PittOpinion

  • Out with the old In with the new

    | Kelsea Renz editor-in-chief |

    I came in as editor last semester overwhelmed with the responsibility of leading an entire staff and putting an award-winning publication together each week.

    Audrey Diggins, junior in graphic communications, takes over the Editor and Chief position for the 2015-2016 year from Kelsea Renz, junior in international business, 2014-2015 Editor and Chief.

    Audrey Diggins, junior in graphic communications, takes over the Editor and Chief position for the 2015-2016 year from Kelsea Renz, junior in international business, 2014-2015 Editor and Chief.

    But throughout the semester I gained confidence and skills that I could take to any job I may seek in the future. It has been a great honor to serve in this role, as a leader of the Collegio and of the student body. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as an advocate for and bearer of information to the student body.
    As the semester is winding down, I’ve had a chance to look through all that the Collegio has been able to accomplish, not only this semester but last as well. Last semester I, through the Collegio, was able to bring to light information about the fraud scandal of the former MBA director and share the story of a young girl trapped in a custody battle between the U.S. and Israel.
    This semester, I had the privilege to conduct a personal interview with former first lady Laura Bush. Others on my staff developed articles on hard-hitting issues such as sexual assault, women in technology, the gay marriage cases in the Supreme Court, massive budget cuts that will affect everyone on campus and discrimination based on race and religion.
    We were there with the unveiling of the Andy Warhol painting at the new Bicknell Family Center for the Arts. We were given the exclusive opportunities to photograph the illusionist Reza for longer than and from different angles from all other publications and to have a personal interview with Stomp.
    Through it all I have tried to stay focused on the student body. You are the ones who this publication is for. This is my last paper as editor, but I will not be going away completely. I know that the next editor will do a fantastic job keeping the Collegio centered on the students, and I will be doing my best to help her in any way I can.
    I will miss being in the role of editor, though maybe not so much the stress that comes with it, but the beauty of this publication is that it allows so many people the opportunity to lead in their own unique way.
    So there will be some changes coming up. There will be a new standard for this publication and a new way of doing things; even the level of the stories will be different. But, just as the Collegio changes with each new editor and with the ever-different student body, I hope that you, the students, will change with us and we can work with each other to increase our knowledge and further our skills.

     

    | Audrey Dighans copy editor |

    As the newly appointed editor-in-chief of the Collegio I would just like to express my enthusiasm to the entire campus for my new job.
    I joined the Student Publications (SPUB) staff in January 2013, as a freshman. It was actually my resident assistant who encouraged me to apply. Thank you so much, Sara Liming, for pushing me. Joining SPUB has made my college experience. They always tell you to be involved and to find “that organization.” Well, SPUB is that organization for me.
    While working for the Collegio and SPUB I have been a designer, a reporter, a Kanza yearbook writer, a photographer and for the past two years copy editor. In short, I’m everywhere, all the time, doing something, getting that something done by Wednesday night, and ready to go again for the next week’s paper by Thursday morning. And I will continue to be as editor-in-chief.
    My goals for my tenure as editor include boosting the number of employees at SPUB (get your application in today!) to enable our staff to collectively cover more of what you, the students, are doing at Pitt State. This is the student newspaper, and all of you deserve to be in it and have your accomplishments covered.
    I hope to bring readership levels higher as well; to bring newspaper-reading “back from the dead,” so to speak. If you haven’t heard, both the Collegio and the Kanza are award-winning publications. We clean up well at the Kansas Collegiate Media conference every year with silver and gold awards. This past year we have broken stories and news with better interviews and more in-depth coverage than some of the professional papers in our area. Our staff has the drive to do the best journalism they can. That drive is the exact work ethic instilled in me that I hope to instill it in all staff members, current and new.
    Perhaps the greatest goal I have set is in fact to win the All-Kansas Gold award at the KCM conference. We’ve won silver for the past five years, it is time for a gold.
    It goes without saying that I have a lot to learn for this job; there are a lot of meetings I have never been a part of, a lot of press releases that will soon swamp my e-mail account – there are even e-mail accounts I will be in control of managing now that I’m editor, not to mention a bunch of enthusiastic journalists in the SPUB office. There is a lot to do, but trust me, I have been waiting to do all of it eagerly.
    So be on the lookout Pitt State, I may be small but I have big expectations for the Collegio, for myself and for you. You are our primary source afterall.

