ARCHIVES/IN THIS ISSUE:
XU Gets Nod in Popular
"Best Colleges" Guides
Freshman Class Increases; Overall Enrollment Steady
Three Faculty Promotions
Leadership this Fall
Alumna Spearheads XU
Recruiting Efforts in Harlem
Biology Professor Brings
World Famous Worm to N.O.
Xavier in the News
|| Campus Kickoff Set
for UNCF 5K Run
The school year is underway and the campus is all abuzz about the exciting UNCF Fund Run Campus Kick-Off on Sept. 6 and 7, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the University Center.
Participants can't wait to sport the new XU/UNCF T-shirt they'll get sporting the Xavier's theme "Today's Students, Tomorrow's Leaders." Those who sign up through XU before Sept. 16 will eligible for for doorprizes.
Students should contact David Bocage at (504) 520-5132; all others should contact Tina Haines (520-5129), Carol Dotson (504)520-5427) or Trina Vincent (504)520-5428). Team captains and groups are also needed.
Can't make the campus kickoff? You can register online at www.runNOTC.org.
Event day registration begins at 7:30 a.m., with the 5K race (or walk) starting at 9:00 a.m. NOTC will administer the race and prizes will be presented to top finishers. Registration is $25 and includes a race T-shirt, food, drinks and complimentary admission to Audubon Zoo.
Last year Xavierites turned out in record numbers to enjoy good food, music and friends, and a pleasant walk or run through Audubon Park - all in support of the UNCF. Nearly 700 XU faculty, staff and students participated in the event and raised nearly $40,000.
|| Campus Police Receive Training
Five campus police officers are now a part of the largest recruit class in the history of the New Orleans Police Department.
The officers were encouraged to join the NOPD by XU Chief of Police Duane Carkum, no stranger himself to the NOPD. A 15-year veteran, he had held the rank of sergeant before coming to XU in 2004.
He has served as the chief since June 2005.
Officers Malcolm Bacchus, David Bargky, Billy James, Morris Moore and Alvin Tircuit are in the initial stage of their 18-to-20 week training program. They enrolled in the NOPD Academy to add to their law enforcement skills and to increase their professionalism in dealing with students, faculty and the surrounding campus neighborhood.
|| Ohio Parishioners Make Gift to Chapel
It was a special day for those attending Mass at Xavier when ten parishioners from Holy Angels Catholic Church in Sandusky, Ohio – led by their pastor – delivered a complete new sanctuary for the University's newly reopened chapel.
Attendees at daily and Sunday mass at America's only historically Black and Catholic university have had some challenges over the past two years. The campus chapel was flooded during Katrina. Since reopening the campus in January '06, daily mass was held in the old University board room, while Sunday services were held in an auditorium.
Restoration of the chapel was finally completed earlier this year, but it still needed new "furniture" for the sanctuary.
That's where the parishioners from Holy Angels in Ohio came in, delivering a like-new wooden altar with matching candle holders and ambo (where the Liturgy is read) plus a complete set of the Stations of the Cross and a song board for the choir.
For the full story, click HERE.
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in the News
Chronicle of Higher Ed 35,000 Students Out of College Times-Picayune
High Marks for N.O. Colleges
Preferred Site Near Old One
Educators Triumph over Storm
Mid-City Rebuild Stuck
Catholic News Service Enrollment Picking Up
Chronicle of Higher Ed
Court Rejects Insurance Bid
Big Insurers Win Ruling
|XU Gets Nod in 2008 “Best Colleges” Guides
The University has once again received the endorsement of two prominent, annual college rating publications: The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report.
Xavier was singled out as one of the nation’s best institutions for undergraduate education by The Princeton Review, in the 2008 edition of its annual guide, "The Best 366 Colleges."
That same week the University garnered inclusion in U.S. News as one of “America’s Best Colleges” in the 2008 edition of its widely-read and popular annual college guide. Xavier was ranked 36th on the publication’s list of the "Best Universities - Master's" from the southern region of the United States. more
Freshman Class Increases by 50%; Overall Enrollment Steady
Xavier received another “green light” on its road to recovery in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina when 669 freshmen – a 50 percent increase over last year’s class – enrolled for the 2007 fall semester.
That influx of new students pushed the University’s current overall enrollment to 3,100 students, larger than last fall and holding steady at three-quarters of its pre-Katrina student population. The enrollment figures are still preliminary at this date, with both numbers expected to increase modestly.
“It’s very gratifying to see students from across the nation are showing renewed interest in attending Xavier despite the pace of progress with overall recovery in New Orleans,” said President Norman Francis, attributing the sustained interest to the University’s continuing national reputation for excellence and leadership in the math and science fields – especially biology, pre-med and pharmacy – combined with a solid liberal arts core curriculum.
