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News @ PSU

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

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Gorilla tag holders win big during "Best Plate in the State" drawing

The Office of Alumni and Constituent Relations at Pittsburg State University made winners out of five supporters this week during the university’s first “Best Plate in the State” drawing.

Paul Hays of Wichita took first place, walking away with a 32” flat panel television. Ron Brock of Pittsburg took the second place prize of four 2008 season tickets to the Rua Skybox at Carnie Smith Stadium. Gary Rimbey of Frontenac won a $100 Gorilla Bookstore shopping spree, and Anna Gudde of Pittsburg won two club tickets to the Fall Class VII game at Arrowhead Stadium. Darren Masten of Stillwell won a PSU goodie basket.

The prizes were awarded as part of this year’s new PSU license plate campaign. Those purchasing a new plate between May 1 and June 30 were eligible.

Proceeds from plates purchased in select counties during the campaign provided scholarships to students from those counties. During the drawing, the office awarded $1,000 to Dustin Engle of Crawford County, $750 to Ashley Powell of Cherokee County, and $500 to Kati Snelling of Sedgwick County.

Gorilla license plates are available for $30 (proceeds go toward the Alumni Legacy License Plate Scholarship Fund) plus the $45.50 fee to the state and applicable fees. Current tag holders who renew their plates this year are eligible for the January 2, 2009 prize drawing. Prizes include four tickets to the Rua Skybox for any home game in 2009, a PSU fleece blanket, and a framed Ted Watts print.

For more information on purchasing a Gorilla plate, contact the Office of Constituent and Alumni Relations at 620-235-4758.

In photo: Johnna Schremmer, director of Alumni and Constituent Relations at PSU, presents a 32” flat screen TV to Paul Hays, winner of the 2008 “Best Plate in the State” drawing.

---Pitt State---

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Governor appoints PSU's Pomatto to state nursing board

Dr. Mary Carol G. Pomatto, chairwoman of the Department of Nursing at Pittsburg State University, has been appointed by Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius to serve on the Kansas State Board of Nursing.

Pomatto’s appointment to the eleven-member board began July 1.

The board, whose mission is “to assure the citizens of Kansas safe and competent practice by nurses and mental health technicians,” is responsible for establishing and implementing minimum standards for safe nursing and mental health practice. The board also approves education programs, regulates licensure, and considers current and future trends in nursing/mental health technician education and practice. Last year, the KSBN regulated licensure for more than 50,000 health care professionals.

“It’s an honor to be appointed to serve in this capacity,” Pomatto said. “I will do my best to serve well the nursing and healthcare professions and the people of Kansas as our state faces the challenges of the coming four years.”

Dr. Pomatto earned a bachelor of nursing degree from PSU, a master of science in nursing degree from Texas Woman’s University, and a doctorate in education degree from Oklahoma State University. She is licensed as a registered nurse and as an advanced registered nurse practitioner clinical nurse specialist (ARNP-CNS) in Kansas.

Pomatto has worked as a staff nurse, educator, consultant, university legislative liaison, and administrator. She has played an active role in professional and service activities, serving in leadership roles with the Sunflower Foundation: Healthcare for Kansans; Kansas Health Policy Authority; Via Christi Health System: Cornerstone; Labette Community College Nursing Department Advisory Committee; Kansas State Nurses Association; Kansas Organization of Nursing Leaders; and the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce Government Review Committee, among others.

Pomatto and her husband are lifelong residents of Crawford County. Their daughter works as a family law attorney in Johnson County, Kan.

---Pitt State---

Friday, July 25, 2008

Professor speaks on dealing with difficult people

With difficult people ranking as one of the top reasons for dissatisfaction at the workplace and at home, Dr. John Maag argues you don’t have to dust off that resume – or move out of the neighborhood – just yet.

Pittsburg State University will welcome Maag, a professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and nationally recognized author and speaker, this week as part of the Summer Institute offered by the Department of Psychology and Counseling.

Maag, an expert on managing resistance and dealing with difficult people, has published over 90 articles and book chapters. One of them, “Parenting Without Punishment,” won a Parent’s Choice award. He will present his two-day workshop from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday in Hughes Hall, Room 316.

