry Gerber, a former University Senate chairman.
AAU forum examines pending trustee legislation
Legislation to change the selection and structure of the AU Board of Trustees was the focus of a forum sponsored by the Auburn chapter of the Association of University Professors on April 1.
State Sen. Ted Little of Auburn, one of three panelists at the forum, said the proposed state constitutional amendment stands a better chance of passage this year than in 1998, when it was first introduced. Birmingham-area alumni got the Legislature's attention in last November's elections, when they targeted and defeated five legislators who had opposed the legislation, he said.
The bill, HB308, is sponsored by Rep. Joe Carothers of Houston County.
If passed by the Legislature, the constitutional amendment would be
subject to ratification by Alabama voters in a statewide election.
If enacted, the amendment would add four at-large members to the board, with non-Alabama residents being eligible for up to three of those positions. The amendment would also remove the state superintendent of education as an ex-officio member and reduce terms from 12 to eight years.
The other major change would be to replace the governor's appointing power with that of two committees. A five-member screening committee would be comprised of the three most immediate past presidents of the Auburn Alumni Association and two most immediate past presidents pro tempore of the AU Board of Trustees.
The governor would be one of five members of an election committee for
trustees. The others would be the president and vice president of the
Auburn Alumni Association, the president pro tempore of the Board of
Trustees and another trustee chosen by the board.
Nominees chosen by the election committee would then go to the Alabama Senate for confirmation.
Forum panelist Paul Parks, AU provost emeritus, said a major advantage of the legislation would be that the university could add distinguished alumni outside the state to the board.
The third panelist, History Associate Professor Larry Gerber, also cited the possibility of adding nationally prominent alumni from outside the state as a reason to support the bill.
However, Gerber and other faculty members at the AAUP forum asked Little to help them change the legislation to get faculty representatives on one or both of the selection committees. They argued that faculty are more familiar with the needs and goals of the university than are alumni and are among the people most affected when appointments are made.
Little said he would support changes advocated by the AAUP and the
University Senate when the bill reaches the floor of the Alabama Senate.
He added that faculty leaders will have to decide on a response in case
they do not get the changes they are seeking. Last year, the University
Senate voted to oppose passage of the bill if their requested changes were
not accepted, and opponents used that opposition to bolster their argument
Little and Parks said the faculty representatives will have to lobby hard to convince Auburn alumni across the state to support their position if they want to be represented in the selection process. If they fail in that effort, they said, faculty leaders will have to decide if they want to help opponents kill the legislation or proponents in continuing to seek its passage.
|For a related web site, see Alabama Legislature.|
New Staff Council chair pledges strong voice for staff
Patrice Benson, the new chair of AU's Staff Council, says development of a greater voice for that organization in issues affecting university staff will be worth extra hours of her time over the next year.
Benson, executive secretary in the Office of Minority Advancement and Minority Student Services, became chair of the Staff Council in March after serving a year as chair-elect. A member of the Auburn staff for 16 years, Benson has worked in the Minority Advancement office for the past six years.
Benson said her role will be to build on the gains of the Staff Council under recent chairs Waymon Abner in 1997-98 and Brenda Turner in 1998-99. Over the past two years, the staff's representative body has gained more input in matters affecting the staff, and Benson said she expects an even greater voice in the coming year.
"My major objective is to involve the staff in every aspect of the university that affects them," Benson said. "We have tired to impress upon the administration that the staff need to be involved."
Staff Council members objected last year that they had no input in administrative changes affecting their pay period. In response, the Department of Human Resources has pledged to consult with Staff Council representatives when future changes are considered.
Benson said she has detected a greater awareness of staff concerns among university decision-makers during the past year. She cited the administration's support last year for a Staff Council proposal to allow a range of employee contributions to annuity funds for retirement. Lower income employees can now participate even if they cannot afford to deduct the full amount of $75 a month from their pay checks for the retirement supplement, she noted.
