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Maura Lerner

Higher education reporter | Higher education
Phone: 612-673-7384
Maura Lerner is the higher-education reporter. Her reporting has been recognized by the National Press Club, the Society for Professional Journalists, the Minnesota Associated Press and the Frank Premack Public Affairs Journalism Award. Before joining the Star Tribune, Lerner was a senior producer for the MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour on PBS, and a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Recent content from Maura Lerner
Connor Doebbert and Anne Dierberger, both English majors, were shaking hands with the professor, George Dierberger, before the commencement.

For English departments, not the best of times

These days, English majors are an increasingly rare breed on college campuses. The drop-off has been so dramatic that some schools have proposed dropping the English major entirely (along with history, philosophy and a few other humanities degrees).
University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler plans to return to the classroom after he steps down.

Eric Kaler reflects on successes, regrets entering final year at U

Kaler insists he has no intention of coasting through his final year as head of Minnesota's flagship university.
For Carmen Alvarez, her 11 years of work at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, top, has led to 18 credits from Metropolitan State University, bottom, witho

Minnesota's public colleges to expand credit for 'prior learning'

Experts say few students can expect to dispense with most of their coursework this way, but it's enough of a boost to make a difference.
University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler announced last month that he is leaving effective July 2019.

University of Minnesota hires consulting firm to guide presidential search

The national firm the U hired was tied to a failed search for Minnesota State chancellor.
Tom Ries, presidentof Concordia University in St. Paul, will retire at the end of the 2018-2019 academic year.

Ries to step down as president of Concordia University in St. Paul

He oversaw 70 percent student population jump.
University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler announced he would step down in 2019.

University of Minnesota president's job calls for thick skin

Past presidents describe the position as inspiring, grueling and busy.
Students on the University of Minnesota campus.

He, she or ze? Pronouns could pose trouble under U policy

Draft University of Minnesota policy would punish those who ignore personal pronoun preferences.
University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler announced that he is leaving effective July 2019 at the McNamara Alumni Center, Friday, July 13, 2018 in

Eric Kaler to step down as University of Minnesota president in 2019

"The University will benefit from a fresh perspective," he said in a statement.
FILE - In this Oct. 3, 2017 photo, conservative writer Ben Shapiro speaks during the first of several legislative hearings planned to discuss balancin

Conservatives sue U over Shapiro speech restrictions

Conservative groups allege his rights were violated.

Minnesota State affirms tuition freeze for colleges and universities

Community college fees the same as 2012-13.
Alum sues St. John's University over ethics fellowship

Alum sues St. John's University over ethics fellowship

An alum who gave $300,000 says students were paid to write about "crazy topics."
In this December 2016 file photo, University of Minnesota athletic director Mark Coyle spoke to the media about the suspensions of 10 Gophers football

Accused football players sue U over sexual misconduct case

The lawsuit against the University of Minnesota seeks unspecified damages for "being falsely cast as sex offenders."
University of Minnesota officials say they have slowed down the rate of tuition increases dramatically in recent years, after college costs soared in

University of Minnesota raises undergrad tuition by 2 percent

The regents also imposed extra scrutiny on hiring decisions in an effort to control costs.
University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler.

Tuition freezes in the works at most Minnesota public campuses

All seven Minnesota State universities and its 30 community colleges are freezing tuition, under a legislative mandate.
Applications are up and tuition dollars are on the rebound for the first time in years, said Garry Jenkins, dean at the University of Minnesota Law Sc

U law school seeks subsidies to maintain its top ranking

The law school is seeking an extra $3.6 million next year to help cover its red ink, which has triggered a debate about how much the U is willing to spend to maintain the program's status.
Robbyn Wacker is the new president of St. Cloud State University.

St. Cloud State University names new president

Wacker was an administrator at the University of Northern Colorado.
Mohammed Al Mulhim has been a judge and a law school instructor. Now, he’s adding a new flourish to his resume as the first person to graduate with

Saudi is first U student to earn highest degree in field of law

He wants to open a human rights center on campus where he teaches.
Entrance to the campus of the University of Minnesota.

