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News Links | November 9, 2017

November 09, 2017 by SBCTC Communications

System News | Opinion

LCC welding lab shut down due to slightly elevated arsenic levels

The welding lab at Lower Columbia College is shut down temporarily because air quality tests showed slightly elevated levels of arsenic in the air, the college announced Wednesday. The closure took effect Tuesday evening, just after college officials received the results of air quality testing done on Oct. 25, said Janel Skreen, LCC’s director of environmental health and safety. Tests checked for 107 toxic compounds and metals. Arsenic was the only one found above levels recommended by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Skreen said Wednesday. The arsenic level was a tiny fraction over the NIOSH-recommended level but still 38 times below the legal limit, she said.
Longview Daily News, Nov. 8, 2017

Popular Yakima Valley College professor Herb Blisard, who taught there for 51 years, has died

Herb Blisard taught at Yakima Valley College for 51 years — longer than anyone since its founding in 1928. And if you asked him how it went, he didn’t hesitate. “Every class was a blast,” Blisard said in a 2012 profile by Yakima Herald-Republic reporter Jane Gargas. The English, humanities, mass communication and photography instructor retired that June from the institution now known as Yakima Valley College. Blisard died Nov. 1 in Yakima. He was 84.
Yakima Herald, Nov. 7, 2017

Community members visit Burlington schools

Burlington Police Chief Mike Luvera got a lesson Tuesday in zoology when Lucille Umbarger Elementary School fourth-grader Alberto Vasquez taught him about red pandas. “I love being back in the school,” Luvera said. “Schools were always very quiet and now they’re engaging and collaborative.” Luvera was one of about a dozen participants in the Burlington-Edison School District’s annual Citizen’s Day, where community members are invited to learn about the district and visit some of its schools. ... While the district and Skagit Valley College already partner on many levels, the opportunity to get an in-depth look at the district was one Skagit Valley College Vice President for Student Services Dave Paul said was helpful.
Skagit Valley Herald, Nov. 7, 2017

She’s impressed by the community. Meet CBC’s first woman president

Columbia Basin College’s new president is on the job. Rebekah Woods, the first woman president in the Pasco college’s history, made her first official appearance at Friday’s scholarship banquet. Woods said Monday she was honored to start her first full week. ... The board of trustees picked Woods as the college’s sixth president in early September. She is taking over from interim President Lee Thornton.
Tri-City Herald, Nov. 6, 2017

Seattle Central's South Annex planned to be homeless youth center

Washington House Speaker Frank Chopp is lining up funding to create a homeless youth center in Seattle Central College’s surplus South Annex property in Capitol Hill. “We’re working with Seattle Central College,” Chopp said, “they’ve declared the property surplus, so we’re basically lining up the funding for the purchase so the college can use the proceeds for another building to the north of campus.” Seattle Central is working to purchase Sound Transit’s Site D, a surplus property north of the campus on Broadway that was acquired when the Capitol Hill light rail extension was being developed. The college has the first right of refusal for the 10,423-square-foot property.
Capitol Hill Times, Nov. 6, 2017

Lucrative new manufacturing jobs are emerging; no college degree required

This looks for all the world like an-old fashioned manufacturing plant humming along in Redmond. And they are producing what they have for more than half a century, small construction lifts that bear the company name, Genie. ... "The manufacturing jobs that are coming back now, are not the same as the old. It's not just doing the same thing over and over and over again. It's more like managing these robots and these systems." And all of those systems have morphed into a brand-new job with a new name, to boot. It's called "mechatronics." What is it? This question was put to Jeff Purdy. He was teaching a machining class at Shoreline Community College. ... To offer the complete mechatronics curriculum, Shoreline is joining forces with the electronics program at the larger North Seattle College. ... Besides Shoreline and North Seattle Colleges, the other schools offering the mechatronics program are Everett, Renton colleges. And South Seattle College has an introductory program.
KIRO 7, Nov. 3, 2017

Trends | Horizons | Education

Promotion, retention and faculty diversity in STEM

Has the push for faculty diversity in the sciences led to real gains? A new study of tenure attainment, faculty retention and time to promotion to full professor across four large land-grant institutions analyzed personnel records for assistant and associate professors from 1992 to 2015. It found that numbers of women and underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering and math fields increased substantially over time, but mostly for women and Hispanic faculty members and more slowly for black and American Indian professors. Time to promotion from associate to full professor took one to two years longer, on average, for women in the life sciences and agriculture, but not in engineering, the physical sciences or math. Notably, all minority faculty hired as assistant professors in the life and physical sciences and math between 2002 and 2015 earned tenure at their institutions. Professors in all these fields tended to stay at their institutions for 10 years or more.
Inside Higher Ed, Nov. 9, 2017

How colleges can help low-income students

Colleges can and should take a series of steps to help more students from low-income backgrounds afford college and earn a degree, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation says in a report released today. The report, while acknowledging that governments and policy makers have major roles to play in ensuring college affordability and success, focuses on 11 strategies that are in the purview of individual colleges and universities, such as offering much clearer information about their prices and financial assistance, prioritizing need-based aid, embracing lower-cost educational materials, and creating emergency grant programs.
Inside Higher Ed, Nov. 9, 2017

