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Archive for February, 2008

To the dismay of many parents and students the credit crunch that started with home mortgages has spread to the student loan market.

The credit crunch is being caused by lenders that have had high risk mortgages default, which has led to banks retreating from some loans, Stephen Ferris, MU finance professor and J.H. Rogers Chair of Money, Credit and Banking, said.

Failures earlier this month in the auction rate securities market are troubling for student loans.

An auction rate security or ARS is a short term investment like a bond. Rates are set at auctions, every week or month, according to demand from investors and sold for cash.

A problem occurs for student loan agencies when ARSs don’t sell.

“If they don’t sell then there’s no capital to lend out,” said Ferris.

Last week the Michigan Higher Education Loan Authority, said it will temporarily stop one of its student loan programs. It will stop making loans under the Michigan Alternative Student Loan, or MI-Loan program.

The agency said on its website, MI-Loans will stop “due to the current and unprecedented capital-markets disruption.”

Other states are having problems too.

According to The Des Moines Register, the Iowa Student Loan Liquidity Corporation informed Iowa colleges and univeristies that it would be unable to properly fund student loans for next school year. Although, a few Iowa banks have stepped in to take on some loans there is still uncertainty about the future of student loans in Iowa.

The Montana Higher Education Student Assistance Corporation was unable to sell $300 million of bonds on the auction rate market, according to the Missoula Missoulian. Although it was a major loss, the agency said funding for next school year is secure.

Missouri has also been hit by the credit crunch. Missouri’s student loan agency, Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority or MOHELA, posted its first loss since its inception, The St. Louis Business Journal reported.

What does this mean for students?

Students should be aware that private student loan rates will probably go up and it will be harder to get them but they need not worry. Federal loans through state agencies have set rates. MOHELA will have enough capital to fund student loans for next year, although they will most likely break even, The St. Louis Business Journal reported.

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MU College of Education will next week celebrate education week.

During the week a series of events, lectures, fairs and workshops that focus on issues relevant to the education profession, will take place at various venues accross campus. (Events will be free and open to the public).

Education week began in the early 1970s, its purpose to bring together current and preparing professionals in the field of education with MU College of Education faculty and staff members. Today education week focuses on:

  • Addressing issues relevant to the many professions in education, including: counseling, teaching, technology, librarianship and leadership, among others.
  • Making college organizations more accessible to education students.
  • Celebrating the college’s events and achievements. 

Education week also marks the beginning of MUs College of Education, yearlong, 140th anniversary celebration.

The theme is ‘Celebrate 140’ which was put in place to remind students, faculty and staff to remember the accomplishments of the past whilst looking toward the future.

MU was the first state university in the nation to establish a college for the development of future teachers. Since its beginnning in 1868, the college has grown to include a network of more than 48,000 alumni spread accross the state, country and the world.

Education week kicks off Monday, March 3 through to Saturday, March 8. The college’s 140th anniversary celebrations will continue through the Fall with the Grace C. Bibb Society Dinner and the Superintendent and Alumni Tailgate.

Parents, community members, graduates, undergraduates – everyone – is ecouraged to attend the many celebratory and educational events during education week.

For a full schedule of events visit http://education.missouri.edu/about/ed_week_2008.php

Whitney Harris

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In many cases, being trendy can be a good thing. I believe we all are sucked into thinking of cultural, celebrity, or even fashion trends first and foremost in our minds, but there are so many other (important) kinds: economic trends, political trends, combat trends and organizational trends, just to quickly name a few.


The UM System’s hiring of Gary Forsee is part of a rapidly growing trend that is seeing public universities across the country turn to CEOs and other heady businessmen in situations that are fiscally becoming tighter and tighter each year. In his blog on the New York Times Web site, Stanley Fish, a professor at Florida International University and the former dean of arts and sciences at the University of Illinois-Chicago, expresses worry about the road public universities are traveling down by adopting the business model.

He mentions cases at Colorado and West Virginia where the faculty powers that be have made substantial outcries against the hirings of two presidents with strong business but weaker academic backgrounds (oil man Bruce Benson at CU, Michael Garrison at WVU). It’s not to say they aren’t qualified, but perhaps that they aren’t qualified in the way the faculty would like.

