Community College News

Stay abreast of all the news and reports impacting community colleges. This section covers the latest news stories, from campus protests to Wal-Mart partnerships. Read community college reactions to the latest State of the Union address, identify schools receiving big donations, and analyze the latest laws impacting community colleges and their students.
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In their quest to find effective transfer agreements for their students, community colleges appear to be tapping an unlikely source – for-profit schools. The University of Phoenix has announced partnerships pending with a number of community colleges across the country to offer students at these schools seamless four-year degree options. However, not everyone believes the union between for-profit schools and community colleges will be an amicable or beneficial one.
 
100 New Partnerships Announced by For-Profit
 
The American Independent reports that the University of Phoenix plans to launch more than 100 partnerships with various community colleges nationwide during this upcoming school year. The for-profit university hopes that the new arrangements will provide the financial shot in the arm the institution needs after suffering significant budget setbacks in recent years. Reputation is also a concern for University of Phoenix, as the for-profit sector has been plagued with reports of low completion rates and high student debt.
 
Despite promises of dozens of partnerships by the end of 2013, the University of Phoenix has only finalized agreements with a handful of community colleges thus far. The most notable is a transfer agreement with Northern Virginia Community College, also known as NOVA. NOVA has received plenty of attention from the recent administration, since this is the school where Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, teaches.
 
The second system that has formed a partnership with the University of Phoenix is the Maricopa Community College System in Arizona. According to a press...
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A new study finds that a growing number of adjunct professors could be contributing to low completion rates at community colleges across the state of Massachusetts. The study, which was conducted by the Massachusetts Teacher Association, failed to make a direct correlation between adjunct faculty and low completion rates. However, those involved in the study, as well as others in the community college population, agree that adjunct professors simply don’t have the time or resources to help students succeed the way full-time professors can.

More Adjunct Faculty Seen Statewide
 
The study, titled, “Reverse the Course: Changing Staffing and Funding Policies at Massachusetts Community Colleges,” found that less than one-third of courses taught at community colleges in the state are taught by full-time faculty members. According to the MTA website, that number has been steadily declining since the 2004-2005 school year, when it was 34%. Today, that number is more like 28%.

During the same time, the study found that only around 17% of students enrolled in community colleges across the state successfully completed their degree programs. The dismal number was limited to first-time community college students who failed to earn a two-year degree within three years. Researchers attributed the low rates to a growing number of adjunct faculty members.
 
“This practice of failing to expand the state-funded faculty in favor of Division of Continuing Education (adjunct) faculty contributes to the problem of low student outcomes,” the report was quoted as stating at the Telegram.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Adjunct...
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Few people may be pulling out the Christmas lights or playing the carols just yet, but at community colleges across the country, the season of giving has already begun. Whether schools are helping those in need in their communities, or receiving assistance from generous donors, ‘tis the season for many of these schools. Check out how some community colleges are celebrating the giving – and receiving – season a little early this year.
 
Kauai Community College Reaches Out to Vets
 
This Hawaiian community college is making a point to provide opportunities to veterans on the Islands – particularly vets interested in pursuing higher education. The Garden Island reports faculty from the school recently met with area vets to brainstorm ways the school could reach out more effectively to this population. According to the article, the school had 41 vets enrolled during the past spring semester and would like to see that number increase.
 
Kauai Community College is committed to serving the veterans by assisting them in enrolling in higher education, career counseling, succeeding in college, and finding a job,” Earl Nishiguchi, vice chancellor for student affairs, told The Garden Island.
 
The meeting consisted of college employees listening to concerns raised by veterans and other military personnel in attendance. The hope is that this meeting will spark a partnership between the college and military community that will lead to increased educational and career success for vets who call the Islands home.
 
St. Louis Community College Cleans Up the Neighborhood
 
Students from St. Louis...
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At a time when more focus is on community colleges as a viable and cost-effective option in higher education, leadership at these schools appears to be in crisis. According to a recent report from the Aspen Institute and Achieving the Dream, a large percentage of community college presidents are slated for retirement over the next five years. Even more concerning is the fact that few appear poised to take over the helms of these institutions, leaving some to wonder where the direction of the community college system is headed.
 
The new report, titled, “Crisis and Opportunity: Aligning the Community College Presidency with Student Success,” was released at a National Forum in Washington D.C. in June. The report details the challenges facing community colleges in upcoming years as they work to keep their key leadership positions filled with qualified candidates. The report identifies some of the specific problems that could contribute to a presidential shortage of community college presidents nationwide. It also provides recommendations that community colleges can follow to ensure their leadership does not suffer with the loss of a large number of current presidents in the next few years.
 
Primary Concerns Over the Coming Leadership Shortage
 
According to a recent report at Inside Higher Ed, more than 40 percent of the current community college presidents may retire within the next five years. That equates to the loss of more than 500 college presidents by 2017, leaving gaps in community college leadership that need to be filled by qualified individuals...
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For a number of years, students at California community colleges have been unable to take advantage of the summer months to get ahead in their studies by taking a few extra classes. Budget cuts in recent years have forced many schools in the state to cut their summer offerings to a bare minimum, while a few have had to cut summer classes completely. Now, thanks to the passage of Prop 30, community colleges in the state are finding the money to beef up their summer course schedules, much to delight of students who were hoping to spend their summer months deep in their studies.
 
Survey Shows More Classes on the Way
 
The Los Angeles Times reports on an informal survey conducted by the office of statewide Chancellor Brice W. Harris, which involved 70 California community colleges. The survey indicated 67 percent of the community colleges in the state plan to increase their course offerings for the summer semester. Another 23 percent said they would offer about the same number of classes they had on the schedule during the previous summer. Only 7 percent of community colleges in the state stated they planned to reduce the number of courses they were going to offer this summer. 
 
Credit for the increases goes in large part to the passage of Proposition 30 last November, which granted a temporary increase in sales tax and income tax on the wealthiest residents in the state. The increase revenues are going directly to fund education, with...
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