In “You Can’t Make Me! Approaches and Techniques for Managing Resistance,” he discusses why children and adults act resistant and difficult, and what others can do to change that. He argues that resistance in others originates from our behavior toward them, and that we have the power to change that.

“We spend a lot of time trying to get others to be more cooperative and receptive to our suggestions and to follow our instructions,” he said. “There are ways to change our behavior that can reduce resistance in others.”
Dr. Rick Lindskog, a Psychology and Counseling professor at PSU, says Maag’s headlining lecture is a big asset to the Summer Institute.

“His lecture is generating a lot of interest from professionals in the region,” Lindskog said.

---Pitt State---

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Dell appointed head of Automotive Technology

The College of Technology at Pittsburg State University has added a new chairman to its ranks.

Dr. Timothy Dell, assistant professor in the Department of Automotive Technology, has been named department chairman. He took over his new responsibilities July 1.

This is the first time the department, which offers some of the most highly regarded two- and four-year automotive programs in the country, has had its own dedicated chairman. For the past several years, Dr. John Iley has served as chairman of both the Department of Technology Studies as well as the Department of Automotive Technology. Iley will still head Technology Studies.

A native of Pittsburg, Dell earned a bachelor of science degree in automotive technology and a master of science degree in technology education from PSU. He recently completed a Ph.D. in education from Kansas State University.

“This is an extremely big job to do justice because each role is so important,” he said. “I wouldn’t have considered it if the faculty had not been so supportive and encouraging. I hope to take our nationally recognized programs to the next level.”

Dell began his career at PSU in 1999, teaching courses in fluid power, off-highway systems and automatic and advanced hydraulic transmissions. Prior to teaching, he worked for agriculture and construction equipment manufacturer Case-IH in Racine, Wis., where he served as a trouble shooter for dealers with equipment problems.

In addition to teaching, Dell has served as the department’s diesel and heavy equipment coordinator for five years, and oversees the Caterpillar Think Bigger program, the only program of its kind in the U.S. He also serves on the John Deere National Training Council – one of only two instructors to do so nationwide.

Dell and his wife, Bertha, have a son, Calvin.

---Pitt State---

Monday, July 21, 2008

PSU hosts Brass Spectacular, drum and flag corp camp

The campus of Pittsburg State University is awash in color and filled with the sound of beating drums this week as middle and high schools students converge for the 15th annual Cutting Edge Auxiliary Camp.

The camp runs July 21-24. Designed for 7th-12th graders, it features training for flag corps, drum majors, percussionists, and section leaders. More than 300 students from schools in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri are signed up this year.

The camp runs from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. each day, and is organized in conjunction with the annual Brass Spectacular show.

Part of the Drum Corps International Summer Music Games Tour, the 4th annual Brass Spectacular show at PSU features bands from throughout the United States. This year’s show includes performances from The Academy from Tempe, Ariz.; the Boston Crusaders; the Colt Cadets from Dubuque, Iowa; the Colts from Dubuque, Iowa; the Crossmen from San Antonio, Texas; the Santa Clara Vanguard from Santa Clara, Calif.; and the Troopers from Casper, Wyo.

Each band consists of youths ages 14-21 from the U.S. and Canada. The bands are staying and rehearsing at locations throughout the area, including Pittsburg Middle School and High School, Neosho (Mo.) Middle School, Miami (Okla.) Junior High, Missouri Southern State University, and Fort Scott High School.

Each world-champion level group consists of approximately 150 members. They compete in about 30 competitions throughout the U.S. during the month of July.

Tickets range from $10 for groups and economy seats to $25 for super premium seats. Discounts are available for children and PSU students and employees. For ticket information, call 620-235-4796, or visit http://www.pittstate.edu/union/tickets/.

---Pitt State---

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Caterpillar donates technology scholarships

A friend of Pittsburg State University’s College of Technology has made a donation that will help ensure students are fully prepared for the workforce.

Two representatives from Caterpillar visited the campus Wednesday to present a check for $10,000. The university will match that amount for a total of $20,000. The money will go toward scholarships for students in the Caterpillar Think Bigger programs at Pitt State.

