July 14, 1997......Volume 26, Issue 35

News . . . . Arts . . . . Calendars . . . . Letters . . . . Links . . . . Deadlines . . . . Archive

Search the contents of the Intercom archives and
news releases issued by the Department of Public Information.

Tuition hike lowest in decades
World Campus gains $1.3 million grant
Congress to discuss tuition benefit taxability
From the Trustees Docket:

Architects named, building projects OK'd
$94.9 million in private gifts a record
Retirement facility lease agreement ratified
Education programs see changes
Paper delivery program to start in fall
Higher education funding supported
Operating budget approved

New health system up and running
University's bond rating upgraded
Faculty/Staff Alerts
Smeal, PPG Industries join forces
Statewide labor dispute delays construction

Art action
College given $250,000
Be our guest
Intercollegiate Athletics column
Quality time
Practice makes perfect
News in Brief
New at Penn State
Student-athletes score high in study
25-year awards
Alien planet game is educational
Book Shelf
Summer Sessions programs sizzle
Pattee Library update
Penn State news bureau


Summer Sessions director
served University for 31 years

Nancy M. Tischler, director of Summer Sessions and professor of English and humanities, has retired after 31 years with Penn State.

Tischler began her Penn State career at the Capital College in Harrisburg in 1966 as a professor of English and humanities, and later was promoted to head of the humanities graduate and undergraduate programs. At the Capital College, she was one of the original eight faculty members who designed curriculum and a governance structure. While serving on the faculty and executive councils, Tischler helped to draft the constitution for faculty organization and assisted in the preparation of the campus' first strategic plan. As head of the humanities program, she assisted in the design of both the undergraduate and graduate programs, with particular emphasis on the development of the secondary education and business/humanities options.

Tischler has held many roles within the University, and in 1981-82 was elected chair of the Faculty Senate, serving as a catalyst for constructive dialogue. She was instrumental in the effort to convert the University calendar system to the present semester system with a summer session and is credited with the development of vital summer educational opportunities which have evolved into today's Summer Sessions. Tischler served as executive director of the Summer Sessions from 1983 to spring 1997.

As a scholar, Tischler has published extensively in her field, with emphasis on the life and works of Tennessee Williams. She has served as editor-at-large for Christianity Today and as a member of the editorial board for Tennessee Williams Review (currently the Journal). She has served as president of both the North American Association of Summer Sessions and Association of University Summer Sessions. Tischler was a member of the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, Conference on Christianity and Literature, and last year was president of the Lambda chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.

She received her B.S. degree in education and her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in English. As a Fulbright Scholar, she spent a year at the University College of the Southwest in Exeter, England.

Tischler and her husband, Merle, will continue to reside in Boalsburg, where she plans to continue her work on Tennessee Williams. Currently, she is working with Albert J. Devlin to select and edit letters of Tennessee Williams for publication by New Directions Press in 1999.

Anthropology professor
retires with emeritus status

From establishing an obsidian hydration dating laboratory, to directing one of the most important archeological excavation sites in the state, Joseph W. Michels achieved great success early in his career. Michels, professor emeritus of anthropology, has retired from Penn State after 31 years of service.

Michels originally joined the University as an assistant professor in 1965 and was promoted to associate professor by 1969. In 1973, Michels was promoted to full professor, and by 1984 earned the title of associate dean for research and graduate instruction in the College of the Liberal Arts.

One of his early initiatives includes establishing the Obsidian Hydration Dating Laboratory, where changes in obsidian were measured to determine the length of time the volcanic rock had been buried. Also early in his career, Michels directed archaeological excavations at the Sheep Rock Shelter Site of Huntingdon County, a site which ranks as one of the most important in Pennsylvania. Later, Michels, along with his colleague William Sanders, co-directed an excavation of the ancient Mayan center at Kaminaljuyu in highland Guatemala. Funded by the National Science Foundation and other sources, the excavation resulted in the publication of six book-length monographs, numerous doctoral dissertations and one of the most comprehensive archaeological reconstructions of a pre-Columbian chiefdom.

In northern Ethiopia, Michels undertook an extensive archaeological survey of the Tigrean Plateau. The survey resulted in the discovery of hundreds of archaeological sites and eventually led Michels to reconstruct the evolution of political institutions in one of Africa's earliest states.

On the island of Sardinia in the western Mediterranean, Michels excavated the Marghine Plateau which led to his development of the currently accepted model of political evolution among the local populations of the ancient Nuragic culture for which the island is famous.

