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News in higher education: National highlights with a focus on local institutions

EKU gets $5 million for homeland security efforts
The U. S. Department of Homeland Security awarded $5 million to Eastern Kentucky University to create the Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium to develop and provide specialized training for rural first responders. (AASCU, Oct. 19, 2005)

MTSU sets second International Conference on Diversity EKU gets $5 million for homeland security efforts
The U. S. Department of Homeland Security awarded $5 million to Eastern Kentucky University to create the Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium to develop and provide specialized training for rural first responders. (AASCU, Oct. 19, 2005)

MTSU sets second International Conference on Diversity
Middle Tennessee State University's second International Conference on Diversity, slated for Nov. 2-5, is attracting people from across the country, and filmmaker Spike Lee is the keynote speaker. In a graphic comparison of diversity at state campuses, 11.9 percent of MTSU's students are African American; 4.4 percent of Tennessee Tech's student population is African American; the percentage of African-American students attending APSU is 18.9 percent.
(The Tennessean, Oct. 21, 2005)

Ludacris at ETSU: Will he or won't he?
After approving seating changes, the state fire marshal has given ETSU the go-ahead for a Ludacris concert in the Mini Dome. The SGA cancelled the Oct. 27 concert last week after Johnson City Manager Peter Peterson said he would not allow students to use Freedom Hall Civic Center, citing security issues and community objections. Now the question is, will the controversial rapper accept an invitation that was issued, rescinded and re-issued? (Kingsport Times-News, Oct. 20, 2005)

With federal grant, MTSU will enlarge nursing school
MTSU will add 24,000 square feet to its nursing school with a $737, 000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The additional space will enable MTSU to train more nurses. The shortage of nurses is acute in Tennessee, according to U.S. Rep Bart Gordon, who announced the grant. (Nashville Business Journal, Oct. 7, 2005)

Vol State grows
Volunteer State's enrollment numbers are on the rise, while numbers overall for Tennessee community colleges have declined. This year, 7,143 students enrolled at VSCC, a 1.5 percent increase fro the 2004 school year. Vol State Admissions Director Tim Amyx credits a greater presence in local high schools and additional advertising throughout the college's 12-county service areas for the enrollment increase. (The News Examiner, Oct. 19, 2005)

Community colleges granting four-year degrees?
For the first time in Washington, students soon may earn bachelor's degrees from community colleges. Four community colleges will be chosen in the spring for a pilot program approved this year by the legislature. Launching in Fall 2007, the four-year degrees would be aimed at people already working in specialized fields, such as health care, who want to advance their careersnot at students looking for a general education in liberal arts or science. The pilot would start with 80 FTE students in 2007 and then expand to 160 in 2008. A study by the community-college board indicates there is demand for 3,000 slots. Officials hope they can convince lawmakers to allow them broader degree-granting authority. (The Seattle Times, Oct. 20, 2005)