Tuesday, December 23, 2014

News Links | December 23, 2014

Happy holidays!
News Links will return Jan. 6, 2015


Community colleges play increasingly vital role
Community colleges embody their name, providing an opportunity for all in the community who wish to begin or continue higher education. I was kicked out of community college once – sort of. I’m so glad it wasn’t permanent. It wasn’t my grades or a violation of academic integrity policies that doomed my college career before it began. It was my age. I was 15 when I took entrance exams and applied to community college. But Pierce College didn’t allow Running Start students younger than 16 to enroll without meeting requirements for a special exception. With little guidance from high school counselors, I eventually found paperwork to petition for entrance and was accepted. I started fall quarter classes at Pierce College Puyallup a week before my 16th birthday. Undeniably, enrolling in community college through Running Start was the best decision I made with my education.
The News Tribune, Dec. 22, 2014

Gov. Inslee’s education budget serves students’ needs

As with any budget proposal, this is where the discussions begin, particularly on matters related to satisfying what has been called the McCleary decision, the state Supreme Court's ruling that the state is in contempt of court and must make adequate progress on its “paramount duty” to fully fund education. ... Likewise, the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges had requested about $182 million. Inslee's budget provides less than half of that request, about $70 million, said Marty Brown, executive director for the SBCTC.
The Everett Herald, Dec. 22, 2014

Edmonds CC Horticulture Department receives $9,500 grant for aquaponics system
Edmonds Community College received a $9,500 grant from the Sustainable Path Foundation to build an aquaponics system Sustainable Agriculture Education (SAgE) students are helping to design and build the system, which will be used for student instruction, research and food production. ... The SAgE program is a National Science Foundation-supported collaborative based in the Horticulture Department at Edmonds Community College with Seattle Central College and Skagit Valley College as partners.
My Edmonds News, Dec. 22, 2014

CBC's million dollar solar energy project will save big
A grant for more than $700 thousand is helping Columbia Basin College go green. KEPR got a look at the college's new $1 million solar panel project. CBC Business Director Brett Riley walks to his office. The energy efficient bulbs that light the way are just one of dozens of ways the he's helping the college go green.
KEPR TV, Dec. 21, 2014

Johnson spearheads pair of education bills
Proposals for a new college loan program and an expanded pool of students earning college credit in high school will be on the table next month when legislators return to Olympia. Local state Rep. Norm Johnson, R-Yakima, is sponsoring the pair of bills and said he hopes they can gain traction in the Legislature; both measures already have some bipartisan support. ... The first measure, House Bill 1030, would create the Washington advance higher education loan program. ... According to the bill language, the measure would start as a pilot and would be available only to students enrolled in STEM programs at Heritage University in Toppenish, Washington State University-Vancouver and Clark College.  Some STEM programs at Pacific Northwest University in Yakima, Everett Community College and the University of Washington-Spokane would be eligible, too.
Yakima Herald Republic, Dec. 21, 2014

Editorial: Don't forget about higher ed
Much more money will be spent on Washington's K-12 system in the next biennium. Our state Legislature should not take it from colleges and universities. ... Locally, Big Bend Community College provides access to quality higher education opportunities. ... Taxable retail sales in Washington state declined by 10.4 percent in 2008 and dropped another 6 percent the following year, according to a report by the state Office of Financial Management. Our state relies on tax funding to fund the budget and lost $12.6 billion in taxes. This loss meant the state Legislature now supports tuition at 65 percent, with parents and students paying 35 percent because of the revenue shortfall, according to information provided by the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. Somehow the state needs to make higher ed funding a priority.
Columbia Basin Herald, Dec. 19. 2014

Tacoma Community College names new president
Tacoma Community College has named its next president. Sheila K. Ruhland verbally accepted the position and will start at the school in March, according to a release from TCC.
The News Tribune, Dec. 19, 2014

