Pittsburg State University - Pittsburg, Kansas
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News @ PSU

News and information from Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Pittsburg State University to observe Independence Day

Pittsburg State University offices will close and no classes will be held in observance of Independence Day on Tuesday, July 4. Enrollment and the first day of classes for the second summer session will take place on Monday, July 3. The second summer session runs through July 28. For more information on summer classes, check the PSU Web site or call the Office of Admission and Enrollment Services at 620-235-4251.

---Pitt State---

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Workers return historic art to stadium

A little bit of history returned to Carnie Smith Stadium at Pittsburg State University today when workmen reinstalled two famous bas-relief sculptures that have been part of the historic structure since 1924. Workers from Mid-Continental Restoration in Fort Scott, Kan., carefully lifted the sculptures into place as part of a major renovation of the west side of the stadium. The sculptures were previously near the top of the structure, but have been relocated nearer to the ground, making them a more prominent feature.

The sculptures, which depict a discus thrower and a football player, were created by the famous artist Waylande Gregory and were a gift of the Class of 1924. They are bookends to the words, "Brandenburg Field," which honors PSU President William Brandenburg. Together, the sculptures and the words are approximately 26 feet long and stand 3 1/2 feet tall and weigh an estimated half-ton or more.

Gregory was born in 1905 in Baxter Springs to William Thomas and Louise de Blumer Gregory. Gregory's mother, a former concert pianist, moved to Pittsburg in 1913 so Waylande and his two brothers could attend the college laboratory schools.

According to a history written by Gene DeGruson, former PSU archivist, Gregory was influenced early on by faculty in the college Art Department. By the time he entered College High School, Gregory had begun to develop a reputation as an art prodigy.

At the age of 17, Gregory received his first paid commission, a model of a double-headed eagle for which the Scottish Rite Masons of Joplin paid him $100.

Encouraged by the Art Department faculty, Gregory left Pittsburg at the age of 17 to enroll at the Kansas City Art Institute. In short order, he was hired by the McCartney Ornamental Plastering Company and given the project of designing and casting architectural ornaments for Strong Hall, the administration building at the University of Kansas, which was completed in 1923.

Gregory sculpted the Brandenburg Field bas-relief in 1924 after completing the work at KU and before entering the Chicago Art Institute in 1924. He charged no commission for the work, perhaps because of his own ties to PSU and also because his sister was a member of the Class of '24.

From the Art Institute, Gregory went on the Cranbrook Academy of Art, and eventually to Bound Brook, N.J., where he established his Mountain Top Studio, in which he worked until his death in 1971.

Gregory's early work was mainly in marble and bronze, although ceramics would eventually become his most favorite medium. His major works included the decorations for the Hotel President in Kansas City and several large pieces for the New York World's Fair Commission. During the Depression, he secured a W.P.A. commission to create four bas-relief panels for the Columbus (Kan.) Post Office. Those are now in the Columbus Community Building. Another W.P.A. work, "Democracy in Action," was installed in the west courtyard of the Municipal Center Building in Washington, D.C.

In his lifetime, Gregory had more than 200 one-man shows in the U.S. and exhibited throughout Europe. He became know both for his artistic ability and for his technical innovation.

The current work on the west side of Carnie Smith Stadium will include the addition of skyboxes and an elevator. The $2.4 million project, financed with private donations, is expected to be completed later this summer.

---Pitt State---

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Summer program for children may not survive budget cuts

As Sharon Sisk talks about the uncertain future of the National Youth Sports Program (NYSP) at Pittsburg State University, she unpacks a pair of new tennis shoes for one of that day's campers. The shoes are for a youngster whose own worn sneakers literally came apart that day. It's not an uncommon occurrence in a summer camp that serves many students from economically disadvantaged homes.

As she juggles this and other minor emergencies, keeps an eye on the books and fields requests from camp staff, it is clear that Sisk, who is in charge of running the program, has even greater worries on her mind. The victim of deep cuts at the federal level, it seems likely that NYSP will not survive for another season.

