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By CCWeek Staff  /  
2015 December 29 - 10:01 pm

News Briefs, Dec. 7

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

Attacker in College Stabbings Gets 48 Years in Prison

HOUSTON (AP) — A student blamed for a 2013 stabbing rampage at a Houston-area community college must serve 48 years in prison.

Dylan Andrew Quick was sentenced by a judge in Houston.

Quick pleaded guilty in August to attempted capital murder and aggravated assault in the April 2013 stabbings at the Lone Star College-Cy Fair campus that left 14 people hurt.

Records show the 23-year-old Quick was born deaf and his attorneys argued that caused problems with him developing social skills. The defense sought probation.

Court documents indicate Quick told investigators that he fantasized about cannibalism, necrophilia and cutting off people’s faces and wearing them as masks. Quick also told authorities that he went online and researched mass stabbings a week before the attack.

Ill. College Plans To Boost Foreign Student Recruiting

NORMAL, Ill. (AP) — A central Illinois community college plans to increase its recruitment of higher-paying international students.

Rick Pearce is vice president for learning and student success at Heartland Community College in Normal.

He says the school plans to add to existing efforts to draw international students.

According to The Pantagraph in Bloomington (http://bit.ly/1QL6S0b ), Heartland has had a number of international programs over the years but draws only a handful of students.

School trustees have talked recently about adding to staff to help with foreign recruiting. The school also plans to consult with foreign recruiters.

Pearce points out that international students pay about $10,000 in annual tuition. That’s about three times what local students pay.

Colleges and universities across the country have looked to international students to increase revenue in recent years.

Study: Student Mental Health Treatment Pays Off

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A new study shows that more California college students are seeking mental health treatment — and that’s a positive trend, according to the authors.

Researchers from the nonprofit RAND Corporation report in the study that the proportion of students at the state’s public universities and community colleges increased by more than 10 percent between 2013 and last spring.

During that time, county governments directed a combined average of $8.7 million a year to campuses for outreach campaigns to reduce the stigma around mental health issues and to train faculty and staff to recognize students who may need help.

The RAND researchers estimate that 329 more students will graduate each year as a result of such interventions, yielding a “societal benefit” of up to $56 million a year through the graduate’s increased earning power.

Texas Professor Accused of Soliciting Minor Online

TYLER, Texas (AP) — An East Texas college professor has been accused of conversing with a 12-year-old girl online and trying to meet her for sex.

Judd Harrison Quarles of Tyler was charged with online solicitation of a minor under age 14.

Quarles, 31, was released on $350,000 bond following his arrest. arrested Friday and freed on $350,000 bond.

Quarles taught economics and government at Tyler Junior College. He was suspended following his arrest.

An affidavit says Quarles had sexual conversations with the girl, who pretended to be 18, but told police that he was never going to meet her.

Quarles previously was chief of staff for state Rep. Matt Schaefer of Tyler.

Audit: W. Virginia Colleges Lack Accountability

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A legislative audit has concluded that the governing body overseeing West Virginia’s community and technical colleges lacks an adequate accountability system for schools that fail to meet state higher education goals.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports (http://bit.ly/1PI12MR ) that auditors found the West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education has not fully implemented a state-mandated accountability system, thus hindering institutional progress and accurate assessment of each school.

John Sylvia, director of the state’s Performance Evaluation and Research Division, said the council isn’t taking forceful action when colleges fail to meet state goals. Those goals include meeting benchmarks for economic and workforce development, access and affordability and degree completion. The report specifically notes West Virginia’s educational attainment rate, which is one of the worst in the country.

State Agency Aids In Free Tuition Registration in Tenn.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Department of Human Services has partnered with Families First parents to register more than 700 high school seniors for Gov. Bill Haslam’s free-tuition program.

Tennessee Promise offers eligible high school seniors free tuition to a two-year community or technical college.

DHS said in a news release that the department reached out to Families First parents with students in the 12th grade to encourage them to enroll in the program.

Families First, a state program for needy families, focuses on gaining self-sufficiency through employment.

DHS said its effort is part of the department’s commitment to a two-generation approach to creating successful pathways toward self-sufficiency.

The department says it will continue to partner with the parents and youth to assist them in completing the requirements of the program.

