A Summary Listing of Higher-Ed-Related News from Around The Nation
Aquaculture Program Axed At Ala. College
GADSDEN, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama college is citing declining enrollment for a decision to ends its aquaculture program after 27 years.
Gadsden State Community College says it will discontinue the courses next spring.
School spokeswoman Jackie Edmondson tells The Gadsden Times the program was one of the few of its kind in the nation.
The program teaches students to care for aquatic life in natural and captive environments. Enrollees work with fresh- and saltwater fish and plants in tanks and ponds.
But the program can’t support itself any longer because enrollment is down.
Statistics show 27 students have completed the program in the last five years, or slightly more than five per year. The teacher, Hugh Hammer, says only one of the last 10 graduates is employed in the area.
Ohio College Offers First 4-Year Degree
SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (AP) — A community college in western Ohio will offer its first four-year degree starting next year.
Clark State Community College in Springfield announced recently that it has received state approval to offer a bachelor’s degree in manufacturing technology management.
Clark State President Jo Alice Blondin says the program will allow people currently working in the manufacturing industry to learn new skills and prepare for advancement.
Dean of Business and Applied Technology Aimee Belanger-Haas tells the Springfield News-Sun that employers have already committed to sending about 100 workers to the program in its first few years.
The school had to revise its original proposal for the program after the Ohio Department of Higher Education noted concerns that it could be too similar to degrees offered at other schools.
Fired Utah President Gets Job Back
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The ex-president of a technical college in southern Utah who was fired earlier this year has been given her job back.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports the board of the Utah System of Technical Colleges voted to reinstate Kelle Stephens after she was ousted in January from Dixie Technical College in St. George.
The board agreed to give Stephens a roughly $14,000 salary increase and a $100,000 payment in exchange for her dropping wrongful termination claims.
The board did not give a public explanation for her dismissal.
Stephens had claimed she was the victim of blackmail by a disgruntled former employee, who sent deceptively-edited audio recordings to officials.
System spokesman Joe Demma says the decision was the result of months of discussion between the board and school officials.
NY Student Leaders Lobby for More Support
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Student leaders from public colleges across New York state are urging lawmakers in Albany to approve legislation aimed at boosting support for higher education.
The leaders of the City University of New York’s University Student Senate and the State University of New York’s Student Assembly joined advocates in a lobbying effort at the Capitol.
They’re pushing the Democrat-controlled Assembly and the Republican-controlled Senate to pass three pieces of legislation that would increase state support for the CUNY and SUNY systems.
Two of the measures would ensure funds accrued through annual tuition hikes will go back to student support services. The student organizations also want legislative support of five-year capital plans to invest in infrastructure needs at public college campuses.
The New York Public Interest Research Group supports the legislation.
Rural Tennessee Counties Push More Education
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A dozen rural Tennessee counties faced with a low number of college-educated workers are digging into how their residents can further their education.
The Tennessean reported that the counties are organized into five regional councils that are part of a newly launched pilot initiative by Complete Tennessee focused on clearing hurdles to obtain a college degree or certificate. Lauderdale and Lake are among the pilot counties.
The pilot “College Completion Communities” programs tie into the state’s Drive to 55 initiative, which seeks to boost college degree attainment of Tennesseans to 55 percent.
Each of the five regional councils will create a three-year plan to address the regional challenges of completing college. The five will also go to Nashville to share how they’re going about their work with other officials.
Ex-Public Safety Director Sues Mass. College
FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — The former head of public safety for a Massachusetts community college says he was fired for supporting a female police officer who sued the school for harassment and discrimination.
The Herald News reports that Bristol Community College in Fall River is being sued by Wayne Wood, who was director of public safety for 17 years until he was fired last year. He says the school fired him in retaliation for his testimony in support of the officer, who won a $2.45 million verdict against the school.
The school declined to comment specifically on Wood’s firing, but noted that it had reorganized many departments recently, including public safety.
Wood says officials gave him poor performance reviews after his testimony to create a pretext for his firing.
The suit seeks unspecified damages.
Pima CC Sports Programs on Chopping Block
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Pima Community College in Tucson is considering eliminating its football program after next season in order to reach mandated budget cuts.
The college’s governing board met and officials say the golf and tennis programs also could be eliminated after the 2018-19 season.
Pima College athletic director Edgar Soto reportedly has been ordered to cut more than $500,000 from the budget.
The Aztec’s football program costs about that much per year to operate.
Four months ago, the Maricopa County Community College District announced the elimination of its football programs after the 2018 season because of ongoing financial constraints.
Phoenix College, Scottsdale Community College, Mesa Community College and Glendale Community College are the only ones with football programs among the district’s 10 schools.
Va. Panel OKs Training Craft Brewing Grant
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A new panel of state officials and business leaders has approved a new grant to help train Virginians in making wine, cider, craft beer and hard liquor.
Gov. Ralph Northam’s office announced the GO Virginia board had approved a $250,000 grant for Piedmont Virginia Community College and Germanna Community College. The funds will be used to establish two new training centers and to develop a new curriculum to help train candidates in making alcoholic beverages.
GO Virginia also approved two other workforce grants. They are a $200,000 grant for a cybersecurity program at Blue Ridge Community College and a $130,000 grant for a welding program at Rappahannock Community College.
La. College Place Freeze on Fee Increases
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana’s community and technical colleges won’t increase mandatory fees at its schools next year.
The college system’s Board of Supervisors announced that it unanimously agreed not to back system-wide fee hikes for students in the 2018-19 school year, amid worries that could price some students out of school.
Individual, program-specific fees could be raised, however.
Louisiana’s public colleges don’t currently have authority from lawmakers to raise tuition rates, so many of them turned to fee hikes in recent years to help offset some budget gaps.
Campuses are threatened with state budget cuts in the financial year that starts in July. Lawmakers are meeting in a special session to decide if they’ll pass a sales tax renewal to lessen or eliminate those and other cuts.
NH College Tuition Rising by 2.4 Percent
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Tuition at New Hampshire’s community colleges is going up 2.4 percent.
Tuition for the 2018-2019 school year will be $215 per credit for in-state students and $490 for out-of-state students. Those in the New England Regional Student Program, which gives tuition breaks to some out-of-staters from the region, will pay $323 per credit.
For students taking 12 credits — which is considered full-time — a full year’s in-state tuition will be $5,160.
The community college system had held tuition stable for the last several years. Officials say the increase will be offset in part by an increase in scholarships.
Seattle Voters To Decide $620M Education Tax
SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle voters will decide in November whether to raise their property taxes to pay for preschool and other education programs.
The City Council voted unanimously to put the $620 million levy on the Nov. 6 ballot.
The seven-year levy would expand the city’s subsidizedpreschool program, maintain K- 12 education programs, open more school-based health centers and help pay for community college for all students graduating from the city’s public high schools.
The levy is aimed at addressing inequities in school readiness, high school graduation and college readiness.
The Seattle Times says the owner of a median-valued home would pay $248 per year over the life of the levy.
Seattle voters approved a $58 million levy in 2014 to pay for preschool programs and a $231 million education levy in 2011. Both end this year.