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News @ PSU

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

Friday, August 31, 2007

Masters selected for new position working with two-year schools

Dr. Robert Masters has been appointed as the new director of Community College and Workforce Partnerships at Pittsburg State University. The announcement was made recently by Dr. Peggy Snyder, dean of the College of Continuing and Graduate Studies.

Masters joins PSU after serving most recently as vice president of academic affairs for the Kansas Board of Regents. His position at Pitt State was created with the goal of strengthening the university’s relationships with community and technical colleges throughout the area. In his new role, Masters will meet with leaders of these schools to identify ways the student transfer process can be improved. He will also identify disciplines appropriate for articulation agreements.

“We are thrilled to have been able to bring in Dr. Masters for this important position,” Snyder said. “His excellent background puts him in a unique position to communicate with the community colleges and technical schools to develop agreements that will benefit all of us, especially students.”

Prior to his post with the Kansas Board of Regents, Dr. Masters served as vice president of Academic and Student Affairs and interim president for Neosho County Community College. Before that, he served as dean of the School of Business at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, and as chairman of the Department of Business Administration and director of the MBA program at Fort Hays State University. He has also worked as acting dean for the School of Business and director of the Center for Executive Development at the University of Southern Colorado.

In addition to publishing numerous articles in professional journals, Masters has served for 20 years as a SCORE counselor for the U.S. Small Business Administration. He was appointed by Congressman Pat Roberts to serve on a Service Academy Screening Board. He was also appointed by the U.S. Naval Academy as a Blue and Gold Officer, responsible for screening potential Naval Academy candidates. In addition, he has served on the Board of Directors for the International Academy of Business Disciplines and is a graduate of the Oklahoma Educators Leadership Academy.

“My experiences have provided me with the necessary background to work with faculty and staff for the purpose of designing articulation agreements and other partnerships,” Masters said. “I am really excited about my new position at PSU.”

Masters earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Indiana University in 1970. He received his master’s (education administration) and doctoral (higher education administration) degrees from Purdue University in the mid-70s, and earned an MBA in business administration from Kansas State University in 1988.

He currently resides in Fort Scott with his wife, Marcia.

---Pitt State---

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Pitt State Planetarium features an evening with Mars

With classes in full swing, the L. Russell Kelce Planetarium on the campus of Pittsburg State University is opening its doors to offer a new education on Mars.

Beginning tonight at 7 p.m., the planetarium will begin offering the program “Mars and the Mars Exploration Rovers.” Participants have the opportunity to view the current night sky, including seasonal constellations and the locations of the planets and the moon. The program will then examine the planet Mars, featuring photographs taken during past Mars missions as well as recent photographs from the Mars Exploration Rovers. These images may provide some of the strongest evidence yet that ancient Mars was much wetter than the planet is today.

The program begins tonight and will continue weekly through September with shows every Tuesday at 7 p.m. The planetarium is located in Yates Hall on the corner of Joplin and Cleveland Streets.

Tickets are $3 at the door, or may be purchase in advance from the PSU Ticket Office in the Overman Student Center. Group discounts, as well as discounts for PSU students and faculty, and those 65 or older or 17 and younger, are available.

For more information, call the PSU Department of Physics at 620-235-4292. For the Ticket Office, call 620-235-4796.

---Pitt State---

Monday, August 27, 2007

Survey gives student center high marks

Between attending campus events, going to games, and connecting with friends, there are plenty of reasons for students to enjoy college life. But sometimes, it’s as simple as giving them a comfortable place to unwind that can take their experience up a notch.

For the second year, PSU students have participated in a national survey that rates student centers at universities across the nation. Coordinated by Educational Benchmarking, Inc., the survey was sent out randomly to 2,500 PSU students in April. Nearly 670 students responded for a chance to win an iPod and free merchandise.

Students were asked to rank their satisfaction in areas such as the environment of the student center, the quality and cost of food, the cleanliness of the facility, and the ability of the center to enhance students’ college experiences. The results of the survey were compared to six comparable institutions – Mesa State College in Colorado, Kutztown State University in Pennsylvania, University of North Carolina-Ashville, Radford University in Virginia, SUNY Oneonta in New York, and the University of Central Missouri – also taking part in the survey.