  • Lambda Chi: not just one big party

    Lambda Chi Alpha, Zeta chapter, of Pittsburg State University, has accomplished many things this year.
    This spring semester, Lambda Chi Alpha was able to donate 1,500 pounds of food to its philanthropy organization Feeding America. This will be added onto the chapter’s running total of 6,600 pounds donated last semester.
    The chapter is looking to reach the plus 10,000-pound goal this coming year with its annual philanthropy events “Watermelon Bust” and “Western Week and Wesley House.” The partnership with Wesley House has aided the chapter by allowing them opportunities to help the community.
    The chapter was also able to spread the word of sexual assault awareness through Oval time with the help of Alpha Gamma Delta-Epsilon Kappa sorority, while participating with other campus organizations, including Pitt Pals.
    Every week Lambda Chi Alpha sends three or four members to the Wesley House to help serve food on Thursday nights. The whole chapter looks to get more involved with Wesley House because the opportunities to help people through them are endless. We expect to send more guys and participate in different events that Wesley House provides.
    During the campus’s Order of Omega awards ceremony, the chapter received awards for Chapter Excellence in Membership Education, Campus Involvement, and Community Service/Philanthropy. Along with these awards the chapter was named the Greek Week Champions for the third year in a row as well as back-to-back Fraternity of the Year. The combination of the awards and community service has allowed Lambda Chi Alpha national recognition from its international headquarters and was granted a section in the national magazine Cross and Crescent.
    Community Service/Philanthropy is an award that Lambda Chi Alpha is proud to have obtained. The chapter has been able to participate in many community service events this semester that has accumulated a total of 610 hours. One of the most recent events include a contracted highway cleanup with Kansas Department of Transportation’s Adopt a Highway. Lambda Chi Alpha was able to pick up trash on a 2-mile stretch of highway east of Arma, just south of the Dollar General on 69 highway.
    With all of this said, Lambda Chi Alpha has been able to give me the opportunity to succeed and grow as a leader, man and steward of the community.
    Greek life in general is doing great things and changing individual lives for the better. This organization has allowed me to get involve with the community but also with getting involved on campus. Participating in Greek life has enhanced my skills and attributes that it will take to be a successful manager and leader.

    Christian Tavernaro is a junior in business management.

  • Poetry in the storm

    | Charles A. Ault reporter |

    Sally Keith’s poetry reading on Thursday, April 2, had a bit of an unexpected audience as many students sought refuge in the basement of Overman Student Center from the evening’s tornado warnings.
    “Things happen in poetry,” said Keith. “I have never had a tornado warning interruption but I thought the atmosphere was great.”
    Aside from the ominous black clouds and storm alert warnings going off on the audience’s cellular devices, Keith’s reading of her work “River House,” continued without any other unplanned hiccups.
    The evening started with Keith listing some of the influences of her poetry.
    “In this last piece, my mother was a major influence,” she said. “Also nature sometimes and things I read. In this last book, it was also an acting class I took, so everything influences my poetry.”
    Keith’s reading was originally scheduled for the newly renovated Governors Room on the second level of the student center. In spite of the move, many students say the reading was actually improved by the alternative setup.
    “I’ve never been to a reading in the basement with everyone just sitting on the floor before,” said Kaitlyn Roth, graduate student in poetry. “It was kind of cool. There’s a sense of community when writers come to do a reading and everyone’s like, ‘Yeah, I’ll just sit on the floor through a tornado and it’s fine, I’ll just make it work.’ I like that, I think that’s awesome.”
    Elizabeth Banks, senior in creative writing, agreed with Roth.
    “This was a lot more intimate and a lot more casual and cool,” Banks said. “I really enjoyed it.”
    Thursday was the first time Keith has read from “River House,” her latest collection of poetry, in public.
    “I was really impressed with her reading,” said Shannon Ahlstedt, senior in marketing. “I think she did a wonderful job of just calming down the room and her poems are beautiful.”
    Ahlstedt added she enjoyed the impact the emotional content of the poems had, many of which were written after Keith’s mother died.
    “She really made you feel like she had a connection with her mother in a lot of her poems,” Ahlstedt said. “I think you really get a feeling of how much she cared for her mother and it came through in her poetry.”
    Other poems of Keith’s discussed travels to Europe and staying with friends in Spain.
    “She talked a lot about her personal life and I liked the ones where she talked about when she went to Spain,” said Lindsy Rommel, freshman undeclared. “I think she did a really good job explaining and described things really well.”
    Before her reading Thursday night, Keith sat in on a class in the English Department. She has also served as a judge for Pitt State’s literary magazine, the Cow Creek Review.”Keith’s participation, along with the chance of extra credit, intrigued students to attend the reading.
    “She was the judge for the Cow Creek Review so I was really interested to come and hear her speak and I’m really glad that I did,” Banks said. “Her poems were very sad but they of course were very well written.”

