Hobble Steps Down as SCCC Trustee

Joe Denoyer - December 6, 2016 3:22 pm

The Seward County Community College Board of Trustees met as a board of five Monday night. After nearly 20 years of service, longtime trustee Sharon Hobble submitted her letter of resignation.

“Family matters and other considerations have prompted this action,” Hobble’s letter stated. “The institution has been and continues to be of primary importance to me.”

The board voted unanimously “with regret,” to accept Hobble’s resignation, pending the appointment of a replacement trustee to complete her term, which expires in 2017.

“It was hard for me to read Sharon’s resignation letter last night,” said SCCC Board Chair Ron Oliver. “She’s been an outstanding board member, and I really hate to lose her.”

Hobble’s departure marks the end of her family’s decades of formal service to SCCC, starting when her late husband, Herb Hobble Jr., was elected to the first board of trustees in 1967. He ultimately served for 27 years, retiring from the board in 1994.

In all, Herb and Sharon Hobble logged 46 years as trustees for the college.

 As an elected board, the SCCC Trustees have authority to appoint a replacement to complete Hobble’s unexpired term, following legal notification to the public. Those official notices will soon be published, and the board hopes to receive several applications.

“We’ve got to move forward,” Oliver said.

Vice-chair Marvin Chance Jr. suggested the board review applications at its next meeting  Jan. 12.

“We’ll see what kinds of applications we get, and decide at the next meeting,” he said. Hobble’s term would have wrapped up Dec. 31, 2017;  the appointed replacement member may choose to run for a full term in the November 2017 election.

The board heard updates to college policies, as presented by Vice President of Student Services Celeste Donovan.

“Most of the changes have been minimal, related to the college’s name and various position titles, but there are a few that had more substantial changes,” Donovan said. For example, policy 415 was created in 1970 to address the possibility of student demonstrations and “mob actions.” In one paragraph, Donovan told the board, “it suggests going out during a mob action with a pencil and a pad of paper, and taking down names of students involved. That doesn’t reflect what we do today.”

The board approved changes to 415, as well as 15 other policies more likely to affect students in 2017. Among them:

413 — student tuition. Under the old policy dated 1997, the dean or Vice President of Student Services would determine charges. Now, the process works through the Registrar’s office. If students want to appeal, they can do so through the Vice President of Finance & Operations.

414 – student residency. Registrar Alaina Rice updated the 1995 process recently, using Kansas statutes to determine what SCCC asks of students to determine residency status for tuition purposes. The appeals process for this policy was also updated. If students feel they were denied by the registrar’s office, appeals must be presented in writing to Donovan, who will then assemble an appeals board to make a finding.

416 – Student Government Association operation in regard to activities on campus. Director of Student Life Wade Lyon updated the policy to reflect the combination of what were once two separate boards for student government and activities. Another change involved the addition of a representative from each SCCC club or organization as part of the SGA

417 – student travel policy. Lyon and Donovan worked to update the student code of conduct at off-campus events, with new forms that use a college ID number instead of the students’ Social Security numbers.

Finally, Donovan reported to the board that the overall student code of conduct has been updated to reflect working policies she has implemented through her office.

“The old one was extremely outdated, with disciplinary regulations that did not work well,” she said. “I’m very happy with how the new one works for our student population and my office.”

The board unanimously voted to approve the policy changes as presented.

SCCC’s executive team brought the board a revised proposal to address capital and special projects. The new financing concept is a modification of a plan discussed in November, which listed $7 million worth of projects for consideration.

Vice President of Finance and Operations Dennis Sander presented a plan to rework the college’s debt service of PEI bonds with a 10-year loan, in order to access $100,000 per year to pay for high priority capital items.

“Effectively, we’re asking for approval of this concept to finance the projects, and will be asking the board for input about the priorities of the projects themselves,” said Sander. “This is a first step.”

“We brought you an ambitious plan, and we’ve peeled back on that quite a bit,” said SCCC President, Dr. Ken Trzaska. “Obviously, there was a lot we wanted to bite off, but we do understand the need to be conservative. In the end, what we need to do has to be meaningful. Do we put a majority of our available funds into IT infrastructure? When the Kansas Legislature allows guns on campus, does that prompt us to add to our security?” In more everyday matters, Trzaska noted, the executive team was recommending that roof replacements be delayed when a roof has two more years of useful life.

After brief discussion, the trustees voted 5-0 to approve the executive team’s proposal.

In other business:

·       Vice President of Academic Affairs Todd Carter reported to the board that the SCCC Surgical Technology program recently received accreditation for another 10 years, “which is quite a feat,” he noted. “The accrediting agency doesn’t have a set schedule. They just call and say, ‘We’ll be here in 30 days, get ready,’ and Ashley Davis and Travess Funk did a tremendous job preparing for that.” Carter also listed upcoming dates of interest: College finals for regular classes begin Monday, and the semester wraps up Dec. 14. Dr. Terrell Strayhorn, of Ohio State University, is slated to appear as a guest speaker during team development sessions at the start of the spring semester.

·       VP of Finance and Operation Dennis Sander reported that savings from early retirements over the past year saved the college approximately $24,000.

·       VP of Student Services Celeste Donovan reported that SCCC Employees Travis Combs, Director of Adult Basic Education/Colvin Adult Learning Center, and Norma Jean Dodge, Director of Business & Industry, will appear on the 2017 Chamber of Commerce “People of Distinction” calendar, and will be honored at its unveiling at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Liberal Chamber office in the Rock Island Depot. ACT college entrance tests will be administered Saturday at the Hobble Academic Building.  End-of-semester events, including the Resident Assistant Christmas party, Moonlight Finals Breakfast, and staff development plans for spring semester inservice sessions, are moving ahead as planned.

·       Donovan also reported that the offices of Financial Aid and the college Registrar will be “flipping” in mid-December, with both offices relocating to the others’ space. The new arrangement will provide more privacy for financial aid counseling, and adequate storage for the records maintained by the Registrar.

·       Dr. Trzaska reported on meetings with the Kansas Association of Community College Trustees, the Kansas Board of Regents, and the Council of Presidents. While concerns about the merger between Wichita State University and Wichita Area Technical College, with significant financial ramifications, continue to trouble community colleges, Trzaska said “at the very least, we need to share our voice, and learn to know the many new legislators in office.” Trzaska also encouraged college team members, trustees, and community stakeholders to take an active approach in speaking out about the importance of community colleges and adequate funding for their operation. Jan. 19, 2017, which is “Higher Ed Day” in Topeka, provides a great opportunity for advocacy.


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