Higher Education

The Missouri Eastern Correctional Center hosts Washington University's prison education pilot program.
Katelyn Mae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

The question of quality of life for imprisoned persons is a difficult one.

What kind of opportunities do prisoners deserve? And if imprisonment merits any kind of effort to improve quality of life, which initiatives are most important? Most helpful? Most appropriate?

SIU System president Randy Dunn
Áine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

Southern Illinois University System president Randy Dunn has now completed his first year in that role. As part of the “St. Louis on the Air” series on regional colleges and universities, host Don Marsh talked with Dunn on Monday about his first year as president and the challenges faced by institutions of higher learning.

Maryville University president Mark Lombardi joined host Don Marsh in studio.
Áine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

Mark Lombardi, president of Maryville University, is eager to talk about change.

The first recent shift is this: enrollment at Maryville this fall tallies at 6,500 students, double the enrollment of eight years ago. “When the economy tanked in ’08 and ’09 and a lot of universities sort of circled the wagons…we sort of went out and started a massive recruitment effort outside,” he said, expanding the student body and increasing diversity with students from Texas, Colorado, and California.

Beth Stroble
Alex Heuer

In September 2014, Webster University began celebrating its centennial year of providing higher education in the St. Louis region and across the world.

Beth Stroble, president of Webster University, said the institution is continuing to expand its reach. In January 2016, classes will begin at the Arcade Building in downtown St. Louis as part of the Gateway Campus. Currently, the downtown campus accommodates 500 students, with 500 more expected to enroll by next year.

Katelyn Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

Washington University philosophy professor Claude Evans remembers the day that one of his students leaned back so far in his chair that the chair broke and a foot-long piece of metal broke off and was lying on the floor.

Right away, his students made sure that Evans took custody of the broken piece until the end of class.

Wikipedia

From naming local post offices for fallen service members to changing the president’s signature health-care law, area lawmakers are beginning the 114th Congress ready to introduce a wide array of legislative proposals.

Every session of Congress sees far more bills introduced than could ever be considered, and most legislative proposals last only about as long as it takes a lawmaker to issue a news release announcing the bill’s introduction.

Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is proposing that the state’s voters be asked once again to increase the state’s tobacco tax, now among the nation’s lowest.

But instead of previous failed proposals that would have directed the bulk of the money raised for health care programs, Koster would use the estimated $400 million a year primarily to pay for state incentives to improve the business climate and attract more jobs.

Dean Benjamin Akande and Michelle Tucker
Provided by Webster University

As an aspiring English teacher during her undergraduate studies more than 20 years ago, Michelle Tucker’s ambition was to become a key leader within corporate America. Michelle’s aspirations led her to Webster University to pursue her graduate degree, which she completed in 2000. Michelle’s encounters with nurturing, farsighted professors at Webster University played a key role in refining her talents and maximizing her strengths in strategic planning, people management and employee development.

Jim Howard | St. Louis Public Radio

A bipartisan group of senators -- including Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. -- and several victims of sexual violence presented at a press conference on Wednesday their arguments for legislation they say is long overdue and necessary to push colleges and universities into doing more to protect students and rid their campuses of sexual predators.

“This bill represents a rare thing in Washington — a truly collaborative, bipartisan effort—and that bodes well for our shared fight to turn the tide against sexual violence on our campuses,” McCaskill said.

DON"T USE TOO SMALL Claire McCaskill
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | File photo

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says a staff survey of 440 colleges and universities regarding campus sexual assaults has found that 41 percent of those responding “have not conducted a single investigation in five years” despite allegations by possible victims.

That finding is disturbing, McCaskill told reporters Wednesday because it means those colleges "are saying there are zero instances of sexual assault, which is hard to believe."

via Flckr/Caleb Cherry

Updated at 10:20 a.m. Wednesday with new Durbin comments:

As part of a nationwide settlement with the federal government, the campus of for-profit Everest College in Earth City will be closing. The college has about 250 students, and they will be able to complete their courses, according to company spokesman Kent Jenkins. Everest stopped enrolling new students June 23, he said.

Field of students at a graduation
j.o.h.n. walker | Flickr

As a junior in high school, Ayont Young figured she’d go to Missouri State University to study nursing. It was the only college she’d looked at and she was sure she could get in. Then, she signed up for College Summit’s summer Peer Leader program.

College Summit is a local answer to the lack of academic support and resources in some communities nationwide. Program leaders encourage their students to reach higher and work harder – while giving them the support they need to do so.

Ulrik | sxc.hu

About four years ago I realized that, although my business statistics students were understanding the math fairly well, they didn't “get” the statistics part. When asked to apply their knowledge, they were fairly clueless. My challenge was to change that. But how?

That challenge had another prompt: In the book “Academically Adrift,” authors Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa provide strong evidence that a student only experiences small to nonexistent gains in critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing skills over the entire undergraduate college education.

Tim Lloyd / St. Louis Public Radio

Yvaunna Brown just graduated from Hazelwood West High School and feels like the future is wide open.