University of Minnesota regents vote down tuition freeze, seek more information

The Board of Regents will make a final decision in June.
Earl B. Gustafson

Earl B. Gustafson, former Minnesota legislator and judge, dies at age 90

As the family story goes, Earl B. Gustafson wanted to become a professor at a small college someday. But when he started graduate school, his…
Two more Minnesota schools will join hundreds of colleges nationwide that are offering ‘test-optional’ admissions. (Dreamstime/TNS)

More Minnesota universities offer 'test-optional' admissions

Augsburg University in Minneapolis and Concordia University in St. Paul have both decided to stop requiring college-entrance exams as part of a growing national movement toward "test-optional" admissions.
Entrance to the campus of the University of Minnesota.

New U plan calls for 2 percent tuition increase at Twin Cities campus

Three U campuses would freeze tuition under the proposal.
Margaux Granath, a moderate, enjoyed a lively debate at a meeting for a bipartisan student group at the U of M. This is bucking the national trend, br

Nurturing a new diversity on campus: 'Diversity of thought'

Professors and students seek to bridge political differences with civil exchanges.
Rohan Mukherjee, left, a libertarian, and Sharaka Berry, right, a liberal, discussed how they're working to bring those with differing political views

March: What happened to the campus Republicans at Carleton College?

Students, college leaders wary of lopsided politics.
Carrie Brimhall

Four Minnesota State two-year colleges get new leaders

The Minnesota State system has named new leaders for four of its two-year colleges. This week, the board of trustees approved the appointments of Carrie…
Darrin Rosha

University of Minnesota's $34,000 probe of regent found no wrongdoing

Darrin Rosha, on the board since 2015, expressed frustration that a vague, anonymous accusation could set off such an aggressive investigation.

State grants to help college students with financial emergencies

State awards $175,000 to five colleges, one university
Law students Kimberly Haynes and Jose David Gallardo say the new program could make a difference. “It’s confidence building, too,” Gallardo said

Mitchell Hamline launches online courses for undergrads

The St. Paul law school is using the courses as a way to recruit a more diverse group of future lawyers.
Conservative writer, speaker and activist Ben Shapiro is known for targeting liberal politics. His appearance at the University of Minnesota in Februa

Ben Shapiro barred from St. Olaf College during protest anniversary

College leaders say protest anniversary is bad timing for the divisive figure.
Cheek

Two Minnesota colleges get new presidents

St. Cloud Technical and Community College and Rochester Community and Technical College are getting the new leaders.
St. Catherine University President Becky Roloff

St. Kate's scrapped leadership conference over diversity concerns

Officials say invited speakers were not diverse enough.

University of Minnesota does a 'good job' resolving employee sexual misconduct cases, legislative auditor finds

Review followed a series of high-profile sexual assault and harassment allegations.
The University of Minnesota is offering to freeze tuition for state residents next year in exchange for a $10 million increase in state funding.

U of M proposal would freeze resident tuition for extra state money

The U says it would forgo preliminary plans to raise the undergraduate tuition rate by up to 2 percent if the state Legislature approves the extra money. The regents will vote on the proposal this afternoon.
Dr. Patricia Simmons

Simmons to step down from University of Minnesota board of regents

Retired Mayo Clinic physician will leave three years early.
Minnesota State Chancellor Devinder Malhotra.

Minnesota State Colleges bypasses three finalists in naming new chancellor

Rejecting three finalists, trustees pick Malhotra.
University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler’s observations came in his annual state-of-the-university address Thursday afternoon.

Free speech, preventing sexual misconduct at the top of University of Minnesota president's agenda

In annual address, Eric Kaler also noted improved graduation rate among low-income students.
Van Ton-Quinlivan

Minnesota State names 3 finalists for chancellor

Candidates to lead the state university system will meet with college, university officials next week.
FILE - In this Oct. 3, 2017 photo, conservative writer Ben Shapiro speaks during the first of several legislative hearings planned to discuss balancin

Ben Shapiro venue on 'cow campus' triggers threat of lawsuit vs. U

Conservative speaker should be given larger forum, group says.

Minnesota colleges, universities adopt 'affirmative consent' rule

New standard redefines sexual misconduct on campus.