  • Owning pets in college: good or bad?

    | Tyler Koester reporter |

    For some students owning a pet is a source of comfort during stressful times. For others, a pet is a way of filling the nostalgia gap after being used to living in a household with pets. In these cases, dogs really are “man’s best friend,” but owning a pet while maintaining a college career offers just as many disadvantages as advantages.

    Taylor Zingg and Lindsey Gordon, both graduate students in human prefitness and wellness, walk their dog Gus on Tuesday April 7 near the oval.

    Taylor Zingg and Lindsey Gordon, both graduate students in human prefitness and wellness, walk their dog Gus on Tuesday April 7 near the oval.


    Pets can be a cause of great financial weight.
    According to raisingspot.com, dogs can cost approximately $660 to $5,270 for the first year of ownership. These prices might be disconcerting to students working part time and going to school, which leads into another disadvantage of owning pets: finding the time to pay attention to and love them.
    These were the exact problems Heather Paschal and her boyfriend found themselves with after they adopted a border collie mix, Deuce.
    Paschal, junior in history, says their inability to care for him caused them to rehome him with another family.
    “I would say that caring for Deuce really did affect my schoolwork,” Paschal said. “I started spending more of my time trying to make sure that he was not cooped up too much while I was at school. I don’t feel like I gave him enough attention, which was another reason that I had to rehome him.”
    Paschal added that she feels she couldn’t have given Deuce away to better people.
    “The family we gave him to have children he just adores and acres where he can run so he’s not cooped up anymore,” Paschal said. “Ultimately, it still hurts us, but we know he is living a much better life than we could give him right now.”
    Another student, Maggie Detrick, senior in elementary education, is proud to own her Australian Shepard mix, Charleigh, and her Chatahula mix, Pepper.
    Detrick says that although caring for them comes with their costs, she feels she made the right decision in adopting them.
    “Having pets does present a challenge, but it also presents the need for time management skills,” Detrick said. “I have to remember to make time to take them outside for walks and some cuddle time, they will not stand for being ignored.”
    Detrick added she sees her dogs as a perfect diversion from her studies.
    “They provide those much needed study breaks for when my brain becomes fried from studying,” Detrick said. “Overall, I do not regret my decision to adopt these two pups.”
    While the expenses add a checkmark in the con category, owning a pet while in school can add a checkmark in the pro: health benefits. No matter how stressed out a student is, being greeted at the front door by a furry friend with his or her tail wagging is often a positive uplift to relieve stress.

  • Elephants on parade through Porter Hall

    | Gretchen Burns reporter |

    Ceramic elephants balance on their front feet in the University Gallery of Porter Hall and have attracted the attention of many students, faculty, and city residents.
    The elephants and other pieces in the University Gallery are part of the solo exhibition of artist Ariel Bowman in her show “A Magnificent Migration.”
    Bowman appeared at Pitt State on Thursday, April 2, to give a

    Jacob Wylie, junior in chemistry, admires A Magnificent Migration in the lower level of Porter Hall on Tuesday, March 31.

