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September 29, 2003

AAC&U President Carol Schneider Will Speak At SIUE

What: American Association of Colleges and Universities President Carol Geary Schneider will be the keynote speaker and lead a campus-community dialogue on the future of American education, sponsored by SIUE Chancellor David Werner. The dialogue will include education, business, political and community leaders.

When: Thursday and Friday, Oct. 2 and 3, beginning at 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 2 and 2 p.m. on Oct. 3. Keynote speech is Friday 9-10:15 a.m.

Where: Meridian Ballroom, on the first floor of the Morris University Center; the Fall Faculty Symposium will take place in the second floor Conference Center of the Morris Center.

Editor's Note: Carol Geary Schneider will be available for media interviews following her keynote speech.

(EDWARDSVILLE) Carol Geary Schneider, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), will be the keynote speaker during a campus-community dialogue at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville on Oct. 2 and 3.

The campus-community dialogue is part of the AAC&U initiative President's Campaign for the Advancement of Liberal Learning (CALL) launched in April 2002. Chancellor Werner is among more than 525 college and university presidents who support the initiative.

Regional dialogues of this kind are being held across the country in the 2003-2004 academic year and were held during the 2002-2003 academic year as part of a national movement to build public understanding of what matters in a college education for the 21st century.

Participants in the campus-community dialogue will address some of the most important and difficult questions facing higher education in America today. Among them:

• Is a contemporary liberal education the best preparation for today's challenges in the workplace and in our communities?

• Are changes needed in campus practice?

• What can campus and community leaders do together to build public understanding of what matters in college in the 21st century?

• What can public and campus leaders do to raise the level of student preparation for college?

Participants will include education, business, political, and community leaders from across the region.

Since becoming president of AAC&U, Schneider has initiated a major effort to rethink the broad aims of a 21st century college education so that liberal learning becomes a framework for the entire educational experience, whatever a student's choice of major and career. This new initiative, titled "Greater Expectations: The Commitment to Quality as a Nation Goes to College," is supported by $4 million in grants from The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the U.S. Department of Education.

Through the Greater Expectations initiative, higher education leaders are developing a deeper understanding of ways to help students develop the intellectual capacities, knowledge, and sense of responsibility needed to deal with the complex questions that confront our fast-paced and globally connected society.

The report will be part of the dialogue and is available at www.greaterexpectations.org.

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September 29, 2003

SIUE To Offer Concrete Construction Management Seminar Oct. 8

(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) Concrete Construction company owners and managers will find several topics of interest offered during a workshop co-sponsored Oct. 8 by the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Small Business Development Center and SIUE's Concrete Construction Resource Unit (CCRU).

The workshop, "Managing a Concrete Construction Company," will be offered from 12:30-5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 8, in the Maple-Dogwood Room of SIUE's Delyte W. Morris University Center.

Jim Mager, director of SIUE's Office of Technology and Commerce and a Marketing instructor for the SIUE School of Business, and CCRU Director Luke Snell, an SIUE professor of Construction, will conduct seminar topics such as:

• Understanding and Resolving Construction Problems-Evaluation of everyday problems that face a construction company in today's industry, such as job site organization, how pay requests are developed, and how money "follows through" a project.

• Improving Morale in Construction-Tips about how to raise morale among employees.

• Doing SWOT Analysis For Your Business-Identifying strength, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

• Sales and Marketing in Concrete Construction-How to attract new clients and keep current clients.

The seminar fee is $115; four or more attendees from the same firm, $100 each. For more information, call (618) 650-2498.

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September 29, 2003

College-Bound Students and Parents Invited To Preview SIUE On Oct. 13

(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill) More than 1,200 high school and community college students and their parents are expected to attend "Preview SIUE," the annual campus-wide open house at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. This year's event is scheduled on Columbus Day, Monday, Oct. 13, in the newly renovated Delyte W. Morris University Center.

SIUE Chancellor David Werner will present opening remarks at 8:30 a.m. Students will then have the opportunity to tour the central campus-including the state's newest residence halls-learn about campus life and student services, and visit academic departments.

