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April 3, 2001

Social Work Professor Wins SIUE's Simon Scholar Award

James W. Trent, a professor of Social Work, is the recipient of the 2001 Paul Simon Outstanding Scholar Award.

Trent, who also directs the Master of Social Work Program for the department, has been with the university since 1986.

Speaking at a ceremony last week, Trent said he was honored by the award, calling the former U.S. Senator one of the nation's "finest" public servants. "In the 1970s, Sen. Paul Simon was an important player in the passage of … the Education for All Handicapped Children's Act. SIUE honors me with (this) award .…"

The Simon award is presented to an SIUE faculty member in recognition of the role of research and creative activities in achieving excellence in teaching. The Simon Award confirms SIUE's belief that an individual must be a good scholar to be a good teacher. The Simon Award is sponsored by the Graduate School and presented by the SIUE Graduate Faculty.

Nominated by Patrick Riddleberger, emeritus professor of Historical Studies, the nomination was supported by Professor Thomas Regulus, chair of the Department of Social Work, and Assistant Professor Carol Wesley, practicum director for the department. They stated Trent has "maintained an active research agenda in disability studies. In this multidisciplinary field, Professor Trent has focused on the American history of disabilities and the effects of American social policies on that history. His research has received national and international attention."

They also stated that Trent's students "have consistently indicated in their evaluations of his teaching [that he] has integrated his research into undergraduate and graduate education." Wesley and Regulus also pointed out that Trent has created and developed undergraduate and graduate courses that have relied on his expertise in disability studies. "With his thorough, cutting-edge knowledge of this field, students at SIUE have the opportunity to develop knowledge and to carry out course projects that prepare them especially well for professional practice," they wrote.

In 1995, the American Association on Mental Retardation honored Trent's book, Inventing the Feeble Mind: A History of Mental Retardation in the United States, with the Hervey B. Wilbur Award. In addition to publishing his research in various journals, anthologies, annuals, and dictionaries, Trent serves as a consulting editor of The Journal of Progressive Human Services and of Mental Retardation. He currently has a book under contract, Perpetual Children: Retardation in American History.

Trent's work has been supported by the SIUE Institute of Disability Studies, the National Endowment for the Humanities (for a Summer Institute and a Summer Stipend), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

In Trent's nominee statement, he wrote, "Since I began teaching in the early 1980s, it has never occurred to me not to teach from a research base. I confess that when the idea of the 'integration of teaching and research' became prominent in higher education, I failed to see the point. If a university is a place (to paraphrase Robert Hutchins) to teach and to learn, how can a university professor not integrate the two?"

On-Line Bill Payment Is Available To Students

Although the lines at the Bursar's office have been minimized in recent months, students can now avoid standing in line altogether when they want to pay their tuition and fees.

On-line payments are now available, joining other on-line conveniences already provided by the university, which means a student with access to CougarNet can make payments 24/7. "This newest on-line service gives our students that much more flexibility," says Acting Bursar Barry Greenberg.

"Instead of waiting in any lines, this service can free them to do other important things," he said.

Greenberg explained that students who go to the Bursar's Web page ( will find a new interactive link-Make A Payment. Clicking there sends them to a secure Web site for the Illinois Treasurer, where they can make payments with a credit card. There is a fee based on a sliding scale.

He also pointed out the state Web site is fully protected through the use of passwords and other levels of security.

"Many students have family members who make payments for them, which involved sending the payment by mail or actually visiting our office," Greenberg said. "Now, they can do it from home."

Greenberg also noted that the SIUE Office of Information Technology is designing a Web site for his office that will offer the on-line payments directly through the university. "Once we have our in-house site running on a secure server on campus, we will be able to design a site with other information pertinent to our students and other on-line conveniences," Greenberg said.

"The service began in mid-March and we've already had several students use the on-line payment service," Greenberg said. "We're pleased to provide this opportunity to our students."

Floyd-Hendey Named DSS Director

Jane Floyd-Hendey, coordinator of the Disability Support Services (DSS) program at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville since 1994, has been named director of the program which serves more than 225 persons with disabilities on campus.

Floyd-Hendey, who joined the university staff in 1988 as an adviser, has brought DSS from a part-time service to an active department offering a full range of resources to support students with disabilities in an effort to eliminate barriers to learning and to help individuals reach their educational goals.

