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Providing Shelter From the Storm

In this issue, coverage of Hurricane Katrina’s impact on higher education and the nation takes on even greater prominence than in our previous edition, which had early reports on the evacuation of and damage to historically Black universities in the gulf region. Updates by Cassie Chew, Scott Dyer and other correspondents based in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina paint a bleak picture for those schools, especially in the cases of Dillard University and Southern University in New Orleans.
The campuses of those schools are believed to be ruined by floodwaters that reached as high as 15 feet in places. Dr. Edward R. Jackson, the acting president of the Southern University System, says the physical plant of the New Orleans campus may be a complete loss, according to Dyer’s story “Hurricane Puts Louisiana Higher Education Leadership to the Test.” 

In the cover story, our correspondents recount how the HBCU community has generously responded to the plight of displaced students, helping them keep their educations on track in the midst of catastrophe. By late September, Texas Southern University in Houston, for example, had accepted and enrolled more than 800 students displaced by Katrina. “So far we feel fortunate to have the ability to help. Some have lost everything. We meet the parents. We hear their stories,” says Hasan Jamil, the assistant vice president for enrollment services at Texas Southern. At press time, Hurricane Rita was expected to hit the Texas Gulf Coast region. And as a result, TSU officials were
asking students to evacuate the area and arranging transportation for students in need of a way out of town.

In “From Shakespeare to Sports,” Lydia Lum explores the growing trend among colleges and universities to join their campuses and educational offerings with senior citizen communities. A number of campuses in recent years have affiliated themselves with communities established for retirees, including alumni. Experts estimate that about 50 retirement communities have sprung up on, or near, campuses and enjoy access to school resources.

“When we talk about older adults, we are getting away from the orientation of personal comfort and, instead shifting to personal growth and giving people reasons to get up in the morning,” says Dr. Leon Pastalan, a University of Michigan professor emeritus and a principal in Collegiate Retirement Community Consultants.

And finally, Dina Horwedel examines a highly targeted teacher education initiative at the University of Northern Colorado. A growing Hispanic population in  UNC’s base city of Greeley, Colo., prompted the university to establish the “Cumbres” program. The program provides in-depth training for instructors to develop expertise in educating Hispanic immigrant-origin children. Says Linda Carbajal, director of Cumbres, the effort is based on the belief that “every kid must get 100 percent from our teachers.”

Hilary Hurd Anyaso

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