News Update November 8, 2005

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News for Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2005

* Higher Ed Inc.: University of IBM at Manchester?
* Higher Ed Inc.: UMass first Microsoft IT Showcase
* Clare Luce Program Chief Lauded by Women Engineers
* San Diego State to Process NASA’s ‘Blue Marble’
* Texas Consortium Funds Public Online College Board
* Deals: Ohio State Standardizes Student Response
* Online Resources

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Higher Ed, Inc.: University of IBM at Manchester?

England’s Manchester University has signed an
agreementwith IBM to do joint research and teaching,
the beginning of what the school called a “strategic
partnership” under which it would receive advice and
consulting and IBM could tap into the university's
research capacity and graduates.

Manchester said the deal is part of a 10-year plan,
developed after its merger with the University of
Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, to
become a world-leading university by 2015. The school
has inked a similar memorandum with the drugs-giant
AstraZeneca, and is planning to sign two more with
BP and Rolls Royce next year.

John Perkins, the university's vice-president and
dean of engineering and physical sciences, called
the arrangement “a unique partnership which will
bring together the most skilled and gifted individuals
from both organizations, forging a unique link which
spans both commerce and higher education.”

Phil Galvin, the university's business development
manager, said there would be no branding of degrees,
and that the university would ensure that its
independence is maintained. "IBM can make sure
undergraduate courses have modules … which are up to
date and what industry wants, and co-taught by
industry, will raise the profile of IBM for graduates."

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Higher Ed. Inc.: UMass first Microsoft IT Showcase

The University of Massachusetts at Amherst has been
designated Microsoft Corp.'s first-ever "Information
Technology (IT) Showcase School," under a new
Microsoftprogram that aims to highlight IT excellence
in highereducation. Microsoft chief executive officer
Steve Ballmermade the announcement as the university
opened its new technology center, the Learning Commons,
in late October. School officials said the designation
will earn UMass-Amherst continued funding and support
from Microsoft as well as legitimacy in the field of
IT, which could prove important for recruiting students
and faculty and for funding new IT-related projects.

Microsoft plans to name four additional universities
as IT Showcase Schools. The company said it chose
UMass-Amherst as its flagship school for the program
based on a collection of university initiatives,
including offering a minor degree program in IT,
which allows students to pair their areas of interest
with an IT minor. Other factors were the Learning
Commons, which brings together technology, library,
and student support services in a single building,
and the school's record of encouraging women to study
mathematics, science, technology, and engineering.

Courses will run through the Isenberg School of
Management, which Microsoft intends to turn into
case studies for the university-level use of its
ConferenceXP videoconferencing and interactive
Tablet PC applications.

Clare Luce Program Chief Lauded by Women Engineers

The Society of Women Engineers last week presented
Jane Zimmer Daniels, Ph.D., its 2005 Distinguished
Service Award for her commitment and inspiration to
women in engineering, and her counsel to students.
Daniels is responsible for the Clare Boothe Luce
Program for women in the sciences, mathematics and
engineering. The program, funded by the Henry Luce
Foundation, is the largest private source of support
for women in science and engineering in the U.S.
Daniels manages the program's allocations of
approximately $7 million annually in grants to
institutions of higher education to encourage women
to study and teach in fields underrepresented by

Prior to her work at the Clare Boothe Luce Program,
Daniels served as the director of the Women in
Engineering Program (WIEP) at Purdue University for
more than 20 years. "Dr. Daniels has been an incredibly
strong advocate for women students in engineering,"
says Ronna Robertson, president of the Society of
Women Engineers. "Through her significant efforts to
increase awareness in the sciences, mathematics, and
engineering, she has helped universities and
organizations to broaden their focus on programs
underrepresented by women."

For more information, visit:

San Diego State to Process NASA’s ‘Blue Marble’ Imagery

The Visualization Center at San Diego State University
(SDSU), which makes three-dimensional geospatial
datasets for projects including natural disaster
response, will process and distribute NASA's “Blue
Marble: Next Generation” project to refine satellite
imagery of Earth. The Center helped process high-
resolution satellite imagery from Banda Aceh, Indonesia,
acquired before and after last year's tsunami, as well
imagery from this year's U.S. hurricane season.

Launched October 13, Blue Marble uses imagery from NASA's
18 Earth-observing satellites, down-linked at NASA Earth
Observatory at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. SDSU
will process and serve out the images using a Silicon
Graphics Inc. Prism system. Blue Marble offers a year's
worth of monthly composites at a spatial resolution of
500 meters per pixel. The images reveal seasonal changes
to the land surface, including the green-up and dying-back
of vegetation, helping scientists make more detailed
observations of Earth’s processes.

Texas Consortium Funds Public Online College Board Prep

A consortium of Texas state educational agencies has
launched a Web site to help Texas high school students
prepare for the SAT and ACT tests. Texas Online
Preparation for College Admission Tests (TOPCAT), which
appears on the existing website,
features tutorials, practice questions, a vocabulary
builder, and a coaching system that allows teachers to
monitor the progress of their students. The program
features materials that can adapt to each student's
ability level.

The consortium, a partnership of the Texas Higher
Education Coordinating Board, the Texas Education
Agency, and the Texas Guaranteed Student Loan
Corporation, is working with Xap Corp., an educational
online services firm, to develop the site. In the
coming months, Xap will add Spanish-language ACT and
SAT tutorials to the existing English language content,
it said. "Texas high school students deserve the best
online educational tools to successfully prepare them
for college admissions tests," said Glenda Barron,
Associate Commissioner for Participation and Success
at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

Deals: Ohio State Standardizes Student Response Systems

Ohio State University has standardized campus use of
student response systems, which enable data collection
from students in real-time during class. Using the
technology, professors can assess student comprehension
and alter the instruction as needed or integrate
additional feedback into the lecture. OSU chose
TurningPoint software, a system made by Turning
Technologies, LLC, which is native to Microsoft Office.
That means it can be seamlessly integrated with
Microsoft PowerPoint, Word, and Excel applications.

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