Chehalis, Centralia students get crash course in business
Local juniors from Centralia and Chehalis took part in a weeklong event aimed at teaching the students about the world of business while focusing on leadership and communication skills. The annual event, known as Business Week, gives students an accelerated crash course in business. ... One task force member, Larry McGee, said the program is important for all of those involved. He stated Centralia College benefits from hosting the event by attracting students to its campus, while the juniors participating learn real life lessons.
Centralia Chronicle, Dec. 19, 2014

CPTC: Preparing for the next career
When Noah Hebert graduated from Washington State University with a Bachelor of Arts in communication, he landed an internship in Seattle. It was a promising first step to the start of an advertising career — until the recession hit. ... A work injury forced Hebert to analyze other career options and what he needed to be employable. Seeking to go a direction with available jobs and advancement opportunities, Hebert enrolled in Clover Park Technical College’s Computer Information Technology Program.
The Suburban Times, Dec. 19, 2014

College mourns tragic loss of 'Ambassador of Beauty'
A college campus can look pretty lonely this time of year when there are no flowers blossoming and the students have left for Christmas break. But at Everett Community College, there is beauty year round thanks to a groundskeeper who regarded his job as a higher calling. "Jerry wasn't here for just a nine to five position. he was here to beautify this campus," said veteran groundskeeper John Syson, about his colleague Jerry Olmstead. Jerry died December 6th when he was hit by a car while standing on the shoulder of I-5 near Smokey Point. He had gotten out of a pickup truck to make a sure the load was secure.
KOMO News, Dec. 18, 2014

Centralia College building demolished to make room for Commons
The Health Sciences Annex building on Centralia College’s campus has been demolished to make room for the planned TransAlta Commons, a 70,000-square-foot building scheduled to open in January 2017. The building housed the Center of Excellence for Clean Energy.
Centralia Chronicle, Dec. 18, 2014

Funding deal reached for Peninsula College project at Fort Worden State Park campus
The renovation of a Fort Worden State Park campus building into a higher education center is taking another step forward with a funding agreement among Peninsula College, a public development authority and the city of Port Townsend. City and PDA officials signed the agreement this week, said Dave Robison, executive director of the Fort Worden Lifelong Learning Center Public Development Authority. He expects Peninsula College officials to sign it soon.
Peninsula Daily News, Dec. 18, 2014

City's economic outlook looks good for 2015, numbers show
Single-family residential building permits, commercial building permits, sales tax revenue — these are among the instruments the City of Auburn uses to assess the strength of its economy. Judging by these, City officials say that as 2014 gives way to 2015, Auburn looks to be in good shape. ... The finalization of Green River Community College's Aviation Campus, with work slated to begin in early spring. This will be a 32,000-square-foot education building for the college's air traffic control and pilot programs.
Auburn Reporter, Dec. 18, 2014

Rochester woman celebrates faith, recovery after crash
Nine months ago, Chelan Brasher was in a hospital bed after she ran out in front of an SUV at the southbound on-ramp to Interstate 5 from Harrison Avenue in Centralia. Today, the 19-year-old from Rochester has physically recovered well and is back to doing what she loves — working out six days a week. However, she is still wrestling with forgiving herself for causing the accident. “I’ll always feel bad,” she said. “It was my fault.” Brasher said she wasn’t paying attention to her surroundings when she left Thorbecke’s FitLife Center at about 6:15 p.m. on March 11. She had forgotten her keys at Thorbecke’s and had gone back for them, putting her behind schedule. Then she started running to get to class at Centralia College.
Centralia Chronicle, Dec. 12, 2014


Opinion: Reforming community college governance in Washington
As a strategic gateway to college degree paths as well as vocational training, community colleges pivotally impact taxpayers, students, parents and employers, and must be responsive to local community needs. Community colleges confront a multiplicity of daunting tasks including: rising tuition costs, state funding issues, a plurality of poorly prepared students necessitating viable remedial programs, and the often conflicting twin pressures of bridging the gap between the high schools and four-year colleges. ... Electing board of trustee members could ameliorate at least some of these pitfalls. They are directly responsive and accountable to the community that they are entrusted to serve. Instead of boards making decisions in secretive executive sessions or retreats, these policy issues would be publicly aired.
The Bellingham Herald, Dec. 21, 2014

