Staff Directory 275485961

Mila Koumpilova

Reporter | Higher education
Phone: 612-673-4781
Location: Minneapolis
Other languages: Spanish, Bulgarian

Mila Koumpilova writes about higher education at the Star Tribune, where she previously covered immigration and Minnesota's immigrant communities. During more than a decade of reporting, she has been an education, general assignment and features reporter.


A former North Dakota Rookie Reporter of the Year, Koumpilova has received recognition from the national Education Writers Association, the Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists and others. She graduated from the American University in Bulgaria and the Missouri School of Journalism. She is passionate about the key role of news in a democracy. Koumpilova lives in St. Paul with her husband and two children.
Recent content from Mila Koumpilova
Michael Hemesath, president of St. John’s University

St. John's University President Michael Hemesath to step down

Michael Hemesath has served for seven years as the school's first lay president.
Duane Addison

Duane LeRoy Addison, theologian and social justice advocate, dies at 88

For pastors, the Rev. Duane Addison was an intimidating presence in the pews of St. Anthony’s Nativity Lutheran Church when he joined 25 years ago…
Rachellee Sigler, a certified vet tech, fed Gary, a 4-year-old goldendoodle, before she and fourth-year vet student Andrew Kaplan did an examination a

U cuts $90M in overhead costs, but critics say it's not enough

More than 600 positions on five campuses, a plant pathology library and the water coolers in the law school — that's what the University of Minnesota cut to keep a pledge its president made to lawmakers six years ago.
Fans sat in the stands during the third period Friday night during the Gophers men's hockey game against the Penn State Nittany Lions. The announced a

Regents signal support for alcohol sales at Williams and Mariucci

"We've got to get creative to get fans to come back to our venues," the University of Minnesota's Athletic Director told regents.
Sanjit Sethi was named president of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

Minneapolis College of Art and Design names new president

New leader comes from George Washington University's arts and design school
Metropolitan State University’s “cyber range” allows students to practice defending against simulated cyber intrusions.

Cybersecurity programs mushroom on Minnesota college campuses

Demand for skilled tech workers fueling boom on local college campuses.
University of Minnesota Prof. John Wright spoke during a contentious meeting where regents voted down a proposal to change the names of four buildings

U regents vote to keep names on Coffman Union, 3 other campus buildings

Regents voted 10-1 to preserve the former leaders' names, despite calls by U president, students and a faculty task force to change them.
University of Minnesota regents plan to reject a task force recommendation to change the names of Coffman Memorial Union, above, and three other campu

U regents slated to reject name changes at four campus buildings

U regents plan to act on a resolution keeping the names of Coffman Memorial Union and three Twin Cities halls, defying recommendations by President Eric Kaler and a faculty task force.
Anoka High teacher Paul Heida helped sophomore Ebony Elliott, bottom right, with illustration software during yearbook class Tuesday. Last year, state

Minnesota graduation rate hits all-time high; racial gap narrows

More than 83 percent of students graduated on time, with some progress in narrowing the achievement gap.
Devinder Malhotra, chancellor of Minnesota State college system.

Minnesota State extends contract of chancellor Malhotra

Move keeps continuity at time of enrollment decline, other challenges.
Linda Thompson, the former administrative assistant in the dental hygiene program at Argosy University, hugs a student after the hearing.

Former Argosy students implore Minnesota lawmakers for help after school shuts down

Many are still struggling to regroup after the abrupt closure of the Eagan campus.
Brian Rosenberg chatted with international studies junior Amalia Chiapperino and psychology junior Lilli Kay as they worked outside on Macalester Coll

Macalester College President Brian Rosenberg to step down

A national advocate for liberal arts education, Rosenberg has served 16 years as president of the St. Paul college.
Melanie Galloway, an adjunct professor of physics at Hamline University, prepped for her course Thursday at Gingko Coffeehouse near campus.

Adjunct professors unionize at 3 private colleges in Minn.

As number of adjunct faculty swells, efforts to form alliances grow.
Augsburg University history Prof. Phillip Adamo led a classroom discussion about the N-word this school year, saying the racial slur rather than the e

Minnesota professor's suspension fuels academic freedom debate

Today's increasingly diverse, student-centered campuses is at the middle of the argument over the future of the long-standing policy.
President Donald Trump held up an executive order he signed Thursday requiring colleges to certify that their policies support free speech as a condit

Minn. colleges say they already comply with free-speech order

Some local higher education officials voiced skepticism that the order will have much of an impact.
Coffey Hall on the Saint Paul campus of the University of Minnesota is among the namesakes that were targeted by U President Eric Kaler and Provost Ka

U leaders break into war of words over possible renaming of buildings

Rift widens between top officials, regents over handling of report urging changes.
LeRoy “Buster” Brown agreed to coach swimming at what is now St. Thomas Academy even though he did not know how to swim.

