U-M board hires firm to help guide culture overhaul at university

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Students walk down South State Street on the University of Michigan central campus in Ann Arbor on Wednesday, June 13, 2018. (Photo: Kimberly P. Mitchell, Kimberly P. Mitchell, Detroit Fr)

The University of Michigan’s Board of Regents officially has hired an outside firm to help guide its response to sexual assault complaints and help overhaul a culture many said led to the improper handling of accusations against high-profile employees.

Guidepost Solutions is an investigations, regulatory compliance, monitoring and security consulting firm that has served as the independent safety monitor for General Motors  and as federal monitor of the New York City Housing Authority. It also has addressed sexual misconduct or discrimination matters at a number of public and private universities.

A former federal prosecutor, Asha Muldro, will lead the team working with U-M. 

“The key to our success here at the University of Michigan will be a solid and productive working relationship with the university community. Our focus will be to understand institutional needs, challenges and cultures to define solutions that are impactful and sustainable over the long term,” Muldro told regents Thursday. “This is a forward-looking constructive effort to work with the university in a changing environment.” 

She said this project must bring together the campus community, its leadership and Guidepost with each having the same goals: establishing a program that is credible and has integrity. 

“To achieve this goal, it is essential that we work closely with the university community. The planning and helping to implement the recommendations must be the result of collaboration to be successful.” 

In 2020, the university has been rocked by two scandals. Hundreds of students, mostly athletes, said an athletic department doctor, Robert Anderson, sexually assaulted them. The other case involved at least eight women who said they were sexually harassed by Martin Philbert over decades as he rose up the ranks to become the university’s provost — the highest ranking academic officer and No. 2 person at the school.

The firm has a one-year contract, with a university option for a second year. It reports directly to the board. It will work with President Mark Schlissel and his administration, but not report to him.

The university will pay the company up to $400,000 for the work, the contract says. The contract also promises “public reports will be provided at a cadence that is mutually agreed upon but will include at a minimum the Regents’ regularly scheduled board meeting on June 17, 2021.” 

Board chairwoman Denise Ilitch called the hiring an important step in making change.

“We recognize that outside accountability and perspective is critical in identifying and creating meaningful policy and cultural reform,” she said. 

In hiring outside experts to come in and help the university, U-M travels down the same road as Michigan State University before political differences on the board scuttled that project, even after a firm had been hired. In MSU’s case, the board was reacting to the cover-up of athletic doctor Larry Nassar’s sexual assault of hundreds

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Fuller, Booker talk education, board leadership

Early voting continues in the District 1 runoff for Midland ISD school board.

James Fuller and Michael Booker were the top-2 vote-getters from the Nov. 3 election and the winner of the Dec. 15 runoff will represent the east Midland area that includes areas around the following campuses: Milam Elementary, Lee Freshman High School, Pease Communications and Technology, Coleman High School, Gen. Tommy Franks Elementary (the former Crockett Elementary), Washington STEM Academy and Carver Center.

Those in precincts 201, 203, 305, 308 and 310 are eligible to vote.

The following is a recap of comments made from both men during the Reporter-Telegram Facebook Forum held in October.

About questions they would ask during upcoming superintendent interviews.

Fuller: He would focus primarily on a candidate’s vision for the district and philosophy in regards to education and working with a school board. Specifically, he would ask about familiarity with Lone Star Governance as Fuller said during the form the he believes in the program. “That is where we are and (the candidate’s response) will tell me whether they will be a good fit.”

Fuller also said he will ask about a candidate’s history in working with communities and how to build a “productive relationship” with the community in Midland.

Booker: He said he will ask about where a candidate standards on academics, the person’s vision for academics for Midland ISD and what motivates the person to be a superintendent for Midland ISD.

About what they think the board can improve on and where the district is lagging

Booker: He said teacher morale was a big issue and that the district needed to get their trust back. “They have to trust us not to retaliate in a negative way.” Booker said he worried this impacts motivation in the classroom.

