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News in higher education

Fisk University may be short on cash, but its rising graduation rates prove that success isn't always dependent on deep pockets.

The school's graduation rate was 63 percent in 2004, according to figures from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), and it was still 63 percent in 2006. Among historically black colleges and universities, that puts Fisk in good company.

The center's report lauded Fisk and Tennessee State University for succeeding with large enrollments of low-income students, a classification based on Pell Grant awards.
Fisk University may be short on cash, but its rising graduation rates prove that success isn't always dependent on deep pockets.

The school's graduation rate was 63 percent in 2004, according to figures from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), and it was still 63 percent in 2006. Among historically black colleges and universities, that puts Fisk in good company.

The center's report lauded Fisk and Tennessee State University for succeeding with large enrollments of low-income students, a classification based on Pell Grant awards.

As recently as 1993, Fisk's graduation rate was a dismal 25 percent. Tennessee State University, with a 2004 graduation rate of 44 percent, also landed on the NCES "success" list. TSU's graduation rate rose to 47 percent in 2006. The new study found that all institutions defined as low-income-serving had a median graduation rate of 39 percent. (The Tennessean, March 29, 2007)

Union University is among several higher education institutions in Tennessee to receive national recognition for their commitment to community service.

Union, East Tennessee State University, Lee University, Maryville College, Rhodes College, Tennessee Technology University, Tusculum College and the University of Memphis were included in the first President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.

A total of 492 colleges and universities across the country are included on the honor roll, sponsored by the Corporation for National Community Service, the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation and the U.S. Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development.

Throughout the year, Union serves in many areas in Jackson and west Tennessee communities. One of its largest events is the annual Campus and Community A Day of Remembrance and Service. During the day, more than 50 teams of students and staff participate in various service projects. (The Jackson Sun, March 25, 2007)

The Tennessee Board of Regents is working to create an online program for a two-year nursing degree.

"When you think of a college student, you think of the 18-, 19- or 20-year old," said Dr. Charles Manning, chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents system. "But the reality is lots of people are older and they have complicated lives, from spouses to kids to jobs to other obligations that make it difficult. You try to bring the education to them. Online is a good way to do that."

The program is in the preliminary stage, Manning said. The 10 community colleges offering two-year nursing degrees all must be on board, and the proposal went before the Board of Regents last week for discussion. From there, it goes to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and finally to the state Board of Nursing, which will consider it in September. (Chattanooga Times Free Press, March 24, 2007)

Middle Tennessee State University has established a new Office of Institutional Diversity in response to a requirement by the Tennessee Board of Regents for all of its institutions to develop plans relating to diversity.

The new office will help see that diversity concerns remain in the forefront and insure equity for all faculty, staff and students. Officials said this will keep the door open to a diverse population of students, faculty and staff and provide them with a more enriching educational experience.

Dr. Sharon Shaw-McEwen, professor of social work, will assume her new role as assistant vice provost for institutional diversity in the Office of the Provost under the umbrella of Dr. Jack Thomas, senior vice provost for academic affairs. (Daily News Journal, March 28, 2007)