Tuesday, March 10, 2015

News Links | March 10, 2015


Community colleges find new strategies to break through ‘initiative fatigue’
Suffering from "initiative fatigue" and stymied by "curmudgeons" intent on blocking new ideas, community colleges are nonetheless making progress on promising new strategies for reaching students at greatest risk of dropping out, according to speakers here at the annual meeting of the League for Innovation in the Community College. ... That attitude is often a bigger barrier to success than the student’s actual abilities, said Charles M. Thompson, director of a program at Edmonds Community College, in Washington state, called Creating Access to Careers in Health Care. The program, which is supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is also offered at Everett Community College, is part of a national research study involving 32 colleges nationwide.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 10, 2015

Renton, Olympic community colleges in the running for national prize
Next week, the nonprofit Aspen Foundation will award its prestigious $1 million prize to one of the nation’s 1,000-plus community colleges — the one it believes does the best job of helping students get a credential and a good job after graduation. Two Washington community colleges are on the list of 10 finalists — Renton Technical College and Olympic College of Bremerton. They were among the colleges picked for doing an outstanding job of “student learning, certificate and degree completion, employment and earnings, and high levels of access and success for minority and low-income students,” according to the foundation’s description. ... In all, six Washington community colleges made the initial list of 150 finalists, including Walla Walla and Whatcom community colleges, and Skagit Valley and Columbia Basin colleges. The prize will be awarded March 18. Two years ago, Walla Walla Community College shared the top prize with Santa Barbara City College.
The Seattle Times, March 9, 2015

BTC students practice nursing care using high-tech mannequins
In a simulation lab at Bellingham Technical College, four registered nursing students were getting a feel for the real world as they tried to help a sick Vincent Brody. The 67-year-old “man” was flat on his back in a bed in his hospital room, moaning and struggling to breathe. ... Generally known as SimMan, the mannequin was the most advanced of the seven human patient simulators, both adults and infants, in the room. ... Overall, the mannequins are used to help nursing students learn as they work their way through increasingly complex scenarios. (Whatcom Community College also has such a lab.)
The Bellingham Herald, March 8, 2015

Central Georgia Technical College announces international partnership
Central Georgia Technical College will be part of an international partnership aimed at restoring two-year degrees in Afghanistan. The technical college and Spokane Community College — a two-year school in Washington state — will partner with the University of Massachusetts in the $93 million contract, designed to help re-establish a university system in the Middle East.
Macon Telegraph, March 9, 2015

'NERD Girls' burst into science with volcano project
As they carried their clay volcanoes into a classroom, about 25 fourth- and fifth-graders talked excitedly about what would happen next at after-school science camp: volcanic eruptions. Monday afternoon was the last day of a six-week after-school science camp at Harney Elementary School led by NERD Girls, a team of Clark College instructors and students who focus on science, technology, engineering and math. NERD stands for Not Even Remotely Dorky.
The Columbian, March 9, 2015

Opinion: Help vets continue education
More than some states, Washington has made an effort to help its military veterans attend college and get into the careers that will help them build their lives following their service. ... More than 20,000 veterans are currently enrolled in colleges and universities in Washington, and more than half of them are enrolled in community colleges. ... House Bill 1706, sponsored by Rep. Derek Stanford, D-Bothell, would allow universities, community colleges and technical colleges to waive building and activity fees for veterans receiving tuition assistance from the Defense Department's Tuition Assistance Program.
Everett Herald, March 8, 2015

Opinion: Quick way to increase health care providers
Yakima County needs help to recruit health care providers, and the Washington State Health Professional Loan Repayment Program is just the ticket. Statistics tell the story. More than 500,000 newly eligible adults now have insurance through Medicaid, including 25,198 in Yakima County. This is great news, but it also means that we need enough providers to make sure they can access care. In a recent study, the Robert Graham Center projects that to maintain the current primary care utilization rates, Washington state will need an additional 1,695 primary care physicians by 2030 — that’s a 32 percent increase compared to the state’s current primary care physician workforce. ... We are lucky to have health profession programs locally, such as the Pacific Northwest University College of Osteopathic Medicine; the Central Washington Family Medicine Residency program; nursing programs through Washington State University, Yakima Valley Community College and Heritage University.
Yakima Herald, March 8, 2015

CPTC: Cosmetology students use talents to help others
Daniel Bacon and Misty Winesberry believe talents are best when shared with others. The Clover Park Technical College Cosmetology students had a special opportunity to share their craft with a client in hospice care. In early February South Hill resident Alan Mershon contacted CPTC’s Personal Care Service Center to ask if a student would visit his home to provide a haircut for his daughter, Sunny Day Holcomb, who is in the advanced stages of Multiple Sclerosis. Bacon was delighted to volunteer and asked Winesberry to join him.
The Suburban Times, March 8, 2015