LeRoy Brown, advocate for private education, dies at 105

The longtime St. Thomas Academy physics teacher was instrumental in integrating private school teams into the Minnesota State High School League.
Kaler

University president reflects on his tenure during annual address

In his final State of the University speech, Eric Kaler spoke of his accomplishments and a few regrets.
Joan Gabel, shown in December, was named University of Minnesota president about three months ago after a nearly $260,000 search, compared with the $2

Recent search for new president cost the U almost $260,000

The costs include $165,000 in fees for outside search consultants, more than $22,000 for search committee and regent travel, and about $15,000 to a local four-star hotel.
Chris Middlebrook, grandson of former University of Minnesota administrator William Middlebrook, was photographed in front of Middlebrook Hall on Thur

Proposal to rename U of Minn. buildings faces pushback

Plan to rename buildings unfairly maligns relatives, they say.
An Argosy University classroom in 2004. The Eagan campus will close Friday after weeks of uncertainty for the troubled network of for-profit schools.

Argosy's Eagan campus will close Friday, school confirms

For-profit university has withheld students' loans while in receivership.
A class at Argosy University in Eagan in 2004.

Students at Minnesota's Argosy University campus brace for possible closure

For-profit university has reportedly withheld loans while in receivership.
Devinder Malhotra, chancellor of Minnesota State college system, said it’s wise to hear from other sectors that have been buffeted by change.

Minnesota State colleges and universities system seeks to reinvent itself — again

Leaders seek outside ideas to address enrollment.
Chloe Williams, a senior who headed the Minnesota Student Association’s diversity and inclusion committee, stands in front of Coffman Memorial Union

U's Kaler wants to rename Coffman Union, 3 other buildings

If U's governing board backs Eric Kaler's proposal, the names of campus buildings will change for the first time in the U's 167-year-old history.
Jay Barnes, the president of Bethel University, announced he will retire next year after a 25-year career at the school.

Bethel University president to step down next year

Jay Barnes, president since 2008, is retiring after 25 years at the school.
Coffman Memorial Union is one of four buildings a task force has recommended undergo a name change.

U task force: Rename Coffman Union, 3 other buildings over racist, anti-Semitic links

History of racism, anti-Semitism factored into the recommendations.
The University of Minnesota's Board of Regents, as seen at a meeting in December 2018.

U's Board of Regents could see influx of diversity

State legislators are making a push to appoint more women and people of color to the University of Minnesota's male-dominated governing board — an effort that led one of its veteran members to drop out of contention.
Kayla Shelley, a St. Cloud State University student, spoke at a press conference in support of a bill that would make two years of college free. Frank

Minnesota legislators and student groups push for free college

Most recent bill would cover first two years at any state school. The costs of proposal are unknown at this point.
Carleton College student Ross Matican did statistics homework at the Weitz Center for Creativity in Northfield. Matican struggled with health issues d

Study-abroad programs face new pressure to focus on safety

Colleges work to better monitor international programs.
Former University of Minnesota President Nils Hasselmo participated in a 2015 panel discussion at Northrop Auditorium in Minneapolis.

Former University of Minnesota President Nils Hasselmo dies at 87

He is credited with improving graduation rates, restoring stability, and raising the school's profile as an undergraduate teaching institution.
Maeve Sheridan, a sex assault victim: “There are ways to step in before and after.”

University of Minnesota focuses on bystanders to fight sexual assault

The effort, which costs more than $740,000 in its first two years, culminates this academic year with a public awareness campaign and workshops.
George Rafferty

George Rafferty, architect renowned for modernist church designs, dies at 101

George Rafferty re-imagined religious architecture in the wake of World War II — from imposing, awe-inspiring churches to welcoming places that fostered a sense of…
Regent Abdul Omari moderated a discussion on what students were seeking in the next president.

Regent that led University of Minnesota presidential search snubbed by advisory council

Advisory council sends 16 applicants to legislators to fill four seats on board.
University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler.

U President Kaler seeks a nearly 7 percent hike in state funding

President Eric Kaler, in his final pitch, did not tie the increase to a tuition freeze.
Zakariya Abdullahi, center, joked with his classmate Natalya Arevalo.

