Letter from the Head
Things sure are different around
here! This past year we really did move the department to Seaton Hall. We gained
a few square feet for just about every category of space (the main office,
faculty offices, teaching spaces, TA offices, and research labs) and it is nice
to have the GIS lab back in the same area with the rest of the department. Those
that have visited so far seem to think we made a really good decision to
relocate. I want to invite each and everyone of you to come see our new layout.
Another big news event from the past year is that Dr. Seyler decided to retire
(see relate story on page 8). Seyler ‘sightings' since he retired in early
January have been infrequent; rumor has it that he has been out-of-town more
than half the time. Those fortunate enough to see Sy recently report a smile on
his face, sort of like he just landed a big fish.
During the past year, Professor Kromm announced his plans to go on 50% phased
retirement for one year. For the FY 2002 academic year, Dave will be teaching
only one class each semester (Natural Resources in Fall 2001 and Water Resources
in Spring 2002). In May 2002, Dr. Kromm will retire after well over three
decades of service to the department and K-State. Rumors that we will only be
allowed to give him 50% of the normal level of good-natured kidding during FY
2002 are just not true.
With the announcement of both Sy's and Dave's plans, the Dean strongly supported
the department and allowed us to begin searches for replacement faculty. A
hiring freeze put a quick halt to the two searches, as everyone marveled at the
budgetary games that were on-going in Topeka. It was not until late in the
Spring Semester that we were able to complete a search for a Visiting Assistant
Professor to help us with instructional needs in cartography, computer mapping,
and GIS. We are fortunate to have Dr. J.M. Shawn Hutchinson joining the faculty.
Shawn, who got his PhD from the department in 2000, was a K-State Biological and
Agricultural Engineering faculty member this past year. During this past year
Shawn served as a campus-wide GIS coordinator assessing both the current
state-of-affairs and identifying numerous opportunities for improvement.
Numbers of students taught continue at the improved pace identified a year ago
and the departmental emphasis on quality teaching is evidenced by the fact that
Dr. Jeff Smith and Kevin Blake won Stamey awards this past year. Geography
grabbed 2 out of 6 Stamey awards; pretty good for a department that tends to
lead the social science departments in bringing in external research dollars.
GISSAL continues to do over $100,000 in projects each year, the NSF-funded
Human-Environment Regional Observatory (HERO) project is off to a good start,
and the Kansas NASA EPSCoR Project on Remote Sensing of Rural Resources is
finishing off its fifth year. In addition to those ‘big ones,' there are a
number of other funded projects that are helping both graduate students and
faculty advance their careers. Recently, we learned that Dr. Paul has been
successful in getting NSF funding for work in south Asia and that Dr. Goodin has
succeeded in getting another three years of NASA EPSCoR funding.
The Department Moves
A major disruptive event during the past year was the move of the department
from our old home for the past 18 years, Dickens Hall. Considerable planning
went into an attempt to make the stressful process go as smoothly as possible.
A number of us became ‘dumpster divers' as boxes became an item of high
demand. Considerable success in finding suitable boxes was had a one of the
local liquor stores. Rather than give others an impression of resourcefulness
and our desire to recycle cardboard, the box selection perhaps lead others to a
false impression about levels of alcohol consumption.
The move was supposed to happen during the break between Fall and Spring
semesters, but remodeling delays for the main office area pushed the moving date
into early February. As is went, there was about a month and one-half period
where we were trying to do the job working out of boxes and where the office was
still in Dickens and some of the faculty were already in Seaton. The office
staff and the grad students have been a huge help in helping to organize the
mess that we brought to our new space in Seaton Hall. The Dean and other
visitors are impressed with the new surroundings; please come check it out!
- Postal address
- 118 Seaton Hall
- Kansas State