AU REPORT |
First AU President's Award presented
Byron Franklin joins AU Board
Lewis named Graduate Faculty Lecturer
Promotion, tenure selections announced
Access through technology
Carrie Willoughby, a senior in Art from Bessemer, tries out modern technologies such as enhanced computer screens and oversized keyboards at the Haley Center labs of the Program for Students With Disabilities.
First AU President's Award goes to Habitat's founder
Habitat for Humanity International's founder and president, Millard Fuller, has been named to receive Auburn's first President's Award for Humanitarian Service, which is given to an Auburn graduate for exceptional service to humanity.
Fuller, a 1957 Auburn graduate, was to receive the award Saturday, May 8, during the Lee County Habitat for Humanity 10th Anniversary Appreciation Dinner at the AU Conference Center. "Millard Fuller's life work is an exemplification of the Auburn Creed," said AU President William Muse. "He is richly deserving of this recognition."
Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian organization dedicated to eliminating poverty housing worldwide. Habitat is now at work in 62 countries and has grown to be one of the top homebuilders in the United States. More than 350,000 people now have safe, decent affordable shelter because of Habitat's work internationally.
The organization brings together people with resources and people in need to build simple, decent, affordable houses. The homes are sold to those in need at no profit, through no-interest loans.
Founded in 1976 by Fuller and his wife, Linda, Habitat for Humanity has
built more than 70,000 houses. Throughout Fuller's 20 years of leadership,
Habitat has grown to be one of the top 20 housebuilders in the United
States -- and the largest among nonprofit organizations.
Franklin joins AU Board of Trustees
The Alabama Senate on April 29 approved the appointment of Byron Franklin of Hoover to the AU Board of Trustees.
Franklin is the third of Gov. Don Siegelman's nominees to the AU Board to win quick Senate approval. Jimmy Samford of Opelika and Robert Lowder of Montgomery were reappointed to the Board by Siegelman on April 22 and confirmed by the Senate on the same day. Samford and Franklin were appointed to 12-year terms and Lowder, a Montgomery banking executive, was appointed to fill out the eight years remaining on his second term. Samford, a Montgomery attorney, is in his second term and is president pro tempore of the Auburn Board.
Franklin, a public relations and marketing director for Buffalo Rock Co. in Birmingham, fills the seat held by Emory Cunningham of Birmingham, whose term expired. Before taking the position at Buffalo Rock in 1993, Franklin was assistant director of athletic development in Alumni, Development and University Relations at AU for two years. He is also part owner of an Auburn restaurant -- Buffalo Connection.
Siegelman has three appointments remaining. The terms of Bessie Mae Holloway of Prichard and John Denson of Opelika expired in January, and James Tatum's term expired in 1995, but he continued to serve until his recent resignation. (Update: James W. Rane of Abbeville has been named to the board, succeeding Denson.)
Lewis named Distinguished Graduate Faculty Lecturer
An award-winning historian who has been recognized within his field as one of the nation's leading chroniclers of technology and aviation history has been named Auburn's Distinguished Graduate Faculty Lecturer for 1999.
The AU professor, W. David Lewis, will present a personal view of the
role of historians in a public lecture, "A Rushing of Wings: How I Became
an Historian of Flight," at 4 p.m. Tuesday, May 25, in Haley Center 2370.
Lewis, who already holds the title of Distinguished University Professor, will receive the AU Graduate School's annual award for his contributions to and leadership in graduate education at Auburn, said Graduate School Dean John Pritchett.
"The Distinguished Graduate Lecturer title recognizes not only scholarship but also the way that the individual promotes scholarship on this campus," said Pritchett. "Dr. Lewis was an obvious choice for the selection committee because he has all the characteristics of scholarship and academic leadership that the program was established to recognize 25 years ago."
Liberal Arts Dean John Heilman described Lewis as a leading scholar with the college and nationally. "He has done path-setting work in more than one area," Heilman said. "David has provided solid leadership in an outstanding program here at Auburn and is widely known for the quality of his scholarship. He is a real credit to the college and the university, and we are very fortunate to have him here."
Lewis, who has been a member of the Auburn faculty since 1971, served in
1993-94 as the Charles A. Lindbergh Professor of Aerospace History at
the National Air and Space Museum. He was instrumental in creating
Auburn's freshman program in the history of technology as well as
strengthening the university's graduate program in that field.
The aviation and technology history professor was awarded the prestigious Leonardo da Vinci Medal by the Society for the History of Technology in 1993.