The Caterpillar Think Big program is a two-year course of study that prepares students to become heavy equipment technicians for the company. Pittsburg State University has the only four-year Caterpillar Think Bigger program, which expands on the two-year program by awarding students bachelor’s degrees and preparing them for entry-level management positions with Caterpillar.

“These students are coming from coast to coast, and this money helps us recruit and retain them,” said Dr. Tim Dell, chairman of the Department of Automotive Technology. “We are glad to have Caterpillar assist us in making their educations affordable.”
Dan Kennedy (BS ’70, MS ’71), manager of continuous product improvement for Caterpillar (Americas-Asia Pacific), said the contributions are equally beneficial for both the company and the university.

“We want to be good global citizens in this part of the world,” he said. “To help these young people as they grow, it’s a win-win situation for us.”

(In photograph (l-r): Bob Schroer, PSU automotive technology instructor; Dr. Tim Dell, chairman of the PSU Department of Automotive Technology; Cameron Ferguson, Caterpillar director of product safety and engineering solutions; and Dan Kennedy, Caterpillar manager of continuous product improvement for Americas-Asia Pacific.)

---Pitt State---

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

New chairpersons for biology, communication

Two academic departments at Pittsburg State University have new leaders at the helm.

Dr. Lynette Olson, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, announced recently the appointment of Dr. James Dawson and Dr. Cynthia Allan as chairpersons of the Department of Biology and Department of Communication, respectively.

Dawson, who has taught with the university for 30 years, will take over the interim leadership of a department with more than 400 students studying biology as a major.
"Dr. Dawson brings great knowlege to the interim chair position," Olson said. "As a senior faculty member, he has been integral to the governance of the department and has illustrated his concern for strong academic advising. I am pleased he is willing to provide leadership for the department over the next three years."
Originally from northeastern Ohio, Dawson received a bachelor of science degree in biology from Kent State University in Kent, Ohio. He did his graduate work at the University of Akron in Akron, Ohio, and earned his Ph.D. in algal physiology from the University of Kentucky in Lexington.
Dawson said Pitt State was searching for someone with his unusual educational background in algae and plant physiology when he came here as a professor in 1978. Over the years, as biology professionals turn more toward careers in medicine, he has seen many changes.

“The biology department is in a state of transition. We are moved from a field-oriented department to a laboratory-based department,” he said. “The interest is not as much in fisheries and park management but in developing new drugs and surgical procedures.”

With a research focus on algae capable of generating hydrogen gas (a possible source of new energy), Dawson has held research grants from Hercules Aerospace, Astro Zeneca, and is a coonsultant and adviser with the Culture Collection of Algae at the University of Texas in Austin.

He has served as advisor for the Beta Beta Beta fraternity for 28 years, and is a member of multiple phycological societies at the national and international level. He hopes to present his newest findings at a conference in Britain next January.

Dawson and his wife Joyce (BS ’92, MS ’97) have twin sons, David and Adam.

After the retirement of another longtime PSU faculty member, Dr. Peter Hamilton, a familiar face will officially be heading the Department of Communication. Dr. Cynthia Allan, who served as interim chairwoman last year, began her duties July 1 overseeing the department and its seven areas of discipline.

Allan has been with PSU since 1999, previously serving as an associate professor and as Director of Theater, a position she continues to hold.

Olson praised the leadership Allan demonstrated last year, and noted the high regard other communication faculty hold for her.

"She has provided outstanding leadership, and I am pleased she is willing to continue," Olson said. "The Communication Department is broad in scope of programs and Dr. Allan has an understanding and appreciation for all these areas."

Originally from Florida, Allan earned a bachelor of arts degree in speech and theater from Florida Southern College in Lakeland. She received a master of arts degree in theater from Florida State University, and a Ph.D. in theater and drama from the University of Georgia.

In the years between earning her graduate degrees, Allan built a career in manufacturing management. For a time, she took classes toward a degree in metrology (the study of measurement) and worked for companies that made high-end components for organizations like the United States Navy. She worked her way up to running an $8 million piece of the company before changing careers.

