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2014 August 20 - 08:44 pm

News Briefs

A summary listing of higher-ed-related news from around the nation

  • Man Gets 38 Years For College Shooting

CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (AP) — A Christiansburg man will serve 38 years in prison for shooting and wounding two women at a community college inside an area mall.

Neil Allan MacInnis, 19, was sentenced in Montgomery County Circuit Court to 68 years in prison, with 30 years suspended.

He had pleaded guilty in April to two counts of aggravated malicious wounding and two counts of using a firearm in a felony.

In April 2013, MacInnis entered the satellite campus of New River Community College in the New River Valley Mall and shot the women. He was subdued by an offduty security guard and Christiansburg police.

At sentencing, the judge said that despite Macinnis’ mental illness, his actions were “cold and calculated.”

  • Court Nixes Law on Ariz. Board Seats

PHOENIX (AP) — A court ruling means two atlarge seats for the Maricopa County Community College District’s governing board won’t appear on the November general election ballot.

The state Court of Appeals ruled that a 2010 state law adding the two at-large seats violates the Arizona Constitution because it applied only to Maricopa County.

County Elections Director Karen Osborne told the Arizona Capitol Times (http://bit.ly/1pMLnuU ) that the candidates for those two seats will be pulled from the ballot pending an appeal.

Officeholders, education officials and activists filed the lawsuit challenging the law. The district’s board currently has five members elected by districts.

  • Vermont College Planning Dairy Plant

RANDOLPH, Vt. (AP) — A new dairy processing plant at Vermont Technical College is expected to be up and running by next spring.

College officials hope revenue from the plant will help balance out the cost of operating the farm in Randolph.

Vermont Public Radio reports (http://bit.ly/WR6kwS) the farm currently operates at an annual deficit of $150,000. Under an agreement with Sodexo, the company that provides food service to the state college system, the new plant can pasteurize and package the milk delivered to all of the state colleges, which would help cut that deficit.

It’s hoped the plant can produce yogurt, too.

  • Miss. College, University Sign Culinary Deal

WESSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi University for Women and Copiah-Lincoln Community College have signed a cooperative agreement that will permit graduates of the community college’s culinary studies program to transfer credits to the university.

The deal provides that students who earn associate degrees at the college’s campuses in Wesson and Natchez can earn scholarships to Mississippi University for Women.

Copiah-Lincoln instructors also will be able to participate in professional development programs through the university.

Mississippi University for Women’s Culinary Arts Institute was established in 1996 and offers food-focused baccalaureate degree programs.

  • ND Schools Get Federal Science Research Grants

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota State University and Candeska Cikana Community College in Fort Totten have been awarded two grants totaling more than $836,000 for science research.

U.S. Sen. John Hoeven says the money is coming from the National Science Foundation.

Candeska Cikana Community College is getting more than $491,000 for a program that supports improvements in the scientific, mathematical, engineering and technological education in tribe-controlled colleges NDSU’s grant is of $345,551 is going to the school’s computer science department.

The violations arose after students complained to the board in December.

Officials at Flagstaff Medical Center, which gives $100,000 annually to the program, say they have confidence in the college.

  • Arizona Nursing Program Placed On Probation

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The nursing program at Coconino Community College has been placed on probation.

The Arizona Daily Sun reports (http://bit.ly/1teHJPK) that the Arizona State Board of Nursing has enforced an 18-month probation period.

The decision was issued July 10 after the board found eight violations of the Nurse Practice Act.

The allegations include insufficient instruction in pediatric nursing before patient contact, a faulty staffing ratio and inadequate documentation of evaluations of certain clinic faculty.

College officials say the staffing should be in compliance as the program goes from 80 to 40 students by spring 2016 because of budget cuts.

  • Grant Aids Wyo. Online Education

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A state grant worth about $250,000 is aimed at helping two community colleges and four school districts improve virtual distance education programs throughout Wyoming.

The Wyoming Department of Education says the $248,086 in grant money will help the districts and colleges develop online courses, increase professional development and maintain their distance education systems.

Edward Olson, personalized learning supervisor at Wyoming Department of Education, said “in the past Wyoming students have been limited by geography, distance, and teacher availability in terms of the classes they can take.” But technology is helping students overcome those limitations.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/1jWsnw8 ) the districts receiving the funds are in Natrona, Campbell, Fremont and Niobrara counties. Northwest Community College in Sheridan and Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne will also receive money.

  • Mine Safety Training Facility To Open in Ill.