Traditional Pow Wow celebrates vibrant Native American heritage
Drum circles lined the gymnasium of Covington Middle School. Men and women wearing colorful regalia and elaborate headdresses danced to the thumping of the drums. Some of the girls stomped to the beat, the jingling of their regalia filling the room. Some of the men synced the movement of their whole bodies to the sound of the drums. Some children moved more slowly, watching the others around them. ... Saturday's event also introduced a new scholarship for Native American students at Clark College. The Dreamcatcher Scholarship — named in honor of Becky Archibald and Anna Schmasow, both of whom are active in the Native American Education Program and Clark College — is designed to help current and future indigenous Clark students fund their education, said Felisciana Peralta, of Clark's Office of Diversity and Equity.
The Columbian, March 7, 2015

North Korean refugees take center stage at Pierce College Puyallup
Three North Korean refugees shared their stories with the college community on Feb. 25 as part of a special event sponsored by Pierce College International Education. To protect their identities – and to protect their families back home –cameras were strictly prohibited, but for many in the audience, the memory of hearing their stories could very well last longer than any photograph. Keynote speaker and internationally recognized human rights activist Suzanne Scholte has made it her life’s work to advocate for the North Korean people. She has been involved in the rescue of many North Koreans seeking freedom. The panel of refugees spoke of their experiences growing up in North Korea, and the propaganda that runs rampant against the United States and outside world at large.
The Suburban Times, March 7, 2015


Community college enrollment and completion data
Nationwide community college enrollment numbers continue to decline. But student completion rates in the sector are higher than many people think. Those are the two primary findings in a new report the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) released last week.
Inside Higher Ed, March 9, 2015

More engaged part-timers
More part-time community college students are coming to class prepared, working with instructors and participating with other students. Those findings are part of a broader trend in which part-time students at community colleges are becoming more engaged in their learning, based on a report released today by the Center for Community College Student Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin.
Inside Higher Ed, March 9, 2015

Yik Yak a hit on campuses, but ugly posts stir concern
In much the same way that Facebook swept through the dorm rooms of America’s college students a decade ago, Yik Yak is now taking their smartphones by storm. Its enormous popularity on campuses has made it the most frequently downloaded anonymous social app in Apple’s App Store, easily surpassing competitors like Whisper and Secret. At times, it has been one of the store’s 10 most downloaded apps.
The Seattle Times, March 8, 2015

The digital skills divide
Colleges can bridge the "middle skills" career gap by offering more courses focused on digital skills, a new report suggests. Those careers in the middle require a high school diploma, but not a bachelor's degree. In 2012, 54 percent of all U.S. jobs were middle skill, according to an analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics by the National Skills Coalition.
Inside Higher Ed, March 6, 2015


Obama to expand protections for student-loan borrowers
In a speech he’s scheduled to give on Tuesday at the Georgia Institute of Technology, President Obama will announce a Student Aid Bill of Rights and sign a presidential memorandum directing federal agencies to take steps to help borrowers repay their debt. The memorandum will require the Education Department to create a new complaint system in which borrowers can log grievances against lenders, loan servicers, collection agencies, and colleges. It will also establish a central portal where federal borrowers can view information about all of their loans, regardless of their servicer.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 10, 2015

For 529 college-savings plans, a big challenge is setting the record straight
For years, advocates of 529 college-savings plans have struggled to persuade people that they’re more than just tax shelters for the rich. The backlash that hit after President Obama proposed taxing the plans to help pay for his free-community-college proposal gave the advocates new talking points as they gathered here this week for their annual meeting. If nothing else, the kerfuffle shined a spotlight on a savings strategy that most Americans know nothing about. "All of a sudden, 529 plans were all over the news," said Roger Michaud, a senior vice president at Franklin Templeton Investments, one of the companies that manage the state-sponsored plans, during a break in the College Savings Foundation’s meeting. "We were able to point to statistics that show that these plans aren’t just for wealthy people." The foundation is a nonprofit organization that promotes the plans as part of its push to get people to save more for college.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 6, 2015

Killing all state support
Arizona has a reputation for frugality with regard to state support for higher education, but a deal reached this week between Governor Doug Ducey and legislative leaders is leaving educators in the state stunned. The agreement would completely eliminate state support for the three largest community college districts in the state -- while also imposing deep cuts on the public universities.
Inside Higher Ed, March 6, 2015