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News in higher education

Dr. Carlette Hardin, interim director of the APSU School of Education, was quoted extensively as an expert source in the following news story:

An independent education expert said local elementary teachers overstepped their authority when they frisked third-graders who were suspected of stealing $5.

Dr. Carlette Hardin, interim director of the Austin Peay State University School of Education, said the group of teachers at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School went beyond “what either of them should have done.”

After $5 left on a teacher's desk disappeared Feb. 15, four staff members, including two teachers, searched students and their belongings.

Students were made to remove their socks and shoes and submit to a search of their clothing. Teachers put hands in students' pockets, checked waistbands and patted them down. Personal belongings also were searched by hand. The missing money never was found.

Hardin said she was surprised to hear that a regular teacher well versed in the district's discipline policy could participate in such a search.

More troubling, though, was the involvement of the substitute and student teachers.

“They should never have taken this upon themselves,” Hardin said.
She stressed the importance of making nonregular teachers understand what disciplinary actions must be authorized by a principal. (Kentucky New Era, Feb. 28, 2008)

Nicholas S. Zeppos Vanderbilt University's chief academic officer and interim chancellor, has been hired for the permanent chancellor position, the university has announced.

The university conducted an extensive search to find a replacement for E. Gordon Gee, who resigned last summer, according to university officials. But the governing board's unanimous choice was Zeppos, 53, a legal scholar who has worked at the university since arriving as an assistant professor in the law school in 1987.

“Nick knows Vanderbilt,” said Martha R. Ingram, chairman of Vanderbilt's Board of Trust, in a written statement. “He knows our strengths, our traditions, and the challenges we face as we seek to continue the momentum that has made this university so special.” (The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 3, 2008)

Lana C. Seivers, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Education, has retired from state service, effective Feb. 1. Seivers, who was appointed by Bredesen in January 2003, accepted an opportunity in Mississippi to lead a newly established educational foundation dedicated to early childhood, teacher quality,community engagement and leadership.

In a statement, Seivers said the following:

"I am sincerely grateful for the opportunity Gov. Bredesen has given me to serve as commissioner of education. In the past five years, I have learned a great deal from him about leadership, service and setting clear priorities. Most important to me is that Gov. Bredesen has made education his top priority. Every day I have been inspired and challenged by Gov. Bredesen's commitment and dedication toward improving the quality of life in Tennessee through the power of education.

"The decision to leave Gov. Bredesen's administration and my lifelong home has been a difficult one. Because of Gov. Bredesen's strong leadership, the excellent staff in the Department of Education and the dedicated educators in every school district, I know Tennessee will continue to make steady progress in education. I've seen first-hand the way Gov. Bredesen truly cares about this state and its children, and I am honored to have been a part of his administration." (Sevier County News, Feb. 15, 2008)

A change to the University of Tennessee's bylaws giving President John Petersen increased power was approved recently by the UT Board of Trustees Trusteeship Committee.

The proposed amendments would give Petersen power to reassign, demote or fire the four chancellors of the UT system without board approval. Currently, the board holds that power.

The move comes after UT-Knoxville Chancellor Loren Crabtree resigned in January. Trustees and Petersen say the proposals have been in the works for nearly a year, before Crabtree's resignation. (The Tennessean, Feb. 16, 2008)