Philly Program Steers Young Offenders to College

PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Philadelphia’s district attorney announced a new program that would allow certain non-violent felony defendants to become students instead of inmates.

District Attorney Seth Williams launched Future Forward, a yearlong program aimed at avoiding incarceration and a criminal record while earning up to 24 college credits. Williams’ office is partnering with the Community College of Philadelphia and ShopRite supermarkets. Enrollees will complete life skills classes and have their progress monitored in regular status hearings.

Candidates must meet several criteria, including having a high school diploma or GED, no more than one prior non-violent misdemeanor and no outstanding warrants. They also must be at least 24 years old and eligible for federal financial aid, as the students’ costs will be covered by Pell Grants.

Spokesman Cameron Kline said the program will begin during the next semester, starting in January, and Williams’ office is identifying up to 15 people to participate in the pilot.

The city’s jail system is one of the country’s biggest, and much of its overcrowding is attributed to people awaiting trial, many for non-violent offenses. City leaders are seeking solutions to reduce the jail population and are considering bail reform initiatives such as diversion programs as a main approach.

Ky. Colleges Award Record Number of Associate Degrees

VERSAILLES, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky’s community and technical college system awarded a record number of associate degrees in the past academic year.

KCTCS officials say the system awarded 9,632 associate degrees during the 2014- 15 academic year. They say that number is up by 52 over the prior year.

Since 2000, KCTCS says it has experienced a big increase in the awarding of credentials, with the number of associate degrees tripling and the number of certificates increasing ten-fold.

KCTCS Board of Regents Vice-Chair Gail Henson says the increase in associate degrees is significant given that the system is “in the bottom of an enrollment cycle” due to an improving economy.

Maryland College Whistleblowers Get $400,000

FREDERICK, Md. (AP) — Two former Frederick Community College employees who alleged that they were fired for revealing financial mismanagement and unethical actions at the school will receive $400,000 in a settlement of their whistleblower claims.

Former purchasing director Robert Gill will receive $225,000, according to settlement details obtained by the Frederick News Post (http://bit.ly/1NarWHq ) through a public records request. Former budget director Jerry Garbinski, will receive $175,000.

Gill and Garbinski filed a lawsuit in 2013 claiming they were improperly fired, and that former FCC President Doug Browning and former administrator Donald Francis were angry at the two for cooperating with an investigation.

The lawsuit claimed among other things that Browning asked Garbinski to manipulate the college budget to increase employee health care premiums, intending to use the money for a construction project.

Sinclair CC Partners With Indiana State On Drone Research

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio community college says it will partner with an Indiana university on drone research.

A Sinclair Community College official says the college signed an agreement to cooperate with Indiana State University on unmanned aerial vehicles studies.

Deb Norris, Sinclair’s vice president of workforce development and corporate services, says the latest partnership will focus mostly on uses for drones in agriculture and data analytics technology. Sinclair officials say the Dayton school has partnerships with several other schools including Ohio State University, the University of North Dakota and Southern State Community College in Wilmington.

Hughes Named New President of RI Community College

WARWICK, R.I. (AP) — The Community College of Rhode Island has a new president.

The Council on Postsecondary Education voted to make Meghan Hughes the school;s fifth president after a six-month search process.

Hughes, of Providence, was one of two finalists from Rhode Island. She has served as the executive director of Year Up Providence, a nonprofit that offers a yearlong training program to low-income young adults.

Chairman William Foulkes says the council felt that Hughes’ “transformational leadership and student-centered approach will be tremendous assets for CCRI.”

Hughes, who has a doctorate from New York University, will succeed Ray DiPasquale, who has been CCRI’s president since 2006.

Her start date will be negotiated as part of her contract.

Michigan Report Urges Boost in Degree- Holders

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A report says Michigan needs 779,000 more residents with a post-secondary degree or certificate within 10 years to meet employer needs and join the ranks of best-educated states, a sizable increase from current levels.

Forty-six percent of citizens have degrees or certificates now. The report recommends 60 percent have a college degree, graduate degree or technical certificate by 2025.

The report comes from a workgroup of university leaders, business executives, lawmakers, Gov. Rick Snyder’s office and others.

Recommendations include launching a marketing campaign and hiring more high school counselors and college advisers. Other suggestions include tripling the number of high school students in early college and career technical education courses, increasing need-based financial aid and streamlining credit transfers from community college.

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