- Sold out
Tickets to Laura Bush speech gone in 90 minutes
| Audrey Dighans copy editor |
Former First Lady Laura Bush will be visiting the Jungle on Wednesday, April 22.
Tickets to see her went on sale for the general public at 8:30 a.m. Monday, Feb. 23, and sold out in 90 minutes.
“We anticipated selling out very quickly by the overwhelming response we had to the announcement of her visit,” said Kathleen Flannery, executive director of University Development and member of Women in Government, the organization sponsoring Bush’s visit as part of its lecture series.
Bush will speak on a variety of topics, including education, human rights and the importance of volunteerism. Since her White House days, she has continued her work in education reform, supporting veterans and empowering women.
“It would have been nice to go and see her,” said Jamie Oliver, professor of art.
Oliver and his wife were hoping to buy tickets to the lecture, but he says when he went to purchase them there were so many people in line he was unable to.
“Some had been there since 6 a.m.,” Oliver said. “I didn’t really pay attention that much to when the ticket office opened and if there were any set aside for faculty in a pre-sale I also didn’t really take notice, so we won’t be attending.”
Oliver says that anytime someone affiliated with a current or former president goes somewhere, people want to see them.
“Whether you agree with their politics or not, I think people want to go as citizens to pay their respects and to listen to what they have to say,” Oliver said. “Laura Bush has had the ear of a president. She’s a key figure and she will be speaking on education, a topic I and my wife as teachers are interested in hearing her views on.”
Flannery also says she is interested to hear from Mrs. Bush her perspectives on education.
“She will share with our community how important education is in our global society,” she said.
Both Flannery and Oliver say they are also interested in the volunteerism aspect of Bush’s lecture.
“My wife and I try to teach our son the importance of volunteerism,” Oliver said.
Mrs. Bush’s visit is largely funded through a gift from the Helen S. Boylan Foundation, a key sponsor of the Women in Government Series. Ticket sales will also help cover Bush’s speaker fee of $75,000.
“We had no venue to host speakers of her caliber on campus for decades before now,” Flannery said. “We knew the Bicknell Center would transform our community by allowing us to bring ‘big names.’ Selling out so quickly on our first attempt is a true sign that our community is eager to support lectures and performances.”
- Warhol’s work stuns viewers
| Gretchen Burns reporter |
As the curtain dropped on Wednesday, Feb. 25, students, administration, faculty and Pittsburg residents crowded around the brightly colored print of Andy Warhol’s Ludwig Van Beethoven during the unveiling ceremony in the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts.
Cat Jepson says she was excited to be able to see the Warhol make its way to the PSU campus.
“It’s awesome how fortunate we’ve been to get this piece in Pittsburg, Kan.,” said Jepson, senior in 2-D art.
Graduate student Liping Xia performed Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas Opus 22 and Opus 53 before the opening as guests walked around the James S. and Treva J. Dawson Lobby.
Kicking it off
Rhona McBain, director of the Museum of Art, began the ceremony by thanking Xia and the staff of the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts and the Physical Plant for their hard work.
“The visual arts by their very nature are interdisciplinary,” McBain said. “Artists often look to the worlds around them for their subject matter: science, technology, history, popular culture and politics become their muse.
“As a result, artwork will cause people to become inquisitive, inspired, impassioned and even outraged.”
The print was added to the university’s permanent collection of art as a gift from Robert and Gwendolyn Tyler. It is a 1987 serigraph and is titled “Beethoven, II. 390.”
Steve Scott, university president, then stepped up and explained Robert Tyler’s history with the university.
“My job really is to share some of Bob’s background and history with the university, and this will embarrass him and he’ll be uncomfortable and I know that, but Bob, we’ve just got to do this,” said Scott laughing.
Scott noted that Tyler is a 1975 plastics engineering technology graduate of PSU and founded Winfield Consumer Products in 1988. Tyler has served as a trustee of the PSU Foundation Inc. and is a member of the PSU Plastics Advisory Council. He and his wife are lifetime members of the PSU Presidents Society.
