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
Joan Gabel, the University of Minnesota's first female president, greeted many during the "Procession to Scholars Walk, as she made her way to the ste

With vegan chili and less pomp, U installs Joan Gabel as its 17th president

The ceremony was designed to herald a presidency that would honor the university's history while at the same time embracing innovation and more fiscal restraint.
The lawsuit against the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 5 was filed in federal court this week by attorneys from

Union pressured Inver Hills college clerk to join, lawsuit says

The case is the first one filed in Minnesota that stems from last year's landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
University of Minnesota students made their way through the cashier lines at Coffman Union’s Minnesota Marketplace on Friday, Sept. 13, 2019, in Min

Two more years for U food vendor is too much, students say

Student groups want fresher food and more kosher, halal, vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options. Aramark says it has worked to make the changes.
University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel is meeting Minnesota with high-energy optimism.

University of Minnesota president balances optimistic outlook with calls for reform

Joan Gabel kicked off her historic presidency at the University of Minnesota this summer with an unapologetically upbeat message: The U doesn’t have pressing problems,…
Chief Greeting Spears, left, Mike Thunder, Keith Bedeau, Virgil Blacklance and Sam Strong performed at the groundbreaking.

Red Lake Band, city of Minneapolis break ground for affordable housing complex

Red Lake Band funds most of the $35.8 million complex, with Minneapolis' help.
Student producers Marko Milosevic and Tanita Cronk worked on the “Finding Your Place” podcast, an effort to help new arrivals to campus.

New Minnesota-made podcast offers student advice on college survival

New series is designed to help first-generation students.
Students cheered Thursday during the U’s New Student Convocation, the official welcome ceremony for incoming freshmen.

At U convocation, year begins with focus on wellness, self-care

The incoming freshman class on the University of Minnesota's Twin Cities campus is shaping up to be among the U's most academically accomplished.
Instructor Melissa Castino Reid, left, helped Ladan Ali during the Summer Scholars Academy at Normandale Community College. The program pairs mentorin

On Minnesota campuses, a push to rethink remedial education

The Minnesota State system, facing intense pressure, is taking steps to shrink the number of students who take such courses.
Dr. Wesley Miller

Dr. Wesley Miller, retired University of Minnesota doctor, educator and head of medicine, dies

An early proponent of evidence-based medicine, Miller played a key role in the university's pioneering work in bone marrow and stem cell transplantation
In December, the Board of Regents interviewed Joan Gabel, the sole finalist for University of Minnesota president. During the search, regents decried

Minn. colleges hunting for talent lean more heavily on search firms

The University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State system together have paid more than $10 million in the past five years for outside help in recruiting administrators.

Concordia University in St. Paul names new president

The Rev. Brian Friedrich will take the helm on Jan. 1.
University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel, shown in December.

U president orders review of practices and policies on access to public data

The announcement comes after school officials admitted mistakes in handling recent public data request.
An entrance to the campus of the University of Minnesota.

University of Minnesota staffer's advice to delete e-mail raises red flag for lawmaker

The head of the Minnesota Senate's higher education committee is voicing concern about the University of Minnesota's handling of a recent data request for correspondence…
The data request came over the controversy after University of Minnesota students had called for the renaming of Coffman Memorial Union, shown, and th

U admits to mishandling data request for renaming buildings

The request followed the contentious debate over task force recommendations to rename buildings named after U administrators.
Joan Gabel, the new University of Minnesota president, was on a retreat with the Board of Regents in Faribault.

U regents and new leader tackle new efforts at campus inclusion

Some want more greater Minnesota students and conservative ideas to the university.
Joan Gabel, the new University of Minnesota president, was on a retreat with the Board of Regents in Faribault.

New University of Minnesota president strikes upbeat tone

Joan Gabel pledged to address issues ranging from the steady climb of tuition costs to a "crisis" of student mental health.
Devinder Malhotra, chancellor of Minnesota State college system.

Head of Minnesota State higher-ed system blitzes state, seeking students to train for high-demand jobs

The system faces another enrollment dip this fall.
“The goals that we’re setting aren’t fixes. There isn’t this sense that things have gone awry and that we really need to fundamentally redirec

Joan Gabel takes the helm at U today with a focus on teamwork

Gabel inherits an institution enjoying strong student demand and stable finances but one that also is facing formidable challenges, including renewed calls to control costs and a need to better serve an increasingly diverse student body.
Outgoing U President Eric Kaler organized his books in his new office at Amundson Hall.

As Eric Kaler leaves U, intense debate over his legacy builds

Kaler wraps up his eight years at the helm of Minnesota's flagship research institution Sunday.
Students at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul listened in a microbiology class as Dr. Gwantwa Mwakalundwa talked them through the steps in the

Trustees OK 3% tuition increase for Minnesota State system

Because of another projected dip in enrollment this fall, the system is poised to see less revenue from tuition despite the new higher rates.

2% tuition increase approved for U undergrads on Twin Cities campus

The increase is less than the 2.5% President Eric Kaler was seeking, the result of pushback from university regents.
University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler.

University regents push back on tuition increase proposal

The University of Minnesota's governing board is pushing back on President Eric Kaler's proposal to raise Twin Cities undergraduate tuition by 2.5%, urging leaders to consider ways to limit that increase.
University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler.

U of Minnesota president pitches 2.5% tuition hike for next year

President Eric Kaler's proposed tuition hike would affect Minnesota undergraduates on the Twin Cities campus.
The University of Minnesota’s governing board voted against changing the names of Coffman Memorial Union and three other Twin Cities campus building

E-mails reveal U's rushed effort to rename 4 Twin Cities buildings

Intense deadline pressure, hurdles to tracking down records and skepticism about administrator support plagued a task force that weighed renaming the buildings.
Globe University in Woodbury, Minn.

Minn. court rules closed for-profit schools must fully repay illegal loans

The state estimates a total of $7.2 million is owed to 6,000 former students.
Barbara McDonald will serve as president of the College of St. Scholastica.

Duluth's College of St. Scholastica names community college leader as new president

The head of North Hennepin Community College will lead the private nonprofit college in August.
Renee Sande was one of ten Dougherty Family College student recipients of scholarships to St. Thomas. ] Shari L. Gross • shari.gross@startribune.com

Minnesota colleges get creative to court low-income students

St. Thomas college-within-a-college gets creative, with free meals, laptops and $1,000 tuition
The new Minnesota State logo.

Minnesota community college faculty to receive up to $1.9M in back pay

The agreement, signed Wednesday, settles a lawsuit filed by the union representing faculty.
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.
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