Should colleges work with industries to fill demand for workers?
An unfortunate irony to emerge from our lackluster economic recovery is that even as millions of Americans remain unemployed or underemployed, too many employers are unable to find qualified candidates for open positions. Shortcomings in our education and workforce development systems continue to widen the skills gap. Left unchanged, the supply of skilled workers will dwindle — leaving some 5 million jobs vacant by 2018 — and won't keep pace with the demands of a modern economy or the needs of employers struggling to compete.
The Everett Herald, Dec. 21, 2014

New education coalition supports cradle-through-college state investments
Leaders from early learning, K-12 and higher education as well as numerous youth and family services organizations have banded together to form a coalition supporting a cradle-through-college state investment strategy. A core principle of the strategy calls for the Legislature to invest in each stage of education and end the practice of pitting one part of education against the other, and of pitting education against health and human services.
Federal Way Mirror, Dec. 19, 2014

Why comparing lots of colleges might not help as many students as you’d think
There has been a proliferation of consumer information meant to help prospective students choose a college. A number of those tools seem to take it for granted that prospects will embark on a broad, national search. They assume that prospective students are shopping around, just as they might for a car or some other big-ticket consumer item, and that they’re willing to pick up and move anywhere in the country. That kind of college search might dominate hand-wringing news articles and cocktail-party chatter, but it’s far from standard. For many students, the set of choices is not the thousands of colleges sprinkled across the country or the name brands clustered at the top of U.S. News & World Report’s rankings. It’s the contained, sometimes even sparse, group of colleges within a reasonable radius of home.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, Dec. 19, 2014


Feds plan to rate colleges based on costs, accessibility, results
A new college rating system introduced by the Department of Education on Friday would group schools into three categories based on cost, accessibility and results such as graduation and job placement rates. Officials created the ratings because they want to help students get a valuable education, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a news release.
The Seattle Times, Dec. 22, 2014

Critics appeal to Inslee for probe of 6 for-profit colleges
A national advocacy group is urging Gov. Jay Inslee to start an investigation of the six Washington campuses in the for-profit Corinthian College chain as a way to protect Washington students enrolled in the schools. But the state agency that regulates private career colleges says it has received no valid complaints about the six schools, known here as Everest colleges, and that it is not planning to start an investigation.
The Seattle Times, Dec. 19, 2014

Lawmakers: College Bound scholarship good, could get better
By some measures, the state’s College Bound program — which promises financial help to many low-income students — has been a runaway success. Since 2007, for example, about 186,000 students have signed up, and the number grows each year. In the past few years, nearly every student who meets the eligibility requirements has signed up. To qualify, students must maintain a C average in high school, apply for federal financial aid and stay out of legal trouble. But earlier this year, some legislators wondered if the seven-year-old effort should be tweaked to make it more effective.
The Seattle Times, Dec. 19, 2014

Rep. Hansen named chair of Higher Education Committee
State Rep. Drew Hansen has been named chairman of the House of Representatives Higher Education Committee for the 2015 Legislative Session by the Democratic majority.
Bainbridge Island Review, Dec. 19, 2014

Ratings plan arrives, details scant
After nearly a year and a half of public debate over its proposed college ratings, the Obama administration on Friday provided the first glimpse into how it will structure such a system, including the criteria it will use to judge colleges. The administration’s “framework” identifies nearly a dozen metrics that officials are planning to use — but leaves a host of important questions unresolved.
Inside Higher Ed, Dec. 19, 2014

Behind the ratings
Friday’s release of a college ratings “framework” was a relatively anticlimactic milestone that capped months of speculation, delays and sometimes-fierce criticism from higher education leaders. The U.S. Department of Education published just a handful of pages of information, much of which underscores what officials have been saying publicly for months. There are, however, some new details about how the administration plans to approach the ratings.
Inside Higher Ed, Dec. 19, 2014