Creston— The Southwestern Community College (SWCC) board of directors met Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016, at 5:30 p.m., in the Administration Center on the Creston campus.

During the meeting, Ken Rech of Red Oak was re-elected as president of the college’s board.  Rech has been president of the board since 2008.  Dr. Tony Cass of Creston was elected as the board’s vice president.  Cass was first elected to the role of vice president in 2015.  SWCC Assistant to the President Mary Jo Skarda was appointed as board secretary and SWCC Chief Financial Officer Tia Samo was appointed as board treasurer.


The board re-appointed the following members to the Education Foundation board for the 2016-17 year:  Amy Hook of Creston, Randy Huewe of Creston, Karl Knock of Creston, Rick Oshel of Osceola, Allen Pohren of Red Oak, Jerry Smith of Osceola, Alec Turner of Corning, and Dr. Barb Crittenden, SWCC representative. 

Beth Kulow, SWCC dean of student services, presented a report to the board showing fall 2016 SWCC enrollment down 10 students from last year, with a total of 1,646 students. Kulow said credit hours are down approximately 4.5 percent for a total of 15,644 credit hours.  Kulow said enrollment numbers show an increase of 55 part-time students from last fall, but a decrease of 65 full-time students.

During discussion for the monitoring process, Rech commented how pleased he was to see that the college’s cohort default rate had decreased by 3 percent.  The college receives word of its default rate annually from the U.S. Department of Education.

Tom Lesan, SWCC vice president of economic development, updated the board regarding construction on campus.  Lesan told the board the Spartan Drive repaving project is finished and the completion date for the renovation of room 220 in the Instructional Center has been moved to mid-November due to the welding taking much longer than expected.

Laurie Besco, TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) director, provided board members with an overview of the services provided by her department.  The TRIO-SSS program is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.  TRIO-SSS has provided services on the SWCC campus since 1997.  The program is designed to increase the college retention and graduation rates for eligible students, increase the transfer rates of eligible students from two-year to four-year schools, foster a supportive environment for eligible students, and improve the financial and economic literacy of eligible students.  The current grant will fund the program for 180 students each year until 2020.

Iowa community college legislative liaisons Dave Palmer, Jerry Fitzgerald, and Matt Fitzgerald briefed the board regarding the current legislative session.