The Western Oklahoma State College’s Board of Regents convened for its regularly scheduled meeting on April 21, 2015, at 7:30 p.m. in the Higher Learning Center at the college.
Dr. Phil Birdine introduced guests in attendance who included Lisa Greenlee, Vice President for Academic and Student Support Services; Tricia Latham, Vice President for Business Affairs; John Phelan, Faculty Senate President; Jimmy Poe, Safety and Security Coordinator; Chad Wiginton, Dean of Student Support Services; Briar Jenkins, Secretary to the President and Judith Meyer, Director of Public Information.
John Phelan began the meeting with the Faculty Senate report. Phelan announced that the Faculty Senate elected senators for the next academic year, which marks the third year of the senate’s operation. He also mentioned that a plan to implement administrative evaluations has been tabled until the project is further developed. Phelan also said that the faculty is completing a survey that will determine individual placement on the Curriculum, Assessment and Program Review Committees. Phelan shared that Mike Tucker, English Faculty, will serve as interim Faculty Senate President during the summer months.
The consent docket containing the minutes from the January 22nd regular meeting, the February 17th special meeting and the expenditure comparison report were voted on and approved.
Tricia Latham presented a proposal regarding a possible residence hall rate increase for FY16. Latham said that an increase is necessary to keep up with the expenses in the residence hall for maintenance and upkeep and to collect enough for an anticipated increase in food service contracted rates. The $250 increase request equates to a 6.25% increase in the annual room and board rate. The proposed increase would keep Western below the average rate for community colleges and still the second lowest room and board rate in the state. The board voted on and approved the proposal.
Latham then presented a request to transfer $1,500,000 from the Education and General fund, and encumbering $250,000 of the Capital Fund reserve for projects deemed critical in nature. The projects are estimated at $1,689,662. Projects include roof replacement and repairs for three areas of the college, two remodeling projects and two air handling unit replacements. She also requested approval to begin the project planning phase and formal bidding process for these proposed projects. The board voted on and approved the proposals.
Lisa Greenlee introduced Chad Wiginton and Jimmy Poe, who presented a request for approval of a new Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy. The policy follows the recommendations made to Western by its internal auditors, Crawford and Associates, as required by Title IX. Wiginton and Poe began writing the policy a year ago and consulted many state and federal sources to complete the policy. Wiginton commented on the need for ongoing education and training for the campus regarding the proposed policy. The board voted on and approved the policy.
Lisa Greenlee proposed changes to the Scholarship/Financial Aid Appeals Committee in the Employee Handbook to better reflect the current function of the committee. The changes came as a result of pre-HLC Comprehensive Visit committee reviews. The board voted on and approved the changes.
Greenlee proposed degree plan modifications for the Cooperative Alliance Programs. In January 2014, Western was one of 18 Oklahoma institutions that received a letter from the Higher Learning Commission mandating changes to the current Cooperative Alliance Program (CAP). Western conferred with the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education to determine if its CAP programs should be modified, suspended or deleted from the college’s curriculum. Western determined to suspend Applied Technology Options for: Construction, Drafting, Manufacturing, Transportation, Agricultural Power, Diversified Technology and Graphics/Communication. Fire Technology is also suspended until a qualified instructor is found for the program. The Nursing, Office Systems Technology, Criminal Justice, Aviation Mechanic and Radiologic Technology programs remain the same but will be modified through Prior Learning Assessments for CAP. The proposed changes will need to be finalized with the state regents. The board voted on and approved the proposal.
Greenlee concluded with a request for the deletion of Western’s Associate of Arts Degree Program. The art program was suspended in 2012 due to the lack of a full-time faculty member and low amounts of majors and graduates. According to the state regents, a program can be suspended for three years only. Western’s Curriculum Committee feels that the Art Program will continue to be a low producing program and has decided to delete it from the curriculum. Art courses will still be offered as humanities electives required on the Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degree programs and for community enrichment. The board voted on and approved the request.
Phil Birdine presented the President’s report and recommendations. He announced that Western drafted a response to the Higher Learning Commission’s Comprehensive Report conducted in February. Birdine informed the board that the Executive Council will appear before the HLC’s Institutional Action Committee May 12. The Comprehensive Report will be reviewed by the IAC, and Western’s status will be determined at that time. Birdine said he expects a positive outcome at the hearing.
Birdine also updated the board on a recent student appeal concerning a claim of discrimination. He said that Western was not at fault in the claim and that the student’s opportunity to appeal the ruling has expired. An additional appeal is being filed by the student regarding grades. Birdine told the board he would report later on that outcome.
Birdine introduced Chad Wiginton who presented information about a new student leadership initiative. The Western Navigators primary functions would be to support student retention, community service and campus involvement. The group would meet monthly and require a 3.0 GPA, mentoring of five incoming freshmen throughout the academic year, 10 hours of community service per semester, membership in at least one student organization, and involvement in a minimum of five campus activities per semester. Navigators would also be awarded six hours of tuition waiver per semester.
Birdine briefed the board on Western baseball’s current status as #3 in the nation for NJCAA Division II teams, with a 36 – 4 record and a #1 ranking in the conference.
The board convened in executive session at 8:52 p.m.
At 9:23 p.m. the board reconvened for the discussion of personnel matters. The employments of Jennifer Patterson, Animal Science Faculty and Justin Carpenter, Upward Bound Academic Coordinator were approved. The personnel resignations of Kim Zachary, Computer Science Faculty and Tanner Hopkins, Animal Science Faculty were approved. The recommendation for tenure for Casey Podoll, English/Speech Faculty was also approved.
The board adjourned at 9:24 p.m.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Western Board of Regents is June 9, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. in Higher Learning Center at the college.