Education & Schools
Illinois, Simon selected as Lumina Foundation Partners PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Kathryn Phillips   
Tuesday, 20 March 2012 12:13

Top education network aids Illinois college completion reforms

SPRINGFIELD – March 19, 2012. Illinois is moving toward its college completion goal thanks to a new partnership between Lt. Governor Sheila Simon and a leading education foundation, the lieutenant governor’s office announced today.

Lumina Foundation has selected Lt. Governor Simon to represent Illinois in its Postsecondary Productivity Strategy Lab sites. The Strategy Labs provide policymakers in 22 states technical assistance on Lumina Foundation’s “Four Steps to Finishing First” reform agenda. The steps include performance funding, student incentives, new learning models and business efficiencies.

“This partnership with Lumina Foundation will help move toward more college completers and a stronger state workforce,” Simon said. “Together, we will work to get more students across the stage at graduation and into good jobs.”

Simon, who serves as Governor Quinn’s point person on education reform, conducted a statewide tour of all 48 community colleges last year to focus attention on the state’s college completion goal and recommend steps to achieve it. The Strategy Labs will help the state’s higher education system implement the reforms needed to strengthen completion rates and move students into good-paying jobs in Illinois.

“Lumina Foundation is excited to work with Illinois Lt. Governor Sheila Simon because she understands that our nation’s economic health is best addressed by educating more students beyond high school,” said Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of Lumina Foundation. “Her unique ability as a statewide elected leader to convene and collaborate with stakeholders from preschool to graduate school is critical to boosting the college completion effort.”

Simon shared Illinois’ new higher education performance funding model with Lumina and asked it to compare it to other states. The model, developed by the community college and university communities with input from Simon and other stakeholders, ties up to 2 percent of state funding to performance outcomes, such as certificate and degree completion.

About 41 percent of the state’s working-age population holds at least a two-year degree, according to Lumina. Simon and Governor Quinn want 60 percent of workers to hold a degree or credential by 2025 to keep pace with employer demands for skilled workers. The completion goal will require higher education institutions in Illinois to produce nearly 9,400 additional completers each year.

Simon is pursuing three pieces of legislation this session which will help more students complete college on time and with less debt. Her reform package aims to improve college readiness in math, smooth transfers from community colleges to universities and make it easier for parents and students to compare higher education institutions.

In early March, staff from the lieutenant governor’s office and the City Colleges of Chicago attended a Lumina lab to study innovative college completion strategies at the City University of New York. The strategies were shared with the Joint Education Leadership Committee, chaired by Simon, which will consider their potential to serve as models for accelerated learning on Illinois campuses.

Lumina Foundation is a private, independent foundation committed to enrolling and graduating more students from college. It will release a new report, A Stronger Nation Through Higher Education, in late March that will includes updated higher education attainment rates for every state and county in the U.S., along with the top 100 metro regions. A Stronger Nation also describes higher education attainment in the context of current economic trends, and shows how the U.S. can move more aggressively to increase it to the levels the nation needs.

 

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Governor Quinn Teams with US Cultural Ambassador Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Support STEM Education PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Nafia Khan   
Tuesday, 20 March 2012 12:10

Governor and Basketball Great Join Business Leaders for

Community Discussion about Education

CHICAGO – March 18, 2012. With March Madness in full swing, Governor Pat Quinn today teamed up with the NBA’s All-Time Leading Scorer and U.S. Global Cultural Ambassador Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to encourage children to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) learning in Illinois. Studies show STEM education helps close the achievement gap and better prepares students for success in college and their careers, which are key parts of Governor Quinn’s agenda to improve education in Illinois. Abdul-Jabbar, a New York Times best-selling author, co-wrote the children’s book “What Color is my World? - The Lost History of African American Inventors” which promotes STEM innovation and learning among children.

“Our schools and education systems must always put our children first,” Governor Quinn said. “STEM gives students in Illinois and throughout the United States the tools they need to be competitive in the global economy of today and tomorrow.”