He is the author of six books, including a 1994 work on Birmingham's Sloss Furnaces, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and the editor of three other books.
The Distinguished Graduate Faculty Lecture series is sponsored by the
Graduate School, the
Office of Alumni,
Development and University Relations and the home college of the
award recipient, which this year is the
AU Senate considers Graduate School tuition proposal
The faculty representative body meets at 3:10 p.m. in Broun Hall
Graduate School Dean John Pritchett is scheduled to present an in-state tuition fellowship program developed by the Graduate Enrollment Commission as part of the university's attempt to make Auburn more competitive with its peer institutions for graduate students.
The proposal, which will go to the administration if passed by the University Senate, would establish a fellowship program to offset the cost of in-state tuition to graduate students who are teaching assistants. Competing Southeastern universities already have similar plans.
Supporting documents from the Graduate Enrollment Commission note that
Auburn has suffered a 15.7 percent decline in graduate enrollment over
four years, to 2,633 this year, compared to a national decline of 3 percent.
While requests for applications from the Graduate School are increasing, the report notes that 53 percent of graduate students accepted into Auburn programs actually enroll, compared to 78 percent at the University of Alabama and 68 percent at the University of Georgia.
"This is most directly due to the decline in assistantships at Auburn and the university's failure to offer comparable benefits," the report states.
"A survey of regional peer institutions and the University of Alabama indicates that Auburn University is the only major institution in the region that does not provide in-state tuition benefits for graduate assistants."
Four colleges -- Agriculture, Engineering, Liberal Arts and Sciences and
Mathematics -- account for 74 percent of the decline in graduate
enrollment at Auburn. The commission notes that those colleges also
experienced the sharpest cuts in assistantships as part of the university's
efforts to reallocate funds to remaining assistantships and faculty and
In addition to establishing an in-state tuition remission plan for graduate assistants, the commission recommends:
* Initiating a study to determine the current competitive level of stipends and related benefits for graduate assistants in the various disciplines.
* Identification of target areas for selective graduate enrollment increases as well as increases in the number of graduate assistants.
* Review and refine graduate course offerings with the objective of providing relevant courses to meet graduate student needs.
* Stepped-up efforts to communicate to the Board of Trustees and other constituencies "the fundamental value and necessity of graduate education and research to the university."
The Graduate Enrollment Commission is a 13-member panel that includes the Graduate School dean as chair, Vice President for Research Michael Moriarty as co-chair, an associate dean and associate vice president, respectively, from their units, and deans and/or faculty representatives from the colleges of Agriculture, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Sciences and Mathematics and Business.
Employees of the Year
Four AU employees were honored as Employees of the Year during a ceremony at the Conference Center last Thursday. President William Muse, center, presented the awards. Recipients were, from left, Steve Best of the Space Power Institute, Dorothy Hughley of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, Chief Bill Nevin of the AU Police Department and Mary Townsend of the Facilities Division.
Presidential program accepts applications
The program is designed for students who have achieved academic excellence and demonstrated the desire and ability necessary for effective leadership. Applicants must have completed at least 144 quarter hours (including at least three quarters at Auburn) with a minimum 3.0 grade-point average and must be able to complete at least two quarters of the program.
The 12 students selected will meet with Muse at least monthly, meet frequently with the AU Board of Trustees, receive personal mentoring from Muse or a member of his cabinet, have the opportunity to meet prominent visitors to AU and get advice and assistance in developing personal and career plans.
The deadline for application is Aug. 1. Applications for the President's Student Leadership Program are available online or at Foy Student Union and all deans' offices.
Celebrating on Tiger Day
AU's annual Tiger Day picnic brought out several hundred faculty, staff and students, and a few future students, such as this youngster, to share the Auburn experience and celebrate diversity on campus. The event was organized by the Office of Minority Advancement and Student Services.
Dyson to speak on minority advancement
Michael Eric Dyson, a visiting distinguished professor of African American studies at Columbia University, will be keynote speaker on Monday, May 24, for the 15th annual recognition banquet of the AU Office of Minority Advancement for Undergraduate Student Services.
Dyson, who is an author, professor and ordained Baptist minister, will become First University Professor at DePaul University in August. He is the author of four books, including Race Rules: Navigating the Color Line, which became a best-seller, and has two other books awaiting publication.
