SCCC Board Names Hickman as Dean of Industrial Tech
Joe Denoyer - February 13, 2020 10:04 am
By Rachel Coleman
Seward County Community College’s industrial technology division will see a familiar face in a new role, following the SCCC Board of Trustees meeting Feb. 3. The board approved promotion of energy program chair Chris Hickman to the dean position, effective immediately. Hickman, who has taught at the college since 2011, is a Navy veteran, former NOAA employee and recipient of the NISOD award for excellence in teaching. During his tenure at SCCC, he has instructed students in HVAC, Process Technology, and a wide variety of industrial tech’s core courses. In addition, he serves as the principal investigator for the college’s three-year grant from the National Science Foundation for expansion of the corrosion program.
“We’re very pleased that Mr. Hickman was open to the possibility of taking on the responsibilities of the dean position, and happy to announce he has accepted the job,” said SCCC’s vice president of academic affairs, Dr. Joe McCann.
Handling a light agenda, the board also discussed and approved steps to reassign a bid awarded to ConvergeOne for hyper-converged infrastructure in the college’s computer network.
“We have been trying to get a statement of work from them since mid-December, when they came to look at our network,” said SCCC Chief Information Officer Louie Lemert. “It’s been continual missed deadlines. In order for this work to be done in a timely manner, I’m requesting that the board rescind the bid.”
Following a brief executive session requested by SCCC Counsel Kerry McQueen, the board voted unanimously (with board chair Ron Oliver absent) to rescind the verbal contract based on the bid awarded to Converge One in November 2019. The board then approved the secondary bid submitted by Nutanix, contingent upon the resolution of the former. The motion carried 6-0.
In reports submitted by deans, directors and vice presidents, the board heard the following information items:
• Dean of Students Annette Hackbarth-Onson brought updates from the Enrollment Management Mover Team. Early reports for spring enrollment put SCCC approximately equal to fall in credit hours, although head count is slightly lower. More than two thirds of SCCC students enrolled in fall courses returned for spring, “which is high, compared to other institutions,” Hackbarth-Onson noted.
• Athletic Director Dan Artamenko reported that recent snowfall prompted appreciation for the newly-constructed Sharp Family Champions Center, where he said “the teams are rocking in there to practice despite the weather.” Local code inspectors informed the college that until public restrooms are added to the facility, it cannot be used by off-campus patrons. However, one option may be the use of port-a-potty units until Phase 2 of the project can begin.
• College president Dr. Ken Trzaska brought a report about the SCCC Development Office, which will hold its annual meeting at 11:30 a.m. Feb. 26. An offer has been extended to a prospective Chief Development Officer, with the Foundation pledging to pay 75 percent of the salary.
• CIO Lemert updated the board on the campus-wide wireless system, which is running smoothly with the two Internet Service Providers (ISPs) approved in 2019. The remaining “bottlenecks” are caused by access points, and he will continue to explore solutions. The security camera system is nearing completion, with additional cameras installed across campus.
• Vice President of Student Services Celeste Donovan listed the many student activities offered during Homecoming and the Super Bowl weekend, and the impending student satisfaction survey, which the college implements every four years. New software in the financial aid office has improved the scholarship-award process, and will be rolled out in October 2020.
• Vice President McCann provided a summary of new United States Department of Education policies that could affect SCCC. A committee that includes USD 480 representatives and SCCC team members Luke Dowell and Norma Jean Dodge have completed a comprehensive “regional needs” assessment, which was submitted Feb. 1. Board vice-chair Marvin Chance Jr. asked for the SCCC representatives to provide dates and deadlines for follow-up work on the DOE requirements.
• Vice President of Finance and Operations Dennis Sander provided an overview of work his office done to provide information to the Kansas Association of Community College Trustees CEO Heather Morgan for lobbying at the state level. Because of requirements in the SB155/“Excellence in CTE” legislation, the college is documenting coursework that comes with “extraordinary costs.”
• Sander also updated the board on facilities projects. Sidewalks will continue to be added to campus, weather permitting, at the Sharp Family Champions Center and along the west curve of JoAnn Sharp (circle) Drive. A healthy options food and coffee kiosk will be completed in the bookstore area over spring break. The end of winter will also bring more tree-planting and grounds improvements, including a courtyard gazebo and a pergola on the walking trail system.
• In regard to the Epworth Building — formerly used by the SCCC Allied Health division — Sander promised the board a recommendation for the property at the March meeting. “The primary move under consideration is for Colvin Adult Learning courses to go into that space,” he said.
• In his report, Dr. Trzaska focused on legislative opportunities and the ongoing initiatives at the state capitol to expand cost-free access to community colleges for graduates of Kansas high schools. He also updated the board on steps the college will take to comply with the handful of improvement instructions issued by the Higher Learning Commission accreditation team.
• Trzaska also announced a plan to invest $33,000 in Wellness Center improvements, including new equipment and an update to the bathrooms throughout the Student Union building. The project is being considered for funding through the SCCC Foundation, “and shows the strong work that the Foundation does to support the college’s growth and development,” he said.
The board adjourned at 8:45 p.m. The next Board of Trustees meeting is scheduled for March 2, 2020, in the SCCC board room. View the agenda and archives of previous meetings at sccc.edu > about > board of trustees.