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News Archive (Fall 2009)      

Lane Administrator Pens Article

The Encyclopedia of African-American Education has recently been published. Dr. Vicki Vernon Lott, Lane’s Vice President for Academic Affairs, is featured as a contributing writer. Her article on the History of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) chronicles the early years of the association, from its inception at Vanderbilt University in 1895, to the elevation of Negro schools from a separate list to general membership in 1961.

Dr. Lott has been in higher education administration since 1981, and is in her 17th year at Lane. She has been active with SACS since 1981; and has served as a member of numerous reaccreditation visiting committees; chaired five reaffirmation committees since 2006; and was elected to the SACS Board of Trustees in December 2008.

I have attached Dr. Lott’s entry for your reading pleasure. Congrats may be sent to her at vlott@lanecollege.edu.

On Tuesday, September 22, 2009, the inaugural Governor’s Luncheon benefiting the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) was held at the Nashville, Tennessee Downtown Doubletree Hotel. Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen was the keynote speaker at the luncheon that raised over $17,000 to assist Tennessee students seeking an affordable college education. Additional speakers included the UNCF’s National President and CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax. Investing in this event means increasing the number of minority students who attend Tennessee institutions. Each of the Presidents of the three Tennessee UNCF-member schools (LeMoyne-Owen, Fisk, and Lane) was on hand. Pictured above on either side of President McClure are Dr. Lomax (left) and Governor Bredesen (right).

Other members of the Lane delegation included staff members Tori Haliburton, Daryl Listenbee, Derrick Mays; Student Government President John’Nae Cosby, Miss Lane College Raven Wiseman; and alumni Dr. Millicent Nelson, Terrance Miller, Kenya Teague, Ron Robinson, and Dr. Edward Risby.

McClure Gets His Day

Jackson Mayor Jerry Gist (second from right) presents President McClure (second from left) with a Proclamation declaring Saturday, September 19 as Wesley Cornelious McClure Day in Jackson and Madison County, Tennessee. Also pictured in the foreground witnessing the presentation are (left to right) Lane Registrar Terry Blackmon, McClure's second son Carter Bradley McClure, and National Lane College Alumni Association President Rev. James Stewart.

Lane Alumna Leads Blue Ribbon School

(September 15-Jackson, TN) U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, today announced that Isaac Lane Technology Magnet Elementary School, under the leadership of Principal Tisa Day, Class of ’92, has been named as a Blue Ribbon School by the United States Department of Education. The No Child Left Behind-Blue Ribbon Schools award distinguishes and honors schools for helping students achieve at very high levels and for making significant progress in closing the achievement gap.

According to Day, “We have been successful in taking students where they are and pushing them as far as we can by the end of the year no matter the circumstances.”

Principal Day and one faculty member will receive the prestigious award at the National Awards Ceremony in Washington D.C in November. At that time, they will present a paper detailing the SITES-M program, a collaboration between Lane College and Isaac Lane Technology Magnet Elementary School that has been credited with successfully improving the teaching and learning of mathematics at Isaac Lane and improving the math proficiency of its students.

“We have decided to present the SITES-M program at the conference and tell how the program has positively impacted our test scores and teacher attitudes about teaching math. I know that this incredible honor is because of the strong collaboration with Lane College and we will acknowledge the College as part of our success”, added Day.

SITES-M, the acronym for Strengthening Instruction in Tennessee Elementary Schools – Focus on Mathematics, is a program designed to deliver and assess professional development programs to help current K-4 teachers instruct their students in math. Components of the program include Saturday math workshops, a summer math institute, Framework Observation training and assessments of pupil learning, and pre- and post-testing for summer institute participants.

Dedicated to education
City to honor Lane College's president, Dr. Wesley McClure

Jackson Sun, September 13, 2009

As a Lane College student in 1960, Wesley McClure told his classmates the highlight of his career would be to one day become president of his alma mater.

Thirty-two years later, in 1992, McClure returned to the campus as its ninth president.