During Michels' five years as associate dean for research and graduate instruction in the College of the Liberal Arts, he assisted in growing sponsored research and college resources dedicated to supporting faculty in their research efforts. Along with his assistant, Irene Patrick, Michels wrote a proposal which eventually led to the awarding of $1 million in challenge funds to the college.

At the time of his retirement, Michels had authored or edited 11 books and book-length monographs, and is currently working on his 12th. He has published more than 100 journal articles, book chapters, research notes and in-house technical reports. He is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, served as president of the Society for Archaeological Sciences, and served as chair of the University Promotion and Tenure Review Committee from 1990 to 1992.

Career information management
assistant director ends 30-year career

James Philip "Phil" Bucher, assistant director of career information management in Career Development and Placement Services, a division of the Office of Student Affairs, will retire after 30 years of service.

As assistant director of career information management, he was responsible for preparing and distributing of the Post Graduation Activities Survey; managing career resources housed in the Career Information Center; editing several newsletters, including Career Trends, Career Success and Career Perspectives for Faculty; and serving as the director of the Center for the Review of Career Information which reviews commercial career resource materials and publishes resource reviews. Bucher also provided placement advising, conducted outreach programming and coordinated career and workforce information.

For many years, Phil taught job placement skills and strategies both for resident instruction and as a one-credit correspondence course through Independent Learning. He also served as liaison to the College of Agricultural Sciences since 1977.

Before becoming the assistant director, Bucher coordinated the University's on-campus recruitment process, one of the largest in the nation. He also served as a counselor at Career Development and Placement Services and was responsible for public school placement.

Bucher began his career in June 1967 as an administrative assistant in the Department of History. He has authored numerous articles about career trends and workforce information in professional journals and magazines. He also published a series titled Careers in Agriculture.

He earned a bachelor of arts degree in liberal arts from Penn State in 1957 and a master's degree in counselor education, also from Penn State, in 1969.

Three depart after long careers at ARL

*Accounting office head had 33 years of service

Lee E. Hall, head of the accounting office in the Applied Research Laboratory, retired after 33 years of service. In 1964 he began working at ARL as the assistant to the chief accountant. Before starting this position, he worked at the General Accounting Office in Washington, D.C., for two years, then was employed by IBM for another two years. At one time, Hall was in charge of ARL's accounting and contractual operations. He retained responsibility for the omnibus contract after the formation of the Contracts Office and was involved with renegotiating the last four omnibus contracts with the Navy.

Hall received his bachelor's degree in accounting from Penn State in 1958. Ten years later, he earned his master's degree in business administration from the University.

Hall and his wife, Edie, have two children and one granddaughter. When he retires, Hall, an avid gardener, plans to devote more time tending his vegetable garden. He has raised up to 400 pumpkins on his plot of land (although he did not grow any last year), and once grew an "Atlantic Giant" pumpkin that weighed 235 pounds. His other plans include performing volunteer work, keeping busy in his woodworking shop and attending Lady Lions basketball games.

*Head of drafting, design co-founded Free University

Roger F. Snyder retired as head of the drafting and design department in the Applied Research Laboratory after 36 years of service.

He began his association with the lab when he was an undergraduate mechanical engineering student at Penn State. Upon graduating with his bachelor's degree, Snyder accepted a faculty appointment in 1961. He helped design undersea vehicles for oceanographic research as well as transducers.

His design efforts for undersea vehicles led to two patents and five published articles. In addition, he occasionally taught machine design classes for the Department of Mechanical Engineering and was one of the founders of the Free University, which provided alternative education at no cost.

In 1988 he became head of the drafting and design department.

Throughout his life, Snyder has supported the community through his volunteer work for the State College Presbyterian Church. One of his greatest enthusiasms is antiques. He has been in the retail antiques business for 10 years, and helped found the Nittany Antiques Emporium on the Benner Pike in State College. After retiring, Snyder will run a new antiques co-op on the Benner Pike called Apple Hill Antiques.

*Research associate began State College Area YMCA

Joseph Wakeley Jr., a research associate at the Applied Research Laboratory, retired after nearly 32 years. During his tenure at ARL, he conducted research and development supporting the U.S. Navy technological base and system development torpedo programs.

Wakeley has published papers on underwater acoustic propagation and underwater explosive time and frequency signatures.

Wakeley guided the research of undergraduate honor students and graduate students in acoustics, mathematics and computer science. At the same time, he held a joint appointment as research associate and assistant professor of acoustics.