Last year’s freshman class – the first recruiting class following the University’s reopening on January ’06 – had 447 members, less than half of the last pre-Katrina Freshman class that was more than 1,000 strong. However, enrollment was down not just for Xavier, but also at every other college in the New Orleans area.
At the time, President Norman Francis attributed much of the decline to what he called the ‘mama factor’ post-Katrina; namely, continued parental concerns about the city of New Orleans' recovery as well as safety issues. Although University officials had some reason to fear a repeat of that scenario in 2007, they are encouraged by the numbers.
“We have never compromised our commitment to academic excellence despite Katrina’s toll," said Francis, noting that the University has graduated nearly 1,200 students since Katrina. "Our students continue to compete and excel in the sciences as well as in business and liberal arts.”
|Although 2006’s small freshman class will continue to be a factor influencing the University’s overall enrollment for several years to come, Xavier officials expect to see increased numbers of freshman with each passing year as Katrina becomes less of an issue, and getting a quality education becomes more so.
University Committee Approves Three Faculty Promotions
The University Rank and Tenure Committee has approved the promotions of three faculty members in two different disciplines, according to Dr. Elizabeth Barron, vice president for academic affairs.
One long-time member of the faculty – Dr. Jerry Farmer in theology – was promoted to the rank of professor, while two others – Dr. Michael Homan in theology and Mrs. Mapo Kinnord-Payton in art – were both promoted to the rank of associate professor.
Farmer, who is in his 15th year at Xavier, has served as chairperson of the Department of Theology since August 2005 (his second time in that position). He has taught an extensive number of courses, including Introduction to Theology, Moral Theology and Environmental Issues in Christian Perspective, Sacramental Theology, Theological Understanding of the Catholic Church, and Historical Survey of the Catholic Church. His current research is centered on Applied Theological Ethics.
Homan, who has served on the theology faculty since 2001, has taught classes in Biblical Studies, the Torah of Israel, Prophets and Prophecy, and Religions of the Ancient Near East, as well as several associated upper level directed reading courses. He has also taught XU students on archaeological excavations in Israel. He is anticipating publication of his fourth book, Over, Under and Through the Bible: An Archaeological, Historical and Satellite Atlas.
Kinnord-Payton, who is taking over chair responsibilities in the Art Department this year, is in her eighth year at Xavier. She is currently teaching Art Appreciation, Introduction to ceramics and Directed Readings in Art. Her most recent exhibit of her sculpture and pottery artwork was in Mobile, Ala.
Two New Chairs to Provide Leadership this Fall
Two academic departments in the College of Arts and Sciences are under new leadership this year, according to Dr. Elizabeth Barron, vice president for academic affairs.
Taking over the chairmanship in their respective A&S disciplines are Dr. Gurdial Arora in mathematics and Mrs. Mapo Kinnord-Payton in art.
Arora, who has been at Xavier since 1991, is teaching Intro to Calculus this semester. Previously he has taught Discrete Mathematics, Linear Algebra, Basic Statistics and Developmental Mathematics.
Kinnord-Payton, who was recently promoted to associate professor, is in her eighth year at Xavier. She is currently teaching Art Appreciation, Introduction to Ceramics and Directed Readings in Art. Her most recent exhibit of her sculpture and pottery artwork was in Mobile, Ala.
Sixteen other faculty chairs have returning to guide their respective departments for yet another school year. They include: Dr. Shubha Ireland in biology, Dr. Anil Kukreja in business, Dr. Cheryl Stevens in chemistry, Dr. R. Raymond Lang in computer science, Dr. Dominique Gendrin in communications, Dr. Renee Akbar in education, Dr. Thomas Bonner in English/African American Studies, Dr. Jonathan Rotondo-McCord in history, Dr. Susan Spillman in languages, Dr. John Ware ’77 in music; Dr. Thora Bayer in philosophy, Dr. Murty Akundi in physics/engineering, Dr. Pamela Waldron-Moore in political science, Dr. Lisa Schulte in psychology, Dr. Amy Bellone-Hite in sociology, and Dr. Jerry Farmer in theology.
Alumna Spearheads XU Recruiting Efforts in Harlem
Like a good many other alumni who have come to appreciate their Xavier education, Terlenda Crawford ’07 is fiercely proud of her alma mater. She has, however, taken that devotion even one step further – physically recruiting prospective new students on the streets of Harlem, N.Y.
