The Board of Regents Thursday unanimously selected Dr. Jim Purcell to serve as commissioner of higher education. Currently the director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, Purcell becomes the 7th person to serve in the post. He replaces Sally Clausen, who resigned last year amid a flap over the state’s controversial retire-rehire program.
According to the board:
In addition to his time in Arkansas, Purcell also brings experience as associate vice president for strategic planning for the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. During his tenure in both states, Purcell worked extensively on issues including the creation and implementation of performance-based funding, the seamless transfer of credits among colleges and universities, and strategies for improving educational attainment.
Purcell previously resided in Baton Rouge, working for Our Lady of the Lake College as director of planning and assessment from 1994-98 and says the commitment to improve the quality of life offered by our state is just one of the many reasons he applied for the position.
Dr. Purcell holds a BS in public administration from Auburn University, an M.Ed. in counseling from the University of Montevallo and an Ed.D. in higher education administration from the University of Alabama. Much of his background focuses on improving institutional effectiveness and includes extensive experience in student placement, academic program reviews, academic program development, program entrance requirements, course evaluations, grade distributions and student retention and graduation rates. Additionally, he has experience working in 2-year, 4-year, public and private colleges and universities in five states.
Regent Chairman Bob Levy will negotiate the details of Purcell’s letter of appointment in the coming days. Act 648 of 2010 Legislative Session requires a 2/3 vote of the total membership of the Board of Regents to hire a commissioner, subject to confirmation by the Senate. Last week, the Board of Regents received approval from the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget on compensation package not to exceed $275,000 to be negotiated with the commissioner.
Currently residing in Little Rock, Arkansas, Dr. Purcell and his wife Sandra have an 18-year-old daughter who attends the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
MAY 24 Blogger Robert Mann posts this entry about the Baton Rouge Chamber's recent report on Louisiana's higher education system. It's critical to economic development, and yet our system is facing a "funding crisis" with no way to resolve it, the report says. The Chamber says control of tuition and fees must be returned to the higher ed governing boards.
MAY 24 Here's a NBC33 story about Tyrann Mathieu. He has signed with the Arizona Cardinals, inking a $3 million, four-year deal. He gets a signing bonus of $265K, but gets another, larger bonus if he doesn't get cut from the team for doing drugs. The deal reportedly includes mandatory tests and meetings for the player.
MAY 24 Jarvis DeBerry posts here about the redonkulus rhetoric that would have us believe NOLA is a safe city with a murder problem. Maybe the city's crime stats don't compare with its murder stats because you can't manipulate a murder, he says: a dead body's a dead body. It just doesn't make sense, he says, and his readers agree: a poll asks if they believe the city is safe, and more than 90 percent say no.
MAY 24 Jindal administration officials announced Thursday that the privatization of public health care is going to cost a lot more than they budgeted for, the Advocate reports here. "I'm so surprised," said no one. Anywhere. The cost they're projecting now is more than $1 billion - a lot more than the $626 million budgeted for it. And, it's more than it cost the state to operate those hospitals. So why are we doing this again?
MAY 24 Blogger CB Forgotston ridicules the recent PR campaign by the state GOP in the wake of a legislative auditor's request to both major parties. The GOP (apparently unaware that the Dems got the same request) started yammering about being targeted because it had "killed" a tax increase. CB finds that laughable, but it's also pretty funny that the GOP was comparing this episode to the IRS scandal (Because the President has so much to do with our state auditor. Right?).
MAY 24 Politico details some recent fund-raising efforts by Sen. David Vitter, which have raised the question of his future political plans. This time, it is a $5,000 per head "bayou weekend" that includes "Cajun cooking" and an all-caps "alligator hunt," the story reports. Funds raised go to a super PAC that can spend money to support Vitter in federal or state races, the story points out.
MAY 24 The pink building on Royal in the quarter was sold at a sheriff's sale Thursday, this Picayune story reports. An injunction that would have halted the sale wasn't enforced because the family failed to post a $150,000 bond, the story reports. So the owner of the mortgages on the building bought it, for nearly $7 million. Now the feuding family will have to negotiate with that company to get a lease on the building that has housed their business for close to 60 years.
MAY 23 This post in Louisiana Voice tells us about a bill by a Winnsboro lege that would require all public high school students to take at least one Course Choice online class in order to graduate. (What?) Blogger Tom Aswell says it's a monument to "waste and corruption," especially in light of the problems he's exposed with the program in recent weeks. Idaho had a similar program, but voters removed it by a 2-1 margin, Aswell says.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.
Philip deMahy Sr., a once respected New Iberia ad exec, was sentenced May 2 to spend the next two years (he faced up to 100 years) in a state penitentiary after state and federal investigators found dozens of images depicting children engaged in lewd sexual acts on his personal computer.