Tuesday, September 8, 2015

News Links | September 8, 2015


Skagit Valley College to add to nursing program
A Western Washington University nursing program is expanding to Skagit Valley College in the spring, allowing nursing students with an associate degree to pursue further education in public health care and community medicine.
Skagit Valley Herald, Sept. 7, 2015

SVC grant benefits firefighting students, fire departments and the community
As a firefighter for about 25 years, Skagit County Fire District 14 Chief David Skrinde knows the importance of experience. As a professor in Skagit Valley College’s fire technology program, he knows the importance of training. That’s why Skrinde applied for a federal grant that will help aspiring firefighters gain both.
Skagit Valley Herald, Sept. 7, 2015

Volunteers survey sea stars to monitor devastating disease
A semi-retired biology consultant from Seattle, Kyte has been leading volunteer groups to track signs of sea star wasting at Camano Island State Park since the spring of 2014. This was the first diseased specimen they had found in more than a year. ... The volunteers included seasoned experts in marine science and a recent grad from Edmonds Community College.
The Bellingham Herald, Sept. 6, 2015

It’s not you, it’s the math: Colleges rethink what students need
One study found that a statistics-focused class, identical to one offered at Seattle Central College, had triple the success rate when compared with the traditional math sequence, and students finished math in half the time. ... The beginnings of [the Math Strategic Plan] reach back to 2009, when the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges began its latest round of puzzling over how to help more students pass. ... Along with Seattle Central, Statway is also offered at South Seattle and Tacoma community colleges. ... While Statway re-imagines what it means to be math literate, the emporium program at Big Bend Community College is rethinking the way math is taught.
The Seattle Times, Sept. 5, 2015

Opinion: Guest: Why statistics is a good alternative to traditional pre-college math
By Paul Verschueren, who teaches Statway as well as traditional pre-college mathematics at Seattle Central College. For decades, pre-college math in community college has taken a single approach: high school math, v. 2. Students enroll in college and take an exam. They are either ready for pre-calculus or they have some pre-college review to do. This review can take up to a year, provided they pass each class with a 2.0 or better. This single track ignores the student’s career goals and prepares all students for pre-calculus, even if their major will not require it. Community college students need options to give them the best possible chance of success.
The Seattle Times, Sept. 5, 2015

Big Bend brings state money to local businesses
Every fiscal year, the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) in Washington awards grant money to community colleges and businesses around them to support a host of different employee training opportunities. The program is called the Job Skills Program (JSP) and each year, the state board awards some $2.7 million in grant money to fund customized workforce training to businesses who have partnered with a community college near them.Beth Laszlo, Big Bend Community College’s coordinator for the Center of Business and Industry, and her team have made it their goal to bring as much of that money as possible to Grant County and Adams County to support local businesses in workforce training.
Columbia Basin Herald, Sept. 5, 2015

Culinary garden connects Skagit Valley College campus
In the middle of Skagit Valley College’s Mount Vernon campus, three small triangles of land tucked between sidewalks are home to a riot of flowers, grasses, herbs and an amazing number of vegetables. Tomatoes and potatoes grow in a happy jumble next to beans, strawberries peek out of the ground cover, and huge chard and cabbage plants anchor the planting. The garden is far more than just an attractive addition to SVC’s landscaping. Herbs and vegetables from the garden find their way into cooking projects and dishes for the college cafeteria, and the garden itself serves as another classroom for students in the Culinary Arts program.
Grow Northwest, Sept. 4, 2015

Meet Zoe Fisher: assistant professor, reference and instruction librarian
Ever since she was a teenager, Zoe Fisher was drawn to libraries. At the young age of 13, she began volunteering at her local public library and hasn’t looked back. She worked in libraries all throughout school and into college. Today, she is in her third year of the tenure process and works hard to help students be successful in college. Most often, Fisher can be found at the Pierce College Puyallup library’s reference desk, ready and willing to help students find the material they need to be successful in class. She also teaches College Success and Info 101 classes.
The Suburban Times, Sept. 4, 2015

Retired WCC art teacher helps Africans attend high school
For the past 11 years, Kathryn Roe has split her time between Bellingham and the small village of Mpeasem in Ghana, typically spending six to eight months a year in the West African country where she helps children access education. Roe, 81, is a retired Whatcom Community College art instructor. She’s also the founder and director of Anansi Education, a secular, nonprofit organization that funds the cost of high school education for young people in Ghana.
The Bellingham Herald, Sept. 3, 2015

Green River College celebrates golden anniversary; events planned throughout the school year
Ever since opening its main campus on Auburn’s Lea Hill in 1965, Green River College has offered residents a local option to reach their higher education goals. Fifty years on, the college has grown to include satellite campuses in Kent, Enumclaw and downtown Auburn. Green River will mark its 50th birthday with various events throughout the school year.
Kent Reporter, Sept. 3, 2015

