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SCCC Trustees Approve Faculty Contracts, Combs as Dean

Joe Denoyer - May 9, 2017 12:27 pm


In a quick second meeting for the month, the Seward County Community College Board of Trustees met Monday to take care of several routine business items for summer projects and the upcoming academic year. 

Dr. Todd Carter, Vice President of Academic Affairs, brought the recommendation to the board that contracts be renewed for all full-time faculty. The action is in compliance with the relevant Kansas statutes. Continued employment of faculty was approved 4-0, with two trustees —vice-chair Marvin Chance, Jr., and Casey Mein —absent. Several faculty positions remain open, and can be viewed at the website under the “Faculty/Staff” tab, and the “Human Resources” listing for employment.

In a related item, the board unanimously approved the naming of Travis Combs as Dean of Industrial Technology. Combs, who has served as the Director of Adult Basic Education at the Colvin Adult Learning Center, took on additional duties during the 2016/17 academic year as interim dean of the industrial technology division. 

“The Executive Team is recommending that Mr. Combs be named as the full-time dean of both divisions,” said Dr. Ken Trzaska, SCCC President. “He will continue to supervise a director of Adult Basic Education, and that position will be listed for applicants starting right away.”

The board moved on to put two key projects in motion during the summer — new sound systems in both the Greenhouse gymnasium and the Showcase Theater, and new lighting in the latter. Following a detailed presentation by Chief Information Officer J.J. Widener and Network Administrator Doug Browne, the board approved the low bid of $261,037.26 from DPG/Glazer Pro Audio. 

The new systems will replace equipment that is 40 years old, and Widener said his team had worked to ensure the sound quality in both venues will “blow our socks off in the Greenhouse, and ensure our theater and musical productions are high quality.” To design the system, all bidding vendors interviewed stakeholders, visited campus, and worked closely with Widener’s team.

Trzaska, speaking to the board, noted that the project, which tackles two architecturally complicated spaces, has proven to be filled with dynamic challenges.

“This project has been on the table for 10 years, and has moved at kind of a glacial pace because it is so complex,” he said. “A lot of people have put a lot of hard work into getting this moving. Every year, we have one month, July, when we don’t have activities on campus, faculty are mostly gone, and we can get this updated.” Because of the time constraints, Trzaska said, it was critical to move ahead with a decision early in May.  The board voted 4-0 to approve the DPG/Glazer bid for  the sound and light project. 

SCCC will need five updated classrooms in August, with the introduction of 10 BlendFlex classes. The new course delivery method allows students to access courses in ways that allow flexibility and meet them at their point of need, . The board examined bids for the high-tech upgrades that enable instructors to deliver courses face-to-face in traditional lectures, through online “opt-in” sessions for live participation from remote sites, and a hybrid, “on-demand” model that enables students to complete necessary course components on their own schedule. These include recorded lectures, online forum discussions, and assignment completion. 

“The three approaches will be interchangeable, so that if a student’s work schedule changes, or a family situation arises, it’s still possible to learn and succeed,” noted Vice President of Finance and Operations, Dennis Sander. 

Following the installation of a first, functional classroom, specs were developed to bid out the other four that are needed. The board voted 4-0 to award the project to the low bidder, Technology For All, Inc., of Liberal, for $26,699.30. The classrooms should be completed in time for the fall semester. 

The trustees tabled a project to repair ice storm and plumbing damages to the “Mansions” building in the Student Living Center after discussion about the project parameters. Board chair Ron Oliver asked that the project rework the factors that led to the water damage in the first place. He also expressed concerns about the lack of a private door for one of the bathrooms. 

Vice President of Student Services Celeste Donovan confirmed that one of the bathrooms in that living space requires a person to come out to the commons area in order to access the shower. For the situation to be remedied, said Director of Facilities Roger Scheib, “we’d have to hire an architect and get the fire marshall out to inspect it, and it will cost between $80,000 and $100,000.”

“I want to get this situation in the dorm fixed right,” said Oliver, “but I don’t want to spend $100,000 to get a door cut in a wall.” Oliver asked the department to collect more information, including estimates from different architects, and report back at the May 23 meeting. In the meantime, the board voted to table the item. 

The board’s next meeting is a work session scheduled for May 23.


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