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2015 March 30 - 10:18 pm

News Briefs

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


Maine Budget Plan Means Cuts for Community Colleges

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The head of Maine’s community college system says that Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s proposed budget would mean significant cuts or tuition increases.

Interim President Derek Langhauser told the Appropriations Committee that the governor’s decision to flat fund the system would force it to find $10 million in cuts, tuition hikes, or a combination of the two.

The Maine Public Broadcasting Network reports (http://bit.ly/1EMCOtD ) that several students and faculty members also denounced the governor’s plan.

LePage is proposing to give the University of Maine System a $14.2 million, or 3.6 percent, increase over two years.

But the governor has said he decided to keep community college funding flat because the system hadn’t moved forward on initiatives, like a bridge year program for high school students.

Calif. District To Keep $105M Saudi Consulting Deal

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A Southern California college district says it will continue a consulting deal with two Saudi Arabia technical colleges despite opposition from faculty who object to the Arab government’s record on human rights. The Orange County Register reports (http://bit.ly/199b5bd ) about 10 professors and other employees demanded during a trustees meeting that Rancho Santiago Community College District cancel the agreement to improve and restructure the two Saudi government-run schools.

Chancellor Raul Rodriguez disagreed that the $105 million deal violates the district’s values of equality and tolerance. He said, as educators, the district can in a small way contribute to helping set the conditions for change in Saudi Arabia.

Starting this fall, the district will revamp the Saudi schools’ curriculum, train teachers and strengthen other infrastructure.

Accreditor Lifts Probation from Ariz. College

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Pima Community College in Tucson is no longer on probation with an accreditation commission.

The school was put on probation in 2013 because of administrative failures such as poor hiring practices.

But Chancellor Lee D. Lambert told faculty and staff on Monday that the college was no longer on probation with The Higher Learning Commission and is instead ``on notice.’’ The school has also struggled with decreased enrollment.

Lambert said the school has made phenomenal progress but that there is still work to do.

Miss. To Open Early College High School

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi Department of Education, in partnership with East Mississippi Community College, will open the state’s first early college high school for kids who show potential for academic success but need a different type of setting.

Modeled after a similar program called North Carolina New Schools, The Clarion-Ledger reports (http://on.thecl.com/1HQCwSG ) Golden Triangle Early College High School will help students earn both their high school diploma and an associate’s degree from EMCC at the same time.

The high school, located on the EMCC Mayhew Campus, will pull 50 rising freshmen from five nearby school districts who successfully complete the application and interview process. More rising freshmen will be added until the high school reaches a capacity of 200.

Senate Confirms Producer to Calif. College Board

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The California Senate has confirmed the former executive producer of the “The Hangover” movies to the California Community College Board of Governors.

Senators voted 29-6 in support of Scott Budnick.

Budnick was first appointed by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown last year. Budnick founded the Anti- Recidivism Coalition, a nonprofit support network for formerly incarcerated youth.

He was executive vice president and film producer at Green Hat Films from 1999 to 2013. He also produced the “Starsky and Hutch” movie.

Republican Sen. Jim Nielsen of Gerber said crime victims are concerned that Budnick views young prisoners as victims of unjust convictions rather than taking responsibility for their crimes.

San Francisco Democratic Sen. Mark Leno said appointing Budnick would be good for victims because he works to prevent prisoners from repeating crimes.

St. Louis College Names New Chancellor

ST. LOUIS (AP) — An administrator for Ivy Tech Community College has been chosen to lead St. Louis Community College.

Jeff Pittman serves as statewide vice president of corporate college services and online education at Ivy Tech. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Ivy Tech operates 30 campuses and is Indiana’s largest postsecondary institution, serving 200,000 students.

Pittman will begin in July as chancellor in St. Louis.

Former chancellor Myrtle E. Dorsey left after the Board of Trustees didn’t renew her contract amid controversy over the college’s handling of a female student’s April 2013 attack in a restroom on the Meramec campus.

Conn. Campus Cops Want To Carry Guns

MANCHESTER, Conn. (AP) — Manchester Community College’s Police Department is pushing state legislation allowing its officers to carry guns.

The Journal Inquirer reports (http://bit.ly/1EQ8bUs ) that the college’s Police Department is turning to the General Assembly after lobbying the Board of Regents for Higher Education for years to change its policy.

The proposed legislation would establish a “special police force” at Manchester Community College, giving it the same recognition as departments at the University of Connecticut and the four regional state universities.

Lt. Michael Davis, the commanding officer of the college’s five-officer department, said his force is limited without firearms. He said officers had to wait for backup from Manchester police before launching a significant response to reports of a man carrying a gun on campus in March 2013.

RI Considering Performance- Based Funding

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Proposed legislation would require any new state aid for Rhode Island’s three public colleges be based on performance measures intended to improve graduation rates and better prepare students for higher-paying jobs in growth industries.

The Providence Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1DYLU5g ) that the bill would require the Community College of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College and University of Rhode Island to meet performance-based funding targets to win state money beyond base amounts.

If approved, the new performance-based funding would begin in the 2018 fiscal year.

The performance metrics are to be agreed upon by the commissioner and presidents of the colleges, would be published online and revised when targets are met. If performance targets are not achieved, money will be distributed to the college for “corrective action” overseen by the commissioner’s office.

Tenn. University Aiding Potential Transfers

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (AP) — Middle Tennessee State University is providing some guidance to community college students interested in attending the four-year institution.

MTSU President Sidney McPhee recently announced that university administrators, academic counselors and admissions

team members will be at seven two-year state institutions through April 16 to counsel students seeking guidance about the university’s programs and services.

There will also be workshops to help students who wish to declare dual admissions status.

Agreements signed between MTSU and Tennessee Board of Regents colleges in recent years allow two-year students to enroll as MTSU students while still pursuing an associate degree.

If the students transfer before getting an associate degree, the pacts allow the “reverse transfer” of MTSU credits back to the colleges to earn a two-year credential.

Ala. Senate Votes To Create Oversight Board

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama Senate has voted to create a new governing board to oversee the state's two-year college system.

Senators approved the bill on a 27-5 vote. The bill now moves to the Alabama House of Representatives.

The bill would take oversight of the community college system away from the elected state school board and put it in the hands of a new board appointed by the governor.

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