DSS is responsible for the implementation and coordination of many programs, activities, and services for persons with disabilities, including academic advising and registration, guidance and counseling, referrals to related offices and departments, and assistance in obtaining specialized equipment or supplies, support services, and special accommodations.

A 1973 graduate in art education from SIUE, Floyd-Hendy also earned a master's in Counselor Education from SIUE in 1979. She earned a certificate in employee assistance programs from Washington University in St. Louis two years later.

Before joining SIUE, Floyd-Hendey had ben an art teacher and counselor at Carlinville Junior/Senior High School and a special services counselor and acting director at Lewis and Clark Community College. She has won numerous awards, including Edwardsville's Heart of the City Award and the Illinois Department of Rehabilitation's 1993 Community Award.

Six Faculty Members To Be Recognized For Excellence

Randall Pearson, an associate professor of geography, has been chosen to receive the university's 2001 Teaching Excellence Award, the highest honor that can be awarded an SIUE faculty member.

Nominees were considered by members of a university-wide committee which made the final selection. Pearson was chosen for "his energy, enthusiasm, and passion for his discipline" and "his unique ability for drawing individual students into the discussion of the topic." He will receive a $2,000 prize at the April 8 Honors Convocation and a plaque of recognition at Commencement on May 5.

Teaching Recognition Awards also will be given at the Honors Convocation to Zenia Agustin of Ste. Genevieve, Mo., assistant professor of Mathematics and Statistics; Marjorie Baier of Collinsville, an assistant professor in the School of Nursing; Joseph Michlitsch of St. Louis, an associate professor of Management and Marketing; and Jerry Weinberg of Edwardsville, an assistant professor of Computer Science. Each recognition awardee will receive a $500 prize.

I. Kay Mueggenburg of Godfrey, a lecturer in the School of Nursing since 1995, was selected by the committee to receive the Teaching Recognition Award for a non-tenure-track faculty member. She also will receive a $500 prize at the Honors Convocation.

Pearson, who earned a doctorate from Indiana State University and came to SIUE in 1995, was praised by the committee for using personal and professional experiences in all of his classes to illustrate points. The committee also pointed out that Pearson emphasizes "both the art and the science of his field, allowing students to analyze data within an appropriate context."

In terms of a teaching philosophy, Pearson says he "pushes his students to be better thinkers." According to his student evaluations, the committee points out, he is succeeding. His colleagues state that "he has earned a reputation among his peers and students for being an animated teacher with a unique ability to integrate applied project work with more traditional academic learning." Another colleague stated Pearson is "the consummate professor."

Agustin, who began teaching at SIUE in 1997, has been rated very high by student evaluators who say that she is interested in assuring that students not only understand concepts of calculus but the application of them as well. Colleagues agree, saying that Agustin has "excellent rapport with the students and (has an ability) to engage students in the lecture."

Award committee members said they are impressed with Baier's effective implementation of WebCT in her Nursing courses. They found she is able to relate course material to students' experiences, which makes the material much more relevant to the students. One student commented that Baier, who has taught at SIUE since 1989, takes "personal time to help with problems and (shows) enthusiasm for helping us."

Colleagues agree, saying that Baier's "enthusiasm about Nursing and teaching is obvious to everyone she encounters."

Michlitsch, who joined the faculty more than 20 years ago, was noted by the committee for his ability to extract very high levels of performance from students, while at the same time making courses energetic and relevant. Students commended Michlitsch for his ability to provide "knowledge of the business world and (for his) ability to supply examples" and that "he is an excellent communicator."

While colleagues comment that his courses are rigorous, they add that Michlitsch "is a stellar example of a faculty member who is willing to work with students to help them achieve their potential and meet these standards."

Weinberg was noted by the committee for his "great rapport with students" and for his teaching methods using robotics and computer program designs. Students have commented that Weinberg is "not only prepared and intelligent, but also exciting," and that he is "very patient and helpful when we (have) difficulties in and out of class."

Colleagues commented that he is "well prepared, able to keep the students interested, and interacts with (students) very well."

Mueggenburg was selected based on her excitement and enthusiasm, her knowledge of the subject matter, knowledge of real nursing situations, and her interaction with students. Students commented that she takes the time to answer questions and colleagues say she is "indeed a worthy instructor."

Loan Default Rate Lower Than Ever For SIUE Students

Our students are getting much better at paying back their student loans compared with their success rate of 10 years ago, according to Marian Smithson, director of Student Financial Aid.

