NEWS BRIEFS: Higher-ed-related news summaries from around the nation
- League Changes Focus, Name of Annual Conference
DETROIT — The 25th annual Conference on Information Technology sponsored by the League for Innovation in the Community College turned out to be the last one.
In October 2010, when League members convene in Orlando, Fla., CIT will be rebranded and renamed STEMTech, said Gerardo E. de los Santos, League president and chief executive officer. Along with its annual Innovations conference, CIT is one of two signature events the League holds each year.
Rather than focus solely on the latest trends in information technology, the renamed conference will look at how technology is being embedded into instruction in the STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and math.
De los Santos said the shift in focus is an acknowledgement that IT has evolved over the past two decades from a new, emerging field into something that is part of nearly every college classroom and course.
The change is designed to meet the changing needs of students and institutions as technical skills become more important in both colleges and the workplace, he said. Math and science mastery is considered critical to student success in IT fields.
— Paul Bradley
- Maine College To Train Solar Technicians
FAIRFIELD, Maine (AP) — Kennebec Valley Community College has won a $2.8 million federal grant to create a training program for solar power technicians around northern New England.
The Kennebec Journal is reporting that the community college will train and certify photovoltaic and solar heating instructors at Maine’s seven community colleges, high school technical centers and community colleges in New Hampshire and Vermont.
U.S. Reps. Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree announced the grant.
The Department of Energy is giving $87 million to 47 projects nationwide to support new solar energy technologies.
- Judge Orders Rehiring of Fired College Workers
MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — A court has ordered the reinstatement of two workers who were accused of misusing money at Bishop State Community College in Mobile.
Documents show Angelo Renard Archible and James William Soleyn were fired for financial wrongdoing linked to scholarship awards. But their attorneys argued that the reasons for their dismissals were too vague, and an arbitrator agreed.
The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals upheld that decision.
Bishop State President James Lowe said the school will review the legal process before deciding its next step.
- La. College System To Share In $1M Grant To Boost Grad Rates
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) —The Louisiana Community and Technical College System will share in a $1 million grant to help boost accountability among college programs, along with seven other institutions around the country.
The program is designed to help community colleges gather and use data to improve their programs and graduation rates. It will include analysis of current college and state data collection and development of a common set of measures so programs can be compared.
The project is expected to take two years, with the voluntary accountability system piloted in as many as 20 community colleges by 2011. It is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Lumina Foundation and the American Association of Community Colleges.
- Okla. Professor Facing Drug Charges Placed On Leave
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma City Community College professor has been placed on leave for the remainder of the semester after being charged with drug possession.
Prosecutors have charged 39-year-old biology and chemistry professor Cassandra Meek with possession of methamphetamine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia. She’s also charged with using a surveillance camera while committing a felony.
Also facing those charges are 33-year-old Bobby Shane Pierce.
Meek says she wasn’t living at the house where the drugs were found and doesn’t know who they belong to. She says she allowed recovering addicts to live in the home in exchange for working on the house.
- Ivy Tech Plans New Campus To Ease Surge In Enrollment
ANDERSON, Ind. (AP) — Ivy Tech Community College plans to build a new central Indiana campus along Interstate 69 in Anderson.
School and city officials announced that the new $20 million campus would be built on a 40-acre strip of farmland near the exit for Indiana 9 into the city.
Ivy Tech-Anderson Vice Chancellor James Willey said construction on the new 85,000-square-foot campus building could begin in the spring.
School officials say enrollment at the Anderson campus has grown 23 percent in the past five years to 2,600 students.
Willey says the current Ivy Tech campus in Anderson will remain in use, with its emphasis shifting to health services programs.
The city is buying the land for the new campus and giving it to Ivy Tech.
- Idaho College Explores Adding ROTC Program To Campus
TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) — The College of Southern Idaho is exploring the idea of bringing an Army ROTC program to campus.
College administrators would like to begin the program in the fall of 2010.
Students enrolled in the Reserve Officer Training Corps get scholarships and a stipend during their four years in college in exchange for a commitment to serve as an officer in the Army after getting a bachelor’s degree.
Darrell Buffaloe, chairman of the trade and industrial education department, said the program at the Twin Falls community college would be give students the flexibility to transfer to Idaho’s four-year universities to finish their degree, including Boise State, University of Idaho and Idaho State.
Officials hope the first batch of ROTC students would include about 25 students.
- Tuition, Fees On the Rise at Rhode Island Colleges
WARWICK, R.I. (AP) — Tuition and fees at Rhode Island’s three public colleges are on the rise again.
The Board of Governors for Higher Education, while acknowledging that its decision means financial hardship for students and their families, voted Monday night to hike tuition and fees from about 8 to 10 percent for the 2010-2011 academic year.
The increases mean in-state students at the University of Rhode Island will pay $948 more next year. Students at Rhode Island College will pay $578 more, while students at the Community College of Rhode Island will pay $276 more.
The Providence Journal reports that board chairman Frank Caprio expressed regret over the hikes, calling it ``an extraordinarily uncomfortable decision.’’
The increases are in response to deep cuts in state aid.
- NY College Mistakenly Emails Student SS Numbers
SELDEN, N.Y. (AP) — Suffolk Community College says there’s no indication that any personal information has been misused since it mistakenly sent out an e-mail attachment containing students’ Social Security numbers.
But just in case, the Long Island school is paying a company to monitor the 300 students’ credit for the next year.
Vice President Mary Lou Araneo says the error was discovered quickly. She says college officials immediately shut down the server and took steps to retrieve unopened messages and attachments that were sent to students.
Araneo could not say how much of the personal information was recovered or whether anyone was disciplined.
- Texas Colleges Sees Enrollment Boost From Returning Vets
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — New student veterans are enrolling in larger numbers at colleges in Central Texas and both sides are creating resources to ease the transition.
Experts say some of the veterans, including those recently returned from combat, have trouble adjusting to college life.
The Austin American-Statesman reports that three central Texas colleges are experiencing sharp increases in student veterans. Officials at Texas State University-San Marcos, Austin Community College and the University of Texas say they are doing everything from creating a new position to setting up a dedicated website with resources for veterans.
Nationally, 300,000 veterans applied for expanded benefits for college education under the new Post 9/11 GI Bill.
Meanwhile, some student veterans are creating associations to help them in their new roles.
- Schmitz Appeal Bond Denied; She Must Report to Prison in Dec.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — A federal magistrate has denied former state Rep. Sue Schmitz’s request to stay out of prison while appealing her conviction on corruption charges.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Harwell Davis ordered the Toney resident to report to the designated facility on Dec. 4 at noon.
William Clark is Schmitz’s attorney and said he will appeal Davis’ order to a district judge.
Davis ruled that Schmitz did not identify any error during trial or raise any issues post conviction that would justify her remaining out of prison while the case is appealed.
Schmitz was sentenced to 2 years and 6 months behind bars after being convicted in February on fraud charges.
She also is to pay $171,000 in restitution after doing little work for the two-year college system.
- Enrollment in NJ 2-yr. Colleges Jumps by Record 12 Percent
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Full-time enrollment at New Jersey community colleges has risen by a record 12 percent this year.
That's the finding of a report by the state Council of County Colleges.
Nearly 97,000 full-time students are now enrolled at the 19 community colleges.
Educators say some of the increase is due to the economy. But community college officials also believe the enrollment increase reflects a change in status of the two-year schools, that community colleges are losing the old “junior college” stigma.