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Volume 3, Issue 9
Friday, March 7, 2008
Edited by Jennifer Rogers

Mississippi's Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning

News from the System
University News
yellowarrowIHL Presents Facilities Request to House Ways and Means Committee
yellowarrowMSU Students Encouraged to Start Businesses
yellowarrow18 Faculty Groups Advance through Course Redesign Process
yellowarrowMSU Specialists Warn Soybean Shortage Will Increase Production Risks
yellowarrowBRC Steering Committee to Advance Teacher Prep Redesign Efforts
yellowarrowMUW Helps Nontraditional Student Reach His Goal
yellowarrowIndicators in Feb. Mississippi's Business Point to Economic Downturn
yellowarrowMississippi Valley State University Online
yellowarrowUM Helps Old Houses Become New Homes for Lower-Income Families
yellowarrowUniversity of Mississippi Medical Center Online
yellowarrowSouthern Miss Students Finalists for Prestigious Truman Scholarship
yellowarrowLong Beach High Takes Top Honors in USM-GC Regional Sciences Bowl
yellowarrowAlcorn Students Visit Visualization Research Center
yellowarrowDelta State Chorale to Perform at Washington National Cathedral
yellowarrowJSU Selected as Homeland Security Center of Excellence
yellowarrowFor more IHL News, click here.
yellowarrowTo subscribe to this e-newsletter, click here.

IHL Presents Facilities Request to House Ways and Means Committee
On Tuesday, IHL presented the System's fiscal year 2009 capital facilities request to the House Ways and Means Committee. The Board is requesting $99 million in capital renewal to address routine maintenance and $130.75 million in bond money to address the priority building needs of the System. Trustee Scott Ross, Mayor of West Point and Chair of the Board's Real Estate and Facilities Committee, described IHL's situation to legislators, after which university representatives answered questions about specific projects outlined in the request. Mississippi's University System owns and maintains 1,611 buildings and 43 percent of the total state building square footage. Sixty percent of these building are over 25 years old and in great need of basic repairs, maintenance, and improvements to remain safe and adequate. Since 2000, the System hasn't received any capital renewal dollars, so routine maintenance has been put off. While facilities deteriorate at an average of 1 to 2 percent per year, the rate of deterioration increases to about 4 percent per year when maintenance is deferred. "The legislature has been very good to us regarding bond money, and we appreciate that," said Trustee Ross. "But by providing both capital renewal dollars and bond money now we can avoid more expensive bond requests later." Most of the current bond request is needed for buildings that have already reached the point of disrepair, not for new construction. On Thursday morning, HB 1641 was approved by the Ways and Means Committee; later that same day the bill was approved by the House of Representatives. Section 1 of HB 1641 provides $43.4 M in funding for IHL's capital facilities requests. HB 1641 will be considered next by the Senate Finance Committee on or before April 1. "Our needs are critical," stated Commissioner of Higher Education Dr. Thomas C. Meredith. "We urge our state Senators to fund the entire $130 million request." The System's bond request is determined through a process whereby each institution presents its top 3 facilities needs to the Board, which then votes to prioritize those needs within a monetarily realistic proposal. For more information about IHL's capital request, contact IHL Assistant Commissioner for Real Estate and Facilities Harry Sims.

