higher education

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The House Education Committee shot down a bill that would change eligibility for Louisiana's TOPS program and require repayment of the free college tuition if students lose their awards.

Napoleonville Representative Joe Harrison was pushing the TOPS changes as a way to cut costs for a program expected to cost about $235 million next year.

Several lawmakers said they were worried about the long-term financial stability of the program, but that didn't generate enough votes for Harrison's proposal to put limits on the popular program.

Downtown Development District


A brand new culinary institute has been approved for the site of the former Louisiana ArtWorks building on Howard Avenue. The New Orleans Culinary and Hospitality Institute won the bidding over two other competitors.

Tyler Bridges of The Lens talked with WWNO News Director Eve Troeh about the details of the $6 million deal.

When the Louisiana Legislature convenes next month it will consider whether to fund a $40 million plan to create a pot of money that the state’s colleges and universities can compete over. Penned by higher education system leaders, the so-called WISE (Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy) plan is meant to help remedy niche labor shortages in the state.

Tulane University

Tulane University has selected Michael A. Fitts, the dean and a professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania, as the successor to retiring president, Scott Cowen.

Fitts takes over at Tulane on July 1.

At a news conference Tuesday, Rick Rees, a co-chair of Tulane's presidential search committee, said the panel unanimously selected Rees.

Louisiana Tech University is set to host its first conference on business analytics next month at its Shreveport Center. The discussion will focus on how to harness "big data" – all that valuable information people generate day after day. 

The ability to take big data and turn it into useful information for businesses cuts across all sectors, according to Jim Cochran, a professor of quantitative methods. Cochran has assembled a variety of speakers on big data.

A Northwestern State University professor has received a $50,000 grant to publish a three-volume set of the Charles Goodnight papers. Goodnight was one of the most prosperous and prominent cattlemen in the American West. The novel “Lonesome Dove” is a fictionalized account of a Goodnight cattle drive. Northwestern State associate professor of history John Price is sifting through thousands of Goodnight artifacts.

LSU Shreveport says it will take its MBA program entirely online beginning in January. Students pursuing the master of business administration degree may complete it in 12 months, depending on their undergraduate degree credentials. The school’s MBA program director Bill Bigler said courses will be offered in shorter formats and there will be six starting points during the year, instead of the traditional three.

“If you look at the Harvards, Stanfords and Whartons of the world, I don’t think you’ll see the seven-week sessions just yet. But I think it’s a new trend," Bigler said.

Kate Howe

It’s lunchtime at the Renew Cultural Arts Academy, and that means a group of medical students from Louisiana State University are sitting down with kindergarden, first and second graders to talk about the food that’s on their plates.

“So what do you use your protein for?”

“Makes you strong!” 

“Makes you strong. Got to have big muscles, huh? Can you show me your muscle? All right, there you go.”

About a dozen medical students are equipped with colored building blocks: red for protein, green for carbohydrates, and yellow for fat.

Save the UNO Children's Center

This month the University of New Orleans sent out a notice, saying its child daycare facility would close December 20. The reason given? It loses money, at a time when the university is facing severe budget cuts. That leaves 81 children in need of new child care options.

At dusk, parents descend on the UNO lakefront campus to collect their little ones from daycare. But a few weeks ago, they lingered — to browse brochures for different child care. Word was out, the UNO Children’s Center was closing.

“It breaks our hearts, you know?”

For the past few weeks, the culinary arts students at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I., have been working with some less-than-seasoned sous chefs.

One of them, Clinton Piper, may look like a pro in his chef's whites, but he's struggling to work a whisk through some batter. "I know nothing about baking," he says.