PROFESSORSHIP FUNDS PUT TO USE

EXCESS SPENT ON UH SPECIAL PROGRAMS

by Bobby Summers

Daily Cougar Staff

In 1994, UH President James H. Pickering's office spent $1.9 million, originally given to UH by the Cullen Foundation Fund to fund chaired professorships, on special programs.

The money, $1,837,528 (the Cullen professorship fund balance as of Aug. 31, 1994, plus $76,410 interest earned during FY94), accrued over a number of years, possibly beginning as early as the early 1980s.

The Foundation gives UH around $650,000 each year to fund 17 approved Cullen professorships in a variety of disciplines, according to Skip Szylagyi, UH associate vice president for Planning and executive associate to the president.

Szylagyi said the Cullen money goes to enhance distinguished professors' total salary. He said around $27,500 is added to the professor's nine-month salary.

"We have had a number of these chairs remain vacant," Szylagyi said. "So, this money accumulated and the stipulation (of the Foundation) said we could only spend this interest income on the professorships, period. If we can't spend that money, then the money just sits and builds up a balance."

In a Nov. 30, 1993, letter to the Cullen Foundation's Board of Trustees, Pickering asked for permission to "use these unallocated funds to create the Cullen Faculty and Student Enrichment Fund."

The trustees subsequently agreed to allow UH to create the operating fund and spend the money at the discretion of the university However, the trustees stipulated the money put into the fund would "not exceed the balance of unspent funds as of Aug. 31, 1994."

The trustees also stipulated "the university may use the money at any time prior to Sept. 1, 1994," but that "any balance in the fund at or subsequent to Sept. 1, 1994, must be used for the purposes of the grants" (chaired professorships) unless the university received written permission.

The plan to reallocate the Cullen funds came to light last October after a budget office employee objected to transferring money after Sept. 1, claiming it violated the terms of the Foundation's letter.

The employee reported he was ordered to transfer the funds even though his supervisor "was aware that the restrictions on this endowment prohibited these transfers."

A subsequent UH internal audit, which began in February 1995, determined the "transfers were made in violation of the current restrictions on these endowments."

The audit, obtained through the Texas Open Records Law, also stated that although no criminal activity took place, the monitoring function of the Planning and Budget office needed improvement.

Pickering said, "I am pleased that the Cullens allowed the university to designate the money for a variety of programs that will benefit not only the faculty, but also the students."

Szylagyi said the plan to use the money for special projects came from a meeting that included Pickering, former UH Provost Glen Aumann, UH System Vice Chancellor John Scales and himself.

"It was one of those things where we looked at the numbers and saw the size of the fund balance. The problem was the fund balance was growing each year and we were just awash in money," Szylagyi said. "Somebody around the table may have said, 'Why don't we go back to the Cullen Foundation and request a one-time special use of the money?' "

Of 17 possible Cullen Distinguished Professorships, four are currently vacant. A chaired professorship in the law school has been vacant since 1980, while the other three have been vacant since 1986. The Cullen chair in computer science was filled this spring by Leonard Johnson.

According to Robert Palmer, a Cullen professor of history and law, the deans of the various colleges are responsible for identifying and recommending professors to become Cullen professors. He said the recommendations are then passed to the provost who, in turn, passes them to a standing committee for evaluation. Eventually, the recommendations go to the UH System Board of Regents for final approval.

Szylagyi said the critical part for the deans is deciding whether to fill the chair from within their department, or to use the money to recruit a distinguished professor from outside the university.

He said one problem with recruiting is that sometimes the dean may not have money available in the department budget to pay the nine- month salary of the new candidate. "The strategy in the past has been to try and go outside the university and bring in outstanding people. But, often they couldn't find the money for the nine-month line. That's why a lot of these chairs remain vacant," Szylagyi said.

Bernard McIntyre, dean of the College of Technology, said, "I personally think you should start with your own faculty. Although it could be used as a recruiting device, I would prefer to look for outstanding professors within the department."

