Creston—The Southwestern Community College (SWCC) board of directors met on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017, at 5:30 p.m. in the Administration Center on the Creston campus. 

The board set a public hearing for review and approval of the college’s fiscal year 2018 budget.  The public hearing was set for March 14, 2017, at 5:30 p.m., in the board room of the college’s Administration Center.

Tom Lesan, vice president of economic development, reported to the board on the Instructional Center chiller project.  Lesan explained that a portable chiller unit had been used to cool the Instructional Center since 2006.  Lesan said the replacement of the chiller unit was included in the five-year facilities plan with a target date of 2016.  The board set a public hearing, to review and select a bid for the Instructional Center chiller project, for Thursday, March 2, 2017, at 8 a.m. in the president’s office at the college.  With the public hearing date now set, it is Lesan’s hope to have work begin on the project during spring break in March and have the chiller functional before the cooling season. 

In personnel, the board approved the resignation of Suzanne Carlson, nursing instructor, as well as the early retirements of six long-term employees.

Carlson, who has been with the college since August 2015, resigned effective at the end of her current contract in June.  She had been at the college previously as a nursing instructor as well, with an original hire date of August 2003.

Early retirement requests submitted and approved included the following:  
•    John Doyle, PC technician/network specialist, early retirement effective June 30 - Doyle, a 1995 Associate of Arts degree graduate and a 1997 Associate of Applied Science degree graduate in electronics from SWCC, became a full-time employee at the college in April 1999.  Originally he was hired in the role of PC technician, with the duties of network specialist being added to his role in 2016.  
•    Georgia Paulsen, student records/veterans coordinator, early retirement effective May 31 – Paulsen was hired to a clerical position for student services in June 2000.  In 2015, she moved to her current position as student records/veterans coordinator.
•    Kathryn Scott, nursing instructor, early retirement effective June 30 – Scott was hired at SWCC in October 1994 as a clinical nursing instructor.  She moved to her current position in August 2006.
•    Rosemary Vanderpluym, housekeeping supervisor, early retirement effective April 28 – Vanderpluym was hired in the housekeeping department in May 2004.  She became a housekeeping supervisor in 2010.
•    Helen Waigand, LRC media assistant, early retirement effective June 30 – Waigand has been in her role as Learning Resource Center media assistant since she began at SWCC in February 1998.
•    Marilyn Werner, Assessment Center coordinator, early retirement effective May 31 – Werner was hired as Assessment Center coordinator in April 1994.  In addition to her role as Assessment Center coordinator, she has taught The College Experience class since 2010.

Ken Rech, SWCC board president from Red Oak, noted an online evaluation survey will be utilized once again for the annual evaluation of SWCC President Dr. Barb Crittenden. 

Lesan briefed the board regarding the progress and employee training currently underway at the college in preparation for the transition to the new computer system.  The estimated go-live date for the new computer system is January 2018.  The college’s current system was originally purchased in 1984, and had become outdated and challenging to utilize when meeting reporting requirements.

Beth Kulow, SWCC dean of student services, reported to the board that spring 2017 enrollment is at 1,628 students, compared to 1,568 students during spring 2016 semester; however credit hours are down approximately 1 percent from last spring.

Jolene Frost, Pathway Navigator, gave the board an overview of the GAP Tuition Assistance Program and the Pathways for Academic Career and Employment (PACE) program.  Frost said GAP provides tuition assistance to eligible applicants enrolling in approved continuing education certificate training programs and PACE enables eligible participants to acquire effective academic and skills training to secure in-state employment. 

Jerry Smith, SWCC board member from Osceola and Iowa Association of Community College Trustees (IACCT) representative, spoke briefly about the most recent IACCT meeting.