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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

Adjunct instructors at Augsburg College vote to form union

It could become third local school in two years to do so.

College classes in Minnesota high schools face costly changes

It is, almost everyone agrees, a great way to earn college credits for free. But the popular “College in the Schools” program, which allows Minnesota…
Michelle Behr named chancellor of University of Minnesota Morris campus

Michelle Behr named chancellor of University of Minnesota Morris campus

She will succeed Jacqueline Johnson in February, pending approval of regents.
Students call for 'sanctuary campus' at University of Minnesota

Students call for 'sanctuary campus' at University of Minnesota

Organizers hope to deliver petition with more than 1,100 signatures to U President Kaler on Wednesday.
University of St. Thomas to launch 2-year college for low-income students

University of St. Thomas to launch 2-year college for low-income students

Special 2-year degree may cost low-income students as little as $1,000 a year.
Guaranteed: Get two-year degree, get into Minnesota State university

Guaranteed: Get two-year degree, get into Minnesota State university

Four-year schools adopt same standards for accepting students.
Gustavus president announces $4 million donation

Gustavus president announces $4 million donation

Former Medtronic executive's husband, a neurosurgeon, joins with her to endow a new neuroscience professorship.

Minnesota State strategy to avoid financial crisis includes nearly $40 million in cost-cutting

Chancellor Steven Rosenstone has come up with a three-pronged strategy to save the Minnesota State colleges and university system from a looming financial crisis. The…

Campus speech codes under fire at Minnesota Morris, Winona State

On the face of it, the University of Minnesota’s Morris campus says it’s merely trying to promote tolerance, respect and civility by regulating what kind…
Obituary: Burton Levin, former ambassador and Carleton professor, brought the Cold War to life

Obituary: Burton Levin, former ambassador and Carleton professor, brought the Cold War to life

Burton Levin was the U.S. ambassador to Burma when he called his daughter at Carleton College as gunfire raged outside the embassy. It was 1988,…
Minnesota State system may offer $500 incentives to stay in school

Minnesota State system may offer $500 incentives to stay in school

In Minnesota, nearly 40 percent of minority students drop out of community college by the end of the first year, and many more never make…

Faculty union approved at Minneapolis College of Art & Design

Meanwhile, adjunct instructors at Augsburg College petition to hold their own election.

Minnesota State schools would trade tuition freeze through 2019 for $178 million

Minnesota State’s 37 public colleges and universities would freeze tuition through 2019 in exchange for a $178 million increase in state funding, under a proposal…
Historic grain silos to be razed by University of Minnesota

Historic grain silos to be razed by University of Minnesota

The rare steel structures, which were built from 1901 to 1914, were considered significant enough to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, but they never quite made the mark.

University of Minnesota seeks a raise from lawmakers to hold down tuition, advance research

The University of Minnesota will ask the Legislature for a 10 percent raise over the next two years — an extra $126 million — to…

University of Minnesota rolls out Smart911 service

Not long ago, a University of Minnesota student accidentally dialed 911 when she was at a busy restaurant. Because the call came from her cellphone,…
Alzheimer's researchers at U reverse memory loss in mice

Alzheimer's researchers at U reverse memory loss in mice

The research could lead to new treatments for humans, but that would be 10 years away.

Minneapolis art school faculty to vote on union

Election is part of a national organizing effort.
State, students are surprised as Regency beauty schools close

State, students are surprised as Regency beauty schools close

Regency Beauty Institute, with headquarters in St. Louis Park, has shuttered all of its 79 beauty schools, including five in Minnesota, without warning.
Colleges' crackdown on sex assaults provokes questions of fairness

Colleges' crackdown on sex assaults provokes questions of fairness

As schools crack down on campus assaults, lawsuits ask: Where are rights of the accused?
Fargo mother turns sex-assault case against son into national campaign

Fargo mother turns sex-assault case against son into national campaign

She says schools are creating a new class of victims; one was her son.
Inver Hills college fuss began with some union pens

Inver Hills college fuss began with some union pens

Instructor banned from Inver Hills campus for 3 months is challenging the discipline.

University of Minnesota faculty union vote clears hurdle

A ruling Tuesday has cleared the way for a vote this fall on forming a faculty union at the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus.…
U of Minnesota approves $104M upgrade to Pioneer Hall

U of Minnesota approves $104M upgrade to Pioneer Hall

The project will preserve the historic red brick exterior while gutting much of the interior to create more spacious living areas and a brand-new $23 million dining hall.

