A summary listing of higher-ed-related news from around the nation
RI Adopts Performance Funding
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A new law is linking state aid to Rhode Island’s public colleges to how they are performing.
Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo recently signed the legislation into law.
The Community College of Rhode Island and other institutions will now have to achieve certain goals in order to get more funding. The goals include getting students to graduate on time and increasing how many are getting degrees in highdemand and high-wage fields.
Democratic Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed sponsored the bill and says it will help the state close a skills gap.
The sponsors say Massachusetts and 31 other states use performance measures to allocate funding. Connecticut and four other states are moving in that direction. They say Rhode Island’s law isn’t punitive because colleges can get money to meet the goals.
Accreditation for Tucson College Threatened
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A community college that has long served the metro Tucson area is facing a critical point in an effort to hold onto its accreditation.
Pima Community College’s accreditor is scheduled to visit this month and decide whether to give the institution another chance, the Arizona Daily Star reported (http://bit.ly/2aE9huO).
Accreditation sanctions have loomed over the school since 2013.
The accreditor could give the institution a year to prove it deserves accreditation or possibly lift the sanction to implement a few years of intense monitoring.
“This semester is the most critical semester in Pima’s history,” Bruce Moses, the college administrator in charge of accreditation issues, told the college’s governing board at a recent study session.
Moses said this fall’s semester could help prove to accreditors that the institution is headed in the right direction.
Almost a dozen concerns discussed during the most recent visit in 2014 included inattention to program quality and high turnover of key workers.
Many fixes are already in place, but improved student advising and other plans have been delayed.
“We understand that we’re not there yet,” Moses said. “We have a lot of areas we still need to improve in.”
Ala. Trustees OK New Name for Merged Colleges
BAY MINETTE, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Community College System trustees approved the new name and location for three merged community colleges in the southern part of the state.
The Tuscaloosa News (http://bit.ly/2bbjiBv ) reports that the Coastal Alabama Community College would include Alabama Southern, Jefferson Davis, and Faulkner State community colleges. The school’s main campus will be location in Bay Minette.
Governmental and academic affairs coordinator Trish Jones says the system still plans to include Reid State in the consolidation.
The resolution approved by trustees included a new mission statement and identified all campuses and instructional sites associated with the consolidation.
Colleges in Ky. Coal Country Get Grants
VERSAILLES, Ky. (AP) — Eight Kentucky Community and Technical College System sites are receiving coal county grants from the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority.
The $366,857 in grants to the college sites were provided through the Kentucky Coal County College Completion Student Services Grant program. The funding helps students who attend schools in coalproducing counties.
Ashland, Big Sandy, Henderson and Owensboro community college sites received $50,000 each under the grant program. Other colleges receiving funding were sites in Hazard, Madisonville, Somerset and the Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College.
The grant program was enacted during the 2014 session of the Kentucky General Assembly.
Mulligan Named Mo. Higher Ed Commissioner
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri has a new commissioner of higher education.
The Missouri Department of Higher Education said in a release that the Coordinating Board for Higher Education on Wednesday appointed Zora Mulligan as Missouri’s new commissioner of higher education.
David Russell retired as commissioner in February. Leroy Wade, deputy commissioner, has been interim commissioner since March 1. Mulligan takes over as commissioner of higher education on August 29.
The commissioner of higher education leads the Missouri Department of Higher Education, which is the board’s administrative arm.
Mulligan, chief of staff for the University of Missouri system, has also been an assistant commissioner for the department, as well as general counsel and legislative liaison. She was also the executive director of the Missouri Community College Association from 2010 to 2014.
Colleges Exit Shuttered Health Education Center
FREDERICK, Md. (AP) — Community colleges in Frederick, Carroll and Howard counties are paying a settlement to vacate a health care education center after it shut down.
The Frederick News-Post (http://bit.ly/2aNla3B ) reports that the colleges will pay $278,000 apiece to break their lease at the Mount Airy College Center for Health Care Education. The money will go back to the property’s landlord, Back Acre Holdings LLC.
The colleges announced in January that the center would close following declining enrollment.
The center was initially designed to expand access to health care programs for all three colleges when it opened in 2012.
Frederick Community College Board of Trustees Chairwoman Myrna Whitworth says that paying a settlement will save the college money.
Wyo. Colleges Plot Enrollment Growth
LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — A University of Wyoming group has suggested the school grow its student population to more than 15,000 to increase revenue.
The Laramie Boomerang reports (http://bit.ly/2b50T9B ) that the University of Wyoming Division of Student Affairs found with a current enrollment of 12,341 students, UW is losing money on students due to high instructional costs. Instructional costs are about $14,000 per student, compared to about $4,500 paid in tuition by each student.
Officials say raising the student-to-faculty ratio would also reduce inefficiencies.
UW President Laurie Nichols says recruiting has been a problem for the university. About 700 Wyoming high school graduates enrolled for the 2015 school year, a number Nichols says is too low.
Vice President for Student Affairs Sara Axelson says the university is currently working on agreements with community colleges to increase enrollment in the future.
Ala. Chancellor Takes Leave of Absence
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The head of the state’s two-year college system is taking a leave of absence to be treated for shingles.
The Alabama Community College System board of trustees on granted Chancellor Mark Hein rich’s request for a leave of absence.
The board named Chief of Staff Jimmy Baker to serve as acting chancellor during Heinrich;s absence. Baker has also served as a lobbyist for the two-year college system.
Board vice president Al Thompson said trustees were confident that Baker’s experience would allow him to easily step into the role.
Heinrich requested the leave of absence after suffering several weeks from the illness.
NJCAA Executive Director Leicht To Retire COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.
(AP) — The executive director of the National Junior College Athletic Association is retiring next summer after a 28-year career with the organization.
Mary Ellen Leicht has been the NJCAA’s chief executive since 2009, and was instrumental in developing the association’s current structure for 28 sports.
The announcement was made by NJCAA President Bryce Roderick.
Among her accomplishments as executive director are securing long-term contracts for the NJCAA’s Division I men’s basketball championship in Hutchinson, Kansas, and the Division I Baseball World Series in Grand Junction, Colorado. Both included multimillion facility improvements. She started out in 1989 as an eligibility administrator.
Leicht also oversaw the launch of NJCAA TV, which will cover 22 national championships in the next year.
In 2009, Leicht became the first female chief executive of any national college athletic association, according to NACDA, the national association for college athletic directors.