Two receive prestigious Cook Professorships

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. — A professor in Library Affairs and an associate professor in the School of Art and Design are recipients of a prestigious professorship at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Professor Philip C. Howze and Associate Professor Najjar Abdul-Musawwir recently received Judge William Holmes Cook Endowed Professorships. Cook Professorships are three-year appointments that also provide $7,500 annually to the recipients to fund scholarly work, graduate assistantships, travel, summer stipends or other related uses.

Cook, a former SIUC student who had a long and distinguished legal career, donated $500,000 to the University through his estate. The purpose of the professorships is to increase and maintain diversity at the University, said Linda McCabe Smith, interim associate chancellor for diversity.

A committee reviewed nine applications submitted from across campus.

“It was not an easy decision. There were a lot of great candidates,” said McCabe Smith, who chaired the committee.

As a part of the professorships, recipients must submit annual reports to Don S. Rice, interim provost and vice chancellor, detailing their scholarly work relating to the professorship and plans for the upcoming year, McCabe Smith said. A final report is required at the end of the third year, she said.

Professor Philip C. HowzeHowze is a research/reference librarian whose specialties include anthropology, Black American studies, economics, psychology, social work and sociology. He earned a 2009 “Excellence Through Commitment” outstanding faculty award in Library Affairs. Howze is a two-degree graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, earning his undergraduate degree in 1986 and a master’s degree in 1989. He earned his library degree in 1990 from the University of Iowa.

Howze came to SIUC in 2000. A full professor since 2005, he teaches one course every year in the Black American Studies Program as well as sections of the library’s information literacy course. Library Affairs Dean David H. Carlson nominated Howze for the Cook Professorship.

“I am very grateful to be a recipient of this prestigious award,” Howze said. “I plan to use the Cook Professorship to further my studies in African American librarianship through research and travel, and to continue my research on shaping ethnic collections. It is rare for an academic librarian to receive a named professorship, and I appreciate this distinct honor.”

Associate Professor Najjar Abdul-MusawwirAbdul-Musawwir plans on a sabbatical starting this fall at the prestigious G. R. N’Namdi Gallery in Detroit, where his work will focus on abstract paintings emphasizing unity and goodwill, and spiritual aesthetics. Abdul-Musawwir said his work, highly influenced by Islamic principles, will pull from what is happening in America and create abstract paintings from those ideals.

Peter Chametzky, the interim director and associate professor in the Art History program, nominated Abdul-Musawwir, with the support of Alan Vaux, dean of the College of Liberal Arts.

“It’s an extreme honor to be recognized for your hard work, and have someone who is willing to make that type of investment in one’s life,” Abdul-Musawwir said. “It’s not just my job, but a way of life. To have such a prestigious award presented upon me reinforces the things I believe in, such as, hard work pays off.

“I’m somewhat surprised because there are many other of my colleagues who could have received it,” he said.

Abdul-Musawwir is a two-degree graduate of SIUC; he earned his bachelor’s degree in general studio/painting/drawing in 1992, and a master’s degree in painting in 1997.

According to his resume, Abdul-Musawwir’s current research projects involve “mixed-media abstract paintings and drawings incorporating contemporary Islamic and African-American history and Islamic forms into two dimensional paintings and installations.” The professorship will allow Abdul-Musawwir to broaden his research, he said.

Students benefit from Bridgestone donation

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Bloomingdale-based Bridgestone Retail Operations, LLC, recently presented Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Department of Automotive Technology a financial gift to assist the nationally recognized program. The department received a $6,000 grant from the Bridgestone Americas Trust Fund, the philanthropic arm of Bridgestone Americas, Inc. The gift will go toward equipment purchases and establishing a $2,000 scholarship this fall, said Jack S. Greer, who chairs the automotive technology department.

“A donation of this kind, especially in today’s economy, shows the company’s support for our program and the interest it has in hiring our graduates,” Greer said. He noted the company is continuing to expand its retail establishments.

The company has been recruiting managers to open and operate retail stores through SIUC’s program for the last five or six years, he said.

“Bridgestone’s donation demonstrates a clear commitment to our students and their futures in the industry,” said Rickey N. McCurry, vice chancellor for institutional advancement and CEO of the SIU Foundation. “Our automotive technology program has been a source of pride for the University and has garnered nationwide respect. We greatly appreciate Bridgestone’s continued support of our young people pursuing careers in this field.”

According to the company, Bridgestone Retail Operations presented the donation on behalf of the Bridgestone Americas Trust Fund. Bridgestone Retail Operations runs the largest network of company-owned automotive service centers in the world — more than 2,000 tire and vehicle service centers across the United States — including “Firestone Complete Auto Care,” “Tires Plus,” “ExpertTire” and “Wheel Works” stores. Credit First National Association and “Firestone Complete Fleet Care” are also part of Bridgestone Retail Operations, which is a member of the Bridgestone Americas family of companies.