Virtual job fair for students, and grads, of Minnesota private colleges

In another sign of a national job market that is recovering, employers are once again lining up for the chance to recruit and hire Minnesota…

Minnesota program helps graduates with high-cost student loans

This year, for the first time, Minnesota is offering an alternative to residents stuck with high-interest student loans. In January, the Office of Higher Education…

Welcome letter to students of color triggers backlash at Concordia U

The Aug. 1 letter from the dean of diversity affairs was an invitation to a special orientation session for minority students. But it was one particular sentence in bold caps that sparked an outrage: "ALL NEW STUDENTS OF COLOR ARE EXPECTED TO ATTEND THIS MEETING."
Racial profiling protest cost U employee her job, lawsuit says

Racial profiling protest cost U employee her job, lawsuit says

Alysia Lajune says she was fired for raising concerns over wording that was used in campus crime alerts.

Minnesota colleges face new rules on sexual assault cases this fall

Law requires new training and reporting on campuses this fall.

U creates sex-assault panel to weigh in on discipline

Under the plan, training will be increased for those deciding whether to discipline accused students.
Melania Trump's speech may be a lesson for students

Melania Trump's speech may be a lesson for students

Melania Trump’s convention speech may well turn into a teachable moment at college campuses this fall as a real-life lesson in the dangers of plagiarism.…
St. Olaf College urged to hire 'case manager' for sex misconduct complaints

St. Olaf College urged to hire 'case manager' for sex misconduct complaints

Advisory group suggests a full-time staffer to respond to sexual misconduct claims.
July 7: $99M upgrade of U's historic Pioneer Hall proposed

July 7: $99M upgrade of U's historic Pioneer Hall proposed

Face-lift would preserve exterior of one of the oldest dorms on campus and bring it up to 21st century standards.
Regents give U President Kaler positive review in 'challenging' year

Regents give U President Kaler positive review in 'challenging' year

After what he called an “extraordinarily challenging” year, President Eric Kaler got a positive — but not glowing — job review Wednesday from the University…
Minnesota colleges examine future of liberal arts at conference

Minnesota colleges examine future of liberal arts at conference

Full disclosure: Once upon a time, I was an English major. Back in the 20th century, it never occurred to me to abandon Shakespeare or…
U's new digital platform makes black history archives accessible

U's new digital platform makes black history archives accessible

Sarah Carlson gave the students fair warning about what to expect when they reached the caverns, 80 feet below ground. “It’ll be pretty chilly down…

Minnesota community colleges clear a path for four-year degrees

For many students, community college is the first step toward earning a bachelor’s degree. But many others never finish. Now, officials at the newly named…
MnSCU ditches name no one likes in favor of Minnesota State

MnSCU ditches name no one likes in favor of Minnesota State

Apparently, nobody liked the name MnSCU, including the people who run it. Now, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system has decided to ditch the…
Minnesota State colleges are on 'unsustainable' path, report says

Minnesota State colleges are on 'unsustainable' path, report says

The report, eight months in the making, blames the slowdown in state funding for the dire situation facing the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.

St. Kate's shaken up by protests of 'rape culture'

St. Catherine University cut ties with an event organizer, Heartland Inc., after protesters accused the school and the company's owners of being insensitive to rape survivors.
St. Cloud State President Potter killed in I-694 rollover crash

St. Cloud State President Potter killed in I-694 rollover crash

Earl H. Potter III was on his way to the Twin Cities for a meeting with the Foundation Board Chair when the crash happened. Provost Ashish Vaidya has been appointed as acting president.
U boosts tuition for students at Twin Cities campus

U boosts tuition for students at Twin Cities campus

Protesters disrupt meeting but fail to block increase.
6 protesters arrested after disrupting U regents meeting over tuition

6 protesters arrested after disrupting U regents meeting over tuition

Protesters disrupted the Friday morning meeting of the University of Minnesota regents. Six people were arrested after they refused a police order to leave.
To the U, he's Dr. Prince now

To the U, he's Dr. Prince now

Nearly two months after his death, Prince has been awarded an honorary doctoral degree by the University of Minnesota . President Eric Kaler said the…
University of Minnesota rethinks steep tuition hike for nonresidents

University of Minnesota rethinks steep tuition hike for nonresidents

In the face of pushback from students and others, President Eric Kaler proposes 7.5 percent increase, rather than 10, with a vote coming Friday.

Minnesota hosts first summit on campus sexual violence

This fall, Minnesota colleges and universities will be under more pressure than ever to amp up efforts to prevent sexual assault on campus. For the…
Al Garcia, onetime Minneapolis lobbyist and powerbroker, dies at 56

Al Garcia, onetime Minneapolis lobbyist and powerbroker, dies at 56

Lawyer, lobbyist a power broker for years, then faced disbarment and prison time after drug bust.
Banned Minnesota college instructor allowed back on campus

Banned Minnesota college instructor allowed back on campus

Dave Berger was put on 'investigative leave' from Inver Hills Community College in February.

Minnesota lawmakers OK tax breaks for college savers and debtors

If you were waiting for another reason to start saving for college, you may have one soon. For the first time, Minnesotans would be eligible…
University of Minnesota offers working option for third-year law students

University of Minnesota offers working option for third-year law students

"Residency" mimicking med school gives hands-on experience and job guarantee.