As Augsburg University's student body grows more diverse, racial fault lines are exposed

A debate about race and inclusion lays bare fault lines at the Minneapolis university.
A graduate student in physics teaches a class at the University of Minnesota.

U alum's challenge of women-only campus programs ignites discrimination debate

Scholar's latest fight in the name of Title IX is with colleges that host girls-only STEM summer camps.
Joan Gabel rose to greet members of the Board of Regents after they unanimously voted to hire her as the university's first female president.

U regents choose Joan Gabel as school's first female president

Joan Gabel said she is said she is "incredibly excited and humbled."
Joan Gabel answered questions by the Board of Regents on the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis, Minn. on December 14, 2018.

U regents set to choose school's first woman president Tuesday

Joan Gabel's two-hour interview with regents was heavier on compliments than tough follow-up questions.
Joan Gabel, sole finalist for University of Minnesota president, on the Twin Cities campus earlier in the week.

In Duluth visit, finalist for U's top job hears concerns about campus getting all that it needs

Joan Gabel was at her next-to-last stop on a tour of all five U campuses.
Joan Gabel, sole finalist for University of Minnesota president, met with faculty, students and the public at a meet and greet before a public questio

Lone finalist to be U president on campus for public interviews

Presidential candidate is touring all five campuses.
Joan Gabel, provost at the University of South Carolina, is slated to visit Minnesota next week for public forums on all five campuses.

U president finalist unafraid of challenges, say those who know her

Joan Gabel has brought a collaborative style and low-key charisma to academia.
Joan Gabel, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at the University of South Carolina, is the lone finalist for the University of

Lone U finalist would be the first woman to be school president

Joan Gabel, provost at the University of South Carolina, was the Board of Regents' nominee. Some concern was raised about only one finalist, but in the end she had the support of all but one regent.
University of Minnesota regents are in a delicate position going into a Wednesday meeting to make decisions on finalists for the job of university pre

University regents are put on the spot over filling top job

Some semifinalists for the president job are willing to be named finalists — and go public with their identities — only if they are the sole front-runner.
University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler

University of Minnesota regents to discuss three potential hopefuls for president job

Contenders' identities not disclosed; regents might name them Wednesday.
In July, University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler announced his departure effective July 2019.

University of Minnesota has shortlist in hunt for president

As the search for a new president enters the final stretch, five of the nine who scored an interview were female.
Dean Scott Determan talked about Dakota County Technical College's nursing program during a “partnership tour.”

At Minnesota State campuses, a push to team up with employers

New campus tours showcase ways to address workforce shortages as the system seeks more funding.
U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, shown in August, unveiled sexual assault regulations for colleges and universities that bolster the rights of th

New plan might alter how Minn. colleges handle sex misconduct

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said she aimed new proposed rules to better balance the rights of alleged victims and the due process rights of the accused.
Approximately 65 students from Minneapolis South High School toured the campus of Macalester College in Saint Paul in February.

Private colleges aim to draw community college students to campus

The year before Sydney Anderson arrived at St. Catherine University last fall, she visited its St. Paul campus four times for events tailored to would-be…
University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler.

About 60 candidates in running to be the next U president

Almost 150 people had applied for the job the last time the U sought a new president in 2010.
Eric Kaler was the only finalist when he was selected as the University of Minnesota president in 2010.

In hunt for U's next president, transparency comes under real scrutiny

University says contenders for president need privacy.
Regent Abdul Omari moderated a discussion on what students were seeking in the next president.

Is the University of Minn. moving too fast in its search for new president?

Pace, which follows recent trend, continues even with new search firm.
A crowd of students, faculty and staff sits silently in the Anderson Student Center in protest of a racist incident on campus. BESA, the Black Empower

Racial slur incident prompts hundreds of St. Thomas students to stage sit-in

University's president issued an "action plan," calls off classes for campuswide meeting next week.
Devinder Malhotra, chancellor of Minnesota State college system.

Minnesota State campuses waive application fees this week

The waiver aims to encourage more students to apply for college, at a time when enrollment in the Minnesota State system has been declining.
If the Minnesota Legislature grants their full funding request, Minnesota State leaders vow to keep undergraduate tuition flat.

Minnesota State system has big funding request in exchange for tuition freeze

The system is planning to seek $246 million more in state dollars over two years.
Gophers athletic director Mark Coyle spoke at the grand opening of the U’s track and field stadium last month.

