Thursday, October 23, 2014

News Links | October 23, 2014


LCC's Running Start program hitting its stride as college costs rise
Roberto Rodriguez says he has flourished in Running Start. By the end of this school year, the Mark Morris High School senior will have completed two years toward his bachelor’s degree. He has maintained a strong connection to his high school while taking 21 credits at Lower Columbia College. He audits a marketing class at Mark Morris, participates in two choirs at high school and competes for both the track and football teams. ... The state is encouraging more students to be like Rodriguez and enroll in “dual-credit” programs such as Running Start, in which students who qualify attend local college to earn college and high school credit without paying tuition. The student is only responsible for class fees, books and transportation.
Longview Daily News, Oct. 23, 2014

LCC named National Leader College
Lower Columbia College is one of just 16 community colleges nationwide recognized as a Leader College by the Achieving the Dream organization. Leader College is a national designation awarded to select community colleges that commit to improving student success and also present clear evidence their efforts have resulted in improved student performance.
Wahkiakum County Eagle, Oct. 23, 2014

Our Voice: Community college funding is as crucial as K-12
The community college system is a bastion of second chances, providing people a way to improve their lives. Whether it is adults needing classes for basic education or a new career, or high school students wanting a less expensive start to their four-year degree, the community college is the place that offers hope for all these ambitions. But it takes state funding to keep the mission going. The Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges is asking for an additional $182 million for 2015-17. A large chunk of that increase is an additional $51 million to cover basic education for adults. According to the board, Washington’s fastest growing demographic traditionally also has the lowest level of education. The state needs an educated citizenry, so teaching people to read, write and manage basic math is crucial. The uneducated have few options and usually end up costing the state more in social services. But giving people an education gives them a chance to build independence and a future for themselves, which ultimately benefits the state economy. Rich Cummins, president of Columbia Basin College, said community colleges want to be “on the same side of the table” as K-12. When high school students struggle, they can turn to CBC to finish up their diplomas. CBC also offers the Running Start program, which gives high school students a chance to earn high school and college credit at the same time, making it less expensive in the long-run for them to get a four-year degree. And when adults want to create a new career path for themselves, they can start at CBC and make it happen.
Tri-City Herald, Oct. 22, 2014

Cascadia College in Bothell announces its first bachelor's degree
Cascadia College earned approval to offer its first baccalaureate degree beginning fall quarter of 2015. The degree, a Bachelor in Applied Science in Sustainable Practices, will prepare graduates for careers in the state’s growing green economy.
Bothell Reporter, Oct. 22, 2014

What Really Happens at Community Colleges? A Tool Taps Data for Answers
How do community-college students move from their first class to their first job? Plenty of educators and analysts would like to know more about that process. A research institute called RTI International said on Monday that its newly revamped web tool could provide answers. The tool, known as The Completion Arch, is an effort to provide a data-driven look at the experiences of the nation’s approximately 10 million community-college students. ... State legislators are becoming increasingly data-savvy, said Julie Davis Bell, education program director at the National Conference of State Legislatures. As state lawmakers and Obama-administration officials continue to focus on community colleges as the gateway to higher education for many students, Ms. Davis Bell said the Completion Arch would be a useful tool for policy makers. "The power of the Completion Arch is not what’s there but what’s missing as well—how can I begin to add my own data?" said Christine Johnson, chancellor of the Community College of Spokane, at Monday’s event.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, Oct. 22, 2014

Spokane chef earns national honors with watermelon-carving skills
Spokane’s Ryan Allison is a winner in the National Watermelon Promotion Board’s Annual Watermelon Carving Contest. The 21-year-old chef at Manito Golf and Country Club took third place in the Funniest category and fourth place in both Best Animal and Best Star-Spangled, or patriotic, categories. ... The 2013 graduate of the culinary program at Spokane Community College usually carves turnips into small flowers for buffet and banquet displays.
The Spokesman-Review, Oct. 22, 2014

Milestone: Walsh to present in Belgium
Brian Walsh, associate dean of Basic Skills and Corrections at Peninsula College, has been invited to present at the “Adult Learners in Digital Learning Environments” workshop to be held Nov. 6 in Brussels, Belgium. ... Walsh will talk about Good Practice examples of how Information and Communication Technology and Open Educational Resources are used in adult learning contexts in the United States. Peninsula College has been a leader in using OERs to improve the quality of adult basic education while reducing the cost to taxpayers and students.
Sequim Gazette, Oct. 22, 2014

Fresh Sheet
Spokane’s Bob Lombardi has made it to the season finale of season four of Food Network’s “Halloween Wars.” Only two of five teams remain in the creepy culinary competition, which carries a grand prize of $50,000. ... The pastry chef and sugar artist has taught culinary arts at Spokane Community College for more than 30 years. And he’s no stranger to Food Network.
The Spokesman-Review, Oct. 22, 2014