The U.S. Department of Education recently announced that SIUE's current loan default rate is 5.53 percent, compared with 16.78 percent in 1991.

The 5.53-percent rate reflects a combined rate for SIUE borrowers repaying through the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) and the Federal Direct Loan programs. "This rate has been dropping steadily since 1995 when the university last participated in the FFEL program," Smithson said.

"We are now below the national average," she said. "And, our projection is that by summer that rate will drop to 5 percent."

According to Smithson, a number of factors are responsible, but one of the most important is SIUE's debt management counseling of student borrowers. "This low rate is an index of the maturity of the institution and its management of the loan program," Smithson said.

"We do entrance and exit interviews with student borrowers and our students have become much better informed." In addition, Smithson said, SIUE's involvement in the Direct Loan program in 1995 also has helped the loan default rate. "With banks involved in the loan process, that adds another collection tool."

Smithson pointed out that the low default rate means SIUE is relieved of what she calls "nuisance" Title IV restrictions. "For example, if a default loan rate is too high," she said, "each loan would be disbursed in two halves. once at the beginning of the year and again at the halfway mark.

"A low default rate looks very good at accreditation time."

Cougar Softball Players Among NCAA II Statistical Leaders

Three Cougar softball players are among the NCAA Division II statistical leaders, according to the NCAA Statistics Service.

Katie Waldo, a sophomore from Peoria, is No. 1 in the nation in stolen bases per game at 1.12. Waldo has 38 stolen bases in 34 games. Valerie McCoy, a junior from Bethalto, is currently 40th in the nation in batting average at .442.

Erin Newman, a junior from Fairfield, Calif., ranks in several categories: eighth in home runs per game at 0.29, having hit 10 this season and becoming the first player in school history to hit 10 or more homers in back-to-back seasons; 15th in runs batted in per game at 1.18 (40 in 34 games); and 16th in doubles per game with 0.44 (15 in 34 games).

As a team, SIUE is ninth in batting with a .346 average and 16th in scoring with 6.06 runs per game.

Golf Places Third At Quincy Invitational

Coach Larry Bennett and his women's golf team travel to O'Fallon, for the McKendree Invitational this weekend. The two-day invitational begins on Friday (4/13) at the Tamarack Golf Course.

The Cougars finished in third place at the Quincy Invitational with a team score of 724 at Westview Golf Course. SIUE finished 60 strokes behind eventual champion Lindenwood.

Katie Farrell (Princeton) tied for fifth place with rounds of 85 and 82. The freshman carded her best round since setting the school record of 80 during the fall season.

SIUE sent an all-freshman lineup to Quincy: Kacy Gruenkemeyer (Salem) took 12th place with a 179; Kristi Novak (Highland) placed 17th with a 188; Katie Beyers (Pana) finished 20th with a 194; and Beth Gumbel (Mahomet) recorded a 211 for 30th place.

Coach Darryl Frerker said his team looks forward to competing at home.

"We are going into this home meet knowing we have a great facility," said Frerker. "We are setting ourselves up for some quality performances. If we have a good day, everything will fall into place."

Track Hopes Home Cooking Provides Strong Performances

The Cougar Classic begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday (4/14) at Ralph Korte Stadium. Along with SIUE, the meet features 12 other schools-Danville Community College, Washington University in St. Louis, Maryville University, Greenville College, Harris-Stowe State College, Olivet Nazarene University, Wilberforce University (Ohio), Central Methodist College, Fontbonne College, Lindenwood University, McKendree College and Carthage College (Wisconsin).

Frerker also looks at this as the final tune-up for the conference championships.

"We are going to rely on personal records going into the conference meet. I also look for a little improvement on the men's and women's team scores." There are three Cougars who Frerker is keeping an eye on-Daniel Walden (Springfield) and Ruth Kipping (Quincy) in the 800-meter run and George Murphy (Virden) in the javelin. "They are close to qualifying (provisionally for nationals)."

Last weekend, the Cougars competed at Washington University. The men finished sixth of 19 teams while the women finished 14th of 17 teams. "We had several personal records, despite the weather. It was too windy to anticipate any qualifying performances."

Walden finished second in the 800-meter run with a time of one minute, 55 seconds. "Dan ran a good, smart race. Every aspect of his race was right where he wanted it to be expect the final stretch." Murphy finished second in the javelin throw with a distance of 172 feet, one inch. "George had another consistent effort in the javelin."