Informational sessions are scheduled throughout the day. Session topics include SIUE-The Place to Be; Financing Your Education at SIUE; Countdown to SIUE; and Tailor-Made Careers, as well as academic sessions presented by the SIUE College of Arts and Sciences and the Schools of Business, Education, Engineering, Nursing, and Pharmacy. In addition, Philip Medon, dean of the new SIUE School of Pharmacy, also will conduct informational sessions for interested students.

Students will be able to speak one-on-one to department representatives at the information fair in the Morris Center from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

"Preview is an opportunity for prospective students and their families to get answers to all their questions in one visit to campus" said, Karen Bollinger, assistant director of Admissions and Marketing. "Our program is one of the few campus-visit programs that includes participation from virtually all academic and student services units in one setting."

Registration begins at 8 a.m. in the Morris Center, but students may pre-register online at www.admis.siue.edu/PREVIEW, or by calling (800) 447-SIUE. Campus tours will be offered until 12:30 p.m. and campus offices will be open until 4:30 p.m. Preview SIUE parking will be available in Lot B and Student Fan Lots. There is no charge for the event.

SIUE's enrollment has risen for nine consecutive years and now stands at 13,295, the largest enrollment since 1975.

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September 25, 2003

SIUE Family Weekend Oct. 17-19 Includes Chili Cook-Off

(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) A chili cook-off and homecoming soccer games are just a part of the full weekend of activities to be offered Oct. 17-19 during the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Family Weekend 2003.

Family members and friends of SIUE students are invited to visit the campus and enjoy family events or plenty of free time with students. The majority of these events are free and open to all ages. Scheduled meals are available through SIUE Dining Services at reasonable prices. Students may use meal cards to pay for guests.

Students, friends, and families also are invited to use the Student Fitness Center and the Morris University Center Recreation Center any time during the weekend; passes and information will be available at all official Family Weekend events.

Here are some highlights:

• 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 17, Korte Stadium-Chili Cook-off. A $2.50 fee allows each person to taste a variety of chili and vote for a favorite.

• 5:30 and 7:30 p.m., Friday Oct. 17, Korte Stadium-Women's and men's soccer teams play Southern Indiana.

• 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 17, Katherine Dunham Hall theater-Dark of the Moon.

• 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 17, Morris Center-Casino Night

• 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, Student Fitness Center-5K Poker Run

• 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, Morris Center Recreation Center-Family, Friends, and Fun Bowling Tournament.

• 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, Morris Center-Comedian/hypnotist Daniel James

• 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, Katherine Dunham Hall theater-I.

• 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, Bluff Residence Hall-"ET and Ice Cream."

• 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 19, Morris Center University Restaurant-Family

Weekend Brunch.

• 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 19, Katherine Dunham Hall theater-Dark of the Moon.

For more information, visit the Family Weekend Web site: www.siue.edu/FAMILY or call SIUE's Kimmel Leadership Center, (618) 650-2686, or, toll-free, (888) 328-5168, Ext. 2686.

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September 25, 2003

SIUE International Trade Center To Co-Sponsor Seminar October 9

(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) Scott Petruska, manager of the Foreign Exchange Group at Commerce Bank, will conduct a seminar, The Volatile Currency Markets: What's Next and Managing the Risk, from 8-10:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 9, in the International Room of the Delyte W. Morris University Center at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. The seminar is sponsored by the SIUE International Trade Center (ITC).

Petruska will discuss what moves currency markets today, what is expected from the foreign exchange markets in future months, and how exporters can best manage the associated currency risks.

Registration is $20 in advance, which includes a continental breakfast, parking, and seminar materials. For more information, call the ITC, (618) 650-2452.

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September 25, 2003

International Street Fair Set For Oct. 4 In City Park

(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) The music and dance of many cultures will be featured at the Annual International Street Fair set for Saturday, Oct. 4, in Edwardsville City Park, adjacent to Edwardsville Public Library.

The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Campus Activities Board (CAB) will co-sponsor the multicultural fair from noon to 6 p.m. Nearly 20 booths from various cultural groups will be featured, displaying artifacts, crafts, and other items, including food, for sale.

In addition, the fair will feature performances highlighting music and dance from various cultures including Middle Eastern dance, Chinese line dancing, African drumming, and more. Vendors also will be available to share aspects of their culture.