Communication between the administration and the Staff Council is only
part of the job, she said. As chair, Benson said she will continue to
expand communication between the Staff Council and its members.
|For a related web site, see AU Governance.|
A-Day activities to include academics, athletics
Auburn's annual A-Day weekend on April 23-25 will kick off with school and college open houses, musical performances and a variety of other activities. The highlight of the weekend will be the annual intrasquad football game.
The A-Day game will be at 1 p.m. at Jordan-Hare Stadium on April 24.
Activities for members of the Auburn Parents'Association -- an organization sponsored by the Auburn Alumni Association -- begin on Friday, April 23, with a welcome dinner at the AU Hotel and Conference Center at 6 p.m., with Ed Harrell, AU's Daniel F. Breeden Eminent Scholar in the Humanities, as featured speaker.
That Saturday, several AU schools and colleges will open their doors to the public. The College of Veterinary Medicine, School of Human Sciences and College of Architecture, Design and Construction all have programs for public viewing.
In a private function associated with A-Day weekend, President and Mrs. William Muse will host a barbecue luncheon for members of the Auburn Parents' Association on Saturday, April 24, on the lawn of the president's home. The picnic will be one of numerous activities for the parents of Auburn students during the weekend. Contact Liz Peel at 844-1146.
The College of Veterinary Medicine's 22nd annual Open House will feature circus tigers that will perform three times during the day in front of Greene Hall. The college will also present an art contest, live reptile exhibit, canine cops and teddy bear surgery.
On Saturday, the Mike Stern Band featuring Ricky Morales and Lincoln Goines will perform at jazz festival at the Graves Amphitheater at 11 a.m.
In addition, the nationally ranked Auburn baseball team will host the University of Mississippi for a three-game weekend series. The games at Hitchcock Field at Plainsman Park are at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, April 23, 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 24, and 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 25.
The University Program Council is also sponsoring a golf scramble at the
Auburn Links on Sunday.
|For a related web site, see Auburn Athletics.|
MBA program ranked in top 10 percent in U.S.
The MBA Program in Auburn's College of Business has been ranked again among the top 10 percent of the nation's MBA programs by U.S. News & World Report magazine.
Of the more than 750 MBA programs throughout the United States, Auburn's ranked No. 69 in the 1999 ratings released by the weekly news magazine.
"U.S. News ranks the top half and we came out 69th" said Dan Gropper, director of Auburn's MBA Program. "That says we're a high quality program. And when you look at our tuition, we're an exceptional value.
"We typically take in people earning in the $20-30,000 range (annual salaries) and turn out graduates who are attracting average salaries in the mid-40s, with some in the $50-60,000 range. That's a pretty strong return on investment."
Gropper says AU's MBA Program is selective without being exclusionary.
"We're doing what we're supposed to as a land-grant institution in admitting good students, but we are not trying to be too exclusive. We're taking good students and preparing them well for success in the job market.
"This year, our students have been hired by a variety of well known firms, including Andersen Consulting, BellSouth, IBM, Philip Morris and Southern Company."
Gropper said he is pleased that Auburn's MBA Program was ranked among the top 10 percent of programs in the United States at a time when the university was suffering from financial difficulties.
"We need to continue our efforts to improve the program, but we are focused on generating our own resources, rather than looking for more state funding" he added. "We need to devote more resources to faculty support, recruiting and improving placement services for our students."
Auburn's MBA Program enrolls nearly 500 students in full-time, Video
Outreach, and Executive MBA programs.
|For a related web site, see Rankings.|
Summit explores success of women graduates An Auburn professor and several AU alumnae are participating in the first Women's Regional Economic Success Summit, set for April 26, at the AU Hotel and Conference Center.
The purpose of the summit, presented by the chambers of commerce of the cities of Auburn, Alexander City, Opelika and Tuskegee, is to broaden horizons by featuring seminars and presentations from successful women in various entrepreneurial businesses, expand networking among women; alert women to business possibilities and to enrich and educate women.
Those featured during the one-day summit include Patricia Barnes, better known as
"Sister Shubert," the head of Sister Shubert's Homemade Rolls; Beverly Williams,
president of the American Association of Home-Based Businesses; Carrie Lynn
Shaeffer, senior project manager and senior estimator of Beers Construction Company in Atlanta; professional humorist Jeanne Robertson; Brenda Dozier of Auburn Family Therapy; and Rheta Grimsley Johnson, a syndicated columnist.