Baseball's Winning Streak At 10

Cougar baseball is riding a 10-game winning streak and looks to extend its streak against Bellarmine this weekend.

However, in order to keep the streak rolling, Coach Gary Collins has a suggestion for his team. "The key is if every player can stay focused," said Collins. "I think it will be a little easier to stay focused because we have been singed earlier this year."

SIUE, 24-15 overall and 10-2 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference, looks to defend its first-place standing in the South Division when it takes on the Bellarmine Knights for a single game at 3 p.m. on Friday at Roy E. Lee Field. The home series wraps up with a doubleheader against the Knights on Saturday (4/13) beginning at noon.

"We are facing a last-place team, who was in the same place last year when they took one of the three games from us. Bellarmine is not just going to roll over. If we play like we did this last weekend, we should win all three games." Last week, the Cougars won five in a row against conference opponents. SIUE defeated Southern Indiana 6-3 in Evansville, Ind., last Wednesday (4/4) before returning home to sweep its two-game series against Lewis 5-2 and 21-4 on Saturday (4/7). The Cougars took both games from Wisconsin-Parkside on Sunday (4/8) by a score of 2-1 and 6-4.

"We played a lot of good baseball and got good results in return. We beat a couple of good pitchers. Wisconsin-Parkside was one of the better teams we have played this season." Collins also said the play of Nick Seibert (Worden) and Luke Humphrey (Rantoul) stood out. "Seibert had a great weekend, and Luke played very well with some great defense."

Seibert went 4 for 14 at the plate last weekend with three extra base hits and six runs batted in. He hit a two-run home run in game two against Lewis. Seibert also hit the game-winning double in the first game against Wisconsin-Parkside and added a three-run homer in game two to put the team in front by a score of 3-1.

In the last four games, Humphrey went 5-for-15 with two RBI, two doubles and his first home run of the season. He recorded a double and a two-run homer in game two against Lewis. Humphrey scored the game-winning run against Wisconsin-Parkside in game one after getting aboard with a two-out double.

Dave Crouthers (Edwardsville) and Bret Giaudrone (Gillespie) both earned their sixth win of the year. Crouthers pitched five innings in game one against Lewis, giving up two earned runs while striking out six batters. He is now 6-4 on the season with a 2.68 earned run average. Crouthers also went 4-for-12 at the plate during the home stand with five RBI and two home runs, including his game-winning three-run shot in the bottom of the fifth inning against Wisconsin-Parkside in game two.

SIUE Education Majors Post High Marks On Teacher Certification Exam

SIUE's education majors reinforced the excellent reputation of the School of Education recently by exceeding the statewide pass rate on Illinois Teacher Certification Tests.

Results were announced Friday morning in Springfield for tests taken July 1, 1999-June 30, 2000. Required certification tests are made up of two parts: basic skills, and academic content area (the student's area of concentration), such as early childhood education, elementary education, English, art, etc.

SIUE students had a 98-percent pass rate, including a 100- percent pass rate on the basic skills portion of the test; 369 SIUE students took the test. The statewide pass rate was 97 percent.

Chancellor David Werner said the scores are indicative of not only the strength of the School of Education, but of the entire university.

"Our success on the teacher certification test is a report card for all of SIUE," Werner said. "The preparation of a good teacher includes not just the courses specific to the School of Education, but also good preparation in liberal arts and sound general education. The whole university contributes."

School of Education Dean Mary Polite pointed out a number of factors contributing to the success of the program as reflected in the pass rate.

"We have a number of 'best practices' that we're very proud of," she said. "Eighty percent of all our elementary education majors (the largest single area of concentration) participate in a two-year professional development school program. We emphasize urban education as a way of giving all students the opportunity to teach in high-need areas and develop skills in working with 'at-risk' students. We have support programs for beginning teachers and graduate programs that provide professional development for in-service teachers."

Polite also pointed out that SIUE graduates have won more Illinois Teacher of the Year awards than graduates from any other four-year institution in the state; 11 SIUE graduates have received the Milkin Family Award, a national award for excellence in education.

The SIUE School of Education also is creating partnerships with area school districts through its "Professional Development School" (PDS) approach. This approach concentrates on gaining greater "real world" experience for students before sending them on to full-time teaching positions.

"PDS is a collaboration between our school district partners and SIUE," Polite said. "You might think of it as being similar to an internship for medical students. We work very hard and very closely with our partners (school districts in Alton, Belleville, Cahokia and East St. Louis) to ensure students receive a great deal of classroom experience and that they are working within the school-improvement goals of the districts.

