NEW CLUB OFFERS JOB PROSPECTS

by Frank San Miguel

Daily Cougar Staff

A newly formed student group looks to bring students in contact with communications professionals.

The UH chapter of the International Association of Business Professionals is the first student-run chapter of the organization in the country.

Among the ways the professional chapter will assist the student group is through internships and different volunteer projects.

Scheduled guest speakers will represent various industries, including public relations, photography and marketing.

Officers said the Houston professional chapter, the nation's largest, will assist the UH group's endeavors.

"As charter members, we get to set the tone for the organization," said Jean Edwards, newly elected student-chapter president.

 

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PICKERING GUARANTEES FACULTY PAY RAISES

by Bobby Summers

Daily Cougar Staff

UH President James H. Pickering attempted Wednesday to calm growing unrest and resentment as he addressed faculty members at the Fall Faculty Assembly, promising them merit pay raises this year.

Pickering said merit raises for UH faculty are long overdue. He promised that this year, he will work with UH Provost Henry Trueba and Dennis Boyd, senior vice president for administration and finance, to "identify funds for faculty merit raises."

"Don't ask me how we're going to do it because frankly, I do not know yet quite how," Pickering said. "I hope the state of Texas will help. But with or without the state's help, we will find a way to do it – a way that will not adversely impact the equally pressing need to maintain and increase enrollment."

Pickering termed his speech "a state of the university address." He highlighted the university's recent accomplishments and noted that the University of Houston in 1994 has "achieved the status of one of the nation's outstanding universities."

Pickering touched on two special issues that have sparked growing dissension between the faculty and the administration in the past couple of years – faculty salaries and the need to participate "fully and forcefully in the developing dialogue about the University of Houston System and its appropriate relationship with this campus."

Citing an article he wrote for the opinion page of the <I>Houston Chronicle<P> in October, Pickering said, "In that essay, I stressed the critical need for Texas to 'invest and reinvest' in the 'faculty of its state colleges and universities.'

"That the state has in recent years all but abandoned its responsibilities to its higher education faculty is clear and undeniable," he added. "It is equally clear and undeniable that the inability or unwillingness of the state to sustain faculty salaries at a competitive level has serious and negative implications for our (UH's) ability to achieve each and every one of the priority goals that I have set before you today."

Pickering's speech also outlined four important questions that must be answered and four priority goals that must be accomplished to ensure that UH becomes "America's premier teaching and research university" by the year 2000.

He then posed and answered four critical questions that directly relate to the university's "ability to achieve and sustain" this status.

The first question was, "If our mission is to become the nation's premier urban teaching and research university, just what does that mean?"

Pickering emphasized that it does <I>not<P> mean, even in the face of declining enrollments, that UH is going to lower academic standards, or become an open-admissions university.

He said, "We are going to continue to do precisely what we have been doing: providing academically qualified students – undergraduate, graduate and professional students alike – with the caliber of education they need to become an integral part of a 21st century work force."

The second question was, "How will UH know it has reached the goal of its mission, and how will it know exactly when it has reached the point where all Houstonians can legitimately extend the pride of ownership to the university?"

In answering, Pickering praised the "strategic advantage of our urban environment" and said UH will "not compromise or jeopardize its mission of research, scholarship and creative activity."

He also reported that just last month, he told the Board of Regents that "this is the single critical factor that differentiates us (UH main campus) from the other UH System institutions, and from all but a handful of other universities in this state."

Pickering's third and fourth questions involved UH's current strategic planning and strategies for securing funding for UH from the 1995 Texas Legislature.

Citing the need for UH to continue to be "a major platform for high-end research and scholarship," Pickering suggested UH must "be prepared to make a major new investment" in the coming year to improve the quality and effectiveness of its strategic planning and lobbying efforts.

To do this, Pickering proposed four priority goals that must be accomplished by the year 2000.

The first goal calls for UH to move from a ranking as a Carnegie Research University II, to a Carnegie I classification.

In order to reach that goal, Pickering said UH will need to increase its total external research dollars and federal support dollars by approximately 50 percent.

He said the increased funds would be used to hire new faculty and research personnel, retain "mature scholars and researchers" currently employed by the university, purchase new equipment and technology, and improve and enhance M.D. Anderson Library.

The second priority goal is to ensure that undergraduate students entering UH will achieve a six-year graduation rate that is at least 50 percent. this would require an increase of 14 percent from the current rate of 36 percent.

Pickering said this goal "takes us directly into the heart of our teaching mission and how we serve our students both in the classroom and across the university." To accomplish this goal, Pickering suggested improving strategies for student recruitment, admissions and retention.

He also discussed re-examining the current curriculum, providing more flexible and individualized methods of instruction, outfitting state-of-the-art classrooms and lab facilities, forging better relations with public high schools and community colleges, and establishing better and more effective student relations.