An afternoon panel, to be moderated by Margaret Fitch-Hauser, a professor of communication at AU, will feature attorney Beverlye Brady; Ellen McNair, director of corporate development for the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce; and Peggy Martin, mayor of Phenix City.
The cost of the summit is $50. For more information, those interested, contact the Auburn Chamber of Commerce at 334/887-7011.
Conference on race, poverty and health set for April 27 Walter Williams, director of minority health for the Centers for Disease Control, and Jocelyn Elders, former U.S. surgeon general, are among speakers scheduled for a nationwide Conference on Race, Poverty, Health and Health Care at Auburn on April 27.
Morning activities of the conference will examine the ties among race,
poverty, health and health care. Williams and other speakers will examine
the issues from social, educational, medical and legal perspectives.
Elders will speak at 1:15 p.m. on "Health Care in the New Millennium," the theme of the conference. She also will lead a panel discussion on related topics from 1:45-4:30 p.m. Elders' remarks and the panel discussion with nationally known authorities in those fields will be televised to downlink sites around the nation.
For registration information, contact the conference coordinator, Renee A. Middleton of the AU College of Education at 844-4446 or e-mail at email@example.com .
AU health fair set for April 27
AU and local health providers will host a health fair from 9 a.m-noon on Tuesday, April 27, in the AU Conference Center to provide free health screening and information to the public.
The health fair will provide conference participants, area residents and AU faculty, staff and students with free screening services and information to help individuals make more informed health choices, said the health fair coordinator, Evelyn Crayton.
Crayton, an Alabama Cooperative Extension System nutrition and foods
specialist and professor in AU's School of Human Sciences, said the
public will be invited to participate in free glucose monitoring for
diabetes screening and blood pressure monitoring and basic cholesterol
screening for potential heart or circulatory problems. Advanced
cholesterol screening will also be available for a small fee.
|For a related web site, see Health.|
Journalism program to feature Pulitzer Prize winner
A Pulitzer Prize winner named one of 500 outstanding journalists in U.S. history will be the keynote speaker for a Community Journalism Matters program on April 16, sponsored by AU's Department of Journalism.
Catherine Mitchell, who won the 1979 Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, will speak at 10 a.m. in the Logue Library on the third floor of Tichenor Hall.
Immediately following her lecture, Mitchell and a panel of journalists will discuss how and why community journalism can make a difference, said Nan Fairley, an associate professor of journalism who is coordinating the program.
The panel will feature Mitchell, Bill Keller, executive director of the Alabama Press Association, John Stevenson, publisher and editor of The Randolph Leader, and Jim Wrye, program manager for PACERS, a cooperative that helps young journalists operate community newspapers in rural communities across Alabama.
"Journalism begins at home, locally, with communities and newspapers supporting and reflecting one another," said Jerry Brown, head of the Department of Journalism. "This distinguished panel can reinforce how newspapers can strengthen their communities."
In addition, Mitchell and other panelists will coordinate an afternoon workshop for area high school journalists from 1:15-3 p.m. More than 30 high school students are expected to participate.
Mitchell won journalism's top honor while working as a reporter at the weekly Point Reyes Light newspaper for its investigative series on the Synanon cult in California. She has been recognized among the nation's 500 outstanding journalists by Newseum, an interactive museum devoted to journalism.
The chair of the University of North Carolina at Asheville mass communication
department, Mitchell has written several books.
|For a related web site, see Catherine Mitchell.|
Panel to review role of board overseeing The Auburn Plainsman President William Muse has appointed the editor of The Huntsville Times and the publisher of The Randolph Leader newspapers to a 14-member committee to review policies governing student publications at Auburn.
Muse also appointed the executive director of the Alabama Press Association and two other outside representatives.
In a memorandum to the committee members, Muse said the Board of Communication Policy Review Committee will review rules related to the duties of the Board of Student Communications and editorial policies of The Auburn Plainsman to determine which are appropriate and which should be changed or clarified.
