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Dec. 3, 2010

CONTACT: K.E. Schwab




SRU trustees hear update on geology student research


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – A faculty presentation describing extensive research opportunities in geology by Slippery Rock University students was featured at last Friday’s meeting of the University’s Council of Trustees.

            Michael Zieg, associate professor of geography, geology and the environment, who concentrates in teaching geology, presented slides showing the council the geology research work undertaken by his students in Canada. He also detailed his own, award-winning geology work in Antarctica.

            Zieg, who joined the SRU faculty in 2003, said SRU students are gaining research opportunities in analyzing rock composition from core samples pulled from various regions of Canada. “Students are able to determine both chemical and mineral deposits in the samples and are able to conduct other field studies as part of their work. These are excellent projects for individual undergraduate students and for collaborative projects with me and fellow geology students. These are self-contained, student-drive field projects that support their classroom learning,” he said.

            Zieg said the program works to involve freshmen through their senior classes at SRU.

            Robert Smith, SRU president, told trustees in his quarterly report that the University continues to refine its strategic plan and is preparing a March 20-23 Middle States Commission on Higher Education evaluation of the University’s academic programs as part of accreditation review. Trustees and the campus community will be kept informed of progress and will participate in the visit, Smith said.

            Smith told trustees the University was recently ranked 10th nationally among masters-degree granting institutions in the number of students participating in short-term, study-abroad programs and ranked 25th nationally for overall international experiences for undergraduates.

            “Slippery Rock University was accepted as a founding member of the Presidents’ Alliance, a 70-member organization working to improve student learning on U.S. campuses, and Eva Tsuquiashi-Daddessio, our College of Humanities, Fine and Performing Arts dean, has received the Minority Achievement Award sponsored by Minority Opinion/Talk Magazine,” he said.

            “The University continues its commitment to diversify the campus and create an inclusive environment. This past month, we collected data from an online community survey of faculty, staff and students to establish a baseline for campus climates related to the working, living and learning environment at Slippery Rock University,” Smith said.           

The University presented a $20,000 check to the Slippery Rock Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Team recognizing its years of services to SRU and the surrounding community. Accepting the donation on behalf of the department was Ron Steele, past chief and firefighter, and Al Taggart, vice president.

Joshua Young, serving his first meeting as council chair, announced the council’s standing committee chair assignments as follows:

Academic affairs: John Hicks; student life: Brandon Maharaj; finance: Dennis Murray; and advancement: Robert Taylor. All council members serve on council’s facilities committee.

Council approved a motion to add a governance committee to oversee council operations, including presidential evaluations and updating of council policies, among other issues. Eric Holmes was named to chair the new committee.

The council chair serves as an ex-officio member of all committees.

Hicks will also serve as council’s representative to the Pennsylvania Association of Council of Trustees.

In routine action, trustees voted to approve the contracts, fixed assets and service and supply purchase orders reports as presented.

            Trustees were told of two substitute appointments, five instructional appointments, two university administrator appointments and 13 support staff appointments.

            Retirements announced include: April Longwell, assistant professor and head of the SRU Honors Program, who retires June 3 after 11 years service; Edward Hess, assistant vice president for finance, who retires Jan. 18 after 21 years service; Edward Bucha, executive director of University Advancement, who retired Sept. 30 after 24 years service; Anthony Linnan, associate director of the Office of Career Services, who retires Dec. 31 after 14 years service; and Albert Kelly, utility plant operator 1 in the heating plant, who retired Oct. 22 after seven years service.

            Professor emeritus status for five retired faculty members was announced. Receiving the honor were: William Barnett, a 28-year secondary education/foundations of education professor who retired in 2002; Kenneth Harris, a 19-year professor of theatre who retired in 2000; Patsy Ann Johnson, 24-year professor of secondary education/-foundations of education; Allison McNeal, 31-year professor of English; and Melinda Ristvey, 22-year professor of modern languages and cultures. Johnson, McNeal and Ristvey all retired this year.

            Council’s next sessions are March 17-18.


Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania’s premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.