He received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a master of science degree from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn, both in electrical engineering.

He and his wife, Esther, have five children -- David, Scott, Tim, Joe and Marion -- and 13 grandchildren.

A resident of State College, Wakeley served as a swimming coach for the Centre Region Parks and Recreation Department, founded the State College Area High School Boys and Girls Swimming Team, founded the State College Area Family YMCA, was elected to the State College Borough Council and served two years as council president.

McKeesport learning center
director retires after 25 years

Barbara McCollum Hart at Penn State McKeesport recently retired after 25 years of service.

As director of the Campus Learning Center, Hart is known as a compassionate yet firm adviser who helps students to help themselves. Under her supervision the Learning Center has provided service to hundreds of Penn State McKeesport students over the years.

Since its inception in September 1984, the Learning Center has meant the difference between success and failure to many of the students who have used this resource. For other students, it has meant an improvement of grades and overall improvement of their GPAs.

Hart began her service as a faculty member in the College of Health and Human Development and became involved with advising students in the Advising Center. She was appointed administrative assistant to the campus executive officer and coordinated special projects, with an emphasis on state and federal programs. In addition, she oversaw all aspects of the commencement program each spring.

From the University of Pittsburgh, Hart holds a master's degree in public administration and urban affairs and a doctoral degree from the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. She earned a bachelor of arts degree in sociology and political science from Cheyney State College.

Assistant to dean served 33 years

Everett P. "Tiff" Tiffany, has retired as assistant to the dean in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences after 33 years of service.

Over the years, Tiffany has contributed to the welfare of the college in numerous ways. He originated and managed the Dean's Freshman Scholarship Program, the Wilson Loan Program, Wilson Scholarship Program and the Wilson Fellowship Program, and developed the many awards and gifts given by the college to its alumni, faculty, staff and students.

As human resources representative, Tiffany helped hire, promote, recognize and assist faculty and staff members for 28 years. He helped to establish and organize the Staff Advisory Committee, developed the parking policy to allocate spaces to faculty and staff, proposed the first college blood drive, developed and implemented a new statement of roles and responsibilities for fixed-term faculty and established the college staff group.

Before coming to the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences in 1968, Tiffany worked in the auditing department of the University.

He received his undergraduate degree from Penn State in 1961 in business administration and a master's degree in public administration in 1976.

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New associate dean to assume
Summer Sessions responsibilities

Ingrid M. Blood has been appointed associate dean for undergraduate education in the Office of Undergraduate Education, effective Aug. 15. Blood will assume responsibilities connected with the Summer Sessions, with emphasis on stimulating, facilitating and advancing academic programming. The new strategic plan for the Summer Session envisions new approaches and innovations in learning and teaching. She will also engage in efforts to improve the undergraduate teaching and learning environment across the University throughout the year. Blood replaces Nancy M. Tischler, executive director of the Summer Sessions, who recently retired.

Before coming to Penn State, Blood held faculty positions at both Miami University in Ohio and Radford University in Virginia. In 1988, she assumed her present position as associate professor in the Department of Communication Disorders at Penn State. In 1995, she was appointed professor-in-charge of the graduate program. She also is an affiliate faculty member, Graduate Program in Acoustics in the College of Engineering.

Blood has received numerous distinguished postdoctoral fellowships and awards relating to the advancement of leadership and has been widely recognized in the field of communication disorders.

Blood has a bachelor's double-major degree in communication sciences/disorders and reading instruction from Montclair State University and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in communication disorders from Bowling Green State University, Ohio.

Altoona welcomes director of
Continuing and Distance Education

William G. Curley has been named director of Continuing and Distance Education at Penn State Altoona. In this position, he will provide creativity, innovation and leadership to the planning, marketing and implementation of a comprehensive program of credit and non-credit programs that meet the professional development needs of Penn State Altoona's five-county service area, including Blair, Bedford, Cambria, Huntingdon and Somerset counties.

Before joining Penn State Altoona, Curley served as acting campus executive officer at Penn State Mont Alto. Before assuming that position, he was director of Business Services and Continuing and Distance Education at Penn State Mont Alto. Previously, he had worked as both an area representative and conference coordinator at the University Park campus. He has been working for Penn State since 1985.

Curley has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from Penn State and is currently working on his doctorate in workforce education and development.

Continuing and Distance Education
adds statewide program director

Ed Donovan has been appointed to the new position of director of statewide programs in Continuing and Distance Education (C&DE). In his new role, he will focus on the development of new credit and noncredit continuing education programs to be delivered at campuses and centers University-wide.