"Federal funds for NYSP were cut completely last year," Rob Hefley, a member of the faculty in PSU’s Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation and the person who wrote the initial grant for NYSP said. "We're running the camp this year on residual funds that the NYSP had nationally. After this year, there is no more."

In some ways, the PSU NYSP program is one of the lucky ones. Of the five NYSP camps that once operated in Kansas, PSU's is the only one that received funding this year, Hefley said. Just one-third of the camps nationally got any funding this year.

Hefley said the fact that PSU's NYSP program has won eight national awards probably helped the camp win this year's funding, which was just one-half of last year's. Hefley praised Sisk and her staff for their hard work in making the dollars stretch without reducing the number of students served.

Sisk said she reduced the number of days the camp runs from 25 to 20. She and her staff have been working harder than ever to get private donations, which have always been an important part of NYSP. And there have been cuts in equipment and staff.

"We're operating at half staff," Sisk said, "so the kids are in larger groups. Most of the staff took a cut in pay this year, but they came back. They're not in it just for the money."

Outside, as campers divide into teams to learn tennis, the noisy children give no hint that they sense the imminent demise of NYSP. Despite the heat and humidity, they bounce up and down as they wait for instructions that their instructor shouts over the constant din. For them, it's just another day at camp.

This is the 14th year for NYSP at PSU. Over that time, Hefley estimates, NYSP has served between 3,000 and 4,000 youngsters between the ages of 10 and 16. Students in this year's camp come from school districts in Pittsburg, Baxter Springs, Riverton, Arma, Girard, Cherokee, Frontenac, Kansas, and Liberal, Mo.

In addition to instruction in a wide array of individual and team sports, NYSP campers get summer enrichment classes in math, science and healthy lifestyles, which includes a strong drug and alcohol component.

The campers also get a hot breakfast and lunch, which is served this year at Pittsburg Middle School. Before the camp begins, the participants all receive a medical exam. All of this comes at no cost to the parents.

"Some of these children wouldn't have breakfast or lunch if it weren't for NYSP," Sisk said. "This program provides kids good nutrition, a safe place to be, education and lots of healthy activity while their parents are at work and school is out. It is a place where they always know there is someone here who cares about them."

The only alternative for some of the campers, Sisk said, was to be home alone while Mom and Dad worked. Whether that meant watching television for hour on hour or possibly roaming the neighborhood, it was not a desirable situation, Hefley said.

Hefley said the comments he gets from principals and superintendents of districts served by NYSP are a testament to the value of the program.

"They see the real value of programs like NYSP on a very personal level," Hefley said.

The NYSP at PSU continues through June 30. Administrators don’t expect to know about the future of the program until at least the end of July. In the meantime, Sisk is urging friends of the program to contact their senators to ask for their support for the program.

For more information, contact the NYSP through the PSU Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation at 620-235-4665 or visit the NYSP Web site.

---Pitt State---

Loyal alumnus leaves $700,000 to PSU

Norman Thompson never forgot his ties to his alma mater. Late in his life, Thompson, a retired administrative judge in California, would proudly list the three brothers, nine cousins and other relatives who all attended what is now Pittsburg State University.

Although Thompson died in 2003, his ties to Pittsburg State continue through an estate gift of more than $700,000. George Pickell, director of planned giving at PSU, said the university recently received the $700,000 disbursement from Thompson's estate, which will be used for general scholarships. Pickell said an additional smaller amount will come to the university when the estate is finally settled.

Thompson and his four brothers grew up on a wheat farm near Walton, Kan. In a 2002 interview in his home in Hemet, Calif., Thompson recalled that his father had expected the boys to stay on the family farm, but none did. Four of the five earned degrees from Pittsburg State, where Thomson earned a bachelor of science degree in 1933.

Thompson recalled that going to college during the Great Depression was not easy. With the help of his brother John, who went on to become a successful accountant, Norman made it through.

Norman Thompson earned a law degree from the Los Angeles Law School, but never practiced law. He first took a position as a referee in the California Civil Service system. Later, he became an administrative law judge for the state. He retired from that position at the age of 70.

Thompson’s wife, Cleta, preceded him in death, as did all of his brothers and the nine cousins who, like Thompson, counted PSU as their alma mater.

