A summary listing of higher-ed-related news from around the nation
- College To Pay Writer $26K for Botched Invite
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — A California community college has agreed to pay Oscarwinning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black $26,000 not to sue after the school rescinded an invitation to speak at commencement.
The Los Angeles Times reported (http://lat.ms/1CneRF9 ) that Pasadena City College officials were concerned about the school’s image after a stolen sex video with Black was posted online.
Black, who wrote the screenplay for “Milk,” ultimately delivered the May 9 address at his alma mater after he wrote a letter in the student newspaper hinting at legal action and trustees apologized and invited him back.
The Times obtained a copy of an agreement then-college President Mark W. Rocha signed the day before the May 9 speech to pay Black $26,050.
Both sides agreed not to extensively discuss the deal publicly.
- Student Pleads Guilty in Mo. Campus Assault
CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) — A former student at St. Louis Community College’s Meramec campus pleaded guilty to assaulting a female student in a bathroom, a crime that led to criticism of how the response was handled and the ouster of some top officials.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1DIggbP ) reports that Jevon Mallory, now 20, pleaded guilty to felony assault. Sentencing is Dec. 12.
Mallory was caught choking Blythe Grupe in a women’s bathroom at the campus in Kirkwood on April 18, 2013. Authorities say Mallory either hid in a stall or followed Grupe into the bathroom, before grabbing her around the neck.
Police say the attack was interrupted when an instructor heard Grupe’s screams. She was treated for neck bruises, ruptured blood vessels and a cut on her face.
Mallory was released by campus officials within hours of the attack even though he admitted he was trying to “withdraw her from life,” and that he attacked the stranger to “vent his rage.” Other students, faculty and staff were not immediately alerted to the attack. Campus officials went public only after Grupe, then 19, told the media about the attack.
A report commissioned by the college Board of Trustees said the handling of the incident showed “a lack in leadership and management from key personnel at the district and campus levels.”
The police chief and a vice president of student affairs for the Meramec campus were removed, as was the police chief for the community college district. The president of the Meramec campus resigned, and Chancellor Myrtle Dorsey left later in 2013 after trustees voted not to renew her contract.
- Ga. College Plans Courses On Drones
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — A Clarke County school is planning to offer courses to teach students how to operate drones, track down cybercriminals and more.
The Athens Banner-Herald reports (http://bit.ly/125BJOq ) Clarke County Career Academy will offer several career-oriented courses next year in an effort to increase students’ interest in dual high school-college enrollment. The courses are expected to be available in fall of 2015.
Athens Technical College Vice President Dan Smith says the courses are tailored to fit careers in industries that are expected to expand in the future.
Aside from drone operations and mobile cybersecurity, Smith says the career academy plans to offer courses in video game design, robotics and more.
- Kan. Colleges To Expand Aviation Program
SALINA, Kan. (AP) — A pilot degree program offered through Kansas State University Salina will expand to the Kansas City area.
The university announced that the expanded program will start next year.
Students will be able to take flight training from Air Associates in Olathe, general-education classes from Johnson County Community College, and other classes online from Kansas State Salina. The students will graduate with a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical technology-professional pilot.
New federal regulations require co-pilots to have at least 1,500 hours of flight experience, an increase from the previous 250-hour requirement. But copilots with a four-year degree need only 1,000 hours.
- Fla. College Wins Praise for Shark Repellent
KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) — Federal officials are praising a shark repellent developed at the Florida Keys Community College.
The project was funded by a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration grant. In a recent report to Congress, NOAA officials highlighted the repellent among efforts in coastal communities to reduce the numbers of sharks caught in commercial seafood harvests.
The Key West Citizen reports (http://bit.ly/ZMSLPq ) that the first batch of the repellent caused such a stench on the college’s Key West campus that it was moved to a storage locker several miles away. That batch was made from rotting shark carcasses, and it was tended by a research assistant with no sense of smell.
FKCC researcher Patrick Rice says the repellent now is comprised of synthetic compounds packed into time-release capsules hooked onto fishermen’s lines.
- Calif. College Faculty To Teach Prison Inmates
FAIRFIELD, Calif. (AP) — Faculty from Northern California’s Solano Community College will begin teaching inmates at a nearby prison under a deal unanimously approved by the school’s governing board.
The Vallejo Times Herald reported (http://bit.ly/1wazkvM) that the agreement will allow inmates at California State Prison-Solano to earn college credit and also have access to counseling, placement, and disability support services.
The newspaper says the college will be able to count the inmate students into its Full-Time Equivalent Students roster. FTES is a calculation the state uses to determine how much funding to send to each community college.
