Top stories in higher ed for Wednesday
Lumina Foundation is committed to increasing the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials to 60 percent by 2025.
December 5, 2018
Michael Sorrell Is Bringing Higher Education to the Students Who Need It Most
Skip Hollandsworth, Texas Monthly
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In 2007, at the age of 40, Michael Sorrell received a phone call asking if he would like to run Paul Quinn College. At the time, the historically black college in South Dallas seemed to be on its last legs. Fifteen buildings on campus were abandoned, and many of the school's 500 or so students were on their second or third try at college. 

Undeterred, Sorrell visited with wealthy Dallas businessmen and philanthropic foundations to ask for help. To get enrollment back up, he visited low-income high schools, telling students that Paul Quinn cared more about their attitudes than their ACT scores. He came up with an employment program of sorts, offering students the opportunity to work part time on campus or at local corporations that agreed to partner with the school.

Thinking About Switching Career Paths to Become a Teacher? It’s Daunting, But Might Be Getting Easier
Erin Hinrichs, MinnPost
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In an effort to address retention issues—and support homegrown teacher talent that’s more reflective of the diverse student population in many Minnesota schools—district administrators and state lawmakers have invested in a number of Grow Your Own teacher pipeline programs.

For instance, the Minneapolis Public Schools district currently partners with the University of Minnesota to help paraprofessionals gain experience co-teaching in a classroom while completing college coursework simultaneously. To eliminate barriers for these nontraditional students, the program is expedited, allows them to continue working while working toward licensure, and comes with some funding attached.

In Unusual Letter, Democratic Senators Ask ‘U.S. News’ to Change Emphasis of College Rankings
Chris Quintana, The Chronicle of Higher Education
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A handful of Democratic senators want an influential ranker of colleges to reconsider what’s important in higher education.

Specifically, the six senators wrote in a letter to U.S. News & World Report, compiler of the most prominent college rankings in the country, that more weight should be given to institutions that open their doors to students from underrepresented backgrounds.

College leaders, too, have warned that the nation’s obsessive focus on the ubiquitous rankings may carry significant costs. U.S. News appears to have gotten the message, at least in part. It tweaked this year’s rankings to give greater weight to the graduation rates of students who receive Pell Grants. But the new measures are only a sliver of the statistics that determine an institution’s ranking.

Hundreds of Thousands of People Could Lose Their Legal Status. One Hopes to Graduate With His College Degree First
Alex Baumhardt, APM Reports
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Jose, 21, is a junior studying software engineering. Though he and his mother have been in the United States for more than two decades, their immigration status is still only temporary, and the Trump administration is trying to end it. Jose is here on something called Temporary Protected Status, or TPS. Right now, there are more than 300 college students in Minnesota on Temporary Protected Status, according to Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.

Jose is hoping to graduate at this time next year. But his future is in the hands of federal courts, Congress and, ultimately, the president.

Google Gives Big Boost to Prison Coding Program
Alex Brown, Inside INdiana Business (Indiana)
Tackling ‘Unfinished Business’
Matthew Dembicki, Community College Daily
HEA Reauthorization Can Reduce the Equity Gaps That Persist for Students of Color
Alyse Gray Parker and India Heckstall, Diverse Issues in Higher Education
Groups Urge Performance-Based Funding for Colleges
Christian M. Wade, Gloucester Daily Times
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