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11/14/2007 - Jackson, Miss.

During its regular monthly meeting, the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) approved new degree programs at five of its eight public universities. Specifically, the Board approved the establishment of the following degree programs to be offered in the fall of 2008: a Bachelor of Science in Earth System Science and a Master of Science in Sport Science at Jackson State University; a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Sciences and a Master of Science in General Biology at Mississippi State University; a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies and a Master of Fine Arts in Physical Theatre at Mississippi University for Women; a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management at the University of Mississippi; and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in Healthcare Marketing at the University of Southern Mississippi. The Board also approved revisions to the Accreditation Standards and Rules and Regulations for Mississippi Nursing Degree Programs.

In other news, the Board approved a report from the Textbook Task Force Committee, charged earlier in the year by Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Thomas C. Meredith to explore ways to make textbooks more affordable for Mississippi’s students. Chaired by Mr. Troy Stovall, Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations at Jackson State University, the Task Force presented recommendations for various applicable publics, including System administration, members of the student body, campus bookstores, System Faculty Senate members, the Board of Trustees, and the Mississippi Legislature. Recommendations for System administration included conducting open forms on campuses to raise awareness of the issues; improving the book buyback processes; establishing and enforcing timelines for textbook adoption; and placing copies of new textbook editions in campus libraries, among others. Visit www.mississippi.edu/finance/textbook_taskforce.pdf to view the report.

In his Commissioner’s report, Dr. Thomas C. Meredith discussed the Access to Success Initiative, a collaborative effort of 19 public university systems across the country to cut in half gaps in both college-going and degree completion rates that separate low-income and minority students from others by 2015. Access to Success was officially launched on October 31 by the National Association of System Heads (NASH) in conjunction with The Education Trust. “The gaps in educational access threaten the position of our state—and our nation—within the global market,” said Commissioner Meredith, who also serves as president of NASH. To ensure accountability, evaluation data will be released annually by The Education Trust.

Under the leadership of the Board of Trustees, IHL governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.


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