John Bear, dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, said, "The university has to have the resources to set up the chair. It may cost five or six hundred thousand dollars. It's very competitive. These are big-name chairs."

Roger Eichhorn, dean of the College of Engineering, said the Cullen money is not usually enough to entice distinguished professors to come to UH.

James Pipkin, dean of the College of Social Sciences, agreed with the other deans and said the Cullen chairs in his department are currently filled.

Harrell Rodgers, former dean of the College of Social Sciences, said, "Chaired professorships are very valuable. I think the University of Texas has more than 1,000 endowed chairs. I believe we still have less than 100. You cannot compete as a top-notch research institution unless you have enough endowed chairs to both retain and recruit good people."

UH Senior Vice President and Provost Henry Trueba said only three recommendations from the deans came across his desk in the year he has been provost.

"One of the problems was that some of the chairs were designated for a certain department and that money could not be spent anywhere else. And if the department made no recommendations, then the money remained unspent," Trueba said. "What was unfair was that some of these chairs remained vacant for years. We made the decisions that could be made."

While Szylagyi said the Cullen Foundation is happy with the way UH spent the money, Trueba would have preferred using the money for its original intent.

Trueba and Szylagyi also seem to disagree over who is responsible for overseeing the Foundation funds.

Szylagyi said, "It's the provost's office that indicates where the money goes and, to some extent, how much money goes."

Trueba, on the other hand, said Szylagyi held the purse strings.

Trueba said that if the provost is responsible for handling the recommendations, then the provost should be clearly responsible for handling the money.

"The accounting was not very clear as to where the money was and how much money there actually was in the account," Trueba said. "We needed much more clarity as to where the money was."

Rodgers agreed, saying, "I think it would be best to just put it all with the provost and let the provost use his best judgement on where they are used."

None of the deans interviewed were aware of the diversion of the Cullen money.

Eichhorn said, "I didn't know they had done that. They kept it very quiet. But, it doesn't surprise me. "They could have taken that money and put it back into the corpus and funded some bigger chair."

Bear said, "That's really an eye-opener."

 

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DIVIDING DOLLARS

$1.9 MILL. FOR 7 PROGRAMS

by Bobby Summers

Daily Cougar Staff

Where did the $1.9 million from the Cullen Foundation go? Skip Szylagyi, associate vice president for Planning and executive associate to the president, provided a report that listed the following explanation of expenditures:

The president's office spent $1,913,938 on seven special programs on the UH campus.

The university libraries received $200,000.

The Scholar's Community, a program designed to increase retention and graduation rates for nontraditional and nonresident students, received $203,000. Currently, the Scholar's Community involves 150 students, but is projected to eventually reach around 1,200 of UH's nonresidential students.

The African American Urban Experience Program received $100,000. An additional $100,000 went to Mexican American Urban Experience Studies Program.

The Minority Graduate Fellowship Incentive Program, a program designed to increase the number of graduate degrees earned by African American and Latino students, received $200,000.

The College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Scholar Enrichment Program, which explores and applies novel methods for teaching calculus and other introductory mathematics and science courses, received $90,000.

By far the largest amount, $620,638, was earmarked for "academic and research enhancement." According to the report, UH Senior Vice President and Provost Henry Trueba is responsible for designating where these funds are spent.

The report read, "Some of the efforts that might be supported with these funds include faulty development, immigration studies grants, minority faculty recruitment and retention, and the Center for Mexican American Studies."

The final $400,000 was designated for student retention. The report read that $127,000 in grants were awarded in the early part of 1994 for the Scholars Enrichment Program, summer orientation and an enhanced fall tutoring program for law students, peer mentoring for freshman English classes, a mentoring program in the Honors College for incoming freshman minority students, and, finally, group tutoring and a discussion group enrichment program for at-risk students in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

The report also explained that the Student Retention Grant Committee is currently reviewing 34 proposals submitted by the faculty and that the balance of the $400,000 will be awarded after the review.

 

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PEOPLE MOVING OUT ... PEOPLE MOVING IN

by Niki Purcell

Daily Cougar Staff

The Fouke Building could just as easily be called Motel 6 these days.

