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2015 September 27 - 12:19 am

News Briefs

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

Panel Wants Calif. To Boot Accreditor

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) —A California community college task force is recommending the system’s Board of Governors drop its regional accrediting agency after consistently failing to address calls for reform.

The task force found the agency charged with accrediting California’s 113 community colleges has failed to focus on improving learning and academic achievement and issued far more sanctions than other accreditors.

Colleges must be accredited to participate in student federal aid programs.

The task force comprised of administrators, faculty, trustees and other community college leaders say they’ve concluded the Accreditation Commission for Community and Junior Colleges should be replaced.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera praised the task force’s report, saying it offered vindication. Herrera sued the commission in 2013 to stop the agency from revoking the City College of San Francisco’s accreditation.

Tenn. Officials Tweaking Free Tuition Program

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam hopes recent changes to the Tennessee Promise program will encourage more students and mentors to apply to the scholarship initiative.

Haslam told The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/1LFwOFL ) last week that emphasizing the mentor-student relationship more will improve the scholarship program, which offers eligible high school seniors the chance to go to community or technical college without paying tuition.

Organizers with tnAchieves, a nonprofit that pairs most Tennessee Promise students with their mentors, are pushing back the recruitment deadline and developing a new system that will encourage mentors to devote more time to meeting and discussing each student’s transition to college.

Almost 7,400 mentors went through training last year, or about one for every eight Tennessee Promise students who originally applied.

NC Deal Eases Transfer to 4-Year Colleges

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — It’s getting a little easier for North Carolina students to move from a community college to a private four-year school.

The presidents of the state community college system and North Carolina’s private universities association signed an agreement making it easier for students to transfer credits they’ve earned.

Twenty-one of North Carolina’s 36 independent institutions have agreed to adopt the new standards. More could do so in the future.

About 2,000 community college students transfer to one of the independent higher education institutions each year.

A similar alignment of courses and curricula has been in effect for 18 months between the state’s community colleges and University of North Carolina campuses.

Nev. Chancellor Cleared After Ethics Review

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — A consultant hired to investigate the head of Nevada’s higher education system says the chancellor didn’t violate any ethical standards in handling a report about the state’s community college system.

Labor attorney Stephen Hirschfield sent an 11-page report of his findings to Nevada Board of Regents Chairman Rick Trachok. Regents are set to discuss it next week.

Chancellor Dan Klaich was accused of inappropriately whitewashing a consultant’s draft report that was critical of Nevada’s community college system.

Hirschfield concluded that Klaich did not improperly pressure report authors to change their work, and that the edited final draft maintained the same recommendations as the first.

Md. College Bars New Club for Conservatives

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) —A Hagerstown Community College student says the school is violating her First Amendment rights by barring her from starting a campus chapter of the conservative youth group Turning Point USA.

College officials told The Herald-Mail (http://bit.ly/1JQycSj ) that Moriah DeMartino can join the existing Political Science Club. They say school policy prohibits new student clubs that duplicate the mission and purpose of existing clubs.

DeMartino, a third-year political science major, says the policy is arbitrary and unconstitutional.

Turning Point is a nonprofit group that trains and organizes students to promote fiscal responsibility, free markets, and limited government. The group says it has distributed materials on 1,000 college campuses nationwide.

Calif. Colleges Get Added Legal Authority

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown has approved legislation allowing California community colleges to suspend or expel students for off-campus sexual assaults. SB186 by Democratic Sen.

Hannah-Beth Jackson of Santa Barbara extends the disciplinary powers of community colleges to apply to sexual assaults that don’t involve other students and those that happen off campus grounds.

The University of California and California State University systems say their policies already permit punishing students for offcampus sexual assaults.

The Legislature passed the measure unanimously and is considering several other bills that would increase the consequences for sexual assault.

Sheehan Retiring As President Of TMCC

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Truckee Meadows Community College President Maria Sheehan says she will retire in January to do volunteer work in Central America. Sheehan has been president of TMCC since 2008.

An educator for more than 40 years, State Board of Regents Chairman Rick Trachok says Sheehan’s been a true leader of higher education in Nevada.

State Chancellor Dan Klaich says she’s worked tirelessly to keep the college moving forward during the recent economic downturn.

Sheehan told the Reno Gazette-Journal she’s proud of the work she has done to help bring TMCC some stability and expand the campus with new buildings. Her philanthropic work in Central America will include building an orphanage for disabled infants with volunteers from the Reno Rotary Club.

Kan. Man Jailed For Bathroom Photographs

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A 39-year-old registered sex offender faces nearly three years in prison for photographing women in a bathroom at Johnson County Community College.

Saysavat Noy Bounyadeth of Lenexa pleaded guilty in July to three felony counts of invasion of privacy.

The Kansas City Star reports (http://bit.ly/1hj4cHZ ) that the judge sentenced Bounyadeth to 17 months in prison on the first count and nine and eight months on the others.

Campus police arrested him April 27 after a woman noticed him using his cellphone to photograph her inside a restroom on the Overland Park campus.

Bounyadeth’s arrest came about a month after he was released from prison. He was imprisoned last year after his probation was revoked for failing to complete sex offender treatment in a “sexually motivated” burglary.

ND Colleges Share $7M in Federal Funding

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota’s congressional delegation says five tribal colleges in the state are sharing $7 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

The delegation says the grants are going to Turtle Mountain Community College, United Tribes Technical College, Sitting Bull College, Candeska Cikana Community College Fort Berthold Community College.

Federal officials say the funds will be used to help the tribal colleges strengthen their academic quality, management, and overall fiscal stability.

St. Louis CC Gets $5 Million for Lab Upgrades

FLORISSANT VALLEY, Mo. (AP) — Gov. Jay Nixon has announced that St. Louis Community College will receive more than $5 million for laboratory upgrades.

The governor visited the school’s Florissant Valley campus to announce the allocation of $5.2 million.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1PCkUx9 ) reports the funding is meant to be used for maintenance and upgrades at 19 science laboratories at the Florissant Valley, Forest Park and Meramec campuses.

La. Colleges Collaborate on Continuing Ed

NATCHITOCHES, La. (AP) — Northwestern State University is offering lower tuition to Northshore Technical Community College faculty and staff needing continuing education classes to maintain accreditation.

Northwestern will offer ongoing professional development and advanced educational courses.

Northwestern President Jim Henderson says in a news release that the agreement continues the college’s commitment to providing educational opportunities in support of workforce development and Louisiana’s community colleges Full-time Northshore employ - ees who meet admissions requirements can take up to six credit hours per term in undergraduate courses for $25 per credit hour or up to six credit hours per term in graduate courses at $50 per credit hour.

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