"We've had principals and superintendents tell us that graduates of the PDS program are more like teachers with two to three years experience, not beginning teachers. And, I like to think the program helps students on their certification test."

The test began in 1985 and is based on the same standards used for college and university accreditation. All education majors are required to take the test to qualify for an Illinois initial teaching certificate. The state then reports the data by institution, and under provisions of Title II reports the data to the U.S. Department of Education. After receiving state data in October, the Department of Education will issue a national report next April.

Head Start Director Elected Region V President

John Lovelace, director of SIUE's St. Clair County Head Start, recently was elected president of National Head Start Region V, a private, nonprofit membership organization comprised of Head Start programs in Minnesota, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Illinois.

During his two years in office, Lovelace will preside over efforts to increase federal appropriations for low-income children and families. He also will be responsible for planning and providing annual training and conferences for Head Start staff and parents.

Lovelace, who has been SIUE's program director since 1994, has been responsible for engineering program quality and expansion. Head Start is a federally funded program serving low-income children and families through a host of comprehensive services such as education, nutrition, social services, health services, family literacy, and job readiness.

Lovelace has been instrumental in developing valuable collaborations with agencies, organizations, and public schools to enable SIUE's Head Start program to provide the highest quality services possible to the maximum amount of children and families. The program now serves more than 1,500 St. Clair County children, birth to age 5, and their families through a variety of creative partnerships and options.

In 1999, SIUE's Head Start program was recognized as one of only a handful of programs in the country to receive the designation of "Excellence" from the National Head Start Association. This designation is given only to those programs that have demonstrated excellence and creativity in programming and services.

The St. Clair County Head Start now receives grants from the federal government in excess of $10 million annually.

Kimmel Community Award Winners Announced

Several Southwestern Illinois residents will receive Kimmel Community Service Awards at the April 5 Kimmel Leadership Awards Banquet, sponsored by SIUE and the Belleville News-Democrat.

The annual award was established to recognize outstanding community members for dedication and contributions to community volunteer service as exemplified by Carol Kimmel, a former member of the SIU Board of Trustees, who for most of her adult life has given freely of her time and talent to volunteerism.

There are six award categories: education, social service-social welfare, environmental and civic betterment, regional leadership, agency-organizational concerns, and special populations. Those nominated must have been a resident of Illinois or Missouri for at least two years, and volunteered for at least one agency, organization, or business for at least two or more continuous years.

In addition, nominees must have demonstrated a variety of community service contributions for an extended period; demonstrated outstanding voluntary community service, as well as a commitment to the citizens of Illinois or Missouri; and must document leadership roles and responsibilities.

This year's winners are:

  • Regional Leadership---Otis Cowan
  • Social Service-Social Welfare---Philip Goodwin
  • Agency-Organizational Concerns---Lori Stathis
  • Environmental-Civic Betterment---Fern Watts
  • Special Populations---Felicia Copeland
  • Education (Posthumous)---Richard Lickfield

Kimmel Scholarship Winners Announced

Kathryn Rae Rathert of Edwardsville and Amy Leigh Hellrung of Jerseyville, both juniors studying Biological Sciences, have been named recipients of the university's Carol Kimmel Scholarship. The scholarship program is co-sponsored by the Belleville News-Democrat.

The annual scholarship was established to recognize students for their outstanding leadership and community volunteer service contributions, in addition to academic excellence.

It is named for Kimmel, a former member of the SIU Board of Trustees, who for most of her adult life has given freely of her time and talent to volunteerism.

Criteria for winning the scholarship includes maintaining a 3.0 cumulative grade point average and demonstrating volunteer contributions within the last two years in leadership, service, and/or citizenship, including leadership in a student organization or at least one elected office; and more than 30 hours of nonpaid service to a community agency or community organization. The scholarship provides one full year of tuition at the SIUE in-state rate.

The two recipients will be recognized Thursday, April 5, at the Kimmel Leadership Awards Banquet. Tickets for the banquet, scheduled in Meridian Ballroom of SIUE's Morris Center, are $25 per person. For more information about tickets or about ordering them, call the SIUE Office of Conferences and Institutes, (618) 650-2660, or, from St. Louis toll-free, (888) 328-5168, Ext. 2660.

Hurricane Carter To Speak Here April 11

Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, who spent more than 20 years in prison for a murder he did not commit, will speak at 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 11, in Meridian Ballroom. His appearance is sponsored by SIUE's Millennium of Peace Committee.

