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Community Colleges

  • The Maine Community College System has lost an integral part of its community. Charles M. Lyons, president of York County Community College, 68, died of cancer August 22. He was president of YCCC from 2006 until the time of his death and previously served as president of the University of Maine at Augusta from 2001 to 2006 and president of the University of Maine at Fort Kent from 1996 to 2001. He was also vice chancellor of the University of Maine System for three years.

      Reverse transfers­—students changing from a four-year institution to a community college—are nothing new, but until now the phenomenon wasn’t well understood. “Reverse Transfer: A National View of Student Mobility from Four-Year to Two-Year Institutions,” a National Student Clearinghouse Research Center report, dispels some of the myths surrounding reverse transfers so administrators can better serve them.

      Through careful scheduling, leaders at Howard Community College have ensured more classes are offered throughout the day so that buildings don't stand empty.

      A hallmark of community colleges is being nimble enough in their class offerings to respond quickly to the changing needs of their students. Additional faculty can be hired to teach the new courses, but classroom space is often a fixed resource that isn’t so easily added. “We would not turn down a new classroom building,” says Tony Honeycutt, provost of Somerset Community College (Ky.) with a laugh, “but we can meet our needs for classroom space through better scheduling.”

      Mel Shiavelli

      Mel Shiavelli has been named executive vice president at Northern Virginia Community College. The former president and CEO of Harrisburg University of Science and Technology (Pa.) since 2002 and a charter member of the Manufacturing Institute’s Education Council, Shiavelli started in his new role July 1.

      Recognizing that IT students at two-year Lake Land College (Ill.) had no nearby transfer option, officials partnered with Eastern Illinois University to allow for transfer of credits toward a four-year degree in Management Information Systems.

      A hallmark of community colleges is that they are actually in the communities they serve, close to where their students live and work. But sometimes they aren’t in enough places at once.

      Ten years ago, the presidents of Prince George’s Community College and Howard Community College realized that neither of their institutions reached the Maryland town of Laurel.

      Here’s some seemingly daunting news for community colleges: South Dakota is the only state with a two-year college completion rate over 40 percent. That stat is from a new report released by the Institute for a Competitive Workforce (ICW), an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. North Dakota comes in second for two-year college completion rates, with 38 percent.

      artist painting

      Futurist Richard Florida moved the needle with his book The Rise of the Creative Class (Basic Books, 2002)—establishing creativity as a 21st century learning and earning skill, and a driving force of economic growth, jobs creation, and cultural enrichment in today’s competitive global society.

      When asked to reflect on the role of higher education in preparing future workers, Bill Gates replied: “Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you find yourself...At Microsoft there are lots of brilliant ideas but the image is that they all come from the top—I’m afraid that’s not quite right.” Gates reminds us of the importance of practical, real-world, learning by doing for tomorrow’s Smartcollar science and technology workers.

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