The scene was the 2007 National Historic Black College Fair and Expo in August, where Crawford and a cadre of other Xavierites she enlisted talked up the University and handed out assorted recruiting materials to more than 200 student prospects and high school guidance counselors – eventually collecting more than 100 information request forms which she promptly forwarded to the Admissions Office.
“The fair was a huge success – as soon as my sister (Terrilyn) and I unfurled the beautiful banner I borrowed from Admissions, everyone flooded over to the table,” said Crawford, a mass communications graduate and a former Harcourt Scholar from the Bronx. “It was amazing how many people did not know the school was open.”
Terlenda Crawford '07 with Veronica Mitchell '46
at the Black College Fair in Harlem, N.Y.
Prospective students and counselors weren’t the only ones to flock to the table. Keila Simons ’05 saw the table and happily volunteered her services. Two current XU students at home for the summer – junior history major Antoine Flateau and his sister Maria, a senior business major, also came over to help.
Crawford said she first got the idea to lend a hand at recruiting when she attended the
2006 College Fair and Expo and noticed there was no Xavier table. A call to the director of the Expo and another to the Xavier Admissions Office convinced her she could take the bull by the horns herself.
“I feel sort of obligated towards Xavier, and I want others to have the same experience I had,” said Crawford. “I was sure there were other alums who felt the same way.”
Crawford found a willing ally in Veronica Mitchell ’46, whose contact info she found while flipping through a copy of Xavier Gold magazine. Euphoric that a young alumnus was interested in recruiting for dear old XU, Mitchell herself became a prominent member of the booth staff. Another local alum, Maryse Holly ’06, found Crawford’s appeal on the internet and joined in on the effort as well.
Crawford, who spent this past summer in New Orleans working as a sixth grade for St. Peter Claver Elementary School's Summer Witness Program, also taught piano at Xavier. She took advantage of her frequent visits to the campus to drop in on virtually every academic department, as well as Admissions, the Counseling/Wellness Center, Institutional-Advancement and Student Services to gather pamphlets and other informational materials about XU to distribute at the fair.
In the end she had gathered so much stuff – more than 70 pounds of materials – that it cost her $80 out of her own pocket to ship it home. Armed with that, as well as a tent, an official XU banner, and the photo scrapbook and additioanl banners she and her younger sister put together, Crawford's display made quite a splash at this year's fair – much to the chagrin of competing colleges like Howard University and FAMU.
“I enjoyed my time at the College Fair and hope to experience recruiting again,” said Crawford, who is now a pursuing her master's degree at Michigan State University.
And alumni recruiting is a trend that seems to be catching on. Crawford recently heard from a fellow mass communication grad, Holly Clay ’07, who participated with the local Alumni Chapter in a Black College Fair in Atlanta, Ga., and who reported a similar enthusiastic response from prospective students.
Arie Shaw, a senior biology pre-med major from Monroe, La. (Neville High), was one of three Louisiana students awarded a United Negro College Fund/Merck Fellowship Award. She will receive a scholarship for undergraduate and graduate work, and be paired with a mentor (a Merck scientist) who will provide research assistance, guidance and other types of support.
Two senior pharmacy majors – Farrell Forte of St. Louis, Mo. (Hazelwood East High), a past treasurer of the Student Government Association; and Ketura Thomas of Allentown, Pa. (Catasauqua High), past president of the Pharmacy Students Association – were awarded $500 scholarships at the Annual Meeting of the Louisiana Pharmacists Association (LPA).
Two second-year pharmacy majors – Shonte Foster of Slidell, La. (Salmen High) and Alexis Omari of Oklahoma City, Okla. (Midwest City High) – spent the summer under research mentors at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through the Dr. James Furguson Emerging Infectious Diseases Fellowship Program.
Derrick Auzenne ’98, has accepted a position as an engineer specialist in the Fatigue and Fracture Analysis group at Bell Helicopter in Hurst, Texas. He joins Bell Helicopter after 8 yrs of service in structural analysis/structural design at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics.
Karl Connor, JD. LL.M. '91, BP Government Affairs Director for Arkansas-Louisiana-Mississippi, was recipient of the President’s Award at the 2007 National Bar Association Annual Awards Gala, held in Atlanta, Ga. It’s the third time he has received the award. He was also recently appointed to the Board of Directors of the Gillis Long Poverty Law Center at Loyola University-New Orleans.
Samantha Frye ‘98, an English instructor at Alabama Southern Community College, had a story, "Put on a Happy Face," published in the July 2007 issue of web newsletter Dark Fire Fiction.
Aurelia Holland, '07, has completed an intensive Spanish language program at the University of Granada's Centro de Lenguas Modernas in Grenada, Spain, through the Arcadia University Center of Education Aboard Program. She is now attending medical school at Wright State University.