For more information, call the CAB office, (618) 650-3371, or visit the Web site: www.siue.edu/CAB.

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September 22, 2003

Speaker Hastert Helps Dedicate Ethanol Research Center At SIUE

(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) U.S. Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., led the Illinois delegation and other state, local, and university officials today in dedicating the National Corn-To-Ethanol Research Center (NCERC) located in Southern Illinois University Edwardsville's University Park.

Hastert, a long-time advocate for agriculture, joined U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., U.S. Congressman John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, U.S. Congressman Jerry Costello, D-Belleville, and Illinois Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn for the morning ceremony that took place inside the main research bay of the center at 400 University Park Drive. Also on the dais were Rodney Bothast, director of the new 36,000-square-foot center, SIUE Chancellor David Werner, and SIU President James E. Walker.

The $20 million center was constructed with $14 million in federal funds and $6 million from the state of Illinois.

Walker said the research center will play an important role in fulfilling the university's mission of service. "This research center is truly one-of-a-kind in the U.S., bringing unique opportunities for research and business development to the region," Walker said. "We are grateful for the support of the many people who made this facility possible, especially our elected officials."

Werner added that the center will help open new doors to producing alternative, renewable fuels. "The Illinois Congressional Delegation and our state senators and representatives worked hard for the creation and funding of the research center, and to bring it here to the SIUE campus," Werner said.

"Their hard work is the reason we can stand here on day one of what we believe will lead to a revolution in the creation of alternative fuels."

Center Director Rodney J. Bothast, internationally recognized authority on industrial microbiology and biochemical engineering, said the NCERC will enable researchers to experiment with alternatives to fossil fuels in the only facility in the world that fully emulates both a corn-wet mill and corn-dry mill in commercial fuel ethanol production.

"The NCERC will serve a major role in commercializing new technologies for producing ethanol more cost effectively from corn," Bothast said. He explained there have been promising efforts to find efficient production methods, but these results have not been tested on a large scale. "Until now, these results have not been tested because of the prohibitive costs and the risks behind injecting an exploratory technology into an existing, large-scale, commercial facility," he said.

Bothast pointed out that the center also will allow for finding ways to add value to co-products from the ethanol process. "Researchers are working to come up with better technologies to break down corn and its co-products to make the process economically sound," Bothast said.

"The NCERC will advance the role of bioconversion by developing and demonstrating the next generation of advanced technologies, making possible low-cost and sustainable biobased industrial products, biofuels, and biopower. Since 1980, fuel ethanol production has been increasing annually and has reached 2.7 billion gallons this year from more than one billion bushels of corn grown in the United States. We expect to go to five billion gallons a year in 10 years if we are to meet the renewable fuel goals of this country."

For more information about the center, call Rod Bothast, (618) 659-6737.

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September 18, 2003

New SIUE Trail Connector Joins MCT Trail With Core Campus

(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) Joggers, walkers, cyclists, and nature enthusiasts now have a new way of accessing the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville campus from the network of MCT Trails in Madison County.

The university recently completed a half-mile connector that joins the MCT Nature Trail with SIUE's University Park and the central core campus. IDOT contributed 80 percent of the $165,000 project through a program encouraging alternative modes of transportation. The remainder of the funds was appropriated by the university.

"This project began with a request from SIUE students who were looking for other ways to come to campus rather than driving," said Robert Washburn, director of SIUE's Office of Facilities Management. "The Campus Recreation Advisory Committee came to the SIUE Parking and Traffic Committee asking for easier access to campus from residential areas in and around the ESIC, LeClaire, and Montclaire residential areas of Edwardsville," Washburn said.

" We have many students and employees living in those areas who can now use the MCT trail and this connector as a safe way to access campus."

The new connector begins at the MCT trail, about four-tenths of a mile east of Supporting Services Road, along the southeast edge of campus at University Park. The asphalt path wends its way from the MCT trail to the cul-de-sac of South Research Drive, where a shared roadway then takes bikers and/or pedestrians to the north end of North Research Drive. At that point, the path continues to Fan Parking Lot No. 5, where access is available to Stratton Quadrangle at the core campus.

