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Friday, December 18, 2009

Texas Southern University returned to probation

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools recently placed Texas Southern University back on probation just six months after lifting the punishment. The probation was reinstated because TSU failed to provide the accrediting body with an official audit of its finances or of its financial aid programs, a spokeswoman for SACS said.

TSU President John Rudley said he expects this latest probation to remain in effect until June 2010, as official state audits will not be available until January.

SACS placed TSU on probation in late 2007 after a series of financial and management problems were discovered at the university. That probation was lifted in June although the accrediting commission continued oversight of financial aid and sponsored research programs at TSU. That oversight was scheduled to end this month until SACS officials re-imposed the probation. SACS officials, who noted that TSU remains accredited despite the probation, are scheduled to visit the Houston campus in April 2010.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hampton prof appointed to Air Force post

Jarris L. Taylor, associate director of HU's Honors College, has been appointed deputy assistant secretary for Strategic Diversity Integration of the U. S. Air Force by President Barack Obama.

"As a 20-year retiree of the United States Air Force, to be called to duty once again to serve our country is a blessing and privilege," Taylor, who began work this week in his new post said.

According to the Air Force Web site, he will be responsible for directing all plans and programs affecting diversity integration for Air Force military and civilian personnel. He will provide leadership, strategic direction and oversight to all levels of the Air Force to ensure a diverse and inclusive force.

A 1995 HU alum, Taylor joined the Air Force in 1985 and retired in 2005, then became an adjunct professor at Regent University and Norfolk State University. In 2006, he was appointed an associate director of both HU's honors college and HU William Harvey Leadership Institute.

According to HU, Taylor is the university's fourth alum to work in a top spot in the Obama White House. Others include 1993 graduate Dana Lewis, who is a personal aide to first lady Michelle Obama; 1993 graduate Danielle Crutchfield, who is director of scheduling for Obama; and 1993 graduate Jamesa Moone, human capital director in the Office of Management and Budget.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Alcorn president resigns to take top job at CMU

George E. Ross, president of Alcorn State University will be leaving the school in March to return to Central Michigan University as president.

Ross was CMU’s vice president for finance and administrative services before coming to Alcorn in January 2008.

“I am honored to have had the opportunity to serve Alcorn State University and the state of Mississippi during such a transformative time in the university’s history,” Ross said in a press release. “While I did not actively seek the presidency at Central Michigan University, I believe it is a unique opportunity.”

Central Michigan has an enrollment of 27,000 students. Alcorn has 3,339 students enrolled currently.

Several local Alcorn alumni pointed to positive steps taken under Ross’leadership, including beginning construction on a new dormitory in Lorman and implementing a plan to offer education degrees at the Natchez and Vicksburg campuses.

Ross replaced former President Clinton Bristow, who died suddenly in 2006. Between Bristow and Ross, Malvin Williams served as interim president.

Ross’ departure comes on the heels of a proposal from Gov. Haley Barbour to consolidate Alcorn State, Mississippi Valley State and Jackson State into one university. But the proposal is one that hasn’t gained much traction with legislators and one that doesn’t worry the alumni much, Grennell said.

“I’m not in favor of the governor’s plan, and I would think this will not play a role,” he said. “I believe alumni will play a major role in (preventing) that process.”

Monday, December 07, 2009

Southern fires Pete Richardson after 17 years

Pete Richardson, the football coach at Southern University for 17 years, was fired today along with most of his staff.

Richardson had a 134-62 record in his 17 years at Southern. That included four, 11-win seasons and one 12-win season.

Richardson was named the Black Coaches Association's Coach of the Year in 1998, five-time Southwestern Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, Washington D.C.'s Pigskin Club's Coach of the Year three times and the 1999 Nokia Sugar Bowl Louisiana Coach of the Year.

But the Jaguars fished this season 6-5, 3-4 in the SWAC, including losing their last two games. The two setbacks included a 31-13 drubbing by Grambling in the Bayou Classic, the most lopsided loss in that contest since Richardson took over at Southern in 1993, and a 30-25 loss to Texas Southern to close out the season.

