Board reopens AD search
The Seward County Community College Board of Trustees handled a mixed agenda at the regular monthly meeting Monday, with high-profile decisions reached in executive session, and routine, end-of-year business.
In an ongoing effort to fill the Athletic Director position vacated by head baseball coach Galen McSpadden in December, the board opted to take a new approach to the key position. After reviewing the search committee’s recommendation for a new Director of Athletics, and reviewing the applicants for the position, the Board determined that it would be beneficial and in the best interests of the College to reopen the search for Director of Athletics.Trustee John Engel made the motion, which was seconded by Dustin Ormiston, after executive session, and the motion carried 5-0.
The board also reviewed applications for the trustee position vacated by Rick Brenneman at the February meeting. In a unanimous vote, trustees voted to appoint Stacy Johnson to complete Brenneman’s term. Because the Kansas Legislature opted to align the election cycle for community college trustee positions, the unexpired term will continue through 2020, rather than 2018 as originally scheduled.
In the personnel report, the board accepted the request for retirement from longtime English and Creative Writing instructor Bill McGlothing, and the resignation of agriculture enterprise budget manager Natalya Lowther.
“Bill has contributed tremendously to the quality of work in the English department over his 20 years, in the classroom, curriculum, and publication of the student literary journal,” said SCCC president, Dr. Ken Trzaska. “His influence will be missed.” Trustee Marvin Chance recalled recruiting McGlothing at a conference in Texas two decades ago.
“That’s one of the best hiring decisions we made,” he said. “He’s had an enormous impact on this institution.”
Open positions at SCCC include full-time instructor for diesel technology and assistant volleyball coach, and part-time positions for nursing clinical instructor, safety and security officer, and on-call counselor, and Athletic Director.
As it does each year, the board reviewed tuition and fees, and housing rates for the upcoming academic year. Slight increases will help the college keep ahead of fixed costs rising due to inflation, but overall, the board opted for conservative increases.
Tuition cost for the 2017-18 year will go up by $5 per credit hour, in each of the student categories (see attached chart). For residents of Seward County, that means a cost of $94 per credit hour, up from the 2016-17 cost of $89.
Housing costs will increase by 4 percent, or $105 per semester, broken down into higher costs for food ($41), laundry facilities ($44), and dorm expenses ($20). Depending on a student’s housing preferences, in the Student Living Center, Mansions, or Hale Court, and single- or double-occupancy, the price for room and meals per semester rangers from $2,405 to $3,005.
Vice President of Finance and Operations Dennis Sander provided context for the board, noting that dorms this year are not quite filled, with about half the occupancies claimed by athletes. The rate increase addresses the need for keeping pace with rising utility and food costs, while trying to provide students with an enhanced experience on campus.
“Laundry facilities are now available to students with no additional charge at the point of use,” Sanders said. “We introduced this after the Christmas break, got rid of the coin-operated machines, and they really like it a lot.”
“We want to be a little different from what other schools are doing,” added Trzaska. “The look, feel, and overall experience for our students is improving.”
Byron Bird & Associates auditor Linda Billings presented the annual audit to the board.
“Overall, collections were better this year, and other than that, there’s nothing remarkable to note,” she said. The board accepted the audit report as presented.
Routine updates to the 200 series of the board policies, which note the current membership and added newly-appointed trustees Casey Mein and Stacy Johnson to the official documents, were approved. The board reviewed annual program updates from four divisions: Humanities; Agriculture, Business, and Personal Services; Allied Health; and Math, Science, and HPERD. As information-only items, the reports listed action projects to improve and build various programs.
As one of the high priorities identified in SCCC’s deferred and on-going maintenance needs, VP for Finance and Operations Sander and Director of Facilities Roger Scheib sought bids for sealing the cooling tower basin, and conducting refills for efficiency. Three vendors in Kansas provided bids, and the board accepted the low figure of $33,156 from Knipp Services of Wichita. A second part of the cooling tower project required bids for a replacement compressor. Again, Knipp Service won the job with a low bid of $43,875.
Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Todd Carter updated the board about developments in Industrial Technology, including increased partnership with OneOK for corrosion students, tradecraft classes for employers to help employees gain and maintain credentials, and a new structure for semester-by-semester certificate levels throughout the division. A new USDA grant supporting food education and production will fund an outreach to area elementary school children this spring. The Kansas State Department of Education approved a partnership between the college and Wichita State University for a teacher apprentice and certification program. Finally, the Kansas Board of Regents will begin granting credit to Kansas National Guard members who complete machine tool technology training with SCCC Instructor Butch Garst.
Vice President of Student Services Celeste Donovan gave the board information about student and employee activities, starting with the United Way fund drive. College employees participated to give $5,000 in payroll deduction to the 2017 drive. The participation level tripled from 2016. On campus, Donovan brought another cohort of team members through new employee training sessions, continued to oversee the Academic Integrity Board, and has begun developing a strategic enrollment plan with Director of Admissions Bert Luallen.
Vice President of Finance and Operations Dennis Sander wrapped up his many presentations for the night with a report about upcoming improvements to the cafeteria. In tandem with Great Western Dining, the college will begin a remodel of the food service area of the cafeteria during spring break. While details are still being finalized, Sander said, the new look will likely offer increased options such as pasta and pizza bars, and a free-flowing traffic pattern. He also presented a long list of summer projects to update and improve various facilities around campus: repairs to the water line in the Mansions; new carpet and bathrooms in the Colvin Adult Learning Center; bathroom upgrades in the gymnasium; a sound system and mezzanine improvements to the Showcase Theater in the Shank Building; and new showers and dorm doors at Hale Court.
President, Dr. Ken Trzaska brought the board up to date on the college’s concealed-carry weapons policy, under development in preparation for the change to Kansas law in July. Details will be discussed in the April and May trustee meetings. In April, a group of administrators and faculty members will attend the Higher Learning Commission annual meetings in Chicago, with a first-ever alumni gathering planned for SCCC graduates who live in the greater Chicago area. Trzaska said a recent on-campus meeting of the Kansas Community Colleges Leadership Institute was a great success, with college deans Luke Dowell and Travis Combs participating as members of the 2017 cohort. The leadership development opportunities offered by KCCLI are excellent, Trzaska said, and he would like to sponsor more employees in future years.
The next Board of Trustees meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. April 6, 2017, in the board room of the Hobble Academic Building. Agendas and reports are posted through the board portal and via Board Docs on the college website, sccc.edu > About Us > Board of Trustees.