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By CCW Staff  /  
2009 December 28 - 12:00 am

NEWS BRIEFS:

  • Foundation Commits $12.9M to Technology

SEATTLE (AP) —The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation wants to help community colleges use technology to improve and go beyond basic online classes.

The $12.9 million in grants the foundation announced will support a variety of programs — from supporting teachers to using social media and creating virtual learning labs.

Foundation officials said it is targeting the best new ideas for improving learning opportunities for low-income young adults. The grants will focus on science and math and affect colleges across the nation.

In addition to making online and digital classes better, the foundation wants to help create new networking tools and education games to make learning interactive, enjoyable and relevant.

  • Former Ala. College President Gets Probation

OPELIKA, Ala. (AP) — The former interim president of Southern Union State Community College has been sentenced to two years' probation for ethics violations.

Lee County Circuit Court Judge John V. Denson II sentenced Joanne Jordan for receiving free services from April 2004 to November 2005 from an architect who also worked for the college. The sentence will run concurrently with the federal sentence of three years' probation for lying to a grand jury that Jordan received in an August hearing in U.S. District Court.

Jordan's sentencing stems from a federal investigation into Alabama's two-year college system and its for chancellor Roy Johnson. Johnson has pleaded guilty to 15 federal charges — ranging from bribery to witness tampering — and will be sentenced Feb. 24.

  • Fast-Track Degree Offered By Ivy Tech CC

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Ivy Tech Community College is offering at-risk students a chance to earn an associate degree in just 10 months instead of two years.

Students in the program at the Indianapolis and Fort Wayne campuses will get help preparing for college while still in high school. After earning an associate degree, they can transfer to a four-year college or get a job.

Ivy Tech President Thomas Snyder said the program will help at-risk youth at little or no cost to their parents.

Ivy Tech is still working out the details, but expects the program's first students next fall.

The program will be paid for by more than $2 million in grants.

  • Western Idaho College Hires New Faculty

NAMPA, Idaho (AP) — Administrators of the state's newest community college say rapid growth in student enrollment has prompted the hiring of almost 100 new faculty members for the spring semester.

College of Western Idaho officials say 80 of the newly hired positions are part-time.

The Nampa-based school, which opened in January, counted more than 3,600 students this semester.

College spokeswoman Jennifer Couch says 3,300 students have enrolled for classes in the spring, and there are weeks left before registration ends Jan. 12.

  • N.M. College Delays Vote on Tax Increase

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Santa Fe Community College has bumped back an election to ask voters to raise their property taxes to pay for a bond issue.

The election was originally set for Feb. 9, but was postponed to Aug. 3.

Part of the $35 million bond issue would be used to build a higher learning center at the Santa Fe school. The rest would go for projects on the main campus.

Board member Linda Siegle, who proposed delaying the election, noted voters recently turned down Santa Fe County's request for a gross-receipts tax increase for fire protection.

She also says it's a volatile time because tax issues will be in the news next month as the Legislature meets to deal with a state budget shortfall.

  • Gates Grant To Help Develop Online Classes

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Carnegie Mellon University will develop online classes to be used by community colleges with the help of a $2.5 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

CMU's computer interaction experts will work with software engineers and faculty from some 40 community colleges to develop the curriculum. CMU has been working on the project through the school's Community College Open Learning initiative.

The grant is part of an ongoing effort by the Gates Foundation to improve graduation rates at community colleges.

  • La. Regents Cut 30 College Programs

ALEXANDRIA, La. (AP) — Louisiana's top higher education board is cutting 30 academic programs with low completion rates at five public college campuses.

The board has eliminated 217 academic programs since January, part of its cost-cutting moves amid state budget shortfalls. Students enrolled in the programs will be able to finish their degrees before the programs are scrapped.

The programs approved for elimination are at the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, University of New Orleans, Delgado Community College, Nunez Community College and Sowela Technical Community College.

  • Ex-College Police Chief Faces Charges

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — A former police chief at a Riverside County college has been charged with 10 counts including bribery, perjury and destroying or concealing evidence.

Kevin Segawa, who was police chief for Mt. San Jacinto Community College for about four years, turned himself in to authorities.

The college says the 39-year-old has been on paid administrative leave since July. An interim police chief was named to replace him.

Prosecutors say Segawa took gifts from Morgan McComas, who owns Pirot's Towing, in exchange for sending most of the vehicles towed on campus to McComas' company.

Segawa is also accused of arresting an undocumented immigrant who had an ice cream cart, taking his ice cream and not filing an arrest report. The man was deported.

Segawa is also charged with destroying evidence involving the arrest of a college employee.

  • W.Va. Schools Expand Adult Ed Offerings

WHEELING, W.Va. (AP) — Wheeling Jesuit University is partnering with a community college to expand its adult higher education programs to southwestern West Virginia.

Wheeling Jesuit announced the partnership agreement with Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College.

Dean of Enrollment Becky Forney said classes will begin in January.

The initially will be held at Southern's Boone County campus.

Forney says the partnership allows Wheeling Jesuit to offer its graduate and undergraduate courses to a new group of adult students.

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