Overall, Pitt State scored strong: the student center scored an “Excellent” in seven of 11 categories. Cleanliness, helpfulness of student center staff, and entertainment offerings were all favorites of students, while categories like the center’s ability to enhance student life earned a “Good” score. Although they are pleased with the restaurant options, students indicated they would like more additions to the center, such as more name-brand fast food restaurants.

When comparing these rankings to the six other universities, PSU scored high enough in each category to earn the top spot in the comprehensive “Overall Program Effectiveness” category. Of a total of 114 schools participating in the survey, PSU scored 18th overall.

The results of the survey have given officials a better idea of what students want, said Student Center Director Jeff Steinmiller. After the addition of a bank and the remodel of the bookstore in the past two years, the center has recently added new furniture, blinds, and draperies, new video projectors in meeting rooms, replaced the center’s 40-year-old billiard table, and added new computers in the U-Club.

“Every university has a vision but we need to be checking with our students to see where they think we can make improvements,” he said. “What it means is our students view us in a higher regard that other students may at other schools. Some of it confirms what we are doing right, but it also shows where we can improve.”

---Pitt State---

Monday, August 20, 2007

PSU integrates new online learning system

With higher education looking for better ways to integrate online learning into traditional offerings, Pittsburg State University has selected a new program to make cyber communication between educators and their students much easier.

The ANGEL (A New Global Environment for Learning) system has been selected by a Pittsburg State University committee as the new replacement for Blackboard. The online network can be used by teachers and students to communicate about class assignments, grades, and to view class materials.

ANGEL, which went into full effect with the start of the fall semester, is a more versatile program than the university’s outdated version of Blackboard, which often shut down due to an overloaded system. When faced with either updating Blackboard or purchasing new software, the group analyzed four options before opting to purchase ANGEL.

Some of the reasons the committee made that decision, said Dr.Brenda Frieden, a committee member, is that the system has extensive e-mail capabilities, the ability to distribute and collect materials, and the option to create community groups.

“It definitely is new for us,” Frieden said. “We felt like we’d outgrown Blackboard’s capacity, and we had to make a decision to upgrade that system or find a new learning management course. We found the features ANGEL offers are best suited for our university.”

So far, PSU has offered 45 three-hour workshops to more than 270 faculty members. More workshops are scheduled through Sept. 7, and will later be offered within each college.

“It definitely is a new system,” said Frieden, who recently used the system for three summer courses, “but I like using it very much.”

---Pitt State---

Friday, August 17, 2007

Return of students boosts local economy

With Pittsburg State University students on their way back to school, one would think Monday would be the start of frenzied activity across campus.

But behind the scenes, some university departments – and Pittsburg businesses – have been working for weeks to prepare for the arrival of thousands of students this weekend.

The PSU Department of Housing has been checking students into dorms since August 1. So far, about 300 students from specialty groups like athletics, marching band, sororities, and international students have signed in and are getting their new homes ready. The dorms officially open for all other students beginning at 9 a.m. this Saturday, Aug. 18. Connie Malle, director of housing, says about 1,100 students will be moved in by Sunday night.

“We’re in overflow and we still have people walking in, so we’re prepared for a waiting list,” she said. “So far, we’ve given all our RAs roommates and turned a few single rooms into double rooms. We had a waiting list last year but we had it taken care of within a couple of weeks.”

The arrival of so many students has an impact not only on the campus, but also on the businesses in the community. Blake Benson, president of the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce, says some restaurants and retail outlets plan their year around the arrival of students.

“The business owners mark this week on their calendars,” Benson said. “The impact is so significant. There are a large number of businesses that probably wouldn’t be able to make it year-round without those students. They plan their business affairs accordingly so they can survive until the students come back.”

Benson estimates that after a student’s dollar turns over a number of times, the economic impact of the university is in the billions – a number he bases off a 2002 economic report prepared by PSU. But it’s the energy of the students, he says, that is priceless to Pittsburg.

“There’s a significant injection of enthusiasm,” he said. “The students create a contagious energy, and you can feel it all over town.”

---Pitt State---

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Opening Faculty Meeting welcomes new faces

With students scheduled to start classes in a matter of days, Pittsburg State University is making sure their educators are prepared for the semester ahead, as well.