---Pitt State---

Monday, June 12, 2006

Drum and bugle corps competition returns to PSU

Seven of the nation's top drum and bugle corps will go head to head in competition at 7 p.m. on July 18 at Pittsburg State University’s Carnie Smith Stadium. Brass Spectacular! is one stop on the Drum Corps International (DCI) Summer Music Games tour road to the world championships later this summer in Madison, Wis.

According to Doug Whitten, director of athletics bands at PSU and organizer of the event in Pittsburg, the DCI corps are made up of musicians between the ages of 14 and 22 from the U.S., Canada and throughout the world. Whitten said that drum corps are similar to marching bands in that they march on a football field and play music. Beyond that, however, there are some big differences.

"A marching band usually provides entertainment at sporting events," Whitten said. "In contrast, a drum and bugle corps is the main event. This distinction allows drum corps to strive for more artistic performances. Instead of performing chants, cheers, and traditional marches, a drum corps is more likely to perform classical music, jazz, or stage a 10-minute Broadway style musical. Perhaps the biggest difference between a marching band and a drum and bugle corps is the amount of time a corps invests in perfecting their show. They often rehearse more than 12 hours a day, during the summer."

The seven drum and bugle corps competing at PSU on July 18 are the world champion Cadets from Bergen, County, N.J.; the Santa Clara Vanguard from Santa Clara, Calif.; the Blue Knights from Denver, Colo.; the Capital Regiment from Columbus, Ohio; the Colts from Dubuque, Iowa; the Blue Stars from LaCrosse, Wis.; and the former world champion and last year's Brass Spectacular! champion Cavaliers from Rosemont, Ill. This show is of particular interest, Whitten said, because it will be the first time that the 2004 world champion Cavaliers will compete against last year's world champion Cadets of Bergen County.

Although these corps are based in cities throughout the country, there will be some local students participating in this event. One is Amy Rowland, a member of the Pittsburg State University Pride of the Plains Marching Bands and Carl Junction High School graduate. Rowland travels to Dubuque, Iowa, to work with the Colts. Meanwhile, Will Koehler, a recent Pittsburg High graduate, marches with the Southwind Drum and Bugle Corps from Lexington, Ky.

Tickets for the 7 p.m. show range from $10 to $20 and are available through the Pitt State Ticket Office at www.pittstate.edu/tickets or by phone at 620-235-4796. For more information, visit the show's Web site at www.pittstateband.org.

---Pitt State---

Thursday, June 08, 2006

PSU names assistant to the president

Pittsburg State University President Tom Bryant announced this week the appointment of Dr. Howard W. Smith as assistant to the president. Bryant said that Smith will continue to manage the university's outreach activities at the Kansas City Metro Center, where he has been the director since 2002, and will also serve as the university's legislative liaison in Topeka. Smith will also serve as the university administration's representative in local activities with the city of Pittsburg, the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce and other Southeast Kansas initiatives.

Smith received his bachelor's degree in elementary education from PSU, his master's degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Kansas and his Ph.D. in educational administration from Kansas State University. He joined the Pitt State faculty in 1993.

Smith began his career in education in 1975 as an elementary school teacher in Shawnee Mission, Kan. Over the years, he was a middle school teacher, elementary school principal, middle school principal, executive director of middle schools and superintendent of schools. He served Kansas school districts in Shawnee Mission, Overland Park and Coffeyville, as well as districts in Amarillo, Texas, and Bentonville, Ark.

---Pitt State---

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

PSU professor uses baseball to teach economics

Dr. Kenny McDougle would agree that the legendary baseball rhetoric of Abbot and Costello – "Who's on first, What's on second, I Don’t Know is on third" – is as confusing to school kids as contemporary economic theory.

But last summer, as McDougle sat watching a Royals game in Kansas City, the professor in Pittsburg State University's Department of Curriculum and Instruction began to see more than just a simple game playing out on the field before him. Concepts of economics suddenly began to take shape – a player in discussions with an umpire, batters progressing from base to base. Through the eyes of a teacher, it was one big metaphor.

