CCCC has slight increase in enrollment
As colleges across Kansas continue to experience a decline in enrollment, the Cloud County Community College board of trustees received the good news during its regular meeting Tuesday night that the numbers for the spring 2020 semester were up.
College president Dr. Adrian Douglas, during her report to the board, stated that enrollment was up by over 1.5 percent after census day. She said it was the first time enrollment has been up since 2012.
“I want to say a big thank you to our staff and all of those who have worked tirelessly to get us to this point--to keep our students in class and to keep them here, and to make sure that their bills are paid,” Douglas said, “A lot of energy goes into making that happen. So thank you to everyone, job well done.”
Pedro Leite, vice president for academic affairs student success, said that enrollment is up 1.67 percent.
“It has been down for quite some time. We are excited. It is not the growth we are hoping for, but it is a turn of the tide here,” Leite said, “It is easy for us to come here and brag about the numbers, but we really don't do the work-- we just come here and report numbers. We have our recruitment group, admissions office, business office, library, faculty, janitors, everybody helps. So recruitment and retention is everybody's job at Cloud.”
There were no action items on the agenda for the meeting.
Douglas said that the college is the recipient of an award from the Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR).
The Board of Regents was given $20,000 from the state of Kansas to be awarded to community college students in transfer programs.
KBOR awarded $5,000 each to four community colleges who have the highest performing students in the degree areas.
Cloud County will award five $1,000 scholarships.
Included in the consent agenda approved by the board during the meeting was the contract renewal for head wrestling coach Cody Cole.
Douglas announced the resignation of Jasen Pelkey, network administrator, effective February 27.
During her report to the board, Amber Knoettgen, vice president for administrative services, said that Facilities Programming and Consulting will visit the college to discuss updating the Facilities Master Plan.
Knoettgen presented a copy of the Facilities Master Plan completed by Bartlett & West & Places Architects in 2009.
“We haven't done anything on it,” Knoettgen said of the Master Plan, “This time will be different.”
Facilities Programming and Consulting did some data gathering and preliminary planning last fall to discuss the college's needs, and will return in March.
“They are going to assist us with a 'peel back the roof' look,” Knoettgen said.
There will be a workshop on campus to help put together a Master Plan that is realistic to the budget and resources available.
Knoettgen also reported that the college Foundation had received a $200,000 grant from the Sunderland Foundation to go towards the construction of an athletic training facility.
The proposed 20,860-square-foot facility would feature a full-size basketball court, weight room, track runway, multi-purpose area, storage and restroom to be used by all 12 athletic programs.
Knoettgen said the conception of the project began following the completion of the indoor baseball facility.
“One of the big donors of the baseball facility had given us more than what we had needed to complete the facility. What he wanted to see that money go for was a weight room,” Knoettgen said.
The Foundation has secured nearly $128,000 in additional funds for the project. The estimated cost is $1.1 million.
Should the project be completed, the college board would need to vote to accept it from the Foundation. The college would then assume the responsibility of the operating expenses.
Trustee Jim Koch raised some concerns about the fundraising effort and proposed construction of the athletic facility.
“Let me preface my comments by saying I am not necessarily opposed to the athletic facility, but I have a lot of concerns about how we are approaching this,” Koch said.
Koch said that he finds it disconcerting that the Foundation would raise money for a project to be given to the college, and only then would the college decide if they were going to accept it or not.
“That doesn't seem within the realm of reason to me,” Koch said, “It would seem to me that there should be a cooperative effort involving both the college and the Foundation, and the first step in that is I think it is the responsibility of the board of trustees to determine what our priorities are as far as building a facility. And if we determine that is our first priority, full steam ahead.”
Koch said that there needs to be more study done. He said that the budget figures on the project are somewhat dated, and that trustees have not addressed the operational costs of the facility and how they would be funded.
Douglas said that the college administration does work with the Foundation on determining how to move forward on a project like the athletic facility.
“That is in the operational piece of it. We do that as an administration. The board has set the direction for the college, which was done in the retreat the board had back in November of 2018,” Douglas said, “That is the realm in which we operate. When the board set the overall strategic direction, student experience was one of those categories, and this (athletic facility) falls under enhancing the student experience. So when you say that the Foundation is moving forward without college participation, that is not really what is happening.”
Knoettgen said that the operational costs for a new facility could be between $20,000 and $30,000 per year. She said some of that could be offset by the savings in electricity costs because of the solar farm.
Koch said he would have thought the board would have given the okay at some point to move forward with the athletic facility project.
The board met in seven separate executive sessions during the meeting, three for a total of 30 minutes to discuss non-elected personnel, three totaling 50 minutes for consultation with legal counsel and one for five minutes for negotiations.
Former vice president of academic affairs Nancy Zenger-Beneda addressed the board during guest comments to clarify something that had been stated during the January meeting.
Leite reported to the board in January that the college had been informed by KBOR that it would be losing 10 percent of its state funding because it had not met the terms of its performance agreement. He that his predecessor did not submit a performance agreement for approval report, data was missing and some of the numbers in the report were inaccurate.
Douglas met with KBOR on the matter, and the funding was reinstated.
Zenger-Beneda said that the performance agreements have traditionally been due July 15, and that during her tenure she had submitted every performance agreement on time.
“Though my contract, which was due to end June 30, notes the “reduction in force policy” would be used for eliminating a position, this policy was not followed and I was abruptly notified on May 7 that my position would be eliminated and then given two days following the job posting to apply for a newly combined position. A few days later, I was directed to be out of my office May 17, graduation day. My computer access was terminated at 5 p.m. on that same day,” Zenger-Beneda said “The performance agreement that was submitted late was due July 15, 2019, more than two months after I had left office. Thus, it was beyond my control to influence any internal or external outcomes regarding the report, even though references in your most recent board meeting may have been contrary to that fact.”
In May of 2019, board of trustees approved, by a vote a 4-2, reorganizational adjustments and personnel changes presented by Douglas. The number of administrative positions was reduced by one and a new position of vice president of academic affairs and student success was announced.
Leite was hired to the position effective June 1, 2019.