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.
View the most popular articles in Community College News:
California Community Colleges Move to the Cloud
The California Community College District has announced plans to move 600,000 students, as well as staff and faculty, to Microsoft Live. How will that change the look of higher education for these schools?
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 Future of America: Career Education Plan Announced by Whitehouse
Learn about the new plan by the Whitehouse to revamp vocational education across America. Is it a true effort to increase jobs or an election-year ploy?
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

The latest results of the annual President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll names 642 schools that have demonstrated superior community service. Is your community college included?
The annual President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll is out for 2012, and a number of community colleges made the list this year. This honor roll was originally created to highlight institutions of higher education that make significant contributions to their communities through the efforts of students and staff. The schools that made the grade have proven track records for giving back to the areas where they are located.

About the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll
 
The website for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) explains that the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll was first launched in 2006 to showcase the “role colleges and universities play in solving community problems” and to get more students started on a “lifelong path of civic engagement.” Originally inspired by the service of college students nationwide after Hurricane Katrina, the honor roll strives to recognize schools that “achieve meaningful, measurable outcomes in the communities they serve.”
 
The honor roll is a collaboration between the CNCS, the U.S. Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development, Campus Contact, and the American Council on Education. Finalists are chosen through a series of criteria that include scope and innovation of service projects, the incorporation of service-learning into course curriculum, the commitment of the institution to long-term partnerships with community organizations and the measurable community outcomes as a result of the service projects.
 
This year's honor roll was announced at the American Council on Education’s annual meeting on March 12, 2012, in . . . read more

Across the country, protests have been springing up at community colleges in recent weeks. In Massachusetts, community college students came out to protest plans to consolidate the community college system. In California, community college students participated in protests focused or recent higher education budget cuts by Governor Brown.
College students have been traditionally known for their willingness to exercise their First Amendment rights,and today’s student is no exception. In fact, college students have been voicing their opinions on everything from community college reorganization to tuition hikes, with protests from coast to coast. Check out two of the issues on either side of the country that currently have many community college student up-in-arms.

California Students Protest Tuition Hikes, Education Cuts
 
On the west coast, college students have come out in droves to protest deep state budget cuts that have resulted in higher tuition rates and cuts to classes and student services. The UC Berkeley News Center reports that an estimated 8,000 students flocked to Sacramento earlier this month to stage a mass demonstration on the steps of the state capitol. The crowd included students, faculty and administrative staff from the state’s universities and community colleges.
 
“Students, faculty, staff, administrators – we are all on the same side in wanting to maintain a strong university, and there was real consensus among the deans that taking the bus to Sacramento today would be a good thing to do,” Kim Voss, acting dean of social sciences at Berkeley, told the UC Berkeley News Center. The news service reported that more than 50 students and staff traveled from the college to Sacramento to support the protest movement.
 
A campus-wide email was sent out at the school, encouraging those who could to head to Sacramento to make their voices heard. The email . . . read more

Some California schools have been warned they could lose accreditation, while others have been told their accreditation status is maintained. We’ll report on the latest accreditation news for the California community college system.
Students interested in pursuing higher education are often counseled to look for a college or university that is accredited. However, for many community colleges in California, accreditation cannot be taken for granted. Many two-year schools around the state are at risk of losing their accreditation.  They must show good reason why their accreditation should remain intact, or lose it altogether. Why is accreditation important and what do colleges have to do keep it? Many California schools are learning the answers to those questions firsthand.

The Importance of Accreditation
 
According to the website for the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, accreditation is a “voluntary activity initiated by the institution” that “emphasizes quality assurance and a commitment to continuous quality enhancement.” Accreditation can be important to an institution because it plays a factor in the following:
 
       ·         Determining whether the school meets minimum quality standards
       ·         Providing potential students with important information about a school
       ·         Assisting in the determination of credit transfers between schools
       ·         Showing prospective employers the value of the education received at the school
       ·         Evaluating eligibility for tuition reimbursement programs offered by employers
       ·         Enabling graduates to sit for certification examinations
       ·         Creating goals for self-improvement of the institution
       ·         Providing self-assessment for the oversight functions required by the state
       ·         Offering a basis for determining federal student assistance
 
In many of these factors, accreditation makes all the difference in the quality of the degree a student earns and where he can take his studies after graduation. Accreditation is typically judged . . . read more
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