Creston— The Southwestern Community College (SWCC) board of directors met electronically on Tuesday, July 14, 2020, at 5:30 p.m. The meeting was held electronically due to concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The board approved annual dues to the Iowa Association of Community College Trustees, the Association of Community College Trustees, and the Higher Learning Commission.

In action items, the board approved a building partnership contract with Habitat for Humanity. This is the seventh year of this joint project with Union County Habitat for Humanity. During this project, Southwestern’s carpentry and building trades students will construct a home at 415 North Jarvis Street in Creston.

In personnel, the board approved the resignation of Wendy Pringle, nursing instructor, effective at the end of her contract term.

The board approved the hiring of Dr. John Franklin as assistant vice president of instruction. Franklin comes to Southwestern from Graceland University in Lamoni where he has been employed for the past 19 years. Since 2010, he has been a professor of history. In addition, he advised students and actively participated in assessment projects. Throughout his tenure, Franklin was appointed to a variety of administrative committee services, including the shared governance task force; faculty compensation committee; standing committee on promotion, evaluation, and tenure; and the curricular adjustment committee. He directed Graceland University’s dual credit program from 2006-10.

Franklin earned a bachelor’s degree in English; a master’s degree in history; and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in history.

During the president’s report, Dr. Barb Crittenden, updated the board regarding college planning and services amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Following Crittenden’s summary, Lindsay Stoaks, vice president of instruction; Kim Bishop, dean of student services; and Tia Samo, chief financial officer offered updates from their departments.

Stoaks informed the board college administrators made a formal decision to begin the fall 2020 semester on August 19, one week earlier than previously scheduled. She said as a result, the semester will conclude on December 11. Stoaks explained face-to-face classes will transition to online delivery following Thanksgiving break in order to decrease the number of people returning to campus following holiday-related travel.

Bishop updated the board about the NJCAA’s updated plan to move the majority of fall sports to spring 2021. The one exception for Southwestern will be cross country and its season will remain in the fall. Bishop said volleyball and men’s and women’s basketball will be allowed to begin practice in September and hold a limited number of scrimmages during the fall. The volleyball season will run from January 29 through mid-April. Men’s and women’s basketball will run from January 22 through mid-April as well. Indoor and outdoor track and field will run from January 18 through early May.

Bishop also talked to the board about student housing move-in. Fall move-in will take place August 14-16 with specific safety and physical distancing measures in place due to COVID-19.

Tia Samo, chief financial officer, spoke briefly about the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. SWCC’s portion of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) is $587,388. According to Samo, at least 50 percent of the funds, $293,694, must be used for direct emergency aid to students for their expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and childcare. As of July 14, $261,585 of emergency financial aid grants have been awarded and disbursed to 471 students. Samo said the remaining 50 percent of funds can be used by institutions to cover costs associated with significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to the coronavirus.

Bishop informed the board about the Annual Athletic Department Golf Tournament. The tournament will be held on Friday, Aug. 7, at Crestmoor Golf Club in Creston. Bishop said tee times are available at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

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

A Collective Bargaining Session was held at the conclusion of the meeting.