"There were defining moments in the game, like when the umpires were walking off the field and one of them threw some extra baseballs into the crowd," said McDougle. "That represents surplus. I came back and talked to my students about it and we thought, 'Why don't we put baseball and economics together?'"

After much creative planning with two area teachers, he's done just that. This summer, McDougle hopes to make economics easier for American school children to grasp through his "Baseball Economics" class. The two-day course will show educators how to teach the subject by comparing it to the great American pastime.

The course runs June 20-21, and includes presentations from baseball coaches and managers, as well as a field trip to the Negro Baseball Museum in Kansas City. Students will also take in a Royals game. The course is good for one credit hour.

Although McDougle has experimented with creative summer courses in the past, this is his first time to offer a class comparing economics to an athletic sport. "Economics is hard for a lot of people," said McDougle. "This is part of a national movement to make citizens more aware."

Baseball isn't the only image that teachers can use to teach economis. McDougle is also presenting "Play Dough Economics," a course designed by a group of Indiana teachers. In this class, students mold goods they plan to sell out of Play Dough, learning economic concepts such as trading and bartering.

It’s this kind of out-of-the-box thinking, says McDougle, that makes summer school such a 'hit.' "Any way you can make the course connect with something students are already familiar with, it's beneficial."

For information, contact McDougle at 620-235-4495, kmcdougle@pittstate.edu.

---Pitt State---

Summer Institute covers major issues in psychology

Youth violence in schools, the truth about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and the role a man's masculinity plays in therapy – they're hot topics in the world of psychology. This summer at PSU, acclaimed professors from across the United States will present these workshops and more through the 2006 Department of Psychology and Counseling Summer Institute.

"Masculinity as a Cultural Variable in Psychotherapy" by Dr. Christopher Kilmartin will be presented on June 8 and 9. Kilmartin has published several books on masculinity issues and related violence. His series focuses on gender ideologies and the theory that because men are culturally pressured to deny their emotional lives, this barrier should be recognized and assessed in the psychotherapy setting. The presentation also focuses on an approach to providing gender-aware psychotherapeutic services to men. Kilmartin is a professor of psychology at the University of Mary Washington-Virginia.

"What Every Child Advocate Needs to Know About Special Education and Working with Schools" by Dr. Reece Peterson will be presented June 15 and 16. Peterson has worked with schools to develop policies for behavioral management, and to address school violence and student aggression. This workshop is designed to educate child advocates on how to better work with schools, especially regarding students in special education. The session reviews major laws affecting children and youth, and provides strategies on understanding the culture of schools. Peterson is a professor of special education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

"ADHD: A Little Knowledge is Dangerous" by Dr. Jamie Wood will be presented June 22 and 23. Wood is director of the PSU Learning Center and co-director of the School Psychology Program, and has focused his recent research on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. What he found may seem surprising – most cases of ADHD are diagnosed in early childhood, but nearly two-thirds of cases persist into adulthood. Discussions will focus on diagnosis and intervention, as well as whether most individuals with ADHD are overmedicated. Wood is an associate professor of psychology at Pittsburg State University.

"Doing What Works: Practical Strategies in Solution-Focused Brief Therapy" by Dr. John Murphy will be presented July 6 and 7. Dr. Murphy is an internationally recognized leader and trainer in solution-focused brief therapy and has been named as one of the top five school psychologists in the United States. His workshop presents therapy techniques for SFBT – a practical approach to therapy that is particularly effective with so-called "difficult" or "resistant" clients. Participants will learn common SFBT strategies to improve therapy results. Dr. Murphy is an associate professor of psychology at Central Arkansas University.

"Self-Mutilation, Suicide, Youth Violence and Managing Emotionality: Critical Issues for Schools and Communities" by Dr. Scott Poland will be presented July 13 and 14. Poland is the author of several works on crisis intervention, and served on national crisis teams following 9/11, the Oklahoma City bombing, and Columbine. In his series, the crisis specialist will discuss a number of disturbing behavioral trends in youth. Participants will learn strategies to reduce the leading causes of death for children and will study crisis-processing models. Poland is a professor at NOVA Southeastern University.

