The Cowley College Board of Trustees heard the good news about the school’s recent selection for the “High School: Pell ‘Dual Enrollment’ Program” during its monthly meeting May 16 at the college’s McAtee Dining Center.Cowley College

During Cowley College President Dennis Rittle’s update, he informed the board that the school recently was selected as one of only 44 post-secondary institutions across 23 states — and the only college in Kansas and Oklahoma — invited to participate in a pilot program that, for the first time, allows students taking college-credit courses to access Federal Pell Grants as early as high school.

As part of this pilot program, an estimated 10,000 high school students in the 2016-17 school year will have the opportunity to access approximately $20 million in Federal Pell Grants to take dual enrollment courses provided by colleges and high schools throughout the nation.

Rittle called the news of the college’s selection into the program “transformational.” He thanked Josh Cobble, Sally Palmer and Janice Stover for helping the college to be selected for the program out of hundreds of schools.

Rittle also thanked the board members who were able to attend the college’s commencement ceremonies and praised the work of the commencement subcommittees. He also discussed the services planned for former board member Lee Gregg Jr. and Dennis Strange, husband of Natural Sciences Department secretary Tammy Strange.

Board chair Dennis Shurtz recognized Ben Schears, vice president for institutional advancement, who was attending his final board meeting prior to becoming president at Northwest Kansas Technical College.

“The college has appreciated your 13 years of service,” Shurtz said. “We wish you the best and have no doubt you will be successful.”

Shurtz also praised the work done by Kristi Shaw, director of student life, in making the honors and awards banquet a success, and spoke highly of the commencement ceremonies and the work done by the staff for the dual enrollment program.

Board member Bob Juden also praised the 19th annual Duck Dash event on May 14.

In other business, the board:

  • approved fiscal officers of the college to execute payment of all bills and claims as presented, with general operating funds of $464,225.59, financial aid funds of $170,289.27 and Foundation funds of $13,726.39.
  • acknowledged receipt of the resignation of trustee Jim Ramirez, effective May 3.
  • approved the request to place a publication of notice of vacancy for the board. The original notice regarding vacancy has been amended to include contact information for the board clerk.
  • discussed the Kansas Association of Community College Trustees/Council of Presidents quarterly meeting that will be hosted June 10-11 by Hutchinson Community College. Rittle and board member Ned Graham plan to attend.
  • presented for first reading the Nepotism (170.00) policy. An updated version of the policy states no full-time employee shall provide direct supervision or have line staff authority over a direct supervisor of an immediate family member who also is a full-time employee of the college. The college’s organizational chart shall be used to determine whether direct supervision or line staff authority over a direct supervisor exists. Final approval will be presented at the June 20 board meeting.
  • approved the student fee for the 2016-17 academic year to be set at $34 per credit-hour.
  • was provided with an overview of the pre-campaign survey for the capital campaign planning process by Steve Cargill and Bobby Cobbs, of Cargill Associates.
  • was informed by Gloria Walker, vice president of finance and administration, that the college has received a proposed audit contract for the year ending June 30 from Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk & Loyd, LLC. The board approved the services rendered, not to exceed $35,000, as presented.
  • was informed by Harold Arnett, vice president of academic affairs, that he has concluded the joint evaluation meetings with the faculty. The NC-SARA enrollment data also was submitted successfully and re-approved to maintain the school’s State Authorization agreements for Distance Learning. It authorizes Cowley to continue teaching online courses in all 50 states. Arnett also mentioned the work done by Stephani Johns-Hines and Brooke Istas in developing a grant proposal for integrating algebra instruction with technical courses. The grant was approved in the amount of $39,000. Also, the fire science and milling programs have been approved officially and the first student has enrolled in the fire science course.
  • was informed by Paul Erdmann, vice president of information technology, that all information technology projects that were on hold have resumed with the recent hiring of Shae Nichols as systems network administrator. Also, the college is working in conjunction with USD 470 to develop a backup system.
  • received a report on the Duck Dash from Schears, who praised the work done by endowment coordinator Elizabeth Thummel in making the event a success. Schears also voiced his opinion on the pre-campaign survey and said the concept of tackling a capital campaign at this time is not feasible. Schears, who was taking part in his final board meeting, thanked the college for the last 13 years, saying, “It has been a great run.”
  • was informed by Josh Cobble, executive director of enrollment management, that fall enrollment is up and summer enrollment is down. Cobble said the college had a large marketing campaign and scholarship offer for summer school students that boosted last summer’s enrollment, which is why the college is down in summer enrollment this year.
  • learned from Jason O’Toole, executive director of student affairs, that 89.9 percent of housing students were charged for a full semester. The college is now busy preparing the dormitories for summer camps.
  • received an athletic update from Steven Gream, head volleyball coach. Gream discussed the Tiger Skins/Brian Groves Memorial Golf Tournament that will be held June 25 at Great Life Golf & Fitness. He also informed the board that the baseball team captured the Region VI title on May 16 and has qualified for the JUCO World Series on May 28 through June 4 in Grand Junction, Colo., while the annual Tiger Booster Club Blitz Drive will be held in late July. Gream also mentioned the recent Coach of the Year awards won by Cowley tennis coaches Charity Andrews and Jeff Benito, as well as the Tiger Athletic Banquet on April 27.
  • approved a request from board member Brian Sanderholm and Walker to attend the Association of Community College Trustees session on disaster preparedness. Rittle asked that the college have additional employees attend the session.
  • approved a request from certain faculty members who have completed their contractual obligations at the end of the school year to have advanced payment of their salaries for June and July.
  • approved club sponsorship pay of $8,400 for the 2015-16 academic year.
  • accepted a letter of retirement from Tom McClaflin as bus driver, effective Aug. 31.
  • accepted a letter of resignation from Joe Clasen as NDT instructor and CTE Department chair, effective April 15.
  • accepted a letter of resignation from Josh Fleig as director of instrumental music, effective June 30.
  • approved the hiring of Jennifer Rupp as English instructor, effective Aug. 1.
  • approved the hiring of Elizabeth Peck as Business, Computers and Information Technology Department instructor, effective Aug. 1.
  • approved the employment of Michelle Lett as life science instructor, effective Aug. 1.
  • approved the employment of Cassady Cook as assistant volleyball coach and dorm manager, effective June 1.
  • approved the hiring of Christopher Absher as webmaster, effective May 23.
  • approved the hiring of Kelsey Steiner as financial aid service specialist, effective May 17.
  • approved the employment of Tiffany Vollmer as administrative assistant to the president and board clerk, effective July 1.
  • held a pair of executive sessions totaling 30 minutes for preliminary discussions of professional negotiations, property acquisition, non-elected personnel and consultation with legal counsel, with no action following.

This information was provided by Cowley County Community College Director of Institutional Communications and Public Relations Rama Peroo.