Tuesday, August 20, 2019   
Millsaps partners with Mississippi State on dual degree program
A new partnership between Millsaps College and the Bagley College of Engineering at Mississippi State University offers students the opportunity to earn degrees from both institutions in a range of academic disciplines. The partnership is outlined in a formal agreement recently signed by Dr. Robert Pearigen, president of Millsaps College, and Dr. Mark Keenum, president of Mississippi State University. As outlined in the agreement, the program offers a new path by which students at Millsaps can complete a degree in math, physics, chemistry, biology, geology, or a related major, and an additional degree in engineering from Mississippi State in the minimum amount of time. Degrees can be earned at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Students who pursue the dual degree program can be admitted to both schools. The first two to three years would be spent at Millsaps completing coursework toward a bachelor of science degree, followed by matriculation to the Bagley College of Engineering to complete remaining courses required for an engineering degree. The program also supports graduate level work, combining a bachelor's degree from Millsaps with a master of engineering or master of science degree from MSU.
Oktibbeha County supervisors request audit of EMCC amid budget concerns
Joining Lowndes County, Oktibbeha County Supervisors unanimously moved to request an audit from the State Auditor at the urging of the county's representatives on East Mississippi Community College's Board of Trustees. The community college has faced recent scrutiny as reports of declining funds surfaced earlier this month. Rudy Johnson and Spencer Brooks, who are Oktibbeha County's representatives on EMCC's Board of Trustees, confirmed to Supervisors Monday one of the college's savings fund was $10 million less than it had been in 2010. Brooks said the fund reached as low as $710,000. The two confirmed to Supervisors they had recently walked out of a budget meeting of the trustees in May after another trustee threatened an employee of the school over information comparing the spending of EMCC to other community colleges across the state. Before the Board Monday night, Johnson said the situation was dire.
Airbus Helicopters delivers 200th training aircraft for U.S. Army
A high-flying partnership between the U.S. Army and a local manufacturing plant was celebrated Monday. Since coming to Columbus, Airbus has been a major supplier of the Army's workhorse helicopter -- the Lakota. Since 2006 Airbus Helicopters has built over 550 aircraft for the U.S Government. Monday morning, the Columbus plant marked another milestone in its relationship with the U.S. Army. On Monday, Airbus delivered its 200th training aircraft. This UH-72A will be used for training at the Army Aviation Center of Excellence in Fort Rucker, Alabama. Vice President of Airbus Helicopters Mike Spears said this is a huge achievement for the company. Military and company officials are hopeful that Airbus and the Lakota will continue to be a part of the Army's mission.
United Furniture looking to add 275 workers to Mississippi plants
One of the largest furniture manufacturers in the country is looking to add 500 employees, with most of them in Mississippi. United Furniture Industries, the Tupelo-based upholstery and case goods furniture company, said it is hiring 500 people at its plants in California, North Carolina and Mississippi to help meet the growing demand for its upholstered furnishings and other products. The new employees will expand production capacity at UFI plants in Nettleton, Verona, Okolona, Hatley, Belden, Wren and Amory in Mississippi; facilities in Archdale, High Point, Lexington and Winston-Salem in North Carolina; and at the UFI plant in Victorville, California. "Our company is pleased to be expanding our U.S. workforce in response to the sustained and growing demand for our products, including our newly acquired Lane branded products," said UFI President Larry George.
Brandon Presley: Some rural electric co-ops jumping into the internet business at high speeds
Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley said four of the state's 25 rural electric power cooperatives are beginning the process of installing fiber optic cables to offer high speed internet to some of their customers. Speaking Monday to the Mississippi State University Stennis Institute of Government's Capitol press corps luncheon, Presley, a Nettleton Democrat repeated his argument that bringing high speed internet to rural Mississippi is crucial to the state's prosperity. Presley, who chairs the three-member Public Service Committee, which regulates many of the state's utilities, had a message for candidates running this November. "Please do not run for office and tell us you care about people of rural Mississippi if you do not have a plan to do something for the people of rural Mississippi," said Presley who is unopposed in his re-election bid this November.