The annual Opening Faculty Meeting will be held this Thursday at 9:30 a.m. at the Crimson and Gold Ballroom in the Overman Student Center. A coffee and conversation session will begin at 8:45 a.m., and the program will run from 9:30-11 a.m.

The Opening Faculty Meeting is held at the beginning of each fall semester to welcome back faculty and staff and greet new members. This year, 76 new faculty and staff members will be introduced – a number that includes employees who have been promoted or taken new positions. Of those, 29 are new teaching faculty working in various academic units across campus.

“We always look forward to the Opening Faculty Meeting when we can introduce those who have chosen to serve our students and lead the educational mission at PSU,” said PSU President Tom Bryant. “It’s a good way to meet our new co-workers and start the school year.”

The meeting is one of the few events during the academic year when faculty are all gathered together. In addition to Bryant, faculty members will hear from Vice President for Academic Affairs Steve Scott, as well as the presidents of the Faculty Senate, the Faculty Association, and the PSU Kansas National Education Association.

For more information on the Opening Faculty Meeting, contact the Office of Public Relations at 620-235-4122.

---Pitt State---

Back-to-school activities kick off fall semester

As the summer break comes to an end and the PSU community begins preparing for the start of classes next Monday, August 20, a number of events are scheduled to welcome students and faculty back to school.

For more information on the following activities, contact Edie McCracken in the Office of Campus Activities at 620-235-4795.

Sunday, Aug. 19 –
1:15 p.m. Gorilla Warm-Ups under the big tent between the Overman Student Center and Yates Hall. All freshman are required to attend this annual event, which includes a motivational speaker, an introduction to the freshman experience classes, the traditional ringing of the bell at the Centennial Bell Tower, and the big class picture taken at the football field. Beginning at 5:30 p.m., buses will begin running between the campus and Lincoln Park Aquatic Center for the annual pool party – a great way to beat the heat.

Monday, Aug. 20 –
10 a.m.-2 p.m. Free snow cones on the Oval to celebrate the first day of classes.

Tuesday, Aug. 21 –
3:30 p.m. Welcome barbecue at the Gorilla Village. Sponsored by the Office of Student Diversity.

Wednesday, Aug. 22 –
10 a.m.-1 p.m. Community fair on the Oval. Local businesses and organizations will set up booths on the Oval to talk to students about their services.

Friday, Aug. 24 –
8:30 p.m.
“Shrek 3” outdoor movie at the University Lake. Bring a blanket and enjoy a movie under the stars.

Saturday, Aug. 25 –
10:30 a.m.
Football season opener! PSU’s official tailgate party “GorillaFest” features live music, food vendors, and a pep rally held at the University Lake. Kickoff for the nationally televised game against Texas A&M-Commerce will begin at 1:30 p.m. at Carnie Smith Stadium.

Monday, Aug. 27 –
8 p.m.
Gorilla SuperStar will be held at the U-Club in the Overman Student Center. This American Idol-type talent contest will reveal the university’s most talented students! Sponsored by the Residence Hall Association.

Wednesday, Aug. 29 –
7 and 9 p.m. “The Hypnosis of Michael C. Anthony,” held at the Crimson and Gold Ballroom. Sponsored by the Student Activities Council. The PSU vs. Newman University Women’s Volleyball game will be held at 7 p.m. at the Weede Gymnasium.

Thursday, Aug. 30 –
8-11 p.m.
Karaoke Night at the U-Club in the Overman Student Center. Sponsored by Gorillas in Your Midst.

Friday, Aug. 31 –
7 p.m.
Casino Night at the Crimson and Gold Ballroom. Students play with our fake money, but take home real prizes.

Saturday, Sept. 1 –
4 p.m.
GorillaFest featuring Area 51 at the Gorilla Village. Kickoff for the PSU vs. East Central University game will begin at 7 p.m. at Carnie Smith Stadium.

---Pitt State---

Monday, August 13, 2007

Gorilla Fitness starts Sept. 10

Watching the “Walking for Wellness” participants get a workout over their lunch hour last spring may have left some PSU employees wishing they’d brought their tennis shoes to work.

But now, they’re getting another chance to join in.

The second round of the Gorilla Basic Training Fitness Program will begin Sept. 10 and run through November 2. The eight-week program includes two parts: Basic Training Fitness Classes, which focus on weight lifting and light aerobics, and Walking for Wellness, a guided campus walking tour.