Allan has performed freelance theatrical lighting and design for 18 years, and has written several improvisational plays including “The History of Laundry,” “American Edit,” and “Macaroni and Jell-O.” She has produced her work in Pittsburg as well as at the Clemson Theater in Clemson, S.C., and at Allegheny College in Meadville, Penn., where she worked as an artist in residence. At PSU, she directs mainstage shows each year.

“I want to honor the legacy of Dr. Hamilton in this position,” she said. “We have many areas of discipline in this department and we work together seamlessly, respecting each others’ differences. I have a strong vision for the department and look forward to new progress.”

Allan is a member of the Association for Theater and Higher Education, the American Theater and Drama Society, and the Mid-America Theater Conference. She had a lead essay on applying culture shock to student audiences at universities published in Theater Topics, and last year was voted Outstanding Teacher of the Year by seniors in the Department of Communication.

---Pitt State---

Monday, July 14, 2008

Local hospital awards nursing scholarships

Three students in the Department of Nursing have received scholarships to make the cost of their educations a little easier.

The Mount Carmel Regional Medical Center Auxiliary awarded three $1,200 scholarships to seniors Kim Norris, Ashley Humble, and Peter Bates, at the hospital’s recent Auxiliary luncheon. The scholarship money was raised by bake sales put on by the Auxiliary over the past year.

Helen Kriegsman, a former PSU faculty member and volunteer in the Office of University Development, served as head of the group’s scholarship committee, and selected the students to receive the awards. All three are volunteers at Mount Carmel.

(Pictured, left to right: Barbara McClaskey, professor in the PSU Department of Nursing; Ashley Humble, and Peter Bates; Helen Kriegsman, head of the scholarship committee; and Mary Carol Pomatto, chairwoman of the PSU Department of Nursing.)

---Pitt State---

Skubitz Foundation makes major donation to nursing

A couple close to the heart of Pittsburg State University has left a gift that will continue to give for years to come.

Last week, the PSU Foundation received a gift of $50,000 from the newly formed Leon V. and Dorothy M. Skubitz Foundation, a charitable fund set up by M&I Bank in Pittsburg. The money will go toward a scholarship for an outstanding student within the Department of Nursing.

“It’s a gift that will give back to the entire community, because nursing is a profession that will be needed even more as the Baby Boomer population ages,” said Mary Carol Pomatto, chairwoman of the nursing department. “We are very grateful for this generous gift and will put it toward good use.”

The fund was set up in response to the wishes of the Skubitzes, two longtime Pittsburg residents. They were married for 54 years before Dorothy, a former administrative assistant for several PSU presidents, passed away in 2001. Leon, a veteran of World War II who earned multiple Purple Hearts, spent his career working for Kansas Gas Service. He died in 2005.

Julie Plank, trust administrator for M&I, said the Skubitz Foundation will give one major donation to a different southeast Kansas entity each year. Mr. Skubitz had established multiple nursing scholarships in the past, she said, leading the foundation to select Pitt State first.

“We liked the idea of making an impact on the nursing shortage and doing something that would be a legacy to them,” Plank said. “I think there’s always a need in this area, and it’s great to have the resources to help with that.”

(Pictured: A group of Pittsburg State University delegates accept a check presented by the Skubitz Foundation.)

---Pitt State---

Friday, July 11, 2008

Engineering Technology gets $600,000 for scholarships

Months of preparation culminated this week as Pittsburg State University was awarded nearly $600,000 for scholarships within its College of Technology programs.

A STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) grant was awarded by the National Science Foundation to PSU earlier this week. The money, which will be disbursed over the next five years, is earmarked for the Department of Engineering Technology within the College of Technology.

The grant is designed for students who have a strong financial need while showing potential for a career in engineering. A committee will be formed to recruit students, and will continue to work with them throughout their four years of schooling to ensure their success. The $598,000 grant will provide four-year scholarships to at least 13 students.

“This isn’t a scenario where we give them the money and then hope they survive,” said Jim Otter, chairman of the Department of Engineering Technology. “We will be developing an infrastructure to give them the support they need.”