Fitch vs. Taggart: All eyes on the GOP battle for Attorney General
One of the races getting a lot of attention heading into next week's runoff is the GOP battle for Attorney General. Two-term State Treasurer Lynn Fitch got 44% of the vote in the Republican primary while attorney Andy Taggart picked up 29%. Lynn Fitch is pitching a platform that she's ready to serve from day one without a learning curve. "If you've got the intersection of policy and law and finance and administration... you're ready to go and that's the person you want to start with you on day one," said Fitch. Andy Taggart says it's his life and career experiences that have prepared him. "For 34 years, I've been an active courtroom advocate which is what I think the people of Mississippi deserve in their Attorney General," Taggart noted. Taggart believes the key distinguishing factor between the two is that he's a practicing attorney, including being hired by three Governors to defend the state's laws. "So, I've served in the role of the Attorney General when the Attorney General wouldn't," he said.
What you need to know about the final WJTV debate between Tate Reeves and Bill Waller
On Wednesday night, August 21, WJTV is broadcasting a live debate between Republican runoff opponents for governor, Bill Waller and Lt. Governor Tate Reeves. This will presumably be the last time the candidates appear in a debate setting prior to the August 27 Republican runoff. According to a spokesperson for the station the debate will be held in a roundtable format moderated by Byron Brown. It will last for 30 minutes with no opening statements from the candidates. The debate will begin at 7:00 p.m.
Just-retired Mississippi prosecutor ready to clash against former boss in ICE raid fight
Cindy Eldridge was known as a hard-nosed federal prosecutor when she went after white collar criminals in the Southern District of Mississippi for almost two decades. She retired in February. Now, she has another mission that could put her in direct opposition to her former boss, Mike Hurst, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi. "I am volunteering in legal clinics in central Mississippi for those affected by the ICE raids," Eldridge said in a Facebook post. "If you can picture your own family, if the mother or father was arrested, then picture how that ripples out to children, parents, other relatives, you might get an inkling of the lives that have been affected by this senseless act of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi." Eldridge later told the Clarion Ledger she doesn't believe it is right for federal officials to go after the undocumented workers in Mississippi who hadn't committed a crime other than being in this country trying to making a living for their families.
We talked to aging experts about the 2020 field. Here's what they told us.
Joe Biden was lying on the operating table and about to get surgery for his second brain aneurysm when the doctor told him he might not recover. "What's the most likely thing that will happen if I live?" Biden asked him. "Well," the doctor replied, "the side of the brain that the first aneurysm is on controls your ability to speak." That's when the gaffe-prone Biden thought to himself: "Why in the hell didn't they tell me this before the '88 campaign?' It could've saved us all a lot of trouble, you know what I mean?" That joke, which Biden told in a speech in 2013, has taken on new relevance now that he's on the campaign trail for president again and facing questions about his gaffes. Though Biden has had a longstanding reputation for verbal flubs, they're now inextricably linked to the 76-year-old's age. But concerns about Biden's age and mental fitness are likely overblown, according to experts on aging and the brain, as well as actuarial tables used by the insurance industry to estimate the health and longevity of customers.
State Attorneys General Said to Be Near Formal Investigation of Tech Companies
The state attorneys general in more than a dozen states are preparing to begin an antitrust investigation of the tech giants, according to two people briefed on the discussions, increasing pressure on the companies. The bipartisan group of attorneys general has not yet issued civilian subpoenas -- known as civil investigative demands -- to the companies. But state investigators plan to do so soon, though the precise timing is not yet set, said the two people familiar with the states' plan. A smaller group of the state representatives met last month in Washington with antitrust officials at the Justice Department, which has started a broad antitrust review of the technology industry. The Federal Trade Commission has begun an antitrust investigation of Facebook, and it is reviewing the actions of other companies as well. "As attorneys general, we need to evaluate and address specific conduct, utilizing our existing antitrust and consumer protection laws," Jim Hood, the attorney general of Mississippi, a Democrat, said in a statement. He added that the working group was "looking at the intersection of technology and antitrust."
Could one of Mississippi's bemoaned state tests soon be history?