Fouke's latest occupant is the English Department, recently dislocated from the Roy G. Cullen Building because of structural renovations, which are scheduled to be completed in August.

Soon after the English Department moves out, Motel 6 (a.k.a. Fouke), will also go under the knife for a $1 million face lift.

After the stitches have healed, the Communication Disorders and Psychological Clinical Research Offices will move in. This building will become their permanent home.

The two offices will move from their current home in the South Office Annex Building, which will be demolished.

"Big bulldozers with big claws will come in and take big bites out of the building," said Jim Berry, associate vice chancellor for Faculties, Planning and Construction for the University of Houston System. "It will actually take longer to load (the remains of the building) into the trucks than to tear down the building."

The cost of destroying the South Office Annex building is $240,000, which is allocated and determined by the Texas Legislature. A total of $37 million was allocated to UH for the biennium for Higher Education Allocation Funds, which can be used for, among other things, capital improvements.

Berry said it would take 60 to 90 days to completely tear down the building.

"It will take about a year overall to complete the entire process," he said.

The Fouke, to accommodate its visitors, will leave a light on until then.

 

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TEXAS MUSIC FEST BRINGS STRINGS, WINDS AND SONG TO UH

by Jessica Ellis

Daily Cougar Staff

The Sixth Annual Immanual and Helen Olshan Texas Music Festival began Tuesday at UH's Dudley Recital Hall to kick off the month-long event, presented by the UH School of Music.

The four-week residency program in music performance was established in 1990 for advanced students and young professionals, ages 16-30.

The Olshans, Houston-area philanthropists, founded the event to provide young musicians with a stimulating musical environment in which to concentrate on developing skills in orchestral and chamber music performance and private lessons.

"A number of these people are very interested in UH," said David Tomatz, TMF general director and UH School of Music director.

"We are enriching the city by providing superb artists who got their professional start at the festival and end up coming to the University of Houston," he said.

Tomatz added the performers are some of the world's important touring artists.

Throughout the festival, students work with faculty on performance preparation through lessons, coachings, full and sectional rehearsals and public concerts.

Festival faculty include distinguished guest artists, members of the UH School of Music faculty and members of the Houston Symphony.

Among them are Ned Battista, founder, conductor and principal arranger of the Houston Pops (now the American Pops Orchestra); and Franz Anton Krager, UH Symphony Orchestra conductor.

Public concerts by student ensembles as well as distinguished artists are held weekly on campus and at various other venues, including Congregation Beth Israel and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in the Woodlands.

TMF participants are eligible to compete for a Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion Young Artist Award in concerto; the performance will be June 29.

Immanual Olshan passed away in 1993. Helen Olshan, 93, resides in Houston.

General admission tickets for all concerts are available at the door; they are $8 and $5 for students and senior citizens.

The event is presented in association with the Houston Symphony, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion and Texas A&M.

Schedule of Events:

• Saturday, June 10

7:30 p.m.

Cullen Performance Hall, UH.

--Texas Music Festival Orchestra

Sidney Harth, conductor

Fredell Lack, violin

Works by Sibelius, Tchaikovsky.

• Tuesday, June 13

7:30 p.m.

Dudley Recital Hall, UH.

--Gudny Gudmundsdottir, violin; Lawrence Wheeler, viola; Dennis Parker, violoncello; Owen Lee, double bass; Jeffrey Lerner, clarinet; Nancy Goodearl, French horn; Marilyn Chappell, bassoon; Timothy Hester, piano.

Works by Carter, Tcherepnin/Wheeler, Ligeti, Tartini, Beethoven.

• Thursday, June 15

7:30 p.m.

Organ Recital Hall, UH.

--Texas Music Festival Chamber Choir

Jorge Velazco, conductor

Charles Hausmann, choral director

William Pu, violin

Robert Jones, organ

Works by Ruiz-Lopez, Marco, Halfter.

• Friday, June 16

7:30 p.m.

Dudley Recital Hall, UH.