Carter's fame began as a professional boxer in 1961. His fast and furious style made him a crowd favorite. Five years later, Carter was arrested for a triple-murder, convicted, and sentenced to three life terms, all the while maintaining his innocence.

Carter has spoken to hundreds of audiences both in the private and public sectors on issues related to the death penalty in America. He also has addressed the U.N. General Assembly and has spoken alongside Nelson Mandela at the first World Reconciliation Day in Australia.

The April 11 event is co-sponsored by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Student Government, the Student Life Advisory Board, and the University Center Board. For more information, please call Lisa Ramsey, (618) 650-2686, or by e-mail:

Paper Bridges 'Support' Effort To Stir Engineering Interest In Students

Is it any surprise that a man who says he can make concrete float-and does-would also claim he can construct a bridge out of three-by-five note cards? The real surprise is, he has middle school children across Southern Illinois doing it as well.

"Somewhere between toddler age and sixth grade, children appear to lose their natural curiosity about the world," said Luke Snell, a School of Engineering professor. "By sixth grade, children view science and math as boring and too hard. We're using the bridge-building challenge to demonstrate otherwise.

"These students will have the opportunity to compete in the SIUE Bridge Challenge on April 6 in Goshen Lounge," Snell said. "The regional competition will include a career fair during which the students will be exposed to careers and educational opportunities in construction and engineering."

Differing slightly from the classroom efforts, the SIUE Bridge Challenge allows teams 40 minutes to create a larger bridge, one that must span an opening double in size from the one they created in the classroom and supports a minimum of one half pound of weight. Successful efforts will be rewarded with savings bonds in the categories of strongest and most attractive.

An SIUE study of 226 sixth-grade students taken several years ago revealed that only 2 percent of the children wanted to work in construction when they grew up, and even fewer considered becoming an engineer. The numbers were particularly discouraging to Snell when compared to the high interest children had in becoming lawyers, veterinarians or physicians.

Such attitudes are of particular concern to construction professionals who wonder where the engineers of tomorrow will come from if interest in the field isn't engendered at a young age. Supported by a grant from the Southern Illinois Construction Advancement Program (SICAP), the funding arm of the Southern Illinois Builders Association, Snell launched a research project to create in children an interest in engineering and construction careers.

Involving middle school students in hands-on activities, Snell, along with a team from his department, has been visiting schools in an attempt to retain that original spark of enthusiasm and curiosity from early childhood. Using activities that are carefully structured to emphasize specific scientific principles, Snell and his wife, Billie, an educational consultant, have created a paper bridge teaching kit that can be used in math and science classes.

"Simply put, the kit involves several experiments that lead the children to design and construct their own paper bridges," explained Snell. "This isn't a craft project. This is an activity that demonstrates technical principles, such as how the shape and thickness of a beam influences the amount of the load that the beam will support."

Working in two, 1-1/2 hour classroom sessions, the SIUE team-consisting of Snell, his wife, and several SIUE construction students-has been visiting middle schools for the past year throughout the St. Louis Metropolitan Area and Southern Illinois. During the first visit, the team has the middle school students perform several different experiments using the 3-by-5-inch index cards, two pencils, scissors, rulers and glue sticks.

"We have the children cut the cards according to various instructions," said Snell. "Then they place their paper 'beams' onto their 'supports,' the pencils, and load pennies until the beam fails. Once they've completed this, the children chart their results." These experiments demonstrate several basic engineering and construction concepts, Snell explained.

With these lessons learned, the middle school students are presented with the Snells' in-the-classroom bridge building assignment. During the second session, students, working in teams, are given 20 minutes to design and build a bridge, again using nothing more than the index cards, glue stick and scissors. In the classroom, their bridge must span an opening that is six inches wide, have a level surface, and be at least as wide as a penny.

"We test the bridges for strength and judge them on attractiveness," said Snell. "Students who build a bridge that will support 50 pennies or more are awarded a 'Master Builder' certificate. We also present certificates for the 'Most Attractive Bridge' and the 'Strongest Bridge.'"

Snell says that the bridge-building project underscores an important principle that engineers work with every day.

"The field of engineering and construction is not a competition," he said. "Construction professionals design and build to meet a criteria. The students' success, just like that of an engineer, is in satisfactorily completing the project according to the specifications."