Amid repeated complaints about the toll testing takes on students and teachers, the Mississippi Department of Education is considering doing away with a high school state assessment. Doing so may cause a ripple effect of changes to policies surrounding state and federal law. On Monday morning, Clinton Public Schools Superintendent Tim Martin presented the student testing task force's recommendation to eliminate the U.S History assessment, an exam high schoolers must take to graduate, to the Commission on School Accreditation. Earlier this summer, the department polled more than 3,100 high school teachers at the request of the task force and asked whether Mississippi should continue the U.S. History end-of-course assessment. Seventy-seven percent of respondents said no, and when broken down by type of teacher, the majority also said no. Rep. Tom Miles, D-Forest, is one the most vocal legislative proponents of eliminating end-of-course assessments. On Monday he said he was thankful the department was considering removing the exam.
Majority of Republicans have negative view of higher ed, Pew finds
President Trump has questioned the value of community colleges and suggested universities "restrict free thought." Survey results in 2017 suggested typical conservatives have begun to share his dim view of higher ed. In a Pew survey, only 36 percent of Republican and GOP-leaning respondents said higher education had a positive effect on the direction of the country -- a steep drop-off from responses only two years before. Results from another recent Pew survey indicate that those views have persisted. In July, only 33 percent of Republican survey respondents said higher ed had a positive effect. And 59 percent believed higher ed had a negative effect on the country's direction, the highest number in the survey's findings so far. Rather than a temporary blip, the Pew findings suggest a continuing challenge for college leaders hoping to maintain or repair a bipartisan consensus in support of postsecondary education.
U. of Arkansas' new residence hall offers students an array of amenities
The University of Arkansas' newest residence hall has a recording studio, two pianos and seven sound-isolating rooms. There's also a "movement studio" for dance and yoga, and a production workshop with four 3-D printers, a laser cutter, three sewing machines and two soldering irons. This is not your dad's dormitory. The $79.6 million co-educational Adohi Hall consists of two five-story residence halls connected by a glass-walled "cabin" on the ground level. There's even a rooftop patio. "It's really designed as a living-learning center for arts and humanities and design students," said Joe Steinmetz, chancellor of the Fayetteville campus. Steinmetz said there had been a shortage of these "maker spaces" on campus. "It doesn't matter if you're in visual arts or performing arts or design or one of the fields of humanities," he said. This is the first residence hall built on the Fayetteville campus since 2013, when Founders Hall was completed, said Christopher Spencer, a spokesman for the university's housing office.
UGA study shows Facebook groups aid breastfeeding support
Facebook could be the key to helping mothers overcome breastfeeding challenges. That's according to a new study from the University of Georgia. Researchers found that mom-to-mom breastfeeding support groups on Facebook were a valued source of support specifically for African American mothers. "Support is an important factor in determining if a mother will meet her breastfeeding goals," said Ayanna Robinson, who led the study as a doctoral student at UGA's College of Public Health. "African American mothers more often report lacking community and generational support from mothers or grandmothers to breastfeed, as well as norms that favor formula feeding." And social inequities that can often affect African American communities also influence whether mothers have access to consistent prenatal and lactation specialists. But Robinson, a mother herself, began noticing one place that painted a different picture about breastfeeding support among African American mothers. "I happened upon a support group on Facebook years ago, and I thought it was really interesting to see the support and encouragement being offered in this space," she said.
Texas A&M University College of Medicine names Amy Waer as interim dean
The Texas A&M University College of Medicine announced Monday afternoon the appointment of Amy Waer as its interim dean, effective Sept. 1. The appointment comes as the medical school prepares to begin its search for a permanent replacement for Carrie L. Byington, who will soon depart to serve as an executive vice president in the University of California System. The search will begin in the spring, according to a university press release. Waer has served as executive dean for education and academic programs for the A&M College of Medicine since 2018, according to the release. Waer received undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Arizona. Her research and clinical interests have focused on surgery, surgical education and breast surgery, and on breast cancer prevention and early detection. Waer is member of the American Board of Surgery and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons.
U. of Missouri enrollment up for first time since 2015
The University of Missouri on Monday reported a surge in first-time students and the first increase in overall first-day enrollment since fall 2015. There were 5,459 first-time freshmen on campus, up 757 from the first day of classes in fall 2018 and more than 30 percent more than on the first day of class in 2017. Overall first day enrollment was 29,677, up 234 from opening day in 2018. The first-time freshmen enrollment almost exactly matches the number of students who paid their enrollment deposits by May 1. "I think we have officially turned around, and I think what it really talks about is how much people care about this institution," MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright said in an interview Monday afternoon. The overall increase was aided by a record retention rate for last year's incoming class, with 87.6 percent of freshmen from the 2018-19 school year returning, a news release stated. Under-represented minority enrollment in the freshman class increased by 4.2 percent as well.
