Tricia Latham presented a request regarding the increase of eight academic and service fees at this week’s Western Oklahoma State College Board of Regents meeting. The proposed areas of increases include the college’s Remedial; Off-campus Electronic Media /Internet; Evaluation Extra-Institutional Learning; Physical Education; Wellness Center; Application; Computer Science Lab and Science Lab fees. The total increase in estimated fee collections is $51,000, which would help enhance the quality of instruction students receive. The fee increases were researched in comparison to peer institution’s fees and were informed by Western’s history of fees. In addition, the economic climate of the State of Oklahoma is requiring that Western reconsider the amount of fees charged. The board voted on and approved the fee increases.
Jacque Bellamy presented the Faculty Senate Report at the meeting. She stated that Mike Tucker, the previous Faculty Senate Chair, resigned for personal reasons and that she was elected to fill the position. Bellamy also informed the board of the Faculty Senate’s goals of keeping the board updated on efforts in recruiting, curriculum and assessment. Bellamy reported that the math and English departments recently restructured their remediation courses in order to help students complete those requirements more quickly. This will aid students in getting to their core course work earlier and help them complete their degree. Bellamy also noted recent recruiting efforts in the Radiologic Technology department and a new program proposal in the Child Development department focused on infants and toddlers. She concluded the report with news of the senate’s intention of updating its constitution in January.
Melissa Smith gave the Staff Senate Report. She noted the recent addition of a part-time category to the annual Commitment to Excellence Awards. The addition was proposed through the Staff Senate. Smith also reported that the senate will be working to incorporate ideas at Western that were recently presented at the Oklahoma Association of Community College’s (OACC) Creative Innovation Awards. Smith closed with news of the senate’s recent activity, the campus-wide holiday decorating contest. Several departments participated in the event that promised a donut party to the winning design. She congratulated the Business Office on their victory.
The consent docket containing the October 27, 2015, regular meeting minutes and the expenditure comparison report were voted on and approved by the board.
Larry Duffy then presented an update regarding foundation and development activities. He noted the recent addition of two major donations to the WOSC Foundation. The Carl and Mildred Shadrick Endowed Chair in Agriculture was established through a gift in the amount of $250,000 in memory of Carl and Mildred Shadrick with funds derived from their estate. The intent of this gift is that the donor remains anonymous.
The WOSC Foundation also received a $10,000 gift from AT&T Aspire in support of Western’s Navigating for Success Program that will identify and provide the interventions necessary for at- risk students to be successful in college. AT&T’s gift will be announced in a press conference Wednesday, December 16, at the college. Oklahoma AT&T President, Steve Hahn, Rep. Charles Ortega, Sen. Mike Schulz, Altus Major Jack Smiley and Altus Chamber of Commerce President, Brian Bush, attended the event along with Western executive and administrative leadership, and WOSC Foundation board members. Duffy also reported that the combined value of Western’s Partners in Education Excellence Program, including all Lectureships, Professorships, and Endowed Chairs, when matched by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, is $2,250,000.
Dr. Phil Birdine, Western President, then gave a report regarding a letter from the OSU Extension Office that has been tabled for the next board meeting. Birdine indicated that the letter regards strategies for the 40 acres of land located west of the college’s technical education building.
Latham continued with the presentation of a policy regarding Western’s grant and contract procedures. The policy would aid in the management and writing of grants and formalize the process in a uniform and consistent manner. The college is required to comply with OMB “Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards”, or Uniform Guidance. The policy would introduce new requirements and formalize many procedures already in practice at Western. The board voted on and approved the policy.
Lisa Greenlee and Chrystal Overton informed the board that a letter of request was filed with the OSRHE to offer a new Associate in Science degree in Infant and Toddlers for electronic delivery. The new degree emerged as a top priority during Western’s recent strategic planning and budgeting phases. The current job market indicates the potential for increased enrollments for Western and the possibility to open the program to students in other states since Western is a SARA institution. The board voted on and approved the request to offer the new degree.
Greenlee and Overton continued with the request to offer the embedded Certificate of Mastery in the newly approved Associate in Science degree in Infants and Toddlers for electronic delivery. The board voted on and approved the request.
Greenlee presented a request to revise the Early Childhood AS Degree. After Child Development’s recent NAEYC accreditation visit some changes were proposed. Those include, the addition of a Diversity in the Early Care Program course, removal of verbiage in the existing program, the requirement that both the Nutrition, Health and Safety and Children’s Literature and Language Courses be required of students in the program, and that the Capstone Seminar course now be called the Capstone Practicum. All the changes are considered substantive and must be submitted to the OSRHE as a degree modification. The board voted on and accepted the changes.
Greenlee concluded with a presentation regarding the College Plan. She reported that the new document combines many pre-existing plans into one master document. The College Plan includes the master and strategic plans, data regarding institutional effectiveness, the functional area review and the budget and capital plan. Greenlee noted that the document will be useful in the new strategic planning year and that the plan will be updated each year in the summer. The board voted on and approved the College Plan.
Dr. Birdine then presented the President’s Report and Recommendations. He informed the board of recent news regarding the State of Oklahoma’s budget situation and the pending meeting of the State Equalization Board. Early indications point to a budget failure for the state. Birdine assured the board that Western will prepare and plan accordingly for any developments.
The board moved into executive session, and after reconvening into regular session, approved a proposal of granting Western employees “Holiday Reward Hours” that will allow full-time employees 16 hours paid time off and part-time employees eight hours paid time off to be used by the end of FY16. The board also approved the executive evaluations reviewed in executive session.
Guests in attendance included Lisa Greenlee, Vice President for Academic Affairs; Tricia Latham, Vice President for Business Affairs; Larry Duffy; Executive Secretary for the WOSC Foundation, Inc.; Chad Wiginton, Vice President for Student Support Services; Heather Hood, Controller; Chrystal Overton, Dean of Technical Education; Jacque Bellamy, Faculty Senate Chair; Melissa Smith, Staff Senate Chair; Katie Brewer, Staff Senate Chair-Elect; 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 set for Feb. 16, 2016, at 7:30 p.m. in the Higher Learning Center at the college.