Bettye Burkhalter, vice president of Student Affairs, will chair the committee, which includes two faculty members, two attorneys, a professional staff member, four students and the four external representatives.
The policy review committee is an outgrowth of an ongoing dispute between Student Government Association officers and Plainsman editors that spilled over into the university administrative area early this year, when SGA officers on the Student Communications Board secured a five four vote to censure and threaten 1998-99 Plainsman Editor Lee Davidson over the student newspaper's coverage and criticism of the AU Board of Trustees and the SGA.
Members of the policy review committee, in addition to Burkhalter, are
Joe Distelheim, editor of The Huntsville Times; John W. Stevenson,
publisher of The Randolph Leader in Roanoke; Bill Keller, executive
director of the Alabama Press Association; attorney Dennis Bailey, who
represents the APA in legal matters; Vickey Williams, president of the
Auburn Journalism Council; AU General Counsel Lee Armstrong; Judy
Sheppard of the Journalism faculty; Howard Thomas of the Textile
Engineering faculty; Roy Summerford, editor of the AU Report; and
students Marcus Little, John Scott, Sarah Hazlett and Warren Beason.
|For a related web site, see Plainsman.|
Tops in teaching The Auburn Alumni Association recently recognized several groups of outstanding faculty and students, including these recipients of Alumni Undergraduate Teaching Awards for 1998-99. In the top photo are, from left, Steven Swaim, Veterinary Medicine; Robert Boyd, Sciences and Mathematics; Robert Tufts, Forestry; Marie Kraska, Education; and John Cressler, Engineering. In the bottom photo are, from left, Sareem S. Gropper, Human Sciences; Norman Doorenbos, Pharmacy; Amy B. Campbell, Business; Malissa H. Williams, Nursing; and Wayne Brewer, Agriculture.
Professors find 'cool' use for Internet in teaching
Professors from Auburn, the University of Maryland and the University of Minnesota are using the Internet to teach engineering students how to enhance the performance of computers by keeping them cool.
This class for graduate and undergraduate students is the first live multi-campus Internet course taught at any of the three partner universities.
"We try to mimic the look and feel of an actual classroom as closely as possible, while using technology to enable a pooling of resources and areas of expertise," said Sushil Bhavnani, associate professor of mechanical engineering at Auburn.
Students at industrial locations such as Lockheed-Martin also participate in the course from their company sites.
The class is transmitted live over the Internet via the AU CUSeeMe video reflector each Thursday from 6 p.m. To 9 p.m. using digital cameras, two computers in each location -- one used to carry the digital video signal and one for the lecture notes -- and CUSeeMe video conferencing software.
Bhavnani said the idea for the class started two years ago at a meeting with his colleagues from Maryland and Minnesota. The three professors decided to use their combined expertise to develop the Internet course.
They sent a proposal to the National Science Foundation and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and received a $30,000 grant to help finance the effort.
"Because we didn't know how it would work, we chose to enroll a select group of electrical and mechanical engineering students for this pioneering project," said Bhavnani.
The class offers its students a real-time "virtual classroom" experience. Part of the lecture originates at Auburn and part at the other partner universities.
One of the courseware modules was developed at AU Telecommunications/ETV with the help of Sam Sipper, a senior in mechanical engineering, Chris Golden, a freshman in computer science, and Robert Dean, AU's senior multimedia technologist at Telecom/ETV. The module consists of a virtual laboratory tour through Auburn's microelectronics fabrication laboratory.
"This software interface for the project is of an award-winning mulitmedia design,"
said Dean. "It is the culmination of years of testing and refining graphic user
interfaces for teaching and learning conducted by the Instructional Media Group
here at ETV.
"This use of this technology has positioned AU at the forefront of educational multimedia delivery. These network resources and software tools are available to professors in every discipline to enrich the experience of Auburn University students."
The interplay between students and faculty from all sites is one of the most
compelling features of this project. If students have a question, they can ask it
during the lecture. Homework statements and solutions are developed in the form
of a presentation put together with PowerPoint software. They are then placed on
the Internet course web site for the benefit of all class participants.