"To be embraced by everyone has been the greatest gift," said McClure, 66. "It's the greatest gift God can give you."

When McClure reflects on his early years, he credits people throughout his life for his achievements.

"I'm a product of the hard work, the faith and the persistence of a group of people, mostly deceased now, who refused to let me consider not succeeding. They were people who told me that I was going to do something with my life."

As a college student during the civil rights era, McClure participated in demonstrations in downtown Jackson seeking equal rights for black residents. He said in a 2000 interview with The Jackson Sun that the struggles during the 1960s helped him to understand the importance of challenging the status quo.

Persistence and perseverance were the traits passed on to him that he now works to instill in Lane students.

When McClure speaks in his matter-of-fact manner - a mostly serious tone, but sometimes with a hint of humor and a smile - his students know he cares.

Lane College student government association president John'Na Cosby said McClure has planted seeds of success in the students.

"We've grown to love Dr. McClure because he hasn't made himself untouchable," said Cosby, 20, a senior from Nashville. "He's made himself very close to the student body, and that closeness has allowed each of us to say, 'Wait a minute; he's a product of Lane College, and because President McClure is a product, then I know there are more heights for me to go.'"

McClure's work ethic keeps him on the campus past midnight at times.

"People do not succeed unless they make mistakes and keep on working, and that has to be instilled in our young," he said. "They have to believe that if they do that, they'll see the results. I know what I'm talking about."

McClure is entering his 18th year as president of Lane College, a historically black private liberal arts college founded in 1882.

Bishop Isaac Lane founded the college, which was the first four-year institution established by the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.

Jackson Mayor Jerry Gist and Madison County Mayor Jimmy Harris will issue a proclamation Friday to declare Saturday as Wesley McClure Day.

On Saturday, a banquet will be held in his honor called "A Red Carpet Affair: Celebrating the Accomplishments of Dr. Wesley Cornelius McClure."

More than 300 people are expected to attend the event in the J.F. Lane Physical Health Education building on campus, organizers said.

Proceeds from ticket sales will help the Wesley C. McClure National Alumni Scholarship Fund, which was established in 2007.

"We don't have a set goal to raise, but we want to raise a lot for scholarships," said James Stewart, president of the Lane College National Alumni Association.

Stewart said an official showing of gratitude to McClure has been long overdue.

"We needed to recognize in a big way the work he's done and is doing for Lane College," he said. "We want to show him that we love him for his tenacity and sticking in there."

Less than a week before his celebration, McClure said he's thankful and humbled by those recognizing him.Bishop William H. Graves, who is chairman of Lane College's board of trustees, said McClure relates well to his students.

"He speaks to the students in language that they understand, commanding their respect while also providing a friendly and fatherly presence in their lives," Graves said in a written statement.

When McClure became president, Graves said, it was not uncommon to see him eating and talking among the students.

"Raising the college's academic standing was his top priority," he said. "Character education was also of significance to him as he emphasized the importance of everyone in the college community displaying respect for one another across the board."

Is this goodbye?

A large celebration for McClure has prompted many in the Lane community to wonder if this celebration is also a farewell to McClure.

"I think his work at Lane is probably just beginning," Stewart said. "He's a workaholic."

McClure said he couldn't express in years how much longer he planned to stay at Lane, but he said he will remain at the college for as long as it takes to assure that both horizontal and vertical growth are norms of the day.

"If that's five years, 10 years or 15 years, I don't know - assuming that God grants me physical, psychological and spiritual strength," McClure said.

A Jackson native, McClure became the ninth president of Lane College on Sept. 1, 1992, and was chosen from 68 candidates.

Graves served was on the board when it hired McClure.

"After the search committee overwhelmingly decided that Dr. McClure was the best person for the position of Lane College president, I interviewed him for the first time, and I was thoroughly impressed," he said in a written statement. "He spoke with a passion about Lane's rich history. Raising the college's academic standing was his top priority."

In a September 1992 article in The Jackson Sun, McClure said he intended to go after "a greater number of students and bring them to college."

In 1994, McClure said the college's enrollment was about 700 students.