She’s thinking about community college, or maybe the University of Missouri-St. Louis is a better fit. Brown is dead set on one thing, though: becoming the first person in her family to go to college.

“And that’s pretty exciting,” Brown said. “That’s a big deal for me.” 

It’s also daunting. Loads of paper work must be completed and the deadlines will start coming fast.

via Flickr/STLGraduates

There’s a lot more to going to college than getting an acceptance letter. There’s finding financial aid and housing. There’s paying the first tuition bill and turning in immunization records. And then there is the big picture question of what college makes the most financial sense for your family.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Senate has so far passed five of the 13 bills that make up the state budget for next year.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Budget writers in the Missouri Senate have begun their review of the state's spending plan for Fiscal Year 2015.

Provost Holden Thorp
Washington University

Seated in his office on the second floor of Brookings Hall on the eastern edge of the Washington University campus, Provost Holden Thorp has a pretty good metaphor for what his job entails compared with that of university Chancellor Mark Wrighton.

“You can see the chancellor’s office is across the hall,” Thorp said in a recent interview. “His office faces the park and the Arch and downtown. My office is on this side and faces out to the old quad.

UMSL Photo/August Jennewein

This past fall, a new educational program for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities began at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. The program, called SUCCEED, is a two-year residential program designed to help students build the skills needed to either find a job or enroll in a degree-seeking program.

The program is the brainchild of Deborah Baldini, the associate dean  for the College of Arts and Sciences/Continuing Education at UMSL, and the president and CEO of St. Louis Arc, Kathy Meath.

(Courtesy: Southwestern Illinois College)

During the State of the Union address last week, President Barack Obama called on community colleges to build stronger partnerships with local businesses.  And according to St. Louis-area community college leaders, many of those initiatives are already in place on their campuses.

UMSL website

Despite financial concerns that threatened to derail its approval, a $17 million building for the optometry program at the University of Missouri-St. Louis won passage Friday, but not without reservations over how it will be paid for.

Regional Chamber

In an effort to attract employers and investors, the St. Louis Regional Chamber wants to add 75,000 college graduates by the year 2025, pushing the area into the top 10 nationwide in college attainment.

The first time Janet Martinez started college, she was right out of high school in Oklahoma. By her own admission, she was not quite ready for the responsibility involved: too many decisions, too much social life.

“It was all too much for me,” she says. She left after one semester.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - Undergraduate resident tuition for the 2014-15 academic year at the four campuses of the University of Missouri system would rise 1.7 percent, the national inflation rate, under projections presented to the system’s Board of Curators on Thursday.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (D) says next year he's going to propose a Higher Education budget that's "substantially" higher that it's been in recent years.

Nixon made that promise Monday to a group of Higher Education officials meeting in Jefferson City, though he won't say yet how high his proposed budget hike will be.  He also suggested that his higher budget proposal could be rendered moot if this year's failed income tax cut legislation is revived next year.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Even with a long list of qualities to live up to, and the strife that preceded the departure of the Rev. Lawrence Biondi, the presidency of Saint Louis University is a plum assignment that will draw dozens of applicants, a key figure in the search said Monday.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Members of a Missouri House interim committee tasked with improving government efficiency complained Wednesday about not having access to the full budgets of any of the state's universities.

The committee was examining the Department of Higher Education.  Republican committee member Kathie Conway of St. Charles says the department's annual budget requests to the Governor's office do not contain line-by-line expense requests she says the committee needs to do its job.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: After reading the president’s “Plan to Make College More Affordable” I couldn’t help but recall the scene in the “Wizard of Oz” in which the Wizard awards the stalwart travelers symbols of their true characteristics. The Cowardly Lion receives a medal, for he truly was brave. The Tin Man a heart, for he truly was compassionate. And the Scarecrow gets a diploma because even though he actually was quite intelligent, he just didn’t have the college degree to prove it.

Educators Make Final Push Against Tax Cut Bill

Sep 9, 2013
(Chris McDaniel/St. Louis Public Radio)

A group of educators criticized a tax cut bill today that could severely hinder schools in Missouri. They maintained that the bill, which Governor Jay Nixon vetoed in June, would cut revenue for the state by $800 million and result in reduced funding for education.

The superintendents from the Northwest, Washington and Hazelwood School Districts argued that the bill would have detrimental effects on their districts. Hazelwood superintendent Grayling Tobias said the bill could cause budget cuts for equipment and extracurricular activities, larger class sizes and fewer teachers.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Ah, the end of the academic year. Amid all the pomp, it is a good time to reflect on the circumstances surrounding college education. Higher education is under attack from many sides.  Let’s start with student debt.

Field of students at a graduation
j.o.h.n. walker | Flickr

The St. Louis Regional Chamber is launching a collaborative initiative to increase the percentage of the area’s workforce which has a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Thirty percent of adults in the St. Louis region have at least a bachelor’s degree, ranking it 14th among the nation’s metropolitan areas.  That’s just behind Los Angeles and ahead of Houston, according to U.S. Census estimates.  Meanwhile, decades of slow population growth place St. Louis as the 19th most populated region.

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