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2015 October 8 - 05:38 pm

News Briefs

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

Enrollment Climbing at Louisiana College

LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) — Sowela Technical Community College is boasting its third straight year of enrollment growth.

Chancellor Neil Aspinwall tells the American Press (http://bit.ly/1eOXZNb) fall enrollment stands at 3,700 students. Last year’s fall enrollment was just over 3,500 students.

Aspinwall said he expects enrollment to continue to increase as construction for the $67 billion in industrial expansion in Southwest Louisiana comes to fruition.

“I think our image, the new buildings that we’ve put in place, along with all these billions of dollars of expansion, that is what is drawing our enrollment,” Aspinwall said. “The students know the jobs are there, they’re good jobs and they’re not what we called the vocational school jobs anymore.”

Aspinwall said his son is among the students and is enrolled in the process technology program at the school.

“I think everyone is beginning to realize that community colleges are the answer to improving the economy and putting people back to work,” he said.

Aspinwall said 63 percent of highwage, high-skilled, high-demand jobs require more than a high school diploma, but less than a four-year degree.

“That’s where the jobs are,” he said.

“And that’s what we’re training for; that’s our niche, and they’re beginning to come to us.”

Plus, Sowela’s tuition is cheaper, he said. “Students can attend Sowela for two years and save enough money for that third year when you go off to a four-year school.”

Aspinwall said one of Sowela’s growing population areas is transfer students.

“Students can come here and get an associate of art or associate of science Louisiana transfer and if they complete that degree they are guaranteed junior status at any four-year school or any college or university in the state of Louisiana,” he said. “That’s a pretty good guarantee.”

DuPage Trustees Move To Oust President

GLEN ELLYN, Ill. (AP) — Trustees at the College of DuPage in suburban Chicago have voted to void the contract of the community college’s embattled president about a month after they started the process of firing him.

Trustees voted 4-3 to void Robert Breuder’s contract and declare him an at-will employee, which means he has no contract and can be fired. Breuder is on paid administrative leave and is set to retire in March.

The board contends that it doesn’t have to give Breuder a severance deal worth $763,000, Board of Trustees attorney Timothy Elliott said. The deal, which ends his tenure three years early, is being investigated by law enforcement.

Officials with the school argue that the previous Board of Trustees that hired Breuder didn’t have authority to give him a contract.

“No board may bind future boards by entering into employment agreements with individuals in positions such as Dr. Breuder’s that extend beyond that board’s term,” board Chairwoman Katharine Hamilton said.

However, trustee Dianne McGuire, who voted against the measure, called it “ridiculous” and could cost the college more money than the severance deal should Breuder sue.

“I don’t see this as being responsible custodians of taxpayer dollars,” McGuire said.

Trustees also voted 4-2 to nix plans to name its Homeland Security Education Center after Breuder. Instead, the building will be named after Army Staff Sgt. Robert J. Miller, a Wheaton native who died while serving in Afghanistan in 2008.

Miss. College President Under Fire for Email

ELLISVILLE, Miss. (AP) — A community college president has come under scrutiny for emailing other presidents to encourage them to oppose an education funding amendment and donate to a political committee.

Multiple media outlets report that Jesse Smith, president of Jones County Junior College, decried Ballot Initiative 42 in an email sent to school presidents in the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges.

Carroll County School District Assistant Superintendent Rana Mitchell has filed a complaint with the State Auditor’s Office over the email. Mississippi law prohibits its employees from using resources, equipment and time to advocate or campaign for political issues.

Initiative 42 calls for an amendment to the state constitution that would require the state to fund an “adequate and efficient” system of public schools.

Missing Drive Could Risk NM Student Data

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Students at an Albuquerque college could be at risk of having their personal information compromised after the college reported that a thumb drive containing students’ information was missing.

KOAT-TV reports (http://bit.ly/1Km2tJC ) Central New Mexico Community College officials say the thumb drive with students’ birth dates and Social Security numbers was reported missing in July by someone from the school’s health center.

Students say they weren’t notified of the mishap until a few weeks ago. The college says the delay has been due to the school’s effort in tracking down students who may have been affected.

Wyo. College Seeking Coaches for Soccer Teams

GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) — Gillette College will begin advertising for two new coaches in October to lead soccer teams the school hopes to have competing in fall 2016.

The Gillette News Record reports (http://bit.ly/1Krmp1h ) that the two-year community college will add both a men’s and women’s soccer team and that the coaches should start work in January.

Gillette College CEO Mark Englert says some of the recruited players would likely be housed in the second phase of student housing expected to be completed in fall 2016.

The teams will likely play other community college teams in Wyoming, including Sheridan College, Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne, Western Wyoming Community College in Riverton and Northwest College in Powell, along with other junior college teams in the region.

WV College Starts Search for New President

FAIRMONT, W.Va. (AP) — A search committee has been formed to find the next president of Pierpont Community & Technical College.

Pierpont Board of Governors chairman James Griffin will serve as the search committee’s chairman.

The Times West Virginian (http://bit.ly/1MrDMkL ) reports that Griffin announced the committee’s members at a board meeting.. They include board members Earl McConnell, Sharon Shaffer and Warren VanAlsburg; and Fairmont State University President Maria Rose.

Former president Doreen Larson left the school in April to become president of Edison Community College in Ohio.

Griffin says the search committee’s goal is to have a new president in place by April 2016.

Emergency Call Boxes Being Removed

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Emergency call boxes are being removed from an Albuquerque college campus, an action school officials say is meant to cut down on expensive maintenance and repair costs.

KOAT-TV reports (http://bit.ly/1OUjb65 ) the tall blue poles with “push for help” buttons dispersed throughout Central New Mexico Community College have served as resources for students who might need to call for help. The devices are now covered with gray sleeves or bolted over with metal.

Student Angela Fredlund says the boxes are there for students who don’t have access to a cellphone and are in need of help. She says she doesn’t think the change is safe.

But school officials say the technology is outdated and have cited costs as a reason to remove the boxes.

Cincinnati State President Stepping Down

CINCINNATI (AP) — The president of a technical and community college in Cincinnati is leaving to join the city Health Department.

The Cincinnati Enquirer (http://cin.ci/1G3niYu ) reports the health commission approved Cincinnati State President O’dell Owens’ appointment at a recent meeting. He’ll become the department’s medical director.

Owens is a medical doctor who has also served as Hamilton County’s coroner. He’s been president at Cincinnati State since 2010.

He’ll report to Cincinnati Health Commissioner Noble Maseru.

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