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The Weekly Blab 1.4

The Weekly Blab

Vol. 1, Number 4—September 8, 2006


Dear Colleagues,


Here we go with the fourth issue of the Weekly Blab. Please—share your thoughts!  I’m trying to include things at a very preliminary stage (since many faculty have said that they don’t want to hear about things only after they’re done), so bear in mind that some of the items that may appear here may later disappear without a trace upon further consideration!


First off, some follow-ups on previous items:




ITEM:  Enrollment.  The enrollment continues to rise to 4213, at least for now.  Somewhat more interesting is that the “final” summer tallies have come in from the University System.  Our enrollment rose by more than 9% (headcount) and 10% (FTE, which is the same as credits).  This puts us third among 4-year comprehensive or research universities, ahead of such places as Kennesaw, UGA and Georgia Tech (on a percentage basis, naturally)!



ITEM:  T1, T2, T3 Status.  Joel Fowler has scheduled the open forum on faculty workload and T1, T2, T3 status on Thursday, September 14 at 1-3 PM.  The discussions will be wide open.  I remind you that the two models that have been looked at by the chairs may be found at:

            http://fac-web.spsu.edu/aa/Workload%20Model%201.htm           Model 1
(new link = workload model 1)

            http://fac-web.spsu.edu/aa/Workload%20Model%202.htm           Model 2
(new link = workload model 2)

Remember—no decisions will be made without full input and consultation, and then only through normal legislative channels. 




ITEM:  GoalQuest.  The demo and discussion on Goalquest and how we might use it will be held on Friday, September 15 at 1 PM.  I remind you that the template for the “My Personal Guide to SPSU” that was discussed in Weekly Blab 1.3 can be found at:

(new link = GoalQuest Advising Template)




New Items:

What's New at Kennesaw?  Some of you may have seen some newspaper articles about various things being considered at Kennesaw State, such as creating branch campuses, offering more doctoral degrees, and starting a football program.  It is natural, with a new president, for them to be in a planning mode, and for the press to be very interested.  Yes, some of the ideas mentioned in the media could affect SPSU, just as some of our plans for the future could have an impact on KSU.  Our new strategic plan should help guide us in our planning for the next several years, so that SPSU can be proactive, rather than reactive, about our future.


ITEM:  Restructuring of the Schools.  Given that we potentially will be searching for two new deans this year, various people (including several of the deans) have contacted me to say that this would be a good time to look at our structure and see if we still like it or might want a change.  I had originally thought to just do a search for the two positions, but this idea of possibly looking at this does make sense given our circumstances.  We talked about this at last Wednesday’s Deans Council meeting, and thought we would move forward in the following way:


a)      The Department Chairs will be asked to get together and do some brainstorming as to what some reasonable structures might be.  I will ask them to put forward as many different structures as they find reasonable, along with a rationale for why they find each to be compelling. 

b)      Before they deliberate, I will ask them to schedule an open forum for faculty (probably next week) so that they can hear a wide range of unfiltered opinions on the subject.

c)      Simultaneously, I will ask the Deans to develop an updated job description for the position of Dean.  Again, I will ask them to solicit faculty input as they develop this.

d)      I would ask that the following ground rules apply:

--No structures should be put forward that eliminate the Deans’ positions.  We’ve gone back and forth on this too much already (strong Dean, weak Dean, no Dean, Department Chair, Program Head), and need some continuity, in my opinion.

--Any structure proposed should not cost inordinately more than the current structure.

--We must finish the process before November 1, so that we will have time to advertise for new Deans, if necessary.

--Please be assured that this isn’t a fait accompli—there is no new structure that has even been discussed, let alone selected. Please also understand that the resulting proposals will be recommendations to the VPAA, Deans and Senior Staff.  I promise you that we will consider them carefully, but there is no guarantee that they will be adopted.


Your opinions on this process are invited, but should be sent quickly, due to the November 1 deadline.



ITEM:  Georgia Engineer.  I was asked to write an article for the magazine Georgia Engineer.  I don’t know if they will edit it in any significant way (I assume that they will print it!).  Anyway, if any of you want to read the pre-edited version, you can find it at:

(new link = Georgia Engineer)



ITEM:  Congratulations Time.

  • Congratulations to the Civil Engineering Technology program for the ABET accreditation of the Surveying and Mapping program.  Special congratulations to Matt Wilson for spearheading this effort.
  • Congratulations to Rich Halstead-Nussloch (IT), who delivered a workshop on “Web Service in a Hop, Skip and a Jump” at the Georgia Governor’s Teaching Fellows Conference on May 23; a talk on  “Organizational Culture Change: Vignettes and Tips for Project Managers” at the Atlanta Chapter of the Project Management Institute on June 12; another talk on  “IT Governance in the 21st Century: An Increasing Role for Education” at the Atlanta Chapter of ISACA on July 24; and was the facilitator at the Customer Service Initiative Champions meeting for the University System of Georgia in Macon on August 24.



ITEM:  Innovation Centers.  Dean David Caudill, Russ Hunt (IET) and I took a road trip on Friday with some folks from the Georgia Development Authority up to Gainesville, GA, where we visited the Center of Innovation for Manufacturing Excellence, one of six (I think) such centers around the state focusing on different development areas, and met with its director, Judy Parks.  All have been purposefully located outside metro-Atlanta, as they are part of the One Georgia initiative to improve economic development in the poorer areas of the state.  The Center is located on the campus of Lanier Technical College in its own building, which contains some classrooms and four manufacturing labs (dealing with robotic manufacture, robotic welding, system maintenance, etc).  We have been asked to work with this center, identifying ways our faculty and students might interact with it.  On the way back, we also did some brainstorming about how we might work it that a “level two” sort of center (viewing the existing ones as “level one”) might be located on our campus, working with the other centers and focusing on such things as technology transfer, extending current technology, and applied industrial research.  A number of faculty have been pushing for this sort of thing—so look for this to be an ongoing discussion and planning item.


OK—That’s it for now.  Let me know your thoughts.  Also, let me know if there’s any topic you’d like me to address, and I’ll try to do it.


Advance Notice:  There will be no Weekly Blab for September 30, as I will be in China that week.  I’ll include anything interesting that happens there in the subsequent issue.



REMINDER—Convocation is at noon on September 12.  There will be snacks afterward.  Robing for those who are marching will be in the Dogwood Room.  Please also encourage your students to attend!  We will be recognizing the teacher of the year and high achieving students as part of the program.