Before assuming this post, Donovan had been director of continuing education at Penn State McKeesport since 1989. During his tenure, the campus' continuing education program grew annually to become one of the largest at the University. The McKeesport campus also was one of only two campuses to operate an off-campus center for continuing education programming.

He joined the University staff in 1979 at Penn State Beaver in its continuing education office, then moved to the McKeesport campus in 1980. In 1987, he was the founding director of Penn State's Pittsburgh Center for Continuing Education.

Donovan is the recipient of several University awards, including the first Vice President's Award for Outstanding Outreach and Marketing in 1990. Three of his programs: The Emerging Woman Manager, On-site Business Certificate Program for Consolidated Natural Gas and CITE: Continuous Improvement to the Environment for USSteel, have been honored with National University Continuing Education Association awards.

He earned a bachelor of arts degree from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and a master's degree in adult education from Penn State.

Liberal Arts welcomes three
in Alumni Relations and Development

Three people have been recently named to assist with various duties in the College of the Liberal Arts.

Mary Kay Hort has been named the development assistant in the Alumni Relations and Development Office in the college. She will help develop fund-raising programs, support the various programs that advance the College of the Liberal Arts, and write proposals and other materials. In addition, her responsibilities include working to identify and develop prospects as well as solicitation and cultivation strategies.

Hort joined Penn State in 1994 as a writer in the Office of Development Communications and Special Projects. She wrote and edited proposals, fund-raising brochures, periodicals and other publications such as Philanthropic Update. Before joining the University, she was an account executive at the Weightman Group in Philadelphia, where she managed accounts such as Scott Paper, Tastykake and Tidy Cat.

A State College native, Hort received her bachelor's degree in English from Penn State in 1986.

Marc McMullin has been named assistant to the dean for alumni relations in the Alumni Relations and Development Office in the college. He will work with the Alumni Society president and board of directors, the college's development staff and the Penn State Alumni Association with managing and providing leadership for the college's alumni relations program. McMullin will initiate, plan and manage special relationships with alumni to increase their involvement with the college.

Previously, McMullin served as an assistant director in the Office of Constituent Relations at Penn State, creating, planning and implementing special events for the president's office, Board of Trustees and development staff. McMullin also assisted with the management of University development's stewardship operation.

Before coming to Penn State, McMullin was a development assistant at West Chester University, working with the director of athletic development in the management of an annual giving program, a volunteer executive committee and the student giving program.

After graduating from the Bellefonte Area High School, McMullin served six years of active duty as a U.S. Marine combat engineer, and was a cum laude graduate with a B.A. in communication studies from West Chester University.

Donna F. Williams has been appointed coordinator of college relations in the Alumni Relations and Development Office in the college. She will be responsible for planning, developing and implementing public relations programs, writing and producing publications and various media materials, and publicizing major gifts and grants to the college.

Before coming to Penn State, Williams was director of public relations at Centre Community Hospital in State College for eight years, and director of development and public relations for four years.

She holds certification from the Healthcare Marketing and Public Relations Association of the American Hospital Association, and attended the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Penn State and Central Michigan University. She has served on committees and the board of the American Cancer Society, and on the board of directors of Centre County's internet site, The Country Store.

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Mark Stoneking, associate professor of anthropology, is part of the research team that has proven through studies of DNA that Neandertals did not evolve into modern humans.
Photo: Greg Grieco

DNA evidence offers proof that
Neandertals were not our ancestors

By A'ndrea Elyse Messer
Public Information

A team of U.S. and German researchers has extracted mitochondrial DNA from Neandertal bone showing that the Neandertal DNA sequence falls outside the normal variation of modern humans.

"These results indicate that Neandertals did not contribute mitochondrial DNA to modern humans," said Mark Stoneking, associate professor of anthropology. "Neandertals are not our ancestors."

The research also reaffirms the origins of modern humans in Africa. The research team includes Matthias Krings, graduate student, and Svante Paabo, professor of zoology, University of Munich; Ann Stone, postdoctoral fellow, University of Arizona; Ralf W. Schmitz and Heike Krainitzki of Rhineland Museum, Bonn, Germany; and Stoneking.

Current theory holds that Neandertals became extinct only 30,000 years ago and co-existed with modern humans in Europe. The team, however, found that Neandertals and modern humans diverged genetically 500,000 to 600,000 years ago, suggesting that though they may have lived at the same time, Neandertals did not contribute genetic material to modern humans.

