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2017 November 29 - 07:55 am

News Briefs

A Summary Listing of Higher-Ed-Related News from Around The Nation

Report Details Challenges for Va. Colleges

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — State lawmakers are taking their first hard look at Virginia’s community college system in 25 years.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that a report to lawmakers details several problems within the system of 23 community colleges.

For instance, more than 60 percent of students don’t complete two-year degrees or short-term certificates. Fouryear schools don’t always accept credits from students who take community college courses in high school. Some universities don’t allow community college students to transfer, despite agreements designed to ensure they can.

The 51-year-old system is also facing declining enrollment and rising costs. There is increasing pressure for these schools to help bolster Virginia’s economy by helping students who might not follow a traditional academic track.

Conn. Colleges Installing Solar Energy

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) — The Connecticut State Colleges & Universities system is having solar energy installed on three of its campuses.

Officials say construction will begin in late fall at Manchester and Middlesex Community Colleges as well as Southern Connecticut State University in an effort to reduce energy consumption and decrease operating expenses.

The project is being funded with private capital through the Connecticut Green Bank, which has not said how much is being spent to install the systems.

CSCU president Mark Ojakian says the cost savings to the state could be more than $10 million within the next 20 years.

Ojakian says they hope to expand the project and have solar installed at Central Connecticut and Western Connecticut State Universities as well as Housatonic, Asnuntuck, Quinebaug and Tunxis community colleges within two years.

Thomas Takes Aim at Northern ‘Elites’

WACO, Texas (AP) — Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas says “elites in the North” have said far worse about him than any prejudice he encountered growing up as an African- American in the segregated South.

Thomas told an audience at McLennan Community College in Waco that he was never called a racial slur at his Georgia high school where he was the only black student.

The conservative jurist, appointed to the court in 1991, told a panel that circumstances such as poverty and lack of education are difficult to overcome.

But that those circumstances “know no race ... know no geography.”

The Waco Tribune-Herald reported that Thomas later joked that people can identify themselves as a progressive if they read a “Stop” sign and believe the message applies whenever they want.

Va. For-Profit Ends Enrollment At Seven Sites

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — A for-profit college says it plans to stop enrolling new students at seven locations across its multistate chain.

The Roanoke Times reports Miller-Motte Technical College couldn’t find a new accreditor after its own, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, lost federal recognition. Spokesman Chuck Vella says the Roanoke and Lynchburg campuses are among seven across the company that plan to stop enrolling students.

Currently enrolled students at the Virginia campuses will be able to stay and complete their studies in what the college calls a “teach-out.” Vella says new students who had enrolled for the fall term will be refunded any deposits.

The newspaper reports Miller-Motte has 15 campuses in Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. It also offers online-only programs.

Mich. College Flips Geothermal Switch

MONROE, Mich. (AP) — A community college in southeastern Michigan is going deep to keep the campus warm or cool.

Monroe County Community College has switched to a geothermal system that could save the school an average of $275,000 a year in utility bills. Pipes in the ground carry water that is heated or cooled by the earth.

The Monroe News says the new system is being used in buildings that were built in the 1960s or ‘70s and needed upgrades for heating and air conditioning.

The college is guaranteed to reduce energy consumption by 160,000 kilowatt hours per year.

More buildings will be added to the system. The Career Technology Center was built in 2013 and already has a geothermal system.

WV College Being Evicted Over Rent

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The head of a business park in South Charleston says a community college is being evicted from its campus in a rent dispute.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports West Virginia Regional Technology Park Executive Director and CEO Russell Kruzelock sent a letter to BridgeValley Community and Technical College that an agreement with the school is being terminated.

Kruzelock wrote that BridgeValley must leave the two buildings it occupies because the school hasn’t paid $1.8 million in rent. The school previously received written warnings about the rent in May and June.

BridgeValley is asking a Kanawha County circuit judge to intervene. The college’s last lease agreement at the technology park ended in 2015.

Longtime Mich. President Plans To Retire

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) — The longtime president of Kalamazoo Valley Community College plans to retire.

The Kalamazoo Gazette reports that 81-year-old Marilyn Schlack, who has held the post since 1982, submitted a letter of retirement to the school’s trustees.

Schlack said in an email to faculty and staff that “innovation and the pursuit of excellence are both an expectation and a tradition” at the school. She says it’s time for her to seek new opportunities.

Schlack came to KVCC in 1974 to serve as an associate dean. The date of her retirement will depend on when a replacement is found.

Test Scores Altered at Okla. College

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An audit has found that test results were repeatedly altered for an adult basic education program at Oklahoma City Community College.

The audit was conducted by the Oklahoma City accounting firm Crawford & Associates. The audit found that six of the students who were selected for review had alterations on their scan sheets, including erased and replaced names.

The Oklahoman newspaper reports an investigation was launched in 2016, after a college employee told campus authorities that a supervisor was allegedly altering test scores and enrollment information “to gain money for state and federal grants.”

College spokesman Cordell Jordan says the investigation didn’t result in any arrests or charges. He confirms the audit’s findings but says the altered materials didn’t “result in additional funding for the (adult basic education) program.”

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