The 45-minute fitness sessions will be offered Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 6 a.m. and at noon in Room 163 at Weede Gymnasium. Registration is $20, and each group will be capped at 25 participants.

The free, one-hour Walking for Wellness tours will be held Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon. Those who want to walk will meet on the Oval at noon.

“We did evaluations and the people who stayed with the programs last spring are the ones who encouraged us to continue,” said Rita Girth, interim director of operations for the Student Health Center. “We want to support our co-workers and support healthy lifestyles.”

Gorilla Wellness was introduced as a way to encourage preventative healthcare to employees. Its goals are to encourage better employee health and morale, and to keep healthcare costs down.

Interested participants are invited to attend an informative meeting about the sessions at noon on Tuesday, Aug. 28 in the Inaugural Room at the Overman Student Center. For more information, go to
http://www.pittstate.edu/hrs/GorillaBasicTraining.htm or call Girth at extension 4450.

---Pitt State---

Friday, August 10, 2007

Harris named chair of management and marketing

Dr. Eric Harris has been promoted to chairperson of the Department of Management and Marketing at Pittsburg State University. The appointment, which followed an internal search, was announced by Dr. Richard Dearth, interim dean of the College of Business.

Harris has served as an assistant professor in the department for the past two years. In his new role, he will oversee 13 full-time faculty and numerous adjunct faculty. He will also continue teaching consumer behavior and marketing strategy courses, as well as work to further his research in marketing.

“I’m looking forward to helping in the continued development of our department and students,” said Harris. “I also hope to contribute to the reaffirmation of our AACSB accreditation.”

Harris has had 18 articles published in journals focused on the psychological influences of consumer and employee behavior. He is working on a text book on consumer behavior, which will be published by Cengage-Southwestern in the fall of 2008. In addition to writing, he sits on the editorial review boards for the Journal of Business Research, the Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, the Journal of Services Marketing, and Services Marketing Quarterly.

“In his short time at PSU, Dr. Harris has won the respect of his colleagues and students,” Dearth said. “He is a highly productive author and an excellent teacher, and I have every confidence that he will excel in this role as chair of one of the largest departments at PSU.”

A native of Pittsburg, Harris earned his BBA (’91) and MBA (’92) degrees from PSU. He finished his Ph.D. in marketing in 2001 at Oklahoma State University. Before attending OSU, Harris worked for Coca-Cola Enterprises and for U.S. Awards in Pittsburg. Following the completion of his Ph.D., he taught for four years as an assistant professor in marketing for the University of South Florida before returning to Pitt State.

Harris is a member of the American Marketing Association, the Academy of Marketing Science, the Society for Marketing Advances, and the Association of Collegiate Marketing Educators.

He and his wife, Tara, live in Carl Junction, Mo., with their son Christian, 15, and daughter Sydney, 11.

---Pitt State---

Friday, August 03, 2007

PSU offers helping hand to students from storm ravaged counties

Mother Nature has not been kind this summer to students enrolled at Pittsburg State University. A check this week of those enrolled for the fall semester shows that more than 3,800 (57 percent) live in counties designated as disaster areas because of storms and flooding in Kansas and Oklahoma.

Mindful that this summer’s storm losses could pose a hardship for some students preparing for the fall semester, Pittsburg State will offer students from the affected counties financial plans that will make the beginning of the semester easier.

“Families are dealing with the loss of homes and businesses. We don’t want them to worry that they won’t be able to come up with the fee and tuition payments that are normally due at the end of August,” said PSU President Tom Bryant.

Bill Ivy, dean of Enrollment Management and Student Success, said students from the affected counties in Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri may request a deferred payment plan by calling the Cashier’s and Student Accounts Office at 620-235-4163. The university will waive the installment application fee that is normally charged, Ivy said. The deadline to apply for a deferred payment plan is Aug. 27. Students who receive financial aid equal to or greater than fees and tuition are not eligible.

Individual payment plans can be tailored for students whose circumstances do not allow them to make the payments outlined in the existing deferred payment plan, Ivy said.

“The university will make every effort to accommodate each student’s unique situation,” Ivy said. “Our goal is to find a solution that allows students to continue their education.”

