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2011 September 5 - 12:00 am

NEWS BRIEFS:

  • Va. College Retools Math Instruction

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Piedmont Virginia Community College plans to implement a new procedure for teaching math that has been popularized by Virginia Tech.

The Daily Progress reports that the Charlottesville college will establish a “math emporium” featuring a computer lab, one-on-one instruction and go-at-your-own-pace learning.

The opening of new science facilities will allow the school to replace the old biology and chemistry labs with the math lab. Details have not been worked out, but the new math curriculum likely will blend traditional classroom instruction and time in the lab.

College President Frank Friedman says the math faculty studied different schools’ instruction methods before deciding on the emporium, which is expected to be running by next fall.

Virginia Tech’s math emporium features more than 500 computers in an old department store.

  • Ariz. Schools Speed Path to Diploma

PHOENIX (AP) — A handful of public schools in Arizona are the first to undertake an ambitious new program that allows some students to graduate two years sooner.

Under the “Move On When Ready” initiative approved last year by the Legislature, 14 schools will offer a more-intense curriculum. After two years, students will take examinations to prove that they’ve mastered core subjects.

Those who pass the internationally recognized board exams can graduate as sophomores with a Grand Canyon Diploma and move on to community college.

The Arizona Republic says supporters claim the program will give students who might otherwise drop out an incentive to stay in school and graduate early.

Supporters say the goal of the program is to improve education overall and better prepare Arizona students for college.

  • Ivy Tech Names Campus Building After Donors

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Ivy Tech Community College has named its main facility in Bloomington for a longtime executive of the Cook Group medical device company and his wife.

Top Ivy Tech officials led a ceremony during which the Connie and Steve Ferguson Academic Building name was unveiled over its main entrance.

The Fergusons donated $1 million to Ivy Tech, which is planning a $20 million expansion of the nine-year old building. The Fergusons say the donation is a show of support for the project that comes as enrollment at the Bloomington campus has grown from 2,300 students in 2002 to about 6,400 now.

Connie Ferguson has been chairwoman of the Ivy Tech-Bloomington board for several years. Steve Ferguson is Cook Group’s chairman and a past president of Indiana University’s trustees.

  • Giannoulias Tapped To Head Ill. College Board

CHICAGO (AP) — Former Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, who lost a Democratic bid for the U.S. Senate last year, was named as the new chairman of the Illinois Community College Board by Gov. Pat Quinn.

Giannoulias must be confirmed by the Illinois Senate for the part-time, unpaid post. The 11-member board Giannoulias will lead is in charge of Illinois’ 48 community colleges.

“He’s got infinite energy and enthusiasm and ability,” Quinn said at a Chicago press conference announcing the appointment where he called Giannoulias “the right guy for the job.”

A former banker, Giannoulias, 35, is not an educator by profession and no stranger to Illinois politics. Besides serving one term as treasurer, he lost a high-profile campaign for President Barack Obama’s former U.S. Senate seat last year to Republican Mark Kirk.

Giannoulias said community colleges play a vital role in creating the well-trained work force that is essential to America’s success and they can help low-income people get the skills they need for better jobs.

“A quality education has always been the hallmark of a better life, a happier existence and a stronger nation,” he said.

  • Tobacco Ban Approved By Mo. Colleges

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The five-campus Metropolitan Community College system in Kansas City has gone tobacco-free.

The new policy was approved by the system’s Board of Trustees in July. It took effect last month.

Metropolitan Community College Chancellor Mark James says the ban eliminates the danger of secondhand smoke. He says smoking bans at colleges and universities are a national trend.

The policy bars tobacco and tobacco substitute products on all campus premises, leased property and college-owned vehicles. It applies to visitors and contractors as well as students and employees.

James says that as part of the tobacco ban, the college system will offer help to people who want to quit smoking.

  • Giffords Chief Spokesman Takes Pima Job

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ chief spokesman has accepted a job as an administrator at a community college in southern Arizona.

C.J. Karamargin is expected to be appointed as the vice chancellor for public information and government relations at Pima Community College.

Karamargin worked as Giffords’ communications director for four years. He served as the official pipeline for information about the congresswoman after she and 18 others were shot outside a Tucson grocery store on Jan. 8.

Jared Lee Loughner, who is charged in the shooting rampage, attended the college but was suspended over safety concerns stemming from his classroom disruptions.

The job pays $148,000 annually.

  • 75 Students Enroll in Tenn. Bridge Program

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Seventy-five freshmen are now studying at the University of Tennessee as part of the new dual enrollment program with Pellissippi State Community College.

They are attending the second summer session at UT and will take classes at Pellissippi during the fall and spring semesters.

Then, provided they complete 30 transferrable credit hours and maintain a certain grade requirement, they will transfer to UT as sophomores.

It’s the first year of the Bridge Program — a partnership designed to enhance cooperation between colleges and universities in the Tennessee Board of Regents and UT system.

A UT spokesman said it’s been an “overwhelming success.”

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