Solano College is operating with a $1.3 million deficit budget during the 2014-15 fiscal year, due to a reduction of FTES within the district.
- Early Education Center Planned For Ill. Campus
BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Illinois plans to spend $6.1 million to build an early childhood education center at Southwestern Illinois College.
The Belleville News-Democrat reports (http://bit.ly/1sWOX- HD ) Gov. Pat Quinn announced the project at the Belleville campus. The 16,000-square-foot building will offer classrooms, a motor skills area, an observation room and an isolation room for sick children.
Quinn says the center will increase “badly needed services” for families in the area.
Quinn also dedicated the community college’s new Veterans and Career Services Center. The school says it serves about 1,800 veterans and 900 dependents.
- Six Ky. Colleges Share $10 Million Federal Grant
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The federal government has awarded $10 million to six Kentucky community colleges to support training programs.
About half goes to Hazard Community and Technical College to lead a consortium of six community and technical colleges focused on information technology training.
Gov. Steve Beshear’s office says the grant should make it easier to train at Kentucky community colleges for a career in fields such as mobile app development or medical billing.
A news release said the consortium will create four information technology pathways in computer and medical information that will lead to five degrees and 13 certificates.
Participating community colleges include Hazard, Big Sandy, Jefferson, Somerset, Southeast and West Kentucky.
- Salina Tech To Start Training Truck Drivers
SALINA, Kan. (AP) — The Salina Area Technical College is working to start a professional trucking program because demand for drivers is strong.
The Salina Journal (http://bit.ly/1xZmIbf) reports that the program was discussed during a meeting with needy employers.
Vice President of Instruction Pedro Leite says the technical school is looking for seed money. The hope is have the program up and running by next spring.
Fort Scott Community College in southeast Kansas offers the only truck driving school in Kansas that’s affiliated with the Board of Regents.
Salina Tech will be the second, and much of the necessary equipment has been donated by local industry players. Great Plains Trucking and Apac- Kansas Shears Division have each supplied a truck. Apac and Schwan’s Global Supply added trailers.
- To Cut Costs, Grand Rapids CC Planning Buyouts
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Grand Rapids Community College plans to offer buyouts to some faculty and staff as part of an effort that could save $5 million over the next decade.
The Grand Rapids Press reports (http://bit.ly/1opdZio ) the offers seek to trim expenses because of declining enrollment.
School President Steven Ender says any money that the school can save “without having to take a hard look at programs, the better we like that scenario.”
The college estimates the buyouts would generate $1.3 million in savings over three years if 15 faculty and 10 staff members take them.
The plans come as the college is projecting a budget deficit of between $2 million and $5 million for the 2015-16 school year.
- JPMorgan Chase Donates $1M to Worker Training
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — JPMorgan Chase is giving $1 million to Louisiana’s community and technical colleges to help with workforce training efforts to match students to available jobs.
The donation will be used to pay for training in high-demand skills training programs such as welding, pipefitting, electrical work and petroleum technology. It will serve as match funding to help the Louisiana Community and Technical College System draw down dollars from its share of a $40 million higher education incentive fund.
Schools must work with private businesses to get a funding match of at least 20 percent to access money from the Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy, or WISE, Fund.
Gov. Bobby Jindal and lawmakers created the WISE Fund to help fill high-need jobs, tied to projected workforce demand.
- Chevron’s $20M To Boost Pa. Workforce
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Chevron Corp. is spending $20 million to launch its Appalachia Partnership Initiative, which is meant to improve schools and workforce development in 27 counties in southwestern Pennsylvania, northern West Virginia and eastern Ohio.
Chevron is working with the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and RAND Corporation to improve Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education and other measures to produce skilled workers for the energy and manufacturing industries spurred by Marcellus Shale drilling.
Among other measures, Chevron will work with the ShaleNET workforce training program to provide scholarships at four community colleges in those counties.
Chevron will also work with Carnegie Mellon University on an Energy Lab at the Elizabeth Forward and Bethlehem Center school districts near Pittsburgh. CMU students are developing middle school curricula meant to spur energy learning.
- Ga. Officials Consider Trail To Link Colleges
ROME, Ga. (AP) — Community leaders in Rome are considering a plan that would connect college campuses in the area with bike and pedestrian trails.
The Rome News-Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/1tebWh8) that connecting the campuses is a key part of an updated bike and pedestrian transportation plan presented to Rome and Floyd County residents Tuesday night.
Officials said the plan will be refined based on public comment received at Tuesday night’s meeting before it is formally submitted to Rome and Floyd County officials.
Rome is home to Berry College; Shorter University; Georgia Highlands College; and Georgia Northwestern Technical College.