18 Faculty Groups Advance through Course Redesign Process
On Thursday, February 28, approximately 130 faculty members, representing each of the eight public universities, participated in the second workshop of the Mississippi Course Redesign Initiative. This System-wide initiative is just one aspect of IHL's Strategic Initiative to increase the number of baccalaureate graduates of even higher quality. The redesign initiative will raise the level of student success by improving learning outcomes and reducing instructional costs through the redesign of large-enrollment, multi-section courses, based on the proven, effective methods developed by the National Center for Academic Transformation. Ultimately, IHL will award grants of up to $50,000 in support of course redesign projects. The first workshop, held in November, gave faculty the information they needed to complete a readiness review and submit an initial proposal. Of 22 proposals submitted, 18 were selected to advance through the course redesign grant process. This second workshop, led by Carol Twigg and Carolyn Jarmon from NCAT, gave faculty the additional information needed to complete their proposals for course redesign. Up to 15 proposals will be selected by IHL for funding. For more information, contact IHL Assistant Commissioner for Academic and Student Affairs Dr. Lynn J. House.
BRC Steering Committee to Advance Teacher Prep Redesign Efforts
The Executive Steering Committee of the Blue Ribbon Committee for the Redesign of Teacher Preparation (BRC) held an initial meeting on Thursday. The Steering Committee, which is composed of four university faculty and four P-12 representatives, was convened to advance the work of the BRC by completing action plans for the redesign Mississippi's teacher preparation programs. In Thursday's meeting, the Steering Committee reviewed extensive information with implications for the work of the BRC and completed a modified jigsaw team-building exercise. In April, the committee will visit Alverno College in Milwaukee, Wis., and Emporia State University in Emporia, Kan., to view exemplary teacher preparation programs in action. The committee will then reconvene in May for a two-day retreat to work towards the final development of action plans. The BRC is critical to IHL's Strategic Initiative to increase the number of baccalaureate graduates of even higher quality. Through the work of the BRC, the state's public universities will better prepare teachers who can, in turn, better prepare students for postsecondary success. Contact IHL Assistant Commissioner for Academic and Student Affairs Dr. Lynn J. House for more information.
Indicators in Feb. Mississippi's Business Point to Economic Downturn
The February edition of Mississippi's Business was released last week by the Economics Department of the IHL Office of Policy Research and Planning. The issue, which can be accessed online as a PDF, provides an overview of the state's economic situation as indicated by the coincident and leading indexes. The Mississippi Index of Coincident Economic Indicators, which reveals economic trends as they are occurring, shows that economic activity in Mississippi has hit an all-time high. Nevertheless, the Index of Leading Economic Indicators, which signals changes in economic activity before it occurs, decreased, indicating that the national economic woes are beginning to take a toll on Mississippi. While it is likely that the nation has entered a period of recession, the recession is expected to be short with recovery occurring in the second half of 2008. For more information, contact senior economist Dr. Darrin Webb at (601) 432-6556. Also in this issue, senior researcher and statistician Christian Pruett notes that consumer and executive confidence levels were down dramatically in the fourth quarter of 2007. For more information about the confidence indexes, contact Christian Pruett at (601) 432-6445. Read Mississippi's Business online.

Items included in the "University News" section of the System Review are submitted each week by the universities. The news items are listed in rotating alphabetical order by university.

MSU Students Encouraged to Start Businesses
A group of Mississippi State students will win $5,000 as part of an April business competition emphasizing Internet use as part of an entrepreneurial effort. The $5,000 E-Business Entrepreneurship Competition aims to encourage new business ideas from conception to implementation, said Gerald Nelson, director of the university's Thad Cochran Endowment for Entrepreneurship. Nelson said the Cochran Endowment and College of Business and Industry's MQABL Services Innovation Group is sponsoring the challenge. Each team will experience real-world business scenarios that help them develop the critical skills required for success, he added. "The winning team is expected to attempt to operate their start-up business during the summer," Nelson said. Along with the $5,000 first prize, a representative with the Cochran Endowment will mentor the winning team in the business development process. Judges also will award $500 for second place and $250 for third place. Learn more.

MSU Math Team Again Comes Through When It Counts

National Teacher Organization Makes MSU Prof 'Rare' Honoree

MSU Moves Ahead with Comprehensive Maintenance Strategy

Unique MSU Team Often 'Lured' From Campus This Time of Year

MSU Specialists Warn Soybean Seed Shortage Will Increase Production Risks
With soybean seed in short supply in 2008, Mississippi soybean growers are facing increased production risks including unproven varieties and poor-quality seed. Mississippi State University (MSU) Extension Service specialists recommend producers review available varieties to minimize these risks. "Over the past three years, we've tested 830 different varieties in Mississippi trials," said Trey Koger, MSU Extension soybean specialist. "That's going to be an excellent resource to fall back on to provide information on some varieties that we just don't know a lot about." Annual results of the Mississippi Soybean Variety Trials are available at county Extension offices and online. "We're not going to have replant options this year because of the seed shortage," said Koger. "Most likely we are going to have one shot at getting a stand, and we don't need to plant too early when conditions are cool and wet. Be aware of our optimal planting window from April 5 to April 20." Soybean seed demand is outpacing supply all over the state, with the most popular varieties proving to be the most difficult, if not impossible, to obtain. Koger said for information about unfamiliar varieties, producers should refer to Extension personnel, seed distributors, seed companies, the Internet, other states' variety trials and the Mississippi Soybean Variety Trials. Learn more.

