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Archive for November, 2009

Community college enrollment increases reduce impact of cuts [Des Moines (Iowa) Register]

UT endowment showed 15 percent drop [The Daily Texan, University of Texas]

Resident Staff redesigns RA application process [The Cavalier Daily, University of Virginia]

Chair of College Republicans up for impeachment tonight [The Michigan Daily, University of Michigan]

Two SU students killed in Oneida County car crash [The Daily Orange, Syracuse University]

Student dies in hit-and-run, man in custody [Daily Illini, University of Illinois]

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The Western Historical Manuscript Collection’s mission is to collect, preserve and make available primary source documents that detail the history of Missouri and the surrounding region.

Collect, preserve and make available. That mantra is repeated on the collection’s Web site, in its brochures and by its staff.

Preservation takes a lot of time and money, said David Moore, associate director of the collection. To help with preservation and restoration of documents, the Adopt-A-Document program was created several years ago. The program makes it possible for people to make contributions and “adopt” documents in need of restoration. The contributions are used to preserve a variety of documents, including papers, diaries, films and recordings.

Moore said the program was inspired by a couple who asked if they could make a contribution to restore some weaving patterns.

“A light bulb came on,” he said.

The program has been successful, but Moore said it should probably be promoted more. The program’s biggest success has been the preservation of a collection of documents associated with Jerry Litton, Moore said. Litton was a U.S. representative from Missouri who, in 1976, died in a plane crash with his wife and two children on their way to a party to celebrate his victory in Missouri’s Democratic primary race for U.S. Senate.

The Litton collection includes several videotapes of “Dialogue with Litton,” a television show that Litton hosted from 1974 to 1976. Many well-known politicians such as Jimmy Carter, Thomas Eagleton and Shirley Chisholm appeared on the show. According to the collection’s Web site, it will cost about $400 to clean and reformat each outdated videotape.

Another popular collection is the Jane Froman collection. Froman, a singer and actress from Missouri, was severely injured in a 1943 plane crash in Portugal while on a USO tour. She continued to perform even after the crash. The 1952 film “With a Song in My Heart,” starring Susan Hayward, is based on Froman’s life.

Moore said Froman’s husband donated many of her personal papers and recordings to the collection after she died. Fans of Froman have raised money through the program to buy computer software capable of transferring audio from records to digital files.

Costs of preserving documents in the collection vary, depending on the document and how it must be restored, Moore said.

One woman from St. Joseph sent an $8 check to help preserve the Litton collection; Moore said every little bit helps.

“It’s a good way to make people feel like a part of the collection,” he said. “It’s a way researchers and the public can take ownership.”

With 17,000 linear feet of documents at the collection, with some documents as old as 200 years, the Adopt-A-Document program is important to ensuring Missouri’s history remains available to future generations.

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Maria Holt and Meghan Orbe, both students at MU’s Trulaske College of Business, won prizes at a North American entrepreneurial competition in October.

(more…)

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Thanksgiving Break

Although the news never sleeps, it does in fact eat.

Like most every other student in Columbia and every person in the United States, the staff of the Missourian who contribute to this blog will celebrate Thanksgiving next week.

While they travel home and back again, this blog will be on hiatus. But the Monday after Thanksgiving, reporters will resume posting about local issues in higher education.

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On Tuesday, Gov. Jay Nixon announced a proposal to freeze tuition and academic fees at Missouri’s public universities and college for the 2010-2011 school year. In return, the state won’t decrease funding much.

The agreement, which was made in conjunction with Missouri university presidents, would mark the second consecutive year that in-state tuition doesn’t see an increase. The proposal has to pass through the Missouri General Assembly when it convenes in January. Read the full story here.

On the other hand, the New York Times reported Thursday that the University of California Board of Regents approved a plan to raise undergraduate fees — the equivalent of tuition — 32 percent by next fall, to help make up for steep cuts in state funding.

