The Cowley College Board of Trustees was provided with an update on the recent Kansas Association of Community College Trustees/Council of Presidents quarterly meeting, attended by President Dennis Rittle, during the monthly board meeting Sept. 19 in the college’s McAtee Dining Center.

Rittle reported there were two areas of focus at the KACCT meeting Sept. 9-10 at Seward County Community College.

One was that KACCT requests all community colleges to send a consistent message when speaking with legislators about the return on investment community colleges provide to their communities and the state of Kansas.

The second theme Rittle noted is the Kansas Board of Regents’ request for all community colleges to increase their student credential attainment.

Currently, the national average is 10 semesters of decreasing enrollment.

Add that to the decrease in the overall Kansas population and the decrease in state funding, and colleges face some significant challenges.

However, in light of those challenges, Cowley is one of the top student credential attainment colleges in Kansas per headcount and is willing to take the challenge of increasing student credential attainment because of its tremendous value to students, industries, and communities.

Rittle praised the work done by the faculty and staff of Cowley College.

“It takes an entire college effort, and those who work with the students on a day-to-day basis, to make this happen,” he said.

Also during the meeting, the board heard of the success of Cowley College’s Golden Tigers program, which offers educational opportunities through a variety of classes, workshops, trips and other activities to community members who are 50 years old or older.

During the 2015-16 school year, a total of 1,103 individuals participated in classes and trips through the program.

There were a total of 811 participants in Golden Tiger classes and 292 participants in the program’s educational trips.

Margaret Neal, Golden Tigers program coordinator, said the program could not offer so many classes without the many people willing to teach classes.

Serving as instructors this year were LaDona Anstine, Sue Carpenter, Debbi Davidson, Jan Hathaway, Rikki Hettenbach, Deb Holman, Neal, Larry Schwintz, Fred Taylor and Ron Upton.

For more information about the program, call (620) 441-5286 or email

In other business, the board:

  • received an update on the college from Rittle, who mentioned how nice it was to have students back on campus for the fall semester and thanked board chair Bob Juden for speaking to college employees at a recent in-service. Rittle also mentioned the aspect of increasing enrollment, the upcoming Student Information System (SIS) migration and the campaign to bring a Cowley College campus to Wellington.
  • authorized fiscal officers of the college to execute payment of all bills and claims as presented, with general operating funds of $1,701,461.39, financial aid funds of $14,624.50 and Foundation funds of $7,322.49.
  • witnessed Rittle presenting Debra Arnett, of Wichita, with a gift for being named the school’s September Student of the Month. “I could not have done this without the impeccable staff here,” Arnett said. “They make you want to do good.”
  • approved a request to extend a cost-of-living increase of 2.5 percent to the college’s regular part-time employees. The regular part-time employees include 10 hourly employees and three staff. The estimated cost to extend cost of living to those employees is approximately $6,080.
  • heard a report from Gloria Walker, vice president of finance and administration, that the auditor for Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk & Loyd, LLC will be on campus the week of Oct. 16 for audit field work for the annual financial statement audit for the year ending June 30. Walker also said the college has decided not to pursue purchasing the second floor of the school’s Wichita campus. The college instead will pursue a redesign of the first floor to maximize the usage of space at the location.
  • approved a request to hire Gordon & Associates Architecture to provide architectural services for expansion at the Cowley softball field, to include schematic design, design development, construction documents, bidding and negotiation, and construction administration, for a fixed fee not exceed $12,500.
  • heard a report from Harold Arnett, vice president of academic affairs, that a meet-and-greet reception for the college’s new associate vice president of business and industry, Tina Grillot, will be from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sept. 23 in the President’s Dining Room at the dining center. Arnett also praised the work of Devin Graves and Janice Stover in helping with the SIS migration.
  • heard an update from Paul Erdmann, vice president of information technology, on the SIS migration. The SIS is open to module managers, but not yet open to the general public. The plan is to open the Tiger Connect portal to students on Sept. 21. The school has three experts on campus this week to help with the migration.
  • heard an update from Kori Gregg, vice president of institutional advancement, that representatives from Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk & Loyd will present the finalized audit results at the Oct. 13 Foundation board meeting. Gregg also said the new Foundation website has been completed and the school currently is working with Nelnet to set up the portal that will allow Cowley to accept online donations through a secure server. Also, the new mobile website is now live. A new home page was designed for the mobile site, as well as a new “About” section that allows for easier use and navigation of the website with mobile devices. Gregg praised the work of Chris Absher on both the traditional and mobile website and mobile website. She also mentioned the recent hiring of Abby Hollins as director of marketing and said the the Foundation coordinator position is being advertised.
  • received copies of the new viewbook from Josh Cobble, executive director of enrollment management. He also said 54 Free Applications for Federal Student Aid have been received to date from high school dual enrollment students, and the admissions staff recently wrapped up representing the college at the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson.
  • heard an update from Jason O’Toole, executive director of student affairs, on housing and health services. He also discussed the success of back-to-school activities and mentioned the hiring of Ashley Demaree as a student life counselor.
  • discussed with athletic director Shane Larson the recent Tiger Magic Alumni Baseball Reunion and Tiger Booster Club luncheon planned at noon Sept. 21 in the Earle N. Wright Community Room. He said the Blitz Drive has raised $62,850 in pledges. Larson also praised first-year cross country coach Dan Adler after the cross country team recently won the Missouri Southern Stampede, while the men placed fourth. “He is a doing a phenomenal job with the program,” Larson said.
  • accepted letters of resignation from Lisa Miller as admissions representative, effective Aug. 26; from Robin Reidle as admissions representative, effective Aug. 18; and from Desiree Nellis as Upward Bound program assistant, effective Aug. 26.
  • approved the employment of Grillot as associate vice president of business and industry, effective Sept. 20; the hiring of Hollins as director of marketing, effective Sept. 6; the employment of Tia Bunch as nursing coordinator, effective Sept. 12; and the hiring of Demaree as student life counselor, effective Sept. 20.
  • held four executive sessions totaling 60 minutes for preliminary discussions relating to non-elected personnel, property acquisition and consultation with legal counsel.

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