The project seems to be achieving its desired goal. Last fall, Billie Snell remounted the original study, surveying 633 students who had been exposed to the paper bridge building project. While the number of students interested in law or medical careers remained high, the survey revealed that 3 percent of the students were considering careers in engineering while 2.53 percent expressed an interest in a career in construction.

Snell finds that professionals involved with the bridge-building project have been pleased with the opportunity to show students that the engineering and construction fields can be rewarding and exciting.

"We think it is important that students, working along side a construction professional, gain an understanding of how to apply some of the basic engineering principles they have learned," he said.

"It's our hope that this learning will indeed stir an interest in students for engineering, encouraging them to continue their learning and interest in math and science."

Evening In Vienna: A Musical Gala At Sunset Hills CC

The Department of Music and the Friends of Music are presenting the annual "An Evening in Vienna" from 6-11:30 p.m. Saturday, April 21, at Sunset Hills Country Club in Edwardsville. Deadline for reservations is April 11.

The musical gala offers dinner and dancing, and entertainment by the faculty and students of the department. The event offers an evening of diverse music by the SIUE Symphony Orchestra and the SIUE Concert Jazz Band, providing waltzes and big band sounds for dancing. In addition, "Austrian dessert bars" will be located throughout the Country Club with entertainment provided by various musical ensembles, featuring a variety of musical styles.

Also that evening, a silent auction will be conducted featuring products and services from area businesses and organizations.

Proceeds from the event benefit the Friends of Music Scholarship Fund. Brenda Fedak, president of the Friends group, said the event is the largest fund-raiser the group conducts. "An Evening in Vienna has become a tradition in the St. Louis area," Fedak said. "The money raised through this annual event helps fund a large part of our scholarship program.

"These scholarships enable the Department of Music to recruit talented students who might otherwise not have an opportunity to attend SIUE. And, the quality of the music program reflects this."

Tickets are $100 per person and are available through the SIUE Office of Conferences and Institutes, (618) 650-2660, or, from St. Louis toll-free, (888) 328-5168, Ext. 2660.

SIUE Will No Longer Mail Students' Grades

On the night before last Christmas, the only creatures that may have been stirring were SIUE students getting on the Internet to look at their grades.

Fall semester grades, normally received by students over Christmas break, went missing somewhere in the vicinity of the St. Louis Post Office-more than 11,000 pieces of mail. Judging by the hits on CougarNet, the students didn't miss a beat. Realizing their grades hadn't arrived in their normally timely manner, they checked their grades electronically and got on with their holiday plans.

For SIUE administrators, what at first appeared a near disaster, now looks like an epiphany. Student reaction to the temporarily lost grades was a collective yawn. Further surveying of students showed that they wouldn't mind viewing their grades electronically all the time.

From the university's standpoint, not mailing grades saves staff time, computer resources, and money. The decision to end the traditional practice of mailing grades was made official in early March and takes effect at the end Fall Semester.

"In the greater scheme," said Christa Oxford, assistant vice chancellor for enrollment, "the cost savings really was a secondary issue." She said the university would save about $10,000 on postage and associated expenses.

"Staff time and computer resources were the greater issues. Printing grades for 11,000-12,000 or more students takes an inordinate amount of our computing capacity. We talked with students, examined what approaches other universities are taking, and decided to discontinue the practice of mailing grades beginning in the fall."

Oxford said printed copies of grades would be available by request. Students who need to be notified that they are in academic jeopardy (on probation or academic suspension as of the grading period) also will continue to receive printed grades, as before.

"Many students need a printed copy to show to their employers, who are paying for their tuition. In these and similar cases, we'll print a copy of the grades at the student's request."

But what about parents, many of whom are paying tuition bills?

"We considered that part of the issue very carefully," Oxford said. "It is a concern for us. But the sharing of grades really is an issue between the student and his or her parents; even if we mail the grades, there's no guarantee the parents will see them."

Beginning Fall Semester, students will log on to CougarNet and, using their password, can view their grades. Oxford said that for students who may not have ready access to a computer, the computer labs across campus provide an answer.

"We saw a very pronounced spike in the number of hits to CougarNet over the Christmas break," she said. "So, we know students are attuned to the practice of electronically checking their grades, and we know the system has the capacity to accommodate them."

Oxford said the trend nationwide is to move away from mailing grades. Several schools across the country have taken the approach, including Arizona, Maryland, North Carolina, Kansas State, Utah, Washington and others.

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