higher education

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The University of Missouri-Kansas City confirmed Thursday that it laid off 30 people this week as part of a plan to cut up to $30 million in spending over the next two years.

The university refused to say exactly when the layoffs happened or what departments were cut. When first contacted about the layoffs, UMKC spokesman John Martellaro replied in an email, "We do not comment on personnel matters."  When pressed, Martellaro finally confirmed the layoffs. "Yes, layoffs have occurred," he wrote in another email. 

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UPDATED, 4:50 p.m. Monday: The Kansas State University Police Department is investigating after a noose was found hanging from a tree on campus Friday.

The school's Office of Institutional Equity received the complaint. The noose was removed by campus police.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Jean Peters Baker's work doesn't end when she steps out of the Jackson County Courthouse. In fact, the county's top prosecutor recently hosted a cleanup event on the 2300 block of Denver Avenue in Kansas City to reduce blight and fight crime. She speaks about that, and about the work of Mayor Sly James' Citizens Task Force on Violence. Then, the only business school professor ever named a MacArthur Fellow tells us why he thinks fixing income inequality in America requires increasing the number of college graduates.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

This story has been updated at 4:10 p.m. on April 19.

The University of Kansas, Kansas State and Wichita State all want to prevent fans from carrying concealed weapons into major sporting events.

The three schools asked a Kansas Board of Regents committee Wednesday for permission to use metal detectors and armed security to screen fans. The committee agreed.

Sam / Zeff

The Kansas Regents have given every state run university and community college in Kansas a tall order: vastly increase the number of degrees and certificates they award.

Every Regents school has to graduate 20 percent more students in the next three years and then maintain that level.

That’s 13,000 more associate degrees, four year degrees and certificates a year across the system.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The Missouri state auditor Monday issued a highly critical report of executive compensation in the University of Missouri System, calling some $2 million paid to top leaders over the last two years "hidden bonus pay."

Much of Auditor Nicole Galloway's fire was focused on how the UM System handled the resignation of former University of Missouri Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin.

But she also highlighted additional compensation paid to other top system executives, including UMKC Chancellor Leo Morton.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

It took many by surprise, but the Kansas Senate Ways and Means Committee passed out a bill Tuesday that would cut $154 million out of the budget by July 1, the vast majority coming from education.

Of the proposed cuts, education shoulders 98 percent of the total. More than $127 million of the cuts would come from K-12 and another $23 million from higher education. 

In Johnson County, the plan would result in millions of dollars in cuts:

It's no secret that Lawrence is a spot of blue in a pretty conservative state. That's true of a lot of university towns ... but should it be? A look at whether the University of Kansas is separated from the communities it's meant to serve, and how it could connect to the rest of the state.

Guests:

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The number of degrees and certificates being awarded by state colleges and universities is up, as are on-time graduations.

Overall the Kansas Board of Regents seemed pleased Wednesday with its latest annual progress report.

In news that will also be very welcomed by the Legislature, the report says wages are rising for those earning either a two-year or four-year degree.

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In his State of the State speech Tuesday, Gov. Sam Brownback threw down a gauntlet for state universities: come up with a $15,000 bachelor's degree. In education world, almost nobody saw that coming.

But now that the idea for a bargain bachelor's is out there, it's up to the Kansas Board of Regents to try and make it a reality.

Andy Marso / Kansas News Service

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback began a quest to preserve his legacy with Tuesday’s State of the State address.

Facing an immediate budget crisis and a Legislature rendered more oppositional with the ouster of dozens of allies in last year’s elections, Brownback used the 30-minute speech to try to reassure Kansans that the right-wing policy path he has blazed the last six years is worth maintaining.

Republicans lawmakers reacted to the 2015 protests on the Mizzou campus by creating a commission to review the entire university system’s operations and recommend changes. And if the UM System failed to implement those changes, lawmakers would respond by slashing the system’s budget.

Those recommendations were released today.

UMKC

Shooting off an email has largely supplanted the practice of hand-writing letters, but certain Letters of Note remind us of their allure. Then, we explore the 83-year history of the University of Missouri-Kansas City with a university staffer who's known to give lunchtime historical tours of the Midtown campus.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Educators say students more than ever will need to continue their education past high school to have successful careers.

But as the cost of college continues to vastly outpace inflation, paying for a post-secondary education is becoming more difficult, if not impossible, for many families with a low or modest incomes.

