THE WEEKLY BLAB
Volume 8, Issue 12 – November 4, 2013
I Thought We Had Dodged That Bullet…
I never thought I’d have to write this particular item in the BLAB. When the talk started about mergers two years ago we were all nervous, but we thought that the distinctiveness of our mission and the fact we were growing so quickly would keep us off the list. For a time, it did. I had then hoped that the four mergers were all that there were going to be, but that didn’t turn out to be the case. As everyone has heard by now, Southern Polytechnic State University is to be merged into Kennesaw State University, due to both tough economic times and propinquity. I’m wiping away a tear as I type this.
What does this mean for the future? Of course regarding so many things, at this point, we don’t know. The good news is that Kennesaw State University is a fine university, and it will be finer still when we become part of it. With KSU’s strengths in the traditional liberal arts and social sciences and SPSU’s strengths in science, engineering, technology, computing, architecture, and technologically-focused liberal arts, the combination will be formidable. Dan Papp, KSU’s president, is a good man. I’ve known him since I came to Georgia eight years ago, and he knows us, having served as interim president of SPSU so long ago. I’m confident that he, President Lisa Rossbacher, Ken Harmon (KSU’s provost), I, and the transition team will do everything in our power to effect an outcome that is equitable and propels us forward.
Over the past several years, we’ve accomplished many magnificent things at SPSU. Our new and our traditional degree programs. Our beautiful campus and new facilities. Our efforts on behalf of our students to help them graduate and reach success. Our rapid growth. Our partnerships with industry. Our outstanding faculty, staff, and student body. Our pride in our diversity. Our expanding range of co-curricular events. Our success with program accreditation. Our groundbreaking partnerships with the TCSG, Georgia Military, and the High Museum. Our outreach to international students. Our leadership in development of online programs. Our successes with adult and military students. Our support for faculty growth and development. None of these are going away—they’ll live on, grow further, and will influence even larger numbers of students, faculty, and staff in the future.
In the future, as before, we’ll all be hard at work to continue to meet the needs of our students. I’ll leave this subject with two quotes. The first is from a bluegrass singer named Robinella: Press On, Believers, Press On.
The second is from Alex, the famous African grey parrot used in psychology research at Brandeis University, who expressed my thoughts much more simply: You be good. See you tomorrow. I love you.
Weekly News Round-Up
Yes, other things did happen this past week.
Teacher of the Year Ceremony
On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of attending the Teacher of the Year ceremony at the Roswell Street Baptist Church. I’ve never seen an event of this magnitude anywhere else—there were almost 1000 people there at the breakfast, of whom about 250 were teachers who had won the award at their respective schools. I was sitting next to SPSU’s teacher of the year, Don Ariail of our Accounting program, as well as winners from other schools both present and past. The breakfast event lasted a bit over an hour, including speeches from last year’s Cobb County-wide and Marietta City-wide winners, the introduction of this year’s winners, and a prize drawing (Don won karate lessons!).
The event then moved into the sanctuary, where a massive (2000 + participants) pep rally took place, complete with cheerleaders, a color guard, cheering students, and a theatrical troupe doing Broadway tunes. The Cobb County-wide and Marietta City-wide winners, along with a plethora of other prizes, each got to pick a new car to use for the year, as well as gasoline to fill it. Pretty cool!
On Tuesday and Wednesday, SPSU’s speech team competed at Berry College’s Autumn in the Mountains tournament. The tournament included 10 colleges and universities from Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Tennessee, and included the University of Alabama—a national powerhouse program and the dominant speech team in the Southeast.
The tournament honored Dr. Mark Stevens (ETCMA) for his many years of service to the activity. The tournament director, Randy Richardson, presented Mark with the Complete Works of William Shakespeare, which tournament attendees inscribed with good wishes all over the front and back flaps.
SPSU entered eight students in 10 events. Junior business major Tajruba Khan won the fifth-place award in poetry interpretation, earning her a qualification to compete at nationals in the spring. Tajruba called her final-round performance “a great opportunity to share a strong message about stereotypes and misunderstandings.” Her program, Jihad of Love, combines the works of several poets who advocate for love as an antidote to fear and hate. She added, “I’ll never forget how awesome and supportive my coaches and teammates were. I’m an artist at heart, but poetry was something new for me. I couldn’t have done it without them.” Congratulations to Tajruba, Misty York (Coordinator of Forensics for our speech team), Mark Stevens, and all others who supported our team.
An item that came up at the ALC meeting related to room assignments. We had planned to move to a more centralized room allocation process, but the Ad Astra software isn’t ready with all the technological attributes that our faculty need in their classrooms. If we went forward with it, we were concerned that a large number of faculty would be assigned rooms that didn’t have the technology in them that they needed, and we would have an unnecessary beginning of the term scramble. Instead, we will go back to our traditional means of scheduling for the spring, while also doing a “virtual” optimization to see what the results would have been and what problems would have arisen. We will do the real optimization starting in the summer.
The library hosted our annual Authors Reception on Thursday, and the list of publications from faculty and staff was mighty impressive. It was nice to see both Nancy Colyer, our new Library Director and Joyce Mills, our Library Director emerita at the event, as well as to be able to talk to several faculty about their work. Toughest title to understand has to have gone to Rich Bennett (retired faculty member from SIS) who had a book on archaeology he had recently published in Ukranian!
Last Week’s Trivia Contest
Last time’s trivia challenge focused on the number “4”. Ronny Richardson (Chair of Business Administration) was the first with four correct, the highest total, and wins a CD. Marietta Monaghan (Architecture) also got four correct. Here are the correct answers:
- Independence Day. July 4th.
- Derogatory term for someone with glasses. Four eyes.
- Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Johnny Storm, and Ben Grimm. The Fantastic Four.
- The four elements of ancient Greek cosmology. Earth, fire, air, water.
- Song with the lyrics: “But our good times are all gone, and I’m bound for moving on. I’ll look for you if I’m ever back this way.” Neil Young and Johnny Cash both sang it, among many others. Four Strong Winds.
This Week’s Trivia Challenge
Today’s trivia challenge focuses on TV cop shows—you identify the name of the show. No looking up the answers now! SEND ALL ENTRIES BY EMAIL TO firstname.lastname@example.org, since if you put them as a response on the BLOG, everyone will be able to see them!
- Sergeant Friday starred in a show that showed up four different times—surely a record (1951-1959, 1967-1970, 1989-1991, and 2003-2004).
- Robert Stack played Eliot Ness in this one.
- Angie Dickinson starred as Sgt. Pepper Anderson.
- He had a pet cockatoo named Fred.
- Spun off from Burke’s Law, Anne Francis played one of the first female detectives on TV in this show.