Go back

News in higher education

Public schools will improve only by hiring and training people to be talented teachers without requiring them to be education majors who spend too time on theory classes, Gov. Phil Bredesen told an audience recently at MTSU.

"(Education) is failing us in critical areas," Bredesen said to students and educators packing the university's large State Farm Lecture Hall. "The field of teaching needs to be updated to reflect larger society. Schools of education are one path. Let's make sure there's more than one path."
Public schools will improve only by hiring and training people to be talented teachers without requiring them to be education majors who spend too time on theory classes, Gov. Phil Bredesen told an audience recently at MTSU.

"(Education) is failing us in critical areas," Bredesen said to students and educators packing the university's large State Farm Lecture Hall. "The field of teaching needs to be updated to reflect larger society. Schools of education are one path. Let's make sure there's more than one path."

The governor said people who want to change careers to become teachers, especially in math or science, should not have to return to college for a couple of years to become certified educators. Younger college graduates who want to teach for a few years, even though they didn't major in education, also should have an opportunity.

The governor noted how his Teach Tennessee has provided fast training and mentoring for about 140 teachers who left other fields. They offer real-world experience that will benefit students and can share their knowledge with other teachers, Bredesen said.

MTSU President Sidney McPhee said the governor gave a great speech.

"It has put us on the hot seat," said McPhee, noting how the university, which was founded as a teacher's college in 1911, has the state's largest college of education. "It would be most unfortunate if we did not step up to the challenge."

Education colleges need to spend less time on theory and more time preparing its students for classroom teaching and subject knowledge, Bredesen said. (Daily News Journal, Nov. 8, 2007)

The University of Memphis won state approval recently to open the state's second school of public health, which officials said will help address critical public health problems facing Memphis and the region.

The Tennessee Higher Education Commission approved the school, which will offer master's degrees in five public-health specialties -- administration, social and behavioral health, biostatistics, environmental health and epidemiology -- and doctorates in social and behavioral health, administration and environmental health.

Tennessee's only other school of public health is at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City.

One of THEC's roles is to coordinate higher education and avoid unnecessary duplication. Its analysis concluded that the Memphis program will not duplicate ETSU, nor any smaller programs under way at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, or proposed for Tennessee State University in Nashville.

"Memphis, Shelby County and the Mid-South have some of the highest rates of health problems and levels of disparity in health status in the United States," the THEC evaluation said, citing the city's highest-in-the-nation rate of infant deaths and its high rates of heart disease, diabetes deaths, homicides and suicides.

Graduates will work for public-health departments, nonprofit agencies, hospitals,community-health agencies, universities, health-maintenance organizations and others.

Anticipating state approval, the school admitted its first 21 students this fall for a master's in public health program. By its fifth year, the school estimates it will enroll 190 students in its master's programs and 42 in doctoral programs.(The Commercial Appeal, Nov. 16, 2007)

State and university officials who determine executive salaries and tuition increases at Tennessee's universities and colleges are missing a sense of proportion about the steep, parallel inflation of both.

College presidents are on track to become millionaires. In fact, 12 presidents of private colleges made more than $1 million in the 2005-06 school year, the latest private college reporting period. Eight public college presidents broke the $700,000 level last year.

Providing competitive raises for professors and instructors surely is necessary. But officials of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and UT should feel equally compelled to keep down costs for students. THEC, however, has recommended a 7 percent to 9 percent tuition increase for UT and University of Memphis students. Overall, average tuition and fees at Tennessee's public universities over the past five years have shot up 49 percent. They've gone up 51 percent at community colleges, and 66 percent at technology centers.(Chattanooga Times Free Press, Nov. 18, 2007)