The Kauffman Foundation hopes to ease that problem for 1,500 families in the Kansas City area with a $79 million investment over 10 years in a program it's calling KC Scholars.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

If Kansas is forced to reduce its budget by five percent over the next two fiscal years, higher education in the state could take a $56.4 million hit.

That's on top of $47.9 million in reductions the previous two years.

The data comes from budget documents submitted to the Governor's office by the six Kansas Board of Regents universities.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The State of Kansas is now searching for new leadership at its two biggest universities.

Bernadette Gray-Little announced Thursday that she will step down as Chancellor of the University of Kansas next summer. Gray-Little is the 17th KU chancellor and the first woman and first African-American to lead the university.

Her announcement comes as Kansas State University is in the middle of searching for a new president. Kirk Schulz left in June to take over Washington State University. Former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Richard Myers is the interim K-State president.

Colleges are attracting more students than ever before. And when they get there from rural or urban settings, from diverse backgrounds, they have to figure out — some for the first time — how to deal with difference.

Guests:

Adam_Procter400 / Flickr - CC

Missouri has been crowing about how the state has kept down tuition increases for undergraduate, in-state students. In April, Gov. Jay Nixon came to UMKC to sign a budget that he said keeps college affordable in Missouri and "within reach for more families."

Turns out, college costs in Missouri are more expensive than advertised, according to a report released Tuesday by  Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway.

A new program at KU allows community college students to earn an Associate's and a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing at the same time. Dr. Nelda Godfrey of the KU Medical Center explains the program and what it means for the future of nursing education.

Guest: 

A train leaves from Kansas City to Wichita traveling at 55 mph. Meanwhile, another train ... Wait a second, who cares? One KU researcher does. Michael Orosco shares his innovative approach to motivating students to enjoy math, and excel at it. Also on the show, a local algebra teacher discusses his techniques.

Guests:

Projections show a widening gap between the number of primary care doctors the country needs and the number of med students choosing it over other sub-specialties. Programs like Health is Primary, which encourages medical students to select a primary care specialty, are looking to bridge that gap.

Guests:

The Kansas Board of Regents met Wednesday afternoon to approve tuition increases for the next school year. The board thought it was going to do that last month, but during the meeting Gov. Sam Brownback announced he was cutting an additional $30 million out of higher education.

So, at their last regular meeting until September, the Regents found themselves having to approve even higher tuition hikes.

GunsNHawks/Facebook

At the beginning of May, during finals week at KU, an art project flashed across buildings on campus at night.

Miguel Calderon, who was a senior art student at the time, wanted to start a conversation about guns on campus.

Wikipedia

Once upon a time, a paleontology expedition to dig up dinosaur bones might have been funded primarily by grants and major philanthropists. But KU's Natural History Museum has its eye on a tyrannosaurus rex, and if they succeed in bringing the specimen home from Montana this summer, guess who's footing the bill? You are, through crowd-sourcing. How the crowd-funding model is changing education, from grade school classrooms to university museums.

Guests:

Dyche Hall, University of Kansas
Ajohnson360 / CC

The regular meeting of the Kansas Board of Regents Wednesday already had a bit of a somber tone; all six universities came in with tuition hike requests between 3.3 percent and 5 percent. In a 109-page document the schools detailed increased expenses and an anticipated 3 percent cut from the state.

There's a new phrase being used to describe what happens when, say, a government fails to protect its citizens, or a university fails to protect its students. What are the symptoms and side effects of being betrayed by an institution, and are there ways for institutions to make things right?

Guest:

The Kansas Board of Regents Monday issued a strong statement after the Legislature approved a budget that cuts $17 million out of higher education next year. The Regents say the cut is shortsighted and will damage the state's economy.

“To extend any cuts into next year would be detrimental to the future prosperity of Kansas,” Chairman Shane Bangerter said.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

As far as university presidents go, Venida Chenault is anything but ordinary. When she says she understands the circumstances some underserved college students are faced with, she really means it.

As one of five siblings raised in Topeka by a single mother, her family sometimes relied on government assistance to make ends meet. Chenault is now the seventh president of Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, but she used to pay the bills by cleaning hotel rooms and working as a secretary.

Courtesy Avila University

Avila University will get a new performing arts center thanks to a $3.5 million gift from the estate of Vita Goppert, a former Avila board member.

Wikimedia Commons

The Kansas Board of Regents has appointed retired U.S. Air Force General and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers as the interim president at Kansas State University.

Myers will take over from Kirk Schulz, who leaves next month for a job at Washington State University.

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