MSU's Berryman Institute Addresses Human-Wildlife Relationships

USDA Honors MSU's Southern Rural Development Center Director

Ag Producers Recommend North Mississippi Research Focus for MSU

MSU Veterinary College Welcomes Ages to Open House

MUW Helps Nontraditional Student Reach His Goal
At age 57, a college degree is still within reach. Just ask Dean Giesbrecht who is scheduled to graduate from Mississippi University for Women's (MUW) Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) program this May. "It feels good to be near the completion of pursuing an associate's degree in nursing," said Giesbrecht who is a Mennonite from Macon. "Having that degree will be worth all the hard work and the time I have devoted to it because of the fulfillment that a career of service to others will bring. I would say to anyone my age thinking about getting a degree that it will take perseverance and a committed attitude." The road to a degree for Giesbrecht began in September 2003 when he was advised by MUW and referred to the Greater Columbus Learning Center for a GED. "We saw him again in March of 2004 for scheduling of classes for the fall of 2004 and continued advising him for two to three courses a semester until he was selected to enter into the ASN program in the fall of 2006," said Mary Jo Kirkpatrick, chair of the ASN department. "He will graduate this May and has done extremely well while in the program." Learn more.

Mississippi Valley State University Online

UM Helps Old Houses Become New Homes for Lower-Income Families
As the University of Mississippi prepares to erect new residential colleges on the northern boundaries of the Oxford campus, the little white houses from Faculty Row and Sorority Row are moving on. It's part of the university's plan, with the help of city and community leaders, to help these old houses become new homes for low-income families. "From day one, we didn't want to have to bulldoze a faculty house," said University Architect Ian Banner. "We've always wanted to find a way to preserve these homes. It's the right thing to do, giving people the chance to occupy them on a different site. Donating them through LOU-HOME was a perfect opportunity." That new site has been named Community Green, and the homes will line a new road called Victory Hill Lane. A project of LOU-HOME Inc., the development is on land donated by the city of Oxford. The community is rapidly taking shape as house movers place the Faculty Row homes onto new foundations. "Now that we've made it this far, there's a combination of relief, satisfaction, and hope," said Fred Laurenzo, president of LOU-HOME, a nonprofit corporation. In this phase, 12 houses have been relocated to the new site and renovations on them should be complete by summer. Nine more houses on Faculty Row remain to be moved, but Laurenzo expects that to be finished by summer as well. In the meantime, LOU-HOME expects to begin accepting applications for Community Green this spring, Laurenzo said. Learn more.

Dozens of Scientists Pulled to Oxford for Gulf Coast Gravity Conference

NFSMI Offers Training Program to Promote Healthy Cooking for Children

English Dept. Alumnus to be Featured in 'Best New American Voices'

UM Receives Seal of Approval, Stadium Security Training Complete

University of Mississippi Medical Center Online

Southern Miss Students Finalists for Prestigious Truman Scholarship
Two University of Southern Mississippi students have been named finalists for a prestigious Truman Scholarship and have been preparing for the challenging interview process required of applicants. Jessica Shackleford, a chemistry major from Senatobia, and Paul Saputo, a psychology major from New Orleans, La., meet with Truman regional interview committees through March 10 in Nashville, Tenn., and Fort Worth, Texas. Both are students in the university's prestigious Honors College. Outside of the classroom, both Saputo and Shackleford have been active in serving their communities. Saputo, a Presidential Scholar at Southern Miss, has worked as a community activist to help his native New Orleans recover from the impact of Hurricane Katrina's storm surge. He founded Conversations for Change, through which he has engaged in helping communities address social issues in Hattiesburg, New Orleans, and on campus. To prepare for the interview stage, which includes questions on a variety of topics of the panel's choosing, both students have engaged in mock interviews with the help of faculty, administrators, and community members. Named in honor of the late U.S. President Harry S. Truman, the Truman Scholarship is awarded to high-achieving college juniors who show commitment to public service and potential to continue that service beyond graduation. It provides $30,000 for graduate study and leadership training. Learn more.

