higher education

Northwestern State University will dedicate two buildings at the heart of its Natchitoches, La., campus today. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and state officials are scheduled to be in attendance when the university officially opens the newly-renovated Caspari Hall and the Student Services Center. Combined, these projects cost $12.1 million. They were funded through state surplus revenue five years ago. NSU president Randall Webb said his university was ready to start construction, which was a plus when the state considered what projects to fund.

Tulane University is launching a call for volunteers to perform 750,000 hours of community service as a tribute to retiring school President Scott Cowen. The project is open to Tulane students, faculty and the community at large.

The Board of Regents, the state's top higher education panel, is hoping to entice thousands of Louisiana college graduates who left the state to return home and fill what is expected to be a wave of new high-technology jobs.

The initiative, called Operation Recall, will target more than 40,000 people, many of whom have degrees in computer science and engineering.

After delays, LSU Shreveport and Alexandria are moving forward with their searches to find new campus chancellors. Both universities are retaining the same consultant at Washington, D.C.-based AGB Search. Retired LSU Shreveport dean David Gustavson is chairing the search committee in Shreveport. Interim chancellor Paul Sisson took over last summer. Gustavson said he thinks it’s a good thing that the same consultant is working on behalf of both campuses.

Four New Orleans universities are included in the new Princeton Review guide to American colleges. Tulane, Loyola, Xavier and the University of New Orleans got high marks.

Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge presents physicians and researchers investigating Parkinson's on Saturday, July 27. Carol Harrison, a researcher who has Parkinson's herself, has been instrumental in coming up with the line-up for the Parkinson's Disease Conference in its first two years.

More information is available at www.pbrc.edu/events/parkinsons.

Thomas Walsh / WWNO

The Dalai Lama has wrapped up his first visit to New Orleans. He brought a message of peace and compassion.

Jim talks with former LSU Chancellor James Wharton about the TOPS college tuition grant program and the state of Higher Education in Louisiana.

A Northwestern State University student is preparing for a prestigious summer internship at the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University in New York. Christina Palomo of Los Angeles will travel from Natchitoches to New York later this month to help Columbia scientists study the environmental consequences of the 2010 BP oil spill. The biology major said she’ll work alongside two geochemists.

After five years of steep budget cuts, some members of LSUnited, the faculty union, are hoping the legislature’s budget negotiations will raise enough revenue to prevent further cuts.

Lawmakers are looking at plans to cut tax exemptions and get rid of one-time funds, which might provide more stability to the state’s universities.

Michael Russo, a librarian and an instructor, said LSU’s finances are dismal.

"A half billion here, a half billion there," Russo said, "I don’t know what else they can cut."