Tuesday, June 10, 2014  SUBSCRIBE   
Security Education: 3 Innovators - How Schools Are Creating a Pipeline of Qualified InfoSec Pros
With the demand for cybersecurity professionals at an all-time high, and the need for better preparedness and incident response training crucial, a growing number of higher education institutions are implementing groundbreaking programs. For example, educators at the University of Tulsa, Mississippi State University and Prince George's Community College, all of which have been named National Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education, have devised ways to respond to this skills gap. Cybersecurity is bigger than one discipline can solve, says David Dampier, Director, Center for Computer Security Research, Mississippi State University. "You need people who can write software securely, build computer components, [and understand] electrical engineering," he says.
Aspiring Apiarists Assemble to Learn Bee-Keeping Business
Mississippi State's campus is abuzz with activity this week. Aspiring apiarists from across the state are taking part in a first of its kind Beekeeping Camp put on by the university. Children 12 and older, along with their parents and grandparents, are learning how to build and manage hives, how to harvest honey, and the important role bees play in food production by pollinating crops. In recent years occurrences of "colony collapse" have underscored the role that honeybees play in agriculture.
Hosts sought for Iraqi students
Alesha Briscoe is offering families in Starkville a chance to help Iraqi youth change the face of their country simply by offering them a guest bedroom. The Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program is an international program sponsored and funded by the U.S. Department of State that invites undergraduate Iraqi college students to study for one month at an American university and develop a project to better their communities. Briscoe, IYLEP director for Mississippi State, said while IYLEP students spend most of the month on campus, a key component of the program is two nights with an American family designed to encourage diversity, cultural understanding and understanding of a theme specific to each participating university.
Rain puts state's rice farmers behind schedule
With Mississippi's rice crop about two weeks later than normal, growers will have narrow windows of opportunity to perform necessary management as it grows. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated 92 percent of rice was planted by June 1. Seventy-four percent of the crop that has emerged was in good to excellent condition. Bobby Golden, Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station agronomist in Stoneville, said the late planting and heavy rains in late May are making management a challenge. "We're going to accumulate heat units early in the season, so rice is going to get bigger more rapidly than if it was planted in April," Golden said. "This compresses the management window."
Mississippi VA: Average wait for first-time visits 45 days
New patients seeking care at the Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System in Gulfport had an average wait time of about 48 days, according to a wide-ranging audit released Monday. The Gulfport facility was on a list of 31 sites the VA said will be subject to further review based on the assessment of site team reports. The report said patients at G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery Veterans Administration Medical Center in Jackson are waiting an average of 45 days for their first appointment with a primary care doctor. That's about three times longer than the Veterans Affairs Department's 14-day goal for seeing first-time patients, which the audit said was unattainable given the growing demand among veterans for health care and poor planning. The VA has since abandoned that goal.
Family: Nunnelee surgery went well
U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee is out of surgery at MD Anderson hospital in Houston, Texas, and his family indicates the procedure went well. Nunnelee's family is with him at the hospital, and he is currently resting comfortably. Tests at MD Anderson last week confirmed that the small intracranial mass on the right side of Nunnelee's brain is isolated. The Tupelo Republican is in his second term representing Mississippi's First Congressional District. He serves on the House Appropriations and House Budget Committees.
House passes Palazzo's NASA bill by 401-2 vote, reaffirming commitment to space exploration
The U.S. House of Representatives today approved the NASA Authorization Act of 2014 (H.R. 4412) with strong bipartisan support by a vote of 401-2. The bill reaffirms Congress's commitment to space exploration, both human and robotic, and makes clear that human spaceflight to Mars is NASA's primary goal. The bill continues a fiscally responsible approach to human space exploration by requiring NASA to develop a strategic roadmap. Such a roadmap was highlighted as a key recommendation in the National Research Council's recent report on U.S. human spaceflight. "Our bill represents a serious bipartisan commitment to space exploration at a serious time in our nation's history," said Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Biloxi, chairman of the space subcommittee. "American leadership in space depends on our ability to put people and sound policy ahead of politics.
Cochran allies attack McDaniel on education
Education funding could become a focal point of the hotly contested U.S. Senate runoff between six-term incumbent Thad Cochran and his challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel. Cochran supporters have begun zeroing in on McDaniel's remarks earlier this year when he advocated eliminating federal funding of education. Former Gov. Haley Barbour, who helped form a pro-Cochran political action committee, has said he believes McDaniel's stance on education funding will help expand the runoff electorate in Cochran's favor. Barbour said McDaniel's position in opposing federal education funding in the state, as spelled out in an April 10 campaign speech reported by The Associated Press, would be devastating not only for schools, community colleges and universities, but also for the Mississippi economy, which relies on schools for a quality work force.
