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2014 September 16 - 05:07 am

News Briefs

A summary listing of higher-ed-related news from around the nation

  • NJ Trustee Resigns After Ethics Probe

NEWTON, N.J. (AP) — Another high-ranking official at a northwestern New Jersey community college has resigned in the wake of an ethics probe stemming from a renovation contract.

Glenn Gavan decided to step down as chairman of the Board of Trustees at Sussex County Community College in Newton.

Gavan had served on the 11-member board since 2008 and as its chair since November 2012. His resignation came after an independent investigation determined he and two other board members had a conflict of interest with the engineering firm hired for renovation work on campus.

The investigation concluded Gavan and two other trustees — Glen Vetrano and Ed Leppert — had conflicts with Sparta-based CP Engineering. But it also found they were unaware of their ethical obligations under state law and the school’s ethics code.

The three, who never publicly disclosed these relationships, abstained on some CP-related votes but not on others.

Vetrano, who resigned last month, was a paid lobbyist for CP Engineers when he voted to give the firm a $142,300 contract for master-plan work last year, the report found. Gavan voted to approve pro-bono work for the firm weeks before becoming its paid attorney in April 2013.

Investigators noted that Leppert had asked the college’s attorney whether he had a conflict, since a payroll company he owns had done work for CP Engineers. Leppert voted after the school’s attorney advised him it was OK to do so, but then later abstained from other votes.

  • College Disputes Concurrent Enrollment

PINE BLUFF, Ark. (AP) — Enrollment at a Pine Bluff-area community college is suffering because a four-year university started offering concurrent enrollment at a nearby high school, according to the community college’s president.

Southeast Arkansas College president Stephen Hilterbran has complained to the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board about the University of Arkansas at Monticello offering classes for college credit at White Hall High School.

Hilterbran said the loss of credit hours has affected how much funding Southeast Arkansas College is able to get from the state.

“When a four-year university or other institution takes over education in the community, it hurts those local community colleges,” Hilterbran said. “It divides the community ... This is about increasing enrollment at one institution at the expense of another institution simply because you can.”

But UA-Monticello Chancellor H. Jack Lassiter said the university will continue to provide concurrent enrollment as long as the White Hall School District is happy with its services. Lassiter noted that the school district invited him to offer classes beginning in the 2012-13 school year. Because of that, he said he doesn’t believe the school is doing anything wrong.

“We’re not out campaigning and recruiting school districts,” he said. “We’re not going more than an hour outside of our campus.”

High schools in Arkansas have been covering concurrent enrollment since 1998, but the Higher Education Coordinating Board’s policy does not include service area designations.

  • Ohio Colleges To Get Workforce Funding

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A total $16 million will be allocated among six community colleges in Ohio to help strengthen workforce development education and training.

The grants announced recently by the Ohio Board of Regents are to be used to build and renovate facilities and purchase equipment to help students gain the education and skills needed for careers in regional industries.

The money was allocated through the state’s capital construction budget.

State officials say 18 proposals were submitted for funding and were evaluated to determine which had the most impact for students and for Ohio’s economy.

The grants range from $471,000 to $5 million. Schools include Lorain County Community College, Rhodes State Community College and North Central State College. Lakeland Community College, Stark State College and Clark State College also are getting grants.

  • Free College Proposal Arouses Interest in Conn.

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — State education officials say more than 6,000 people have expressed interest in a new program encouraging “lapsed” Connecticut college students to return to the classroom.

Of those inquiries, more than 800 students have successfully enrolled in classes this fall, said Lori Pendleton, director of admissions at Charter Oak State College, the state’s online college. Pendleton said she expects about 990 will ultimately register this fall.

With spring enrollment, Pendleton said the state is on track to enroll 1,400 students, which is in line with original estimates.

Pendleton provided an update on the “Go Back to Get Ahead” program to state lawmakers.

The new program allows certain individuals who left college to get up to three, free threecredit courses at one of the state’s 17 community colleges or universities.

  • Court Orders Vote on Ariz. Board Seats

PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona Supreme Court has ordered that the general election ballot in Maricopa County include two new at-large seats on the Maricopa County Community College District’s governing board.

The ruling issued without comment overturns a decision by the state Court of Appeals that the seats shouldn’t appear on the ballot.

The mid-level court’s July 23 ruling said a 2010 state law adding the two at-large seats violates the Arizona Constitution’s prohibition against so-called local laws because the 2010 law applied only to Maricopa County.

The justices considered an accelerated appeal. Election officials had said they needed a speedy decision to complete the November general election ballot.

Officeholders, education officials and activists filed the lawsuit challenging the law.

The district’s board already has five members elected by districts.

  • Ky. Colleges Reach Transfer Agreement

RICHMOND, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky Community and Technical College System has reached an agreement with Eastern Kentucky University to allow seamless transfers for students.

The regional college system says the agreement provides a structure for exchanging transfer information between it and Eastern and also identifies students who are likely to consider transferring.

  • Ohio College Planning Drone Building

DAYTON, Ohio —A Dayton community college has taken another step toward positioning itself as a leader in drone technology research.

Sinclair Community College officials announced plans for the renovation of an existing downtown Dayton campus building into a $5 million training and certification center for unmanned aerial systems.

Despite the region being passed over for an FAA drone testing site last year, Sinclair has moved full speed ahead on the development, teaching and application of the technology.

The Dayton Daily News reports that the growth in the technology was on display Tuesday during the first day of the threeday Ohio UAS Conference in Dayton, which has drawn more than 700 people and 70 exhibitors across the United States, Israel, Mexico and Australia.

  • Miss. College Giving iPads to English Students

BOONEVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Northeast Mississippi Community College is participating in a pilot program that puts iPads in the hands of all students and faculty in the English Department.

Northeast hopes to provide iPads to every student starting with the fall semester of 2015.

Rickey Ford, the college’s executive vice president, said the program will allow students to download lectures from other teachers at other schools on the same subject area.

Ford said the use of the iPads allows students to expand their education knowledge, get more involved in classes and get prepared to enter the workforce. Students also will be able to download books to the iPads.

  • Fuel Cell Facility Opens in Upstate New York MALTA, N.Y. (AP) — General

Electric Co. is opening a new facility north of Albany devoted to the development of fuel cells.

The facility will be devoted to the development of high-efficiency fuel cells that take in natural gas. GE believes these so-called oxide fuel cells could generate from one to 10 megawatts of power.

The company says it has reached a deal with Hudson Valley Community College to install and operate a smaller, 50 kilowatt fuel cell generator. GE officials say the installation at the community college brings their lowemission fuel cell technology a step closer to the commercial market.

Hudson Valley college officials say the deal will open the door to new career fields.

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