What’s happening in Whatcom County for Aug. 28
U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen will tour Whatcom Community College’s computer and information systems lab on Monday, Aug. 31. The school just received $6.4 million in grants from the National Science Foundation to advance its nation-leading cybersecurity programs.
The Bellingham Herald, Aug. 28, 2015

Centralia College Foundation exceeds scholarship, fundraising goals
The Centralia College Foundation wrapped up another record-setting year, beating both its 2014-15 scholarship and fundraising goals. The 2014-15 annual campaign raised more than $554,000 to support educational expenses, student scholarships, faculty and staff awards, and college projects.
Centralia Chronicle, Aug. 26, 2015


Call for help
ComPsych offers a form of outsourced, short-term counseling. Many companies use it or other, similar firms so their workers can get help with life challenges, ranging from how to find day care or dealing with parking tickets to crises like substance abuse or coping with grief. Typically employees can call a counselor any time of day or reach them via online chats. ComPsych also can refer people to one of its 40,000 affiliated counselors around the country for face-to-face help. The range of services includes dealing with severe crises, such as suicide prevention. Colleges are among the company’s customers.
Inside Higher Ed, Sept. 4, 2015

Steve and Connie Ballmer, Microsoft donate $21 million to educate Washington STEM students
Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and his wife Connie have contributed $11 million to help low- and middle-income students pursue degrees in science and math. Microsoft has also contributed $10 million to the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship program.
Puget Sound Business Journal, Sept. 2, 2015

Study: Pot more a habit for college students than cigarettes
More U.S. college students are making a habit of using marijuana, which has supplanted cigarettes as the smoke-able substance of choice among undergraduates who light up regularly, a study released Tuesday found.
The Seattle Times, Sept. 1, 2015


Support for free
While Bernie Sanders has been attracting considerable support on campuses, few college presidents have been speaking out on behalf of his plan to make public higher education free. And although college association leaders have applauded Sanders and Hillary Clinton for highlighting public concerns about college affordability, they have been tepid in endorsing the specifics of the plans. But a Gallup/Inside Higher Ed poll of college and university presidents has found that half of college presidents back or partly back an early version of Senator Sanders's plan that would provide $18 billion to states to pay for two free years of public higher education (at both two- and four-year institutions).
Inside Higher Ed, Sept. 8, 2015

Calls for quick legislative fix after charter-school ruling
Late Friday afternoon, the state Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional the 2012 law that allowed his school, and eight others so far in the state, to operate with taxpayer dollars, even though their boards aren’t elected. The court’s long-awaited ruling — the first in the nation to strike down charter schools in their entirety — shocked parents, advocates, legislators, lawyers and government officials who huddled in the midst of the Labor Day weekend to figure out what happens next.
The Seattle Times, Sept. 5, 2015

GOP chair of House Education Committee to retire
Representative John Kline, the Minnesota Republican who chairs the U.S. House of Representatives Education and Workforce Committee, announced Thursday that he won’t seek re-election next year.
Inside Higher Ed, Sept. 4, 2015

Editorial: Make it less complicated to seek federal student aid
Ever use the long form to submit your taxes, without a CPA’s help? Now multiply the complexity by about 10. That’s what it can feel like to fill out the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Except that the FAFSA can be even more cumbersome, with 88 pages of instructions and 105 detailed questions about a family’s income in order to determine eligibility. The application for federal student aid is so complicated that many in higher education see the FAFSA as a significant roadblock for low-income and first-generation students getting into college. It can be especially cumbersome for non-intact families as it requires applicants to provide income information for both parents. If one refuses to cooperate, it can delay or derail a student’s college hopes.
The News Tribune, Sept. 4, 2015

Higher-ed groups criticize Obama’s overtime-pay proposal
A coalition of higher-education organizations on Friday criticized the Obama administration’s proposed changes in federal rules on overtime pay that would raise the annual salary cutoff below which workers are generally eligible to receive such pay. Employees who make below $23,660 annually are generally eligible for a time-and-a-half wage rate for work that exceeds 40 hours a week. The proposed change would lift that salary threshold to $50,440.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, Sept. 4, 2015

Legislature losing key voice in McCleary with Hunter's departure
Inside his Bellevue District Office, Representative Ross Hunter (D-Medina) has collected 13 years of legislative memories. ... Starting next week, he takes over as head of the State Department of Early Learning. ... Upon taking office in 2002, education funding became his centerpiece issue. He consider his most significant work laying the groundwork for HB Bill 2261, described as a road map for fulfilling the McCleary mandate.
KING 5, Sept. 3, 2015

U.S. has forgiven loans of more than 3,000 ex-Corinthian students
More than 3,000 borrowers who attended closed Corinthian campuses have had their student loans forgiven by the U.S. Department of Education to date, at a cost of $40 million to taxpayers, according to a report released on Thursday by Joseph A. Smith, the "special master" overseeing the discharges. Thousands more are in line for debt relief.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, Sept. 3, 2015