A summary listing of higher-ed-related news from around the nation
Umpqua CC Chooses New President
ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) — Umpqua Community College has named Debra Thatcher as its new president, filling a post that had been handled on an interim basis since Joe Olson retired last summer.
Thatcher comes from New York, where she spent two years as president of SUNY-Cobleskill before becoming a research fellow at that school. She’s been offered a salary of $173,000 and is expected to start in July.
Umpqua has had two interim presidents since Olson retired. Rita Cavin was president during last fall’s school shooting, when a 26-year-old gunman fatally shot nine people before killing himself.
She left in January and was replaced by Walter Nolte.
Nevada Colleges Partner To Smooth Transfer Process
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada residents who don’t quite make the cut for the University of Nevada Las Vegas will now be encouraged to attend community college instead of receiving rejection letters.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports (http://bit.ly/22ZESHP ) that students who are rejected from UNLV but instead enroll at the College of Southern Nevada will be automatically transferred to the university if they fulfill a list of requirements.
Officials say the partnership is aimed at both encouraging locals to seek postsecondary degrees and to boost CSN’s weak graduation rates.
Students looking to participate in the new transfer program will need a 2.5 grade-point average after studying full time and earning an associate’s degree from CSN.
The partnership will also make it easier for students to transfer earned credits between the schools.
Troubled Illinois College Names New Chairwoman
GLEN ELLYN, Ill. (AP) — The troubled College of DuPage in suburban Chicago has a new board chairwoman.
The Daily Herald reported (http://bit.ly/1SoIeiL ) Deanne Mazzochi was elected to the post. She has been serving as the acting chairwoman since former chairwoman Kathy Hamilton resigned in December.
Mazzochi says she’s interested in further discussions with board members about establishing “good government principles.” She says the college faces many issues moving forward.
College of DuPage is the largest community college in Illinois with 28,000 students. The school is under federal and state investigation after reports of lax financial oversight and questionable spending of taxpayer and donor money. It also fired its president.
In December, an accreditation agency put the school on probation for two years.
Nev. College Faculty Votes For Union
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Some teachers at Nevada’s largest school have voted to unionize.
The College of Southern Nevada said the recent election results showed the required numbers of votes were cast.
The American Association of University Professors said the majority of the community college’s 523 tenured and tenured-track faculty member chose to unionize.
Union officials and the school said they were ready to start the collective bargaining process for a contract.
The contract would cover tenured and tenured-track faculty members but not the school’s 900 “contingent faculty” who are appointed per term.
The union said it is working to change state law to allow them to be a part of the union.
Alabama Board Approves College Tuition Increase
OPELIKA, Ala. (AP) — Alabama officials have approved an annual tuition rate increase for the state’s two-year college system.
The tuition will increase by a uniform $2 per credit hour for the 2016-17 academic school year, Opelika-Auburn News (http://bit.ly/1YvckVh) reported. The tuition rate is set at $117 per hour for Alabama residents and $232 for nonresidents, beginning in fall 2016.
The adjustment is expected to produce about $4 million in additional revenue to be shared among the 26 campuses across the state. The money will help offset the continued increase in operational costs, according to the board.
Chancellor Mark Heinrich said the system is making changes that he hopes will eliminate the need for tuition increases in future years. “I don’t like the fact that we have to increase tuition,” Heinrich said.
District 6 board member Milton Davis said he doesn’t want to see the tuition increase, but he understands the positive implications it will have on certain schools.
“I’m like the chancellor, I hate to see it, but I know it’s going to help the colleges that need it,” he said.
Maine Gives Guard Members Tuition Waivers
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Gov. Paul LePage has signed into law a bill aimed at bolstering and updating a Maine agency that supports veterans’ services.
The new law provides state community college and university tuition waivers to members of the Maine National Guard who remain in good standing.
Republican Rep. Brad Farrin of Norridgewock says Maine had been the only state in New England that didn’t offer tuition assistance to state Guard members.
State lawmakers had created a special commission last year with the goal of improving the Bureau of Maine Veterans’ Services.
The law also provides about $2 million a year to add staff to the agency as well as funding to transition the bureau’s paper-only records system to a computerized system.
Cleveland Named Interim Supt. In Alabama
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The state board of education named Philip Cleveland as the state’s interim superintendent of education. Board members made the appointment as they continue the search for a permanent superintendent.
Cleveland is currently the state deputy superintendent for career and technical education and workforce development. He has served as vice president for learning and dean of applied technologies at Wallace State Community College, interim president as Chattahoochee Valley State Community College, a high school principal and school technical education director.
The state Department of Education said Cleveland has a bachelor’s degree from Auburn University in agriculture agribusiness and economics, a master’s degree from Auburn in agriculture education, an advanced certification from Alabama A&M University in agribusiness education, and a doctorate of education from Nova Southeastern University.
The state board is searching for a new superintendent after Superintendent Tommy Bice retired at the end of March.
Board members hope to have a new superintendent hired by August.
Ky. Officials Warn of Debt Relief Schemes
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Officials are warning Kentucky college students about schemes seeking a large fee and personal information to provide student loan debt relief services.
Attorney General Andy Beshear and Bluegrass Community and Technical College President Augusta Julian spoke last week on the school’s Newtown Campus in Lexington and issued a news release about the problem.
Beshear says students’ loan companies already offer all loan services free. He said students should contact their current company for changes to a repayment plan.
Julian said it’s frustrating that the scheme targets vulnerable students.
Va. Colleges Get Grant for Manufacturing
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Piedmont Virginia Community College is getting a $439,000 grant to establish a two-year degree program in advanced manufacturing.
The Daily Progress reports (http://bit.ly/23WxBhD ) that the National Science Foundation grant will be disbursed over three years. It will allow the community college to build a full-service advanced manufacturing lab and give students hands-on training. About 60 students will participate in the three-year pilot program.
Advanced manufacturing involves operation and maintenance of automated manufacturing equipment.
In addition to funding the associate degree, the foundation will offer stipends for student internships and faculty training. Some of the money will go toward curriculum alignment with secondary institutions.