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SCCC Trustees Work Through Hefty Agenda at March 4 Meeting

Joe Denoyer - March 12, 2019 11:37 am

By Rachel Coleman

In a mammoth meeting that lasted well past 10:30 p.m., the Seward County Community College Board of Trustees worked through a hefty agenda March 4. Chief among the items was the approval of a construction contract for the Sharp Family Champions Center, which means dirt work will begin this month, weather-permitting.

“At the end of the day, it’s been a long road to get here,” said SCCC President, Dr. Ken Trzaska. “But through persistence and reframing our vision, we have phase one started.”

Plans for a public groundbreaking ceremony are being developed, and will be announced in the next few weeks.

The other big news at the meeting was an in-depth report from the Industrial Technology division with program reviews, action plans and budget recommendations.

“This is an important milestone,” said Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Todd Carter. “It’s the first time all the programs in Industrial Tech have been reviewed since the merger.”

Division heads from three main areas of study brought reports: Bree Downs for automotive trades, Butch Garst for manufacturing/drafting trades, and Chris Hickman for energy trades. Following the board’s unanimous approval of the reports, the corrosion program presented a progress and vision report for expansion and online access. The program’s Mentor Connect team, comprised of Dean Travis Combs, instructors Chris Hickman and Autry Coleman, and grant-writer Charity Horinek, with supporting participation by Business & Industry Director Norma Jean Dodge, summarized the ongoing process to secure a grant from the National Science Foundation.

“The goal is to take our corrosion program to the national level,” said Combs. “As one of only three community colleges offering this course of study, we have the potential to make a global impact.” Dodge noted that the college’s introduction of Blendflex classrooms, funded in part by the local PIE (Petroleum Industry Engineers) group, has contributed to the college’s ability to partner with business and industry players in the region.

Dean of Instruction Luke Dowell presented a program review for the HPERD (Health, Physical Education, Dance and Recreation) programs, which has undergone considerable change over the past few years owing to employee turnover. Overall, Dowell noted, steps have been taken to create consistency and collect useful data about student participation and performance. In the future, changing requirements will prompt further upgrades to the instruction methods and content of the courses. The board approved the report as presented.

Full copies of all program reviews presented at the board meeting are viewable at the SCCC library, or online at of trustees.

Continuing the reports for the evening, security supervisor Wendall Wehmeier gave an update for the Safety & Security Mover Team. Among the year’s projects are an updated flip chart for quick reference in emergency situations, replacing the cumbersome, quarter-inch-thick manual posted around campus. The team plans to implement an active-shooter drill over the summer. A fire drill occurred in January. Finally, the mover team has arranged for better lighting on pathways around campus, and is creating a poster to increase familiarity with security guards among students and team members.

Executive director of marketing and public relations Rachel Coleman brought a report about the Inclusivity & Civility Mover Team’s activities. The event, “Taste of Kansas” was a success, with more than 200 people attending the multicultural potluck meal hosted by the SCCC Library. The Mover Team has also spearheaded continuing educational efforts for the student body and team, bringing in speaker Blane Harding for the January professional development sessions. Finally, the recent Civil Rights Audit performed by the state of Kansas prompted a thorough review of many areas of campus.

Athletic Director Mike Davidson reported on the successes of the men’s and women’s basketball teams, which are in the running for the national tournament. Other spring sports have begun with at-home openings for softball and baseball. The athletic department continues to search for a sports information director, and marketing assistant Phil Lee is filling in for the duration. Upcoming events will include a dedication ceremony for the French Family Softball Field improvements at the softball complex.

Chief development officer Tano Tovilla reported the Foundation had received a bit more than $500,000 in previously pledged donations for the capital campaign during February. The main focus last month was the annual meeting, with around 50 Foundation Board of Governors members in attendance. The Foundation distributed $745,000 in scholarship funds in 2018. Tovilla expressed appreciation to SCCC Foundation President Duane Bozarth for mentoring him.

In other business, the board:

  • Set alternate dates for meetings in 2019: June 24, July 22, and Sept. 9, rather than the first Monday of those months.
  • Updated the 600 series of Board Policies relating to personnel matters, including performance appraisals, due process, sexual harassment and misconduct, use of college equipment, and updates to Family Medical Leave Act processes.
  • Approved and continued additional items in the 600 series of Board Policies covering professional grant developments, hiring, death benefits, drug free policy, intellectual property, and employee-student relationships.
  • Voted unanimously to return to the original language of the personnel-nepotism policy in Board Policy Series 613, which was revised in 2017. The original language specified that applicants may not be directly or indirectly supervised by a family member, and the 2017 revision removed “indirect“ from the policy. Though the board voted to restore the original policy it also states “the college reserves the right to review the situation on a case-by-case basis and make job assignments as practicable.”
  • Heard introductory discussion about future plans for the Epworth Allied Health Building, the Colvin Adult Learning Center, and the “old” dorms, which are currently used for storage. The information-only item brought possibilities to the table, and the board asked for more specific recommendations moving forward.
  • Approved the purchase of two vehicles, a fleet car and a vehicle for the college president. The board approved purchase of a 2019 Ford Fusion from Foss Motor Company of Liberal, for $19,100, and the purchase of a 2019 Cadillac XT4 AWD Premium Luxury from Lewis Cadillac of Liberal, Kansas, at a price of $45,131.95.
  • Approved the personnel report, which included the resignation of chemistry/math instructor Yongyao Zhou and assistant athletics director of communications Ian Applegate; retirements of advising coordinator Patsy Fischer and administrative assistant to the vice president of academic affairs Mary Beth Matkin; and hiring of Erika Espinoza as student support services academic and career advisor.
  • Applications are currently being accepted for a math resource center coordinator, instructional designer, diesel technology instructor, automotive technology instructor, KSBDC Liberal business consultant, financial aid officer, director of financial aid, English instructor, maintenance III/Custodian, and assistant athletic director of communications.
  • Approved a resolution to accept an interlocal agreement with the eduKan group, which has four partner colleges rather than six. Trzaska noted that SCCC has continued to see increases in enrollment through EduKan.
  • Accepted the FY18 Audit
  • After executive session a motion was made to allow Board Chair Ron Oliver the authority to negotiate the President’s contract and salary on behalf of the Board.
  • The Board Self-Evaluation, which had been scheduled to be conducted after the meeting was moved to April (due to time constraints).

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