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SCCC Board Meets High-Achieving Students, Approves New IT Position

Joe Denoyer - May 8, 2019 3:59 pm


By Rachel Coleman

Construction will cause road closure this summer

Students claimed the spotlight at the Seward County Community College Board of Trustees May 6 meeting, as SCCC Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Todd Carter introduced high achievers from journalism and the industrial tech division.

“The Crusader students have done some fantastic work this year,” he said, introducing Michele Mattich, Annette Meza, Rubi Gallegos, and Monica Gonzalez. “You’ve seen some of the awards they’ve won, and the most recent is their first place, All-Kansas website award. That is in competition with the four-year universities, and it’s a fantastic achievement. They also won the Snow Distinguished college website, which puts them in the top 10 percent in the nation.”

Carter added that Gonzalez and Gallegos collaborated on a story about the college’s auto-body program. “It’s been picked up by Auto Body News magazine, and will be published nationally,” he said.

The four student journalists received a round of applause from board members and the executive team. Sue Sprenkle, a career journalist and photographer who has worked internationally, is the program instructor.

Scott Lickteig, drafting instructor and club sponsor for Skills USA, brought the students who won state championships to the board meeting.

“This year we took 14 members in five disciplines, came home with seven medals and a state champion,” he said. “Judson Casey is our machine tool tech student who won a silver medal, and the gold champion in precision machining. I’m really thrilled.”

Moving to regular agenda items, the board heard an update about Enrollment Management from Dean of Students Annette Hackbarth-Onson. She reported that admissions has seen an increase in Kansas applications, though she cautioned that “applications are not the same as enrollment, so we have to keep an eye on that.”

“We’re seeing a trend of more students enrolled at part-time status,” she said.

Chief Development Officer Tano Tovilla brought an update about fundraising efforts following the successful groundbreaking ceremony for the Sharp Family Champions Center.

“We are continuing to raise funds for Phase 2 of that project, and we hope to do it in the next three months,” he said.

Other major projects in the development office include sale of a property donated by High Plains Pizza, with funds to serve as seed money for an athletic scholarship endowment, and a pending partnership agreement with Seaboard Foods, creating a pathway for employee education.

College president Dr. Ken Trzaska added further information about efforts to build the athletics scholarship endowment.

“For us to do this, as a college, we will need our coaches and individual fundraising efforts to work together,” he said. “Our coaches have been very savvy about how to make the most of what they have available now, and we recognize that that there isn’t necessarily a correlation between full-ride scholarships and winning — but we also want the teams and coaches to have meaningful support.”

EduKan CEO Esther LaHargue brought a report, describing the consortium’s progress as “tremendous,” with a 20 percent increase in enrollment. She also noted the organization has “an aggressive strategic vision” framed around growth as the eight founding institutions have decreased to four.

“We are continuing to look for strategic alignment within the organization, looking for new partnerships with colleges who want to join our consortium. It’s a very exciting time,” she said. “I’m very proud of the work we do and the continued growth.”

Chief Information Officer Louie Lemert presented a comprehensive report on his department’s history, function, and future. The surge in technology has left the IT department at SCCC understaffed; the six-person team has not added members in the last 13 years despite major changes like the addition of the former technical school, an increase in the use of technology in the classroom and meeting statutory requirements has left the IT department dramatically understaffed.

“The idea is to bring someone in to remove the overflow that has fallen to the network and system administrators, releasing them to perform their duties.”

Lemert recommended the creation of an additional help desk position, followed by some internal restructuring of IT to create a dedicated three-person tier 1 help desk. The board unanimously approved the position, with a start date set for July 2019.

In a related item, the board discussed and approved restructuring the college’s internet and phone services. Following a recommendation from Lemert, the board opted to purchase internet services from United Communications and SWKO in an amount not to exceed $80,422 for the initial year. This will increase internet bandwidth, replace the more costly services offered by ATT, and save the college more than a quarter million dollars over the next five years.

In other business, the board:

  • Voted to accept the personnel report, which included resignations from cosmetology instructor Amanda Schwab and computer information systems instructor Tyler Parks. Open positions at SCCC include Diesel Technology Instructor, KSBDC Liberal Business Consultant, Automotive Technology Instructor, Math Resource Center Coordinator, Chemistry and Mathematics Instructor, Director of Adult Basic Education, GED Instructor, Nursing Clinical Instructor, Maintenance Summer Help, Adjunct Instructors, Director of the Bookstore, Director of Athletics, and Advising Coordinator. Several open positions have closed the application stage and are in the interview process, thus not currently listed.
  • Approved the updates to and name change of Board Policy Series No. 502, Investment of Public Moneys by Seward County Community College as presented.
  • Adopted a Conflict of Interest Policy as presented.
  • Voted unanimously to proceed with adding a trustee position to create a seven member board of trustees. The plan will be implemented at the next community college elections with the election being an “election-at-large method.”
  • Approved purchase of a theater lift from Fastenal of Liberal for the low bid of $10,867.37. The decision was based on the fact that the SCCC welding program would not have been able to build the lift to accommodate ADA requirements. This lift is one of the capital lease items approved more than a year ago.
  • Heard reports from all five members of the executive team, highlighting end-of-semester activities. VP Sander reported that sewer line work on the Colvin Family Center for Allied Health will require road closure north of the cosmetology building during the summer.
  • Met in three separate executive sessions to discuss contract renewal and nonrenewal of specific professional employees, as well as information relative to contract renewal of non-elected personnel. No action was taken as the result of the sessions.

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