The Western Board of Regents met for its regularly scheduled meeting on October 21, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. in the Higher Learning Center at the college. Guests in attendance included Dr. Phil Birdine, Western President; Lisa Greenlee, Vice President for Academic and Student Support Services; Tricia Latham, Vice President of Business Affairs; Chad Wiginton, Dean of Student Support Services; John Phelan, Faculty Senate President; Liz Wallace, chemistry faculty; Matt Craig, science faculty; Casey Podoll, English faculty; Heather Hood, Controller; Craig Legener, CPA with Stanfield and Odell; Western students Cade Drury and Shawna Dale; Student Senate Officers: Makenna Staggs, Chase Castillo, Emily Howard, Breann Mckillip, Foster Ford, Cassandra Boyd, Stephen Burns, Mikayla Jo Balderas, Katelynn Schumaker and Hannah Southard; Briar Jenkins, Secretary to the President and Judith Meyer, Director of Public Information.
Chad Wiginton began the meeting by presenting the WOSC Student Senate Officers for the 2014-15 academic year. Wiginton told the board that earlier this month, members of the Student Senate attended the OSRHE Student Leadership Retreat in Norman. The students met Chancellor, Glen Johnson and Former Lt. Governor, Jari Askins, and attended keynote messages designed to enhance their leadership abilities.
Tricia Latham introduced Craig Legener, CPA with Stanfield and Odell for the report and response to Western’s annual external audit for fiscal year 2014.The firm issued an unqualified report with no material weaknesses or findings issued regarding financial statements, federal awards or major programs. Latham continued by highlighting some of the financial items reported. The board voted to accept the audit report.
John Phelan gave the Faculty Senate Report. Phelan shared that 15 faculty and staff members attended the Oklahoma Association of Community Colleges (OACC) Annual Conference, October 9-10 in Midwest City. He then introduced Western students Cade Drury and Shawna Dale. The two were recently chosen by the college’s Service Learning and Community Engagement Committee to represent Western on the Oklahoma Study Abroad trip to the Dominican Republic in May 2015. The trip is sponsored by the Oklahoma Global Ed Consortium, an entity of OACC. Fourteen Oklahoma two-year institutions will send 26 students to the Dominican Republic for cultural, service learning, humanities and volunteer experiences. Phelan also informed the board of the faculty members currently serving on the Faculty Senate. Casey Podoll, Matt Craig and Liz Wallace, faculty senate representatives, were introduced to the board.
The consent docket containing the minutes from the August 19, 2014 meeting and the expenditure comparison report were voted on and approved by the board.
Lisa Greenlee presented a proposal regarding an amendment to the college’s Missing Student Policy and Procedure. Greenlee recommended a proposed update to Western’s current policy in order to fully comply with the U.S. Department of Education Standards under the Cleary Act. Verbiage is proposed that information regarding missing students, “be accessible only to authorized campus officials and may not be disclosed except to law enforcement personnel in furtherance of a missing person investigation.” The board voted on and approved the change.
Greenlee continued with a proposal to change committee descriptions in Western’s Employee Handbook. The proposed changes would align committee descriptions with the Faculty Senate Constitution that was approved earlier this year and rename the Strategic Plan Review Committee as the Strategic Planning Committee. The board voted on and approved the proposal.
Greenlee also presented a proposal regarding Western’s Project Lead the Way Agreement with Southwest Technology Center (SWTC). The Biomed/STEM program has provided college level courses in math and science to the high school students participating. Per the original agreement, students attended courses on the SWTC campus that were taught by Western faculty. In order to give the students a more authentic college experience, an amendment to the agreement proposed that those courses now be taught on Western’s campus. This change also required an amendment to the cost agreement between the college and SWTC. Greenlee stated, “These changes would strengthen the program and make better use of the college’s resources.” The board voted on and approved the changes to the agreement.
Greenlee concluded with an update regarding Western’s progress as it prepares for its Comprehensive Visit from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) in February 2015. She reported that the comprehensive report draft is finished and has been sent to the college’s consultants for review. Once a campus-wide read-in has been scheduled for October 31, the report will be completed by the Thanksgiving holiday and presented for approval at the December board of regents meeting. The report is due to the HLC by December 15, 2014.
Phil Birdine presented the proposed schedule of regular meetings of the Western Board of Regents for the 2015 Calendar Year. The board voted on and approved the schedule.
Birdine continued with the President’s Report and Recommendations. He reported on the recent strategic planning sessions of October 1-2 with John Cooper of the Voorhees Group including the public forum that welcomed many community leaders to campus. The college is awaiting data reports reflecting information collected by the Voorhees Group. The data will further inform the development of the college’s new strategic plan due by January 2015. Birdine updated the board on Oklahoma proposed legislation that favors the approval of firearms on college campuses. He said he will continue to monitor the situation and keep the board apprised of any changes to state policy. He also reported on recent changes to the layout of Western’s gymnasium for the Fall 2014 basketball and conference season. In an effort to encourage sportsmanship and ensure the safety of Pioneer athletes, visiting athletes and sports fans, the athletes will now sit on the west side of the gym during games and fans will be required to sit on the east side of the gym. Birdine informed the regents that these kinds of changes are happening throughout the conference and reflect the conference’s attention to effectively maintaining an atmosphere of sportsmanship.
At 8:40 p.m. the board moved into executive session for the discussion of personnel and employment matters.
At 9:30 p.m. the board reconvened in open session with the approval of the personnel employment of Alysha Severn, Lawton Nursing Secretary and the consideration of a faculty member’s letter regarding retirement.
At 9:31p.m. the board adjourned.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Western Board of Regents will be December 9, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. in the Higher Learning Center at the college.