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News in higher education

The Tennessee Board of Regents announced recently it has been awarded a $739,040 grant to reform teaching and learning methods and assessment strategies at its colleges and universities.

The money will help the board and the Education Commission of the States undertake its Academic Preparation Initiative in Tennessee, spokeswoman Mary Morgan said. The funds will come to the board in three annual installments of approximately $240,000.
The Tennessee Board of Regents announced recently it has been awarded a $739,040 grant to reform teaching and learning methods and assessment strategies at its colleges and universities.

The money will help the board and the Education Commission of the States undertake its Academic Preparation Initiative in Tennessee, spokeswoman Mary Morgan said. The funds will come to the board in three annual installments of approximately $240,000.

With the money, the board will work with the National Center for Academic Transformation and its Course Redesign Project. The effort will target English and math assessment and remediation in 12th grade and summer sessions, while also providing a more effective means of delivering academic preparation courses to nontraditional students.

In the Nashville area, the board oversees Tennessee, Austin Peay and Middle Tennessee state universities. (The Tennessean, Oct. 4, 2006)

University of Tennessee President John Petersen is getting a pay raise and an extra year on his retention bonus.

Andrea Loughry, vice chair of the UT Board of Trustees, favorably compared Petersen to the "Energizer bunny" in recommending a 5 percent pay raise, a $5,000 increase in his expense account and a sixth-year retention bonus of $50,000.

The UT trustees approved the proposal recently, raising Petersen's annual salary from $399,228 to $419,189. The pay raise will be retroactive to July 1. His contract already included a $50,000 per year retention bonus that would not be paid until his fifth year at UT.

Petersen, who became president in 2004, wanted to delay review of his salary until a salary plan for faculty and staff was in place. (www.knoxnews.com, Nov. 3, 2006)

The University of Memphis is now part of a group of universities that has high-performance computer networks.

The university recently announced it had joined Internet2, a network consortium of more than 200 universities that features some of the world's fastest computers. Tennessee's statewide education network will become the 37th Sponsored Education Group Participant to connect directly to Internet2's nationwide high-performance network.

The program will enable teachers and students across Tennessee to collaborate with their peers all over the world in virtual classrooms and laboratories. (Memphis Business Journal, Oct. 30, 2006)

Democratic state Rep. John Hood apparently did not violate Tennessee law with a campaign mailing sent to MTSU staff and employees, the local district attorney said.

Joe Carr, Hood's Republican opponent for the 48th House district seat, has suggested Hood violated campaign rules because the mailing was signed by four university officials and was hand-delivered to some MTSU employees. On-the-job campaigning by state employees for government officials is prohibited under the Little Hatch Act.

"That's up to the DA whether it's a violation of the Little Hatch Act," said Mary Morgan, spokeswoman for the Tennessee Board of Regents, which governs MTSU.

District Attorney General Bill Whitesell, though, said his understanding of the act is that it does not apply to teachers.

"As I understand, the people who signed the letter would fall in that category, so they would be exempt," he said. (Daily News Journal, Nov. 2, 2006)