Monday, January 13, 2014

Update from the president’s desk

The information below is from my January report to the Trustees. The numbers in parenthesis relate to the items in our strategic plan.

January 2013

National: According to Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Executive Director Rod Risley, involving faculty is key to promoting degree completion efforts throughout the nation’s community colleges, as faculty are the ones who interact with students on a regular basis. At a recent Achieving the Dream meeting, Dr. Risley urged administrators and trustees to rethink strategies for sharing data with faculty members and involving them early on in discussions about strategies to increase degree completion. Long before Complete College America, the community college honor society, Phi Theta Kappa, has been committed to actively encouraging completion of a college credential. Their completion initiative is called “C4” – Community College Completion Corps. PTK members serve as role models and examples to their peers to demonstrate that is it never too late to finish what you have started. (SP 1.1)

State: Trustee Carolyn Danko, Interim Vice President Sheldon Flom, and I attended the Wyoming Community College Commission meeting in Rock Springs on December 13th. Commissioners approved an increase of $4 per credit for in-state tuition (5.06%), a $124 increase for full-time WUE students, and a $249 increase for full-time out-of-state and international students. These changes will go into effect fall semester 2014. Commissioners also approved using completion volumes and completion rates to calculate the course completion portion of our variable funding. In FY 2015, 15% of the variable cost portion of our funding formula will be distributed based upon course completion and 85% on credit hour enrollment.

I traveled to Cheyenne to attend the Legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee budget hearing the following Monday, December 16th.  There was a great deal of discussion regarding the community colleges’ request for $14.3 million to recalibrate our funding formula. Committee members asked good questions and gave Commission Executive Director Jim Rose and Presidents ample opportunity to respond.

Local: I had the opportunity to give a presentation on Communicating Through Conflict as part of the Park County Leadership Institute on December 12th. Trustee Rick LaPlante also presented that day. Our material complemented each other well. (SP 3.2)
On December 18th, I traveled to Lovell to meet with North Big Horn Hospital CEO Rick Shroeder, and to Worland to meet with Washakie Medical Center CEO Margie Molitor. Both are partner hospitals which offer clinical opportunities for our Nursing students. I made them aware of our plans to expand training opportunities once the Yellowstone Building is open. (SP 3.2)
I continue my involvement in Forward Cody and the Powell Economic Partnership (PEP) groups. On December 19th, I attended a PEP Executive Board meeting followed by a “Voices of the Community” planning meeting to discuss the next steps in our community vision building project. (SP 3.1, 3.2)

Campus: A&E Architects, the consultants we have hired to update our Facilities Master Plan, held the first of several meetings with campus constituencies on December 11. They facilitated eight sessions throughout the day to gather input on safety, the educational environment, quality of life, and space repurposing. The next series of sessions will be held in mid-January and will include meetings with Trustees.
Human Resources Director Jill Anderson arranged for training with Fox Lawson and Associates for the Vice Presidents and me on December 10th and 20th. Fox Lawson is the firm which created the non-faculty compensation program that the College implemented in FY 2008. The Decision Band Method and banding schema for pay determination was reviewed along with a question-and-answer session to assist us in appropriately placing positions using this method. (SP 2.1)

On Tuesday December 17th, Interim Vice President Sheldon Flom facilitated a Budget Committee meeting which focused on discussing flat revenue projections and the need to prioritize strategic initiatives. Although the Action Resource Planning process has worked well for the College over the past five years, with the exception of percentage cuts, the process does not incorporate budget declination or redistribution well. The committee will continue to review prior years' spending to determine areas of saving and review-revenue generating ideas in order to implement necessary funding priorities required by our Strategic Plan in developing the FY 15 budget. (SP 2.2)

The Vice Presidents and I have reviewed the various contracts we have with vendors and found that with the exception of three multiple-year contracts, our relationship with contracted services providers and other vendors is on a year-to-year basis with no renewal obligation.
I had the honor of attending the LPN Pinning Ceremony on December 18th. The symbolism of nursing pinning ceremonies is always very touching for me. Knowing the challenges students have faced to reach their goal to become a nurse is always inspiring.

We continue to discuss the "Big Rocks" (priorities) that I requested of everyone during fall in-service meetings. During fall semester, departments spent time discussing category nomenclature. Each Vice President submitted information compiled in their respective areas. On December 20th, I convened constituent group presidents, the Foundation Executive Director, Institutional Researcher, and Vice Presidents to review the compiled information and arrive at suggestions for common campus-wide categories that will be discussed further at our spring semester in-service on January 14th. (SP 2.1)

Foundation: Foundation Executive Director Shelby Wetzel and I continue to talk to benefactors regarding donations for the Yellowstone Building, including naming opportunities and the brick project. As well, we are discussing legacy opportunities for retired faculty and staff.


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