WOSC looks to keep four-week online courses

During this week’s Western Oklahoma State College Board of Regents meeting, Dr. Phil Birdine presented the President’s Report and Recommendations. He said Western recently responded to the Higher Learning Commission’s Institutional Action Committee (IAC) recommendation regarding Western’s removal from probation. He also noted a recommendation that the college not be allowed to offer four-week online courses. This recommendation was rebutted and documentation as to why the college should be allowed to offer the courses was reported to the IAC. The results of Western’s response will be reported in late June. Birdine concluded with a report on a recent and lengthy student appeals process, regarding allegations of discrimination and grading. Birdine reported that all issues have been resolved and the matter closed.

Lisa Greenlee presented a request for a curriculum change to the Associate in Applied Science Degree in Nursing. Changes included removing the term “General” and just state a “Chemistry” requirement to assist students who transfer appropriate chemistry courses; adding English Comp II to the degree plan; removing Microcomputer Applications from the degree plan to make room for the required English Comp II course. Additionally, Microcomputer Apps would be removed as a co-requisite and English Comp I and II would be adjusted as a co- or pre-requisite where needed. The change proposal was voted on and approved by the board.

Tricia Latham introduced Richard Rose who presented a report regarding the final internal audit for FY 15 conducted in April 2015 by Crawford and Associates, P. C. Three of the seven areas reviewed included recommendations from the firm. Those areas with findings included Miscellaneous Claims, the college Procurement Card and The Violence Against Women Act in the 2014 Annual Security and Fire Safety Report. Latham said the audit experience resulted in very positive outcomes that will improve the efficiency of many areas on campus. The board voted on and accepted the audit report.

Latham presented a request regarding the Master Plan. Latham suggested 9 capital improvement projects for FY 16 totaling $6,862,246. Roofing, HVAC, vehicles and various other improvements are included in the request, which would be incorporated into the Capital Improvement Plan submitted to the State Budget System. The board voted on and approved the request.

Latham presented a request regarding a mandatory fee increase for FY 16. She proposed an increase in four of Western’s student fees to include: a $4 fee for student assessment; a $10 technology fee; a $1.50 Records fee and a $5 Safety and Security fee. The increases will equate to a $5 per credit hour or 4.8% increase in total tuition and mandatory fees, for a total of $109.95 per credit hour. These fees would go into effect for the Fall 2015 semester and have a total impact on revenue of $115,000. The board voted on and approved the proposal.

Latham presented a request regarding a roofing project for the Technical Education building and the A and B wing of the Main Building on Western’s campus. The total cost for the contracted project is $922,264.14. The funding for the projects would be from the 295 Capital Fund. The board voted on and approved the proposal.

After a 30-minute executive session, the board reconvened in open session and approved the personnel employments of Hollie Brake, Secretary to the Academic Deans and Deena Morley, Chemistry Instructor and the personnel resignation of Brandy Cooper, Nursing Instructor.

Tricia Latham presented a request for the approval of the FY16 budget. Six budgets categories were presented to include: the Education and General (E&G) Budget at $11,062,291; The E & G II Budget at $2,938,139; the 700 Fund Budget at 12,000,000; the Student Activities Budget at $144,000; the Capital Budget at $2,337,740 and the Auxiliary Services Budget at $1,054,500. The E&G Budget consists of $11,062,291 in expenditures and $10,016,091 in revenue, requiring utilizing $1,016,200 of fund balance reserves. The state appropriation has been reduced by 3.5% from FY15 for a total appropriation of $5,606,696. The board voted on and approved the budget.

The election of Board Officers for FY 2015-2016 concluded the board meeting agenda. Dr. Dana Darby was elected Chair; Cindy Clayton, Vice-Chair and Brent Howard, Secretary. The board voted on and approved the elections.

Guests in attendance included Lisa Greenlee, Vice President for Academic and Student Support Services; Tricia Latham, Vice President for Business Affairs; Richard Rose, CPA with Crawford and Associates; Heather Hood, Controller; Mike Tucker, Faculty Senate Representative; Briar Jenkins, Secretary to the President and Judith Meyer, Director of Public Information.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Western Board of Regents is Tuesday, Aug. 18 at 7:30 p.m. in the Higher Learning Center at the college.

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