New partnership is designed to serve veterans in U. of Missouri community
A partnership to help veterans in the University of Missouri community was announced Monday, along with opening the new Mizzou Veterans Wellness Center. The collaboration between the Truman Veterans' Hospital and the University of Missouri School of Law Veterans Clinic is designed to make access to resources easier for MU student veterans, faculty, staff and their families. The Mizzou Veterans Wellness Center will provide veterans with clinical mental health services and referrals to other resources. The center is located in the MU School of Law Veterans Clinic in Hulston Hall. Law students at the MU Veterans Clinic in Memorial Union already help veterans and their families navigate the Department of Veterans Affairs' benefits system along with licensed professional attorneys. Lyrissa Lidsky, dean of the MU School of Law, said students can be trained at the center to serve veterans compassionately. "Twenty veterans a day die from suicide, and we want this partnership to reduce this," Lidsky said.
New U. of Memphis program seeks to increase graduation rate for black male students
The University of Memphis launched a new initiative in hopes of raising graduation rates among its black male students, the university announced Monday. The African American Male Academy will start with a group of black male students in middle school and pair them with peer and faculty mentors, provide textbooks and other educational supplies, and give them access to early academic and career preparation. "Most students are in good academic standing when they leave the U of M before graduation -- they leave for financial reasons," university officials wrote in a statement announcing the program, adding that 60 percent of its students work more than 20 hours a week and have to help provide for their families. "The challenges facing today's college students are well known, with concerns about college costs, student loan debt and return on investment representing a recurring theme nationally," University of Memphis President M. David Rudd said. "The University of Memphis has an important role to play in addressing these issues and ensuring our students can access affordable, high-quality education that prepares them for success -- both in career and in life."
Women in STEM college programs discriminate against men, complaints say
Female-only science programs, launched by many universities to redress gender imbalance in such fields as computer science and engineering, are coming under growing legal attack as sex discrimination against men. The U.S. Department of Education has opened more than two dozen investigations into universities across the nation --- UC Berkeley, UCLA and USC as well as Yale, Princeton and Rice -- that offer female-only scholarships, awards, professional development workshops and even science and engineering camps for middle and high school girls. Sex discrimination in educational programs is banned under Title IX, a federal law that applies to all schools, both public and private, that receive federal funding. A new study released Tuesday found that 84% of about 220 universities offer single-gender scholarships, many of them in STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and math. That practice is permitted under Title IX only if the "overall effect" of scholarships is equitable. The study, by a Maryland-based nonprofit advocating gender equity on college campuses, showed the majority of campus awards lopsidedly benefited women.
Survey finds mental health issues are common among trans college students
Gender-nonconforming and transgender students are four times more likely to report mental health issues compared to the rest of their peers, according to a new study that is the largest so far to focus on this population of college students. Researchers relied on data from the Healthy Minds Study, an annual online report on student mental health from college campuses across the country. The new study examined responses of more than 65,200 students from 71 American institutions who were enrolled in college between 2015 and 2017. The study was published Friday in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Its lead author, Sarah Ketchen Lipson, an assistant professor of health law, policy and management at Boston University, said while mental health professionals and LGBTQ advocates are aware that gender-minority students are much more likely to grapple with mental health issues, the general public is not.
National 'nudging' campaign produced no increase in FAFSA applications, college enrollment
Nationalized "nudge" campaigns that shower students with emails and text messages to encourage them to apply for federal financial aid do not budge enrollment rates, as education researchers may have hoped based on the past success of smaller-scale outreach. A study by economists at five universities, released this month by the National Bureau for Economic Research, suggests that consistently nudging incoming and current college students to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid had no effect on college enrollment or financial aid recipient rates. Researchers tested a campaign on two distinct groups of students -- high school seniors who applied to college using the Common Application and college students of all levels (incoming, applied but did not enroll, currently enrolled and dropouts) who applied within an undisclosed large state system, said Kelly Rosinger, an assistant professor of education at Pennsylvania State University and one of the six researchers who authored "Nudging at Scale: Experimental Evidence From FAFSA Completion Campaigns."
