UH BUSINESS STUDENTS HOPE TO CAPITALIZE ON ENTREPRENEURSHIP MAJOR, COMING SOON

by Jennifer Smith

Daily Cougar Staff

UH students are studying how to start their own businesses and getting college credit for it.

In fact, it's possible that entrepreneurship could become a new major at UH.

The Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, part of the College of Business Administration, was established to organize, expand and promote the knowledge and practice of entrepreneurship, according to the program's mission statement.

It seeks to teach starting your own business and management skills through a six-course sequence by teaching entrepreneurial education from the output point of view. The course load was designed in mid-1993.

Though the courses have not yet been approved as a major, the process to have them approved has been started. The major may be available as early as January 1995, according to William Sherrill, the original designer of the courses.

"There is a good chance that it will be approved," he said, adding that the center eventually hopes to design a graduate concentration in entrepreneurship, though that is not a primary focus at this time.

The program, which is very selective, only accepts 30 students at a time. After an exhaustive series of interviews, the 30 are chosen from a class of about 150 people seeking admittance.

The interdisciplinary courses are team-taught by academic professors and professional entrepreneurs who give students in the program the benefit of their real-life experience, program organizers said.

The six courses teach skills like product and service concepts and pricing and marketing strategies as well as cost estimation, budgeting and methods of financing, to name a few.

A strength within the program is its mentor program. Each student admitted into the entrepreneurship program has a professional entrepreneur assigned to him or her. The mentor is there to answer questions and to provide an extra teaching capacity as well as to lend assistance for gaining investment capital for aspiring student entrepreneurs after graduation.

Though no one has completed the new program as of yet, the earliest class of students is completing its fifth class this semester.

Former students of the two entrepreneurial classes offered before this sequence was formed include the owner of a successful translation firm and the owner of a pet-grooming company.

The program is entirely supported by donations from outside companies. It also has funding from individuals, some of whom consist of mentors or executive professors.

"I like to think we're 'walking the talk,' " said Dale Toney, the program's manager. "That is, we're preaching entrepreneurship and doing it."

 

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PROF TO CALL FOR CENSURE OF PICKERING

by Bobby Summers

Daily Cougar Staff

At Wednesday's regular meeting of the UH Faculty Senate, Senator Robert Palmer, Cullen professor of history and law, will introduce a resolution calling for censure of UH President James H. Pickering.

The censure resolution is a final effort on the part of some Faculty Senate members to register their distaste for the removal of Harrell Rodgers as dean of the College of Social Sciences.

Rodgers, who held the post of dean for eight years, was a close adviser to former UH President Marguerite Ross Barnett, who passed away in 1992. He allegedly fell into disfavor recently after he criticized Pickering, UH System Chancellor Alex Schilt and the UH System in general.

In July, former Provost Glenn Aumann was asked to fire Rodgers. Since then, the conflict between faculty and the administration has intensified. Faculty members are not only unhappy with Pickering's recent policy decisions, but they also seriously question his long-range vision for the university.

The debate between the two factions is multi-faceted and includes topics like selection of deans, lobbying for funding from the Legislature, academic standards, retention of qualified professors and the future of expensive athletic programs like football at UH.

In addition, some faculty are expressing increased dissatisfaction with the perceived growing bureaucracy of the UH System. They are especially concerned about the amount of money being spent on the salaries of many system administrators, the cost of their housing and perks, and the cost of leasing expensive office space for the System in a downtown Houston office tower.

"Part of it is football," Palmer said. "But the things that Harrell Rodgers has been doing are representative of what a lot of us think about the quality and the virtue of the central System administration. That's never been as public as it has been recently."

Palmer added, "The perspective that drives this kind of thing is Pickering wants a management team that presents a unified front to the faculty. As far as I'm concerned, what that means is that important university issues don't get discussed effectively in public. We have to kind of believe that the argument is taking place, but we have no way of knowing it. And that just means that while we can speak freely (whenever) we want, we can't do it effectively."

