by Roslyn Lang

Daily Cougar Staff

RTV seniors can bridge the gap from the classroom to the real world by producing and directing their own 30-minute programs for <I>Video Workshop<P>, which airs Sundays at 5 p.m. on KUHT-TV, Channel 8, said Tony Fuller, UH professor of radio and television.

Students in the class create 12 magazine-format shows during the year-long course, and the shows run in sequence during the spring on KUHT, Fuller said.

"When you graduate with an RTV degree, it's very difficult to get work," he said.

"(The shows) are not student-level work. (Students) develop quasi-professional work. We end up having a clean-looking show. It's something I'm willing to put my name on," he added.

During the first semester of the senior-level course, students work with Professor William Hawes' performance class on softer, campus-oriented issues. Some past shows have included high-profile guests like George Bush, Chuck Norris and Liza Minnelli, Fuller said.

The second-semester students choose their own topics, which focus on more eclectic, compelling and higher-profile issues, he said.

Students choose the topic for one show, which they produce and direct. The remaining students in the class work in the other positions associated with television production, Fuller said.

Andrea McKenna, program manager at KUHT, said the station provides an engineer who teaches students how to use the equipment and who is available for support when the teams come in to do their final work in the studio.

As a graduate of the production class, McKenna said getting experience at a real station can help students get their first job.

Senior RTV major Jeff Davis said he just completed a show on self-healing. Davis said he and co-producer Jody Hughes contacted sources for segments on Eastern vs. Western culture, self-healing, transcendental meditation, acupuncture and holistic medicine.

"(The show) fell into place real easily," Davis said. "It's lots of fun, but it's also lots of work."

"(The class) is the perfect stepping stone to get out," said Davis, who added he just started working as a videographer for <I>Sports Night Live<P> on Channel 51, Houston's all-news network.

Carolina Patti, the only woman in the class, said she couldn't have expected more from the class, which she said trains students well for the real world.

The producer/director must pre-plan the music, visuals and movement of the camera, she said.

"It's nerve-racking -- especially the directing. Sometimes (the planning for a show) doesn't work out, so you have to think of things that will work.

"To lessen the pressure on the director, we know every position and do our best in each team."

Patti said she feels this class made it possible for her to land a job as assistant producer of <I>Houston Ahora<P>.

Fuller said topics for shows to be aired later this month or in April include Davis' show on metaphysics as well as a sexually oriented show encompassing changing sexual mores and gender differences.

Fuller said UH has been working in conjunction with KUHT for 28 years. The cooperative effort gives students studio time for interviews and production at no charge, and KUHT acquires local programming cheaply, he said.







by Mariana Ivanova

News Reporter

The Houston Read Commission and three other cooperating agencies need volunteer tutors to teach adults who can't speak English how to read and write, according to Merecilda Garza, assistant coordinator of the Bayland Learning Center.

The commission, together with the Literacy Advance of Houston, Literacy Volunteers of America-Houston and West Eleventh Church of God agencies, works on an adult literacy program funded by the National Literacy Act, Garza said.

"If you are interested in volunteering your time at the Bayland Learning Center, let us know. There is a student waiting for you," she said.

The commission is a broad-based, nonprofit coalition of community agencies organized by the mayor and the City Council in January 1988. It works to meet the needs of more than 500,000 adults who lack the skills to get and keep jobs, participate fully in society and help their children succeed in school, Garza said.

The fact that more than 500,000 adults in Houston are functionally illiterate costs the city $2.8 billion a year, according to the learning center's statistics.

After a training session, which takes from 12 to 15 hours, volunteer tutors are ready to participate in the different programs. They teach fundamentals of reading, writing and mathematics; prepare students for the GED (the high school diploma equivalency exam); and teach speakers of other languages to speak, read and write in English, according to the packet.

As part of a project called Baby Buddy Project, volunteers teach expectant mothers before and after the birth of their babies, according to the learning center's policies.

"The most important person in the learning center is the student," said Margaret Doughtry, executive director of the commission. "Students won't put input unless they are encouraged to, and it is up to the teachers to encourage their students."

The commission has to provide the school site with books for the students and has to train the tutors, making it impossible to pay the volunteers. But the tutors are rewarded by the success of their students.

"Being a tutor is one of the most satisfying things I've approached in my life," said Alice Woerner, who teaches a writing class. "When the light bulb goes on about a certain point we've been discussing, it brings me such joy."

The same attitude is shared by Fernanda del Villar, a UH senior history major, who has been a volunteer tutor at the learning center for three years. "At first, I went there because I was trying to enter the teaching certification program at UH. Later, I found out that I love teaching, and I love helping my students," del Villar said.

