Blake Farmer was at the Tennessee Court of Appeals Tuesday listening to proceedings in the Fisk University Stieglitz collection case. The judges and the Attorney General's Office are sympathetic to the school's financial woes, he said, but that won't get Fisk President Hazel O'Leary very far.
Senior Counsel Janet Kleinfelter from the Attorney General’s office says she has compassion for Fisk’s situation but the state is concerned about a chilling effect on philanthropy. “We could back down, but the consequences of that for future charitable giving for the state of Tennessee are just tremendous. I mean, think about it.”
Board of Regents John Morgan says his team won't start the search for a permanent Tennessee State University president for at least six more months. Portia Holmes Shields has been overhauling the school's operations on an interim job since the beginning of this year.
The Southern Association of Schools and Colleges has turned down a bid by Fisk University officials to be removed from 'warning' status because of its precarious finances. Instead, the accreditation body turned up the heat on Fisk, saying it now also has questions about the leadership qualifications of the historic university's administrators and academic officials.
If Fisk's leadership can't right the ship by December, things could get ugly in a hurry.
Removal from membership could result in Fisk being disqualified from receiving federal financial aid for its students, some 90 percent of whom rely on financial aid to go to college. Higher education analysts say such an outcome could essentially doom the historic school, a fixture in Nashville since the Civil War and home of the world famous Jubilee Singers.
Belmont University has recruited from Michigan veteran musician and teacher Alex Graham to be an assistant professor of music and saxophone.
Graham has worked at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island since 2001 and conducts its orchestra and produces the music events at the facility, which sports the world's largest front porch. He is a past adjunct professor and artist in residence at Eastern Michigan University. At Belmont, he will teach jazz and commercial saxophone styles to undergraduate and graduate students and direct one of the university’s jazz ensembles.
“Belmont University is highly-regarded for its music program and I am honored to be offered this opportunity in such a competitive field,” said Graham. “Through this position, I will also have the great experience of working in Nashville, which is one of the nation’s greatest music cities. I am looking forwarding to working with artists in Tennessee and bringing some of these talents back to Grand Hotel during the summer.”
Students at the Owen School's Accelerator Summer Business Institute this morning began presenting their final findings on a range of projects. This year's headliner is Yazoo Brewing, whose owner Linus Hall called on the business boot campers to help him figure out what's driving his growth and how he can build further. Other organizations involved this year include the Nashville Predators and Mars Petcare.
SEE ALSO: A little perspective from Hall via WPLN.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center has received a five-year, $20 million federal grant from the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Research Resources to coordinate a national consortium for advancing biomedical research nationwide.
The Clinical and Translational Science Awards Coordinating Grant makes VUMC one of 60 CTSA institutions in the consortium.
“The CTSA consortium will benefit greatly from the expertise that Vanderbilt has shown in facilitating collaborations and in developing and sharing informatics tools, all of which will provide a strong foundation for the coordinating center,” said Barbara Alving, M.D., director of NCRR.
“This award … defines Vanderbilt as a national and worldwide leader in bringing science to the foreground for the public good,” said Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs and dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.
Fisk University and the College of Engineering at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville have signed an agreement to offer their students a dual-degree program. Under the terms of the deal, math and science majors at Fisk will transfer to UT after three years and then spend two years taking engineering courses.
“At Fisk, 26 percent of our students major in life and physical science, computer sciences, and mathematics,” O’Leary said. “The Fisk/University of Tennessee dual-degree program will offer more options for our talented students to earn multi-disciplinary degrees and become professional leaders.”
WPLN's Blake Farmer has an update on the Fisk University Stieglitz collection case, which is five weeks from a Tennessee Court of Appeals hearing. A group of alumni have submitted a brief with the court saying they don't want the art to be sold because of the possible impact on the university's ability to recruit future donors. Perhaps more importantly, they also suggest Fisk administrators are dramatizing their financial situation.
They point to a newsletter from the university sent out as recently as April that touts “fundraising progress” and surpassing a goal to raise $3 million. The alumni say Fisk’s credibility is – quote – “quite regrettably, squarely in question.”
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