Southern Miss ACCESS Recreation Brings Wheelchair Tennis to Pine Belt

Southern Miss MCAT Preparation Class Increases Exam Scores

Former MCI Manager to Share Story of Financial Fraud

Southern Miss Dedicates Newest Campus Residence Community

Long Beach High Teams Take Top Honors in Regional Ocean Sciences Bowl
Two teams of Long Beach High School students took top honors in the regional ocean sciences bowl at the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (GCRL) Feb. 9, placing first and fifth respectively. The J.L. Scott Marine Education Center, located at GCRL since Hurricane Katrina, hosted 16 teams of high school students from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The central Gulf competition - the Hurricane Bowl - is a rapid-fire question-and-answer competition focusing on ocean sciences. The regional competition is part of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB), a program of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership headquartered in Washington, D.C. Learn more.

Gaston Point Elementary Visits Southern Miss Gulf Coast for Well Bear Clinic

Alcorn Students Visit Visualization Research Center
Alcorn State University's Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIS&T) students (Kia Alexander, Rosner Buie, Ebony Franklin, Jatoria Jones, Roberta Laing, Jessica Whitney, Bennetta Robinson, Ronesha Ulmer, Edward Anthony, Jimmie Baker, Warren Rowan, and Jared Williams) paid a visit on February 27 to the Trent Lott Geospatial and Visualization Research Center (TLGVRC) at the Jackson State University e-Center. The trip was part of the course requirement to enhance students' exposure to Geospatial Technology and acquaint them with some of the cutting edge technology in the field of Geoinformation Science. Students were accompanied by Dr. Yaw Twumasi and Dr. Steve Adzanu. At TLGVRC, students listened to lecture series and observed demonstrations in visualization, GIS, and remote sensing conducted by faculty and staff at the center. Learn more.

Alcorn Students Participate in Veterinary Conference

Alcorn State University Concert Choir Goes on Spring Tour

Alcorn State University Enters Cooperative Agreement with Mississippi Prison Agricultural Enterprises

Delta State Chorale to Perform at Washington National Cathedral
The Delta State University Chorale will sing at Washington National Cathedral on Sunday, March 9 at 3:30 p.m. The choir will present a 25-minute prelude prior to the 4 p.m. Evensong service. The choir had to submit a recent recording in order to be considered to sing at the Cathedral. The Cathedral music staff reviewed the recording, and in April 2007, the Chorale received an invitation to come to Washington. Learn more.

Delta State's Green Selected President-elect of the Alabama/Mississippi Sociological Association

Delta State's Brown Elected to the Board of the Mississippi Humanities Council

DSU Top-ranked Lady Statesmen Set to Begin Postseason at GSC Tournament Thursday

JSU Selected as Homeland Security Center of Excellence
U.S. Rep. Bennie G. Thompson recently announced Jackson State University (JSU) has been selected by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as a Center of Excellence for Natural Disasters, Coastal Infrastructure, and Emergency Management. The Center of Excellence will be funded at $3.5 million per year for six years. JSU will partner with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the area of Natural Disasters, Coastal Infrastructure, and Emergency Management. JSU is the co-lead for education, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the co-lead for research. "Through this designation, JSU will develop and manage education programs regarding natural disasters and emergency management, collaborate with other institutions, and receive $1 million per year in federal funds during the next six years," Thompson said in a press release. The Centers of Excellence program brings together leading experts and researchers to conduct multidisciplinary research and education for homeland security solutions. Congress authorized the creation of these centers, and the Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology Directorate chose participants through a competitive selection process. Each center is led by a university in collaboration with partners from other institutions, agencies, laboratories, think tanks, and the private sector. Learn more.

