THE WEEKLY BLAB
Volume 8, Issue 1 – August 12, 2013
About the BLAB
For those who are new at SPSU, the BLAB is a more or less weekly blog. While most of the content is about things that are going on at the University, it can also be about other things related to higher education and indeed anything at all that crosses my mind. The BLAB always ends in a trivia contest, the prize for which is usually a duplicate CD or DVD from my vast collection. The winner is the person who emails me the most correct answers in the shortest amount of time. Feel free to suggest any topics (on campus or not) that you may be interested in hearing more about, and you’re always welcome to comment on anything here (there’s a box for comments at the end of each issue).
Welcome to SPSU to all our new faculty members. I’ve heard overwhelmingly positive things about both the new faculty orientation (from the new faculty), and about the new faculty (from those who ran the orientation). The graduation ceremony was very nice, with Dawn Ramsey, Julie Newell, Becky Rutherfoord, and many others having done a great job on the events throughout.
As to our returning faculty, I hope everyone had a very nice summer and is all rested up for a productive year. There are lots of opportunities ahead for SPSU if we all pull together, so away we go!
August 9th marked my parents 60th wedding anniversary. For those who don’t know, my father, Daniel, is a Holocaust survivor from Poland who went to Palestine just after World War II. My mother, Simona, and her family are from Romania, and all went to Israel in 1951. They met at a party thrown by a mutual friend, and they went out for a while, not thinking it was going to lead anywhere because my father was scheduled to go to Germany to learn how to repair heavy machinery. Of course, they fell in love, got married in 1953, and went to Germany together. They came back to Israel in 1955, when I was born, had my sister Drorit in 1957, and we all moved to the United States in 1959.
Not many people make it to the 60th anniversary milestone. You might think that it’s because the two of them are so similar, but actually, they’re not. My mother is the more cultural and musical of the two (my father has very little interest in music and can’t carry a tune at all), while my father likes politics, business, and sports (all of which leave my mother cold). What do they have in common? Many years of struggling to make ends meet and raise a family, a love of education, a deep love for our remaining family, and a deep mutual respect and concern for each other that transcends all other things. When I was growing up, this used to drive me crazy, because the usual game where a child tries to get one parent to say “yes” over the other one didn’t work at all.
My parents both had their educations interrupted by World War II, but got their GEDs in the US. My mother then went on to get her bachelors and masters degrees in French, because she always loved languages. In fact, she speaks eight languages, and can get by in several others! While my father only speaks five languages, this gave them a huge advantage when I was growing up, because if they didn’t want me to know what they were talking about, they’d switch from English or Hebrew to German or Yiddish. Oh yeah, they’re both also great dancers.
My parents will be taking an anniversary trip in September, going to Israel for about four weeks to see family and to get back to their roots. Happy 60th anniversary, Aba and Ima (that’s Hebrew for father and mother—that’s what I call them). Here’s to 60 more.
Just about everyone should know that SPSU is hosting our second Fulbright Scholar in Residence this academic year, Ms. Ana Terry, an Artist Affiliate with the Dunedin School of Art in New Zealand. She is joined here by her husband Don. Ana is being hosted by the Department of English, Technical Communication and New Media Arts. She is an expert in the areas of graphic design, digital arts, and received her B.A. and M.A. in Fine Arts from Otago Polytechnic, New Zealand.
As a Scholar in Residence, Ana will teach two courses per semester; collaborate with us in multi-media design, new media arts, and education; and share her international experiences working as a visual communications adviser in Vanuatu, as an artist-in-residence in Beijing, and about her collaborative community-based creative work in Medellin, Colombia. She will also present on- and off-campus lectures to students and area civic and business organizations to increase the knowledge, understanding and awareness of New Zealand.
This Fulbright grant was a collaborative effort with Raj Sashti (Director of International Program Development) and Mark Nunes (chair, ETCMA) also involving four other USG schools: Clayton State University, Albany State University, Fort Valley State University and Atlanta Metropolitan College. I know you will join me in making Ana feel welcome at SPSU in the upcoming year.