The banquet at the AU Conference Center recognizes African-American students who have excelled in leadership, academic studies, service to others and improved human relations on campus. For reservations, call 844-3491.
NEA grant winner
Natasha Trethewey, right, an assistant professor of English at AU, and Jodi Wyett, an English instructor, discuss information for a class. Trethewey is winner of a prestigious NEA fellowship.
Trethewey wins NEA fellowship
Trethewey wins NEA fellowship
Natasha Trethewey, an assistant professor of English at Auburn, has won a 1999 Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
The Literature Fellowship is for $20,000 and will allow Trethewey to continue her work on a book she's writing from poems she wrote as a graduate student based on photographs of prostitutes in 1900s New Orleans.
Trethewey was one of only 32 awardees nationwide from more than 942 applicants, a funding rate of 3 percent. "An NEA fellowship is a very prestigious and competitive award," said Dennis Rygiel, professor and head of the Department of English. "It's a great honor for Natasha Trethewey and Auburn University."
The National Endowment for the Arts has provided Literature Fellowships since 1967 in support of writers at crucial points in their careers. The agency has awarded more than $35 million to 2,337 writers, and sponsored work resulting in more than 2,200 books, including many of the most acclaimed novels of contemporary American literature.
From their inception, the National Endowment for the Arts's Literary Fellowships were designed to differ from other national awards by encouraging new work and allowing emerging and mid-career writers the time and means to write.
Trethewey said she has had an interest in writing about women found in a collection of photographs called Storyville Portraits by E.J. Bellocq. The collection is of mixed-race prostitutes in the New Orlean's red-light district circa 1912.
Promotion, tenure selections announced
Office of Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs has
announced the following promotions and grants of tenure for 1999:
Learning access increases for students with disabilities
Learning access increases for students with disabilities
New technologies and an old concept of community service are improving the odds for success of students with disabilities at Auburn University, says the director of AU's Students With Disabilities Program.
"Technology that didn't exist a few years ago is making a difference," said Kelly Haynes, the program's director, "and so are the volunteers and student assistants who make it all possible."
The Students With Disabilities Program has added specialized computer equipment, printers, software and audio equipment to its Haley Center reading labs to enable visually impaired and hearing impaired students to cover the same material that their classmates get from textbooks and reading assignments.
The equipment includes computer monitors and software that magnify type and scanners to transfer material to the screen for the visually impaired; computers with oversized keyboards and enhanced voice recognition for persons with limited use of hands; printers that convert print to Braille; audio tapes of textbooks; and other technologies.
The equipment is used by students who need the equipment in their effort to overcome disabilities that could otherwise block their education and by faculty and others seeking to remain active in their fields, despite a disability, Haynes said.
"Students, especially, hate to ask for accommodation," she said. "If we can find a way to help them do the job independently, that's what we do."
All educational institutions are legally required to accommodate students whose disability can be overcome, she noted, adding that the legal requirement should be less important than the university's mission of enabling all its students to gain an education.
Nearly 900 students receive some sort of accommodation. Some require notetaking assistance or other accommodation in the classroom, but many compete effectively through use of equipment in the program's labs, she noted.
The program depends on volunteers and student assistants even more than on technology to put students with disabilities in position to succeed, Haynes added.
Faced with the challenge of transferring 14 to 18 books per quarter to tape for the visually impaired, the program depends on 40 to 60 readers each quarter. Graduate students and retired faculty also figure prominently in the programÕs efforts by assisting professors in administering exams to students with disabilities that hamper written test-taking.
"Students have shown that they can and are overcoming their disabilities," she said. "All they need is the opportunity to do so. It is really encouraging when other students and professors volunteer to help provide that opportunity."
Contact Haynes at the Students With Disabilities Program office in 1244 Haley Center or call her at 844-2096. The office has TDD and Voice capability for callers using those services.
AU fisheries researcher John Liu and his research team are working on a gene map for breeding improved catfish through marker-assisted selection.
Liu sees progress in gene research with fish
Liu sees progress in gene research with fish
One might call John Liu a catfish cartographer. As a cartographer maps the world, Liu, an assistant professor and researcher in AU's Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquaculture, maps the genetic makeup of catfish in the hope of finding the seeds to a perfect strain.
Liu's goal is to ultimately improve catfish brood stocks by identifying DNA markers that indicate certain desirable traits -- a process called marker assisted selection. To do this, he needs to map the genes in hundreds of catfish.