Ivy added that a deferred payment option also exists for university housing, but that students who anticipate problems paying for their room and board charges should contact University Housing at 620-235-4245.

Bryant said the university’s efforts to help students in the storm and flood damaged counties are unusual only in their scale.

“PSU has always had low late fees, the deferred payment plan has been in effect for a long time and every semester we work with students whose unique situations make payment on the established dates difficult,” Bryant said. “This is not a new way of doing business for us. The numbers are just a little larger this year.”

Counties covered are:

In Kansas:
Allen, Anderson, Bourbon, Butler, Chautauqua, Cherokee, Coffey, Cowley, Crawford, Elk, Franklin, Greenwood, Labette, Linn, Miami, Montgomery, Neosho, Osage, Wilson, Woodson, Barton, Clay, Cloud, Comanche, Dickinson, Edwards, Ellsworth, Kiowa, Leavenworth, Lyon, McPherson, Osage, Osborne, Ottawa, Phillips, Pottawatomie, Pratt, Reno, Rice, Riley, Saline, Shawnee, Smith, and Stafford

In Oklahoma:
Nowata, Ottawa, and Washington

In Missouri:
Bates and Cass

For more information, call the Cashier’s and Student Accounts Office at 620-235-4163.

---Pitt State---

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

May appointed assistant director of public relations

Rebecca May has been named assistant director of public relations for publications and special projects at Pittsburg State University. Public Relations Director Ron Womble said her appointment followed an extensive search.

In her new role, May will be primarily responsible for writing for and coordinating the production of campus publications, including newsletters, brochures, and the PSU magazine. She will also work on the organization of special projects, such as groundbreaking ceremonies and public events, and assist with other duties handled by the university’s Office of Public Relations.

“We are always looking at ways to improve our external and internal communications and Becky is going to help us in those efforts,” Womble said. “Her excellent communications skills and her diverse work experience make her a great fit for this position.”

May holds an associate’s degree in journalism from Labette Community College in Parsons, Kan. She received a bachelor’s degree in communication and graphic arts from PSU in 1997. She earned a master’s degree in communication from PSU in 1998.

May returns to the Public Relations office after serving as a student worker, a graduate assistant, and office manager while she worked on her degrees at PSU. After graduation, she worked as an account executive for FOX 14 television in Joplin, Mo. Most recently, she served as director of marketing for the Joplin Family Y.

“I’m excited for this opportunity to use my education and experience for the benefit of my alma mater,” May said. “I’m a Gorilla at heart, and I’m really looking forward to my career at Pitt State.”

May has been involved with the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, and is a past board member of the Joplin Area Advertising Federation. Still an active volunteer with local YMCA fundraising, she has also served as a member of the Joplin Noon Rotary Club.

A native of Cherryvale, Kan., May now lives in Carl Junction, Mo., with her two daughters, Lydia, 3 ½, and Emilee, 1 ½.

---Pitt State---

Brooksher named director of equal opportunity/associate general counsel

Jamie (Cowan) Brooksher has been named director of equal opportunity and associate general counsel at Pittsburg State University. The announcement was made by Darron Farha, PSU general counsel.

Brooksher’s responsibilities will include working with students and employees to accommodate those with disabilities, ensuring compliance with affirmative action and equal opportunity laws, and facilitating the resolution of grievances. She will also collaborate with Farha in legal matters involving the university.

Brooksher finished her juris doctorate at the University of Kansas in May. She is a PSU alum, having received her bachelor’s degree in history in 2003. While a student at PSU, she served as coordinator for the Sexual Assault Response Team, and was president of the History Club.

As a law student, Brooksher worked for the National Labor Relations Board in Overland Park, Kan., where she investigated and assisted with cases stemming from labor union disputes. During that time, she also worked in a clerkship for the Douglas County (Kan.) District Court, where she assisted judges and court administrators with legal research and brief writing. Her student tenure also included serving on the University of Kansas Defender Project, a nonprofit legal counsel for the incarcerated.

Farha said Brooksher was selected for the position because of her focus on labor laws: “Her eagerness, along with her willingness to work in employment law, will further the mission of this office and of Pittsburg State University.”

Originally from rural Mulberry, Kan., Brooksher has moved back to Pittsburg with her husband, James, and their three children, Gabe, 7, Jack, 6, and Lucy, six months.

---Pitt State---