--Texas Music Festival Chamber Orchestra

Andor Toth, conductor

Katherine Ciesinski, mezzo- soprano

Works by Corelli, Bartok, Turina, Ravel, Haydn.

• Saturday, June 17

7:30 p.m.

Congregation Beth Israel

--Texas Musical Sinfonietta

Laszlo Varga, conductor

Works by Corelli, Bartok, Turina, Ravel, Haydn.

• Tuesday, June 20

7:30 p.m.

Dudley Recital Hall, UH.

--St. Petersburg Quartet

Alla Aranovskaya, violin IlyaTeplyakov, violin

Konstantin Kats, viola

Leonid Shukaev, violoncello

Works by Nadarejshvili, Shostakovich, Borodin.

• Saturday, June 24

7:30 p.m.

Cullen Performance Hall, UH.

--Texas Music Festival Orchestra

Franz Anton Krager, conductor

Arnaldo Cohen, piano

Works by Nielson, Grieg, Rachmaninoff.

• Tuesday, June 27

7:30 p.m.

Dudley Recital Hall, UH.

--Fredell Lack, violin; George Pascal, viola; Laszlo Varga, violoncello; Artur Pizarro, piano; Robin Hough, English horn; Timothy Hester, piano.

Works by White, Bloch, Dvorak, Turina.

• Thursday, June 29

8 p.m.

Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

--Texas Music Festival Orchestra

Ned Battista, conductor

Winner of Cynthia Woods Mitchell Concerto Competition, soloist.

Works by Glinka, Bizet, Katchaturian, Elgar, Tiomkin, Gershwin.

For more information, call the School of Music at 743-3009.

 

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NEW ATHLETIC BUILDING BETTER THAN A JET FIGHTER

by Richard C. Kroger

Daily Cougar Staff

Welcome to the long-awaited Athletics and Alumni Building --it's the latest and greatest in sports facility technology.

To truly appreciate this building, one must put aside the $30 million price tag.

OK, so UH could have been the first university with its own private F-16 Tomcat fighter jet, or the first college to feed an entire starving African nation. But the money is spent, so we might as well kick back and enjoy.

When you walk through the automatic glass doors, a stunning UH Alumni Room decked in marble hits you on your immediate left. This room will truly make alumni bleed scarlet and white, because it could give the presidential waiting room at the White House a run for its money.

Across the main hallway is the unfinished Hall of Fame Room, which will bring back the memories of Carl Lewis, Doug Drabek and those three guys playing in the Summit now, Herrera, Drexler and the Dream.

The facility is dominated by the multi-purpose indoor practice field: an air-conditioned, 120 yard Astroturf practice field that retracts to reveal three basketball/volleyball courts (one a copy of the hardwood floor in Hofheinz), four tennis courts and an indoor track.

A 16,500 square-foot weight room, the single largest of its kind in college athletics, is adjacent to the practice field. It is filled with the most modern-strength equipment in the world.

Need to watch some game film of an upcoming opponent?

Yes, that too is covered by the video production lab, production rooms for highlight videos and a nifty 200-seat auditorium.

Next to this Alice in Wonderland tea cup ride is a sports medicine center, which has 12 treatment and 12 taping tables, offices for the professional training staff, examination rooms and a hydrotherapy center.

Not exactly sure what a hydrotherapy center is, I was informed it is a rehabilitation center replete with a sauna, whirlpools, spa and a Swimex pool. (I'm not exactly sure what that is either.)

Did I mention the golf and batting cages that drop from the roof?

Two 70-foot cages drop to the floor just in case someone desperately needs to hit a few shots and wants to stay out of the rain.

Aside from all the high-speed toys for the athletes, the support staff is treated well: Modern offices are provided for everyone from UH head football coach Kim Helton to the water boy on the field hockey team.

Seriously, though, this facility is a beautiful new building that should have high school recruits across the country salivating. The building will help rebuild some sports programs that have fallen off the shelf and will help to restore any Cougar pride that might have been dead since Phi Slama Jama gained notoriety throughout the country in 1983-84.

