The Southwestern Community College board of trustees met on Tues., November 10, 2015, at 5:30 p.m. in the board room of the Administration Center.

The board voted to reinstate the college’s early retirement policy for employees. The policy has an April 1, 2016, application deadline for employees. Currently, there are 23 staff members who are eligible to apply for early retirement. The expiration date for this plan is June 30, 2016. This is the same early retirement plan the board has approved since 2010.

In personnel, the board accepted the resignation of Erika Blair, agriculture instructor, at the end of the fall 2015 semester, pending the hiring of a suitable replacement.

Beth Kulow, SWCC dean of student services, presented the annual student demographic report to the board. Kulow said approximately 23.4 percent of 2015 high school graduates in Southwestern’s region are enrolled at SWCC. This is up from 16.7 percent last year and is one of the highest percentages on record for the college. For the fall 2015 semester, Kulow stated SWCC has 1,656 students, 793 of these students are enrolled full-time and 863 students are enrolled part-time. The average student age is 20.7, down from 21.1 last year.

During the president’s report, Dr. Barb Crittenden, SWCC president, gave a construction update on the abatement project underway in the 200-bay of the Instructional Center. Crittenden said the process started Monday and is to be completed by December 31, 2015.

Deb Frazee, southwest regional STEM manager, spoke with the board regarding recent highlights of the college’s STEM program. STEM is the acronym for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. According to materials Frazee provided to the board, STEM’s main focus is making sure students in Iowa are competitive with those in other states and countries when it comes to STEM education and careers. Frazee’s office is located at SWCC’s Red Oak Center.

The board was informed about the annual Iowa Association for Community College Trustees (IACCT) conference, which will be held February 21-23, 2016, in Des Moines.