Realtors start Mississippi air war
The National Association of Realtors is preparing to air the first television ads of the Mississippi GOP Senate runoff, offering the first clear signal that Republican Sen. Thad Cochran's deep-pocketed national backers are digging in to support him in the next round of primary voting. According to media-tracking sources, the Realtors group has booked airtime on both broadcast and cable television ahead of the June 24 runoff between Cochran and conservative challenger Chris McDaniel. So far, the total spending amounts to about $166,000, according to one media buyer. No other outside organization has gone on the air since the June 3 primary, in which Cochran and McDaniel deadlocked at 49 percent of the vote.
McDaniel talks shipbuilding, education during Gautier City Hall stop
U.S. Senate candidate Chris McDaniel said Monday he would "fight" for the shipbuilding industry and that he's a "big believer" in public education. Among McDaniel's campaign stops Monday was an appearance at Gautier City Hall as McDaniel and incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran head towards the June 24 Republican runoff. During a public Q&A session, McDaniel was asked about his stance on education. He has repeatedly said the U.S. Department of Education is unconstitutional and should be abolished. "I'm a big believer in public education, but what I'm not a big believer in is the federal government telling us how to educate our children," McDaniel said, although he offered no specifics as to how Mississippi would replace the $800 million it gets in federal funding.
McDaniel makes South Mississippi stops, says he will fight for industry, military
U.S. Senate candidate Chris McDaniel disputes claims that Ingalls Shipbuilding and other industries would be in danger of losing contracts if he's elected in a Republican primary runoff election against incumbent Thad Cochran. "They have a reached a moment of desperation in their campaign," McDaniel said at a press conference Monday at Gautier City Hall. "I am going to fight for Ingalls. I am going to fight for the industry. I am going to fight for the military." McDaniel, a state senator from Ellisville, campaigned along the Gulf Coast on Monday, while Cochran visited farm-related businesses in the Mississippi Delta.
In Mississippi, Senate hopeful McDaniel embodies what GOP fears about tea party
Amid the Confederate flags, the guns and the pigs -- in pens and on plates -- Chris McDaniel worked the Tate County Fair in search of votes in his quest to beat Sen. Thad Cochran in a runoff election in two weeks. "I need you," McDaniel said to Brandy Davis, before also greeting Bobby Goodwin, a heavyset man carrying a handgun, at a booth for the Citizens Militia of Mississippi. The members of the militia, whose motto is "Any fate but submission," implored the Republican to take a hard-line stance on immigration and gun rights. McDaniel assured them that he would and that he is not "going to join any club" in Washington. If McDaniel is going to beat Cochran, it will be in large part because of supporters such as those in Coldwater.
How Black Turnout Could Decide Senate Control
Black voters will play an outsize role in this year's fight for control of the Senate. Mississippi, Louisiana and Georgia are the three states where African-Americans represent the largest share of the population, and North Carolina isn't too far behind, at seventh on the list. According to the Census Bureau, the black share of the national electorate has dropped off in every midterm election since at least 1998. That could cripple Democrats in these states. But it is possible to imagine the black share of the electorate holding at 2012 levels in those states, or even increasing. It has happened before.
FAA OKs commercial drone flights over land
The Federal Aviation Administration said Tuesday it has granted the first permission for commercial drone flights over land, the latest effort by the agency to show it is loosening restrictions on commercial uses of the unmanned aircraft. The BP energy corporation and drone maker AeroVironment of Monrovia, California, have been given permission to use a Puma drone to survey pipelines, roads and equipment at Prudhoe Bay in Alaska, the agency said. The first flight took place on Sunday.
Unmanned aerial vehicles are flying to the farm
Old McDonald had a farm but he never had a flying drone. A group in Georgia that includes government officials, industry leaders and academics has been working since 2009 to develop a drone that can save a farmer's time and resources during the growing season. The goal is to use an unmanned aerial vehicle with a special camera to survey crops. It can detect water and nutrition issues, insect infestation and fungal infections.
LSU hopes to diversify research funding sources
A year after taking over as LSU's vice chancellor for research and development, K.T. Valsaraj says the university needs to continue to diversify its sources of research funding, but he says LSU is making strides in the STEM fields. Valsaraj, who spoke to the Baton Rouge Press Club on Monday, said LSU's research funding is steady but relies heavily on funding from the federal government, which could be unpredictable in changing political climates. "Our research portfolio is very vulnerable to the overall funding profile at the federal level," he said. "We have to diversify our portfolio."