Tuition drops, but pressure rises at Minnesota's public colleges

MnSCU schools looking to Legislature for $21 million to save staff, programs.

MnSCU scraps rule allowing it to inspect employees' personal cellphones

Employees had denounced the policy as an invasion of privacy.
U of M Morris chancellor pick backs out on eve of appointment

U of M Morris chancellor pick backs out on eve of appointment

Just before his appointment was to become official, Rodney Hanley backed off, citing personal and family reasons.

Regents' committee approves Coyle hiring; final vote on Friday

U President Eric Kaler "enthusiastically" backed Coyle in committee meeting.
Banned Minnesota college instructor reflects on 'exile'

Banned Minnesota college instructor reflects on 'exile'

Ordinarily, as 2016 Faculty Member of the Year, Dave Berger would have the honor of marching at the head of the procession at Thursday’s graduation…
Banned instructor sues Inver Hills Community College, saying he was defamed

Banned instructor sues Inver Hills Community College, saying he was defamed

The sociology teacher has been on investigatory leave since February.

University of Minnesota proposes tuition hikes, for some

Tuition hikes would range from 2.5 percent for state residents to nearly 10 percent for nonresidents, but thousands of undergrads would see no hike at all.
Drum corps show will go on at TCF Bank Stadium, university says

Drum corps show will go on at TCF Bank Stadium, university says

After bumping Drum Corps International twice in two years, U officials apologize and say it can have the football stadium July 16.
St. Catherine University names Becky Roloff its 11th president

St. Catherine University names Becky Roloff its 11th president

Academic outsider boasts business, nonprofit acumen.

Carleton grad sues over handling of her rape complaints

Her lawsuit says college failed to suspend or expel attackers in two assaults.
U forces out marching show again from TCF Bank Stadium, costing thousands

U forces out marching show again from TCF Bank Stadium, costing thousands

Drum Corps International organizers, told they would have to move the July 16 event from TCF Bank Stadium because of a private football camp run by Gophers coach Tracy Claeys, are crying foul.

At Minnesota state colleges, faculty fear a one-size-fits-all curriculum

The final report isn’t due for two months. But already, faculty members are getting nervous about changes that may be in the works at Minnesota…

MnSCU officials back off demand to inspect employee cellphones

After pushback from employees and legislators, MnSCU officials agreed to shelve the rule until a compromise can be worked out.
Arthur named Metro State president; Hensrud to lead Bemidji State

Arthur named Metro State president; Hensrud to lead Bemidji State

Virginia Arthur, the executive vice president and provost of Metropolitan State University, has been appointed president of the St. Paul-based university. Arthur, who has been…
Obituary: Terry Dosh, who led movement for married priests, dies at 85

Obituary: Terry Dosh, who led movement for married priests, dies at 85

Terry Dosh spent the better part of three decades in a monastic setting — as a student, monk and priest at St. John’s University in…

Minnesota helps low-income kids reach summer camps on campuses

During the summer, it’s not unusual to find kids as young as third-graders taking classes on college campuses. Throughout Minnesota, there are summer enrichment camps…
MnSCU chancellor, often a lightning rod for criticism, to retire in 2017

MnSCU chancellor, often a lightning rod for criticism, to retire in 2017

Tenure has been marked by clashes with faculty.
St. Olaf student protests sexual misconduct policy with T-shirt

St. Olaf student protests sexual misconduct policy with T-shirt

The private college in Northfield insists that it's doing its best to crack down on sexual assault, but it is asking the federal government to review how the college handles those complaints.
U endorses plan to boost nonresident tuition

U endorses plan to boost nonresident tuition

Some fear sharp increases will scare away national students; supporters say low rates are a subsidy.

New rule on personal cellphones enrages Minnesota faculty unions

Move will let personal phones be inspected if used for work; unions raise privacy alarm.
Hands-on Augsburg history prof had the circus as his first stage

Hands-on Augsburg history prof had the circus as his first stage

For the better part of 20 years, Phillip Adamo has been inspiring students to study the past, not for its own sake, he says, but for what it can teach them about the present.
Sharon Pierce named president of Minneapolis Community and Technical College

Sharon Pierce named president of Minneapolis Community and Technical College

She sees past problems at school as "opportunities to make a large difference."
Inver Hills Community College instructor active in union banned from campus

Inver Hills Community College instructor active in union banned from campus

Faculty, college president have clashed in recent weeks.
Students compete in person for scholarships at University of Minnesota's Rochester campus

Students compete in person for scholarships at University of Minnesota's Rochester campus

This weekend, about 60 newly admitted students will gather at the University of Minnesota’s Rochester campus to compete in person for $200,000 in merit scholarships.…
Conservative pundit draws protesters at University of Minnesota

Conservative pundit draws protesters at University of Minnesota

Milo Yiannopolous has emerged as a hero of the right in campus culture wars.
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