Southwestern Board Holds May Meeting

Creston, IA-- Southwestern Community College’s board of directors met in regular session on Tuesday, May 12, 2009, at 5:30 p.m. in the Administration Center on SWCC’s campus. 

Following a private hearing, the board took action to terminate the teaching contract of Sherresse Buzard, SWCC studio art instructor, effective at the end of the current school year.  Buzard had been an employee of the college since August 2001.

According to Dr. Barb Crittenden, SWCC president, the recommendation for this reduction in force was the result of budgetary concerns at the college.  Crittenden stated the college’s studio art classes have had low enrollment for several years, in spite of efforts by the college to increase student numbers.  Crittenden said art at SWCC will not be eliminated entirely, and courses such as art appreciation, art history, drawing, and computer graphic design will be offered for the fall 2009 semester.  Crittenden stated future studio art classes will be offered on a “student-demand driven basis.”

In other business, the board approved a proposal by Teresa Krejci, SWCC chief financial officer, to increase in-state tuition for the 2009-2010 school year and eliminate the $5 add/drop fee and the $5 transcript fee normally charged to students.  To support the proposed tuition increase, Krejci talked about community colleges’ budget concerns (related to reductions in state general aid appropriations for the next fiscal year) and explained what steps other community colleges in Iowa are taking related to tuition.  According to Krejci, at this point, four community colleges in Iowa have increased their tuition in the $4-$8 range.  SWCC’s proposal will result in a $5.50 increase, which amounts to a 4.49 percent increase in in-state tuition from the current year. 

Uncollectible account write-offs were approved as presented by Krejci.  During discussion of the issue, Matt Thompson, SWCC dean of student services, talked about new steps being put into place by the college to encourage student understanding and knowledge of responsibilities related to payment on accounts.  Examples explained by Thompson included the development of student learning communities and creation of “The College Experience,” a class being developed by the college to help students understand their responsibilities as students and learn about services available from the college.

During the president’s report, Crittenden highlighted upcoming events at the college including the athletic department’s Golf Tournament Fundraiser, May 16 at Crestmoor Golf Club, and Summer Commencement, which is scheduled for June 26.