The censure resolution was written by Palmer, who also authored and introduced a resolution passed by the Senate in August calling for Rodgers' reinstatement.

Palmer said the introduction of a resolution for censure is rare. He can only remember one such resolution since he came to UH in 1987, a call for censure of Chancellor Schilt in connection with Pickering's appointment in 1992. Faculty members objected to the appointment because the university did not institute a national search for a new president. That resolution, which did not pass, was also written by Palmer.

"The fact that he (Pickering) was willing to take the presidency without a national search certainly did not start his presidency off right," Palmer said. "It said something detrimental to faculty government and to respect for the kinds of processes that we expect."

Pickering's response to the August resolution was read at the Sept. 21 Senate meeting. Palmer said some senators anticipated the tone and content of Pickering's response, but they had hoped he would address their concerns.

"The president did respond to the last resolution. He responded in writing, much to his credit," Palmer said. "I didn't like the answer. I think it was an insufficient answer."

He added, "I think the faculty has to make a statement. The response that we got was like most of the other responses we get, which is basically, 'Yes, we've heard what you said, and we'll go ahead and do what we want to.' They haven't reversed their perceptions about inserting a management team. They haven't valued what we think about effective faculty speech on issues. Nor have they revalued their role in evaluating what deans do to emphasize more the effect that the dean has on the individual college."

Palmer hopes the introduction of the censure resolution will send a message of no-confidence to Pickering, Chancellor Schilt and the Board of Regents.

"The censure resolution is a commentary on what should be coming up," Palmer said. "This resolution is more substantial. It's saying that he should resign. That doesn't mean that we expect him automatically to resign. But the resolution says we censure him and that we want to remind Schilt that we want that two-year performance review that we were promised when he (Pickering) was appointed. We were promised that in the Spring Faculty Assembly two years ago."

One of the most pressing concerns for Senate members is UH's loss of state funding. The university suffered an $8.5 million cut during the last legislative session, the largest loss by any state-funded university in Texas.

"That has been a disaster since the last legislative session," Palmer said. "That indicates really major problems, and it is not clear whether they have really straightened those out. They maintain that they are starting early, but Schilt is still talking in exactly the same way that he was before, saying that really what the University of Houston is about is remedial education. That might play well downtown, for UH-Downtown with open admissions, but that's not this campus. It just infuriates people to hear him talking like that."

The lobbyists employed by the UH System have also drawn the ire of Senate members.

"They still have the same team in charge of the lobbying effort, the team that failed last time," Palmer said. "We're not terribly impressed with those people, so that's something that we are going after."

On virtually every college campus nationwide, there is likely to be a certain amount of tension and mistrust between the faculty and the administration. The present conflict between UH faculty and administration can be traced back many years. However, this battle is being waged in a more public arena, with faculty members freely speaking to the press rather than pursuing more traditional internal solutions.

"They (the faculty) are more politicized," Palmer said. "Under President Richard Van Horn (UH president from 1984-90), people were just cynical. Van Horn was a do-nothing president. The relationship between the faculty and the president at that point was not good. Then there was that brief hiatus of Barnett. I think that relations were better for a brief time until she got so sick. Since Barnett, relations have gotten worse."

Palmer said faculty members hoped that new UH Provost Henry Trueba would be able to solve some of the problems, like the appointment of a new dean for the UH Law Center. The provost is usually responsible for hiring and firing deans, but Palmer said Pickering bypassed Trueba in the Rodgers case.

"Pickering has removed the responsibility for that decision from Trueba, which means that we can't even convince Trueba of it with any effect," Palmer said. "All the means of redress are closed. We went to the Board of Regents. The Board of Regents said, 'Pursue it using internal means only.' So this is formally the last internal mechanism we have."

 

 

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NEW COMPLAINTS MADE AGAINST UH WORKER CHARGED WITH THEFT

by Robert L. Arnold

Daily Cougar Staff

Former Cougar Place Office Assistant Ronny Hornback, who was recently charged with theft by a public servant, has had two new complaints filed against him that could raise his offense to felony status.