Halvan Lieteau ’53, has been elected president of the New Orleans Alumni Chapter for 2007-2009. Also selected were: Dolores Aaron’47, vice president; Jane Jupiter Hayes ‘73, corresponding secretary; Winifred Wright ’66, recording secretary; Godwin Ndukwe ’85, financial secretary; Elvira Day Henry ’58, treasurer; the Rev. Victor Cohea ’85, chaplain; and Diane Pajaud ’60, parliamentarian.
Dr. Trimiko Melancon ’94, has joined the English Department faculty at Auburn University, specializing in African American literature and culture with a particular concentration in twentieth-century black women’s literature and feminist theory. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Dr. Tomia Palmer ’94, has been named chair of the recruitment committee at The Medical Center in Columbus, Ga., where she has served as an associate director for the family practice residency since August of 2006.
||Biology Professor Brings World Famous Worms to New Orleans
Did you know that on any given day, there are billions of worms crawling around in the Norman C. Francis Science Building?
“They are about as primitive an organism that exists, and yet they nevertheless share many of the essential characteristics that are central to problems of human biology,” says Barrett, an Assistant Professor of Biology in his second year at Xavier. “The species C. elegans does the same general things humans do – feed, poop, reproduce, and react to their environment, thus they represent a fantastic model for a whole range of different biological phenomena in fields such as neurobiology, development, and genetics.”
No need to run for the exits though. The worms – or more precisely, Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) – never leave their homes: the stockpiles of bacteria-laden petri dishes that dominate Dr. Peter Barrett’s recently completed research laboratory.
In the wild these small, simple organisms would ordinarily be found in the soil around rotting vegetation, where they survive by feeding on microbes such as bacteria. Totally harmless, of no real economic or environmental importance, and too small to stick on a fishing hook – they are largely ignored outside of the scientific community. To the latter, however, they are nearly indispensable.
xxxxDr. Peter Barrett
|Barely visible to the naked eye even when fully grown, the worms begin life as a single cell, undergoing a complex process of development (including four larval stages) on their way to adulthood. Blessed with a nervous system and a rudimentary “brain”, C. elegans exhibit behavior and are even capable of simple learning. They have no eyes, but possess acute senses that respond to taste, smell, temperature and touch. They produce sperm and eggs, mate, and reproduce.
What makes extremely valuable to researchers is that it was the first major research organism whose entire DNA structure has been determined (back in 1998), and all 959 somatic cells of its transparent body are visible with a microscope. That makes studying genes a much easier process.
Throw in the added benefit that they reproduce like rabbits (with or without mate), are easy to maintain, and have an average life span of a mere two weeks, makes C. elegans the ideal compromise between complexity and tractability.
In fact, they are among the best-studied and highly-published worms in the world; so much so, that there is a central repository at the University of Minnesota from which hundreds of scientists obtain strains of the worm for their specific needs. Work with the worm has resulted in two Nobel Prizes in Physiology or Medicine, one in 2002 and again in 2006.
Despite that worldwide interest, however, Barrett can lay claim to being the first C. elegans researcher in New Orleans. “I have a particular interest in the biological (genetic) and social (environmental) determinants of behavior,” said Barrett. “These little worms can be used to simulate responses in more complex organisms, so they are ideal for my research purposes.”
Undergraduate researchers: (front row, L-R) Lynez Preyan,
Rebekah Sadaiappen and Jenna Hill,
(back row) Alicia Pressley and Angela Pressley.
|Barrett, who holds a Ph.D. in Genetics and a Masters in Medical Science, both from Harvard, first became interested in the worms while doing his graduate work, where he interacted with several scientists in the field. It soon became evident that the species fit his own research interests; so much so that he also did his postdoctoral work on C. elegans.
Barrett has three primary research areas: first, the targeting of mutations to particular genes; second, the involvement of genes in neurons and behaviors in the worm; and third, the study of genes involved in cell biology and tumor formation.
Now a year into his tenure at Xavier – and after a big push this summer – Barrett is finally comfortable with his lab setup. While the Biology department had some of the items he needed, newer, specialized equipment was purchased through grants from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Sherman-Fairchild Foundation. In addition, this past summer Dr. Barrett made good use of a Center for Undergraduate Research-Minorities in Education (CUR-MIE) mini-grant to complete his preparations.
Barrett had high praise for the five Xavier undergraduates who were instrumental in helping him bring his lab up to speed – senior biology pre-med majors (and twins) Alicia and Angela Pressley of Slidell, La. (Slidell High), and sophomore biology pre-med majors Jenna Hill of New Orleans (McMain), Lynez Preyan of New Orleans (Dominican) and Rebekah Sadaiappen of Destrehan, La. (Destrehan). The three sophomores have all indicated an interest in working with Barrett for the remainder of their time at Xavier.
