higher education

It wasn’t that long ago that the idea surfaced to use the power of the Mississippi River as a source for energy. But it turns out that turbines placed near New Orleans weren’t going to be that effective after all. So some smart folks at Tulane University have come up with other ideas.

 “I don’t have a warm fuzzy feeling about this,” Senate Finance Committee chairman Jack Donahue said, regarding a proposed constitutional amendment to help Higher Ed.

The House-approved measure that would have dedicated state funding for colleges and universities was shot down in Donahue’s committee late last week. Donahue, who also serves on the Senate Education Committee, said he supported the concept but was reluctant to lock up any more state dollars.

“It it’s not broken, let’s don’t try to fix it,” Senator Francis Thompson of Delhi summed up the sentiment of a majority of the Senate regarding TOPS.

TOPS isn’t broken, but many lawmakers see curbing the cost of the college scholarship program as part of the fix for the state budget. A measure that would have saved an estimated $24-million per year, by raising the standards for TOPS was argued on the Senate floor Monday.

The regional archeologist for northwest Louisiana, based at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, is out with a book this month that examines the dynamic cultural landscape of the Caddo people and their complex connections with the greater Native American community in the Southeastern U.S.

Jeffrey Girard is the co-author of “Caddo Connections: Cultural Interactions Within and Beyond the Caddo World.” Girard says the book traces the Caddo Indians over 1,000 years and compiles a decade of the latest research.

Jason Bache / Flickr

First Lady Michelle Obama will address graduating students and their families at Dillard University’s 2014 commencement ceremony in May.

In a news release Thursday, the White House said that Dillard University was chosen because of "its legacy as one of America’s top historically black universities."

On the same day — May 10 — Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal will also deliver a commencement address at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. Liberty is a private Christian college founded by the late Reverend Jerry Falwell.

Northwestern State University president Randall J. Webb announced Friday that he will retire later this year, according to a statement from the university. Webb has served as Northwestern State's president since 1996.

In July, he will become the university's longest serving president, surpassing Victor L. Roy, who was president from 1911 to 1929.

Webb said he would set his retirement date "based on when my replacement can assume the official duties and responsibilities of the office of president."

The U.S. Department of Education has published the latest nationwide data on how many high school students have completed their FAFSA or Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Baton Rouge Magnet and Caddo Magnet High in Shreveport lead Louisiana schools in submitting the most applications. The vice president of the Louisiana Education Loan Authority (LELA) says it’s not surprising that two magnet schools are out ahead.

 

   The House Appropriations Committee got a different look at the cost of six years’ worth of higher education cuts Monday, as the push is on for colleges and universities to better prepare students to fill new jobs coming to Louisiana.

The House Appropriations Committee advanced a bill establishing the WISE (Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy) Fund on Monday. The proposal, authored by House Speaker Chuck Kleckley and now headed to the House floor, sets up a system to pay bonuses to colleges that turn out graduates prepared to fill the high-demand jobs soon coming to Louisiana. Colleges will also have to come up with a 20 percent match from private firms in order to be eligible for a portion of the $40 million fund.

Lissandra Melo / <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-121588291/stock-photo-locker-room.html?src=I5BauM-UKx4diJFZCV45vw-1-8">Shutterstock</a>

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.

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