John and Rebecca Moores should be thanked for their financial contribution for the building and their spare-no-expense attitude to bring the best to UH.

Although ... an F-16 fighter would have come in pretty handy for buzzing opponents' stadiums next fall during football season.

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DREAM, TEAM RETURN TO FINALS

by Tim Deibel

Daily Cougar Staff

Believe it again, Rockets fans! Tonight, the NBA Finals begin: Hakeem Olajuwon and the Rockets face the Orlando Magic in Shaq's house.

The matchups should prove to be exciting. The "big" picture has this series a contest of two 7-footers: Orlando center Shaquille O'Neil vs. his Houston counterpart, Olajuwon. While both will get their points, the big question is -- who else will step up? Here's some hints from Uncle Tim:

Watch Clyde "the Glide" Drexler break his "slump" to overpower fellow shooting guard Dennis Scott. Scott will have his 3-pointers, but he can't stop the Glide.

Orlando point guard Anfernee Hardaway is big -- I've never seen him off his game. He's definitely better than consistent Kenny Smith.

I believe Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich will counter Magic small forward Nick Anderson with Mario Elie, just like in the San Antonio Series. Edge: Orlando.

But who will guard Horace Grant? Recent convert from small forward Robert Horry is a solid player and a personal favorite, but my fingers are crossed when I say he will do it.

Overall, I give the edge to the Rockets for this reason alone -- the big Dream, Hakeem's veteran leadership. He can be looked to in every kind of situation, unlike poor free-throw shooter O'Neil.

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ALTERNA-PIXIE JILL SOBULE NOT JUST A SINGER

Photo by Johnny Hernandez/Atlantic

Singer/songwriter Jill Sobule will be promoting her self-titled debut tonight at Rockefeller's.

by Joey Guerra

Daily Cougar Staff

At first listen, Jill Sobule's self-titled CD plays like another helium-infected waif, somewhere between Tori Amos and Juliana Hatfield. Her little girl vocals are appropriately cute, and like most of these alterna-pixies, Sobule does her own songwriting. This, though, is precisely what sets her apart from the others. Sobule's lyrics are joyously detailed descriptions of female oddities in life, from leather lady bosses to lovely lesbian flings.

That affair is expanded on in "I Kissed a Girl," the album's first single and video. Currently receiving airplay on both alternative and Top 40 radio stations, the song describes two women comparing notes on their jerk boyfriends, but they end up experimenting with each other. While the tune is alternative in its premise, it definitely has a pop/perky sound. The tone is light, and a wry sense of humor is evident.

Humor is found throughout Sobule's sharp debut, including the song "The Resistance." Detailing a dream about being part of the French uprising, Sobule and her man find themselves of the opposite sex, hiding, shooting and loving in the bushes "like there is no tomorrow." The song has a folksy sound and is touchingly funny, like a secret between two lovers.

Laughs abound again in "Margaret" and "Karen by Night," which deal with the secret lives of seemingly perfect women. "Margaret" tells the tale of a girl who had it all in high school but ended up in porno videos. From "St. Mary's glamorous girl" to "bad lingerie on a Cadillac fender," Sobule's words shine with a biting sense of humor. "Karen" is a supposedly true story about Sobule's boss at a shoe store who became a leather vixen by the moonlight. The song has a harder edge, and Sobule sounds like a younger Belinda Carlisle.

Along with lyrics, Sobule creates mood with "(Theme From) The Girl in the Affair" and "Vrbana Bridge," both of which have the cool, relaxed sound of a jazzy nightclub. Stylistic variation is a big plus these days, especially when most acoustically based singers tend to fall into the ballad-trap.

Overall, Sobule has generated a strong album with sharp touches of wit and feminism. Her lyrically driven music is complimented by her angelic vocals, and the album is sure to generate more than a few chuckles. If you want to laugh along with Sobule, stop by Rockefeller's today at 8 p.m. when she performs live with Townes Van Zandt. Who knows, she may just kiss a girl and like it.

 

 

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