The Jaguars also haven't won a conference title since 2003 and by Richardson's own standards, this season was another disappointment.

Prairie View defeated Southern 16-14 on Oct. 22, all but eliminating the Jaguars from the championship race.

In a meeting last week with LaFleur and chancellor Kofi Lomotey, Richardson was given permission to pursue other opportunities.

Richardson had another year on his contract, which pays him $205,000 annually. The school said in a news release that the total compensation had not yet been worked out.

No timetable has been set for bringing in a new coach, although LaFleur said that the process would begin immediately.

Friday, December 04, 2009

David Wilson to become next prez of Morgan State

David Wilson, a son of Alabama sharecroppers who earned a doctorate from Harvard and supervises Wisconsin's 13 two-year colleges, will become the 12th president of Morgan State University, school officials announced Thursday.

Wilson will replace Earl S. Richardson, who plans to step down at the end of June after 25 years.

"The more I dug into Morgan, the more I realized this was a great opportunity to continue building a pre-eminent urban research institution," Wilson said in an interview.

He said he was impressed with Morgan's faculty and its production of African-American engineers and scientists. Wilson plans to expand the university's doctoral programs, focusing on the "intractable challenges facing urban America."

"There is something very special about Dr. Wilson that when you meet him, you know he's the real thing," said Kweisi Mfume, a Morgan graduate and member of the university's board of regents. "He's a visionary with impeccable credentials, and all of his life experiences have prepared him for this moment."

Wilson, 54, grew up in a shanty in rural Alabama, the youngest of 10 children and the first in his family to attend college. He did not go to school full-time until the seventh grade because his family needed him to pick cotton and okra two days a week. But he remembered reading the magazine articles his family plastered to the walls of their home to keep out the wind and cold.

"In a lot of ways, I traveled the world without ever leaving the walls of that shanty," he said. "After that, I did whatever I could to be touched by the magic of education."

He attended Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) in Alabama, and said historically black institutions hold a special place in his heart. "They are absolutely central to the competitiveness of this nation," he said. "We have to provide opportunities so that every American citizen can achieve his or her greatest potential. We have to make sure that no one gets left back."

In addition to supervising the University of Wisconsin system's two-year colleges, Wilson led its extension system, which helps to apply university research in dozens of communities around the state. He oversaw an annual budget of more than $300 million.

He said his experience dealing with a state legislature and governor will help in Maryland as he seeks public funding for Morgan, which endured a contentious legislative audit in 2008. Mfume, a former congressman, predicted that legislators "will rave about him and really enjoy him."

Before taking the Wisconsin job in 2006, Wilson served as Auburn University's first black vice-president, helping to forge ties with poor, rural sections of Alabama.

"Morgan has experienced phenomenal growth under the leadership of President Richardson and we were looking for someone who could continue that momentum," said Dallas R. Evans, chairman of the university's board of regents. "We believe Dr. Wilson is the person who can take us to the next level of excellence and productivity."

After receiving a bachelor's in political science in 1977 and a masters in education -- also from Tuskegee -- in 1979, he went on to earn a pair of graduate degrees from Harvard: a masters in educational planning and administration in 1984 and a doctorate in administration, planning and social policy in 1987.

His three-decade career as a college administrator has included time at Tuskegee, Radcliffe College, Kentucky State University and Rutgers University.

With 7,000 students and an annual budget of $200 million, Morgan is a public institution known for its engineering school, choir and band among other programs.

Wilson, a single father of one, said he will begin his transition to the new job in January, trying to make connections with state leaders during the upcoming legislative session. He will take the job officially on July 1.

Asked if Wilson will steer his alma mater in a new direction, Mfume said: "I believe Earl Richardson came along at a tough time for the university and laid quite a foundation," he said. "But now, I believe Dr. Wilson is the educational architect to come in behind him and put up a superstructure."