Otter said a handful of faculty members had been working to obtain the grant with the help of the College of Continuing and Graduate Studies. Mark Jones and Randy Winzer, professors in the department, along with the help of Brian Perry, PSU grants coordinator, made the case in their proposal that because Southeast Kansas has a high poverty level, many potential students end up pursuing little or no college because they simply can’t afford it. The grant reviewers at the National Science Foundation were very receptive to the university’s goal of reaching that demographic, said Otter.

“We have a working class kind of student,” he said. “Many of them are working at least 20, maybe 40 hours per week. There are many who can’t afford a four-year education and instead choose a one- or two-year program and then throw themselves into the workforce, maybe coming back to get more education later. This gives them a chance to get it now.”

Graduates often go on to have careers in mechanical engineering, design or process engineering, or quality control.

“We’re very excited,” Otter said. “Now we can reach out to students who hadn’t identified PSU as an option.”

For more information, contact the Department of Engineering Technology at 620-235-4350.

---Pitt State---

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Workshop focuses on nanotechnology

High school students who want to think big are being encouraged to think small – like really, really, small. A Pittsburg State University summer research workshop for high school juniors and seniors will focus on nanotechnology, which is technology at the molecular level.

The one-week workshop is called the REACH-RS Summer 2008 Program and is sponsored by the Center for Nanocomposites and Multifunctional Materials at PSU. Workshop activities will include the nanofabrication of structural foams, nanocharacterization of foams via atomic force microscopes, and the effective communication of workshop outcomes. The workshop will run from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. daily July 21-25 in Room W118 of the Kansas Technology Center at PSU.

There is no charge for the workshop and students who are selected to participate and complete the workshop will receive a $100 stipend. Positions are limited.

To apply, call the director, Dr. Chris Ibeh, at 620-235-4354 or send an e-mail to cibeh@pittstate.edu.

PSU receives $10 million gift for fine and performing arts center

PSU President Tom Bryant announces a $10 million gift for the construction of a fine and performing arts center.

A single $10 million gift will move a longstanding plan for a fine and performing arts center at Pittsburg State University a step closer to becoming a reality.

PSU officials announced the gift, from an anonymous donor, at a news conference today. It is the largest single gift in the university’s history.

“A fine and performing arts building is an important part of the university’s master plan and a big piece of the current $120 million capital campaign,” Tom Bryant, president of Pittsburg State University. “We are extremely grateful to this generous donor for this lead gift toward this project.”

Dr. Brad Hodson, vice president for university advancement said the university needs and values gifts of all sizes, but some projects require one or more large donations in order to become reality.

“The total cost of this project could exceed $30 million,” Hodson said. “That’s a high hurdle to clear with small gifts alone. Large single gifts not only move a project along more quickly, they also inspire others to join in a very worthwhile project.”

Bryant praised the donor’s vision and generosity.

“Big dreams depend on people with vision,” Bryant said. “This donor has chosen to invest not only in Pittsburg State University and many generations of students still to come, but also in the cultural life of the community.”

Gene Bicknell, honorary national chairman of the university’s $120 million capital campaign, said the fine and performing arts center the biggest remaining project in the 10-year campaign.

“We were successful in phase one in raising more than $25 million for scholarships, faculty endowments and international programs,” Bicknell said. "The second phase of the campaign has gone equally well. With today’s announcement, we have raised $95 million toward our $120 million goal. The Kansas Polymer Research Center was completed last year and the student recreation center/armory has just been completed. This fall, the university will break ground on a new student health center. Now our focus is on the fine and performing arts center and a new building for the College of Business. Bit by bit, this campaign is shaping the future of the university.”

When constructed, the fine and performing arts building will fill a campus need that has existed since old Carney Hall was razed nearly 30 years ago. Carney Hall was named for Thomas Carney, the second governor of Kansas under whom the state’s system of higher education was established. The building, constructed in 1919, included a 3,000-seat auditorium that was the cultural hub of the university. It was the site of numerous concerts and lectures until the building was razed in1980 because of concerns about the building’s structural integrity as a result of settling of the building’s foundation.

To contribute to the fine and performing arts center project or to learn more, contact the Office of Development at 620-235-4768.

---Pitt State---