It’s hard to argue with the trend in becoming more business-savvy in presidential hires, with declining appropriations to higher education becoming more commonplace across America. Colorado receives less than 10 percent of its funding from state appropriations, according to Fish. Maybe they’re hired in order to form some semblance of state control over the university, Fish suggests — “first we starve you and then we revive you, but on our terms” — by supporting the fiscal hires.

Yes, financial times are tough, especially in the higher education world. But a good question to ask is why there aren’t more candidates who can have both a strong business and a strong academic background. There have to be qualified candidates out there, Fish says. 

Put yourself back in the place of either a student attending college or as a parent funding your child’s education (if you’re not already there). Where do you draw the line in the balance between having an economically concerned president vs. an academically concerned one? How close is the situation in Missouri to your balance?

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Let’s Talk Columbia

The Let’s Talk Columbia Event was held this past Friday and Saturday at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church.
More than 100 people attended the first night, and about 50 attended the second night.
Although attendance was high, some in the community had opinions about improving their community, but didn’t attend the event – either because they were uninterested, or didn’t have time.
Here are what some Columbia residents had to say about their city.

Gus Santos (52) is originally from the Philippines. He said he hadn’t hear a thing about “Let’s Talk Columbia”, but he has seen an increase of crime in Columbia – mainly from the news and reports of vandalism by friends.
He said he thinks he’ll be too busy to attend this weekend, but does think dialogue is important.
Before Santo moved to Columbia, he lived in Phoenix. He said the problems in Columbia don’t “compare to the problems in a big city. The big cities are much worse.” COLUMBIA — The spike in crime in the city of columbia has many residents concerned, and some say they would take the opportunity to start a dialogue that would lead to change.
The “Let’s Talk Columbia Event” being held this Friday and Saturday at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church. The goal is to engage all residents to come out and discuss ways to make Columbia a better place to live. There is a real push to bring out the youth population of the city.

Fred Lee, originally from Kansas City, MO said he has noticed an increase in crime in Columbia, but doesn’t think the problems will ever be unbearable. Lee came from Kansas City to leave the violence behind, and he said he never think the violence i Columbia will reach that level. Although he didn’t want to doesn’t want to get involved because he didn’t think a dialogue would change anything, he said he thinks the violence will decrease if people were made to pay for their crime instead of receiving “a slap on the wrist.” He thinks it’s a good idea to get the younger generation out. “It sounds like a good idea because thats where most of the crime is at. It’s in the younger generation.”
Lee said Columbia is a nice town because it provides a nice life for people. “You can make it here when you can’t hardly make it anywhere else.

Ann Wanserski (18) attends Hickman high school
He does think that Columbia could improve city planning. “They should bring in somebody from outside the city,” he said concerning planning and development. If the city is expected to double in size, then it should make bigger roads and bring in more businesses, he said. The bigger businesses will increase employment and he believes this will lower crime.
Overall Santos said Columbia is a tolerant, friendly and accommodating place.

Christin Young (17) attends Hickman High School. He didn’t hear about the event, but would be willing to contribute suggestions. He thinks in order to get more youth involved the city should come to the people instead of asking the people to come out. Surveys and classroom visits would be a great way to do this, especially to attract a younger audience. He thinks it a good idea to bring out younger people because “young people are our future.”
He said he has noticed an increase number of shooting from reading the newspaper.
“Within the 5 year I’ve been her, I’ve never seen so much shooting,” he said. He also noticed an increase of other killings and robbery.
Christin thinks the dialogue is a good idea as long as the suggestions are implements into actions. “It’s a good thin to talk about it, but it’s another to do something about it,” he said.

Matt Keel (25) is from Columbia and said he hadn’t heard about the event, but would be willing to attend. He said he might attend this weekend after being informed. He thinks dialogue is a good idea. “It wold be helpful to get the community involved and get their input,” he said, adding people shouldn’t be silent on the issue.
he thinks this would be a good way to fix problems in addition to community watch and people learning to be aware of their surroundings.