“I went to get my hair cut, and my text messaging started going off and my phone started going off and I thought, ‘What’s going on with the university?” Scott laughed. “It was phone calls from Kristi Toeller who works in the office and she had had a call from Bob Tyler. She couldn’t quite get all of the pieces of the story and what Bob’s interest was but she got several words out of it. Andy Warhol, Beethoven and Bob Tyler.”
How it happened
Scott called Tyler and found that Tyler was in Arizona and had been looking at an original Andy Warhol print.
“And he said, ‘I just think this would be perfect for your new building,’” Scott said. “At the end of the conversation, Bob said, ‘I think I’m going to get it.’”
Before turning the stand over to Tyler, Scott stated that he felt that the artwork is a magnificent addition to the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts.
Tyler told the crowd that he had first thought of purchasing a major Warhol piece for Pittsburg State University long before the Bicknell Center was built.
“My thought at the time was that the Beethoven could take the place of the (Birger) Sandzen paintings hanging in McCray Hall and the Sandzen paintings could be displayed in the Overman Student Center where they would be more visible.”
Tyler said that he is not disappointed in the decision to not hang the Beethoven in McCray Hall as he had originally planned, feeling that its new home is perfect.
Tying it all together
Gene Bicknell said the print is perfect for the center with its ties.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” said Bicknell. “I looked deeply into the color of the print. What takes me back are the musical notes. Music is basically mathematics. To see the music displayed across the print, it’s just perfect for this center.”
McBain said that ‘Beethoven, II. 390’ is an artist’s proof—number nine of 15 artist’s proofs created. An artist’s proof is a rough draft of the final print. The ‘Beethoven’ portfolio was printed by master printer Rupert Jason Smith for Warhol in 1987. The Ludwig van Beethoven portfolio was the last collection produced by Warhol before his death on Feb. 22, 1987. It consists of four different serigraphs.
“That Andy Warhol’s work will be displayed in the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts in a place where the visual and performing arts will be celebrated together is absolutely stunning,” said McBain.
- SGA takes action on full agenda
| Audrey Dighans copy editor |
It was a busy night for the Student Government Association (SGA) on Wednesday, Feb. 25, during the organization’s weekly meeting with more than 10 resolutions to read, discuss and vote on.
Two new proposals for fee increases were submitted and advocated for; the first by Gerard Attoun on behalf of Student Publications and the second by Rita Girth on behalf of the Bryant Student Health Center.
Student Publications asked for SGA to dip into the Fee Council Reserves for a one-time withdrawal of $5,000 to purchase camera lenses, computers and access to an online website template service to improve the PSU Collegio’s online newspaper.
“I can confirm that it is disgusting trying to navigate the online Collegio,” said Sen. David Schlee.
With the reserve fund currently containing over $260,000, SGA unanimously adopted the proposal and will most likely vote affirmatively next week to approve the funding.
The Health Center proposal seeks a $4 increase from student fees to hire a full-time physician and extend a part-time counselor’s hours.
“The fact that we have such a big emphasis on mental health is huge,” said Jordan Schaper, SGA president.
Steve Erwin, vice president of auxiliary services and adviser to SGA, added that a university of Pitt State’s size should ideally have four full-time mental health counselors and that PSU currently has two and half.
The Health Center proposal was also unanimously adopted and will be further discussed at next week’s meeting.
With all the talk and many fee increase proposals, SGA vice president Jaci Gilchrist proposed a “Fee Publication” policy that would publicize where student fees are going and how much.
“It is our duty as SGA to publicize this information,” Gilchrist said. “I started looking at other schools’ breakdowns and I found that it was nearly impossible to find ours. This policy is going to be our effort to be transparent and inform the students of where their money is going.”
Sen. Deana Thompson spoke in support of the policy proposal and proposed that SGA also look into publicizing the budgets of the organizations that receive student fee dollars.
“It would be good for students to see what they are getting for their dollar,” Thompson said.
SGA’s next meeting will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 4, in Russ Hall, room 409. Students are encouraged to attend and participate in Student Opinion Time, when their student representatives can hear issues and answer questions.
