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2012 June 11 - 12:00 am

NEWS BRIEFS:

  • NM Community College Offers Dinosaur Digs This Summer

TUCUMCARI, N.M. (AP) — Mesalands Community College in Tucumcari is offering students the chance to dig for dinosaurs.

The school says it will offer three five-day classes in paleontology in June and July where students will search for and learn to excavate dinosaur-age vertabrea in the Quay County area.

Officials say that over the past five years, field classes have recovered numerous fossils at six sites in the Quay County area. They say about 1,400 skeletal elements have been recovered, including two skulls and a plethora of bones of the crocodile-like phytosaur Redondasaurus and limb bones from a new form of a large, heavily armored aetosaur.

The classes cost $650.

  • Ivy Tech Hiring ‘Graduation Coaches’ for Students


COLUMBUS, Ind. (AP) — Ivy Tech Community College is teaming up with two Indiana school districts to help boost graduation rates and steer students toward college.

The iGrad program will place a team of adult mentors and tutors inside schools in the Bartholomew Consolidated and Flat Rock-Hawcreek school districts this fall to help remove academic, financial and emotional obstacles for students.

The goal is to have 100 percent of high school students graduate by 2017.

The Republic reports that Ivy Tech is hiring two or three team leaders for the program. Assistant Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Danielle Brandon says the team leaders will supervise the part-time graduation coaches.

  • Kentucky Sees Four Percent Jump in Degrees

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A preliminary report on the number of higher education degrees awarded in Kentucky this year shows an increase of 4 percent over last year, with community college associate degrees leading the way.

The Council on Postsecondary Education reported that a record 63,000 degrees and credentials were awarded in Kentucky for the 2011-12 academic year.

The preliminary report shows the number of associate degrees from the Kentucky Community and Technical College System leaped 20 percent to about 9,500.

In addition, master’s and specialist degrees increased 12 percent to more than 8,800. Doctoral research degrees rose more than 7 percent.

Bachelor’s degrees increased 4 percent over last year to more than 21,500.

The final report will be available in the fall.

  • Ex-Prof: College Fired Me Over My Opinions

VALHALLA, N.Y. (AP) — A former longtime adjunct professor says in a lawsuit that Westchester Community College fired her for expressing politically incorrect opinions.

Carol Leitner says that, among other things, she revealed her support for Arizona’s controversial 2010 immigration law.

Her trouble apparently began in 2004. According to the Journal News, the speech teacher was disciplined after telling a student to press his large lips together more firmly while pronouncing certain sounds.

She drew another complaint three years later when she told a poorly performing student, ``If you speak like that, you are never going to get a job.’’

WCC spokesman Patrick Hennessey says the college does not comment on pending litigation.

  • Pima Class of 2012 Sets College Record

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A record number of students graduated from Tucson’s Pima Community College.

The college awarded certificates and degrees to more than 3,600 students at a ceremony at the Tucson Convention Center.

That’s about 60 more students than the previous record.

The Arizona Daily Star says Pima Community’s oldest graduate was 73 years old while the youngest was just 17.

The school’s Liberal arts program had the highest number of graduates at 825 with general studies second at 461.

  • Federal Court Dismisses Suit On Bias Claim

JACKSON, Miss. (AP)—A federal appeals court has ruled for Hinds Community College in a workplace retaliation case.

In 2010, a Mississippi federal judge ordered the school to pay a former professor $345,020 after a federal jury found she had been the victim of workplace retaliation.

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit of Appeals reversed that decision and dismissed the lawsuit against Hinds.

Renee Summers-Akers, who taught at Hinds from 1982 until her retirement last spring, alleged she was passed over for a promotion in 2006 because she had aided a colleague who was accusing the college of racial discrimination.

For her workplace retaliation claim, she was awarded compensatory damages, as well as back pay she would have earned as the department chairwoman.

The 5th Circuit panel said Summers-Akers lost her job because she didn’t have enough graduate hours to keep it.

The panel said court records showed the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools required a teacher of economics to have had 18 semester hours of graduate study. Akers had only six hours.

With its accreditation process under way at Hinds such a deficiency by Summers-Akers and others created problems for the two-year school.

The panel said even though Hinds offered courses in 2006 to help the instructors to get up-to-date, Summers-Akers refused to do so. By the time she changed her mind in 2007 and wanted to take 12 hours in the spring of 2008, the panel said Hinds told her the course load was too great. Summers-Akers then sued Hinds.

The panel said Hinds had to follow the accreditation requirements and Summers-Akers was treated no differently than other teachers with the same problem.

The panel said there was no connection between the racial discrimination case and the employment action by the junior college.

  • Idaho Baseball Player Charged In Steroids Case

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) — A 21-year-old College of Southern Idaho baseball player is charged with selling anabolic steroids to his teammates.

William Robert “Billy-Bob” Ward of Las Vegas is charged with three felony counts of delivery of a controlled substance.

Court records say Idaho State Police investigators used the roommate of one of Ward’s teammates as a confidential informant to set up and monitor three purchases of anabolic steroids from Ward between February and mid-May. The purchases, totaling $2,900, took place on the CSI campus.

Ward just finished up his sophomore season at the junior college. He was a third-baseman who hit .292 with two home runs and 24 runs batted in.

  • NH Colleges Break record for Graduates


CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The Community College System of New Hampshire has awarded the largest number of degrees and certificates in its history.

The system’s says 2,340 students graduated from the system’s seven community colleges.

They range in age from 18 to 67.

Most of the graduates will receive associate degrees. Another 556 will receive certificates of professional competency.

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