Gophers athletic director Mark Coyle set to receive contract extension

Mark Coyle was named Minnesota's athletic director in May 2016 and immediately dealt with serious issues in Gophers athletics. He has replaced six of 21 head coaches.
University of Minnesota student Isaiah Ogren is a Texas resident and pays out-of-state tuition. He called the price tag a big selling point to come to

U worries about drop in out-of-state numbers after nonresident tuition increases

Even with the concern, President Eric Kaler is proposing a double-digit increase for the third year in a row.
Alexander Hill

Alexander 'Sandy' Hill, Macalester College administrator and mentor, dies at 83

Hill made Macalester College a more connected, convivial and homier place during more than four decades of working at the St. Paul campus.
The entrance to the campus of the University of Minnesota.

Can the University of Minnesota get a new president for a bargain?

Some argue Kaler's successor must make less, but that waters down the candidate pool.
The outdoor play area at the U’s Child Development Center features plenty of options, like these monkey bars tackled by Maren Vegoe on a recent fall

Demand for campus child care in Minnesota spurs outcry from parents

After the University of Minnesota reverses its decision, parents decry planned closure of University of St. Thomas center.
Those who want to follow Eric Kaler's footsteps as the new University of Minnesota president should take note of the profile of the ideal candidate re

University of Minnesota releases presidential job description

Candidates better act fast: Deliberations start Oct. 29.
University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler spoke Monday, September 12, 2011 to the Star Tribune editorial board.

U drops president search firm, citing possible divided loyalties

The University of Minnesota has replaced the firm hired to find its next president after the firm, Storbeck/Pimentel and Associates, decided late last month to work on the presidential search at Michigan State University,
Protest, rally mark local reaction to Kavanaugh hearings

Protest, rally mark local reaction to Kavanaugh hearings

A former law classmate of Kavanaugh's said he was disturbed by 'the raw anger' shown by the judge at Thursday's hearing.
Brett Kavanaugh and Mark Osler.

Minnesota law professors who backed Kavanaugh weigh in before key hearing

Two local law professors now call for FBI to step in, while another is still all in.
Search consultant Alberto Pimentel listened to students’ input regarding the next University of Minnesota president.

'Most inclusive search': University of Minnesota students, faculty offer input in hunt for new leader

Group is traveling the state to hear what attributes students, faculty want.
University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler. GLEN STUBBE • glen.stubbe@startribune.com

U kicks off process of finding Eric Kaler's replacement

23 faculty, staff, students, regents will recruit, vet candidates for top job.
University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler

University of Minnesota to ask state for bump in support

University officials told the Board of Regents Thursday that the additional money — $30 million more for the 2019-2020 academic year and $27 million the following year — would let the U offer more-competitive employee pay, better classrooms and research infrastructure and more.

Immigration courts granting fewer reprieves from deportation

Federal officials now are expediting the cases, even for those with pending visas or green cards.
Kim Hunter is a Twin Cities immigration attorney who won the Immigrant Law Center's National Advocate of the Year Award.

With birth date in dispute, Twin Cities man faces deportation while insisting he's American

Citizenship claim is upheld by immigration judge, but man is still being detained.
Hassan Amin purchased limes, a lemon and some ginger at Wadajir Grocery & Halal Meat in Minneapolis on Wednesday.

Minnesota Muslims mark start of holy month of Ramadan

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins this week, observed with sunrise-to-sunset fasting.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents take a suspect into custody,

Push is on to add space for ICE inmates in state

Prison companies and a county sheriff's office pitched proposals to expand immigration detention facilities in Minnesota as a rise in arrests has created a space crunch for immigration authorities.
Martha Sawyer Allen

Martha Sawyer Allen, former Star Tribune religion writer and columnist, dies at 75

During almost three decades in the Star Tribune newsroom, Martha Sawyer Allen cut a blunt, no-nonsense figure — particularly as a religion writer lending insight…
A joint session of the Minnesota Legislature egislature stood, applauded and looked toward the House gallery for the new Regent Randy Simonson but the

Legislature picks new U regent amid abortion controversy

Simonson, of Worthington, said freezing or lowering tuition is a priority.

2 candidates recommended for University of Minnesota Board of Regents vacancy

In an unusual situation, the legislative committee couldn't settle on just one.
William Carlson waited outside Catholic Charities on Wednesday for the shelter to open. Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis is dropping its

Catholic Charities cuts refugee resettlement, adoption work

The charity will instead focus on fighting homelessness and helping at-risk kids.
Minneapolis police squad car

Cities push to make applying for crime victim visas easier

City ordinances and police department changes seek to streamline the process to get the special visa.
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