What's New in '96? Tennessee Tech Kicks Off School Year with New Resources, New Opportunities

For anyone connected with education, fall is the season of new beginnings. The many students filling Tennessee Technological University's campus for fall semester are finding new opportunities, new faces and new challenges everywhere they look.

New Opportunities

For example, Education majors at Tennessee Tech discovered six new "21st Century Classrooms" brimming with state-of-the-art computers, CD-ROMs, projection systems, camcorders, digital cameras and more. In these classrooms, the teachers of the future face the technology of the future, learning to use it to its best advantage for educating their own students. Tennessee Tech Alumna Judith Davis donated the funds to outfit the classrooms.

In the College of Business Administration, 56 new computers form a network that links the entire college's students, faculty and staff. Funded by a private grant, these new computers will give many more students full access to the Internet and the World Wide Web. In addition, interactive learning is becoming a reality, as the computers are equipped to allow, for example, students to see and participate in a live lecture from across the country -- or around the globe.

Computer Science students, faculty and staff now have access to the popular Windows '95 operating system in all of the department's computer laboratories and office computers, thanks to an instructional grant from Microsoft. The department has also upgraded its Unix research systems, and, as a result, more students than ever will be using the World Wide Web to get class notes, assignments and course syllabi. "We're moving toward a paperless classroom," says Eric Brown, systems administrator. The department is also establishing a job search program to assist seniors.

Thanks to increased corporate and individual donations, business and engineering students in particular arrived this year with more scholarship funds in hand than ever before. The College of Business Administration Foundation awarded $90,000 to more than 80 students, $25,000 of which was new this year. The College of Engineering awarded over $197,000 to 88 entering freshmen and transfer students, $65,000 more than last year.

The College of Agriculture and Home Economics begins the year with a new program that anticipates the needs of future students. The Ag/Home Ec Ambassadors, a select group of current students, will write and call prospective students, serve as hosts for campus visits and make school presentations. The effort will make use of students' knowledge and enthusiasm about their College while providing them with valuable leadership and communication skills.

While most students take a break from classes over the weekend, this year sees the start of a new graduate program that allows participants to earn a degree by attending classes only on weekends. Seventeen people have already registered to spend at least 24 Fridays and Saturdays over two years in pursuit of a master's degree in Instructional Leadership with a concentration in technology. The program is designed to serve public school teachers who want to advance their careers.

New Faculty

Tennessee Tech welcomes five new faculty members and eight faculty in one-year appointments in nine areas of instruction.

New to campus are the following faculty members:

  • Felix Coe, assistant professor, Biology
  • Sheila Green, associate professor, Nursing
  • Roy Kennedy, assistant professor, Music and Art
  • John Noel, instructor, University Library
  • Robin Taylor, assistant professor, Decision Sciences and Management

One-year appointments are as follows:

  • James Booth, associate professor, Chemical Engineering
  • R. Kevin Chiarizzio, assistant professor, Music and Art
  • Mary Eberlein, assistant professor, Computer Sciences
  • Robert Hebble, assistant professor, Mathematics
  • Geoffrey Holland, assistant professor, Music and Art
  • Karen Joyce, instructor, Nursing
  • Pamela Petty, instructor, Curriculum and Instruction
  • Sandra Smith, instructor, Curriculum and Instruction

New Challenges

Recognizing the need to give graduates an edge in today's competitive job market, departments across campus have stepped up efforts to ensure students earn real-world experience in their fields of study while in school. Such programs also foster a spirit of community involvement.

The English department has established an internship program that has already found students opportunities throughout the community with area radio and television stations, newspapers, magazines and public relations and design firms. Alan Slotkin, English professor and director of the program, says, "Eventually we hope to serve all English majors who are looking outside Academe for their careers."

Criminal Justice majors can also look forward to getting a taste of their future with internships both in and around Cookeville. Student interns will work with the Cookeville Police Department, U.S. Probation Office and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, among others.

Students at the university's Center for Manufacturing Research (a state-designated Center of Excellence) will find a program now in place that allows them to learn about the manufacturing workplace through part-time jobs. In addition to providing students both experience and income, Manufacturing Center Director Ted Lundy says, "We also learn from conversations with both company supervisors and students about how the Center can better serve our local manufacturers."

In addition to the 30-some offices and institutions in Putnam County that Tennessee Tech nursing students and faculty currently serve, students this year will also travel to Cane Creek Elementary School. There, they'll work in special education classrooms with teachers to provide assistance to students with physical disabilities or behavioral problems. According to Gail Stearman, assistant professor of Nursing, "This kind of work opens the students' eyes to where these kids are in the community. Our students have an excellent reputation in the community because they bring with them new ideas, fresh questions, energy and enthusiasm that are extremely beneficial."

Area elementary and secondary schools will see more Tennessee Tech students serving as student teachers this year. Last year, approximately 80 students traveled to schools in 12 counties to assist teachers and gain classroom experience. This year, it is estimated that 95 Tennessee Tech students will fill those roles.

Civil Engineering offers another opportunity for students to gain valuable practical experience. Professor Larry Roberts leads a group of senior level engineering students to Algood to seek solutions to water runoff and bridge construction problems there. The students are challenged to approach the city's problems just as professional engineering consultants would.

With all the new technology, fresh faces and innovative community programs, ask anyone at Tennessee Tech "What's new?" and you're likely to get quite an answer!

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