Kwon to help Minnesota campuses prevent sexual assault

Coordinator will visit campuses and assist in training students, staff.
At Minnesota state colleges, students spend an average of $1,000 a year on textbooks alone. But in Brainerd, they can earn a two-year degree without p

'Z-degree' gives texts for free to Central Lakes College students

Brainerd campus joins growing trend of using online material to cut costs for college students.
Entrance to the campus of the University of Minnesota.

University of Minnesota to close its day-care center after 45 years

'Exceptional' program could end after 45 years.
Hammitt

Two Minnesota State colleges name interim presidents

The search for permanent presidents at both colleges will begin this fall, officials said.

Scholarships target Minnesota State students in high-demand fields

400 community college students could get them.

Teamsters to vote on contract offer from University of Minnesota

Two months after threatening to strike, some 1,500 Teamsters members will vote on a final contract offer from the University of Minnesota, the union announced…
Mitchell Hamline student Brian Kennedy, from El Paso, Texas, attended a class in person during an intensive "capstone" week.

First class graduates from Mitchell Hamline's 'hybrid' program

Online degree program is first of its kind in the U.S.
Baou Lee, student at Gustavus Adolphus College

Tiny Minn. pilot program pays for school in return for future income

The concept is starting to pop up around the country as a potential answer to the student loan crisis.
U memo sparks war of words; officials say there's no 'War on Christmas'

U memo sparks war of words; officials say there's no 'War on Christmas'

Advice on holiday parties was "ill-advised," university admits.
FILE -- University of Minnesota regent Steve Sviggum, left, and Brian Steeves, executive director of the regents board, listened during a regents meet

U toughens policy against sexual assault and harassment

All University of Minnesota employees will be required for the first time to report incidents of sexual harassment directed at students.

University of Minnesota plans 15% tuition hike for nonresidents

"I think this tuition price reflects the value that a University of Minnesota degree can command," President Eric Kaler said.
Charlie Kirk is one of several conservative speakers who have appeared at the U amid debate about their presence on campus.

U conservatives say: Bring on the protests at our gatherings

So far, Minnesota has largely escaped the kind of violence that has erupted elsewhere over campus visits by right-wing pundits and provocateurs. Yet in many ways, college campuses are turning more hostile than ever to conservative views, said Madison Faupel, president of Minnesota College Republicans.
Ali Baydoun, a biology major from Dubai, says Minnesota is a liberal state and thus more welcoming to foreign students.

Minnesota universities bucking trend on foreign student enrollment

U, St. Thomas defy trend of drop in international admissions.
December 30, 1992 Profile of Supreme court Justice Lawrence Yetka. Supreme Court Justice Lawrence Yetka who is retiring from the court. Joey McLeister

Lawrence Yetka, former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice, dies at 93

Yetka, who continued to volunteer as a hometown judge until his mid-80s, died Nov. 12 at age 93.
University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler.

U report calls for 'bystander intervention' training to curb sex assaults

"It's got to stop. We have to stop it," said President Eric Kaler. "And history shows we have to confront it every day at the university."
Fionnuala Ní Aoláin is the University of Minnesota’s newest regents professor.

University of Minnesota law professor takes rights battle to global stage

U professor takes her defense of civil liberties to global stage.
Faculty at the University of Minnesota are shelving a campaign to form a union on the Twin Cities campus.

University of Minnesota organizers back off faculty union vote

Rather than appeal recent court ruling, group will form "workers' association."
Brother William Mann

St. Mary's University president to step down in 2018

Brother William Mann will leave in 2018
Jeanette Oehlers of Willmar is one of 111 students reported to be from Minnesota at the University of the People.

Free tuition draws Minnesota students to online university

At a time of mounting anxiety over college costs and student debt, the online University of the People is doing its best to smash the mold.
University of Minnesota athletics fundraiser Randy Handel on the sidelines of Minnesota football's spring game in mid-April.