The connector is another part of the more than 10 miles of nature and biking trails available on or adjacent to SIUE's 2,660-acre campus. Trail users are able to enjoy the natural beauty of the campus, while using the network of MCT and campus trails.

For more information about MCT Trails, visit the Web site: www.mcttrails.org. For more about trails on campus, call SIUE's Office of Campus Recreation, (618) 650-2348.

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September 15, 2003

Fall Enrollment At Highest Since 1975; FTE Increases

(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) SIUE's fall enrollment is at 13,295 students, an increase of 587 students, or about 4.5 percent higher than fall 2002, when enrollment stood at 12,708.

Most of the enrollment increase is attributable to student retention. The number of continuing students is up about 450 over last year. Not only is enrollment up, but there was an even larger increase in full-time equivalent (FTE), which is based on the number of hours taken by all students.

The total undergraduate enrollment is divided by 15, while the total graduate enrollment is divided by 12 which are the equivalent of a full-time undergraduate and graduate student. These two numbers combined make up the full-time equivalent. SIUE's FTE jumped from 10,124 in the fall 2002 to 10,604, an increase of almost 5 percent. Since 1998, FTE is up more than 15 percent, a higher than expected increase.

Assistant Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management Boyd Bradshaw said the FTE increase has prompted continuing discussion regarding stabilizing enrollment growth and also raising admission standards. For example, the deadline for new freshman applications was moved from August to May 31 this year.

"Over the last several years, there has been a great deal of discussion on campus regarding enrollment and admission standards," Bradshaw said. "We feel as though we are in the optimum range in the size of our classes, available classrooms, faculty load, and our ability to provide personal service for our students."

Bradshaw attributed the increases to a continued awareness of SIUE as an affordable institution that provides a quality education. "This growth continues what we've seen consistently for the past several years in both the fall and spring enrollment figures," Bradshaw said.

"More and more students and parents view SIUE as their first choice for a quality, affordable education," he said. "A strong faculty, small class sizes, community service opportunities, an active campus life, and the newest residence halls in the state continue to fuel our growth.

"At the same time, we continue to put a strong emphasis on retaining students, as the increase in the number of continuing students shows."

SIUE's enrollment has grown from 10,938 in 1994 to this fall's 13,295-about an 18 percent increase in the nine-year span. During the same time, FTE has increased more than 30 percent.

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September 15, 2003

Friends Of Religious Center Awards Dinner Oct. 4 To Honor Mayor

(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) The mayor of Edwardsville, a Southern Illinois University Edwardsville vice chancellor, and the founders of the Islamic Information Center in Ballwin, Mo., will be honored Saturday, Oct. 4, at the first Interfaith Awards Dinner, sponsored by the Friends of the Religious Center (FRC) at SIUE.

The event is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. at Eden United Church of Christ, 903 N. Second St., Edwardsville. Those to be honored at the dinner are: Edwardsville Mayor Gary Niebur, SIUE Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Narbeth Emmanuel, and Shahinshah Ahmed and the late Nasir Ahmed, founders of the Islamic Center. Reservation deadline is Sept. 29; tickets are $25 per person.

The FRC established the awards dinner as an annual event to recognize religious leadership and interfaith cooperation in the region. "These four individuals have shown great dedication to their own faiths and have encouraged dialogue in the region among many faiths," said SIUE Philosophy Associate Professor Greg Fields, who is president of the FRC board of directors and coordinator of the SIUE Religious Studies Program. "The FRC is honoring them so that the community at large can learn about the good work they do."

Fields said the FRC, formed more than two years ago, is planning to continue sponsoring two main events each year to raise money to refurbish parts of the 32-year-old Religious that is need of repair. "We plan to continue to sponsor this Interfaith Awards Dinner in the fall and also offer the Celebration of World Faiths in the spring to encourage interfaith dialogue," Fields said.

"The FRC is a support group dedicated to preserving the SIUE Religious Center as a significant contribution to architecture, as a place for the spiritual growth of SIUE students as the next generation of leaders, and for religious learning and fellowship within the community."

Niebur, who has been mayor of Edwardsville for more than 10 years, is executive director of the Edwardsville YMCA, the largest faith-based organization in the community. He also presides over the largest annual gathering of multiple church organizations in the community- the Mayor's Prayer Breakfast. Niebur also often attends and promotes religious organizations' anniversaries and special events. He is a member of St. Boniface Catholic Church in Edwardsville.