Students who plan to seek more education than needed for their career earn more money
When it comes to career success, it pays to aim for more education than what you need for the job you want. That is the key finding of a new study that I and several colleagues did by analyzing the salaries of high school students who expected to get more education than needed for their desired job. We compared their salaries to the salaries of students who planned to get only as much or less education than needed for their desired job. Prior research had already shown that high school students who have a profession in mind and know what sort of education they need for that profession -- what is sometimes referred to as "aligned ambitions" -- secured more stable careers and higher wages early in their careers. As a researcher who studies the impact college enrollment has on future earnings, I've discovered an additional payoff when students have what we might call "over-aligned" ambitions -- that is to say, they expect to get more education than what they need for their desired career.

Mississippi State women's soccer riding high heading into year one of Armstrong era
As Mississippi State women's soccer coach James Armstrong exited the media room under Humphrey Coliseum, he let out a subtle "Y'all." Thanking the gathered reporters and MSU staffers for attending Monday afternoon's press conference, the southern slang noticeably seeped through his thick English accent. Born in Yorkshire, England, Armstrong played his collegiate soccer at the University of Edinburgh before heading stateside. Now in his 18th year of coaching in the United States -- including a six-year spell at Auburn -- the native Brit and adopted southerner is tasked with continuing the recent upward trajectory of the MSU women's soccer team. "Having faced Mississippi State at my old school, this was a place you didn't want to come against a team you didn't want to play against," Armstrong said. "And I knew that they were hungry so from that standpoint everything ticked the box and I couldn't be happier to be here." Returning a strong contingent of last season's NCAA Tournament roster, MSU is noticeably experienced despite boasting just three seniors.
Shawn Preston Jr. makes mental strides in first year
Often when freshmen discuss their development during their first year of college they refer to the improvements they make from a size and strength perspective. Sure, Mississippi State safety Shawn Preston Jr. made strides in those areas last season but he believes his biggest transformation was made on the mental side of things. "When I first came here, I just thought I was a big recruit coming out of Louisiana and I'd get a lot of playing time," Preston said. "That wasn't the case. As I redshirted, I just got my mind right. I needed to know my assignments and what I've got to do and how to contribute." Self-discipline is an area where the St. James native admitted he experienced them most growth, now entering his redshirt freshman year with the Bulldogs. "College is a whole different game and accountability is the biggest thing," Preston said.
Southern Miss becomes first state school to offer alcohol sales at football games
Southern Miss is set to become the first of the three major state universities in Mississippi to offer alcohol sales to the general public during football games, the USM athletic department announced Monday in a press release. USM will sell beer and light wine at eight different locations inside M.M. Roberts Stadium beginning with the Sept. 28 home game against UTEP. Alcohol will not be available for the Aug. 31 season opener against Alcorn State. According to USM's press release, it will become one of 60 schools nationally that offer beer and light wine sales at games. USM revealed the news through a Monday press release that included a list of fan-friendly changes that have been made for the 2019 campaign. This includes cheaper food prices, mobile-ordering and additions to the menu at concession stands.
Houston Nutt: Long live real kings of OT
As Houston Nutt watched the LSU-Texas A&M football game last season from the New York studio where he works for CBS Sports, he began getting nervous. Nutt wasn't worried about which team would win. That didn't matter to him. What made Nutt increasingly nervous was how long the game kept going. After the game was still tied after four overtimes, Nutt texted his younger brother, Danny. "I was texting Danny saying, 'Are A&M and LSU going to make it? They're up to five overtimes now,' " Nutt said. "Danny texted back, 'No, they won't make it.' Then they got up to six overtimes. I texted Danny, 'I'm afraid they're going to break our record.' Danny said again, 'No, they won't make it.' "When they got to that seventh overtime, I started getting really worried. I texted Danny, 'They've got to stop here!' "Thank goodness they did." Texas A&M beat LSU 74-72 in seven overtimes to tie an NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision record first set by the University of Arkansas in 2001 when the Razorbacks won 58-56 at Ole Miss. In April, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a change that after four overtimes, teams will alternate two-point plays rather than begin possessions on their 25. Houston Nutt was Arkansas' head coach from 1998-2007, and Danny Nutt coached the running backs.

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