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Illinois News Nuggets

With nearly 200 degree-granting institutions in the “Land of Lincoln,” Diverse couldn’t cover them all, but instead offers a few school snapshots.

American InterContinental University – Online: AIU has been educating students for over 35 years at campuses around the world, but its online campus, which originated in Illinois in 2001, has in the last few years become a top producer of minority baccalaureates. In Diverse’s most recent annual “Top 100” edition published in 2007, AIU Online shows up as a top producer of African-American, Hispanic and American Indian bachelor’s degrees and of master’s degrees for all minority groups.

College of DuPage: The college was one of six named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll by the Corporation for National and Community Service. The honor roll is the highest federal recognition a school can receive for its commitment to service-learning. At COD, service-learning combines community service with academic instruction. COD was cited for community service projects that help disadvantaged youth.

Columbia College Chicago: The 75th Anniversary of the New Deal Film Festival, which will feature 13 films that bring to life the experiences of Americans during the Depression and New Deal eras, will make its Midwest debut at Columbia College Chicago on April 16. Sponsored by the departments of liberal education and film and video and the college’s Critical Encounters: Poverty & Privilege initiative, the festival will feature historians and film scholars who will examine the evolving definitions of documentary films, advocacy art and propaganda.

Governors State University (University Park): GSU’s CenterPoint for Entrepreneurs earlier this year reached the $100 million mark in loan assistance to local entrepreneurs. According to a GSU statement, CenterPoint has helped 275 local businesses since 2005 obtain more than $105 million in loans to start or expand businesses throughout the Chicago Southland. In addition, the center has assisted local small businesses in adding and retaining more than 3,000 jobs in the region and has provided more than 15,000 hours of business consulting and training.

Joliet Junior College: Students at America’s oldest public community college generated a flurry of media attention earlier this year when fighting back against the college’s new smoking restrictions. The newly formed group Students for Smokers’ Rights met with the college president and police chief in hopes of easing restrictions, which require smokers in some cases to stand 100 feet from building entrances. An earlier campus survey showed that 30 percent of the campus community preferred smokers do so in the parking lots, while another 30 percent wanted smoking banned all together. Administrators were looking into a patio shelter to keep smokers from the elements, which would be paid for by smokers.

Malcolm X College: After 34 years at the City Colleges of Chicago, Zerrie D. Campbell, Malcolm X College’s first female and longest serving president, retired last month, effective March 31. “Under Zerrie Campbell’s leadership, Malcolm X College has become a nationally recognized community college. Her commitment to quality postsecondary education has earned the college two consecutive 10-year accreditations from The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools as well as recognition as a Model of Exemplary Practices of Engagement by Campus Compact, a Carnegie Foundation project,” says CCC Chancellor Wayne D. Watson.

Northern Illinois University: After the candlelight vigils, memorial services, moments of silence and posting of condolences on the university Web site, Northern Illinois University has established a permanent way to remember the victims of the Feb. 14, 2008, campus shootings, which took the lives of five students and the perpetrator. The February 14 Student Scholarship Fund will receive gifts through the NIU Foundation and the NIU Scholarship Committee to distribute aid to deserving students in the name of those slain in Cole Hall. For more information call 1-877-GIV-2NIU or visit .html

Northwestern University: A new study suggests smaller class sizes may not be enough to close the achievement gap. The study by Dr. Spyros Konstantopoulos, an assistant professor at Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy, challenges commonly held assumptions that low-achieving students benefit from the extra attention smaller classes afford. Konstantopoulos, who analyzed data from the state of Tennessee’s landmark longitudinal study on the impact of small classes, found that highachieving students benefited the most.

University of Chicago: The Consortium on Chicago School Research at the University of Chicago recently released a study, “From High School to the Future: Potholes on the Road to College,” showing that for all Chicago Public Schools students who reported aspiring to a four-year degree, only 59 percent applied to a four-year college and only 41 percent actually enrolled in college the fall after graduation. Data showed an even more dire situation for Latino students, with only 46 percent of high school students applying to college and 30 percent enrolling in a four-year college in the fall after graduation.

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