New Orleans higher education briefs for Dec. 17, 2012

Newcomb alums work for recovery

A group of Newcomb College graduates from 40 years ago have made their seventh consecutive trip to participate in Habitat for Humanity home building.

Each year, the week after Thanksgiving, the dozen or so friends have made the trip from their homes in California, Illinois, New York, Washington and other states.

This year, they worked on a house on Magnolia Street, a few blocks from Claiborne and Louisiana avenues.

Tulane University students, Caroline Aviles and Kristen Wollman, joined them at the worksite.

Rachelle Galanti Parker, a former principal at a New Jersey high school, said that she keeps coming back to connect with friends and to give back to the city she loves.

She also returns “so that I can become a more self-confident woman, learning how to do things for myself.”

The Newcomb group made their first visit in 2006 and finished construction on the Habitat home of Kewanda Baxter. Since then, the Newcomb women have stayed in touch with Baxter and her three children, providing educational supplies and other support.

Delgado to hold commencement

Delgado Community College will award about 800 degrees, diplomas and certificates at 10 a.m. Tuesday during Fall 2012 Commencement exercises in the Sen. Nat G. Kiefer UNO Lakefront Arena.

State Sen. Conrad Appel, R-Metarie, will be the principal speaker. Appel is president of ConstructionSouth Inc., specializing in industrial and commercial general construction. Others giving remarks include: Delgado Chancellor Monty Sullivan, University of New Orleans President Peter Fos, Southern University at New Orleans Chancellor Viktor Ukpolo, Delgado Foundation Board Chairman Ashton Ryan and Bob Brown, managing director of the Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region.

Deborah R. Lea, vice chancellor for academic affairs and college provost, will preside over the commencement exercises.

Commencement exercises include the Delgado City Park, West Bank and Charity School of Nursing campuses; East and West Jefferson Technical Division sites; and Covington and Slidell locations.

UNO honors two faculty members

Connie Zeanah Atkinson, associate history professor, and Gilda Reed, a psychology instructor, received the University of New Orleans International Alumni Association’s annual Excellence in Teaching Award at Saturday’s commencement ceremony.

The awards are designed to recognize UNO faculty who demonstrate the highest achievement in academic instruction.

This year, the alumni association’s board of directors decided to confer two awards and to increase award amounts to $2,000.

Atkinson, acting director of the Midlo Center for New Orleans Studies, has taught courses at UNO in U.S. history, history of New Orleans music, music and tourism, New Orleans jazz in jazz age Paris and public history methods, including oral history and history research methods. She has taught at UNO for 15 years.

Reed, a psychology instructor at UNO for 18 years, appeared this year in the Princeton Review book 300 Best Professors.

She is the only UNO professor and one of three Louisiana faculty members to have received this honor across all disciplines.

Reed currently teaches eight UNO courses, both on campus and online. After Hurricane Katrina, UNO asked departments to increase online offerings, and Reed developed eight courses and has taught the majority of them for the past seven years.

Partnership brings clinic for seniors

The LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Nursing, in partnership with the LSU Healthcare Network and Volunteers of America Greater New Orleans, will open the LSU Health School of Nursing-Healthcare Network Clinic at The Terraces on Tulane Monday.

The clinic, at 3615 Tulane Ave., is managed by nurses and staffed by LSU Health Sciences Center nurse practitioners. A health fair, flu shots, and tours of the clinic for residents of The Terraces on Tulane will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. following a breakfast for residents hosted by Volunteers of America.

The Terraces on Tulane is a Volunteers of America affordable apartment community with 200 one-bedroom apartments for fixed income seniors 62 years of age and older.

The clinic is supported by a grant awarded to the LSUHSC School of Nursing last year to develop and operate the clinic in conjunction with the LSU Healthcare Network.

UNO programs aimed at crisis

The University of New Orleans will offer two new post-graduate certificate programs aimed at preparing local public servants, business people, educators and non-profit or faith-based organization leaders to effectively respond in a crisis.

The new certificate programs will be in hazard planning and hazard policy studies and will cover how to meet, recover from and respond to disasters with minimum downtime and impact on services, said John Kiefer, associate professor of political science and director of UNO’s graduate program in public administration.

The spring semester will offer coursework applicable to the two new post-graduate certificates, as well as an undergraduate minor in disaster policy, Kiefer said. Courses are scheduled as evening classes to encourage participation by working professionals.

UNO’s certificate in hazard policy studies, offered by UNO’s Department of Political Science, is aimed at full-time and non-degree seeking students and public managers who want to broaden their knowledge and skills on the principles and fundamentals of hazard policy without pursuing a full degree program.

UNO’s certificate in hazard planning, offered by the Department of Planning and Urban Studies, is designed for full-time or non-degree seeking students, particularly planners and disaster professionals, who wish to broaden their knowledge and skills on hazard planning principles and fundamentals.

Professor to study prostate cancer

Tulane University urology professor Asim Abdel-Mageed recently was awarded a five-year, $1.8 million National Cancer Institute grant to continue his research into possible causes of disparities in the incidence and mortality rates for prostate cancer.

Both are twice as high among African American males as Caucasians and other ethnic minority groups.

His current project examines whether there is a connection between higher levels of circulating estrogens, higher body mass index, and more aggressive forms of prostate cancer in African American men.

The new grant supplements work that he started in early 2011, when he received a highly competitive U.S. Department of Defense Health Disparity Research grant totaling $903,000 over three years.

Compiled by
the New Orleans bureau