V. S. Gopal president of the executive board of the Shanti Mandir Hindu Temple and Community Center learned about the event through e-mail.
he is publicizing the event to a youth committee at the temple. He said it is important to get the youth involved because they are the future so they should be involved in the planning.
Although members of the temple will be celebrating its first year anniversary, he will try to make both that Friday and Saturday dialogue.
He said it is important for the Hindu community to be involved because the all people need to contribute their input and ideas, and he feels dialogue is effective.
“Dialogue is absolutely essential to understanding each others point of view and not being ignorant of facts.” He said that ignorance produces fear. He said it is also important that the dialogue produce follow-up action. “There is a need for on-going dialogue,” he said.
He encourages all Columbia residents to come, and make time if necessary, out because it’s an important event.
He has been in the U.S. since the 1980 and in columbia since ‘85. Prior he lived in a Chicago. he said although it is inaccurate to compare Columbia to a big city, the problems of Columbia don’t compare to Chicago.
The only other improvement he suggested would be to find ways to increase community service to ensure no one is left behind. ex: Food bank
“I don’t think we’re going to solve this problem with a weekend of activity… but getting started is a good step.”

Allen McCarter, originally form St. Louis, learned of the event through an e-mail list serve. He is really pushing for the youth to come out. “It is our desire to give the you an opportunity to share what their interest,” he said. “Often we’ll dismiss the young as not really knowing what’s best for them.” He thinks they can definitely provide some great insight on crime, but he doesn’t think they play a huge part in the increase in crime.
McCarter thinks the problem involves everyone. He says often people think the problem will be solved with more police patrol, but the it takes everyone to make change.
He does think people might be deterred by the weather.
McCarter has gotten together with a group of colleagues and friends to really publicize the event with flyers and by word of mouth.
He said it is important that everyone come out because the problems affect everyone – his family, his friends with children, and even those without children.
He is concerned about those in the city who feel displaced, and may feel the need to commit crimes. He think the dialogue will help because it will help the city identify the problems and find what can be done to improve them.
McCarter said when he moved to Columbia 3 years ago, he heard crime was segregated to the 1st Ward, but “today I don’t think people can say crime is segregated to the 1st Ward,” he said.

Christopher Keller is an MU student originally from Kansas City (MO). He said he learned about the event form several places, one being the Big Brothers Big Sister Program he works with. He thinks it’s important for youth to come. “I’m around a lot of kids in the community and they don’t have a voice,” he said. “They have valid points.” He said he hopes adults come out and listen instead of just showing up, because they play a significant role in teens actions.
He has also been publicizing the event at his church, Urban Empowerment. He said the church has been trying to attract a lot of people because it is a way to be a church outside the four walls and get involved in the community.
Keller thinks the increase in crime comes from in-opportunities in the city and also think it has a correlation with kids being idle.
He, like McCarter thinks the residents shouldn’t wait on police to reduce crime, but instead need to find a way to give people opportunities and more jobs.
He hopes the dialogue will continue. “I’m really praying this isn’t a one time thing.” He also hopes this will bring Columbia together. Keller said there are 3 different Columbia’s: the 1st Ward, the South side, and MU.

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J-School Timeline

Walter WilliamsOn the eve of MUs School of Journalism centennial celebration, the University is releasing a Missouri Journalism Centennial Timeline. The timeline will provide a visual history of the school containing more than 150 rare images in a decade by decade look at the world’s first journalism school. Each month, the university will release a visual history of a given decade. So far the university has released a timeline for the years 1908-1919, 1920-1929 and 1930-1939.

Here is a brief outline of these decades history:

Sept 14 1908 – Founding dean, Walter Williams opened the world’s first school of journalism. Students and teachers faced the same pressures as working reporters, including tight deadlines and rushed editors. By the end of the first day students and faculty editors had published the University Missourian.

1909 – Charles Arnold was the first graduate from the Missouri School of Journalism. one year later (1910) Mary Gentry Paxton (later Keeley) was the first woman to graduate. Both recieved a Bachelor of Science in Journalism as the Bachelor of Journalism was not yet offered.

1913 – Bachelor of Journalism degree offered. Also photographics training was now offered.

1914 – Willaims introduced the Journalist’s Creed.

The 1920s – the years of prosperity. The Jay H. Neff Hall was completed. It provided the growing student body with its very own printing press. As a result the original six-column, four-page Missourian became an eight-column, eight-page newspaper.

1923 – the Missourian was renamed the Columbia Missourian, the name the paper holds today.

1924 – Magazine Journalism training offered.

