Monday reception honors Long for arts award

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 17, 2003

The Alabama Commission on Higher Education simultaneously applauded and took a swipe at Troy State University Friday morning.

TSU Chancellor Jack Hawkins gave a presentation on the direction and future of the TSU system and the "One Great University" plan. For that, he and TSU were commended by members of the commission.

However, immediately after Hawkins' presentation, the commission voted unanimously to approve a resolution stating its belief that out-of-state students should not be allowed to pay in-state tuition at any state universities - a critique of the current policy known as "the 50-mile radius rule" that allows colleges to offer in-state tuition rates to out-of-state students living within 50 miles of the Alabama campus.

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The ruling, which chair Bettye Fine Collins said "expresses the will of this commission," is not legally binding, but is a stab at the TSU system which uses the in-state tuition offers to attract students to its border campuses, such as TSU-Dothan and TSU-Phenix City.

"They were just offering a philosophical statement," said Hawkins. "And it happens to be one that we don't agree with."

The ruling is non-binding because the issue is one to be determined by the Legislature, not the commission, which is comprised of executive appointees.

Still, aside from the resolution concerning the "50-mile radius rule," which Hawkins called "short-sighted," TSU officials were pleased with the results of Friday's presentation.

Commission members were presented with a copy of a speech by Wallace Malone, CEO of Southtrust Bank, contending that a new economic model must be used to govern universities in the face on continued state cuts to higher education funding.

Hawkins, who was introduced by commission executive director and former TSU-employee Michael Malone, outlined the goals of the TSU campuses, previewing a consolidation that would reduce the number of public universities in Alabama from 15 to 13. Currently, the TSU campuses in Montgomery and Dothan are accredited independently, but Hawkins and the TSU Board of Trustees are implementing a plan to create uniformity across the university system.

Based on 2002 enrollments, the unified TSU system would, according to Hawkins' presentation, be the second-largest university in the state. TSU's 22,191 students would place the university only behind Auburn University's 23,276 students and well in front of the University of Alabama's 19,584.

In addition the consolidated TSU would be the Alabama institution of higher education issuing the greatest number of graduate degrees - at 2,411, nearly 1,000 more than the University of Alabama.

Hawkins showed a video to the commission that described a new TSU, which would be "neither a regional institution nor a major research university."

Among the advantages to consolidation listed by Hawkins in his presentation: students will be able to transfer between TSU campuses without losing coursework credit; only one academic calendar and faculty handbook will be issued, reducing duplication; and uniform standards and policies.

Hawkins also cited the Southeast Alabama Technology Network as an example of TSU's commitment to distance learning policies and the "eArmyU" program designed to offer degrees to members of the military stationed overseas.

A booklet distributed to the commission further explained the changes to the TSU system.

"Under the new model, the whole will become more than the sum of the parts."

A reception honoring Dr. John M. Long, director of bands emeritus at Troy State University, will be held from 2 until 4 p.m. Monday at the Hawkins-Adams-Long Hall of Honor on the TSU campus. The reception is open to the public.

The reception, given by Troy State University and the TSU Foundation, will celebrate Long's contributions to the university and the city of Troy, as well as his most recent achievement, the Governor's Arts Award.

The award was presented by the Alabama Council on the Arts to Long during the 2003 &uot;Celebration of the Arts&uot; awards ceremony on May 2. Long was one of three Alabamians to receive the award which is given in recognition of outstanding contributions to the arts in Alabama.

From 1965-1996, Long served Troy Sate University in a number of capacities, including band director (1965096); chair of the music department (1972-96); dean of the school of arts and sciences (1974-1991); assistant to the president (1982-96) and dean of the school of find arts (1992-96).

Two buildings on the Troy State University campus have been named for the Guntersville native - John M. Long Hall, which houses the library, recording studio and rehearsal hall or all TSU bands, and the Hawkins-Adams-Long Hall of Honor, which houses the National Band Association Conductor's Hall of Fame, the TSU Museum and the Ralph Adams Library.

Prior to coming to Troy in 1965, Long serves as band director at four Alabama high schools - Jacksonville, Blount County, DeKalb and Robert E. Lee.