The Academic Leadership Council (ALC) met last Wednesday, and there were a lot of updates to be given. First up was yours truly, who updated the group about budgetary matters (the budget this coming year will be largely the same as last year, since the increases in state funding are almost exactly offset by increased costs for health care), degree approvals (Environmental Science and Environmental Engineering Technology were approved; our appeal on Biotechnology was accepted and the full proposal will go in soon); and results from the Regents Advisory Committee on Academic Affairs meeting in July (see previous BLABS for blow-by-blow details).
David Stone updated us about state authorization of online programs. SPSU is making progress in being authorized in as many states as possible, and nationally, things seem to be coming together in having the various regional consortia (we are members of SREB) reach an overall accord.
Dawn Ramsey reported about the new registration system being used by the Center for Teaching Excellences, and the broad range of programs that they will offer this fall. She also reminded the Council that the annual mandatory advising update will focus on DegreeWorks. The sessions are early in the semester, in order to allow all faculty to become adept at using DegreeWorks in time for advising for spring semester. There will also be advisor training offered for part-time faculty. All full-time faculty are invited to sign up for the 2013-14 cohort of SPSU’s Master Advisor Program.
Dawn informed the Council that the Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Guide for Faculty online course will be offered this fall, as will the PLA 2000 course for students wishing to learn how to create a prior learning portfolio. PLA is an important strategy of the University System’s Complete College Georgia effort, in which SPSU is playing a key role.
Finally, Rich Cole gave the Council an update on the University’s Business Intelligence Working Group, and how they are trying to develop a set of common definitions (clearly defined) and basic data that can be mined in various ways. Getting accurate data is a challenge within the USG, since different universities define basic items in different ways, making inter-university comparisons a challenge. Even within SPSU, it is sometimes unclear as to what the results of the web reports actually mean, and what assumptions were made in getting those results. The BIWG efforts will move us to a much better understanding of what our data are telling us.
Good Stuff Seen/Heard Lately
- Son Mark and I just saw the 3D DVD of the movie “Oz, the Great and Powerful”. It’s pretty good—a prequel of sorts to “The Wizard of Oz”, explaining how a small-town magician originally reached Oz and became its wizard, as well as how the Wicked Witch of the West became so wicked. The 3D effects are good, as are scenes where the wicked witches are defeated (at least for now).
- I just got the DVD box set of one of the best comedy series ever on TV—“The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis”. Running from 1959 to 1963, it starred Dwayne Hickman as Dobie and Bob Denver as Maynard G. Krebs, TV’s first beatnik. The show is always a riot, with early appearances by Tuesday Weld, Warren Beatty, Yvonne Craig (pre-Batgirl), Ron Howard (pre-Andy Griffith), and many others. Dobie is your average high school student (later junior college student), who is interested in one thing—girls. Unfortunately, they’re not interested in him except for one brainy girl (Zelda) who he’s not interested in. Almost every episode is great from the very beginning.
Last Week’s Trivia Contest
Last week’s trivia challenge focused on completing a group of puns and lots of entries were received. It seems that this was a really popular topic for the contest—lots of people commented about how much they enjoyed this one—so we’ll do another in a few months. Our winner was Alana Kyriakakis, the University’s new legal counsel, with a fabulous five correct. Alana wins a Moody Blues DVD. Here are the answers (missing word in bold):
- When I asked the dermatologist when the red patch on my skin would clear up, he wouldn’t commit to a specific date, because he didn’t want to make any rash promises.
- I once read a novel about a woman with a small garden, but it didn’t have much of a plot.
- When someone observed the theft of several bolts of cloth from the clothing factory, the police held him as a material witness.
- Support your right to bear arms. Wear short sleeves.
- When the toilets were stolen from the police station, the police said they couldn’t solve the crime, since they had nothing to go on.
This Week’s Trivia Challenge
Today’s trivia challenge focuses on stars. No looking up the answers now! SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO email@example.com, since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them!
- Song whose lyrics were from a poem by Francis Scott Key.
- Was on “The View” from 1997 to 2006.
- Echinoderms of class Asteroidea.
- For “The Trouble with Tribbles”, it was 4523.3.
- One of the first comic strips created by a woman, it was about a newspaperwoman who had fabulous adventures and love affairs, and lasted from 1940 to 2011.