At this week’s regular Western Oklahoma State College Board of Regents meeting, Western President Dr. Phil Birdine presented the President’s report and recommendations. This included an update on the Higher Learning Commission’s Focus Visit conducted this past April. Two peer reviewers examined on-ground and online, 16 and 8 week courses for rigor and quality. The team reported that Western made significant progress within the 50 courses evaluated during the visit and that the favorable report will be used to build on for the comprehensive report due later this year to the HLC.
Also at the meeting, John Hester, former Western Regent, ws recognized for his many years of service on the board. Regent Chair Gilmer Capps thanked him on behalf of the entire board and administration.
John Phelan, Faculty Senate President, then reported that the Senate appreciates its new role in sharing academic governance with representation on the Administrative and Deans Councils and the support that the regents showed by ratifying the Faculty Senate constitution in the last year. Phelan said that the faculty will meet Wednesday of this week to begin writing on the Higher Learning Commission Comprehensive Report due later in 2014. Phelan also informed the regents that committees are formed within the Senate to manage each academic department and that the chairs for each committee will rotate yearly.
Tricia Latham and Chrystal Overton proposed the renewal of the flight training agreement with Red River Flight Academy, LLC for fiscal year 2014-2015. The only revisions to the contract from the previous year are the change of dates to reflect FY 15 and to remove language regarding LORAN systems. The board voted on and approved the revised contract.
Latham proposed a change regarding Western’s Master Plan and the five-year capital improvement plan. Nine projects totaling $6,875,461 are requested for FY 2015 to include needs in roofing, HVAC and vehicles. Annually, all state agencies submit a five-year capital improvement plan to the state budget system. Included are any projects valued at $25,000 with a useful life of at least five years. The board voted on and approved the master plan.
Lisa Greenlee proposed a revision to the Associate in Applied Science Degree in Applied Technology, Military Studies Option. The revision would remove PSYC 2083, Applied Psychology, as an option for the degree since the course is no longer offered. The change would not affect the number of required hours for completion of the degree plan.
The proposed change will also need to be approved by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. The board voted on and approved the proposed change.
In executive session, the board approved the personnel employments of Elizabeth Carpenter, College and High School Relations; Justin O’ Neil, WINDS Clerk; Misty George, Mathematics Instructor; Patricia Purdue, History/Federal Government Instructor and the personnel resignations of Melinda Hathaway, Nursing Secretary (Lawton campus) and Karla Shelby, Faculty Vocal/Choral.
A request for the approval of the fiscal year 2015 budget was also presented. Tricia Latham presented six budgets that included funding for the Education and General (E &G) Fund at $11,672,837; E & G II at $2,701,329; 700 Fund at $12,000,000; Student Activities at $160,000; Capital Budget at $ 2,410,770 and Auxiliary Services at $ 1, 065,000. Latham reported that the budget consists of $11,672,837 in expenditures and $10,875,548 in revenue, requiring utilizing $797,289 of fund balance reserves. The state appropriation is the same amount as FY 14, $5,810,048. There will not be an increase in tuition rates for FY 15. A decrease in tuition and fee revenue is based on an anticipated 3,000 credit hour decline in enrollment, which equates to $79,800. The revenue budget equates to an overall 1.75% decrease. The expenditure budget equates to an overall .97% decrease. The board voted on and approved the FY 15 budget.
The election of board officers for fiscal year 2014-15 was also conducted. Gilmer Capps proposed a slate of officers indicating Mark Dodson as Chair, Dr. Dana Darby as Vice Chair and Cindy Clayton as Secretary. The board approved the slate of proposed officers.
Guests in attendance included: Dr. Phil Birdine, Western President; Lisa Greenlee, Vice President for Academic and Student Support Services; Tricia Latham, Vice President for Business Affairs; Chrystal Overton, Dean of Technical Education; Faculty Senate President, John Phelan; John Hester, former Western Regent; Briar Jenkins, Secretary to the President and Judith Norton, Director of Public Information.
The next regularly scheduled board of regents meeting is set for Aug. 19 at 7:30 p.m. in the Higher Learning Center at the college.