Tulane to close a Mississippi campus

Tulane University will close its campus in the Jackson, Mississippi, suburb of Madison at the end of the spring semester, The Associated Press reported, citing The Clarion-Ledger newspaper.

Students were notified via email from University President Michael Fitts and the dean of continuing studies, Suri Duitch, the paper reported. 

Fitts and Duitch said the closure would allow Tulane's School of Continuing Studies "to focus more attention on its New Orleans and Gulf Coast campuses, and on online programs, where we believe there are great opportunities for our current and future students."

The Madison campus opened in 2010. Jackson State University also has a Madison campus.

In 2013, when Jackson State announced plans to open its Madison campus, Tulane and Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler petitioned the state College Board to rescind what they called the "premature" approval of JSU's expansion. Butler said the city wanted to make sure that JSU would not compete for students with Tulane, which opened a Madison branch after the city approached the university about putting a branch there.

Tulane's email about the Madison closure said students have several options that may include taking online courses, continuing at another Tulane campus or transferring to another institution.

UNO names winners of teaching awards

The University of New Orleans International Alumni Association has selected film professor Erik Hansen and math instructor Lori Hodges to receive its annual Excellence in Teaching Awards.

The two were chosen through student class evaluations, peer recommendations and letters from alumni. According to UNO officials, the two teachers push students to achieve what they didn’t know was possible.

Each will be awarded $2,000.

Hansen is an assistant professor of film and theater who has taught screenwriting at UNO since 2008. He consistently receives perfect or near-perfect scores on his student evaluations, according to UNO. He holds a master of fine arts in creative writing from UNO and a bachelor’s degree in English literature from the University of California, Berkeley.

He is also the author of a number of screenplays, including “Hearts and Souls” (1993), which starred Elisabeth Shue and Robert Downey Jr. Hansen also mentors new instructors and professors. 

Hodges also joined UNO’s faculty in 2008. She came at a time when the Department of Mathematics was concerned about student success in the Math 1115 sections. Hodges jumped in to help redesign the course, focusing on consistent teaching and testing while increasing interaction between students and faculty.

She also revamped algebra and pre-calculus courses, which are taught using interactive technology, according to school officials. She has worked extensively with the dual enrollment program at Benjamin Franklin High School. 

Hodges holds a bachelor's degree in math from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master’s degree from Southern Illinois University. She volunteers in the math tutoring center and often holds special review sessions with students prior to tests.

Delgado's McNeely adds new responsibilities

Dr. Stanton McNeely, vice chancellor for institutional advancement at Delgado Community College, has assumed the responsibilities of interim vice chancellor for workforce development and technical education.

McNeely will serve in both capacities while a search is conducted for a permanent vice chancellor for workforce development and technical education.

Dr. Larissa Littleton-Steib, who held the position previously, has been appointed chancellor of Baton Rouge Community College.

Delgado's workforce development program provides worker training for business and industry as well as continuing education courses.

About 10,000 individuals are served by the unit, which includes the Delgado Maritime and Industrial Training Center. Notable initiatives include Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses and the Career Pathways partnership with the New Orleans Sewerage & Water Board and the GE Foundation.

The Delgado Technical Division provides instruction in technical career fields to about 1,600 students, leading to associate degrees, certificates and diplomas. 

The institutional advancement program is responsible for all college fundraising initiatives, endowments, scholarships and public relations activities.

McNeely holds degrees in higher education from Northcentral University, business administration from Loyola University in New Orleans and accounting from Our Lady of Holy Cross College. He has more than 20 years of experience in higher education administration and teaching.

He became vice chancellor for institutional advancement at Delgado in November 2013 after four years as dean of planning and institutional effectiveness at Fletcher Technical Community College in Houma.

Follow Della Hasselle on Twitter, @dellahasselle.