- The power of $1
Currency swings hurting Pitt State’s international students
| Kyleigh Becker reporter |
The United States of America is gaining back her economic prowess.
The dollar is once again rising in its purchasing power and is, since January, hovering around $1.14 against the euro—lower than it has been in years. While this is good for Wall Street, it may cause internationals some problems.
Emilia Cardena says the exchange rate is something she keeps a close watch on.
“I still receive money from my parents each month to cover my living costs,” Cardena, junior in music performance from Paraguay, said. “I know that next month I won’t be receiving much because it’s just so expensive to send it over.”
The current exchange rate between the U.S. and Paraguay is five Paraguayan guarani to $1.
“It’s always something in my mind,” Cardena said. “It was one of the most important conversations I had with my family before I came. I’m always thinking, ‘How much is this in Paraguay?’”
Another exchange rate being tracked by PSU students is the Ukrainian hryvnia (UAH) to U.S. dollars.
Anna Paskhina, graduate student from Ukraine, says when she came to the states in August the rate was 15 UAH to $1, now it is 28 UAH to $1.
“If we had waited for several months, we would have lost half of our money (from our savings from the Ukrainian bank),” she said.
Paskhina says the recent rise in the dollar’s power affects the prices of food, medicine and utilities for her family overseas.
“My husband’s grandmother, who had a pension of approximately $100 per month before the crisis, now receives $43, when the cost of water has risen by 70 percent and gas has tripled,” Paskhina said.
Back in Ukraine, Paskhina says her family has had to make many changes to accommodate the lesser value of their home country’s currency.
“My sister says that they have to buy less fish, meat like beef and pork, vegetables, exotic fruit,” Paskhina said. “Besides this, she is limiting her visits to cafes and cinemas.”
She added that care packages from her family now cost $19, compared to the $11 they used to in 2014.
The saying “time is money” is one Sandra Kanyiginya, junior in international business from Uganda, can now relate to. She says the exchange rate between the U.S. and her home country will affect the amount of time she gets to spend at Pitt State.
“I used to come here with a bank draft, now I use a payment plan,” Kanyiginya said. “The earlier I graduate, the better.”
The current rate is 2,875 Ugandan shillings per U.S. dollar.
Kanyiginya says she relies on her father, back home in Uganda,
to support her while she attends school and searches for a job in the states.
“I can’t really be assured of having money each month,” Kanyiginya said.
She added the recent drop in the shilling was surprising, since it normally fluctuates only slightly. The most recent fluctuation, however, was 575 shillings.
“It’s just something I’m used to watching now,” she said. “I try my best to save my dad a dollar.”
Kanyiginya says she has cut back on eating out and made other adjustments to save money.
“I used to send gifts back home, but I can’t anymore,” she said.
- Taking the Plunge
| Gretchen Burns reporter |
Kelsie Hendryx says she was surprised by the pool’s cold temperature when she submerged herself in the water during the ninth annual Polar Bear Plunge on Saturday, Feb. 14, at the Crimson Villas.
“It was a little chilly,” said Hendryx, sophomore in elementary education. “I thought it was going to be a lot warmer because of the weather.”
A plunger, Kirsten Farley, sophomore in psychology, agreed.
“You hit the water and your body just tenses up,” she said.
The Polar Bear Plunge is a community-wide fundraiser benefiting Special Olympics. Those who “take the plunge” are required to raise $75 (per participant if plunging in a group) and as a reward are given the chance to dive into the Crimson Villas’ pool … in Kansas in winter. Participants also receive a commemorative sweatshirt to help dry off.
This year’s plunge began at noon with the Frontenac Fire Department continuing its tradition of jumping in first. Department members stripped down to T-shirts, shorts and firefighter hats. This year before the firefighters jumped, their fire chief turned a hose on them “in case anyone needed an incentive to jump.”
After the firefighters’ plunge, the participants continued to be men of service by dumping two large coolers of ice into the water, effectively changing the temperature from 31 degrees to 28.
