After five difficult years, observers were not sure if Teresa Sullivan would continue as president of the University of Virginia, but the first woman to hold that job received a near-unanimous vote of support this week.

From the outset, 65-year-old Teresa Sullivan had said she did not want to serve another five-year term.

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The nation's eighth graders are scoring poorly in history, geography and civics. The National Assessment of Educational Progress tested eighth graders in 2010 and again last year with about 50% of the students scoring "basic" in the three subjects. Between one-quarter and one-third scored below and only 1 to 3% of the 29,000 students scored in the advanced range.

In South Sudan, there’s a saying:  When Elephants fight, the grass gets trampled.  More than fifty years of war has kept the young nation from finding its own footing.  But an effort by Virginia Tech aims to plant seeds of change there.

South Sudan won independence from the Republic of Sudan in 2011.  Much more than the grass was trampled and aid groups came in to help rebuild the region. But lasting change depends on the ability of local people to solve local problems and that means training teachers.  

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Lumpkin’s jail in Richmond was once the largest slave-trading facility outside of New Orleans. Known as the ‘Devil’s Half-Acre,’ it was sold to a Baptist minister in 1867 in hopes of establishing an all-black seminary…and would soon be referred to ‘God’s Half-Acre.’ That seminary laid the foundation for a school that thrives today - and, along with the conclusion of the Civil War, has just celebrated its 150th anniversary.

This week’s rain was good news for farmers and gardeners, but at the University of Mary Washington, it was a bit - upsetting.  More than 80 students are living outside this week - in cardboard boxes and makeshift tents - learning how it might feel to be poor. 

“We may need another tarp  but we also need twine, and we need something to prop the middle of the tarp up.”