Those interested in volunteering can get more information at the learning center building at 6400 Bissonnet, or can call the center at 777-7603.





by Jennifer Smith

Daily Cougar Staff

The University Planning and Policy Council voted unanimously Monday to support a plan to provide merit raises for UH faculty and staff.

The plan, submitted by the Deans' Council Salary Task Force, would provide a three-year merit pay system, equivalent to at least a 4 percent increase in pay for outstanding faculty and staff. The original target date for the commencement of the plan was March 1, but it has not yet occurred.

The state comptroller will issue a new budget report in a few weeks, and the administration needs that report before it can make a commitment to implement the plan, said Skip Szilagyi, associate vice president for planning.

He said the administration was also dealing with unfunded mandates from the state that could affect any merit pay raises.

Business College Dean John M. Ivancevich, chairman of the salary task force, said, "I feel the salary issue is the No. 1 priority issue on this campus."

He said he wanted to make it clear that this increase would be on top of any state-mandated increases.

"There has not been an increase which has not been state-mandated since 1990," he said. "These raises do not keep up with the cost of living. That is a fact. It has had an effect on morale and will continue to do so until the administration makes an issue of it."

About $3 million annually would be required to fund the merit pay program. Because the state has not provided for merit pay raises, money for the project will have to be taken out through flexible funding.

Proposed sources would include a $1.5 million giveback by the UH System, a $500,000 cut from the System's annual request, the allocation of at least $500,000 annually from endowment income and the allocation of $1 million annually from the sources used to fill the Athletic Department's deficit, as well as others.

Ivancevich admitted he did not know which funds are used to make up Athletic Department shortfalls.

He said the funding ideas are "creative accounting," and he did not know whether these things are workable. "We wanted to be as creative as possible."

Provost Henry Trueba, responding by electronic mail, said, "The specific suggestions they make regarding the means to achieve the raise and the sources of the raise need some fine tuning."

Ivancevich said several raises have occurred at the administrative level during the nonmerit period (1990-1995). "Professional etiquette has been mutilated" because administrators were getting raises while faculty and staff were not, he said.

Some council members also voiced their concerns that the development of an infrastructure and facility for the Center for Teaching Effectiveness and Evaluation may not be the best use of funds.

They agreed that the university should show its concern about the quality of education, but suggested that perhaps an existing office may be able to handle the administration of the center for the time being.

Also, the Continuous Quality Improvement Steering Committee gave a presentation about its ideas for improvement, which include creating a constancy of purpose, instituting training on the job and breaking down barriers between staff areas.






by Richard C. Kroger

Daily Cougar Staff

Opening and closing Cougars baseball fields is starting to become a regular habit for Lamar head baseball coach Jim Gilligan.

Gilligan brings his Cardinals (12-6) into Houston for a 7 p.m. game against the Cougars tonight at the <I>now<P> new Cougar Field.

Houston athletics unveils its latest masterpiece as tonight's game will showcase the new baseball field complex grand opening with everything from skydivers and cheerleaders to a coach who has seen it all before.

"I was coach here at Lamar when (Houston) closed the old field," Gilligan said. "As a matter of fact, I was on the mound as a player in the 1967-68 season when they opened that (first) field.

"I guess I will get to see it all over again. It should be a great game."

The Cougars (12-9) are coming off a lackluster three-game set against Northwestern State that included a doubleheader, in which Houston had just four hits over 14 innings.

Despite the recent lack of offense, the Cougars' pitching has been solid this year.

Righthander Brad Towns (2-1, 2.79 ERA) will look to continue the trend for Houston, which hopes to improve on its 8-3 home record.

Tonight's matchup is important for the Cougars, as it will be their last game before starting Southwest Conference play vs. Rice Thursday.

Houston hosts the Owls Thursday night as part of this week's First Pitch SWC Preseason Tournament.

"Lamar always plays us tough, so it will be a good test for us in getting ready for conference play," said Houston head coach Rayner Noble. "I would expect them to throw a pretty good pitcher at us."

"A pretty good pitcher" might be an understatement, since tonight's Cardinals starter, righthander Eric Cammack, has a perfect 3-0 record and a 2.25 ERA.

The Cougars, picked to finish last in most preseason Southwest Conference polls, have gotten solid performances this year from both third baseman Tom Maleski and first baseman Carlos Perez.

"They have had some really good games for us this year and have been consistent at the plate," Noble said of his two top hitters.

Perez sports a team-high .344 batting average and a lethal .576 slugging percentage.

He is rivaled at the plate only by Maleski (.329 avg and 15 RBIs in 21 games), who already has three home runs this year. It was Maleski who prevented Northwestern's Jonathon Black from pitching a no-hitter when the two teams met in Saturday's 2-0 second-game victory of the doubleheader.