"A Framework for Understanding Economic Diversity" by Dr. Rita Pierson will be presented July 21. Pierson has served in a number of roles during her 34 years as an educator. She is a licensed professional counselor and the developer of an in-school crisis team. Through her workshop, Pierson will teach participants how to better work with children, especially those from poverty. Participants will also learn how to give back through lobbying, foundation development, and education efforts. Pierson is a consultant for Aha! Process, Inc.

All presentations will be held on the campus of PSU. Each workshop is $70, and is recommended for anyone who works with children and youth. Some sessions can be taken for one credit hour of coursework. Call Carol Oehme in the Department of Psychology and Counseling to register at 620-235-4522 or email at coehme@pittstate.edu.

---Pitt State---

Friday, June 02, 2006

Kids build robots in PSU summer workshops

In addition to picnics, fun at the pool and outdoor play, Pittsburg area parents can add science and engineering to their list of summer activities for their children. The popular Adventures in Robotics workshops sponsored each summer by the Department of Engineering Technology at Pittsburg State University are designed to give third through eighth grade students a chance to apply a number of science and engineering principles by building and programming their own autonomous robots. The workshops are taught at the Kansas Technology Center on the PSU campus.

Randy Winzer, coordinating professor for the Electronic Engineering Technology program and workshop organizer said the workshops are "an excellent opportunity for parents to expose their children to a different learning model. We cover engineering concepts and spend some time talking about the positive benefits of teamwork. Most importantly, the students are able to apply those concepts by building and programming their own LEGO®-based robot, which is designed to solve a particular challenge."

This is the fourth year for Adventures in Robotics, Winzer said, and the workshops fill up quickly. He urged parents to sign their children up now for the July and August sessions in order to be guaranteed a spot.

The workshop dates are:
Adventures I (1st Session) – 9 a.m.-noon, July 24-28
Adventures I (2nd Session) – 1-4 p.m., July 24-28

Adventures II (1 Session only) – 9 a.m.-Nnon, July 31-August 4
(Students must have completed Adventures I or had exposure to LEGO systems in order to participate in Adventures II.)

To register or obtain more information, contact Winzer by e-mail at rwinzer@pittstate.edu or by phone at 620-235-4370. You may also visit the Web site.

---Pitt State---

Summer classes begin at PSU

Pittsburg State University will begin the first of two summer sessions on Tuesday, June 6. Open enrollment for those not already enrolled will be on Monday, June 5. The first summer session runs through June 30. The second summer session begins on July 3 and runs through July 28. Classes are offered on campus, over the Internet and at various sites off-campus.

In addition to first- and second-summer session classes, the university also offers numerous "short courses" in June and July. Many short courses may be completed over a weekend.

For more information about enrollment for summer classes and workshops at PSU, visit www.pittstate.edu/registrar/summer/summer.html on the Web or call the Office of Admission at 620-235-4251.

---Pitt State---

Thursday, June 01, 2006

PSU hopes to leave an impression on high school musicians

Supervising and teaching 200 high school band members might seem like a nightmare to some people, but to Craig Fuchs, chairman of the Pittsburg State University Music Department, it is not only fun, but a golden opportunity.

Fuchs, who is directing the Kansas Lions Band Camp this week, said the student musicians are a talented and energetic group. Most, he said, have driven many hours from their homes across the state to participate in the band camp and most have never been on the Pittsburg State University campus or in southeast Kansas.

"We have some great opportunities for students in PSU's Music Department and when these students make their college plans, we want them to remember what they experienced at PSU," Fuchs said.

Fuchs noted that PSU's musical outreach will be significant this summer. Following the Lions convention, PSU will also host the state Shrine Bowl Band and the Cutting Edge drum and bugle corps competition. All together, Fuchs said, PSU expects to have about 1,200 high school musicians on campus who otherwise might never have considered or visited the university.

The Kansas Lions Band will perform two concerts open to the public. The first, featuring the chamber groups and jazz band, will be at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, June 2, in the Gazebo at Gorilla Village just east of Carnie Smith Stadium. The second, at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 3, will be in the Pittsburg High School gymnasium.

---Pitt State---