Bhavnani and his colleagues are at work on another proposal to extend the class to an international audience.
"It's interesting and exciting to participate in something like this," Sipper added.
"It's always a kick."
|For a related web site, see College of Engineering.|
Author Nordan to give reading April 15 Novelist, short story writer and Auburn University alumnus Lewis Nordan will return to his alma mater on Thursday, April 15, for a reading of his works.
Nordan will speak at 4 p.m. at the University Chapel.
A Mississippi native, Nordan is the author of four novels: Music of the
Swamp (1991), Wolf Whistle (1993), The Sharpshooter Blues (1995) and Lightening Song (1997);as well as three collections of short stories, Welcome to the Arrow Catcher Fair (1983), The All-Girl Football Team (1986) and Sugar Among the Freaks (1996).
Nordan's forthcoming book is a memoir, titled Boy With Loaded Gun.
His fiction has been published in magazines such as Harpers, Redbook, The
Southern Review, New Stories from the South, American Short Fiction, The Oxford American and Mississippi Review.
Nordan has received the PEN syndicated Fiction Award twice, three American Library Association Notable Book citations, two Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Awards for fiction, the Southern Book Critics Circle Award for fiction, the New York Public Library Award for fiction and the Porter Prize Lifetime Achievement award.
The reading is co-sponsored by the AU's Special Lectures Program, Department of English, College of Liberal Arts, Herzfeld Lectures and Center for the Arts and Humanities.
Born in Jackson, Miss., in 1939, Nordan grew up in the small Delta town of Itta
Bena. He earned a bachelor's degree from Milsaps College, a master's degree from
Mississippi State University, and the doctoral degree from AU in 1973.
Before he started teaching creative writing at the University of Pittsburgh, where he has taught 1983, Nordan held a variety of occupations, including jobs as a soda jerk, fireworks salesman, lumberyard hand, hardware salesman, high school teacher, orderly, night watchman and book reviewer.
Nordan claims that his work is influenced by D.C. Comics, the rhythm of
nursery rhymes and most important, the blues. About his own writing he says, "I hear music in the language. I heard a rhythm and a song long before I had the words."
The Lewis Nordan's Fan Club was founded in 1997, and to date has more than 500 members, and since that time has established a National Lewis Nordan Appreciation Week, scheduled for Nov. 1-7.
Design project offers ideas to Valley leaders Residents of Valley in nearby Chambers County are using fresh eyes to look at their community -- seeing opportunity that familiarity has missed.
The new approach is credited to the Design Alabama team, which includes some members from AU's Center for Architecture and Urban Studies in Birmingham.
The Urban Center is an outreach thrust of AU's College of Architecture, Design and Construction. Center director Franklin Setzer, is also executive director of Design Alabama Inc. -- a statewide, nonprofit organization working to raise public awareness of design disciplines that influence quality of life and economic growth.
As part of Design Alabama's Community Design Program, Setzer and AU Professor Cheryl Morgan spent five days in Valley in a design charrette an intense team study of a problem that requires a design solution.
"We don't give solutions as much as direction," said Morgan, who leads the team of architects, architecture students and a representative of the Alabama Historic Commission.
As team leader, Morgan has worked with the city of Valley for the past six months gathering information and sorting through the issues and opportunities.
"We work with communities that can actually accomplish the ideas in planning that we come up with," said Morgan.
"A team of professionals come into the community for four days, pro bono, to
identify opportunities and issues," said Setzer, adding that the team would also provide a written report to the community.
Valley Councilman Arnold Leak said he appreciated the expertise of the Design Alabama team.
"It's good to have outsiders' eyes," said Leak. "You never know what you got when you grow up with it."
Valley has the largely unutilized Chattahoochee River running along historic cotton mills and villages, a new Rails-To-Trails path built on the foundation of the former railroad system connecting historical properties and its status as a gateway city into the state of Alabama, among other things.
Design Alabama's published report will be incorporated into the city's 10-year plan.