“If America is to maintain our high standard of living, we must continue to innovate,” said Abdul-Jabbar. “We are competing with nations many times our size and STEM learning represents the engines of innovation. With these engines we can lead the world, because knowledge is real power.”

Several heads of Illinois-based corporations joined Abdul-Jabbar and Governor Quinn at Martin Luther King, Jr. College Preparatory High School to participate in a public dialogue with students about the important roles education and perseverance play in their future. They also presented the school with a $5,000 grant for new textbooks, ensuring that these students have the resources they need to succeed.

“The importance of attracting our young people to science, technology, engineering and math is undeniable as companies such as Navistar seek the talent needed to grow and prosper,” said Greg Elliott, Navistar senior vice president of HR and Administration. “Navistar’s decision to expand in Illinois was rooted in our belief that we have great talent in this state, and today’s event is evidence of the collective commitment to Illinois’ education.”

“When I’m hiring, one of the most important things I look for is a good education,” said John Griffin Jr., President of AGB Investigative Services, one of the Midwest’s leading minority-owned cyber security firms. “Students who learn about information technology and computers at an earlier age have a leg up because the skills they have are what companies need to compete in today’s economy.”

"A. Finkl & Sons is pleased to participate in the Governor's initiative to encourage the study of science, technology, engineering and math in our schools. Encouraging students at an early age makes a huge difference, and teachers can use more tools that engage our children, such as Kareem Abdul-Jabar's book," said Bruce Liimatainen, Chairman and CEO.

Academic focus in STEM areas have proven to foster innovation and provide students with the building blocks to succeed scholastically and professionally. The solution for long term economic growth points to a strong STEM workforce. Increased proficiency in these realms gives students an advantage in the 21stcentury global marketplace.

Under Governor Quinn’s leadership, state officials have begun to implement a statewide initiative known as the STEM Learning Exchange to focus on educating and training students in nine key career fields, including: health science, agriculture, food and natural resources, information technology, finance, architecture and construction, transportation, distribution and logistics, manufacturing, research and developmental energy.

The program involves strong collaboration between pre-K-12 schools, colleges and professionals in each of the nine STEM fields to provide students with targeted resources such as internships and other work-based learning opportunities. Students also can also connect with adult mentors and apply what they learn in the classroom to a career. The program will launch in fall of 2012, and is funded through federal Race to the Top education funds.

 

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Governor Quinn Announces Key Appointment PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Brooke Anderson   
Monday, 19 March 2012 14:58

Ann McCabe to Join Illinois Commerce Commission

CHICAGO – March 16, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today announced his appointment of Ann McCabe to the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC). Today’s action is the latest in a series of appointments Governor Quinn will make as he continues to fulfill his commitment to creating jobs, economic development, and increasing efficiency and accountability in all areas of state government.

“Ann McCabe brings a wide range of experience to the commission, and I am confident her strong leadership will enhance the essential regulatory and consumer protections the ICC provides every day,” Governor Quinn said. “I look forward to Ann using her extensive expertise to make sure Illinois consumers of all sizes have reliable, safe and affordable public utility services.”

McCabe has 30 years of experience dealing with energy and environmental policy in government and the non-profit and private sectors. She is currently a principal in her own consulting firm where she has analyzed policies and regulations affecting fuels and refineries in Illinois, Indiana and across the Midwest. She previously served as Midwest regional director for The Climate Registry and assisted the city of Chicago with presenting its Climate Action Plan to the business community.

“It's an honor to be appointed to the Illinois Commerce Commission, and I would like to thank Governor Quinn,” Ms. McCabe said. “I look forward to helping ensure that Illinois balances the needs and interests of consumers and businesses across the state.”