To Barrett, the involvement of the students in research work is of the utmost importance.
“Lab work can be an essential part of the learning experience,” said Barrett, who is teaching Genetics, Genetics Lab, General Biology, and Cell Biology at the University. “It’s a hands-on, experiential form of teaching.”
He is especially pleased that his students have signed on for the longer term. “I deliberately looked for some freshmen or sophomore level students because it’s important to develop some continuity,” he said.
Ultimately, Barrett hopes his research will enhance Xavier’s already strong science curriculum, leading to some additional course offerings, such as neurobiology. He wouldn’t mind using the worms to find a cure for some genetic disease down the line, either.
college guides continued
The Princeton Review, a New York-based education services company, showcases only about 15% of the four-year colleges in American and two Canadian colleges in its annual "The Best 366 Colleges" guide. XU was one of 358 holdovers from last year’s guide.
"We chose schools for this book primarily for their outstanding academics,” said Robert Franek, vice president for publishing, noting that the schools were evaluated based on institutional data collected from the schools, feedback from students enrolled in the schools, and Princeton Review visits to schools over the years.”
The guide offers two-page profiles on each of the 366 schools, in addition to ranking the top 20 colleges in the book in various categories based on student comments.
"In our opinion, each school in this book is a 'best' when it comes to academics, but as anyone visiting colleges can attest, their campus cultures and offerings differ greatly,” said Frank.
“We compile rankings in multiple categories to give college applicants and their parents – particularly those who can't visit these schools – a wide range of information to decide which of these academically outstanding colleges will be best for them. It's all about the fit."
Citing Xavier’s unparalleled success in a number of academic areas – particularly premedical and pharmacy studies – the college guide noted that the “typical Xavier undergrad is ‘black, smart, sometimes a little too hard on themselves,’ and ‘strives for success and wants to further her education through a graduate/professional program.’ Undergraduates here are typically studious …”
For more info on Xavier or a complete look at the guide, visit The Princeton Review.
In the 2008 edition of its popular annual college guide, U.S. News ranks Xavier 36th on its list of the "Best Universities - Master's" from the southern region of the United States.
The annual guide divides all colleges and universities into four categories – national, master's, comprehensive and liberal arts colleges – grouping them further into designated geographical regions. Xavier is included among the master's schools because it offers a full range of undergraduate and master's level programs, in addition to a single doctoral program.
A total of 60 colleges and universities from 12 states were included among the “top tier” institutions in this year’s southern region rankings. According to the magazine, which lists more than 1,400 schools in all categories nationwide, the ratings are based on academic reputation, graduation and retention rates, faculty resources, student s/electivity, financial resources and alumni giving.
The complete list of the southern "Best Universities - Master's" is available at U.S. NEWS.
|Frances Shani Parker ’67, a national service-learning consultant, was awarded the
National Service-Learning Trailblazer Award by the National Service-Learning Partnership during at the annual Urban Service-learning Institute, held in Detroit, Mich.
Steve Prince ’91, traveled to Santa Catarina, Brazil as an exchange artist to teach and lecture under the Partners of the Americas program.
Virginia Richard ’07, has been accepted into the master’s degree program in marriage and family therapy at the University of Southern California, which award her the USC Rossier School of Education scholarship.
Edward Stemley, PharmD. ’96, has been named the new director of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Section of Pharmacy Practice Managers. He previously directed three inpatient pharmacy departments and seventeen ambulatory pharmacies in the Harris County (Houston, Texas) Hospital District. He visited campus this past month to address new XU pharmacy students at the annual White Coast Ceremony.
The husband and wife duo of Dr. Erica Townsend-Bell '01, and Dr. Brian Hall ’00, has moved to Iowa City, Ia., where Erica – who recently received her Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis – is serving as an assistant professor of political science at the University of Iowa, and Brian – fresh off his residency in pediatrics at the University of Chicago – is a fellow in pediatric critical care at the University of Iowa Hospitals.
Dr. Reginald Taylor ‘82, an associate professor and director of pre-doctoral orthodontics at Texas A&M Health Science Center Baylor College of Dentistry, was presented the National Dental Association Foundation's Colgate-Palmolive Faculty Recognition Award for his achievements in dental education and research.
Dr. Kenneth Williams ‘90, has begun his family medicine residency at the North Mississippi Medical Center Family Medicine Residency Center in Tupelo, Miss. He earned his medical degree and a Ph.D. at Meharry Medical College.
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