A Summary Listing of Higher-Ed-Related News from Around The Nation
Cafeteria Workers Being Replaced With Vending Machines
MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. (AP) — The entire cafeteria staff will be laid off at an upstate New York community college and replaced with food-dispensing machines.
The Times Herald-Record of Middletown (http://bit.ly/2oy E0zK ) reports nine full-time and three part-time workers will be laid off after the spring semester at the State University of New York’s Orange County Community College.
In an email sent to students, the executive director of the Orange County Community College Association says the change follows last year’s deficit of more than $150,000 in food-service operations.
Students say they’ll miss the fresh food served by staff members who know their faces.
Jessica Melchick, a food staffer for the past four years, said the staff cried when they heard about the layoffs.
The nonprofit that runs the college’s food service plans to contract with a new vendor for the self-serve kiosks.
Tenn. House OKs Measure For Community College
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee House has passed a bill that lets older adults without a college degree or certificate attend community college free of charge.
The bill, which was pushed by Republican Gov. Bill Haslam, comes three years after Tennessee became the first state in the nation to allow new high school graduates to receive free community college. The state currently offers free tuition to all adults at Tennessee’s technical schools.
The bill passed 87-6. The program is expected to cost the state $11 million after it is fully implemented. Officials say lottery proceeds will pay for the program.
If the bill becomes law, both full and part-time students would be eligible to participate as early as fall 2018.
Hawaii Lawmakers Work to Offer More Student Aid
HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii lawmakers are working on a bill that would reduce costs for college students.
The bill would create a new scholarship program called Hawaii Promise as part of the state’s goal to increase the number of working adults with higher education to 55 percent by 2025, KITV-TV reported (http://bit.ly /2ptugVY ).
Under the proposed program, students would receive state aid to help pay for tuition, fees, books, supplies and transportation costs not already covered by federal funds or other scholarships.
Kapi‘olani Community College student Solomon Makasiale said even though community college is supposed to be a cheaper route than four-year universities, it’s still expensive for Hawaii residents like himself.
To be eligible for the proposed scholarship, students must submit an application for financial aid, qualify for Hawaii resident tuition, have good grades and meet the minimum credit requirement.
If approved, the program would apply to all UH system school.
GOP Cites Refugees In Opposing New Idaho College
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) — Republican officials in eastern Idaho say they oppose a plan to build a community college because it might lead to a new refugee resettlement center in the region.
The Post Register (http://bit.ly/2oS93qT ) reports the Bonneville County Republican Central Committee approved a resolution that called the project unnecessary and contrary to the GOP platform.
The committee’s opposition comes at a time when Bonneville County residents are slated to decide if they want to fund a new community college this May.
GOP official Larry Lyon says the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls helped pave the way to launch a federally-funded refugee resettlement center, which has attracted growing criticism from far-right and anti-immigration groups.
Lyon added it’s unclear what “weird stuff” the college might do if it’s built.
Ill. College Employee Wins Red Cross Award
QUINCY, Ill. (AP) — An employee at a community college in Quincy has been named a winner of an American Red Cross program.
Eric Foster is a coordinator of student life at John Wood Community College. The Quincy Herald- Whig reports (http://bit.ly /2ouP536 ) he was recognized for planning a schoolwide blood drive and encouraging student participation.
The drive on Jan. 23 raised 106 percent of its goal, collecting 33 pints of blood.
Foster is a graduate of the school and was a former Student Government Association president. He says he’s always been interested in helping students get involved on campus.
He was given a $500 gift card at a ceremony this week for winning We Challenge U, which is a program for college students.
Pearl River CC Struggles with Budget Cuts
POPLARVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Pearl River Community College officials are struggling to finalize their budget after the Mississippi state legislature slashed the school’s funding.
The Picayune Item reports (http://bit.ly/2oEnj4i ) that the school is expected to see a $1.5 million reduction in their funding for the upcoming year. The $1.5 million represents a 10.2 percent cut.
The college’s president-elect, Adam Breerwood, says he does not want to raise tuition or cut staff but isn’t sure that’s possible.
Breerwood argues that community colleges are a worthwhile investment. If Mississippi cuts programs that train skilled workers, he warns, the state will not attract industry.
He isn’t optimistic that funding will come back quickly in the coming years. Even if it does, Breerwood says putting programs back in place is much harder than dismantling them.
WV College Has Operating Permit Revoked
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia Business College has had its permit to operate in the state revoked.
Media outlets report the West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education said the decision was made over the college’s failure to gain accreditation for the 2017-18 school year and its inability to offer students financial aid. The revocation is effective June 30.
The Accrediting Council on Independent Colleges and Schools pulled WVCB’s accreditation late last year, citing concerns with faculty credentials, learning resources and financial aid processes.
The college will lose its accreditation on April 30, meaning it will be up to the U.S. Department of Education whether those set to graduate this spring will receive a diploma.
Nursing Program Runs Spanish Simulations
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A North Dakota nursing program is running simulations in Spanish to increase cultural competency of nursing students.
The Dakota Nursing Program at Bismarck State College began its collaboration with a Spanish professor’s class to run scenarios in Spanish, with the help of a studenttranslator, The Bismarck Tribune (http://bit.ly/2pVHQ3I) reported.
“They’re seeing more and more of this in practice, where they’re walking into a room and the patient doesn’t speak English,” said Annie Paulson, associate professor of nursing with the nursing program.
On April 18, students learned how to explain things to patients and ask them questions about their symptoms. Nursing students were paired with Spanish students, with one Spanish student playing a patient. The translator was available to assist students when they weren’t sure of words or phrases.
“It was nice having real people who can interact with,” said nursing student Dara Friedrich. “It was really interesting to have that cultural aspect to this that you don’t normally see.”
Wyo. College Enrollment Leveling Off
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming's seven community colleges have been hit with falling enrollment and cuts in state funding, but officials say there are indications that the worst is over.
In 2014, statewide enrollment dropped by nearly 7 percent.
But Wyoming Community College Commission Executive Director Jim Rose says in the past year, it’s fallen by less than 1 percent.
The downturn in the state’s energy industry has meant community colleges have lost more than $20 million in state funding. That has forced some colleges to cut programs and staff.
Rose tells the Casper Star- Tribune (http://bit.ly/2peSO7u ) that the cuts may have hurt college recruiting efforts.
On the other hand, Rose points out that most colleges have increased their completion rates.
NM College, Film Institute Partner on Degree
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Santa Fe Community College is partnering with the Seattle Film Institute to offer an accelerated degree in film.
Officials say the collaboration will help meet the demands of the state’s growing film industry by allowing students to obtain a bachelor’s degree in three years.
Under the new program, students can choose concentrations in filmmaking, acting for film, motion graphics and recording arts.
Santa Fe County projects that more than $100 million will be spent in production in the region this year. Santa Fe Community College has about 180 film majors.