A story published by The Daily Cougar on Nov. 3 reported the arrest of Hornback after a month-long investigation by UHPD.

UHPD Lt. John Heron said the original investigation of Hornback was launched after UHPD received a call from the Business Office for Residence Halls.

"We received a call that a student had complained about a charge on their housing bill, so we began searching all transactions made by Ronny," Heron said.

The investigation resulted in UHPD finding evidence of alleged theft involving two students, Shang-Ling Liang and Mei-Chi We.

According to Heron, both were told there was a cash deposit required when changing rooms or checking into a room early.

The district attorney's office accepted the evidence presented by UHPD and charged Hornback with Class A misdemeanor theft by a public servant. The alleged thefts of the students were reported as totaling $110.

Since Hornback's arrest, two more Cougar Place residents have filed complaints against him. First-year law student K. Alan Holcomb and first-year optometry student Spring Pankratz are both claiming to have paid out money under allegedly false pretenses.

Holcomb said he was told he had to give a deposit of $12. Holcomb said he checked into his room six days early and paid a total of $72.

Heron said it has never been a practice of the Residence Halls to take cash from students because "everything is incorporated into their housing bill."

Pankratz said she also checked into her room six days early and paid a total of $80 in cash. She added that she was told there was normally a charge of $15 a day, but that she could pay $13 instead.

Heron declined to comment on the alleged incidents because the matter was still under investigation. He added that "two students have filed new complaints, and we are very close to presenting this new information to the district attorney's office."

Since his arrest, Hornback resigned from the position he had been working in since July 1992. Cougar Place Area Coordinator Terry Bridges declined to comment on the alleged incidents or on Hornback's performance as an employee.

Heron also said this new evidence would put Hornback's alleged offenses into a third-degree felony category.

Hornback's bail was set at $1,000. If convicted of a third-degree felony, Hornback may face 2-10 years in prison and/or a fine not to exceed $10,000.

 

 

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SO YOU WISH YOU WERE AN OSCAR MAYER WIENER?

by Marla Dudman

News Reporter

Remember baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and that famous American brand of automobile people cherished not so long ago? Well, the Oscar Meyer Corp. is looking for a few good people to drive their wienermobiles on a promotional tour around the country.

"Our ‘hotdoggers’ are usually selected among recent college graduates all over the U.S. who have applied for internships with the company," said Chad A. Gretzema, wienermobile adviser and former hotdogger. "We have also chosen some juniors and seniors with excellent resumes and outstanding communication skills."

Interns will spend a full year traveling across the country acting as goodwill ambassadors for Oscar Meyer products and attending major events like the Super Bowl, Mardi Gras and the World Series.

Interested students must send in their resumes by Feb. 1. After reviewing thousands of resumes from universities across the country, Oscar Meyer selects 40 to 50 finalists to go to Madison, Wis., for a personal interview. The 12 winners are notified by mail in early April and become a part of six regional teams that represent the corporation nationwide.

This year, the Southwest team is represented by University of Texas at Austin graduate Annette Cristan, Purdue University Graduate Ashley White and University of Missouri-Columbia graduate Brandon Pendleton.

"It’s like a year-long parade," Cristan said. "We do festivals, corporate promotions, sales meetings and other public events. We even did a 5K buddy run that was tied in with a major food store chain. The wienermobile was the pace car for the under-12 age group. It was hilarious watching a bunch of hungry-looking kids chase after a 23-foot-long hot dog.

"Everyone, young and old alike, has fun with it. Our job is to spread miles of smiles, and we do it wherever we go," she said.

Gretzema emphasized the importance of a creative, innovative spirit. "These hotdoggers will be on the road 345 days out of the year. We are giving the youngest people in the country the most responsibility and the least supervision," he said.

Although the corporation plans a basic schedule, it encourages interns to implement some of their own promotional ideas while on tour.

