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2008 July 27 - 12:00 am

NEWS BRIEFS:

  • Ore. College OKs Outside Review of President

COOS BAY, Ore. (AP) — The board at Southwestern Oregon Community College in Coos Bay will proceed with an outside review of the college president’s job performance and assert more oversight against staffing decisions.

College President Judith Hansen will not be placed on leave during the review.

The board agreed with three employee groups and will hire the Oregon School Boards Association to help resolve campus differences.

Association representatives will lead a team of consultants who will interview employees about their concerns with Hansen and campus culture in general.

The $30,000 cost will come from a college contingency fund.

Before the board discussed the issue, leaders of the classified employees union, the Faculty Senate and exempt staff issued a joint statement saying the groups had held no-confidence votes last month and that majorities wanted the review.

  • Penn. College May Face Sanctions Over Hiring

YOUNGWOOD, Pa. (AP) — Westmoreland County Community College may face sanctions if it does not do away with political influences that impact hiring and daily operations.

The Middles States Commission on Higher Education, an agency that accredits Pennsylvania colleges, says it is concerned that county commissioners are trying to influence the college’s hiring practices. The board has given the college until Sept. 1 to have a plan in place to fix these problems.

The college’s president, Steven Ender, has complained that he and the trustees have been pressured to hire friends and political acquaintances of the county commissioners.

The Middles States Commission will meet on Nov. 20 to decide whether to take action against the college.

  • California College’s Accreditation Threatened

STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) — The president of San Joaquin Delta College says his institution is in danger of losing its accreditation if officials fail to develop a new code of ethics.

The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges also wants the Board of Trustees to stabilize management, be sensitive to the college’s diverse student body and refrain from micromanaging President Raul Rodriguez. The commission is giving Delta two years to comply.

The commission is part of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, which oversees member institutions in California, Hawaii, Guam and American Samoa.

Last month, the San Joaquin Civil Grand Jury also criticized Delta’s board for deciding to build a campus in Mountain House instead of Tracy. The grand jury said the decision cost taxpayers as much as $50 million.

  • Ariz. College Declines Downtown Campus

MESA, Ariz. (AP) - Mesa Community College has decided against building a downtown campus in Mesa.

Rising construction costs and the chance to plan a new program at a single site prompted college officials to instead move its expansion plans to its main campus.

The idea for a downtown campus, touted as a way to invigorate the downtown area, had gotten approval from the Maricopa County Community College District governing board and led to the project’s inclusion in a successful 2004 bond package bid.

The decision to instead expand the college’s main campus was cemented by its purchase of two new buildings.

The expanded area of the main campus will house an educational program that’s aimed at benefiting preschoolers to graduate students.

  • ‘Mission Creep’ Feared as Utah College Shifts Mission

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - With the transition of Utah Valley State College into the regional Utah Valley University last month, some observers are hoping that students won’t get left behind.

Experts say the institution’s community benchmarks — affordable tuition, a mix of bachelor’s degree programs, technical and trade offerings — could get lost in the transition. That would leave students without financial resources and those the least academically prepared for college  with fewer options.

Kay M. McClenney, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin’s Community College Leadership Program, calls the phenomenon “mission creep” and says there’s no example of a community college conversion where it didn’t occur.

But state and university officials contend the college’s mission will not suffer.

  • Sluggish Economy Fueling Ivy Tech Enrollment

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Ivy Tech Community College says a record summer enrollment may be caused by the sluggish economy.

The college says more than 32,000 students are enrolled in summer classes at 23 campuses statewide. That’s an increase of more than 8 percent over last year.

Ivy Tech Northeast spokesman Edward Reed says community colleges typically do well as the economy slows. He says students are taking classes to make sure they are valuable to their current employer or potential employers.

The college also broke an enrollment record last fall, with a 10 percent increase statewide.

  • Neb. College Opposes Affirmative Action Ban

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Southeast Community College’s Board of Governors has adopted a resolution opposing a proposed ban on affirmative action in Nebraska.

Officials there say many of the school’s programs would no longer exist if affirmative action is voted down. The college has campuses in Beatrice, Lincoln and Milford.

The University of Nebraska’s Board of Regents has approved a similar resolution.

Supporters of the proposed ban say they have gathered enough petition signatures to put the measure before voters.

Doug Tietz of the Nebraska Civil Rights Initiative would not say exactly how many signatures the group will turn into Secretary of State John Gale. The group needs about 114,000 valid signatures.

  • Tuition on Rise At Rhode Island Colleges 

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ Tuition and fees at Rhode Island College and the Community College of Rhode Island are on the way up.

The Board of Governors for Higher Education on Monday approved a nearly 10 percent hike at RIC and a nearly 9 percent increase at CCRI.

That will boost tuition and fees for in-state students at RIC to $5,771 annually starting this fall, and to $3,091 annually at CCRI.

Board Chairman Frank Caprio calls the increases “painful’’ and a “burden,’’ but says they are necessary to maintain quality following budget cuts to higher education.

The state faced a $425 million deficit this year.

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