U leak probe cost $74K, caught no one

A $74K investigation into who leaked confidential information about a University of Minnesota athletic official has ended — with no culprit in sight.
Jeff Anderson

Attorney Jeff Anderson gives Mitchell Hamline Law School $2M for 'Zero Abuse Project'

Gift will create new law clinic specializing in child abuse litigation.
iStockphoto.comEntrance to the campus of the University of Minnesota

University of Minnesota announces $4 billion fundraising campaign

Some $2.5 billion has been pledged by private donors in its largest campaign, flying under the radar so far.
Joseph Haj (Guthrie Artistic Director) and Eric Kaler (University of Minnesota President) at 2017 Guthrie Theater Gala: La Grande Jatte SoirÈe. [ Spe

Sept. 2017: Review calls Kaler's performance 'commendable,' lacks usual praise

Regents happy with his work but noted year's distractions.
Attorney Ryan Pacyga, shown in February in front of the Gibson-Nagurski Complex at the University of Minnesota.

Minnesotans react to Betsy DeVos' plans to change how colleges handle allegations of sexual violence on campus

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' plans to change the way colleges and university handle allegations of sexual violence on campus drew a mixed reaction in…
About 1,000 or more instructors at the University of Minnesota would not be eligible to join the same union as tenured professors, an appeals court ha

Appeals Court deals setback to U faculty union effort

Tenured profs, instructors cannot join same unit.
Sophomore Hannah Smith helped first-year students move into the dorms at the University of St. Thomas on Friday.

Minn. private colleges try to soften blow of tuition sticker shock

With price tags that are double or triple those of public universities, many private schools say they're spending more than ever on financial aid — effectively slicing tuition in half for the average student.
Hamline University President Fayneese Miller spoke Monday with students about her experience growing up near Charlottesville, Va.

Hamline University to build center for 'racial healing,' with help of $30K grant

With help from a $30K grant, school will build a center to dispel biases and tension.
Ten Gophers football players walked into their closed-door appeal hearing in January.

Report: U followed rules in football suspensions, cites 'breakdown in trust'

The report, released Wednesday, blamed much of the turmoil surrounding the high-profile case on "weak leadership" of the coaching staff and the influence of unnamed "third parties."
Ivie Flowers, right, chatted with Nicole Herrli, 22, a senior at St. Thomas, and high school freshman Lunden Woodberry, 14, as she bought a bag of fru

University of St. Thomas project offers new hope for 'food deserts'

At BrightSide Produce, college students and local teenagers team up to deliver fresh produce, at discount prices, to corner stores in low-income neighborhoods.
Future Dougherty Family College students Brian Ngo and Zakaria Elmi chat with dean Alvin Abraham during a tour Friday. The new two-year school at the

St. Thomas' new 2-year college lures low-income students

The Dougherty Family College is believed to be only the second college of its kind in the country. So far it has filled about half of its 150 seats.
The University of Minnesota has long followed the U.S. Supreme Court’s affirmative-action guidelines, which allow race to be considered as one facto

Public Minnesota universities see few effects from Trump plan

Race just one factor in U admission, official said.
Globe University, Woodbury, Minn.

Globe, School of Business issued illegal student loans, high court rules

Court ruling could wipe out $20 million in student debt.
Larry Pogemiller, commissioner of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, shown in 2015.

Emergency grants help Minnesota's strapped students stay in college

Starting this year, the Minnesota Office of Higher Education is launching its own emergency fund program for students, inspired in part by an administrator's success.
Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson joined officials from 19 states in expressing “serious concern” that the U.S. Department of Education is p

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson joins letter warning against weakening rules on campus sex assault

The attorneys general of 20 states, including Minnesota, expressed “serious concern” Wednesday that the Department of Education is preparing to weaken rules designed to crack…
University of Minnesota Athletics Director Mark Coyle, shown in January, spent most of Wednesday’s presentation highlighting the successes of Gopher

Coyle cites department's academic, athletic success to U of M regents

Mark Coyle, just finishing his first year as athletic director, made only passing reference to the turmoil that began when a student accused multiple U football players of sexually assaulting her at a party.
Carlie and Billy Berg finished their accounting finals at the hospital the night their son, Bryar, was born in December. Daughter Gracie is 2. Both pa

Minnesota school attracts working adults with flexible online courses

Riverland Community College in Austin launched FlexPace, in which students take a series of six-week classes, working on their own timetable and taking online assessments to prove that they've mastered the material.
A scene from the University of Minnesota video, posted on YouTube.

University of Minnesota unveils a 3-minute lesson on its $3.8 billion budget

New "Our Budget" video seeks to explain all in less than three minutes.
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