Historic 'ATOM' educating nuclear students in Pasco
A piece of history has a new role helping Columbia Basin College attract and educate the next generation of nuclear workers. Before the age of three-dimensional solid modeling and other computer programs, the nuclear industry built meticulously detailed models. The Eastern Washington Section of the American Nuclear Society has gained possession of one of those models, a representation of a Babcock and Wilcox 1,250-megawatt pressure water reactor. Its 27 acrylic modules cover more than 400 square feet when all of them are assembled and stand up to 8 feet tall.
Tri-City Herald, Oct. 21, 2014

STEM, Not for Sissies But Definitely for Girls
Eight o’clock on a Saturday morning is mighty early for junior high girls, but nearly 300 dragged themselves into [Centralia College's] Corbet Theatre for the 21st Annual Expanding Your Horizons Conference. My daughter and I signed up last year, but when the alarm clock wailed, we rolled over and returned to dreamland. But next year might be easier after attending this year’s event. The morning started with a demonstration on electricity by Jaimie Thompson, of the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry, aka OMSI, who first inflated a pink balloon and rubbed it against her hair and then hauled out a huge red ball and rubbed it on a wool blanket to generate static electricity.
Centralia Chronicle, Oct. 21, 2014

Portland startup (and Gates grant finalist) helps take the sting out of textbook costs
Portland startup Lumen learning, which helps universities tap into the world of open educational resources, is starting to gain traction with several statewide higher education deals. ... The Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, to develop 18 competency-based online courses for a new business transfer degree.
Portland Business Journal, Oct. 21, 2014


Quality and 'Non-Institutional' Higher Education
The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the Presidents' Forum this week released a policy report that explores the potential for an external quality review process for "non-institutional" providers in higher education. This emerging field include companies and nonprofits that offer courses, modules or badges. Most of this sector is online, non-credit and low-cost.
Inside Higher Ed, Oct. 23, 2014

Surprising Gadgets, Not Just Books, Are Ready for Checkout at College Libraries
Justin Ellis’s official title at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s library is instructional-technology associate, but he thinks of himself as the gadget guy. He manages a program at the library that lets students and professors check out a growing catalog of computers, cameras, and other electronics—a selection more akin to a Best Buy store than a lending library. A colleague, Ameet Doshi, compares him to the character Q in the James Bond series because he not only has the latest device but is expert at giving “the two-minute drill on how to use it.” Georgia Tech is not alone in having a Q on the library staff. Colleges and universities across the country now lend tech hardware in addition to books. And we’re not just talking laptops, netbooks, and iPads, which Mr. Doshi says have become pretty standard fare. The latest offerings are increasingly exotic.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, Oct. 23, 2014

US seniors face student loan debt
In 2005, older adults owed $2.8bn (£1.61bn) in federal student debt. By 2013, that figure that had ballooned to $18.2bn, according to a report released last month by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). These seniors account for 706,000 households in the United States - small compared to the 22 million households with non-seniors who hold student load debt, but a growing problem. People over 65 also defaulted on their student loan debt at a much higher rate than other segments of the population, says Charles Jeszeck, author of the GAO report.
BBC News, Oct. 22, 2014

NIH Allocates $31-Million to Tackle Racial Gaps in Training
The National Institutes of Health on Wednesday awarded more than $31-million to a dozen university groups that will develop and test strategies for improving the racial diversity of the nation’s medical work force. The lead universities receiving grants include some of the nation’s top institutions for training minority scientists. Their projects involve modifying enrollment processes, revamping undergraduate courses, and improving mentoring, among other efforts.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, Oct. 22, 2014


Obama on Affirmative Action in Higher Ed
In an interview in The New Yorker, President Obama expressed support for affirmative action in higher education, and questioned how precisely a Supreme Court deadline for phasing out the consideration of race should be viewed. The article looks broadly at President Obama's influence on the federal court system, and touches on affirmative action toward the end of the piece.
Inside Higher Ed, Oct. 23, 2014

Coming Soon for PLUS Loans: More Eligible Borrowers, New Data on Defaults
Borrowers with past credit problems will soon find it easier to qualify for federal PLUS loans under a final rule announced on Wednesday by the Education Department. An additional 370,000 parents and graduate students are expected to qualify for PLUS loans under the rule, which will relax the program’s underwriting criteria. But the real news in Wednesday’s announcement was that the department will begin calculating (and publishing) annual cohort default rates for institutions receiving PLUS loans, much as it already does for Stafford loans. That information will shed light on how many borrowers are benefiting from the loan program—and how many are getting in over their heads.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, Oct. 22, 2014

Ability to Benefit, Again?
A bipartisan group of federal lawmakers wants to bring back financial aid for college students who do not hold a high school diploma or its equivalent, like a GED. ... Advocates for community colleges at the time argued unsuccessfully that Congress was hurting their students with the two cuts. But they lacked the clout to stop the changes, and some observers said other higher education associations didn’t lend much support to their cause. Now the politics appear to be shifting, at least around ability-to-benefit students.
Inside Higher Ed, Oct. 22, 2014