That number has grown this year to more than 2,000 students.

"Lane is growing by going out and finding excited, low-income students," McClure said.

When he took office, Lane had struggled financially, but now thrives, he said.

"We operate prudently, and we live within our means," McClure said. "We keep tuition low and distribute financial aid across the college."

Lane College tuition and fees are about $8,000 a year.

In August, Lane College was recognized in the U.S. News and World Report annual rankings for its students' graduating with the least amount of debt in the nation among liberal arts schools.

Growing campus

During McClure's tenure, 15 buildings have been acquired, built or renovated on the campus.

In 1996, the first of those construction projects - the Chambers-McClure Academic Center - opened.

In 2007, the college invested $10 million in three construction projects - two residence halls and a dining hall.

This year, construction was completed on a new science and business building.

McClure said his next goal is to see a fine arts building and another classroom building open.

He has said the college has been able to sustain itself through strong financial support from friends and alumni.His other goals include graduating "a sharper student" and "tapping into low-income students."

"If America is going to be competitive, it must tap into low-income students," McClure said. "They are the future of the nation. We have to find the talent in low-income students."

McClure also said he wants Lane to serve the high-achieving and upper-income student as well.

Creating a campus that serves both populations is another goal.

McClure said both groups of students could benefit from each other.

"We want to develop a sharper graduate, who can go on to graduate school and pick his or her way," he said. "And I see that happening in the next 10 years or less. We're recruiting a better student and encouraging them to be more focused. And we're attracting a better instructor, which is the nucleus of it all."

This year, McClure said, all freshmen will have night courses to receive enrichment in courses where they are deficient.

The goal is to keep students in college after the first year.

McClure said it is most difficult to retain low-income students between their freshman and sophomore years."Sometimes young people don't perform because they've never seen it," he said. "Low-income students have not been taught structure, discipline, value and esteem."

McClure said he's convinced that academic and physical changes of Lane's campus are affecting students.

"What excites me the most is to see or hear a young person saying to me that, 'I'm changing. I want to be like Dr. McClure. I have a need to do something with myself,'" he said. "They leave here and some of them talk about becoming president of the college one day. The greatest excitement I have is to see a person who came here not even thinking that way to leave at least thinking that way."

Visit jacksonsun.com and share your thoughts.

-Tajuana Cheshier

Lane selected as the Recipient of a $2.4 Million Grant

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has informed Lane College that it has been selected as the recipient of a $2.4 million dollar grant under its Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP). From a national pool of other colleges and universities competing for the award, Lane was chosen to receive the grant based on the strength of its proposal submitted to NSF in July 2009. The grant is designed to increase the number of minority students enrolling in and successfully completing baccalaureate programs that will prepare them to enter graduate and professional degree programs in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. The grant will bolster Lane’s initiatives to enhance and strengthen STEM teaching and learning, and increase student enrollment and retention in STEM majors. The goal of the implementation project, Enhancing the Potential of Lane College Undergraduates in STEM Program is to increase the number of STEM majors, and provide all science, technology, engineering and mathematics students with a challenging and enriching learning experience. The overall goal of this project will be accomplished by implementing the following objectives: (1) build students’ interest and confidence so they will pursue STEM degrees; (2) create programs that will enhance student retention and success in entry-level STEM courses; (3) provide targeted recruitment of under-represented students to major in STEM disciplines; (4) create early undergraduate research experience in STEM by providing Summer internships for students; (5) provide stipends for faculty and students at collaborating universities and laboratories; (6) create an environment at Lane in which research is now accepted as an important part of a science student’s education; (7) provide professional development opportunities for faculty to ensure their participation and support for the project; and (8) improve STEM students’ preparation for graduate or professional school by providing courses/ workshops for standardized exams.

Upon receiving word of Lane successful pursuit of the grant, President McClure stated that, “This project will optimize Lane’s unique institutional characteristics and build upon the strength of our faculty to create a challenging and enriching learning environment for our students. This grant, along with our new 5.3 million dollar Science Building will support our goal of claiming recognition as a major producer of graduates in STEM programs, and will prepare our students to be truly competitive as they enter STEM-related careers”.