Fuller: While Fuller said there is a morale issue, he said he didn’t believe it was an “across-the-board phenomenon that continues to stifle progress.” He said if that were the case, the district wouldn’t have seen turnaround taking place. He said board members have a goal of providing more autonomy to the campuses. That transition, he said, will take time. He also said that there is a morale problem from top down and bottom up in the district, but that the community asked for change and innovation and leadership has brought that to the table.

Fuller also took the opportunity to say that no board member can turn anything around by himself or herself – a “naïve notion” that some candidates have, he said. “It is what you do in concert with the board members and superintendent that make up the team of eight.”

About whether the System of Great Schools in working in Midland

Booker: The System of Great Schools is not working as nine schools are failing, including five campuses in District 1, he said. “I think we need to find something different. We need to go to the teachers to see if they can figure out something that will work.”

Fuller

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Cleveland-Heights University-Heights board of education, teachers union reach tentative agreement, averting strike

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Cleveland-Heights University-Heights school district’s board of education and teachers union reached a tentative agreement on Wednesday, averting a strike from about 500 union members.

A strike was set to begin Wednesday, and some educators showed up to picket without knowing an agreement was close, according to a press release from the district.

“The parties negotiated all of last night and into the morning, ultimately agreeing on important compromises for the good of our students and community,” the joint statement read. “Due to negotiations going until 6:30 a.m., some Union members arrived to picket unaware that a tentative agreement was already near completion. We are happy that a strike was averted and students’ education will not be interrupted.”

A picket line formed on Wednesday morning, despite the remnants of a winter storm that blew through Northeast Ohio on Tuesday. School was closed for all students on Wednesday because of the storm.

WKYC published footage of the picket line on Wednesday morning.

The dispute over the contract between the union and school board included disagreements over health care, with a hike in premiums that would begin in January, as well as no pay raises except from those that come from seniority, Thomas Jewell reported.

The joint statement notes the union and the district will continue as a “united front” for fair school funding.

The agreement is not yet ratified, so union members and the school board must both approve it.

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Miami University’s board of trustees approves two new degrees in nursing


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The board of trustees approved plans to move forward with an addition to the stables located at Miami for the equestrian program. (Architectural rendering.)

Two new degree programs in nursing at Miami University were approved by the board of trustees at its regular business meeting held Monday, Nov. 30.

A Masters of Science in Nursing and a Doctor of Nursing Practice will add 50 new courses within the College of Liberal Arts and Applied Science at the regional campuses. The master’s program includes three areas of study concentrations: nurse practitioner, nurse leadership and nurse educator. The doctor of nursing will provide coursework to prepare nurses for advanced leadership and patient care.

These are two of the newest emerging and in-demand degrees that Miami is launching to meet changing workforce needs. This year the university rolled out plans for 14 new undergraduate degrees, 12 graduate offerings, and 20 certificates and micro-credentials.

Miami trustees met virtually because of the pandemic. Authorization also was given by the board to proceed with the construction of an addition to the existing stables and building that support Miami’s equestrian program with a total project budget not to exceed $4.22 million. Funding for this project is from student participating fees and a gift given to the university by an anonymous donor. 

President Gregory Crawford commented on the resolve and resilience of faculty, staff and students through this year of the pandemic. He commended the Safe Return to Campus Planning and Coordinating Committee highlighting, in particular, the testing and contact tracing teams. Their efforts in developing a five-tier strategy that included wide-net and surveillance testing, A Remain-in-Room Color coding system, as well as quarantine and isolation protocols were instrumental in reducing the spread of COVID-19. 

He also recognized the efforts of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force whose members worked tirelessly through the summer to craft 44 recommendations for DEI initiatives.  Implementation work has begun.  

Crawford also pointed out numerous national awards Miami received in 2020 further advancing its educational mission despite the pandemic. Miami received the Higher Education in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. The Altman Institute in Miami’s Farmer School of Business received a 2020 NASDAQ Center of Entrepreneurial Excellence Award. Princeton Review and Entrepreneurial magazine ranked Miami among institutions in the top 10 for entrepreneurial education. Miami’s Naval ROTC was honored by the Department of Defense and the Work+ Program was the inspiration behind Ohio House Bill 614.