    Jacob Wylie, junior in chemistry, admires A Magnificent Migration in the lower level of Porter Hall on Tuesday, March 31.

    lecture to students about her work, which includes ceramics and drawings depicting bizarre sideshow acts, flying-trapeze artists, elephants, clowns and jugglers.
    “I grew up in Texas and I had a ridiculous amount of pets,” Bowman said. “I had everything from turkeys, ducks and chickens to horses, cats and dogs. I always felt I connected with animals more than people.”
    Bowman credited her artistic interest to her parents and growing up in a home where art was a subject adored by all.
    “Both of my parents are artists,” she said. “My dad works with wood and old furniture in restoration and my mom works with ceramics.”
    Bowman received her bachelor of fine arts at the Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI). While at the KCAI, she studied abroad at the International Ceramics Studio in Hungary and was awarded the Regina K. Brown NCECA undergraduate fellowship.
    Since finishing her undergraduate education, Bowman has been an artist in residence at the Armory Art Center and her work has been collected by the Kamm Teapot Foundation, the Belger Arts Center and the Kolva-Sullivan Collection.
    “While I was studying ceramics at the Kansas City Art Institute, I learned that ceramics didn’t mean that I always had to make pots,” she laughed.
    Bowman took a class from Beth Cavaner Stitchter and watched as her instructor made large ceramic pieces that looked incredibly life-like. Bowman decided that was what she wanted to do with her life and wanted to sculpt on a large scale.
    She discovered that she loved learning about prehistoric creatures and what they supposedly looked like. In particular, she found she enjoyed prehistoric elephants and she began to include several eras of elephants in her sculptures, including one that put four into a single piece.
    “I like the romantic idea of unrestricted nature,” she said.
    To research the prehistoric animals, Bowman went to the Natural History Museum in Paris and even watched the Disney film “Dumbo”.
    “I fell in love with the idea that elephants that weren’t alive at the same time were all together in one piece,” Bowman said.
    Many of her pieces are inspired with real circus acts and posters.
    “An element of the circus in each of these sculptures represents the wonder found in discovering prehistoric animals, and their amazing feats of evolution,” Bowman said.
    She has created an odd technique. She creates a solid bust of the animal and then hollows out the interior until there is only a quarter of an inch thickness.
    “The brightly colored drapery that adorns the broad back of an ancient giant brings about the impossible idea of a prehistoric circus,” Bowman said, “a tragic circus lost in time along with the animals themselves.
    “Colors and intricate patterns are fading; the paint peels and wood rots away under heavy feet and wrinkled hide. These sculptures express the joy I find in the animal form, and lavish decorations celebrate them as the greatest show on earth.”
    Robby Raio, senior in 3-D art, enjoyed learning about how she created her pieces in a way that not many other people did.
    “I liked that she brought prehistoric animals back to life with her exhibit,” Raio said. “I just couldn’t get over the fact that she chose the circus as her theme even though she expressed a great love for nature and animals.”

  • Students evaluate teacher evaluations

    | Gretchen Burns reporter |

    Every semester it’s the same thing: No. 2 pencil, sheet with bubbles, professor not allowed in the classroom and a random student employee passing out teacher evaluations.
    On Wednesday, Feb. 4, Dylan McCollar, academic affairs director for the Student Government Association (SGA), gave a report to the Senate about the importance of teacher evaluations and he came with Provost Lynette Olson’s responses to the Senate’s questions about evaluations.
    McCollar said teacher evaluations are important to the university, but students should realize that it takes about two years for a “bad” faculty member to be put on an improvement plan.
    “Olson said students also fail to take the evaluations as seriously as they should,” McCollar, junior in nursing, said.
    McCollar says one of SGA’s goals should be to make it clear that all students need to take evaluations seriously so that the university gets accurate information and can make good use of them.
    One student who does take evaluations seriously, Lauren Jenkins, says she is careful to provide honest feedback about all of her professors.
    “I take the evaluations seriously because I want to inform our educators of their strengths and weaknesses, so that they can excel,” Jenkins, junior in psychology, said. “I view it as a privilege to do what I can to help our teachers improve, but I know not every student has that mentality.”
    Olson, vice president of academic affairs, says the administration periodically revisits the instruments used to evaluate a teacher’s success in the classroom.
    “A some point, the system may change, but that change isn’t going to be able to happen very fast,” she said. “If we make the change from our current program, we will have to do a lot of research on the subject.”
    Olson added current teacher evaluations are accessed through Wichita State University and are conducted with paper and pencils. Different forms of the evaluations that have been suggested, include incorporating an Internet version through GUS or Canvas accounts, would not only allow for evaluations of full-time professors but also adjuncts.
    Catie Mellot says she has noticed that students leave more complaints than compliments when they fill out teacher evaluations.
    “People are really good at being unaware of the little or big flaws that they have,” Mellot, senior in accounting, said. “Students usually give good reviews when the professor deserves them, but do not leave compliments or constructive criticism. When the professor is mediocre or bad, the students will fill the comment sheet with complaints and tend to overlook the good aspects of the class and the professor.”
    Lauren Downing, senior in commercial graphics, says she feels evaluations are fine as they are beneficial for future students.
    “I just think that it is important to encourage students to write more than a few words so that the process of evaluations is not a complete waste,” she said.
    Other students such as Lynzee Flores, junior in communication and Spanish, agree that most students put effort in and fill out the short answer sheet, but many are wary that the professor will recognize their handwriting.
    “Sometimes we are concerned that those forms are screened and edited, especially if they are more opinion-based rather than constructive criticism and the professor might not see the real issue if there is one,” Flores said.