"A gene map is needed to precisely conduct marker-assisted selection," Liu said. "In this scenario, the function of a DNA marker in developing the gene map is analogous to a landmark in developing a road map. Similarly, many DNA markers are required to make a gene map. In fact, development of DNA markers is the most critical step for construction of a gene map."
Liu and his team of research associates at Auburn's Fish Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology Laboratory are ultimately looking for DNA markers that can be linked to four primary desirable traits -- disease resistance, fast growth rate, high feed-conversion efficiency, and high filet or carcass yield. But to get to that point, it is necessary to start by looking at all the chromosomes of the fish first.
"A whole genome map (a genetic map of all an organism's chromosomes) is equivalent to a world map in that it's less detailed as to any specific region," Liu said. "A chromosome map might be compared to a national map, which is more specific than the world map and allows you to find major cities, but not minor cities and towns. A map of a chromosomal region is a detailed map equivalent to a city map and, certainly, can be as detailed as to identify every house, which would be equivalent to identifying every gene."
So far, Liu says, he and his research associates have developed thousands
of DNA markers. The next step, he says, is identifying which markers are linked to which desirable traits. "We've made a lot of progress," Liu said. "We still have a long way to go, but what we have already accomplished is certainly significant."
Library gains Eugene Walter collection
Draughon Library has received a portion of the voluminous personal library of the late celebrated writer and artist Eugene Walter.
Among the items donated to AU were copies of Paris Review, Transatlantic Review and Botteghe Oscure; original Mardi Gras costume designs from the late 1940s; various "squiggle" sketches by Walter; photographs, numerous translations of film scripts from his work with renown director Federico Fellini; typescripts of Walter's own works; correspondence from the 1960s; and scripts from Walter's radio program on WHIL.
"Some of the more significant pieces in the collection are the original costume designs by Walter, especially Mardi Gras designs from the 1940s," says Dale Foster, head of AU Libraries Special Collections department. "The collection also includes type scripts from films scripts he translated for Fellini as well as type scripts from his original writings."
The Eugene Walter collection of books is housed in the Special Collections Department of Draughon Library. Manuscript materials are housed in the Archives and Manuscripts Department of the library in the Eugene Walter Papers section. Both departments are located on the ground floor of the library.
Known as Mobile's "Renaissance Man," Walter wrote the 1954 novel, The Untidy Pilgrim, which was awarded the Lippincott Fiction Award. He was also given an O'Henry Citation in 1959 for I Love You Batty Sisters. He helped found several notable literary journals, including Paris Review, Transatlantic Review and Botteghe Oscure.
Walter died in Mobile at age 76, in March 1998 and was buried in Mobile's historic Church Street Graveyard by special permission of the city government.
NSF picks AU unit for research site
The Department of Physics at Auburn has been named a Research Experiences for Undergraduates site by the National Science Foundation.
Joe Perez, head of the AU physics department, says the program will allow for research projects for up to 10 undergraduates each summer.
Each of the students will work alongside AU faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students and/or undergraduates in research related to semiconductor physics, magnetic confinement fusion, plasma physics, magnetospheric physics and laboratory simulations of space plasmas.
Auburn was named among the REU sites on the basis of a competitive review. The REU designation provides for $50,000 per year from the NSF to fund the projects.
Auburn is in the process of receiving applicants for the REU positions, but will not start filling the slots until April 1, said Perez, who will cooperate with the scholars leading each project to choose the participants based on grades, letters of recommendation and project availability.
Each student chosen will receive a $3,000 stipend plus money for travel, housing and food. Upon completion of their projects, the students will present results at conferences such as the National Conference for Undergraduate Research.
"Right now, I'm working with the faculty in putting together the tasks and making sure that the students will be in a position to work smoothly throughout the summer," Perez said. "We also hope that, through their commonality as REU participants, each student has exposure to projects other than his or her own so that their experiences at Auburn are as broad as possible."
Summer reading program scheduled for young children
The AU Reading Clinic is offering a special reading program this summer for children in the primary grades who are not yet reading accurately and smoothly.
The Summer Reading Program -- from June 30-Aug. 10 -- is designed for children who have completed kindergarten, first or second grade, and who are reading at or below grade level. First and second graders typically gain a full reading level through the program. Children who have just finished kindergarten will get a head start in formal reading instruction. The program helps children improve their decoding ability, reading fluency, comprehension, and enjoyment of reading through participation in the program. Participants receive a balanced tutoring program featuring explicit instruction in decoding along with lots of meaningful reading and writing. They are taught by upper division education majors studying reading development. The tutors are supervised by Bruce Murray, an assistant professor of reading education.