The third priority goal calls for UH to significantly increase the quality of its partnership programs as a means of both strengthening the research and teaching missions and broadening UH's urban agenda.

Pickering urged the university to work with other educational institutions, businesses and industry in order to place a greater emphasis on the service and outreach component of the university's mission.

The fourth priority goal deals with strategic planning and fiscal control. Pickering said UH hopes to reduce administrative expenditures across campus to 8 percent of the total educational and general expenditures, a reduction of approximately 20 percent over a six-year period.

"We have made a good start in the 99 positions eliminated by Senior Vice President Boyd in the area of Administration and Finance at a permanent savings of $2 million," Pickering said.

"This is a beginning, but only a beginning of what must take place across the campus. What is missing, I suspect, is less a desire to reduce the costs of administration than a template of possible examples of how it can be achieved without reducing services."

 

 

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SA SENATOR SEEKS ENROLLMENT SERVICES IMPROVEMENTS

by Jennifer Smith

Daily Cougar Staff

An SA senator announced at Wednesday's meeting that he has been meeting with Enrollment Services administrators to try and make things better for students.

Senator B. J. Clark said he has been discussing with officials the possibility of creating a 1-800 number for students who live outside the local dialing area of UH so they don't pay a penalty for being on hold with the bursar's office.

He is also proposing to allow students to access their accounts with the university on VIP or the Internet.

"Going into E. Cullen is like going into hell," Clark said.

When students deal with Enrollment Services, which includes the Bursar's Office and the Financial Aid Office, they must wait in long lines, Clark added. When they reach the head of the line, he said, "People are rude to you."

In recent years, said Clark, the number of students dealing with the offices has doubled, and the staff employed to deal with them has decreased by two.

"We need a staffing increase," he said.

SA President Angie Milner said she and Clark will meet with vice presidents from both the Enrollment Services and Administration and Finance Offices to work out who will pay for the phone service.

She also said she would like to make it possible for students to register to vote after registering for their classes on VIP.

"That way, no students would have excuses not to vote," Milner said.

In other business, Milner announced that Legislators' Day will occur on Wednesday. All newly elected state Legislature representatives will be meeting with campus leaders, she added. The primary topic will be higher education.

If they see the campus in person, said Milner, they will be more likely to support UH funding.

Later in the meeting, Justin McMurtry, a former SA senator who is arranging e-mail accounts for the SA Cabinet, said the e-mail software Eudora is now installed on most of the computers in the SA offices.

McMurtry strongly urged all senators to obtain e-mail accounts. He said he would appreciate it if new e-mail addresses were turned in to the SA office, saying it would greatly facilitate communications.

Because many senators might not know how to use their accounts to the fullest, McMurtry said he is arranging mini-classes for them.

The SA Constitution and Code would be available on-line next week, McMurtry added. He also hopes to put the minutes of every SA meeting and copies of pending legislation on-line soon.

"Anyone with a computer or a modem will be able to access this information on or off campus," McMurtry said.

To round out the meeting, the Internal Affairs committee strongly advised SA not to endorse the Book Buddies project, the for-profit book resale company. The committee said it was not in the best interests of SA to endorse a for-profit business of any kind because it could potentially open SA to exploitation.

However, Book Buddies is still scheduled to give a presentation of its system at the next SA meeting, Wednesday at 7 p.m. At that meeting, Book Buddies will be taking names for this semester's free demonstration of its system. If names are given to Book Buddies, they will include them without charge on their telephone system.

SA is looking for a director for its own free on-line version of the book-resale system, Milner added.

Three SA bills were introduced Wednesday. One proposed to combine the offices of vice president and director of personnel, another seeks to streamline compensated SA positions and another proposed to establish a select committee to examine the Library Fee Referendum.

 

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TEMPING PROVIDES EMPLOYERS, WORKERS EVALUATION PERIOD

by Ivana Segvic

Daily Cougar Staff

After years of studying, exam-taking and essay-writing, students expect to be able to go out into the work force with their diplomas and find jobs that deal more with their professions, than just flipping hamburgers.

Unfortunately, many students find themselves in a Catch 22 situation. Employers want experience, but how can a person get experience without being given the opportunity to put their foot in the door?

OfficeTeam is one of the fastest-growing staffing services. It specializes in placing temporary and permanent administrative professionals into offices and has more than 100 locations worldwide.

A new survey by the company shows that temporary work may be one of the best ways to acquire experience. Approximately 78 percent of executives who were surveyed by OfficeTeam believe consistent employment is comparable to full-time work.

