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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Cheyney U. sees jump in first-year enrollment

Cheyney University (PA) has enrolled one of it's largest first-year classes in recent University history. 6.6 The school saw its first year enrollment increase by 46.6 percent this year over last year. Overall, the University’s total enrollment has increased by 6.6 percent over last year’s enrollment.

The University’s president, Dr. Michelle Howard-Vital expressed extreme pleasure with the University’s reported enrollment numbers, and further states, “This demonstrates that families recognize the value we offer for an undergraduate education that will prepare young adults to be competitive and responsible citizens in a global economy.”

The University attributes the increase in first-year students to enhanced marketing and recruitment efforts. Cheyney expects to grow to approximately 2,000 students by 2012.

As a part of its' new outreach effort Cheyney hopes to begin offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs in nearby Philadelphia at 7th and Market Streets inside Philadelphia’s Mellon Center; as well as offer more online course offerings in order to remain competitive and convenient for students of the 21st century. Cheyney University is also working to develop partnerships with a variety of organizations and agencies to respond to the need to increase the college-going rate of citizens in the Philadelphia region and to provide skills training through various workforce training programs.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Texas Southern looking out of state for students

Frustrated by the university's reputation in Houston, Texas Southern University president John Rudley is aggressively courting students from out of state. "A lot of local kids, had such a negative opinion of Texas Southern," said Rudley. "I couldn't get them to come here."

California and Louisiana have proven especially fertile recruiting territory. But Rudley has also pursued students from his hometown of Benton Harbor, Mich., arguing that Texas' largest historically black university had something to offer students from a small town in an economically depressed state. Now there are nearly three dozen TSU students from Benton Harbor, population 11,000.

Other historically black schools also are recruiting from outside their geographic regions in an attempt to grow enrollment, said Marybeth Gasman, an associate professor of higher education at the University of Pennsylvania who studies the schools.

Many of the schools, including Texas Southern, have relatively low admission standards as part of a commitment to make higher education more accessible. But Rudley also has launched scholarships and special programs for honors students in order to attract better students.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Gilbert Rochon named 6th president of Tuskegee

Dr. Gilbert L. Rochon has been named the sixth President of Tuskegee University. He will take office on Nov. 1. Rochon comes to Tuskegee from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.

Rochon currently serves as a senior research scientist at the Rosen Center for Advanced Computing and director of the Terrestrial Observatory at Purdue. The Observatory is a real-time satellite ground station for interdisciplinary multi-sensor remote sensing. Additionally, he served as Associate Vice President for Collaborative Research and Engagement at Purdue.

Rochon earned his bachelor's degree in English from Xavier University (New Orleans); a Master of Public Health degree from the Yale University School of Medicine; and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Rochon has held several positions in education, health, and community and national agencies. His resume includes: director of the Dorchester Mental Health Center, Boston State Hospital, Boston, Mass.; associate professor and director/chair of the Conrad N. Hilton Endowed Professorship, Urban Studies and Public Policy Institute at Dillard University in New Orleans, where he established joint BA/MS degree programs in collaboration with counterparts at Columbia University (Urban Planning), New School for Social Research (Public Policy) and State University of New York, Stonybrook (Coastal Oceanography); and researcher and investigator in divisions of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Rochon has an extensive background of international research. He is currently an adjunct professor at the Mah Fah Luang University, Chiang Rai, Thailand.

Rochon, a native of New Orleans, has been the recipient of many research fellowships, including the Fulbright Senior Specialist Research Fellow, International Nutrition Fellow, the Dwight David Eisenhower Faculty Fellow, and the Dorothy Danford Compton Fellow.

Rochon has published and/or collaborated on more than 135 articles in peer-refereed professional journals. He is the founding editor of the Journal of Terrestrial Observation. He also serves on many review panels and advisory boards in the areas of his scientific specialization.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Ronald Walters dies at 72

Ronald W. Walters, a longtime professor of political science at Howard University and the University of Maryland, and one of the most respected public intellectuals on matters of race, civil rights and public policy, died Friday at age 72. He had been suffering from cancer.

Dr. Walters won worldwide acclaim as the author of many books, including works on black presidential politics, pan-Africanism and the resurgence of white conservatism.

After 25 years at Howard, Dr. Walters became director of the African American Leadership Institute at Maryland and frequently appeared wrote for the popular press and appeared on television programs discussing major issues of the day. In 1984, he was a key adviser to the presidential campaign of Jesse Jackson, and he had been a major intellectual force behind the Congressional Black Caucus since the 1970s.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

SWAC/MEAC Challenge renewed thru 2013

Walt Disney World Resort has announced that it will continue as sponsor of the MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney through 2013. The Resort and ESPN made the joint announcement the day after the 2010 event drew the second lowest attendance in the events seven year history.

“As a company that values diversity and supports education, we are proud to renew our commitment to the MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney,” said Eugene Campbell, vice president of minority business development for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “The MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney is more than a game – it’s a weekend long celebration for our community filled with events that encourage young people to achieve their dreams.”

The MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney, an ESPN Regional Television (ERT) owned-and-operated event, features football teams from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). Walt Disney Resorts and ESPN are all owned by the Walt Disney Companies.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Virginia State University Business School Buys E-Textbooks for Students

Why do students have to pay for college textbooks? Couldn't the reading material be considered part of the college infrastructure paid for by officials as part of tuition, like classroom buildings and course-management systems?

Virginia State University is experimenting with that idea this fall, with a new effort to give free e-textbooks to students in its business school for eight core courses. The university recently negotiated a deal with upstart publisher Flat World Knowledge that treats buying e-books like buying campuswide software—with the institution paying a small per-student fee. The university plans to formally announce the deal Tuesday.

Student complaints about the high cost of traditional textbooks drove the university to try the giveaway. "For our accounting books senior year, there's nothing under $250," said Mirta Martin, dean of the Virginia State University business school. "What the students were saying is we don't have the money to purchase these books."

Last year Ms. Martin became so frustrated from hearing stories about students who were performing poorly because they could not afford textbooks that she made a pledge that no needy student would go without a book. She asked community officials and others to donate to a fund to pay for books of students who came forward asking for financial help, and last year that project paid for $4,000 worth of books for students. But Ms. Martin felt that philanthropic model was not sustainable, so she began reaching out to publishers to see if the institution could get some sort of bulk rate that would allow the institution to pay for textbooks for all students.

The university found Flat World Knowledge, which offers free e-textbooks to students and makes money by selling study guides and printed versions.

In its standard model, Flat World offers free access to its textbooks only while students are online. If students want to download a copy to their own computers, they must pay $24.95 for a PDF (a print edition costs about $30). But the publisher offered the business school a bulk rate of $20 per student per course, and it will allow students at the school to download not only the digital copies but also the study guide, audio version, or iPad edition (a bundle that would typically cost about $100).

"It's a really significant shift in the business model of the publishing industry," argues Eric Frank, president and co-founder of Flat World Knowledge, who compared the new approach with the way colleges buy software licenses.

Professors at the university spent the last few months frantically reviewing Flat World's available textbooks to see which ones to adopt, as part of a curriculum review that was already under way.

If the experiment goes well, the business school will hope to add more courses next semester. Ms. Martin says her hope is to give away e-books for students in about 30 courses by about 18 months from now.