Student homelessness in Seattle growing at New York City rates

About one out of every 16 students in Seattle schools is homeless. Many have been for years, and their numbers are increasing at a rate comparable to New York City, according to a new analysis. In total, Seattle educated 3,612 homeless children in classrooms across the district during the 2015-16 school year, though some schools — such as Garfield High and Washington Middle — had vastly more homeless students than others. Interagency Academy, a network of alternative programs where 36 percent of students were listed as homeless, had the highest rate.
The Seattle Times, Nov. 9, 2017

Opinion: Solving the work force’s skills gap

The recent presidential executive order “Expanding Apprenticeships in America” and the proposed JOBS Act, which would amend the Higher Education Act, both look to solve the skills gap by increasing support for short-term training in current technology. Such training can provide some students with current technical skills. But according to a World Economic Forum report on employment trends across a wide range of industries, the competencies most needed for long-term employment are more foundational: critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity — as well as digital fluency. To close the skills gap and provide long-term employability, we in higher education must continue to offer a broad-based education in which digital skills are not developed within a single set of courses, but rather throughout the entire curriculum and the wider array of co-curricular experiences.
Inside Higher Ed, Nov. 9, 2017

Politics | Local, State, National

A lack of tuition strategy

Setting tuition at public colleges and universities is no simple task. Governors and lawmakers approve different levels of state funding to subsidize higher education from year to year. Those same politicians are frequently unhappy with rising college costs, and they sometimes move to freeze tuition or cap its rate of increase. But flat tuition, if not accompanied by an increase in appropriations, can result in fewer sections and longer times to graduation, which is expensive for students and families. And because of the way many state aid programs are structured, public tuition rates can directly affect the amount of financial aid students receive. In other words, setting public tuition is an exceedingly complex process involving numerous power centers. It’s a process with numerous possible unintended consequences for students’ ability to pay for college. Yet it’s a process that’s not even close to being standardized from state to state.
Inside Higher Ed, Nov. 9, 2017

With Manka Dhingra’s Washington state Senate win, Democrats plot ambitious course in Olympia

The Democratic policy wish list is long. The upcoming 2018 legislative session is short. The margins of control are slim. With Manka Dhingra winning Washington’s 45th District special Senate election, Democrats are soon expected to hold both chambers in the Legislature and the governorship. As of Wednesday, Dhingra maintained about 55.5 percent of the vote, a double-digit lead over Republican Jinyoung Lee Englund.
The Seattle Times, Nov. 8, 2017

GOP tax bill would kill deduction for student-loan interest

Millions of Americans would lose the ability to deduct up to $2,500 in student loan interest under the Republican tax bill, a proposal that education advocates say will make college less affordable. But supporters of the measure say the loss will be offset by other provisions in the bill. In a letter to top members of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, the American Council of Education, a leading national higher education advocacy and research group, asked lawmakers to reconsider their plan keep the deduction for student loan interest.
The Seattle Times, Nov. 8, 2017

Report highlights rising cost of college

A report released by Democratic members of the Joint Economic Committee highlights causes of the increasing cost of college for many Americans. It identifies, among those, declining state support for public institutions, incentives for institutions at odds with keeping programs affordable, and failures in the regulatory system to hold programs failing students accountable. ... The report acknowledges that taking on debt in pursuit of a college degree is still a sound financial decision for the average graduate. But it says that for students who take on debt and don't complete a degree, even small amounts of student loan debt become hard to pay off — a fact that's become an increasingly recognized by students' advocates and academics who study higher ed. New federal data released last month reconfirmed that borrowers who drop out of college in particular are struggling to repay their loans.
Inside Higher Ed, Nov. 8, 2017

How to define prejudice

College campuses nationwide have seen an escalating number of anti-Semitic incidents over the past several years, but academics, experts and politicians remain divided on how to combat them. At a hearing of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Tuesday, some panelists depicted the Education Department as floundering without a definition with which to consider cases of harassment toward Jewish students. While the Education Department is charged with examining claims of harassment under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, it lacks any formal description of anti-Semitism, which can complicate an investigation, panelists said. Conversation Tuesday largely centered on a bill, first introduced last year, to change that.
Inside Higher Ed, Nov. 8, 2017

Opinion: Democrats may control the Legislature, but moderates will set the agenda

Democratic leaders have been promising their constituents big things if they win back control of the Washington state Senate. Now, it appears they’ve done just that, with Democrat Manka Dhingra leading Republican Jinyoung Lee Englund in early returns from Tuesday’s special election in the 45th Legislative District. Here’s a reality check: If Democrats win full control of the Legislature, it won’t give Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee a green light to enact every progressive tax he’s had his eye on these past few years. Nor will it cause the state to go to hell in a socialist, tax-happy handbasket, as Republicans have alleged in ads throughout the campaign season.
The Seattle Times, Nov. 7, 2017

Last Modified: 11/9/17 9:43 AM
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