"There is a Washington Street mission located next to a housing project in Dallas," Cristan said. "They provide information packets on how to study and how to be safe at school. So we sent in our own proposal (to the company) to do a ‘back to school’ festival with the wienermobile as a community service not tied to a retailer. We want to use the approach that learning is fun and provide hot dogs and giveaways, along with the educational information."

The all-expenses-paid year begins with training at Hot Dog High, where interns learn about the history of Oscar Meyer products, how to plan special events and how to maneuver their buns in traffic. A major portion of the job involves participating in media events. The job includes a regular salary and full benefits.

For those who can cut the mustard, Gretzema says they will relish the job and the opportunity to be celebrities for a year. "Our hotdoggers even made it on the David Letterman show once," he said.

Students and recent graduates interested in hitting the hot-dog highway can contact Chad Gretzema at Oscar Meyer Corp.; P.O. Box 7188; Madison, Wis. 53707 or call (608) 241-3311.

 

 

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CARMEN SANDIEGO BETTER NOT ASK UH FOR HELP

by Frank McGowan

Daily Cougar Staff

If your knowledge of geography is deficient, now is the time to bone up. National Geography Week is today through Monday.

However, UH students who wish to study geography are no longer able to pursue a minor in the subject. The Geography Department at UH was dissolved in February due to a lack of funding and a shortage of instructors. Of the two remaining instructors, one was placed in the Political Science Department, and the other was sent to the Anthropology Department.

Geography at UH is in search of direction.

"Of course, the biggest problem universitywide is funding," said Victor Mote, associate professor of geography and political science. "Funding is 15 percent lower now than it was in '84.

"What we really need is a benefactor who likes geography to give us enough money to recreate the department, but if the university creates a department, it would rob powerful (social science) programs like economics and political science," Mote said.

He said the university should offer a program in geography, though, simply because Houston is a center for international business and the fourth-largest city in the United States.

"I believe a city like Houston needs a full-fledged geography department. We are a center of industry, and we need some people who are knowledgeable of the best use of our resources," he added.

Patricia Julian, a part-time professor who teaches an overview course in geography (World Realms), says the subject is important because it is interdisciplinary in nature.

Julian admits she does not consider her class to be a tough one.

"My problem is, I’ve got people coming in from high schools who’ve had no geography background. I’m forced to teach at almost a high school level. What we really need is a class for people who have no background and another class for those that do have some background," Julian said.

She said that as a whole, American students are years behind their counterparts in Europe and Asia. Julian notes that geography is not given its due because it is a generalist field in a specialist world.

According to Julian, geography education needs enhancement in elementary and secondary schools. Texas teacher certification standards could make that a difficult task.

The Texas Education Agency does not require primary teachers to have taken any geography courses prior to certification, said Jan Gooden, administrator of Records and Certification in the UH College of Education.

"Geography was required by one of the education faculty members (at UH). He had it as a prerequisite, but then he retired," Gooden said. The subject was then dropped as a requirement of the department.

Gooden explains that a class in social studies methods is still required for primary school certification.

Still, student interest in the subject is as great as ever.

Paige Padgett, a UH undergraduate adviser with the Department of Anthropology, states that she has recorded at least 10 inquiries by students who wish to minor in geography. In addition, Julian has had at least 160 students in the past two semesters, having to cut enrollment to 110 students for this semester because of overwhelming demand and a lack of resources. Julian has been promised a teaching assistant for next semester.

The two UH geography professors explained the need for greater funding and education in the field.

"We are terribly ethnocentric because we are, let’s face it, No. 1 in terms of our economic strength and military prowess. Most people don’t look beyond our borders. Many people are content to live in Houston and remain oblivious to their surroundings," Mote said.

Julian puts it in simpler terms.

"If we are going to be more multicultural, we need more geography."

 

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<I>CLERKS<P> SERVES CLEVER COLLECTIVE COMEDY

 

by Chris and Stephen Stelmak

Daily Cougar Staff

 

Every generation needs a defining movie, and some people had hoped <I>Clerks<P> might strike a nerve with "Generation X," as other movies had failed to do so. Having seen so many movies that have tried to make this claim, one might expect this black-and-white film with a very small budget to be quasi-intellectual and boring.