1930s – Walter Williams was named the University President. He later died in 1935; however, he lived long enough to celebrate the school’s 25th anniversary (1933). Williams also left behind the legacy of the Missouri Honour Medal (established 1930). The first recipients of the medal were: Percy S. Bullen (London Daily Telegraph); Ward A. Neff (Corn Belt Farm Dailies); E. W. Stephens (The Columbia Herald, MO).

1934 – First PhD in Journalism awarded to Robert Lloyd Housman. His dissertation was titled “Early Montana Territorial Journalism as a Reflection of the American Frontier in the New Northwest.”

1936 – Radio journalism training established.

1937 – The Journalism School named the Walter Williams Hall in Williams honour.

Next up 1940-1949 which will be released in March. Other scheduled release dates include:

  • 1940-1949: March 2008
  • 1950-1959: April 2008
  • 1960-1969: May 2008
  • 1970-1979: June 2008
  • 1980-1989 and
    1990-1999: July 2008
  • 2000-2007 and
  • 2008-Beyond: August 2008

Missouri School of Journalism

Whitney Harris

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There were some other interesting points from my article in today’s Missourian about former Sprint Nextel CEO Gary Forsee’s first official day as UM System president. that there wasn’t room for in print or to integrate online but that I thought were worth including somewhere.   

MU Basketball: Forsee was asked for his thoughts on the nightclub fiasco involving members of the MU basketball team. He said that the success of sports teams does play an undeniable part in getting the university’s name out there. He said while the image of a team “obviously takes a hit” when such incidents occur, he was fully behind head coach Mike Anderson. “Coach Anderson took decisive action, and I’m a supporter of that,” Forsee said.

Bowl Championship Series Politics: I asked Forsee for his thoughts on a university president’s overall involvement in athletics. Specifically, University of Georgia President Mark Adams has been campaigning for a college football playoff after the Bulldogs were left out of the national championship game. There was much discussion involving whether MU deserved to be in a BCS bowl game. Forsee said he would stand ready to support the university in such discussions, but that he would leave it to the chancellor and the athletic department officials to be the forefront of that discussion.

Emergency Preparedness: In light of the tragic events at Northern Illinois University last week, I asked Forsee if he had reviewed the emergency preparedness and alert policies of the four campuses. He said he reviewed them and that they were discussed at this first meeting earlier Monday morning. He was satisfied with the operations in place. He insisted that every student and faculty member register with the MU Alert System. He said there should be on-campus support for counseling and that students should use that support if needed. Forsee stressed, though, that preparedness “can only take us so far,” and that having a proper response mechanism in place is important. He said that these events are unfortunate reminders that constant preparedness and watchfulness is necessary. 

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Every MU student that has reached the age of 21 while enrolled knows that shortly before their birthday they receive an e-mail from the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Cathy Scroggs. Being that MU is a dry campus, alcohol on the campus is prohibited. However, the university chose the more realistic approach that their students might choose to consume alcohol that night and uses that to offer advice.

With that, a quirky little card appears in your Mizzou webmail account with tips on how to be safe that night. While not wishing to encourage underage drinking, but knowing that it does occur, it seems fair to share these tips with those who may not have a birthday coming up but still willingly participate in such activities.

      • If you choose to drink, keep your blood alcohol concentration at a safe level. (For those who don’t know, the legal BAC is .08 for those 21 and older. Anyone younger than 21, BAC is 0. Anything higher will get you into trouble)
      • Eat something before you drink and stay hydrated. (Hydrated in this case does not mean more alcohol. Always have a glass of water close throughout)
      • Know your limit. Just because your friend thinks he/she can handle a case of beer, doesn’t mean that you (or he/she) can.
      • DESIGNATE A DRIVER, never drink and drive. There is a program called “Cheers to the Designated Driver” in which participating Columbia establishments will serve free non-alcoholic drinks to the announced driver just for being a DD. MU also offers a safe ride home with STRIPES; they will pick up between 10 pm and 3 am, Thursday through Saturday while class is in session.
      • Know the signs of alcohol poisoning. If it is suspected call 911 and do not leave the person alone.

      When the day comes that your webmail account is blessed with the e-card, do not discard it right away. It has good, safe information from the university with their concern for your well-being. Plus, it has a good cartoon with a Tiger roasting a Jayhawk.

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