Participating children meet with their tutors Tuesday and Wednesday mornings for half-hour sessions. Priority for enrollment will be given to children who can attend the entire program.
The cost $40. Interested parents or caretakers may call 844-6934 for an application form, or write to Summer Reading Program, 5040 Haley Center, Auburn University AL 36849.
Industrial and Systems Engineering ranked among best
Auburn's Industrial and Systems Engineering program ranks among the nation's best, according to a new national report that rates undergraduate and graduate programs across a variety of fields of study.
The Gourman Report ranks AU's graduate program in industrial and
systems engineering 20th nationally and the undergraduate program 26th.
V.E. Unger, professor and department head for industrial and systems engineering, gives much of the credit for the program's high ranking to his faculty.
"Our senior faculty have published some of the leading textbooks in their fields and they are serving as editors for several of the leading research journals," he said. "Also, our younger faculty have come from outstanding institutions and have received numerous grants from the National Science Foundation."
Unger also said his faculty are published regularly in top journals and have
made research presentations at some of the most prestigious national and
In evaluating and ranking the programs, The Gourman Report considered the quality of the faculty; quality of scholastic work and records of graduates, both in graduate study and in practice; course curriculum; standards (including teaching loads) and quality of instruction; and the quality of the administration, including attitudes toward teaching, research and scholarly production.
Benefits seen for joint project in agriculture
Auburn's director of a new project serving Auburn, Alabama A&M and Tuskegee universities says the Undergraduate Agricultural Student Leadership Development Project will soon benefit students and faculty in colleges of agriculture at these universities.
The project, which is funded through the USDA CSREES Higher Education Grant Program, seeks to forge a long-lasting partnership among faculty and students at Alabama's 1862 and 1890 land-grant institutions to advance core competencies in leadership skills. Don Mulvaney, AU animal scientist, will direct the project working in conjunction with faculty at Alabama A&M and Tuskegee.
"Although universities prepare students for employment, many students don't understand how to adapt to the many changes that will occur in the work place," noted Mulvaney. "What students need is the opportunity to learn leadership skills."
AU's College of Agriculture now has three bonafide leadership courses that are included in the university's curriculum. Mulvaney said he hopes to develop more in the future.
The USDA grant will use these courses as a springboard for further leadership development. Through the grant, the universities will develop a comprehensive leadership development program for undergraduates that responds specifically to the needs of the agricultural industry and the state.
For additional information on the project contact Mulvaney on e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 844-1514.
Facilities worker remembered as well-liked
The funeral for Otis B. Thornton, a Facilities Division landscape worker, was Saturday in Ensley.
Thornton, a 27-year-old former AU student-athlete who had been working for Facilities for approximately seven months, died May 1 following an apparent heart attack. According to news reports, Thornton, who was off duty at the time, started having chest seizures while helping a friend load furniture onto a truck at a Macon County residence and died en route by ambulance to East Alabama Medical Center.
Although Thornton had no previous history of heart trouble, local medical authorities said a preliminary autopsy identified that as the cause of death.
Thornton came to Auburn in 1991 on a football scholarship, which was not renewed after a redshirt season. He left school but remained in the area and eventually joined the Facilities Division as a temporary worker.
Cooper Askew, assistant superintendent of landscape services for Facilities, said Thornton had worked for the unit for only a few months but had quickly become popular with other crew members. "He was a hard worker and was self-motivated," Askew said. "Everybody out here liked him and got along with him."
NIH study seeks clues to heart failure prevention
Auburn's College of Veterinary Medicine has received a $1.3 million grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health to study the prevention of heart failure.
The funding will support a four-year project that could significantly impact human and animal health, says principal investigator Joseph Janicki, associate dean of Research and Grants at the college.
"Our goal is to prevent a damaged heart from enlarging to the point where heart failure and death ultimately occur," Janicki said. "After a person suffers a heart attack, the heart attempts to compensate by getting bigger. This initially allows the heart to keep pumping a normal amount of blood, but this progressive enlargement eventually makes the problem worse."
More than 58 million Americans have one or more types of cardiovascular disease, according to the American Heart Association. This includes high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, stroke, and rheumatic fever/rheumatic heart disease. Nearly one million lives are lost as a result each year, accounting for more than 40 percent of all deaths.