Lane plans to create an exemplary program that will provide sustainable research experiences for students and a fulfilling research environment for faculty that will serve as a model to other institutions for ways to achieve the goals of increasing the number of students in STEM disciplines, advance the climate of learning and scholarship, and increase the STEM graduation rates.

Ministry Founder to Speak at Fall Convocation

On Wednesday, September 9 2009, Lane College will hold its 127th Fall Convocation in the J.F. Lane Health and Physical Education Building beginning at 10:30 a.m. The Convocation service marks the official beginning of the College’s new academic school year. The speaker for this solemn occasion will be Dr. Rogers W. Jackson, Founder of Rogers Jackson Ministries and Pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Chicago.

Dr. Jackson is a 1978 graduate of Bishop College in Dallas, Texas, and received a Master of Divinity degree from Texas Christian University in 1981 and a Master of Theology degree from Lutheran School of Theology in 1983. He received a Doctor of Ministry Degree in 1993 from Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago and a second Doctor of Ministry Degree in Christian Education in 1997 from the Chicago Theological Seminary. In May 2008, Dr. Jackson completed the Doctor of Ministry Degree program in Preaching at the McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago.

Dr. Jackson is married to Mrs. Onie Williams Jackson, and they are the parents of four children.

Lane Administrator Elected as Charter Member of Accreditation Agency

During the June 2009 meeting of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), its Commission on Colleges (COC) voted to change the name of its elected members from Commissioners to Trustees. Dr. Vicki Vernon Lott, Vice President for Academic Affairs at Lane College, who was elected to the COC in December 2008, has thus become a charter member of SACS’ COC Board of Trustees.

The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools is the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in all southern states, including Tennessee. The Commission’s mission is the enhancement of educational quality by ensuring that institutions meet standards established by the higher education community that address the needs of society and students. All four of the higher education institutions in Jackson are accredited by the COC: Lane College, Lambuth University, Union University, and Jackson State Community College.

SACS was founded in 1895, and the Commission on Colleges was added in 1912. Since its inception, the organizational structure of the SACS COC consisted of the College Delegate Assembly (CDA), with one voting representative (the chief executive officer or the officer’s designee) from each accredited institution. It elected seventy-seven Commissioners (Commission on Colleges or COC) to guide the organization’s work and to implement the accreditation process.

Record Number of Prospective Students and Parents
Slated to Attend New Student Orientation

Lane will host its New Student Orientation Session beginning on Friday, July 10 through Sunday, July 12. Over 700 students are expected to attend with 1,500 parents, guardians, and family members in tow. This three-day session will help prospective students to understand the college’s expectations and provide them with some early exposure to college life. Concurrent workshops and social activities will be held for parents and guardians. Attendees will live in campus housing and meals will be provided in the College’s Dining Hall.

In a highly compressed period of time, attendees will participate in informational sessions, financial aid workshops, class scheduling, and numerous other experiences that have been designed to facilitate their enrollment and matriculation at the College.

Registration will take place on Friday from 5:00-9:00 p.m., and again on the Saturday starting at 8:00 a.m. in the J.F. Lane Health and Physical Education Building. The first formal session will take place in the Health and Physical Building at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday.

This year’s focus will be to introduce students, parents, and guardians to the component parts of the Houses that our founder, Isaac Lane, built. Visitors will be introduced to The House of Academic Success, The House of Student Services, and The House of Student Development. From there, students and parents will receive further scheduling information for the remainder of their stay. Special consideration has been made to hold several sessions in each of three campus buildings so as to minimize any confusion to students and parents in finding their way.

For students, Saturday will end with movies, and a myriad of many other activities. Special activities are also planned for parents and guardians. Provisions have been made for socializing, the traditional barbeque picnic, and Sunday worship.

All meals – breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Saturday; and breakfast and lunch on Sunday – will be served to students, parents and guests.

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