published Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Tennessee: Amendment added to higher ed bill

NASHVILLE — The Bredesen administration plans to present an “omnibus” amendment later today to try to smooth the passage of its higher education reform legislation.

House Speaker Kent Williams, a Carter County Republican, said the purpose of the amendment is to address concerns about research-related issues at the state’s public universities.

Among other things, lawmakers and higher education officials said, the amendment is intended to deal with University of Memphis concerns.

The university has complained that its research ambitions were not being recognized in Gov. Phil Bredesen’s proposed overhaul. The original bill mentions an ambitious new research-related project involving the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in conjunction with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, but it doesn’t mention any other schools.

The “omnibus” amendment, officials and Rep. Williams said, will also contain language reassuring State Board of Regents institutions — including the University of Memphis — that they will not be excluded from cooperating or doing research with Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory is operated by a partnership created several years ago by the University of Tennessee and Battelle, a nonprofit research corporation.

For complete details, see tomorrow's Times Free Press.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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timoshenko said...

Not sure why this amendment is needed. Oak Ridge Associated Universities (http://www.orau.org/university-partnerships/members.aspx) has over 100 university members. All the TBR schools are mentioned. It is true that UT-Martin was not listed, but it's because they haven't pursued membership.

From the ORAU website: "As a consortium of major Ph.D.–granting academic institutions, Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) cultivates collaborative partnerships that enhance the scientific research and education enterprise of our nation." Members include sponsoring universities, associate members and branch campuses.

This amendment does NOT address the concerns of Memphis. Their concerns are rooted (sometimes justifiably) in the sectionalism that has plagued higher education in Tennessee forever.

January 21, 2010 at 6:54 p.m.
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