Southwest: In the News

In The News

Links to Southwest news and other reports on community college trends, Tennessee Board of Regents coverage and more:

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FEBRUARY 12, 2021

Not every job requires a four-year degree- How apprenticeships and vocational training can help narrow the wealth gap. (CRAIN’S CHICAGO BUSINESS) Aon's corporate office at 200 E. Randolph St. is only three blocks from Harold Washington College in the Loop, but it might as well be in another time zone. The insurance giant never hired from the two-year community college. But after collaborating with the school on curriculum, Aon devised an apprenticeship program that provides paid entry-level jobs to 25 Harold Washington College students while they attend school.

Columbia State's new arts and technology building included in Gov. Lee's budget (Williamson Herald) Columbia State Community College announced Friday its new arts and technology building slated for the Williamson County campus has been included in Gov. Bill Lee’s 2021-2022 budget. 

Partnership Allows Students to Obtain Three Degrees in Engineering Fields (Journal of Black in Higher Ed) Historically Black Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee Knoxville are partnering to create a program that provides pathways for Motlow State Community College students to take classes leading to bachelor’s and master’s degrees in industrial engineering.

Tennessee awarded nearly $7 mill. in grants for STEM career readiness programs  (WTVF) Tennessee was awarded the Education Innovation and Research (EIR) early phase grant for $4,000,000 and was one of only four states to be awarded the Out-of-School Time Career Pathway Program grant for $2,900,000. The nearly $7 million in grants will be used to strengthen computer science pathways, STEM education and help more students be prepared for success after high school.

MTSU aerospace's new unmanned aircraft FAA partnership can enhance students' career preparation (WGNS) The Middle Tennessee State University Department of Aerospace’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operations program is navigating the first year of a new partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration. Last fall, the FAA announced it had selected MTSU for the UAS Collegiate Training Initiative program.

Some Campuses Have Already Eclipsed Their Fall Covid-19 Case Totals. What’s Going On? (Chronicle for Higher Ed) Several colleges that kept transmission to a trickle in the fall are facing alarming surges. Pandemic fatigue could be partly to blame.

FEBRUARY 9, 2021

Tennessee Gov. Lee’s $41.8 billion budget plan includes teacher, state employee raises  (WZTV) Tennessee’s Gov. Bill Lee on Monday unveiled his $41.8 billion budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year. The spending plan includes increases for teacher pay and more funds for COVID-19 relief efforts, buoyed by better-than-expected revenues during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

House again passes apprenticeship bill (CC Daily) The House on Friday approved an apprenticeship bill, similar to the one it passed this fall, that would expand registered apprenticeships and strengthen pre-apprenticeship and youth apprenticeship programs.

FEBRUARY 8, 2021

Declines in Community College Enrollment Among Blacks Will Have Long-Term Consequences (Diverse Issues in Higher Ed) When I saw Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on television as a middle school student in the 1960s, I did not fully grasp the magnitude of his words, but I could not tear my eyes away from the screen. Here was a powerful person who looked like me and stood before thousands of people who marched with him on Washington, D.C. for civil rights. Looking back on that experience, I know it propelled me forward on a journey toward my own success.

FEBRUARY 4, 2021

Tennessee doubles the certified career pathways in local schools  (WDEF) The Tennessee Department of Education announces 159 pathways for state high schools. That doubles the existing number of programs designed for graduate job skills. 

Guest column: If Free College is the Goal, Start with Community College  (Politico) President Joe Biden took office committed to unifying the nation and finding bipartisan solutions, while also delivering on the bold promises of his campaign. Along with racial equity and tackling climate change, free college was part of that promised agenda … The nation’s best-known free-college plan is in one of its reddest states — Tennessee — where the Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect programs enable almost every resident to pursue a two-year degree or credential without paying tuition. 

THEC Selects New Executive Director (PR Point) The Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) appointed Dr. Emily House as the agency’s new executive director after last week’s scheduled meeting. House succeeds Mike Krause, who served in the role since 2016. She assumed the duties immediately following the meeting.

FEBRUARY 3, 2021

Virtual Panel Explores Findings from Community College Student Engagement Report (Diverse Issues in Higher Ed)   Sixty-nine percent of entering students work for pay, while almost one-third work more than 40 hours a week, found a Center for Community College Student Engagement (CCCSE)  report , titled “The Intersection of Work and Learning: Findings From Entering Students in Community Colleges,” last October.

For-profit merger highlights sector's growing interest in healthcare (Higher Ed Dive) ...The for-profit sector appears on the rise after years of tumbling enrollment. Enrollment climbed 5.3% year over year at four-year, for-profit colleges in the fall, even though all other institution types saw declines or remained flat, data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center shows. '

U.S. News & World Report ranks ETSU College of Nursing among ‘Best Online Programs’ (Johnson City Press) East Tennessee State University’s College of Nursing is ranked nationally among U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 Best Online Programs. ETSU ranked No. 16 among the “Best Online Master’s in Nursing Administration Programs” and No. 75 among the “Best Online Master’s in Nursing” programs.

JANUARY 29, 2021

Students still give their community colleges high marks (CC Daily) One in five community college students expect to delay graduation because of the pandemic, according to survey results from the Strada Education Network. However, even though two-year college students feel stress and anxiety prompted by the pandemic, they still give their colleges high marks for career connections and value.

Number of undergraduate college degrees, certificates stalls: report (Higher Ed Dive) The number of undergraduates who earned credentials stagnated last academic year for the first time in at least eight years, according to new National Student Clearinghouse Research Center data.

JANUARY 27, 2021

U.S. News & World Report ranks U of M online programs first in state  (Daily Memphian) The University of Memphis is the highest-ranked institution in Tennessee for the second straight year in U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 rankings of online programs. 

Rural counties would be economically devastated if their public colleges closed: report (Higher Ed Dive) Rural public colleges are local job engines, which means their closures would be economically devastating, according to a new report from the Alliance for Research on Regional Colleges.

JANUARY 26, 2021

Education equity alliance launches in Tennessee  (Daily Memphian/Chalkbeat) A new alliance dedicated to education equity in Tennessee launched Monday, Jan. 25 with more than 40 organizations from across the state. Declaring “there is no excellence without equity,” the Tennessee Alliance for Equity in Education pledges to seek solutions for closing gaps in opportunity and achievement for historically underserved students. 

JANUARY 11, 2021

Conversations that change campuses (CC Daily) Many community colleges have been engaged in courageous conversations over the last decade. Data around men of color and persistence, immigrant education and faculty diversity are examples of timely topics community college leaders have been addressing in difficult conversations that help lead to greater institutional effectiveness and student success.

JANUARY 7, 2021

With New Pell Grant Rules, Thousands Of Tennessee Prisoners Could Access College Courses (WPLN) Jameel Spann was a junior year at Fisk University when he got arrested. Facing a 15-year prison sentence, he didn’t know if he’d ever graduate. But after more than a decade in prison, he says he got lucky. A nearby university started offering classes and encouraged him to apply.

Drone class to take flight this spring at Roane State (Oak Ridge Today) A new class in piloting small, unmanned aircraft, better known as drones, will take flight this spring at Roane State Community College. The three credit-hour class – AERO 1030 W01 – will prepare students to take the Federal Aviation Administration’s Part 107 Remote Pilot Aeronautical Knowledge test to obtain FAA certification, a press release said.

JANUARY 5, 2021

Displaced Workers Haven’t Turned to College for a Fresh Start. Here’s What Might Bring Them Back. (Chronicle for Higher Ed) Recent data suggest that when college enrollment picks up, it could be driven by adults seeking nondegree credentials and skills training.