  • Flannery appointed interim VP for university advancements

    | Gretchen Burns reporter |

    Kathleen Flannery was recently appointed to the position of interim vice president for the Office of University Advancement, along with the position of president and CEO of the PSU Foundation.
    Having previously been employed as the executive director of university advancement, Flannery says she is excited to have been chosen for her new roles and looks forward to what she will be able to help the PSU Foundation accomplish.
    “It’s only been a few weeks for me but I’ve really enjoyed it,” she said. “It’s been challenging for me so far, but it’s been a great opportunity for me.”
    Throughout her career at Pitt State, Flannery has worked in several departments including the International Office, Campus Activities and the Continuing and Graduate Studies Office.
    “My perspective has been broadened by all of my experience and I brought all of that to this role,” Flannery said. “That’s one of my unique abilities, is to bring all of that experience to bear in this role and then try to advocate for the university and all of the areas that I have the ability to impact.”
    As the interim vice president for university advancement, Flannery overseas many departments at Pitt State such as Career Services, The Alumni and Constituent Relations Office, the Center for Information and Business Development, the Kansas Polymer Research Center, Marketing and Communication, the Office of University Development and any other department categorized as university advancement.
    Flannery says she was surprised with the number of responsibilities that came with her job.
    “There are a variety of projects that I hadn’t been aware of in my prior role that I’m becoming more aware of,” she said. “I’m becoming more involved. It’s really exciting. Even in the few weeks that I’ve been in the role, I’ve learned a great deal.”
    Flannery added she has been handling the change of positions very well with the support of other faculty and friends.
    “Professionally, I want to make sure that we don’t lose any of the momentum that we had,” Flannery said. “It’s all gone very well, but the challenge is having enough time during the day to get things done and making sure that nothing falls through the cracks.”
    With all the new things to hustle and bustle about too, Flannery says she and her husband, Jeff Steinmiller, director of Overman Student Center, still make time to spend together.
    “We try to have lunch, occasionally I will run over to the Student Center and I’ll grab something in the Crossing as often as I can,” Flannery said. “We’ve always done that with our family. We’ve both been a working couple family, but we know what our responsibilities are.”
    Flannery says her secondary role as president and CEO of the PSU Foundation is to help the organization obtain funds from donors to support Pitt State.
    Money raised for the foundation is channeled back into the university via scholarships, paying bills from the recently completed Bicknell Center, as well as many other capital projects.
    “It’s been a great opportunity for me and I look forward to serving in this role for the next year or so, and I don’t know what the future will bring, but I hope that I am still in this role in a year,” she said.

  • Technology becoming issue in classrooms

    | Gretchen Burns reporter |

    Scrolling through Facebook.
    Scrolling through text messages.
    Scrolling through Twitter.

    While some classrooms ban the use of technology in the classroom, other classrooms promote the use of technology in the classroom. Pieces of technology, such as iPads and smartboards, are key tools in Mathematical Software/Hardware.

    While some classrooms ban the use of technology in the classroom, other classrooms promote the use of technology in the classroom. Pieces of technology, such as iPads and smartboards, are key tools in Mathematical Software/Hardware.