HARRISBURG, Ill. (AP) — Southeastern Illinois College has broken ground on the state’s second simulated mine facility that will be used to train rescue teams.

“It will be great for new miners to get the skills and understanding of how an actual coal mine works and it will also be great for rescue teams to come in and practice their skills,” said Mike Thomas, dean of workforce education at Illinois Eastern Community Colleges.

Southeastern Illinois College received $220,000 from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development to build the 12,000-square-foot Simulated Mine Training Facility.

Southern Illinois College and Illinois Eastern Community Colleges each contributed $15,000.

More than 1,000 miners go through the community college’s training programs each year. Rescue teams will use the center to practice responding to emergency situations.

“The most important thing to come out of a coal mine is a miner,” college President Jonah Rice said at the groundbreaking ceremony. “That’s all we are trying to do is to make sure they all go in and they all come out.”

Construction is to be completed in the fall. The facility is to simulate an actual underground mine.

  • More Ark. HS Grads Heading To College

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The rate of Arkansas high school seniors going directly to college increased in 2013, continuing a trend that began in 2009 but still too slow, according to the chairman of the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

The Arkansas Democrat- Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/ UtYDe9 ) that a report delivered to the board shows 54.3 percent of public school students who graduated in spring 2013 or completed a General Educational Development program attended college during the fall 2013 semester.

The number is an increase of 1.4 percentage points from 2012 and is up from 46.9 percent in fall 2009.

But board Chairman Kaneaster Hodges said the increase is too slow to meet Gov. Mike Beebe’s goal of doubling the number of college graduates in Arkansas by the year 2025.

  • United Tribes Tech College Gets Grant

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck is getting a $255,000 federal grant to help minority businesses in North Dakota and around the country.

Members of the state’s congressional delegation say the money is through the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency.

The college run by North Dakota tribes will use the money to deliver consulting and other services to eligible minority businesses to boost job creation and retention.

  • Half of Wyo. Students Need Remediation

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — More than half the students at Wyoming community colleges take remedial classes, a slightly lower rate than the national average.

The Casper Star-Tribune reported (http://tinyurl.com/o63ybwt) the community college remediation rate in Wyoming is 51 percent, compared with 51.7 percent nationally.

A state study conducted from 2009 to 2012 found that three years after entering a Wyoming community college, fewer than half the remedial students met college-level requirements for a degree.

Wyoming Community College Commission Executive Director Jim Rose says drawn-out remedial studies can discourage students and strain college budgets.

Rose says the state pays about 80 percent of community college costs and student tuition pays about 20 percent.

The Washington, D.C., nonprofit Complete College America estimates students and states spent about $3 billion on remedial education nationwide last year.

  • Hawaii College To Study Native Plants

HONOLULU (AP) — Kamehameha Schools is funding a new Kapiolani Community College program designed to encourage Native Hawaiians to become interested in fields involving science and technology.

The community college says first-year college students will research and compare the active ingredients of Hawaiian medicinal plants as part of the program. Students will use their knowledge of chemistry to study the potential healing properties of traditional medicinal plants.

The University of Hawaii Foundation said Kamehameha Schools is awarding the community college $50,000 for the program.

Keolani Noa of KCC says the program will help students enhance their knowledge of Hawaiian culture and science. She says it will help them link traditional Hawaiian practices to contemporary science.

  • NH School Faculty Bemoan Reductions

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — NHTI faculty members say if position cuts are needed at the campus in New Hampshire’s capital city, they should start with what they call a bloated administration.

The school formerly known as the New Hampshire Technical Institute, which is part of the state’s community college system, recently announced plans to cut 14 teaching positions due to what top officials say are declining enrollments and rising costs.

The Concord Monitor reports (http://bit.ly/1pwZiGY ) that enrollment at NHTI has been dropping about 2 percent a year since 2010.

Faculty members are objecting to statements from the school that the cuts are partly attributable to pay raises given faculty in the past two years.

  • Vermont Chief Says Cuts Mean Job Losses

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont State Colleges Chancellor Tim Donovan says a 4-percent budget cut being sought by the Shumlin administration will mean job losses on the system’s campuses.

Some of the schools also have grappled with declining tuition in recent years, and Donovan says the only way to meet the budget cut requirements is to look for places where jobs can be eliminated.

A 4 percent cut is expected to translate to a bit more than $1 million for a system with a $26.4 million annual budget. The governor called for cuts of about that size throughout state government after the state’s revenue forecast was recently downgraded.

The system includes the the Community College of Vermont, Vermont Technical College and state colleges at Castleton, Johnson and Lyndon.

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