However, <I>Clerks<P> delivers much more than is expected.

The movie's main focus is relationships. The intertwining connections between the characters and changes they go through because of other influences make this movie rise above other "Generation X" movies. Don't get the idea that this is a high-drama movie. It's a comedy.

The main characters of the film are Dante, a convenience-store worker, and neighboring video-store clerk and friend, Randal. Dante, played by Brian O'Halloran, is a nice store clerk who politely deals with all the annoying customers he is forced to face in his daily interactions working with the public.

Randal, however, is the type of person we wish we could be, but would hate to deal with in a store. He speaks his mind and rudely greets and dismisses the customers at the video store.

The amazing thing about this hilarious movie is the low budget. Director Kevin Smith wrote the script in film school and left school early so he could put his tuition money toward the film's budget. Smith wrote, directed, produced, edited and acted in <I>Clerks<P>. Scott Mosier and David Klein, Smith's classmates from their Vancouver film school, helped produce the film.

Smith rented out the Quick Stop and video store, where he used to work, for 21 days. Smith still works at the convenience store sometimes.

After filming <I>Clerks<P>, the students spent many nights in the video store editing the movie. Smith would work until 10:30 p.m. and would work with Mosier editing the movie most of the night. They would often spend the night because Smith had to open the store the next morning.

Scraping up enough money for <I>Clerks<P> was not easy. Smith even had to sell part of his comic-book collection to get $3,000 for the movie. During production, Smith's home town flooded. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, however, offered support and gave Smith money for his flooded car. Smith then turned around and put the money toward the movie.

Their perseverance paid off. The fine acting and comedy made this film the winner at both the 1994 Sundance and Cannes Film Festivals.

Simplistic, yet unpredictable, this excellent movie is not for twentysomethings, but for anyone who has had a job in which they are forced to deal with irritating people and disgruntled co-workers.

<I>Clerks<P> is rated R and is showing exclusively at Landmark's River Oaks 3 theater.

 

 

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<I>CLERKS<P> COMPILATION COOL

 

by Chris Stelmak

Contributing Writer

The <I>Clerks<P> soundtrack is a wonderful accompaniment to the hilarious movie, featuring some famous bands like Alice in Chains, Bad Religion, Corrosion of Conformity, Soul Asylum and Stabbing Westward. It also includes dialogue bits and pieces from the movie.

The soundtrack starts out a little poppy with "Clerks" by Love Among Freaks and "Kill the Sex Player" by Girls Against Boys. Alice in Chains plays "Got Me Wrong," a slow song that flows wonderfully.

Golden Smog even did a remake of the old song "Shooting Star," which was also released for <I>Forrest Gump<P>. Several of the bands seem to have a rough, uncut sound to them.

The album gets heavier as it continues. Bad Religion cranks out a great tune with "Leaders and Followers." Stabbing Westward follows Bad Religion with "Violent Mood Swings," featuring heavy metal techno that is borderline industrial. The song, however, gets a little repetitive.

Corrosion of Conformity breaks into a heavy-metal explosion with "Big Problems," with a sound similar to its previous albums. Soul Asylum closes with "Can't Even Tell," another of its folk-like melodies.

The soundtrack to the original <I>Clerks<P>, before it was produced by Miramax, consisted entirely of guitar-playing by Scott Angley, one of Director Kevin Smith's friends in high school. When Miramax produced it, the company put together its own soundtrack.

The soundtrack is fairly good. The songs played by Alice in Chains and Soul Asylum are even deserving of airplay. If you like hard rock and pop with a sort of local sound, you should get this album.

 

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SHUDDER TO THINK PLANS <I>PONY EXPRESS<P> RIDE TO TOWN

 

by Frank San Miguel

Daily Cougar Staff

After hitting Houston this summer in a big way via Lollapalooza, former indie act Shudder To Think makes another landing here Wednesday at the Urban Art Bar in support of its latest release, <I>Pony Express Record<P>. For some, the band is a pleasant surprise.