    Across campus, professors are tired of students scrolling while they are teaching.
    Donald Baack, professor of management and marketing, does not allow the use of any technology in his classroom. He says his decision to “ban” technology is based upon a larger policy in his classroom: courtesy, which includes not being tardy, no excessive talking to peers, no passing notes or leaving class early.
    Baack added that his technology policy is based on studies conducted at Princeton and Harvard, which reveal students using laptops for note-taking purposes actually impairs learning.
    “Using a handwriting app on a laptop as an appeasement to technology-addicted students does not carry water. Students could easily use a writing instrument and paper,” Baack quoted from the Washington Post.
    “Laptop and cell phone screens are distracting to fellow students,” Baack said. “As a former actor in college and community theater productions, I was taught that extraneous movement redirects the audience and takes away attention from the person who is speaking. 
    “Laptop users distract those around them through the movements on the screens.  Many not only take notes but also visit favorite web sites and email/text posts.  These movements draw attention away from the lecture for those who are trying to stay focused.”
    Baack says he believes the concept of multi-tasking is a mirage and that students can either do one thing or another, but not both.
    Another reason for Baack’s policy is his dislike of the growing technology addiction among young people.
    “Simply asking students to not use their devices for one hour is more than some can bear – a clear indication of a real addiction problem,” Baack said. “It is not an unfair request for a person to simply put them aside for such a short period of time.
    “My penalty for violating the technology restriction is a grade of F on the next exam. I call them ‘cell phone fatalities.’ I give about three or four each semester. The recipients I genuinely worry…have a real addiction problem.”
    Like Baack, James Oliver also has a technology policy for his courses.
    Stated clearly in Oliver’s, professor of art, course syllabus, “students whose cell phones interrupt class will automatically be counted absent for that day. The student may stay in class but will not receive credit for attending on that day.”
    Oliver says he made this policy after an incident with a student over technology.
    “This stems from several semesters ago,” Oliver said. “The student had missed class on the day of the demo and asked for a repeat. They were behind me looking over my shoulder as I redid the demo and when I looked back to make sure they were understanding the technique, I realized that student had left the room. Another student informed me they had left to take a phone call. The student returned 25 minutes later and wanted me to redo it.
    “I felt this was quite rude; the next semester I inserted the policy in my syllabus and have not had a problem since.”
    In some of Oliver’s classes, students are allowed to utilize technology for class work. Oliver says he does not permit the use of Facebook, texting or taking calls during these times.
    While some professors see themselves in a battle against technology or feel the necessity to monitor it, Joey Poque, associate professor of communication, says he see many benefits of technology used in the classroom as students are quickly able to look up information relevant to the material.
    “Much too often students use technology to escape the classroom experience,” Pogue said. “Technological devices in themselves are neither good nor evil; it is the people who are using them-people with different motives. Some of those motives are good and productive while other motives are bad and destructive.”

  • Correction to ‘Merger’