Emmanuel, who has been vice chancellor for Student Affairs at SIUE since 1996, is dedicated to providing a multicultural quality of life on the SIUE campus, with its diverse population of students from around the world. He has encouraged several activities during his tenure that have provided interaction between various cultures and faiths with an international flair. Emmanuel also has provided leadership in all aspects of student life to ensure a quality experience for SIUE students.

Gregory Mitchell and Amani Mitchell, members of the center, will attend the dinner to accept the Interfaith Award on behalf of the Ahmeds. Nasir Ahmed died Aug. 21. He and his wife founded the Center in 2001 as a place for visitors to learn about Islam. The Ahmeds moved to the United States in 1977. During his years in this country, Nasir Ahmed was a tireless advocate for Islam, speaking at schools, churches, and synagogues, and establishing a reading room in the Islamic Foundation of St. Louis mosque on West Pine Boulevard.

Dinner reservations may be made through the SIUE Religious Center, (618) 650-3246, or, toll-free from St. Louis, (888) 328-5168, Ext. 3246, or, by calling Greg Fields, (618) 650-2461; St. Louis toll-free, (888) 328-5168, Ext. 2461.

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September 11, 2003

BOT Approves Renovation, Construction For SIUE Pharmacy School

(EDWARDSVILLE, Ill.) An existing building in Southern Illinois University Edwardsville's University Park will be renovated and a new building constructed to provide laboratory, classroom, and office space for the new School of Pharmacy at a projected cost of $5 million.

The project and its budget were approved today by the SIU Board of Trustees at its regular monthly meeting conducted this month at the Edwardsville campus. Funding for the project will come from the university's operating budget and from a loan through the Illinois Public Higher Education Cooperative to be retired by revenue generated from School of Pharmacy tuition.

About 15,000 square feet in the building at 200 University Park Drive will be renovated and an adjacent, 22,000-square-foot building will be constructed to provide space for the new school. The project is expected to be completed by fall 2005.

In other business, the board approved acceptance of a gift of real estate to SIUE for future development of the East St. Louis Higher Education Campus. The parcel of land, on Bond Avenue, is across from the southeast corner of the campus property near Eighth Street.

The parcel was purchased for $400 at auction by the SIUE Foundation. Transference of the property, appraised at $3,800, was allowed today by Board action at no cost to the university.

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September 8, 2003

Student Study Provides Confirmation: The Talking Paperclip Has To Go

(EDWARDSVILLE) Take a quick scan of your favorite search engine for the term "Clippit" and you'll see exactly how everyone views the paperclip character that theoretically makes using Microsoft Office more user friendly. You'll find headlines like "Die, Clippy, Die," "Clippit charged with murder," and "Mr. T vs. Clippit." Everyone, it seems, finds the animated assistant annoying and prime fodder for derision.

And you thought you were the only one who had turned off Clippit , a.k.a. Clippy.

It seems there is a reason many people refuse to use the talking cartoon paperclip. In a recently completed study, an SIUE computer science student found that people using the character had higher levels of anxiety and made more errors when using their computer. The study also found that using a character that human characteristics reduced anxiety and errors.

"This started out to be a study on how people used computers," said Nisha Dharna, the student who conducted the study as part of her Undergraduate Research Academy project. "But it became more of a study in psychology, of how people interact with the computer. It's obvious from the results that users prefer a character with human traits - a face, arms, legs."

The Undergraduate Research Academy is an honors program open to juniors and seniors that features award and support money for students and their faculty mentors. Students must submit a proposal and be accepted into URA in a competitive process.

"This is the type of research that in many colleges and universities is reserved for graduate students," said Doug Eder, director of undergraduate assessment and program review. "Not only do we provide financial support and other resources for the URA students, but we provide additional support to the students whose projects are selected for presentation at regional or national conferences. We place a lot of importance on URA as exemplified by the level of support."

Dharna, a senior computer science major from Kenya, worked with two faculty mentors from engineering and psychology to complete the study. All three learned leassons in interdisciplinary study.