“The ice in a way helps insulate the water and keep it cold,” said John Lair, director of the Pittsburg Polar Plunge.
Twenty-six teams and eight individuals were registered for this year’s event in which nearly $40,000 was raised. Costumes this year included hippies, a man dressed in an American flag helmet, suspenders, socks, shoes, cape and speedo and campus sororities wearing event-made T-shirts.
Lair says much of the planning for the Polar Bear Plunge is done throughout the year, based on the previous year’s attendance and conditions, such as weather.
“About two weeks before the Plunge, we start looking into what the weather could be like,” he said. “You never know what Kansas weather could be like.”
The weather was the most anti-climatic in Polar Bear Plunge history, with a pleasantly warm February day, compared to a few years ago when it was barely eight degrees outside. Lair says in the earlier years of the plunge the pool filters were not kept running year-long as they now are, and that year a full foot of ice was on top of the water.
“It took us about 12 hours to be able to chip out only half of the pool so it could be used,” Lair said.
- Senators push for Lifeline 911 at Higher Ed Day
| Audrey Dighans copy editor |
Several senators from Pittsburg State University’s Student Government Association (SGA) traveled to Topeka last Tuesday, Feb. 10, for Higher Education Day.
PSU was one of seven universities to attend this year’s Higher Ed Day where student senators lobbied more than 100 state legislators for the creation of a “Lifeline 911 Law,” tax rebates on textbooks and a push for no further cuts to be made in higher education funding.
“Higher Education Day is organized by the state schools’ student governments to lobby for things students care about,” said Michael Giffin, senior in chemistry and legislative affairs director for SGA. “Issues are selected at monthly Student Advisory Council meetings in Topeka, meetings legislative affairs directors and presidents of the Regents Schools and Washburn University attend.”
Most of Pitt State’s delegation was in strong favor of Lifeline 911, a policy that would offer immunity from specific charges, such as minor in possession or consumption, if pre-established conditions and cooperation with law enforcement are met. Lifeline 911 is designed to encourage those who drink underage to seek medical attention if they or a friend are at risk for alcohol poisoning
“It is meant to give underage residents the peace of mind to seek medical attention,” said Kyle Hostetler, junior in graphic design and marketing and public relations director for SGA.
Giffin says support for Lifeline 911 was immense.
“It has the potential to save student lives,” he said. “Lifeline 911 started out as an SGA initiative at K-State and has already been presented to the House and Senate judiciary committees and has the potential to pass in both houses.”
Although Giffin was one of many seasoned Higher Ed Day veterans, for some of the PSU delegation this was a new experience.
“For me Higher Ed Day was something I never heard about,” said Mazhar Ladji, graduate student in international business. “Since I am an international student I was eager to see how resolutions are passed and voted on and as a PSU student I was eager to participate and make myself count.”
Ladji says every issue lobbied for at Higher Ed Day affects students directly.
“SGA works for making the student experience throughout university better,” Ladji said. “I think students should show more concern for Higher Ed Day because it has the chance to influence future laws that will affect their education.”
“The more interest and involvement from students, the better they will be represented by us (SGA),” he said.
Giffin added that even though legislators did not take the bait for the other lobbied topics, the catch of the day was the support for Lifeline 911 from not only both the Senate and the House, but from both parties.
“After our lobbying for it at Higher Ed Day, I think it will be a very realistic outcome,” he said.
- Horrible act of violence
Muslim students react to Chapel Hill killings
| Valli Sridharan reporter |
Three students were killed at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C., on Tuesday, Feb. 10. This would have led to a typical criminal investigation.
What made this case stand out was the potential role religion may have played in taking the lives of these students: Yusor Mohammad Abu-salha, 21; her husband, Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19.
Although it is not yet clear if this was a religious hate crime or just an argument over a parking space that got out of control, Muslim students at PSU say they feel agitated.
“Being a Muslim is not a problem in itself,” said Islam Younis, Intensive English Program student. “What if a Muslim killed three people in North Carolina? Would Craig Hicks have been described as a Muslim or as an emotionally disturbed man?”