Tonight's game will follow an impressive lineup of grand opening festivities, which will start with the pair of skydivers landing in center field.

The Cougar Band and cheerleaders will also be included in the ceremonies, beginning at 6:30 p.m.






O.O.C. with Chris P.

Reggie Miller, watch out. The guy you could never beat is back to whup you...again!

I thought I was the most nervous man in the world -- and I have a 12-page term paper due this week.

But I'm happy to say that title definitely goes to whoever will be guarding Michael Jordan when his Airness comes back from his self-imposed exile.

I kinda feel sorry for all the teams that have worked so hard for so long this season only to have Mike come back and take the Bulls back to the promised land.

In case it's not obvious, I think Jordan is the greatest player I've ever seen. Forget Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. Jordan can do it all, and he can do it whenever he wants to.

Everybody wins if Jordan does indeed come back to the NBA.

The Bulls are obviously the biggest winners, because let me tell you, Bill Wennington certainly was not gonna bring another ring to Chicago.

If he comes back, you can bet that NBC will try to broadcast all the Bulls' remaining games. Heck, maybe O.J. will be pre-empted.

Can you imagine? You're watching Robert Shapiro and Marcia Clark wrestling, and all of a sudden, Marv Albert pops up on the tube screen. "Yes! We interrupt this NBC program to bring you more Michael Jordan here on the NBA on NBC."

Well, maybe it won't work out that way, but NBC will do whatever it takes to put Jordan on America's television screens.

It's a fairly simple concept. Jordan equals high ratings. No Jordan equals <I>low<P> ratings.

Although Jordan hasn't officially announced his return, his recent actions have left his afficianados, like yours truly, salivating at the thought of watching the one, the only, the original bald No. 23 in action.

Last week he "retired" from professional baseball. I say baseball retired him.

Also, one of my sources says that Nike sent a huge shipment of Jordan's shoes to Chicago, unused.

And finally, Jordan also met with Bulls owner and president of the Chicago White Sox, Jerry Reinsdorf, no doubt to talk about his return.

Also last week, Bulls coach Phil Jackson told a horde of reporters they should go back home, relax and come back in about a week, because that's when the action was going to happen.

So here I go. This is it, the biggest risk in my life, other than getting married.

Michael Jordan will return by Sunday. Mark the date on your calendar, folks. This Sunday, March 19, Jordan will triumphantly return to the NBA in a made-for-television drama, which will be shown on NBC.

Mark my words. I may be out of control, but no one thinks I'm crazy (I think).






by Mariana Ivanova

Contributing Writer

Have you decided what to do for Spring Break? Don't want to go to Galveston again this year? Why not try taking a cruise?

Cruises -- the fastest growing travel industry -- are becoming more popular and more affordable for all age groups, said Pamela Blosch, travel counselor at American Express Travel Agency.

The travel agency is located in Town & Country Mall and is a 95 percent leisure agency, dealing with personal travel, said Blosch, who has been working there for eight years.

"Cruises are today's all-around best vacation value," Blosch said. As they are becoming more affordable, more singles, honeymooners and students choose to vacation on a cruise. "You can just lie back and be completely pampered."

About 4 million people enjoyed cruise vacations last year. This year the number is expected to increase, Blosch said.

"Nothing could be more relaxing than a cruise," said Mary Jean Thompson, travel counselor at Cruises Cruises Travel Agency. "You pack and unpack only once, and you can visit a variety of interesting destinations on one trip without even changing hotels."

"Unfortunately there are no student discounts when it comes to cruises, but if you are able to afford one, don't hesitate -- go for it," said HCC student Tanya Kerry.

Some cruises are more expensive than others, and most travel agencies are able to negotiate cruise values to reach the customer's satisfaction, Kerry said.

For students and people with a limited budget or those who would like to try this type of vacation, travel agencies recommend the three- or four-night cruises instead of those for seven or eight nights, Blosch said.

"Students can choose the Baja Mexico cruise onboard the Nordic Prince, starting at $279 per person, or the Bahamas cruise on Nordic Empress for as low as $409 per person," Blosch said.

The offered cruises help travel agencies to achieve better revenue. Most of the travel packages are sold in leisure agencies, leading many corporate agencies -- those that primary plan people's business trips -- to restructure as leisure, Blosch said.

Most people think their trip will cost more if organized by a travel agent, Blosch said. The travel agencies, however, make their money from the airlines and the trips they book.

"No matter which cruise you choose, the exceptional savings, upgrades, shipboard credits and onboard accommodations will guarantee you a wonderful cruise experience," Blosch added.


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