Business instructor Lisa Kennedy thanked the board of trustees at Monday night’s regular meeting for a professional development grant that enabled her to complete her master’s degree from Fort Hays State University. Kennedy also reported on a community outreach project sponsored by ENACTUS, the student business and entrepreneurship group that she supervises. “We’re calling it E-Closet, because it will empower, embrace and educate disadvantaged women who are transitioning to the workforce,” Kennedy said. The service will include a career closet with gently used, donated business clothing, resumé help, interview practice and personal makeover services provided through the SCCC/ATS cosmetology department. “We’re excited to step up and make a difference in the community,” she said.
Director of adult education Travis Combs presented an overview of the Colvin Adult Learning Center’s programs, budget and strategies. “Kansas leads the nation in adult education students who are enrolled in technical education credential programs,” Combs said, and as the second-largest program in the state (second only to Kansas City), the Colvin Center is a significant contributor to the numbers. Even so, Combs said, there’s always room to improve. “Every year when we submit our grant requests, we have to aim higher,” he said. “We can never go below the levels of the previous year.”
Division chair Dale Doll noted that he’d asked the three to report, “because they know their projects better than I do, and I wanted them to bring that passion to the board.” Chairman Ron Oliver thanked the instructors for going through the details and providing written reports, which ranged from data analysis of student exit interviews to score comparisons in key subjects. “I think it’s neat that this new strategy is being used,” he said. “You do a lot of work, but sometimes it seems no one’s paying attention.” By updating the goals for the board, he noted, the action plans are transformed into a dynamic, working document. “We kind of brainstormed with the coaches and adjuncts who teach those courses, and came up with some great ways to define what we expect,” math chair Luke Dowell said. One notable new course is the upcoming “Concepts of Health and Wellness,” which includes content on nutrition, exercise, relationships, drinking and other topics “that we’ve seen, across the nation, college students weren’t getting educated to manage.” Dowell said the science division has worked to align its standard course offerings and names with those commonly used at four-year institutions, so that student who plan to transfer can do so smoothly.
As part of a quarterly report about SCCC/ATS institutional goals, Dean of Student Services Celeste Donovan outlined efforts to increase student recruitment through the use of social media. “In the admissions department, we’ve put together a plan to create more awareness of the college, engage our current and future students, and increase enrollment,” she said. “We have some new, younger staff members in admissions and they’ve brought some fresh ideas.”
In a written report, Athletic Director Galen McSpadden presented information to the trustees about the possibility of adding another athletic program as part of the institutional goals to increase enrollment. “If we want to add a new sport, we will have to make that decision in November,” Dunn said. Trustees will review the information about potential additions to the Saints’ athletic activities including scholarship requirements, travel, insurance, and salaries as well as potential interest of students from the region.
Dean Donovan shared final numbers about fall enrollment, which indicates an increase over last fall in both number of students and credit hours enrolled. The most growth came from students younger than 18, many of them enrolled in concurrent or career program high school coursework. Additionally, students from Seward County increased this academic year by six percent. On-campus activities have begun to intensify, with the formation of a new Industrial Technology club, a horticulture club, and increased participation in student events. The Hispanic Heritage Month jalapeno-eating contest brought a crowd of more than 100 people to watch the 15 participants. International students claimed the top honors, with a student from Russia in first place and a student from Nigeria in second. “It’s an honor and we’re very proud of her,” Sander said.
The board voted to attend a joint board of trustees meeting with officials from Dodge City Community College and Garden City Community College Dec. 1 in Dodge City. Because that meeting overlaps with a regular SCCC/ATS trustee meeting, the board rescheduled that month’s meeting for Dec. 3 (a Wednesday).