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By CCWeek Staff  /  
2016 February 29 - 10:39 am

News Briefs

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

Men’s Basketball Tourney Staying in Kansas

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — A national end-of-season basketball tournament that has been played in Hutchinson for more than six decades will be there for 25 more years.

The Hutchinson News (bit.ly/QED) reports the National Junior College Athletic Association on Monday announced the annual Division 1 men’s tournament will remain at the Sports Arena until 2041.

Hutchinson has hosted the tournament since 1949, but last year the organization suggested it might move if the aging sports facility wasn’t upgraded.

Local voters approved a .35 percent sales tax increase last April that will fund a $29.5 million renovation of the arena.

Economic development officials say the annual tournament brings about $1.3 million into the community.

Perot Dedicates Museum at Alma Mater

TEXARKANA, Texas (AP) — Dallas billionaire Ross Perot has helped dedicate a museum in his name at the East Texas college he once attended.

The 85-year-old Perot visited Texarkana College to dedicate the Ross Perot Leadership Museum.

Texarkana College was facing a more than $3 million shortfall when Perot in 2012 donated $1 million and pledged $4 million more. School officials say Perot’s support helped spark a $22 million fundraising effort.

Perot was born on the Texas side of Texarkana, a city that’s also part of Arkansas. He attended Texarkana College, formerly known as Texarkana Junior College, in the 1940s and went on to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy.

Perot went on to found Electronic Data Systems and twice ran for U.S. president in the 1990s.

Gender-Neutral Mascot Approved At Nev. College

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Students at Truckee Meadows Community College have voted to declare their mascot gender-neutral.

The Student Government Association voted to declare Wizard the Lizard gender-neutral after discussing the option with other colleges and universities that are making their mascots more diverse.

Equity and Inclusion Office Specialist YeVonne Allen says making Wizard gender-neutral makes TMCC inclusive and progressive.

The college will now refer to Wizard by name or as “the lizard” or “the mascot” in lieu of using gendered pronouns.

Former College Employee Jailed In ID Theft Case

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (AP) — A former community college employee has been sentenced to nearly a year in jail for stealing identity information of her coworkers in San Luis Obispo County.

Prosecutors say Lacey Fowler accessed personal data including Social Security numbers in her role as human resources analyst at Cuesta College. She was accused of using the stolen information to open up credit card accounts in the victims’ names.

The Tribune newspaper reported (http://bit.ly/1SVQawa ) that the 30-year-old had pleaded no contest to felony identity theft and received 350 days in jail.

After she is released, Fowler will be on probation for four years and must participate in residential drug treatment.

Investigators executing a search warrant at her home found methamphetamine and heroin.

Ill. College, Jail Collaborate on Wind Turbine

FREEPORT, Ill. (AP) — Officials at one northern Illinois county jail hope to install a 120-foot wind turbine in an effort to cut electricity costs by 40 to 70 percent.

The (Freeport) Journal-Standard reports (http://bit.ly/1X8Iy8N ) that Stephenson County Sheriff Dave Snyders and jail administrator Dean Schroeder have partnered with Highland Community College’s Wind Turbine Technology department on the project. An instructor obtained a donated wind turbine after a two-year study found it’s consistently windy at the jail.

About $30,000 is needed to erect the tower. The county and college hope to pay for that with grant money.

The sheriff says the jail also is installing more cost-efficient lights and looking at solar panels and motion-triggered lights.

The jail spends about $108,000 annually on electricity. Officials say the turbine could save $65,000 a year.

RI College Moves Forward with Satellite Campus

WESTERLY, R.I. (AP) — The Community College of Rhode Island is moving forward with plans to build a satellite campus in Westerly.

Officials said the $5.1 million project will be built on a vacant freight yard near the Connecticut border.

The new campus will focus on training students in specialized tradesman skills such as carpentry, maritime pipefitting and sheet metal work.

Financing hasn’t been determined. Project leaders say they believe construction will start in March on the Westerly Higher Education & Job Skills Center.

CCRI is partnering with Electric Boat to help design the curriculum. The project is expected to help efforts to add jobs at the U.S. Navy contractor’s shipyards over the next 15 years.

Accreditor Warns Ill. Officials over Budget Impasse

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A higher-education accrediting agency says the state budget impasse could have “significant” consequences for the public colleges and universities in Illinois.

The (Champaign) News- Gazette (http://bit.ly/1UYjv6Y ) reports that the Higher Learning Commission, the regional accrediting agency for 19 states including Illinois, issued a warning to Gov. Bruce Rauner and members of the General Assembly in a letter.

The commission said schools that have to suspend operations or close because of unavailable state funding could lose their accreditation if they don’t come up with plans for their students to continue at another college. It warned that the lack of state funding puts the state’s schools at risk and jeopardizes students’ futures.

Illinois’ public colleges and universities have been operating without state funding since the fiscal year began on July 1.

Idaho House Backs Trustee Election Bill

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Idaho House has backed a bill that would require community college trustees to be elected from designated zones inside the existing districts.

The measure would divide college districts into five zones with equal populations. Currently, college trustees can be elected to a board so long as they live within a district.

Republican Rep. Greg Chaney of Caldwell says the proposal would give rural taxpayers more input on the direction of their local community colleges.

However, opponents of the measure say the bill furthers an existing divide between rural and urban areas. They also argue that the Legislature is rushing the bill without gathering input from community college stakeholders.

The measure passed the House on a 55-15 vote. It must now pass the Senate before it reaches Gov. C. L. “Butch” Otter’s desk.

Tenn. Schools Collaborate on Dual Enrollment

CLEVELAND, Tenn. (AP) — Cleveland City Schools has joined a new early degree program through Cleveland State Community College that offers students the opportunity to graduate high school and college simultaneously.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports (bit.ly/205PHGU) the city school board voted in a recent meeting to commit $32,000 to build the Tennessee Valley Early College program over a twoyear period.

The four-year program incorporates dual credit and dual enrollment courses.

Cleveland State President Bill Seymour says the program is an opportunity for high school students to earn associate degrees in fields such as mechatronics and business.

Cleveland High School English teacher Anita Atkins says the program is part of an effort by Cleveland schools to explore personalized learning options and will provide students with hands-on project-based learning.

Kentucky System President Picked For New Board

VERSAILLES, Ky. (AP) — The president of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System has been picked for a new board that will advocate for community colleges at the federal level.

Jay K. Box will serve on the board to be named Reclaiming America’s Middle Class. A release from the community college system says the boards mission is “to rebuild America’s middle class” by increasing student access to community college by lobbying elected officials.

Box says a key issue is advocating for the expansion of Pell Grants for summer classes. He says community colleges are crucial to building a stronger workforce.

Tenn. Agreement Offers Path to 4-Year Degree

DICKSON, Tenn. (AP) — Freed-Hardeman University and Nashville State Community College have agreed to offer joint enrollment that will provide a seamless pathway for community college students to complete a bachelor’s degree.

According to a news release from the schools, the agreement allows students to enroll concurrently in classes offered by both schools, and students will be able to receive federal financial aid based on the combined enrollment.

Facilities and programs offered jointly by the two schools include advising, registration, computer labs, Internet accounts, libraries, student identification cards, sporting events and online transcripts with degree plan analyses.

The new program begins with the spring 2016 semester.

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