Las Vegas Sun

September 1, 2014

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LOOKING IN ON: HIGHER EDUCATION

Health sciences dominated conversation at Chancellor Jim Rogers' annual fishing trip the first weekend in August.

Rogers invited speakers from the Cleveland Clinic and the University of Arizona school of medicine on the 87-person luxury fishing trip to British Columbia. Bob Wright, General Electric vice chairman and co-founder of Autism Speaks, also spoke about his personal experience with his grandson's autism.

Rogers said the group spent the first of the three days explaining the concept behind the health science system and the second day brainstorming how to raise money to make the project happen.

Former Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn "came up with some really good ideas, but I can't tell you what they are yet," Rogers said.

Guinn could not be reached for comment.

Rogers and health science officials must raise $38 million to match a state contribution of $89 million toward initial construction projects .

As for fishing, Rogers' boat included University of Nevada School of Medicine Dean John McDonald and the two men talked about plans to increase the school's output of doctors. Rogers gave Milton Glick, president of UNR, a history lesson in Nevada politics by putting him on a boat with Guinn and former Nevada governor and U.S. Sen. Richard Bryan.

Regent Cedric Crear, a first-timer on the trip, said he was amazed at the fellowships formed between the various higher education, government and business officials. "We talked about health care and the quality of life and how that affects you and affects our society," Crear said.

Rogers plans to give regents a finalist on Thursday for the open vice chancellor position in health sciences.

Bob Gilbert, the College of Southern Nevada construction chief under investigation by the Nevada attorney general's office, is going on administrative leave.

Mike Richards, interim president of the college, said Gilbert requested the leave because he is recuperating from two serious shoulder surgeries and will remain on his current administrative contract when he returns.

College operations and maintenance employees, however, said Gilbert told them during a meeting at the Cheyenne campus Tuesday that he would be on leave for three months and then return only as a part-time construction consultant.

Employees have alleged Gilbert has used his position to get free or reduced-cost work on his ranch estate off Kyle Canyon Road. Attorney general investigators rai ded Gilbert's offices at the college and his ranch estate in June.

Gilbert has denied the allegations. He could not be reached for comment.

U.S. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev,, saw his America Competes Act signed into law Thursday. The authorization bill aims to promote America's competitiveness in math, science and technology education.

"Today's economy is a global marketplace where students in America compete against students all around the world in places such as India and China," Ensign said in a statement. "By investing in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the America Competes Act lays a foundation for long-term growth and encourages more people to pursue high-skilled jobs."

Though making no appropriations, the act authorizes the National Science Foundation to pursue a plan to double its funding for science, math and technology research and education programs. The act requires the National Science Foundation to offer grants for programs that improve the quality and accessibility of math and science programs in high schools, particularly for lower income students, and for programs that promote undergraduate programs that lead to bachelor's degrees in those key areas.

The act also requires the Foundation to double its funding for basic research in the sciences, emphasizing work in nanotechnology, supercomputing and alternative energy sources.

UNLV has been developing its research expertise in nanotechnology and renewable energy.

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