Speaking to the future, Crawford addressed the university’s “renaissance” and how Miamians will flourish post-COVID. Along with the emerging and in-demand degrees, Miami is creating opportunities to collaborate with businesses and organizations to transcend higher education. Miami introduced the department of emerging technology business and design, the department of entrepreneurship and the Center for Social Impact and Innovation.
In other action, the board of trustees also:

Approved the conferring of all appropriate degrees, honors and distinctions as recommended by the Faculty

  • Assembly for all Commencement exercises scheduled during the 2020-2021 academic year and 
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Portland Board of Education on cusp of new leadership

PORTLAND — The Portland Board of Education has informally chosen Emily Figdor as its new chairperson for the 2020-2021 school board year.

In a straw poll vote Nov. 17, the school board, including the soon-to-be sworn-in new members, informally voted to nominate Emily Figdor as the group’s new chairperson. A formal vote comes Dec. 7. Contributed / Portland Public Schools

A formal vote to chose a chairperson is scheduled for Dec. 7, when the board will hold an inauguration ceremony for Jeffrey Irish, Aura Russell-Bedder and Yusuf Yusuf, who were elected Nov. 3.

“Emily has years of experience doing work in the community, even before she joined the board, that has prepared her with skills that are transferable to the chairmanship,” board member Anna Trevorrow said in nominating Figdor Nov. 17.

“She is a natural leader and it has become very apparent over these last two years working with her that she puts the collective goals of the board about everything and uses that to lead,” Trevorrow said. “I think she will represent the board very well.”

Board member Sarah Thompson also feels Figdor is right for the role.

“She does her homework and is engaged deeply in the work,” Thompson said.

Figdor, elected to the board in 2018, would replace Roberto Rodriguez, an at-large member since 2016 who has served as chairperson for the last two years. Figdor said she admires Rodriguez and sees him as the board’s “moral compass as we break new ground in creating a just and equitable school district.”

If elected Dec. 7, she said her focus would be to increase communication among board members and also with residents, not just those the board tends to hear from most.

“An active and engaged board and a passionate and involved community together can move mountains,” she said.

Community involvement, she said, “strengthens our decisions and strengthens our actions.”

Prior to joining the board two years ago, Figdor co-chaired the Reiche school PTO group and co-founded Protect Our Neighborhood Schools, a group advocating for voters to pass a $64 million bond in 2017 to renovate the Longfellow, Lyseth, Presumpscot and Reiche elementary schools.

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Terraforming Mars board game is now 40% off for Cyber Monday

Attention all would-be Martian explorers. The critically acclaimed (and just downright addictive) board game Terraforming Mars is now available on Target for just $41.99!



Terraforming Mars Board Game Deal


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Terraforming Mars Board Game Deal

For a game that’s highly complex, gorgeously designed, and yet engrossingly entertaining, Terraforming Mars usually comes with a big price tag of $70. So with a blistering 40% saving, you can grab your copy of the base game and get $27 off the usual price — of course, this deal may not be in orbit for too long this Cyber Monday, so act fast! 



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Terraforming Mars: $69.95 $41.99 at Target Cerebral, challenging and beautifully presented — the  Terraforming Mars base game can now be yours with 40% off the price, saving you a massive $27.

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Though sadly experts do not believe we will ever see blue skies over the Red Planet, you can still indulge in a little fiction, as Terraforming Mars takes you to the 24th century and the immersive possibilities of space exploration and colonization. 

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Playing co-operatively, two to four players take on the role of a mega-corporation, whose aim is to convert Mars into a green, habitable (and it goes without saying profitable) new world. While collecting and spending resources, prioritizing projects and building infrastructure across the Martian landscape, players must also overcome the planet’s harsh environment in order to succeed.

Terraforming Mars expansion deals

If you have already earned your Martian stripes and clocked up a few hours with the base game, you can still find great savings on Terraforming Mars’s many imaginative  expansion sets. For example, the Venus Next expansion box opens up the inhospitable planet’s noxious atmosphere: will you be able to tame this deadly world and build a new settlement? Meanwhile if you want to explore the possibilities lying elsewhere in the Solar System, Terraforming Mars: Colonies enables players to scour  for rich mineral sources and other habitable locations.    