Samia Spencer named to foreign language posts
Samia I. Spencer, a professor of Foreign Languages and Literatures at Auburn, was recently appointed co-chair for advocacy, representing higher education, by the Alabama Association of Foreign Language Teachers. She was also elected to the executive board of the Southeast American Society for 18th Century Studies, and was invited by the Modern Language Association of America to provide advice on teaching activities and projects.
Ray Dillon receives award for veterinary research
Ray Dillon, the Jack O. Rash Chair of Internal Medicine in the College of Veterinary Medicine, is the recipient of the Winn Feline Foundation Excellence in Feline Research Award, sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical Foundation. Using heartworms as the model for his studies, Dillon says the findings should create more awareness of lung disease and lead to more aggressive treatment. Veterinarians can begin the proper therapy earlier and prevent chronic irreversible changes that often require lifelong medications.
Dillon will be honored in June at the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine forum in Chicago and later this year at the American Association of Feline Practitioners meeting in Nashville.
Camera aids nuclear imaging at Auburn
A new nuclear medicine camera is providing Auburn veterinarians with better diagnosis of skeletal problems and thyroid tumors, while also giving them a time-lapse view of organ functions.
The $70,000 gamma camera, acquired by the College of Veterinary Medicine, allows earlier detection of the cause of lameness in horses and detection of hyperactive thyroid nodules in cats, says William Brawner, associate professor in the Department of Radiology.
"A subtle lesion can be observed possibly weeks or months sooner, because the new system is more sensitive to bone reaction than X-ray film," he said. "We can scan the whole horse and determine what area to radiograph for a more detailed view."
Printmaking session scheduled for May 20
Susan Messer, professor of art at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater, will speak to Auburn students and faculty on Thursday, May 20.
Messer, who teaches printmaking and drawing, will speak on "Internal Narratives: Artwork by Susan Messer" at 4:30 p.m. in Biggin Hall, Room 92. Her slide lecture will present the evolution of her work, from its foundation in black and white photography to its emphasis in mixed media drawing and bookmaking. The lecture is sponsored by the AU Department of Art, the College of Liberal Arts and the University Lecture Program.
Library to downlink conference
"Copyright in the Millennium: The Digital Millennium Copyright Act and Copyright Term Extension" is the name of a satellite teleconference to be downlinked by AU Libraries on Friday, May 21. The teleconference, which will be from noon-3 p.m. in the Draughon Library auditorium, will outline the two bills passed by Congress last year which amend the 1976 Copyright Act. For more information, contact Kerry Ransel at 844-1757.
Session on workload policy set
The Quality Improvement Council will sponsor a seminar on the new Faculty Workload Policy from 1-2:30 p.m. Thursday, May 20, in Lowder Business Building 019. Amit Mitra is coordinating the workshop on the policy, which is undergoing trial application on campus. Speakers will include Mary Boudreau, chair of the committee which developed the policy, and Nels Madsen, who will discuss interpretations and implementation. A copy of the document is available online
Research Forum scheduled
The Graduate Student Council will hold its annual research forum from noon-6 p.m. Wednesday, May 12, at the AU Conference Center. Graduate students will discuss and present the results of their projects for faculty and the public.
GLBC schedules meetings
The Auburn Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual Caucus, a faculty/staff organization working to make the AU campus a better place for GLB employees and students, will meet on May 21, June 4, June 25, July 30, and Aug. 20. All meetings are on Fridays at 5 p.m. in Haley 2011. Meetings are open to anyone committed to the goals of the organization. For more information, contact Becky Liddle at email@example.com or at 826-3073.
Benson Lecture set for Thursday
Geoffrey Harpham, a professor of English at Tulane University, will deliver the 1999 Carl Benson Lecture in 20th Century Literature on Thursday, May 13. Harpham will speak on "Imagining the Center: Criticism and Social Responsibility" at 3 p.m. in Foy Student Union, Room 213.
Some scholars fail to live up to standards
By Herbert Rotfeld, Professor, Marketing & Transportation
From sources around the globe, here are some eclectic short stories that shouldn't exist in a world of scholars. But the stories and quotations are true, or so I was told. Names are changed so more people can feel guilty. ...
Walking out of a less than enlightening conference session, Len mutters to the person next to him that the presentations were among the most idiotic he had ever witnessed. "You're right," Maurice agreed. "I would have said something, but a lot of the people in the audience are potential adopters of my textbook and I didn't want to offend any of them." ...