"This is a powerful and important outreach activity for us," added Morgan. "The Birmingham Center is a perfect blend of outreach, instruction and research."
|For a related web site, see Architecture, Design & Construction.|
Two faculty accept adjunct positions in Norway
Two members of AU's College of Agriculture faculty have accepted adjunct professorships at Norway's University of Tromso.
Conner Bailey and Henry Kinnucan, both professors of agricultural economics and rural sociology, have both accepted four-year adjunct positions at the world's northernmost university. Each will teach for one month for each of the next four years.
Bailey will participate in a newly established curriculum with the University of Tromso's College of Fishery Science designed to provide graduate degree training in marine fisheries management to students from developing nations.
"I was invited because I've spent roughly 30 years working in Asia, the last 20 or so in marine fisheries," Bailey said. "They have professors who have done similar work in other parts of the world, but none who have worked in Asia."
Kinnucan will teach a short course on market research to graduate students in the College of Fishery Science's management and economics department. "The course will be geared toward the marketing of aquacultural products, primarily the export promotion of salmon," Kinnucan said.
Bailey, who came to Auburn in 1985 from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Mass., received his Ph.D. in development sociology from Cornell University. In 1998, he was appointed to a five-year alumni professorship. Kinnucan came to Auburn in 1983 from his position as a research associate at Cornell. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.
The University of Tromso, located 500 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle, is a
state-owned university founded in 1972. Its Norwegian College of Fishery Science
has primary responsibility for fisheries and aquacultural research in the country.
|For a related web site, see University of Tromso.|
Faculty do not need new workload policy By David T. King, Jr., Professor, Geology
First of two columns
A new reporting system being implemented on a trial basis at Auburn this quarter to measure and compare faculty workload may at first seem logical. However, on closer examination, the proposed system appears deeply flawed and provides useless duplication of a system that is already in place.
Faculty workload currently is accounted for annually using a document called the "Faculty Service Report." This report includes space for entries on courses taught, distribution of effort (i.e., percent teaching, research, extension, and other), and other pertinent data. This reporting is supplemented by detailed annual evaluations at the department level and detailed annual reporting to the college or school level. In Sciences and Mathematics, we prepare updated resumes and an annual list of accomplishments on a calendar-year basis for department head's and dean's spring quarter review. In addition, faculty credentials are reviewed, and thus workload assessed, at other times, including tenure and promotion consideration, graduate-faculty appointment and reappointment, etc. These methods of reporting faculty workload, which seem entirely adequate, have been in use for some time, including nearly all of the 18.5 years that I have served at Auburn.
In October 1997, a completely different scheme of reporting faculty workload a draft version of a proposed uniform, university-wide "Faculty Workload Policy Statement" and accompanying "Worksheet for Faculty Activities Reporting" was released and circulated. I was a member of the Faculty Welfare Committee in late 1997 when we were given this Policy and Worksheet for consideration and comment. The committee considered these documents and, in January 1998, drafted a resolution in effect substantially rejecting this effort. Our resolution stated in part that some of the policy's concepts are "...not in the best interests of faculty...", that reporting forms "...are unnecessarily complex...", and that reporting requirements are an "unreasonable accounting burden upon faculty." In early 1998, this resolution, which I principally wrote, passed in the Faculty Welfare Committee and was accepted by vote of the Faculty Senate.
In January 1999, another version of "Faculty Workload Policy Statement" and accompanying work sheet (now called "Faculty Workload Assignment") was preliminarily approved for trial implementation, unwisely in my view, by the Faculty Senate. This new policy is quite similar to one that the Faculty Welfare Committee reviewed and substantially rejected in 1998, excepting deletion of the 1997 concept of "workload unit" (a unit highly criticized by the Faculty Welfare Committee in its 1998 Resolution to the Faculty Senate) and replacement by new concepts called " contact units" and "contact unit equivalencies." Also new to the 1999 Policy draft is a section called "Instructions for Completion of the Faculty Workload Assignment Form," and there is a new reporting form.