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Terraforming Mars: Venus Next: $29.95 $23.37 at Amazon Venus is a deadly world, but one full of potential. Can your corporation succeed in building huge flying cities and introducing life in an inhospitable environment? 

Venus Next adds a side game board as well as new tiles, tokens and Venus cards to the deck.

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Terraforming Mars: The Colonies: $29.95 $25.39 on Amazon The pursuit of resources has expanded to all corners of the solar system. Help your corporation colonies the clouds of Jupiter and trade with faraway moons in this expansion. 

Colonies adds Colony tiles and includes new cards and corporations.

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Terraforming Mars: Turmoil: $34.95 $32.64 on Amazon All is not well on Mars. This expansion lets you struggle for control of the transforming Council and influencing the politics that have developed. 

Turmoil includes new corporations, projects, and new global events cards that can throw anything from dust storms to uprisings at the players.

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Gov. Ron DeSantis taps Tampa investment firm leader for university oversight board

Gov. Ron DeSantis this week appointed Ken Jones, the head of a Tampa investment firm, to the Florida Board of Governors, which oversees the state university system.



a couple of people that are standing in front of a building: Ken Jones, named this week to the Florida Board of Governors, speaks at a 2013 news conference about the economic impact of the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa.


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Ken Jones, named this week to the Florida Board of Governors, speaks at a 2013 news conference about the economic impact of the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa.

Jones runs Third Lake Partners and is set to join the Board of Governors upon confirmation from the Florida Senate. He is a former practicing lawyer and served as the CEO of the host committee that brought the 2012 Republican National Convention to Tampa. He was recently named to the executive committee of the 2021 Super Bowl Host Committee.

The Board of Governors directs policy for Florida’s many public universities, including the University of Florida, Florida State University and the University of South Florida. This year, members have discussed the potential for a tuition hike and weighed in on guidelines for campus reopenings amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Jones, 48, said he is a lifelong Floridian who attended Florida State University as an undergraduate and later earned a law degree at the University of Florida.

“It’s an incredible honor to be asked to serve on the Board of Governors,” he told the Tampa Bay Times. “I’m hopeful that I can contribute the experiences that I’ve had in my life both as a student in the education system as well as an executive who runs a business and bring those perspectives to the board to influence good education policy in the state of Florida.”

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Lola Eniola-Adefeso, PhD of University of Michigan Joins MichBio Board of Directors

ANN ARBOR, Mich.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–MichBio welcomes Lola Eniola-Adefeso, PhD, University Diversity and Social Transformation Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Michigan to its Board of Directors. Dr. Eniola-Adefeso was appointed to complete a term expiring in December 2022.

The Diversity and Social Transformation Professorship was awarded to an inaugural group of nine University of Michigan professors, including Dr. Eniola-Adefeso, in September 2019. The designation was recently created to recognize senior faculty who have shown a commitment to the university’s ideals of diversity, equity and inclusion through their scholarship, teaching, or service and engagement.

In addition to her role as Diversity and Social Transformation Professor, Dr. Eniola-Adefeso also holds joint appointments in Biomedical Engineering and Macromolecular Science & Engineering and serves on the steering committee of the UM Biointerfaces Institute. She holds a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania and served two years as a NIH Postdoctoral Fellow at the Baylor College of Medicine before coming to Michigan.

As a champion for women and underrepresented minority students, Dr. Eniola-Adefeso served as co-chair of the NextProf program and founded the NextProf Pathfinder program. As graduate chair of chemical engineering, she was instrumental in recruiting a class consisting of 44 percent women and 26 percent underrepresented minorities, the most diverse Ph.D. class in the history of the department.

Dr. Eniola-Adefeso is a co-founder of Asalyxa Bio. Asalyxa Bio is a recently-founded company making progress on a treatment for Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), including the variety found in COVID-19 patients.

The company’s lead program is ASX-100, a technology that delivers an anti-inflammatory agent directly to overreactive neutrophils. The arrival of ASX-100 reduces the activity of these immune cells and minimizes harm to the body from the immune overreaction that triggers what’s known as a “cytokine storm.”