A generally positive letter to the authors of a recently published article in an academic journal also pointed out a small but significant error, noting that this error detracted from the entire article and even the journal. The article's authors responded to the letter with a lengthy statement indicating that, in effect, they agreed that their original article note was in error, but concluded by stating that "A correction would confuse readers of the journal." ...
Sometime during the department head job interview, the visitor said, "My faculty will teach what I tell them, when I tell them to do it and they'll learn to use my standards for serving our student customers. If they don't, tenured or not, I'll get rid of them and hire people who will." The dean hired him . . .
It is not unusual to have research papers rejected, but it was a new experience for the senior faculty member when the decision on her conference paper did not include any substantive negative statements from the reviewers. Reviewer A was not interested in the subject while reviewer B only noted that the paper would be certain to spur a lot of conversation at the conference. The third reviewer focused on the paper's negative statements on the content of books that purported to report the findings of research journals while in fact ignoring them. This reviewer wrote that "You should communicate directly with the authors and not in a conference paper setting." Apparently the conference chair agreed. . . .
The university needed someone with Larry's teaching experience and interests to cover their courses. And after his interview he was their first choice, or so the department chair told him. But when telling Larry he was the first choice, the chair also said that Larry did not get an offer because his research orientation is such that half of the faculty did not think that they would be able to do any research with him. The second choice's research fit with the objecting group, but those in the other half objected. As a result, they hired their third choice who had not completed the dissertation and did not appear committed to any research philosophy.
Aside from the faculty's search for ideological purity, it should also be noted that the university is a teaching-priority school where faculty output of refereed journals is extremely low and a minor part of job expectations. . . .
A student and his thesis advisor in New Zealand wanted to replicate a study from a U.S. journal. The article's senior author readily provided background information and references to other journal articles he wrote, but he withheld key materials and information needed for replication. The New Zealand student needed the original questionnaire. After several e mail exchanges and puzzling stalls, the advisor put a direct and forceful request to the article author. "My co-authors don't want to release it," was the explanation. My countryman's response was disturbing for more than just the obvious reasons because I knew the questionnaire was his design and property: in the replication-blocked publication, his co-authors were graduate students who provided the grunt work on data collection and analysis and will probably never write in the area again. . . .
The member of the promotion and tenure committee noted that the candidate's articles were all in the best journals, but they were few in number. There was not enough other stuff or "filler" as she called it. Arguing with one of the candidate's supporters, the committee member asserted that "Over 90 percent of my vita is garbage, but that's how you play the game. If you supported her, you should have added her name to a few of your own papers to help build her record. That's what I do for people in my department." . . .
There are more stories, but I wish I didn't even know these.
* * *
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.
Mary Munday, facilitator, AU Conference Center
This week's Unsung Hero is Mary Munday, lead facilitator for the AU Conference Center. She has been employed at Auburn for 12 years, the last three in her current post. She was asked:
What you do in your current job? "I meet with prospective clients who are interested in using our facility in one of many ways: sell our services; facilitate their arrangements and manage the conference once they are here as well as following up with the client afterwards."
What is the most rewarding part of your job? "The most rewarding part of my job is meeting different people and helping to make their meeting or conference a success."
What is the most challenging part of your job? "Pulling a multifaceted conference together with many components including off property activities."
If you were not doing this job, what would you most like to do? "If I weren't doing this job I would love to do volunteer work at a nursing home or hospital."
What makes Auburn special? "I believe that the people in this community are what makes this a special place to live."
What was your first impression of Auburn? "My first impression of Auburn was in early May of the year I arrived. I flew from my home in central New York and left snow on the ground. When we arrived in Auburn it was 80 degrees and I thought it was heaven! Auburn is now my home and I think of it as that. I expect to spend the rest of my life right here."
What words best describe Auburn as a work environment, learning environment or just a place to be? "Auburn is a positive, nurturing, welcoming community to work and live in. The youthful flavor of the university is infectious to all inhabitants and the atmosphere of progress is palatable."
What do you like to do when not at work? "My work is a big part of my life especially now that my children are grown and gone, but I do like to garden, walk and spend time with my granddaughter."
What person or persons do you most admire and why? "I probably most admire and try to emulate my mother who raised four children and was still able to have a successful career -- a modern woman before it was fashionable."
What is my favorite line from the Auburn Creed? "I don't have a favorite line. I believe that the Creed could and should be a standard for all of us to live by."
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