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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
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.
Rohan Mukherjee, left, a libertarian, and Sharaka Berry, right, a liberal, discussed how they're working to bring those with differing political views

What happened to the campus Republicans at Carleton College?

Students, college leaders wary of lopsided politics.
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.

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

Eric Kaler earns 'commendable' grade as University of Minnesota president

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.

Minnesota State raises tuition at 37 colleges and universities

Tuition increase for two-year colleges is first in five years.
Board of Regents Chairman Dean Johnson and University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler at a 2015 meeting.

In-state University of Minnesota undergrads will see 2% tuition rise

Regents resisted first plan but agreed to shift more of increase to nonresidents.
Students at the seven Minnesota State universities would face a 3.9 percent, or $272, increase in tuition this fall, under a proposed budget released

Minnesota State proposes 'modest but necessary' tuition increases

If approved, two-year public colleges will see first tuition increase since 2012.
Sarah Lipsett-Allison

Sarah Lipsett-Allison, cantor, dies at 60

Sarah Lipsett-Allison was a classically trained singer with the “voice of an angel,” in the words of her admirers. So it was no surprise that…
Ken Powell

David McMillan, Ken Powell to lead U's Board of Regents

The latter, chairman of General Mills, has served for just four months.

In-state tuition hike gets pushback from University of Minnesota regents

"I suspect there will be compromise," chair said of 3 percent raise.
Lauren Thysell hugged her computer tight and struggled with her feelings over graduating and leaving Bethel.

At Bethel University, eight special students celebrate a milestone

First graduating class of Bethel University Inclusive Learning and Development program is filled with pride and excitement.
The University of Minnesota says it will look to tuition hikes and program cuts to balance its budget now that state lawmakers have rebuffed its reque

Minn. public colleges eye tuition hikes, program cuts as funding falls short

Facing shortfall in state funds, U and Minnesota State schools look for ways to balance their budgets.

Journalists petition University of Minnesota to halt leak investigation

More than 260 journalists have signed a petition urging the University of Minnesota to halt its investigation into the source of news leaks about an…
Larry Pogemiller

Minnesota public colleges face tuition hikes and cuts, commissioner warns

Budget gap between GOP, Gov. Mark Dayton would mean hard decisions.
Minnesota Gophers football players walk into their closed door appeal hearing in January.

May 4: U hires two to review case of 10 football players accused of sex assault

Lawyers will "not rehash the investigation," but see if the university followed its own rules.
Maggie Heier, assistant director of the College of Liberal Arts career services department, tested and interviewed students during a class project.

Liberal arts majors get a career boost at the University of Minnesota

"Career Readiness Initiative" helps give grads an edge
Geoffrey Rojas, a physicist at the University of Minnesota, worked in his lab, the “Characterization Facility,” last week in Minneapolis.

Scientists prepare to march 'into the streets' Saturday

A dozen Minnesota cities will host March for Science events.
Kathleen Ridder

Kathleen Ridder, champion of women in politics, dies at 94

She was driven to "advancing the role of women in society."
Dan Kreft, a senior psychology major at the University of Minnesota, showed a friend some graffiti that is rousing controversy over a “build the wal

U of M bias response team walks fine line of free speech, hate speech

U moves to act quickly after reports of bigotry, but critics worry about chilling effect.
Regent Dean Johnson said he believes the University of Minnesota followed the rules properly, but that the whole process caught many students, athlete

U plans 'independent review' of handling of Gophers football sex assault allegations

Regents seek lessons from new scrutiny of high-profile incident involving football players.
Angelia Millender

Century College names Millender as president

Angelia Millender has been named the next president of Century College in White Bear Lake. Millender, who is now president of Olive-Harvey College in Chicago,…

Police pursuit leads to fatal crash near Bloomington light rail

Incident disrupted light rail service, but no trains were involved, spokesman says.
Reidar Dittmann was a Holocaust survivor who taught art and Norwegian at St. Olaf College for more than 45 years and died in 2010 at age 88.

St. Olaf to strip prof's name from building after reports of sex misconduct

Reidar Dittmann was a Holocaust survivor who taught art and Norwegian at the Northfield college for more than 45 years and died in 2010 at age 88.
Board of Regents Chairman Dean Johnson and University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler at a 2015 meeting. After four white men were elected regents l

U regents vote has some asking: What happened to diversity?

DFL Rep. Jennifer Schultz is leading the charge to reform the way regents are chosen after her fellow legislators elected four white men last month.
Helene Burton Kaplan

Helene Burton Kaplan, pioneering ad exec, dies at 98

Kaplan, who died at age 98 on Feb. 2, was one of the first female advertising executives in Minnesota and a mentor to younger generations who would follow in her path.
University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler, shown in 2015, announced the changes Thursday as part of his annual State of the University speech.

University of Minnesota launches new crackdown on sexual assault

Mandatory training for faculty and staff is part of the plan.
Augsburg College, the Minneapolis liberal arts school, announced Thursday that it will formally change its name to Augsburg University in September.

Augsburg College to become a university in fall

Name change at Minneapolis liberal arts school will take effect in September.
Devinder Malhotra came out of retirement to serve as interim chancellor of Minnesota State after a failed search to replace Steven Rosenstone.

'Widely liked' leader steps in at Minnesota State

Former Metropolitan State head Devinder Malhotra drew praise from trustees and faculty members.
General Mills chairman and CEO Ken Powell, show in July at the New York Stock Exchange, was chosen Wednesday for the University of Minnesota Board of

Minnesota lawmakers choose General Mills CEO, three others as U regents

Ken Powell was the surprise as the Legislature picked four for the University of Minnesota's governing board.
Prof. Dan Demetriou

Minn. professor's 'rant' on immigrants, refugees sets off a backlash

Philosophy professor at University of Minnesota, Morris campus triggers outcry with comments on immigrants.
University of Minnesota Athletic Director Mark Coyle, shown in January, told the Board of Regents that at least eight formal presentations on sexual a

Athletes need better training on sexual misconduct, U says

Months of training sessions on code of conduct preceded alleged sexual assault.
Steve Sviggum

Sviggum, in surprise comeback, may return to U regents

Former House speaker was tapped at last minute for vacancy, five years after he was forced to quit.
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