    | Karl Kunkel |

    The lead article (“English, languages depts. merge”) in the January 29, 2015, Collegio included significant inaccuracies that will mislead students and could irritate various faculty.  I would like to correct these errors.
    1) In the second paragraph, the clause “…the merger was suggested when there was a call for a change in the structure of academics for departments” makes no sense.  No such general “call” occurred. It is more accurate to state a merger between the Department of English and Department of Modern Languages and Literatures was explored as a result of the Fall 2013 program review decision to eliminate the bachelor’s degrees in Spanish and French.
    2) Much of the “tone” in the article awkwardly and inaccurately mixes two separate occurrences and processes.
    The first process is the revision of the modern language degree programs on campus.  The B.A. degrees in Spanish and French are phasing out as a result of the program review process and we now are in the process of seeking final approval for a new comprehensive degree, the bachelor of arts in modern language.  The B.A. in modern language will have two tracks, one in “Language and Culture” and the other in “Secondary Education.”  Each track will have an option in Spanish and one in French. This new degree program has absolutely nothing to do with the current degree program offerings in the former Department of English.
    The second and completely separate process involves administratively merging the former “Department of Modern Languages and Literatures” with the former “Department of English” into a new “Department of English and Modern Languages.” This merger resulted from my administrative decision after receiving input from the faculty in both previous departments including the use of a facilitator. The facilitator came from outside the departments and met with these faculties to gather information about their concerns. My recommendation then was approved by the provost, president’s council, and president before moving to the Kansas Board of Regents level for final approval.  The effective date of the merger was January 12, 2015.  Again, this merger of departments has nothing to do with the newly proposed modern language degree program and has absolutely no effect on current degree programs offered in the English program.
    3) The fourth paragraph in the article is filled with inaccurate, erroneous and possibly inflammatory information.
    First, it states “…the modern languages master’s program was phased out…” There never was a master’s program in this discipline. The bachelor of arts in Spanish and bachelor of arts in French (undergraduate degree programs) were phased out.
    Second, the paragraph states “… both departments began to envision a new comprehensive degree with English and modern language components, since similarities were seen within each degree.”  I have no idea where this idea came from; I certainly did not say that. See the explanation in #2 above.  No changes occurred to the degree programs offered in English and, as I stated in #2 above, this paragraph randomly “mixes and matches” two separate processes.  Part of the decision to merge these departments was based on “academic proximity” of these departments. Both deal with language and both examine literature; however, there is no recent “combined degree” that includes both disciplines.
    4) Several paragraphs later, beginning with “To help cater to students’ wishes….” also includes an inaccuracy.  The referenced task force was formed with stakeholders from across campus having an interest in the future of modern language instruction at Pittsburg State. This task force included modern language faculty as well as representatives from nursing, construction, business, International Programs and Services, and other faculty involved with internationalization. At that time I asked Celia Patterson, who chaired the English Department at that time and now chairs the merged department, to lead this task force.  That group provided recommendations on the proposed/revised modern language degree program but did not take a stance or make any recommendation on the department merger.
    Overall, I think the article would have been clearer, more accurate, and made more sense if the reporter had not attempted to awkwardly mesh two separate processes, but rather focused on the merger alone.  I discussed the new proposed degree program in the interview with her merely to provide context, but somehow this discussion apparently confused the reporter.

    Karl Kunkel is the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

  • Just keep swimming…across campus

    | Audrey Dighans |

    Yellow tape, hard hats, drilling, sawing and hammering have become part of the day-to-day ambience at Pittsburg State University. The minor inconveniences have started to pay off with the opening of the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts and the still on-time scheduled openings of the Robert W. Plaster Center this spring and the student center next fall.
    However, all this construction has overlooked a variety of much needed campus renovations and projects—Kelce College of Business, Whitesitt Hall and parking to name a few—which has led to many students asking “why this and not…(insert project here)?”
    Steve Scott, university president, has kept the campus and the community up to date on construction progress and how funding was secured for the buildings. He’s even shed light on the university’s master plan (the 2011 PDF is available on the Pitt State website with a quick search), which is exactly what I want to talk about.
    In the Core Campus Area Improvement section of the university’s master plan the first paragraph should allow every business major at PSU to finally exhale. That’s because it clearly states “as older buildings around the quad are systematically renovated …”
    This means Yates, Grubbs, Whitesitt, Heckert-Wells and Kelce (the future of which is described in better detail in the North Campus Area Improvements section) will all be updated once funding is secured and the current campus construction projects are complete.
    However, there is no mention in the core campus improvement section about updating sidewalks and the drainage system. There’s no mention of this at all in the master plan, and if you can remember back to the last thunderstorm, I think you’ll find it should be. Otherwise, there will continue to be generation upon generation of Gorillas “slip-sliding” to class.
    I’m sure many students are more excited for old buildings to be renovated or hoping that the next campus movement for more parking will yield some results. However, my stance on the matter is that the Pitt State’s master plan is “the principal document outlining the university’s direction, policy and action for future facility improvements” and one of these improvements should be keeping the Oval and surrounding campus walkways clear of excess water.
    There are spots, between Whitesitt and McCray halls and on the east side of Russ, that when flooded can become roadblocks. Unless you have big, bulky rain boots on, your feet will get wet, and thousands of feet tracking mud and water inside cause slippery hallways and a lot of cleaning for custodial staff. A flooded campus does little to improve the Oval’s aesthetic and landscaping, something mentioned throughout the master plan.
    PSU should look at this and help prevent the Jungle from being underwater every spring. We’re Gorillas after all, not fish.

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