In late January, the company opened its 1,500th Firestone Complete Auto Care location, and there are plans to continue to open more. Forty-two new automotive service locations opened in 2008; each new store creates about 12 jobs. Twelve SIUC automotive technology and automotive service management graduates now work for Bridgestone Retail Operations.

“It’s important for Bridgestone Retail Operations to contribute to schools and universities that educate tomorrow’s leaders, today,” said Matt Metzelaars, Midwest zone recruiting and retention manager with Bridgestone Retail Operations. “We look to schools with programs like Southern Illinois University Carbondale to prepare students to easily transition into their future careers. We currently have SIUC graduates working for our company in various roles ranging from store manager to intern.”

In 2005, the automotive technology program earned the Automotive Industry Planning Council’s Award of Excellence — its third time as the nation’s top program. The program also earned top honors in 1991 and 1999; national winners cannot compete again for the award for five years.

The program also operates an off-campus program at Harry S. Truman College in Chicago that began in fall 2007. The off-campus program provides Chicago-area students the opportunity to obtain a bachelor’s degree in automotive technology. Students complete an associate of applied science degree from Kennedy-King or Truman College, and then transfer into the automotive technology program, where SIUC faculty teach upper-level automotive technical and automotive management courses at Truman College.

Annual Fund Student Caller Wins Scholarship

by Emily Britton

Annual Fund Student Caller, Philip Sanders, Wins Scholarship

CARBONDALE, Ill. — For the second time in Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s history, a student supervisor is the recipient of a scholarship to attend the RuffaloCody Users Group Conference.

Philip Sanders, a junior from Kankakee majoring in economics, was one of two students nationwide to receive the scholarship. According to AJ Pennington, senior manager of recruiting and training operations at RuffaloCody, the recipients were chosen based on their dedication to a call center and their interest in pursuing a career in fundraising.

The funding provided by RuffaloCody will help Sanders take a step toward his career goal. RuffaloCody is a consulting firm that offers strategic fundraising and enrollment management services. The conference, scheduled for July 26-28 in Minneapolis, will allow Sanders to make connections with others in the field of institutional advancement. During the three-day event, Sanders will attend roundtable discussions and lectures focusing on issues facing fundraising institutions today.

Sanders is one of 80 students who solicit support for the SIU Foundation’s Annual Fund. As a student caller, he has raised $26,000 for the fund, which is designed to generate revenue to support various scholarship opportunities, academic departments, programs, and facility upgrades at the University. Students are assigned records based on specific segments of the alumni database. They perform their duties year-round with the exception of the University’s public holiday breaks.

“Our telefunders are vital to the Foundation’s success. It is important to have high-caliber students reaching out to our alums in order to advance our institution,” said Jeff Lorber, associate vice chancellor for institutional advancement. “This award demonstrates how dedicated Philip and his fellow student callers are to improving their University.”

Sanders says his time as a telefunder has also prepared him for a career in fundraising.

“This position has taught me how to work under someone with expectations and certain goals for me, and I think that will be important in my chosen career field,” Sanders says. “I am also given enough freedom to be able to make mistakes and learn from them. When I see the same situations in the future, I will know how to handle them.”

Nanditha Balasubramanian, director of annual giving for the SIU Foundation, said that Sanders’ award speaks highly of the Foundation’s recruiting and training.

“The mentoring he received both as a caller and student supervisor, especially the training with the CampusCall system, helped him tremendously in gaining an edge over candidates from other institutions,” Balasubramanian says. “Last fall, Philip assisted me with supervision of student callers during the calling sessions. This gave him the confidence not only to learn the calling system better, but it also provided a chance for him to demonstrate his skills supervising students,motivating the student callers, responding to questions from the students and ensuring that they do their best in communicating with our alumni and friends. Since the annual giving program is the foundation of our development operations, it is vital that we uphold the highest standards inrecruiting, training and evaluation of our student callers.”

Balasubramanian said she recognized Sanders’ exceptional work as a student caller and supervisor and encouraged him to apply for the scholarship. For that, Sanders is grateful.

“Throughout the last few semesters I have learned about responsibility and leadership from the mentoring I’ve received as a student caller. Nanditha Balasubramanian and (Assistant Director) Amber Kinkelaar have helped me become a better caller and supervisor as well as a better student through the principles of fundraising that they have taught me,” Sanders says. “Above all, this position has given me a sense of purpose, in that I am helping SIU become the best university it can be.”