U. of Georgia team helps unlock genome of common bean
Beans are a staple crop and primary protein source for millions of people around the world, but very little has been known about their domestication or nitrogen-fixing properties until now. Recently, University of Georgia researchers worked with a team of scientists to help sequence and analyze the genome of the common bean, Phaseolus vulgaris. Black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, green beans, pole beans and others are varieties of the common bean. "Unlocking the genetic makeup of the common bean is a tremendous achievement that will lead to future advances in feeding the world's growing population through improved crop production," said Sonny Ramaswamy, director of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
U. of Kentucky trustees to be asked to approve next step in hospital tower's completion
During the next phase of a $763 million hospital construction project, UKHealthCare will spend $150 million if the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees approves the proposal Tuesday. Nearly half of the money will be spent to equip two more floors of the 12-story tower that opened in 2011. Half of the 12 floors are essentially shells. According to UK, equipping the six empty floors to provide patient care ultimately will cost $257 million, bringing the project's overall cost -- including construction and equipment -- to $1 billion.
Texas A&M Faculty Senate gets update on study abroad programs
Texas A&M professors were pitched a trip to the tropics at Monday's faculty senate meeting. Representatives from Mexican and Costa Rican study abroad destinations met with faculty to discuss the benefits of their locations. A&M is close to finalizing an agreement with Hacienda Santa Clara in the Mexican state of Guanajuato, meaning it could become a destination for faculty and students as early as this fall. Pamela Matthews, A&M's vice provost for academic affairs, has helped facilitate the agreements with the foreign sites. She said it's a benefit for both faculty members and students to study abroad. "These days, you realize any student who comes out of Texas A&M with a degree will in some way have to encounter the rest of the world," Matthews said.
Library throwing bash for George H.W. Bush's 90th
Don't expect to see a skydiving George H.W. Bush this year. The former president turns 90 on Thursday, and the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum on the Texas A&M campus is celebrating with cake, ice cream and crazy socks. The museum store is even selling a limited edition pair of "41" socks. The 41st president went skydiving in Texas on his 80th birthday in 2004, and jumped again in 2007 to mark the rededication of his presidential museum. A spokesman said he is expected to spend the day with family and friends in Kennebunkport, where a large celebration is planned for him and former first lady Barbara Bush, who turned 89 on Sunday.
U. of Missouri faculty have concerns about move to boost university's standing
As the next fiscal year approaches, concerns are growing among faculty about how the University of Missouri will deal with a mandatory 2 percent budget reallocation from every department. The yearly reallocation that kicks in during fiscal year 2015, which starts in July, is required under the university's strategic plan. The goal is for all of the reallocated dollars to go into a pool to bring new faculty to campus and give faculty raises, both moves that could help the university's standing within the Association of American Universities. Some of the concerns about reallocation stem from recent layoffs in the Office of Research by Hank Foley, senior vice chancellor for research and graduate studies. Foley laid off eight employees in the Office of Research -- including six in the Office of Grant Writing and Publications -- in May, citing the need to reallocate $714,000 from his budget. It came down to cutting people or cutting programs, he said at the time.
Engineering dean stepping down at Missouri
University of Missouri College of Engineering Dean Jim Thompson announced Monday that he is stepping down from his post after almost 20 years in office. In a brief email to the college's faculty, Thompson doesn't provide any indication about his future plans or if this is his retirement. Thompson's last day will be Sept. 1, he writes. "We should all be proud of the College, which has excellent students and a continuing increase in enrollment," he said in the email. He notes the successes the college has seen during the last two decades, including new programs in bioengineering, computer science and information technology. The email also notes the state legislature's approval of funds to renovate Lafferre Hall, where the engineering school's main facilities are housed.
Missouri names interim Title IX coordinator
University of Missouri Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin is making the position of Title IX coordinator a full-time job. Loftin, in an email to MU students, staff and faculty, named Linda Bennett as interim Title IX coordinator. Bennett and her successors will be charged with overseeing the university's compliance efforts, reviewing current policies and developing faculty, staff and student training related to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. MU spokesman Christian Basi said that some of the factors in Bennett's selection were her experience with faculty training programs and her 25 years as a university employee. Basi said he had no details about the selection process for a permanent coordinator at this time.
From Twitter to Tumblr: On Student Loans, Obama Seeks an Audience
When President Obama wants to send a message to America's 20-somethings, he often speaks through their preferred channel---online media. For example, when Mr. Obama sought to urge younger adults to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, he sat for an interview on the cult, Internet-only talk-show parody Between Two Ferns. A topic that has taken up a large portion of the administration's social-media activity is, predictably, one that disproportionately affects young Americans: student-loan debt. On Tuesday, Mr. Obama will host a student-loan Q&A on the blogging site Tumblr. It's the latest in a long line of tweets, Google hangouts, and Reddit AMAs.