Hicks, 46, the man charged in the murder, was one of the victims’ neighbor.
Students here say they believe religion was the real motive.
“Honestly, I fail to accept three people being killed over a parking spot,” said Mazhar Ladji, graduate student in business administration. “That is a lame reason to end three lives. It’s sad to see Muslims being seen differently. There should not be any bias for anybody based on religion, color or race. It’s a free country and I feel everyone should be respected and treated equally.”
The incident also brought up the issue of gun privileges.
“This story shows that the gun policy here in the U.S.A. is dangerous,” said Leo Asselin, graduate student in business administration. “A spark can create horrible things. In France, it’s forbidden for even basic policemen to carry guns. Only national policemen are allowed.”
While many Muslims say they feel threatened, domestic students say they want to assure Muslims that they are not blind to such heinous acts of violence.
“As an American, I am shamed by this behavior,” said Linda Muffoletto, graduate student in clinical mental health counseling. “As a Christian, I share the fear that many Muslims might feel right now, and as a person, I feel compassion and sorrow for the loss of all the lives involved.
“I think we have to keep fighting to spread awareness of the value of diversity and combat the evil of hatred.”
Stephen Harmon, associate professor of history, says such attacks are dangerous not just to Muslims but to America as a whole.
“The war is not against Christians and Muslims,” he said. “It is between the extremists and moderates within Islam. Violent acts like this give the extremists an excuse to further their cause. They have more reasons to appeal to youth to join terrorist organizations.”
He says America should act responsibly during these tough times.
“Our citizens should not give extremist
elements any reason to appeal to the youth,” Harmon said. “And Muslims should isolate the terrorist organizations. I can see that it is happening, but it needs to continue.”
“Muslims are being targeted because of what ISIS is doing. And of course 9/11,” said
Mohammad Alidrous, junior in electrical engineering. “These groups claim to be Islamic but they are not. Islam is a peaceful religion and the Quran (the holy book of Muslims) tells one innocent life killed is equivalent to killing the whole of humanity and saving one life is like saving the whole mankind.”A grand jury indicted Hicks on Monday, Feb. 16. On his Facebook page, Hicks describes himself as a “gun-toting atheist” who criticizes all religions,including Islam and Christianity.
Some Muslims on campus say that the attacks in Chapel Hill brought the problems of discrimination and differential treatment to the forefront.
“The problem is people form judgments,” Younis said. “People don’t even bother to go and look what real Islam is. One question that I’ve been asked all the time since I got here is if I carry weapons all the time.”
The role of the media has been important in this, according to students.
“Movies like ‘American Sniper’ are not helping us. It has increased hate crimes,” said Mohammad Alneari, graduate student in physics.
The funeral for the three victims was held in the Islamic Center of Raleigh, N.C. More than 5,000 people from various countries, religions and political affiliations attended.
“I know many terrorists are Muslims. But not all Muslims are terrorists,” said Danyal Ejaz, graduate student in construction. “We work hard and try to make a future in this country. And we want to be treated equally.
“Is that too much to ask?”
- Snow day.. or not
| Gretchen Burn reporter |
April Huninghake braved the snow on Monday morning and drove to school despite bad road conditions.
“It was OK when I went to work this morning, but when I left work to come here, I had to clean off my car again,” said Huninghake, senior in commercial art and graphic communications. “The roads were scary to drive on.”
Classrooms across the campus were either canceled or had few students attending because of the weather.
Royce Parker received the call that early morning classes were canceled and the university wouldn’t open until 10 a.m. and she still attended her class for the day.
“It was difficult getting to class,” said Parker, senior in English. “My car skidded and slid a majority of the way to school. I took Joplin because it was highly traveled but I still slid through a stop sign into an intersection.”
Parker said that she appreciated that the university left the decision of canceling class to the professors. But she felt the roads weren’t cleared and were a danger to commuting students.
“I know my professors would have been understanding if I had told them I couldn’t make it to class,” Parker said. “However, I have friends whose professors are not as understanding and didn’t excuse their absences.”