Shudder To Think started out on Dischord, record label of Fugazi, Nation of Ulysses and a host of other indie rock greats. From there, it released a pair of fine records, building a reputation as a rock band with flair, unafraid to present a polished sound to a crowd unafraid to mosh.

Just recently, the band signed on with mega-label Sony. The result is <I>Pony Express<P>, a good release that showcases what makes this band at least nominally more interesting than its counterparts.

Vocalist Craig Wedren has always had a fascinating voice, and it carries well through the release. The playing here is tight and well-structured, and the instrumentation is sharp – a testament to the chemistry of this three-piece.

The album kicks off with the charming stop-start clash of "Hit Liquor." The underlayered guitars thrash about against the rhythm section here as Wedren referees with understated vocals. The tussle tumbles into the next cut, "Gang of $," but slows down by the third track.

From here, Shudder To Think tends to drift into a more conventional independent rock cookie cutter. Its main selling point by now becomes Wedren's vocals. The energy and honesty seem there, but the momentum gets a little lost.

No matter though. Expect a solid performance from the band, as its members have logged in considerable time on stages around the world. During its last performance here, Shudder To Think did a respectable job of holding the attention of the Lollapalooza crowd and keeping them from wandering over to Nick Cave's set.

Now on a headlining set, Shudder To Think may not be a show to skip out on. With a pile of respectable releases under its belt, the band is coming up fast.

<B>Shudder To Think plays Wednesday at the Urban Art Bar (2801 Brazos). You can stop by The Daily Cougar, Room 151 in the Communications Building, on Wednesday to pick up a free Shudder To Think button. Supplies are limited.<P>

 

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TOO LITTLE TOO LATE FOR LADY COOGS

Women's basketball team drops preseason opener in overtime

by M. S. Ameen

Contributing Writer

The Cougar women's basketball team awoke from its summertime hibernation just long enough to take the Houston Flight into overtime Monday night on the Hofheinz Pavilion hardwood.

In their first game of the preseason, the Lady Cougars shook off the cobwebs just in time to take the Flight into an extra period only to lose 87-79 in front of 106 spectators.

The Cougars fought back from a 14-point deficit at halftime to take the lead 61-60 on freshman forward Jerrie Cooper's fast-break layup with 4:03 left in the game. Cooper contributed 11 points on a night that saw five Cougars score in double digits.

The Flight was down 71-69 with eight seconds left in regulation when Kim Perrot took the inbounds pass coast to coast for a layup to tie the game and put the game into overtime. Perrot's team-high 16 points all came in the second half, the only force keeping the Flight from totally blundering a lead that had reached as high as 21 points.

The Cougars were down 10 points in the first half before scoring their first point, a free throw from freshman forward Jennifer Jones with 16:50 left in the first half. A hesitant Cougar team took the floor in the first half and failed to execute on either offense or defense. The superior rebounding and obvious size advantage of the Flight had the Cougars unwillingly fasting for points.

The second half saw a different story. Houston outscored the Flight 45 to 31 in the second half. Going one-for-11 for 3-point shooting in the first half, the Cougars turned around and made five of 12 in the second. With downtown bombs from freshman guards Flecia Comeaux, 3 for 7, and Alicia Rodriguez, 2 for 6, the Cougars slowly put themselves back into the game.

Overtime saw momentum switch back and forth until, with 1:32 left, Cooper fouled Perrot, who made the field goal and the one-point bonus to give the Flight an 81-78 lead. At the other end, Perrot stole the ball from Tanda Rucker and again went coast-to-coast for a layup to extend the lead, 83-78, with 1:03 remaining.

Despite the slow start, Houston head coach Jessie Kenlaw saw some positive play from a team that is 75 percent underclassmen, with five of those being freshmen.

"It took them a whole half to get confident, "Kenlaw said of her young team. "We missed some crucial free throws and layups, but we didn't give up. The team showed that they have a lot of heart."

 

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