By Jessica LeDuc
Blade staff writer
The Cloud County Community College board of trustees approved the hiring of William Backlin as the new vice president for academic affairs Tuesday night.
Backlin, who comes to Cloud from North Iowa Area Community College in Mason City, Iowa, will begin his duties on November 1.
College President Danette Toone said the hiring of Backlin came to the board with her full support, as well as that of the search committee.
"Dr. Backlin was far and away the number one selection of everyone," Toone said. "He has a great background that I think is going to be an amazing fit for Cloud."
Backlin received a doctoral degree in Philosophy: Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Iowa State University, and a master's degree from the University of Northern Iowa. Since 2011, he has been the chair of Arts and Sciences Divisions at North Iowa Area Community College.
He has been in the education field for 34 years, as a public school faculty member, adjunct faculty member, and dean of evening classes at North Iowa Area Community College.
Backlin said he is very excited to join the Cloud team.
"My wife and I were absolutely charmed by this campus and the people," he said. "When I met with the faculty and staff, I was absolutely overwhelmed by the student focus you have here."
Backlin will replace Kim Krull, who left Cloud this summer to take the position of president at Butler County Community College. He will begin his duties Nov. 1 at a salary of $81,500, plus benefits.
During her president's report, Toone said the 20-day numbers show that enrollment is down at the college a little more than 10 percent.
"We had budgeted for an eight-percent reduction, so this did not come as a big surprise for us," she said.
In an effort to reverse the trend, Toone said the college is working to strengthen its processes and procedures, and expanding the college's technological offerings. She said staff are also working at targeted efforts in terms of recruitment.
"We're making sure that we are focusing our recruitment efforts in the best possible way we can," Toone said.
Kim Reynolds, executive director of the college foundation reported that the fall fundraising campaign came to an end Tuesday. Last year, 47 percent of the faculty and staff participated in the giving campaign, raising $22,098. Reynolds said her goal this year was to increase the participation, and raise $25,000.
With 63-percent participation this year, she said $31,885 was raised for scholarships.
During facilities updates, Vice President for Administrative Services Bob Maxson said Cloud has developed a substation technician training program as part of the wind energy program.
Because of the aging workforce, the electrical industry has found that there will be a high demand for employees in the electrical substation field in the near future. Cloud has partnered with Westar Energy to build a training substation on campus. Maxson said Westar will be donating a substation to the college to train students. It will be located south of Thunder Heights, and be a 100'x100' fenced-in area with a rock base. Cloud wind energy students will be involved in building the fence, pouring the foundation and helping assemble the substation, Maxson said.
He also said he is looking at building a new gravel access road off 140th Road to access the new substation, as well as the wind turbines and horse barns.
Funding for the installation of the substation will come from from the turbine repair fund, Maxson said.
No action was taken after a 30-minute executive session to discuss negotiations.