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News in higher education

The state Department of Education announced last week that Tennessee now officially has 12 Governor's Schools.

The addition of three new programs at three different state campuses includes a Governor's School for Computational Physics at Austin Peay State University a first for APSU.

Austin Peay's new school will open for the summer of 2008 and provide eligible rising sophomore and junior high school students a chance to study computational methods used by scientists and engineers.
The state Department of Education announced last week that Tennessee now officially has 12 Governor's Schools.

The addition of three new programs at three different state campuses includes a Governor's School for Computational Physics at Austin Peay State University a first for APSU.

Austin Peay's new school will open for the summer of 2008 and provide eligible rising sophomore and junior high school students a chance to study computational methods used by scientists and engineers.

Governor's Schools were created in Tennessee in 1985 by former Gov. Lamar Alexander. These unique summer programs provide concentrated learning opportunities for talented high school students who want to explore or enhance their skills in a particular discipline.

Gov. Phil Bredesen has indicated in the past that his high school experience in a similar program sparked an interest in physics for him and eventually led to an undergraduate degree in physics from Harvard University.

Schools also were added at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville and East Tennessee State University in Johnson City.

The local Governor's School will be open to 36 high school students who will spend five weeks on campus.

Students interested in the Governor's School experience at Austin Peay must apply by Nov. 30. Information is available at www.tennessee.gov/education/govschools. (The Leaf-Chronicle, Sept. 7, 2007)

A Tennessee program created to help more African-Americans get into law and medical schools is failing, a state audit released last week revealed.

In a performance audit of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, the state comptroller's office found that 21 percent of students who go through the Tennessee Institute of Pre-Professionals program apply at a professional school.

Fewer than 200 students about 10 percent of enrollees graduated from a professional school, according to data collected between 1987 and 2004, the latest year for which numbers were available.

The institute provides internships and test preparation for African-American undergraduate students looking to attend law, health or medical school. The program grew out of a federal desegregation lawsuit that was dismissed last year after Tennessee public colleges and universities met diversity initiatives outlined in a 2001 court document.

The commission sent letters in June to schools in the UT and Board of Regents programs saying the schools will control their diversity initiative funds and report to the commission.

The audit also found problems concerning for-profit schools and some internal documentation issues, but said schools were on pace to fulfill goals in the state's higher education master plan. (The Tennessean, Sept. 11, 2007)

Only six days after its launch, the University of Tennessee's partnership with music downloading service Ruckus appears to be a hit already.

More than 6,100 students have signed up; that's 30 percent of the student body. The number includes some 4,000 who already were signed up with Ruckus.
Together, the students have downloaded 1.2 million tracks.

Ruckus allows students free and unlimited downloads of music and some movies. The service caters to students and has partnerships with 173 colleges and universities already.

UTunes, UT's effort to give students a legal method of downloading music, has had difficulties since its launch in 2004. Napster was its first provider, then Ctrax, which went out of business.

With the partnership comes an increase in download speed. Ruckus has the capacity to send a student an entire album in a matter of a few seconds.

Though the service allows files to be downloaded to computers, an improvement over streaming players, students will be unable to burn the songs to CDs or copy them to MP3 players, thanks to digital rights management. (Knoxville News Sentinel, Sept. 6, 2007)