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 the midst of serious issues facing California community colleges today, there is possible reform on the horizon. A new bill has passed California state legislators and is currently waiting on the desk of Governor Jerry Brown. The proposed legislation would bring some consistency to the California community college system and require schools in the state to focus on success and completion rates as much as they focus on enrollment and budgets. While the governor hasn’t dropped any clues on which way he will go on this new law, those who drafted the legislation are hopeful that if passed, it could bring much-needed improvements to the California system.

Student Success Task Force
 
The legislation, dubbed Bill 1456 or the Student Success Act of 2012, was drafted by Sen. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach. The senator used information compiled by the California Community College Student Success Task Force to create his new bill. According to iJournal, the 20-member task force included faculty, staff and students, as well as external stakeholders in the community college system.
 
The task force spent seven months examining how to improve success in community colleges, while boosting achievement for underserved students. At the end of the year, the task force presented their findings to stakeholders, in order to get additional input on the best ways to utilize this information effectively to improve the community college system in California. After the hearings were completed, the Board of Governors adopted a set of select recommendations that were used . . . read more

In the remnants of the 9/11 terrorists attacks, few thought about one lone building from a local community college that was destroyed when the World Trade Center collapsed - except those who had come to call Borough of Manhattan Community College home. Over the next decade, the expanding college was forced to make other arrangements for holding classes – in the student cafeteria and temporary trailers set up in the vicinity of the original building. It was far from an ideal situation, with students reporting that the trailers didn’t always have working heat and served as a constant reminder of the terrible day when so many American lives were lost, including those of eight BMCC students and alumni.

But the school persevered.

This month, Borough of Manhattan Community College opened the doors of Fiterman Hall for the first time in more than 10 years. The beautiful new building is a reflection of light with windowed walls and a breathtaking lighted spiral staircase. It is a far cry from the smoke and debris that littered the area for so long. Now, students are preparing to take classes at Fiterman once again, in a brand new building designed just for them.
 
The Funding of Fiterman Hall
 
The day of the attacks, Fiterman Hall was damaged beyond repair. The building was finally razed in 2009, the year that reconstruction began, according to the community college’s website. Prior to razing, funding had to come in to pay for the project. The building also had to . . . read more

San Francisco is in trouble, with a threat of accreditation loss looming and uncertainty over whether the school will even be able to remain open for much longer. According to many who have carefully examined the issues facing the college, the fault primarily lies with the school itself. From ineffective governance to mismanagement of funds, the City College of San Francisco is facing serious issues that could take Herculean efforts to overcome. Now, time is also running short for the school, as the accrediting commission has set a deadline in which the school must begin to show progress in improving their operations overall.

Implications of “Show Cause” Rating
 
The accreditation commission recently gave the City College of San Francisco a “show cause” rating, which means the school shoulders the burden of showing why it should remain accredited. This sanction is the most serious of the three options an accrediting commission can offer. The San Francisco Examiner reports that a “show cause” rating is typically only given when an institution is in “substantial non-compliance” with accreditation standards.
 
Only two California schools have received similar ratings currently, according to the Los Angeles Times. College of the Redwoods and Cuesta College both are working their way through accreditation violations, in hopes of maintaining their accreditation. Another California school, Compton College, actually saw its accreditation revoked after receiving the “show cause” rating from the accreditation commission.
 
Importance of Accreditation
 
Accreditation is a voluntary process, but it can be a vital one . . . read more

The largest community college district in the country recently announced plans to move to the cloud, via Microsoft’s Live@EDU cloud suite. The Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) has determined that Microsoft’s package will best meet the needs of its students, staff and faculty. The rollout is scheduled for the beginning of the upcoming school year.

What the Cloud Can Do
 
According to a report at PC World, the decision by LACCD to move to the cloud began with a desire to have every student on each of the nine campuses obtain their own email account within the school system. This idea slowly spread beyond email capabilities to include IM, video and audio conferencing and calendaring. The cloud suite will also allow student to prepare online documents to share, edit and collaborate with professors and other students.
 
“Students and faculty, once they start learning all the capabilities, I expect they’ll realize it’s way more than email,” LACCD CIO Jorge Mata told PC World.
 
Some of the specific features offered with Microsoft’s Live@EDU include:
 
       ·         Email and calendars with a 10GB inbox
       ·         Additional file storage up to 25GB
       ·         Instant messaging
       ·         Video chat and audio conferencing
       ·         Document sharing
       ·         Mobile email
       ·         Accessible through Web browsers for Mac, Windows and Linux systems
       ·         Easy to set up and manage
 
Until now, the nine campuses for the Los Angeles Community College District have determined whether to offer students the option of an email system via on-premise Microsoft systems. This will be the first time that all of the campuses . . . read more

The Obama Administration has placed a heavy focus on community colleges and college completion rates over the past three years, raising awareness about the importance of education in improving the country’s unemployment rate. However, some have criticized the President for placing too much emphasis on education and not enough on actual job development. To that end, in addition to the Skills for America's Future program initiated in 2011, the President and Education Secretary Arne Duncan recently unveiled their latest plan aimed at transforming vocational education nationwide.
 
Making a Solid Investment
 
The latest initiative by the White House is titled, “Investing in America’s Future: A Blueprint for Transforming Career and Technical Education.” The program was designed as an outline for revamping the current Perkins Act of 2006, which was originally created to provide funding for vocational training at the secondary and postsecondary level. According to the U.S. Department of Education website, the Perkins Act primarily distributes funding through state grants, which State Boards for Vocational Education are encouraged and eligible to apply.
 
While the Perkins Act has been significant in developing vocational training across America, the current administration believes it could go farther in helping Americans train for the industries that have the highest need for skilled workers today. At a time when unemployment rates are still high, a restructuring of the Perkins Act could make vocational training more widely available both to displaced workers and high school graduates that cannot afford the hefty tuition rates at . . . read more
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