Star Lumber History
The Center for Entrepreneurship has revived its Business Heritage publication series after a nine-year hiatus. The series, which recognizes local and regional entrepreneurs, has featured 12 books, telling the stories of Fourth National Bank and Trust and the Hesston Corp., among others. Its 13th book, just out, is Building Wichita: The History of Star Lumber and Supply Co. 1939-1999, written by Scott Dalrymple, Beech Professor of Business Administration and chair of the business department at Southwestern College, Winfield, Kan. Copies of the book are available for $14.95 from the center.
After 49 years of service, the Learning Resource Center is being dismantled. For 37 years the LRC was part of University College, offering such programs as ACT preparatory workshops and on-call study skills advising. University College was disbanded in 1998, and the center was integrated into the College of Education. LRC services and staff will blend into various areas of campus as programs are phased out over the next few months. Jon Engelhardt, dean of the College of Education, says, "The simple truth is that in the current economic climate, WSU and the College of Education can no longer afford to do a variety of things that are not central to its mission."
Kudos to Wilhelm
Dr. Bill Wilhelm, dean of the College of Engineering since 1979, has announced that he will retire in June 2000. In addition to his longtime leadership in enhancing academic life within the college, WSU President Don Beggs credits him with helping the university develop strong ties with industry, nasa and the Federal Aviation Administration. Gerald "Skip" Loper, associate vice president for research, will chair the search committee. The goal is to have a new dean in place by July.
The December production of the play "But Dust and Ash" became the first show staged in the new Welsbacher Theatre and provided theater faculty and students the first test of the new space. Located in the Hughes Metropolitan Complex, the theater drew positive responses from many, including Judy Babnich, the associate professor of performing arts who directed the play. "It's a very intimate, wonderful space," she says. Yet there are a few drawbacks. The biggest problem, she explains, is the heat: "It's just that space needs new air conditioning." Other theater-goers noted the limited seating; 100 constitutes a full house. But overall, the new space rates a thumbs up.
Calls for Reinforcements
Raymond Hull, communicative disorders and sciences professor, has been awarded a grant from the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, U.S. Department of Education, to help recruit students to replenish doctoral-educated college and university faculty in the fields of speech-language pathology and audiology at WSU and other colleges nationwide. "The purpose," Hull explains, "is to encourage people at the master's degree level as well as high-level professionals to complete our doctoral program with the specific occupational goal of filling faculty positions."
Turn of the Millennium
Because she's an ancient history expert, Ariel Loftus, assistant professor of history, knows the end of the millennium is months, not days, away. Still, she'll probably celebrate Dec. 31 as the end of the millennium. "I'm a creature of my time," she says. Experts say that technically the end of the millennium isn't until Dec. 31, 2000. But that's not stopping people worldwide, including many of the experts, from celebrating this Dec. 31.
WSU's newest research tool is something called marti, short for Mobile Automated Response Testing Instrument. marti is a high-tech way to evaluate everything from marketing strategies to teaching styles to legal defense arguments. In a nutshell, marti works like this: Audiences give feedback via wireless hand-held keypads about their responses to any number of things. Their input, relayed to marti's computer, can be displayed immediately on a projection screen. Although marti is housed in the basement of Elliott Hall, the system can be set up anywhere because of its wireless nature, making the tool easily available to potential clients in the business, education, legal and government sectors. A grant from Southwestern Bell helped purchase the $50,000 system, and the cost to use marti is $300 an hour or $2,500 a day, not including travel or support staff time. Philip Gaunt, director of the Elliott School of Communication, notes that such systems have been used on the East and West coasts for some time, adding, "There's nothing really like it in the Midwest."