Jackson State University's WJSU Radio Station Debuts New Programming

Jackson State Graduate Student Wins First Place at MAS Conference

JSU Seeking Judges for Regional Science, Engineering Fair

Jackson State to Celebrate Margaret Walker Alexander's Legacy

March 11 - JSU/NASA Educator Resource Center will teach K-12 teachers to use Geographic Information Systems in their classrooms from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on the main campus. For more information, call (601) 979-2662 or (601) 979-1177. Learn more.

March 15 - The Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station will auction surplus equipment at 9:00 a.m. at MSU's Mississippi Horse Park and AgriCenter. Items include vehicles (primarily trucks), tractors, combines, sprayers, field equipment, trailers, mowers, 4-wheelers, and miscellaneous agricultural-use equipment. Learn more.

March 17 - Historian Helen Horowitz will speak about her book Rereading Sex as part of Women's History Month activities at Southern Miss. The address will take place at 6 p.m. in Cook Union, Rooms B and C. For more information, visit http://www.usm.edu/wstudies/announcements.html. Learn more.

March 18 - The MSU Extension Service's 4-H therapeutic riding program is taking applications for riders and volunteers. The spring session runs each Tuesday from March 25 through April 29 at the Mississippi Horse Park. Volunteer training is March 18. Contact Mary Riley at (662) 325-1695 or mriley@ext.msstate. Learn more.

March 18 - The Southern Miss School of Music presents Rhythms of Spring, featuring percussion ensembles, at 7:30 p.m. in the Mannoni Performing Arts Center in Hattiesburg. The event is free.

March 19-20 - The annual Porter L. Fortune Jr. History Symposium at Ole Miss features lectures, discussions, and other presentations, this year focusing on "Writing Women's History: A Tribute to Anne Firor Scott." All sessions in the E. F. Yerby Conference Center Auditorium are free and open to the public. Learn more.

March 25 - The Southern Miss Wind Ensemble Concert takes place at 7:30 p.m. in Bennett Auditorium in Hattiesburg. The event is free. For more information, call (601) 266-4990. Learn more.

March 26 - Mississippi State University's Libraries presents the Marszalek Lecture Series in the Mitchell Memorial Library's Grisham Room. Featured lecturers will be Abraham Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer and MSU doctoral candidate Gary Cole Cheek, Jr. Learn more.

March 27 - The University of Mississippi Steel Drum and Salsa Band presents its annual Salsa & Caribbean Dance Night in the Band Hall. The public is invited to enjoy music and dancing at this free concert. Learn more.

March 27-28 - Jackson State's College of Lifelong Learning will host a child life management conference, which focuses on culturally appropriate instruction. Fore more information, call (601) 432-6879. Learn more.

March 28-30 - Mississippi State University's Libraries presents the Charles Templeton Ragtime Music Festival at Mitchell Memorial Library. World-renowned pianists and entertainers share their love of Ragtime music and composers in an intimate weekend of concerts and tours. For more information, call (662) 325-2559. Learn more.

March 29 - The University of Mississippi's third annual Rebel Man Sprint Triathlon, featuring a 400-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike ride, and a 5-K run, starts at 8 a.m. Pre-registration is required. Participation is $50 for students, faculty, and staff and $60 for the general public. Learn more.

March 30 - Delta State University will present "Chicago" in the Delta and Pine Land Theatre of its Bologna Performing Arts Center at 3:30 p.m. For ticket information, please call the Box Office at (662) 846-4626, or order tickets online at http://bolognapac.ticketsxchange.com. Learn more.

April 7-11 - Jackson State University will recognize National Public Health Week with an art display, 2K Walk, research symposium, health and expo fair, faculty development network, and luncheon. For more information, call (601) 326-2986. Learn more.

May 17 - Spring Garden Day at the North Mississippi Research and Extension Center in Verona is for anyone interested in beautifying a home landscape. Attendees can stroll through the beautiful gardens and enjoy the day talking to gardening experts from Mississippi State University. Contact Dr. Lelia Scott Kelly at (662) 566-2201 or leliak@ext.msstate.edu. Learn more.

Look for the next issue March 14.

Mississippi's Institutions of Higher Learning
Attention: Public Affairs
Jackson, Mississippi 39211-6453
Fax: (601) 432-6891

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