Following a tour of the area technical school facilities at Seward County Community College/Area Technical School, the Board of Trustees met Tuesday, Sept. 7 to discuss the English and Science programs and hear a variety of reports.
The latest changes at the area technical school that are nearly complete are the resurfacing of the interior parking lot, newly remodeled classrooms and bathrooms, new tile, new doors and windows and a new snack bar area. The Automotive Business Management program now has a new parts store, instructional lab and classroom area, which had been the bookstore and a conference room. This program not only trains students in the skills for careers in retail sales and parts inventory, but also provides parts for other technical programs.
Celeste Donovan, dean of student services reported that headcount enrollment at the area technical school is down slightly with final enrollment yet to be determined; however, credit hour enrollment is up from last year including more high school students in a number of different technical programs. Credit-hour enrollment is up college-wide as well with an increase in full-time students from last year.
Dr. Steve Cauble, board chair, congratulated the college on its ranking as 33rd in the nation by the Washington Monthly.
The data used in the ranking is based on the Community College Survey for Student Engagement as well as the graduation rate of those students who continue their education and graduate from a four-year college or university. Students who completed the survey, said Donovan, said the faculty and staff care about their success both in and out of the classroom. SCCC/ATS students also participate in more activities than many other community colleges nationwide.
“We also have one of the highest graduation rates in the nation of those students who transfer to a four-year institutions,” said Dr. Duane Dunn, SCCC/ATS president. That data was obtained by the Washington Monthly through a national database of student information compiled by the U.S. Department of Education.
Tammy Doll, director of development, gave an overview of the SCCC/ATS Foundation Auction set for 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 25 at the Seward County Event Center on the Fairgrounds. The event is $20 per person and tickets must be purchased in advanced. National Beef is donating the beef and Seaboard Farms the pork.
Doll showed the board some of the items that have been donated to the auction.
The board approved one additional item for the auction. The college will auction the rights to name the circle drive for one year. Minimum bid would be $500 and the sign would recognize the winner for one year. Both the foundation and college boards must approve the name for the sign. President Dunn expressed appreciation to the Foundation Board for establishing a unique auction item and the Trustees for their support of the concept.
The board approved the program review for both the English and Science programs, with the next reviews scheduled for five years.
Changes in the English program over the past five years include the merger of the English and Developmental departments, the reconfiguration of the developmental writing course sequence and the addition of a Poetry Coffeehouse and Xtreme Challenge Writing Contests.
Meeting the challenges of an increasing population of underprepared students continues to be a challenge of the English Department.
Writing Across the Curriculum is second to none across the country, said Dale Doll, division chair. The department has worked hard to develop Writing Across the Curriculum and they have seen a tremendous amount of success. The department also has a strong placement program. In 2008-09 the National Council of Instructional Administrators recognized the college’s work with its Writing Artifact Assessment Process.
Over the past five years, the Science Department has improved its lab areas, updated software and hardware, added an IR spectrometer and gas chromatography in the chemistry labs, and introduced hybrid courses.
Plans for the future include aligning the one-year biology program with four-year institutions, investigating the addition of an environmental studies program for the department; and developing a five-hour Anatomy and Physiology course for the allied health programs.
The board approved an Interlocal Cooperation Agreement for the operation of EduKan, the six-community college consortium that offers courses and degrees online. The original six community colleges will be the founding members and all new members will be known as associate members. EduKan was created in 2002 by SCCC/ATS and Pratt, Dodge City, Garden City, Barton County and Colby community colleges to offer online general education courses.
EduKan also offers Associate in General Studies, Associate in Arts, Associate in Science and Associate in Applied Science to its students, which was approved by the Higher Learning Commission that accredits community colleges. The Commission must approve any additional degrees prior to one being offered. The SCCC/ATS board approved the placement of this information with all information about the college’s accreditation.
New faculty introduced to the board were Don Hayes, Biology; David Ingle, Diesel Technology; Michael Jameson, Diesel Technology; Laurel Lahita, Nursing; and Allison Owens, assistant Volleyball coach.
Ingle showed the Automotive Service Excellence plaque to the board that they received recently. The Diesel and Automotive technology programs have received ASE certification and the Auto Body Collision Repair program is scheduled for an ASE certification visit this fall.
Donovan reported on a new “At Risk” program that allows anyone on campus to email the At Risk Committee if they feel a student is at risk. Students can be at risk academically or due to family, personal, financial or physical issues.
Dunn presented the board with information on enrollment in the 19 Kansas Community Colleges. Although the data shows a 13 percent increase in enrollment during the 2009-10 school year, the state aid decreased by 9 percent.
Overall the community colleges serves over 50 percent of the students in public higher education and delivers over 80 percent of postsecondary technical education in Kansas.
In other action, the board
1. Approved the hiring of Michael Jameson, Diesel Technology instructor; and Allison Owens, assistant Volleyball Coach; and
2. Approved a change to the Identity Theft Prevention Policy.
The next board meeting is Monday, Oct. 4 in the board room.
The group that is assisting the college with a long-range land and facility use plan will be on campus Oct. 4-7 to meet with students, staff, board members and area residents to obtain ideas and feedback.