“I am very happy to welcome Dr. Eniola-Adefeso to the Board,” says Stephen Rapundalo, PhD, President and CEO of MichBio. “As a leader in biomedical research and a constant champion for diversity and inclusion, I am confident that she will provide valuable strategic vision that will guide MichBio as we continue to drive bio-industry growth into the future.”

Dr. Eniola-Adefeso becomes part of a seventeen-member Board that in late June 2020, elected Ken Massey, PhD, Director of Venture Development at Wayne State University as Chair, and Kevin McLeod, CEO of C2Dx as Vice Chair. Robert Donofrio, PhD, Vice President of Food Safety R&D at Neogen and Sandra Pennell, Controller at Vericel, were elected into non-voting Officer roles as Secretary and Treasurer, respectively. For the full list of Board members visit michbio.org/page/BOD.

For more information on MichBio visit michbio.org

MichBio is the trade association committed to driving growth in Michigan’s biosciences industry and its many sectors, including agri-biotech, food and nutrition, bio-based technologies and renewable chemicals, industrial and environmental biotech, medical devices and technologies, pharmaceuticals and consumer healthcare, diagnostics and research products, testing and research services, and clinical research. MichBio members include bioscience companies, academic and research institutions, bioscience service providers, and related organizations. For

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Berea school board backs effort to fix Ohio’s education funding formula

BEREA, Ohio — The Berea Board of Education at its Nov. 16 meeting passed a resolution endorsing the Fair School Funding Plan and urging state lawmakers to pass legislation aimed at fixing Ohio’s unconstitutional funding formula for education.

District Treasurer/CFO Jill Rowe presented the district’s five-year financial forecast to the board and indicated lawmakers are attempting to get the new funding law passed by Dec. 15.

“It’s very exciting news,” Rowe said. “In our current funding model, we’re compared (financially) to state averages and other school districts. This new model funds us locally and keeps the money here for our kids.”

The district currently receives $6,020 in state funding per student. If a child living in Berea, Brook Park, or Middleburg Heights attends a non-public school, however, Rowe said the per-student allocation is taken directly from the district’s bank account and given to the private/charter/community school.

The new state funding formula would base allocations not on state averages, but on local district demographics. It also would provide a separate funding mechanism for non-public schools.

Rowe said the Berea City Schools currently receives $7.4 million in state education funding. Under the proposed new formula, the district would receive $12.7 million. The state has indicated it will take six years to fully implement, Rowe emphasized.

“Most districts are going to be winners in the long run,” she said, provided the legislation passes in the current lame-duck session. “This is more equitable to the districts.”

“If this gets passed, we can be cautiously optimistic that future (state) budgets will benefit the district,” added board member Jeffrey Duke.

During her presentation, Rowe also indicated the district will begin deficit spending in 2022.

“We need to be concerned about watching our yearly expenses,” she said, noting discussions will begin between herself, Superintendent Tracy Wheeler, and Assistant Superintendent Michael Draves about “what we need to do when talking about future money for the district.”

Rowe did stress, however, the district continues to maintain a required cash balance equal to one month of operations, which is $7.5 million. The district is not projected to fall below that amount until 2024.

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Ankeny school board granted 14-day waiver to conduct classes 100% virtually

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Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds laid out guidance for how public health officials will respond when students or school staff suspect they might have the coronavirus.

Des Moines Register

The Iowa Department of Education granted a 14-day remote learning waiver for the entire Ankeny School District on Thursday.

The 14-day period granted by the state starts Nov. 23 and lasts until Dec. 7. During this period of time, the district is also required to cease any in-person extracurricular activities. Extracurricular activities may continue in an online or virtual manner.

The Ankeny school board voted Monday night allow the district’s administration to apply for the 14-day waiver following the most recent spike in COVID-19 cases across the state. 

On Monday, the school district returned to a hybrid model for all elementary school students after the board voted to do so in a special meeting on Nov. 9. 

As of Nov. 12, 40 students and 12 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. In addition, 336 students and 34 staff members are in quarantine. Currently the five-day average absence rate is 2.9% for students and 9.1% of staff.

Melody Mercado covers the eastern Des Moines metro for the Register. Reach her at [email protected] or Twitter @melodymercadotv

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