Since 1991, an interdisciplinary project of the Rhineland Museum, headed by Schmitz, has focused on the Neandertal-type specimen. This specimen was found in 1856 near Dusseldorf, Germany. As a part of this project, a sample was removed for DNA analysis.

"The ability to extract DNA from ancient bone is dependent on many factors, including preservation, temperature and humidity," said Stoneking.

Paabo previously showed that even if extracting ancient DNA is possible, it tends to be damaged and degraded, yielding only short fragments. The researchers used a method of overlapping short strands of DNA to obtain a mitochondrial DNA sequence of 378 base pairs. To ensure that errors caused by damaged DNA were not incorporated into the sequence and that modern human DNA did not contaminate the samples, the researchers ran multiple extractions and amplifications.

They also sent a sample to Penn State's Anthropological Genetics Laboratory where Stone, then a Ph.D. candidate at Penn State, ran a parallel extraction and amplification of the DNA.

The researchers compared the Neandertal sequence with 2,051 human sequences and 59 common chimpanzee sequences. They found that the differences in Neandertal DNA occurred at sites where differences usually occur in both humans and chimps.

"The changes reflect the evolutionary pattern typical of mitochondrial DNA sequences of living humans and chimpanzees, not that of random damage or degradation," said Stoneking. While Neandertals inhabited the same geographic region as contemporary Europeans, the observed differences between the Neandertal sequence and modern Europeans do not indicate a closer relationship to modern Europeans than to other contemporary human populations," he said.

The researchers are confident with their results, but they caution that they are derived from only one individual. They also warn that DNA may be difficult to extract from other specimens.

While the results indicate that Neandertals did not contribute mitochondrial DNA to modern humans, it is still possible that they contributed other genes.

Harrisburg to help develop
air conditioners for electric buses

The technology to provide air conditioning units for electric-powered buses is being developed by Trans/Air in Dallastown in cooperation with Penn State Harrisburg.

Andrew Lau, associate professor of engineering, and Peter Idowu, associate professor of electrical engineering technology, have teamed with the York-area manufacturing firm to produce an advanced climate control system specifically for electric buses. The ultimate goal of the project is to produce a genuine electric climate control system that will totally satisfy the electric bus builders' and users' needs. This presents a unique challenge unlike conventional vehicle air conditioning, which uses the engine to power the cooling system.

The second goal is efficiency because the on-board energy is limited, therefore the climate control system must use as little energy as possible. Engine-driven systems are not generally designed for efficiency. The third goal is to create a lightweight system, which will help to ensure high efficiency. It is also important that the first prototype use heat pump heating and is environmentally friendly, totally self-contained, and easy to install and service.

The main benefit of this technology is that there are no pollution emissions. California and Tennessee are two states currently using the electric buses, which were initially marketed four or five years ago. Lau said that if incentives emerged in Pennsylvania, we could possibly see them in use in five years.

"The other thing that's important is that they don't use gasoline," Lau said. "They use electricity generated with coal or nuclear energy. So it's a round-about way to run a vehicle off coal or nuclear power."

The $283,000 project is partially funded by the Ben Franklin Technology Center of Pennsylvania, which is a state-supported program to promote the development of new technology and business within Pennsylvania.

Trans/Air is a relatively small company with about 75 employees.

Ocean circulation thought
to moderate Greenland temperatures

Going against generally accepted models, Greenland has been cooling during the few thousand years before this century, and surprisingly, winters were cooling more than summers, a researcher has found.

Accepted theory holds that variations in the earth's orbit control a good portion of the seasonal warming and cooling of the planet. These cycles alter the difference between summer and winter.

Currently, the Earth is closer to the sun during the northern hemis-phere winter than it was a few thousand years ago, and farther from the sun during the northern hemisphere summer, so summers should have been cooling while winters warmed.

"It's a nice story, but unfortunately, it doesn't seem to account for the past Greenland climate record," Richard B. Alley, professor of geosciences, said. "Information from the Greenland ice cores does show that the summers have cooled, but also that the winters have cooled."

Because the ice cores indicate that the winters have cooled, some other cause must be found. Alley suggests that ocean heat transport may be the key.

"If, over the last few thousand years, the ocean's transfer of heat to the area around Greenland has declined, then this would be a simple explanation for the overall cooling," Alley said. "This is not unlike what happens with the ocean circulation when rapid cooling events have occurred in the past, except more slowly."

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