College news: Malcolm X gets a new campus; Shimer gets a president | Bleader

College news: Malcolm X gets a new campus; Shimer gets a president



Mayor Rahm Emanuel and City Colleges of Chicago chancellor Cheryl Hyman made a splashy announcement today of a $479 million, five-year plan for capital improvements to the City Colleges, including $251 million for a new Malcolm X College campus that'll consist of two buildings and a 1500-car parking ramp, to be built just south of the United Center.

They didn't mention this, but that's about half of what the CCC had budgeted in the five-year capital plan it submitted last year, along with its 2012 budget. According to that plan, CCC had "identified $1.0 billion in capital needs." Malcolm X alone would have received $336 million. Another $104 million would have gone into improvements in the district offices.

According to today's announcement, the new campus is expected to open in 2015, and will include an Allied Health Academy, with ties to the nearby medical complex that includes Rush University Medical Center. The mayor has previously said that six of the seven City Colleges will be "reinvented" as designated specialty schools, leading critics to fear a mission-bending plunge into vocational training. The only other one revealed so far is Olive-Harvey, with a focus on transportation and distribution.

Susan Henking
  • Susan Henking
Meanwhile, Shimer College, which has functioned under an interim president since the abrupt departure under fire of its last one two years ago, has announced the appointment of Susan Henking, a professor of religious studies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Henking has a PhD from the University of Chicago College of Divinity; her academic work reaches into psychology, sociology, and gender studies. She'll be the first female president at Shimer, which began as a women's school in 1853. She'll also be an addition to Chicago's elite group of out gay higher education presidents. She starts in July.