President Steve Scott said that several years ago, the university didn’t close at all even for snow days.
“Our No. 1 concern is that we want the campus to be safe,” said Scott. “We want to be in business. We want the doors to be open and we want classes to be under way. We’re very sensitive to the fact that students are paying tuition to have classes under way”
Scott said that on early mornings when bad weather occurs, he and other campus leaders ride around in a car to determine the conditions around Pittsburg State for students, faculty and staff.
“There is a specific protocol that we follow each time that we do get a snowfall,” Scott said. “At 4:45 a.m. we’re out in the car driving the campus.”
Monday’s decision to not cancel classes, Scott said, was made before 6 a.m. and was before the next snowfall occurred.
“As we drove the campus, we saw the amount of snow which was only about three inches at the time at 5 o’clock,” said Scott. “They were trying to gauge how long it would take to clean up.”
The group made calculations for what was seen, estimates for what was coming and the university’s capacity to clear the campus streets, sidewalks and parking lots of snow. They also tried to figure out what was going to happen regionally, what the roads looked like, and how quickly the city was going to clean streets up.
The group tried to make the decision early and commit to it so that students who were commuting could have enough time to arrive.
“We thought that if we held off the campus opening until 10 o’clock that we could have everything cleaned up, but you just can’t determine if you will have one or even four inches extra of snow,” said Scott. “By 10, we felt that we could get everything done, the sidewalks cleared and the parking lots, and we did, even with the extra snow.”
Scott said it would have been better if the group waited until later in the day to open the campus.
Even though her early classes were canceled, Jessica Valentine could not travel to her classes until late in the afternoon because the sidewalks were not clear for her wheelchair. She was not pleased with the decision to not cancel classes.
“It was difficult to roll over the slushy parts,” said Valentine, junior in social work. “For people who have to commute and the disabled, it should have been canceled.”
Through calls, text messages, emails, and social media postings, university officials said they understood if students could not attend classes.
Jesse Morland didn’t know what the morning roads were like due to canceled classes, but learned from his roommates that they were messy.
“By the afternoon, the roads were fairly cleaned off and I had no problems,” said Morland, senior in biology. “My noon class had only about six of 30 kids attend the class.”
Scott said that the real heroes on Monday were the workers who were out scraping off the sidewalks and clearing the campus.
We have just a terrific group of individuals who work in our landscaping area,” said Scott. “In the summer, they’re planting, they’re weeding, they’re mowing, they’re developing new beds, putting in sod and all of those things. But in the winter, they’re the ones who remove the snow and they’re the ones who are out there at 5 o’clock in the morning, they deserve a lot of praise and appreciation for the work they do for us.”
- Club presidents react to new allocation process
| Tyler Koester |
Effective this semester, clubs and organizations across campus have had to accept a twist on the group allocations process.
For any campus group to receive its piece of the $60,000 up for allocations this year, it must send a delegate to no fewer than three Student Government Association (SGA) meetings.
This new requirement came about last semester when SGA’s former campus affairs director Elle Walker met with student organization presidents. At this meeting a suggestion was made to require that organizations begin attending SGA meetings.
“The original idea presented to her (Walker) was to have student organizations attend every SGA meeting,” said Austin Bailey, SGA treasurer. “However, we did not feel like it was just to have them come to every single one.”
The attendance idea was a process that transitioned from Walker championing it to Bailey, as Walker graduated this past December. Bailey presented the idea to the finance committee of nine senators who represent every college on campus. The committee determined it was a good idea.
Bailey says putting this new rule into effect will benefit the students in more ways than they think.
“What students get by coming to these meetings are two things,” he said, “the first being, I give a short presentation on how to do a certain part of the allocations process better, based upon issues that I saw last semester. The second thing is that they are more informed about the issues facing this campus.”
Not every organization, however, is thrilled with the new requirement.
“I haven’t been to the SGA meetings this semester yet,” said Mary Owens, president of the PSU Gay-Straight Alliance. “I don’t really understand why going to those meetings equates to getting allocations.”
