A summary listing of higher-ed-related news from around the nation
Funding Decline Taking Toll at Oklahoma College
POTEAU, Okla. (AP) — A community college in southeastern Oklahoma has approved plans to eliminate some academic programs and suspend the men’s and women’s basketball programs because of a drop in state funding.
Carl Albert State College President Garry Ivey says the school’s state allocations have been cut by $800,000 so far this year, and more cuts are expected. The two-year school’s board of regents approved a plan to address the shortfall, including the suspension of the basketball programs.
The board also agreed to eliminate the art degree and Spanish programs, as well as piano courses. Ivey described the budget situation as “dreadful.”
The state has made across-the-board reductions to state agencies and programs because of because of revenue shortfalls caused by the downturn in the oil and gas industries.
North Carolina College System Names New Leader
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The North Carolina Community College System has hired the head of a South Carolina system as its next president. Jimmie Williamson will start July 1st at a yearly salary of $285,000.
Williamson has served the past 27 years in higher education in South Carolina, the last two years as president of the South Carolina Technical College System.
“Dr. Williamson exceeded all of our expectations,” said Jerry Vaughan, chair of the Presidential Search Committee. “His experience brings together business, education as well as workforce and economic development. We couldn’t be more pleased that he will be bringing his considerable talents to North Carolina and to our System.”
He will replace Scott Ralls, who left last year for a job as president of Northern Virginia Community College.
Tennessee’s New Approach Yielding Results
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — State officials have restructured how remedial courses at Tennessee colleges operate.
The Chattanooga Times Free- Press (http://bit.ly/1SbEuGv ) reports that the Tennessee Board of Regents has changed how students take remedial classes in math and writing at community colleges and universities.
The new program has allowed freshmen deemed unprepared for college-level work to take forcredit courses while enrolling in learning support classes. The new system replaced earlier rules that required students to pass a remedial course before taking college-level courses.
The changes were made after many college students became stalled in remedial courses and weren’t earning the college credits needed to graduate.
The board of regents said that after the new program was installed in the fall, 51 percent of students across the state passed math, and the pass rates for students in writing nearly doubled.
“The success of this first year has exceeded our expectations,” said Tristan Denley, vice chancellor of academics at the Tennessee Board of Regents.
Del. Gov. Backs Expanded State Scholarships
DOVER, Del. (AP) — Gov. Jack Markell is supporting legislation to expand a state scholarship program that provides two years of free tuition at Delaware’s technical and community colleges.
The Student Excellence Equals Degree, or SEED, program is available to Delaware residents who maintain a 2.5 grade point average and stay out of trouble. It is used by Del Tech and the University of Delaware’s associate in arts program, which can lead to a four-year degree.
Under the proposed legislation, SEED scholarships would be available not just to full-time students, but also to part-time students and those who take time away from their studies, as long as they complete their degree within six semesters.
The scholarships also would be available to students who are not coming directly out of high school.
Archaeology Dig Returning to NY Battlefield
LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (AP) — A New York community college’s archaeology program will return to a Colonial-era battlefield in the southern Adirondacks for the third consecutive summer.
SUNY Adirondack will hold its summer field school at the state-owned Lake George Battlefield Park during three two-week sessions starting July 5 and running through Aug. 12.
The college-sponsored digs led by archaeologist David Starbuck were first held in the park in the summers of 2000 and 2001, then returned in 2014.
The excavations conducted by students and volunteers have uncovered thousands of Colonial artifacts and portions of a stone fort started by the British during the French and Indian War but never completed.
The site near Lake George’s southern end was the scene of heavy military activating starting in 1755 and ending 25 years later during the American Revolution.
Students’ Rock Campaign Pays Off in Virginia
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia will soon have an official state rock thanks to a group of community college students.
The News & Advance reports (http://bit.ly/1RDBm3O ) Nelsonite, named after Nelson County, officially will become the state rock July 1. Gov. Terry McAuliffe recently signed the bill into law.
Michelle Stanislaus and her classmates at Piedmont Virginia Community College worked to help convince legislators to name Nelsonite the state rock.
The project was collaboration between PVCC political science and geology classes.
The newspaper reports the speckled tan, black and white rock was mined near Piney River and other areas in the 1900s as a source of both titanium used in paint pigments and steel alloys, as well as calcium phosphate used in artificial teeth and agricultural fertilizer.
Ark. College Approves 18% Tuition Increase
NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Pulaski Technical College leaders have approved an 18 percent tuition increase for the coming academic year as a way to counteract decreasing enrollment at the two-year school.
The Arkansas Democrat- Gazette (http://bit.ly/1TzuA0l) reports that students will pay $20 more per credit hour beginning July 1. Students will also pay $1 more in the property-management fee, which increases total mandatory fees to $46 per credit hour.
Officials said that without the increase, the college would face a loss of $2.5 million.
The college had 7,648 students for the 2015-2016 fiscal year, which is its lowest enrollment in a decade. Pulaski Tech’s trustees are now considering whether to join the University of Arkansas System, as well as discussing ways to increase the college’s enrollment.
Deltech To Offer 4-Year Nursing Degree by 2017
DOVER, Del. (AP) — Delaware Technical Community College is set to become the fourth educational institution in the state to offer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program.
The Delaware State News reports (http://bit.ly/1N51kYD) the Board of Trustees approved the move in October, and school officials plan to offer the program by January 2017. The school currently offers an associate degree in nursing.
DelTech President Mark Brainard says an aging baby boomer population — and a growing demand for nurses — factored into the school’s decision to expand the nursing program.
Furthermore, Brainard says more local hospitals have “Magnet status,” meaning the hospitals are required to have 80 percent of their front line nursing staff to hold a bachelor’s degree in nursing by 2020.
The two-year associate degree in nursing program will still be offered at the school.
3 Universities Join Chicago Partnership
CHICAGO (AP) — Three more universities have joined a program that offers scholarships to graduates of City Colleges of Chicago, the state’s largest community college system.
Northwestern University, Robert Morris University and Dominican University, joined 12 other Chicago-area colleges and universities in the Star Partnership. They award scholarships to high-achieving Chicago public school students who complete an associate degree at City Colleges.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the universities’ support will help “break down the financial barriers to a college education” and provide a pathway from high school to community college to a fouryear degree.