Following a student/trustee dinner, the Seward County Community College/Area Technical School Board of Trustees meet Tuesday in its regular board meeting. Rick Brenneman was sworn in as new trustee, replacing Jo Ann Sharp who resigned in November.
Overall the students praised the college and its staff for a successful semester. Among the issues discussed were orientation, tutoring, supplies and instructor shortages.
Cynthia Rapp, dean of instruction, gave an overview of the Automotive Business Management and Agriculture programs, two programs that have faced low enrollment in the past.
The biggest improvement in the Automotive Business program is the new location of the retail store lab and classroom and the updating of the facilities. The lab is now in a more visible location and more closely reflects a parts store. The program has grown from two post-secondary students and two high school students in 2008-09 to five post-secondary and 13 high school students in 2010-11.
In addition, instructor Jim Brown is working with the Business Division to provide a greater emphasis on business management. The program has added individuals to the advisory board in an effort to work more effectively with employers and meet their future needs.
Eleven students are enrolled in the Agricultural program this year. Brett Crow, agricultural instructor and livestock judging team coach, has implemented new efforts to recruit students to the program and livestock judging team.
Research and advice from area agricultural representatives shows a need for agronomy students. The program may incorporate more of those courses in the future. In addition, the college will evaluate a need for a meats program and agricultural mechanics program.
Rapp gave an overview of the Corrosion Technology courses and curriculum that will be submitted to the Kansas Board of Regents for approval. The program that is scheduled to begin in fall 2011 will include an Atmospheric Corrosion certificate, a Cathodic Protection certificate and an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Corrosion Technology.
As part of this program, the college will need to construct an 8,400-square foot addition to the Area Technical School site to house Corrosion Technology and Process Technology. The board directed the administration to let bids for construction of that addition. Funding for the construction of the expansion will be obtained through the recent Title V federal grant, which the College received and institutional funds designated for construction projects.
Dr. Duane Dunn, SCCC/ATS president, gave an update on the Strategic Plan and institutional goals covering creating awareness, employee development, workforce development and student learning.
One component of the strategic plan was an opportunity to look at how the college emphasizes the unique aspects of the college, Dunn said, such as accessibility, successful athletic teams, one-on-one interaction and national recognition. The college is sending the information out to the public and media, but the challenge is to find out if the information is being heard or read.
Another area of emphasis focuses on low enrollment programs. One way the college is trying to improving in this area is through employee development, as reported by Cynthia Rapp, dean of instruction. The college wants to make it easier for faculty, staff and administrators to determine what resources are needed to be successful in recruiting and teaching.
The college is addressing the workforce development goal, Rapp said, through increased advising for technical school students, the addition of apprenticeship programs and an increased emphasis on internship programs and job placement.
As a way of offering increased opportunities to students, the college is also studying the potential for a pharmacy technician program and enhancing the marketing/management program with an emphasis in sports management.
The college is making an effort to explain to students the importance of repaying federal loans, said Celeste Donovan, dean of student services. The college does both pre- and post-counseling. The college default rate is 9.2 percent, whereas most colleges in the nation are above 15 percent. A high default rate can affect a college’s ability to continue to receive and distribute federal financial aid.
Tommy Williams, dean of administrative services, told the board the college received a Standard and Poor’s A+ long-term rating on its debt performance in regards to certificates of participation.
In other action, the board
1. Accepted the early retirement of Neal Upham, Auto Body Collision Repair instructor and hired David Ratzlaff as Auto Body Collision Repair instructor;
2. Approved the 2011-12 academic calendars, which have been adjusted to coincide more closely with the USD 480 calendar;
3. Approved a four-day work week May 27-Aug. 5 as a means of utility cost reduction;
4. Approved a Title V architectural contract with The Architect, Bruce Glass, AIA, of Garden City; and
5. Approved the purchase of an Engine Lathe for the Machine Tool Technology program from Kansas-Oklahoma Machine Tools of Wichita in the amount of $23,890, with funds for that equipment through the post-secondary capital outlay grant.
The arts and crafts show is this week in the Shank Humanities Building with the Art Sale scheduled for Friday. The winter concert is at 7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 9 in the Shank Humanities Building. The Pizza Hut Classic is Friday and Saturday, Dec. 10 and 11. The campus will close for winter break at 12 noon, Thursday, Dec. 23.
The next regular board meeting is Monday, Jan. 3 in the board room.