Owens says her main criticism of the rule is that not every organization may have a member free to attend SGA’s meetings, which begin at 7 p.m. Wednesdays in Russ Hall, room 401.
“The Gay-Straight Alliance is a tiny organization,” Owens said. “This new rule requires one of us to go to the meeting, but we really only had one person available to do that. Which makes me question, what if an organization has no one who can go?”
Owens added that allocations are everything for her club.
“Without them, our club really wouldn’t exist or be able to do the events that it does,” she said.
Despite the kinks that come with any new policy, other students see a benefit in the requirement.
Bobbi Jo Smith, president of the Public Relations and Advertising club, says she sees many future benefits for campus, but for right now it is more of a mess.
“When the changes first came out, everyone seemed confused on SGA’s behalf,” Smith said. “They told different stories of what we would have to do. Also, they want clubs to show up at these meetings and if we can’t make them we are supposed to schedule a time with them, but when a club tries to schedule with them, they don’t have time.”
Bailey says he believes these changes will benefit campus organizations and the student body, despite the oppositions.
- Administrative changes.. again
| Kelsea Renz editor in chief |
Pittsburg State University is seeing major changes in its administration.
| Kathleen Flannery |
Howard Smith, dean of the College of Education is the second administrator within two weeks to moving to Missouri Southern. He was named one of the four finalists for the academic affairs position at MSSU on Wednesday, Feb. 4.
The Collegio was unable to reach Smith for comment.
Before Smith, Brad Hodson, former vice president of advancement, resigned suddenly to accept the executive vice president position at Missouri Southern.
“Timing is everything in anything,” said Kathleen Flannery, interim vice president of advancement. “Roles became available over there and we’ve got some wonderful people over here, so I’m sure they’ve courted a variety of our administrators.”
The university accepted Hodson’s resignation, which was effective immediately, on Friday, Jan. 30.
The Collegio has been unable to reach Hodson for comment.
Shortly after Hodson’s resignation, Flannery was asked to assume the interim position. She was later asked to also accept the role president and CEO of the PSU Foundation Inc.
“It’s been a bit of a whirlwind. I’ve learned a great deal already in the week that I’ve been in the role, but it has only been a week so I’m still not totally settled yet,” Flannery said. “But I’m excited about the opportunity and I’ll do my best to live up to everyone’s faith in me.”
Because her position is interim, Flannery is being careful to set short-term goals that will collaborate with the position’s previous long-term and the university’s long-term goals.
“I hope I do a good enough job that I fulfill everyone’s faith and confidence in me, but I don’t want to look down that road too far because I’m not certain what the future holds,” she said. “It’s a little too early for me to have definitive plans…but I want to make sure that we don’t lose momentum.”
Flannery is also holding her previous position as executive director of university development until the university is able to find someone to fill the position.
“I’m hoping to have somebody to take some of that leadership. We have a wonderful strategic plan in place, so in the short term, we need to figure out what our next steps are to support that strategic plan,” she said. “I just want to continue growing and moving forward and supporting the students and university in any way that we can.”
In addition to filling suddenly vacated positions, the university also recently filled a position that has been open for several months.
Nora Hatton was appointed as director of assessment on Friday, Feb. 6.
“My immediate goal and probably throughout the course of this semester is to get a sense of the university’s culture and how I can fit into that culture and be of help,” she said. “What my job is and what my intent is as a person is to be helpful.”
Though she has only held the position for a week, Hatton already has long-term goals set.
“Pitt State has worked diligently to develop assessment patterns and to use said assessment process to inform decisions so that you see changes in curriculum or in programming across campus and such,” she said. “My hope is to extend that so that the most organic, natural response to decision-making is to look at the data we have and then make our choices based on that.”
Amid all these changes, the administration, especially the new appointees, remains positive.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for me to learn more about what is going on across the divisions across the campus,” Flannery said. “I’m able to have more of a voice and it’s a wonderful opportunity for me to be able to learn more and advocate more for our division.”