Higher education notebook

Posted: October 23, 2017 at 2:18 a.m.

Initiative honors 2 state students

The White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities named students from two Arkansas schools as Historically Black Colleges and Universities all-stars this year.

Tiaara Anderson of Chicago and Nikolai Knight of Portland, Jamaica, are among the 61 all-stars named this year. Anderson is a senior at Philander Smith College in Little Rock, where she is studying English. Knight is a sophomore studying physics at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

The designation gives students recognition for accomplishments in academics, leadership and civic engagement, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

Students apply for the designation and, if selected, will become ambassadors for the initiative by providing outreach and communication with their peers about the value of education and the role of the initiative as a networking tool, the department said in a news release.

The all-stars will also take part in the White House’s HBCU Week conference, Web chats with the initiative staff members and other national events, including discussions with professionals spanning several disciplines.

The 2017 class is the initiative’s fourth.

Tech OKs 20-year construction plan

Arkansas Tech University’s board has approved a campus master plan, which will guide renovations and new construction on the Russellville and Ozark campuses for the next two decades.

Priorities for the Russellville campus include the creation of a new campus entrance; reconfiguring the current O Street campus entrance; building an academic center for science, technology, engineering and mathematics; building a performing arts center; and building a student union/campus recreation center.

Priorities for the Ozark campus include building a new academic and conference facility and relocating the shop area now sitting near the Technology and Academic Support building.

The board will in the coming months and years determine the exact order in which the projects will be completed, the university said. The prioritization process will be dependent on finding funding sources for the projects.

Grant to focus on health disparities

A center within the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock has received a $7 million federal grant to study minority health disparities, according to a news release.

The grant — from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities — is for pilot studies that will help junior faculty members compete for larger grants and bolster their research, the news release states.

It is for the Arkansas Center for Health Disparities, which is within UAMS’ Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health.

The UAMS center will use the funds to start two new projects and to maintain three core units, including one on community engagement.

One study will seek to reduce tobacco smoke exposure among children and their caregivers and help black women quit smoking, primarily in the Arkansas Delta.

The other project will study HIV prevention and risk for incarcerated black people.