"It was interesting to see how people responded to the test," said Dharna, who devised a series of tasks for participants to complete. Some used a swirling spaceship, some a genie, others an animated face with human characteristics. The participants who used the genie and the face made significantly fewer errors and reported less anxiety.

"Many people work with computers so much that they really don't think much about the interaction with the machine, unless something is wrong," Dharna said. "They may assume certain work habits without realizing their choices may have something to do with how they are reacting to the way their computers and software work. Getting a better understanding of how behavior is impacted (by interaction with the computer) was fascinating."

Jerry Weinberg, associate professor of computer science, was originally Dharna's sole mentor. The idea grew from a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant for a usability lab, where Weinberg studied students' actions and reactions to computers and software.

But Weinberg and Dharna began the URA project, they quickly realized that more help was needed.

"The usability lab caused me to think more about different aspects of the software we use," Weinberg said. "One of the conclusions we have come to is that people interact with computers in what you could describe as a social context. We develop preferences for certain types of hardware and software. But we realized once we started this study that we needed someone who specialized in psychology."

"I do point-and-click kinds of things on the computer, said Sue Thomas, associate professor of psychology. "Nothing fancy. So getting involved in this project not only gave me a greater appreciation for Nisha and Jerry's understanding of technology, but because I was able to see it through their eyes I also gained a greater appreciation for what we know about human psychology.

"In a general sense, our view of software is static. What the three of us were able to do as we mapped out this project was to develop a more thorough understanding of how a person could affect software. We saw how that in reality it is a more dynamic than static interaction."

Not only did it lead to the final form of the research project, it left the student with the idea that she'd like to continue to explore similar research.

"Several people have encouraged me to take this project further," she said. "It's nice to see that people appreciate the work that's been done and that it has a life beyond just the project itself. I'd like to keep going with it. I'd like to continue the study of the psychological and social side - in conjunction with the engineering." But without the help of Clippy.

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September 6, 2003


School of Engineering Offers Chance To Control Cyber World Robot

(EDWARDSVILLE) In a classic twist of the "robots take over the world theme," anyone entering the SIUE School of Engineering website can take control of Taz, a web-controlled robot.

It's the project of the Autonomous Robotics Research Group. They may have a mysterious -- maybe even subversive -- sounding name, but they're actually just a group of School of Engineering professors trying to provide for the common good of their students.

Their most recent accomplishment is Taz, a web-controlled robot. Although everyone is welcome to take a turn at controlling the robot, the main audience for Taz is middle and high school students and teachers. The robot is available for limited hours throughout the week and can be controlled by following the prompts on the site. More information about the project and the group is available at ww.cs.siue.edu/robotics. (Friday, Sept. 12, at 10 a.m. will be the time specifically set aside for media to try controlling Taz. Here are the instructions: (In your web browser type in this address: http://roboti.cs.siue.edu; Click on "Control the Robot Taz;" Enter your first name; Have fun!)

The Autonomous Robotics Research Group members have combined their disciplines to help students better develop their problem solving skills through robotics. In addition, they've created several projects designed to encourage middle and high school students to consider engineering careers. Their disciplines include computer engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and industrial engineering.

"Robotics can get students from different engineering disciplines working together as a team," said Jerry Weinberg, associate professor of computer science. The group also includes Cem Karacal, mechanical and industrial engineering, Ai-Ping Hu, mechanical engineering, George Engel, electrical and computer engineering, and Bill White, computer science.

"Many of today's most complex products are highly integrated systems that include mechanical, electrical, and computer components, like a car," Weinberg said. "Engineering graduates will be working on teams that include electrical engineers, computer scientists, mechanical engineers, and industrial engineers. Robotics can help them prepare to work on such teams, learning each other's vocabulary, learning how to work together, and learning to coordinate their efforts on a project dealing with the integrated system of a robot."

In fact, Weinberg will refine his ideas for a curriculum built around a multidisciplinary course in robotics, thanks to an $84,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). He will work on the project during a six-month sabbatical, in conjunction with the Autonomous Robotics Research Group.

Meanwhile, the group hopes Taz will become a tool that helps middle and high school teachers teach the concept, and provides a hands-on method of showing students the opportunities and options that are available to engineering majors.

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