Colleges and Evangelicals Collide on Bias Policy
For 40 years, evangelicals at Bowdoin College have gathered periodically to study the Bible together, to pray and to worship. They are a tiny minority on the liberal arts college campus, but they have been a part of the school's community, gathering in the chapel, the dining center, the dorms. After this summer, the Bowdoin Christian Fellowship will no longer be recognized by the college. In a collision between religious freedom and anti-discrimination policies, the student group, and its advisers, have refused to agree to the college's demand that any student, regardless of his or her religious beliefs, should be able to run for election as a leader of any group, including the Christian association. Similar conflicts are playing out on a handful of campuses around the country.
Stop Blaming Professors
Part of the conservative critique of higher education is that liberal professors indoctrinate students, turning middle-of-the-road students into Young Democrats (or Young Socialists). But a new study suggests that it's time to stop blaming professors (of any political leaning) for any leftward tilt that college students may show (and the study acknowledges that many do lean that way over the course of their college years). The influence is coming from students themselves. In fact, the study says, the more engaged students are with faculty members and academics, the more their views moderate toward the center. But the more students become engaged in student activities, the more the liberals become more committed as liberals and conservatives become more committed as conservatives.

Mississippi State football sets season ticket sales record
As excitement builds with the expansion of Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field, Mississippi State has set a school record for football season ticket sales, the MSU Athletic Department announced Friday. MSU has sold 44,230 season tickets to date, breaking the old mark of 44,212 set in 2012. Included in that record-setting figure is 11,000 student tickets. With the addition of new seats, thanks to the completion of a $75 million renovation and expansion of Davis Wade Stadium, that number will rise as season tickets are still available. "It is an exciting time for our football program and Bulldog fans," said MSU Director of Athletics Scott Stricklin.
No link between MSU assistant, heroin arrests
A Mississippi State assistant football coach had no involvement in activities that led to the arrest of two men on an out-of-state property he owns, the school said Monday. Price Montgomery, 33, and James Perrin, 35, were arrested as part of a large heroin bust in Mount Washington, Pa., on Sunday night, at a home owned by MSU cornerbacks coach Deshea Townsend. "Coach Townsend employs a rental agent to conduct his affairs regarding this property and in no way is associated with the activities that may have occurred at a property rented by him to others," according to a statement issued on Monday afternoon by the university. "The property in question was the subject of a lease purchase agreement executed in March 2012," the MSU statement said. "Neither individuals arrested were signatories to the March 2012 lease agreement."
Mississippi reporter fired for remarks about Lafayette
The Mississippi sports reporter who called Lafayette the worst place in America and its people impossible to understand on his radio show has since been terminated Matthew Stevens, 29, had been the Mississippi State University sports beat writer for The Commercial Dispatch for about 2 1/2 years. "We felt like the decision to terminate Matt was based on good reasoning," said Slim Smith, the newspaper's managing editor. "We gave this four or five days of really good thought and we concluded that it was the best course of action to take."
Tigers AD Jay Jacobs remains against sale of alcohol at Auburn athletic events
No matter what other programs may or may not be trying, Jay Jacobs isn't ready to see alcohol flowing at Auburn athletic events any time soon. "I'm not, right now, OK with that," the longtime Auburn athletic director told reporters during the SEC's annual spring meetings in Destin, Florida last month. While Jacobs and his fellow SEC administrators didn't appear to delve too far into the topic of alcohol sales at the spring meetings, with more pressing matters such as NCAA autonomy taking precedence, it remains a major topic of discussion among many in power throughout college athletics. "We've got some sports where we know it's getting in, (and) no one's burned down our stadiums because of it," Mississippi State athletic director Scott Stricklin said during the meetings. "So does that mean (alcohol is) something you can take the next step on? But if you do that, you're kind of endorsing it, and what kind of message does that send?"
Vanderbilt rape case dispute in appeals court
A packed courtroom listened to arguments Monday in the legal dispute over access to records in the Vanderbilt University rape case that led to charges against four former football players. At issue is how the state's laws on open records, fair trials and victims' privacy rights intersect as cases move through the courts. The case drew an unusually large crowd of more than 50 people to the Tennessee Court of Appeals, prompting a joke from Presiding Judge Frank G. Clement, Jr., at the start of the 70-minute hearing. At the appeals level, cases rarely draw few, if any, spectators. Arguments quickly turned serious and spirited.
Amateurism on Trial
A much-awaited trial of an antitrust lawsuit challenging the National Collegiate Athletic Association's policies limiting players' rights to be compensated for commercial use of their likenesses got under way in a California courtroom Monday, with witnesses for the athletes painting the NCAA as a cartel and the association announcing a settlement in a related lawsuit that could result in some payments to current athletes. O'Bannon v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, which had its first full day of testimony Monday, represents one of several legal challenges that target specific NCAA policies and practices but, at their core, take aim in one way or another at the amateurism model that underpins college athletics.

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