Additionally, McCabe previously served as partner and treasurer of Policy Solutions Ltd, where she worked on environmental and energy-related projects for corporations, trade associations, non-profits and foundations. She also managed policy and regulatory issues for BP (formerly Amoco). Her prior Illinois government experience includes serving as a budget analyst responsible for the Department of Natural Resources, an assistant to an ICC commissioner and associate director of Illinois’ Washington D.C. office, where she developed positions on amendments to the federal Clean Air Act.

McCabe is a board member of the Illinois Environmental Council and a founding member of the Foresight Sustainable Business Alliance, as well as a past president of Chicago Women in Government Relations. She has a bachelor’s degree from Williams College and a master’s degree in public policy from the Harris School at the University of Chicago.

The Illinois Commerce Commission acts as a bridge between consumers and Illinois’ utility companies, seeking an appropriate balance between the interests of consumers and service providers in order to ensure adequate, efficient, reliable, safe and low-cost public utility services for all citizens of Illinois.

 

 

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Local students study abroad through the 'Augustana in Australia' program PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by Keri Rursch   
Monday, 19 March 2012 14:56

ROCK ISLAND, IL (03/16/2012)(readMedia)-- Forty-seven Augustana College students studied and worked in Sydney, Australia, for the first two months of 2012. The international study program known as "Augustana in Australia" places students in career-relevant positions in Sydney and immerses them in Australian culture.

From your area:

Rebecca Anderson from Taylor Ridge, Ill., was among the participants. Anderson is a senior at Augustana and is majoring in biology. (More info on Anderson is available at http://www.augustana.edu/x37549.xml.)

Thomas Harris from Davenport, Iowa, was among the participants. Harris is a junior at Augustana and is majoring in biology. (More info on Harris is available at http://www.augustana.edu/x37561.xml.)

Clare Kilbride from Rock Island, Ill., was among the participants. Kilbride is a junior at Augustana and is majoring in communication sciences and disorders. (More info on Kilbride is available at http://www.augustana.edu/x37570.xml.)

The students completed a five-week on-campus internship seminar and a complimentary class in either intercultural communication or business ethics before leaving for Australia on January 2. Once in Australia, students worked for a variety of employers in numerous fields – from healthcare to education and from hospitality to non-profit work.

During their trip, the students also visited the ANZ Stadium, where the 2000 Olympics were held; the Sydney Opera House; and the Blue Mountains just outside of Sydney. Some students traveled to New Zealand and other areas of Australia, including Melbourne, Darwin and Cairns, where they were able to snorkel and dive the Great Barrier Reef. Students returned to the United States on March 2.

According to Karen M. Petersen, Augustana's director of business internships and the Australia program's director, "The highlight of the Australia internship program is the personal growth students experience by integrating into a totally new culture – both personally and professionally."

At Augustana, students choosing to intern or study abroad can receive financial support from the college thanks to a program launched in 2009 called Augie Choice. Focused on advancing student learning in the liberal arts in alignment with the college's strategic plan, Augie Choice grants students in their junior year or beyond the opportunity to receive a one-time grant of $2,000 to offset the expenses of study abroad, an internship or research project. Augie Choice funding, which recently surpassed the $1 million milestone, is a visible symbol of the college's commitment to experiential learning as a way of preparing students to stand out among their peers.

About Augustana: Founded in 1860 and situated on a 115-acre campus near the Mississippi River, Augustana College is a private, liberal arts institution affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The college enrolls 2,500 students from diverse geographic, social, ethnic and religious backgrounds and offers nearly 90 majors and related areas of study. Augustana employs 287 faculty members and has a student-faculty ratio of approximately 11:1. Augustana continues to do what it has always done: challenge and prepare students for lives of leadership and service in our complex, ever-changing world.

 
Local students rank in the top 2 percent in agriculture and life sciences at ISU PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Education & Schools
Written by TheLink Delivery Service   
Monday, 19 March 2012 14:49
AMES, Iowa - Stephanie Blaser and Gabriel Domingues, both of Bettendorf, Iowa, have achieved academic ranking in the top 2 percent of students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University.
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