Andrew Denka, executive director of OfficeTeam, says temporary work is important for the employee and the employer. "By working as a temporary, individuals demonstrate to hiring managers that they possess the same initiative and skills required of full-time employment. Temping also gives them the chance to test the waters with a firm before committing to a permanent position," Denka says.

The OfficeTeam survey showed that 80 percent of executives feel that executive assistant or secretarial work, on a temporary basis before full-time employment, is extremely valuable.

"These findings take the pressure off job seekers who feel they must accept any full-time job, even the wrong one for them, to avoid having a gap on their resume," Denka says.

More firms are using temporary assistance as an "auditioning" process. Approximately one-third of OfficeTeam's temporaries are offered permanent jobs through their temporary assignments.

Sharon Rice, OfficeTeam's area manager for Houston, says businesses rely on temporaries to staff busy departments and work on assignments that require specialized skills. "This flexibility helps avoid wide staffing fluctuations and provides a means of protecting full-time employees from layoffs."

Rice advises companies to take advantage of temporary assistance. "Hiring decisions have a long-term impact on productivity and morale – it makes sense to learn as much as you can about candidates before offering them full-time positions," she says.

 

 

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COUGARS GET NEEDED REST TO FACE BEAT-UP UT

by Jason Paul Ramírez

Daily Cougar Staff

The Texas Longhorns don't seem to have anyone in coach John Mackovic's doghouse this week, nor has wide receiver Lovell Pinkney been accused of breaking more NCAA rules by "misusing" Bevo, the Texas mascot, for free rides around campus.

But that still doesn't mean the ’Horns are without their problems.

This team is hurting – literally.

As the Houston Cougars (1-7 overall, 1-3 in the Southwest Conference) venture to Austin Saturday fresh off a bye week, they're preparing to play a Texas (5-4, 2-2) team that is currently listing 18 players as suffering from some type of injury.

Kickoff at Memorial Stadium is set for 12:07 p.m. in order to be shown on Channel 11 as a Raycom telecast.

"I'm sure (Texas) is not at full strength," Houston head coach Kim Helton said. "But I'm not sure of their injury situation."

The facts are: Five of UT's injured players will miss Saturday's contest while two are doubtful, three more are questionable and two others are playing injured.

No suspensions have been announced as of this point, however.

In losing three of its last four ballgames, Texas has been plagued by the injury and law-and-order bugs. As a result, the Longhorns are fading fast from a conference race that appeared to be theirs for the taking at the start of the season.

Texas began the year at 4-1, climbing all the way up to the No. 12 spot on the Associated Press top 25 poll. The injuries and suspensions then took their toll in an Oct. 16 19-17 loss to Rice in Houston.

Two weeks later, Texas was trounced 33-9 by Texas Tech and enters the Houston game off a 34-10 laugher defeat against Texas A&M in Austin.

As far as the Cougars are concerned, they are normally the ones more familiar with injuries. However, Helton said the week off helped his team get healthy.

"We have people that were banged up and couldn't have played last week, but will play this week," he said.

Returning to the team at or near full strength Saturday are wide receiver Ron Peters, running back Jermaine Williams, running back Ryan Burton and free safety Thomas McGaughey.

 

 

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VOLLEYBALL TEAM TRIES TO REGROUP AFTER LOSS

by Chris Peña

Daily Cougar Staff

Now that the 17th-ranked Cougar volleyball team's school-record winning streak has been halted by Southwest Conference rival Texas A&M, the team must prepare for the remainder of the 1994 season.

The Cougars' (20-4) quest for their first-ever undefeated conference season was thwarted by a Lady Aggie team that, on the night, hit better and played superior defense.

The Cougars have four matches remaining on their schedule: the last two against No. 8 Santa Barbara and No. 9 Long Beach State on the road in Southern California.

But before the Cougars battle it out in the wild West, there are two games closer to home to worry about.

Actually, the team's next two games <I>are<P> at home. The Cougars have regional rivals Lamar and Louisiana Tech coming to town this weekend.

Saturday, Houston hosts the Lady Cardinals (10-14) at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday's game against the Lady Bulldogs in Hofheinz Pavilion is scheduled for 2 p.m.

Houston was defeated in College Station in four games by an Aggie team that outblocked them 17-7 and out-killed them 75-52.

The next two games should prepare the Cougars for the upcoming SWC Tournament. This year's post-season bash starts Friday, Nov. 18, at Rice's Autry Court.

Once the tournament begins, the Cougars will enjoy a first-round bye as the No. 1 seed. The Cougars earned the ranking by winning the regular-season conference race.

Now that Houston has lost to Texas A&M, its path to the tournament championship will not be as easy as many had predicted.

In addition to the Aggies, the Cougars must also contend with an always-dangerous Texas Longhorn team.

Although the Cougars have beaten the Longhorns twice this season, a third encounter with them cannot be taken for granted.

 

 

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