According to the article, “The state allocation for the 10-campus system, one of the leading public university systems in the nation, was cut $813 million, or 20 percent, this year, leading to a hiring freeze, furloughs and layoffs.”

Thousands of students have protested increasing the fees, which would bring in-state tuition to more than $10,000 a year, the Times reported. Compare that to MU, which roughly charges $8,500 per semester in tuition alone.

Read more on the subject at the Times Web site.

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Success is sweet for scientists announcing the discovery of water on the moon.

“The whole experiment was a complete success,” said Val Germann, president of the Central Missouri Astronomical Association. “The only question is now is what do they do next and that’s still up in the air.”

According to NASA scientists, different wavelengths of light reflecting off of debris from a collision between a rocket and the bottom of a lunar crater reveals the presence of water.

In addition, these scientists observed in the footage of the collision colors in the fractured ultraviolet light associated with molecules of hyroxyl, which contains one oxygen and one hydrogen, presumed to be water molecules that had been broken apart.

“They still have the problem that while concentrations that are high on the moon are still pretty low compared to here,” Germann said.

“I think the next step will be to land something in one of those craters and actually do what they are doing on Mars, which is to run around those craters and analyze several places and actually get below the surface at several different locations and see if the initial results are correct,” he said.

More than a month ago a piece of the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite crashed into the 60-mile wide, 2-mile deep Cabeus crater near the Moon’s south pole.

“I think the assumption was that on parts of the moon that are not subjected to direct sunlight and are not as bombarded by the solar wind because they’re at a very steep angle to the sun that whatever water was present when the moon was formed would still be there.” Germann said. “So the poles are an area where the scientists were hoping that more water would remain. It seems to have happened that way.”

The mission’s two components consisted of directing a rocket to crash into the crater’s surface; this was followed by a small spacecraft that recorded data about the impact, sending it back to NASA before slamming into the moon itself. With these objects traveling at 5,600 mph toward the lunar surface, their impacts excavated hundreds of tons of the moon as well as at least 26 gallons of water.

Space enthusiasts were disappointed, however, when the live images sent back did not capture the plume created by the first impact.

“I was watching online when the thing hit and they didn’t get the plume they expected, a visible plume, but they did get an indication from the spacecraft that was following the impacter that they did get data. It took them a few days to do the number crunching to figure out what they had and as it turned out even though there was not much of a visible plume there was material ejected into space that the sampling device was able to get a hold of,” Germann said.

According to Germann, you can’t get much better than that. According to the NASA, the LCROSS (or Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite) did photograph the impact’s plume but the live video stream was not properly equipped to pick out the details.

Lunar ice, if plentiful, could not only be used as a source of water for future settlers on the moon but could also be broken into its oxygen and hydrogen components to use by astronauts both as rocket fuel and air to breathe.

“Anytime something like this works you’re happy because it doesn’t always work. It answers questions but then there are new questions. How do we get access to it? And how much will that cost in energy and money to get the water? So it’s a good thing because if there weren’t any water there at all we wouldn’t have any of these questions. You really always do want the next questions,” Germann said.

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A New York Times article Saturday focuses on the University of North Carolina’s controversial decision earlier this year to hire the consultant firm Bain & Company to identify budget inefficiencies in the UNC-Chapel Hill.

The New York Times reports that Bain’s recommendations, if applied, could save the university $161 million each year. After Bain issued its recommendations for UNC in July, Cornell University and the University of California-Berkeley, also hired Bain to produce similar reports.

Some of the controversy at UNC stemmed from Bain’s inexperience consulting for higher education, but with three prominent universities on its client list now, Bain may be shedding that reputation.

With continued budget concerns, could MU or the UM System be thinking about hiring an outside consultant? The UM System currently retains PricewaterhouseCoopers, at a cost of nearly $1 million per year, to perform its internal audit, but the firm’s report focuses more on risk and compliance than cost reduction. The contract with PricewaterhouseCoopers is up for renewal next year.

Will the Curators look to expand services to include cost reduction?

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