Both the 1997 and 1999 versions of the "Faculty Workload Policy" statement lack a section on RATIONALE. That is to say, it is never stated WHY it is important to document faculty workload in this new manner. In meetings of the Faculty Welfare Committee that I attended during its 1997-98 consideration of this policy, several discussions focused almost entirely upon our need to be accountable to average citizens of Alabama, our trustees, and state Legislature for time spent in our faculty duties here.
The comments of two deans who met with our committee reinforced this unwritten rationale. As I stated in committee meetings, I do not think that anyone who reads the policy and looks at the "Faculty Workload Assignment" form can seriously come to the conclusion that an average Alabamian (including trustees or legislators) will fully understand the significance of figures tabulated there. This complex form is comprehensible to the people who wrote it and may be meaningful to faculty and administrators who are entirely familiar with the work culture on this campus and have studied the document very carefully. However, this workload form is likely to mean essentially nothing to anyone else.
The average Alabamian surely is not going to know how to relate the concept of "Contact Unit Equivalencies" to his own daily work, nor is he likely to have a clue about the implications of an Auburn faculty member's "Designated Effort Grand Total." Therefore, I think the argument that we are actually accounting to the people of Alabama (including trustees or legislators) by using such proposed forms is a preposterously false one.
* * *
Part 2 of this series will examine the perceived relationship between the Alabama Commission on Higher Education and the faculty workload policy. Campus Views columns are made available for the expression of views by AU faculty and staff. Views expressed in each Campus Views column are those of the writer and are independent of official university policy.
|For a related web site, see Workload Policy.|
BC/BS representative to visit
AU's Blue Cross/Blue Shield representative will be on campus the second Tuesday of each month from 10 a.m.-noon in the Payroll and Benefits Office at Ingram 212 to answer questions from AU faculty and staff about health insurance coverage and other Blue Cross/Blue Shield benefits. No appointment is necessary.
Rape defense classes scheduled
Classes in rape aggression defense are being booked for spring quarter. The next class will meet May 13, 20 and 27, from 6-10 p.m. The classes are open to faculty, staff, students and others. For information, contact Tara McCallum at the AUPD at 844-4158.
Showing set for 'Main Street'
"Main Street, " an independent film shot entirely on location in the Birmingham area, is having a free-screening for Auburn students in Langdon Hall, Tuesday, April 13 at 7 p.m. The showing is sponsored by UPC, Department of Communication and the Auburn Film Society. The storyline centers around the opening of a huge corporate food store in a small town and the subsequent struggle of the "mom & pop" merchants to compete on Main Street. For more information about the showing, contact Emmett Winn at 844-2727.
Recycling schedule announced
The recycling trailer for paper and other recyclables will be on the following locations on these dates: Lowder Building, April 12-16; Veterinary Medicine Concourse, April 19-23; Corley Building, April 26-30; Haley Center Concourse, May 3-7.
Shane Townsend, Research Information office associate
This week's Unsung Hero is Shane Townsend, an office associate with the Research Information Office of the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station. This year marks her 10th anniversary at Auburn. She was asked:
What do you do in your current job? "Distribute publications for the
AAES, College of Agriculture and the college's departments. Generate and
maintain address database files. Run the AAES COAG copy center."
What is the most rewarding part of your job? "Providing and distributing important information about AU research to the people of Alabama."
What is the most challenging part of your job? "Keeping up with what publications will be coming out and getting them distributed in a timely and cost efficient manner."
If you were not doing this job, what would you most like to do? "Hit the lottery.
What was your first impression of Auburn University? "I came here in the late 60's, when my sister was planning to come to school here, and I thought that the campus was beautiful."
How has that impression changed? "I still think we have a beautiful and well-tended campus."
What words best describe Auburn as a work environment, learning environment, or just a place to be? "A group of caring, intelligent, and down to earth people."
What do you like to do when not at work? "Garden, feed and watch wildbirds, read, and spend time with my daughter."
What person or persons do you admire and why? "I admire my Mother because she not only is a successful writer, but has lived her life on her own terms, while always trying to be thoughtful of others."
What is your favorite line from the Auburn Creed? "'I believe in
the human touch, which cultivates sympathy with my fellow men and
mutual helpfulness and brings happiness for all.' I think the line speaks
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