Creston— The Southwestern Community College (SWCC) board of directors met electronically on Tuesday, June 9, 2020, at 5:30 p.m., for their regular board meeting. The meeting was held electronically due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Uncollectible account write-offs were approved as presented. According to Tia Samo, SWCC chief financial officer, most of the accounts recommended for write-off were incurred during fiscal years 2016 and 2017 and had been at collections with little or no activity for 18 months or more. Samo explained although the account balances are written-off, students’ transcripts are held and students cannot register for additional classes until the balances are paid. A total of $208,286.48 was written off for uncollectible accounts. Samo said the balance of the write-offs has already been included in the college’s reserve for uncollectible accounts and has been expensed in previous years; therefore, SWCC’s unrestricted fund balance will not be directly affected by this write-off.

In personnel, the board approved the hiring of Ryan Howe as a professional music instructor. Howe replaces Lucas Mattson, who resigned at the end of the 2019-20 academic year. Howe has a Master of Music degree in jazz studies from the University of North Texas and a Bachelor of Music degree in music performance from Mansfield University. He was a former student in SWCC’s School for Music Vocations and was employed as a full-time music instructor for SWCC from 2011-13. In addition, he has been an adjunct instructor for the college.

During the discussion of monitoring process, a short discussion took place regarding the bond ratings provided by Moody’s. Samo explained to the board that the college’s bonds must be rated on a regular basis, so when Moody’s needs to provide new ratings, they view the college’s financial information and contact the college if any questions arise.

During the president’s report, Kim Bishop, SWCC dean of student services, gave the college’s summer enrollment report. Bishop said summer enrollment is at 526 students and 2,900 credit hours. Bishop explained due to changes in the licensed practical nursing (LPN) program, students now finish the LPN program in May instead of June, so those students are no longer enrolled in the summer term. Due to this change, the summer numbers for 2020 were down compared to summer 2019, but, according to Bishop, if the average number of LPN students were still factored into the numbers, the college would actually be up in head count and just slightly down in credit hours.

Dr. Barb Crittenden, SWCC president, spoke to the board about the college’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Crittenden said summer classes began on May 11 online. Career and technical education (CTE) classes and the microbiology class with lab transitioned to face-to-face on May 18. Students in these classes returned to campus to participate in small group labs and simulation, as well as reporting to clinical. Screenings are being conducted and social distancing measures are being followed for all these courses.

Lindsay Stoaks, SWCC vice president of instruction, then spoke about summer concurrent enrollment. Southwestern offers area high school students opportunities to enroll in college credit courses through the Summer College Credit Program (SCCP). Due to the nature of this statewide program, the student incurs no tuition and fee costs. In addition to meeting course pre-requisites, students must be in grades ninth, 10th, 11th, or 12th during the 2020-21 school year to be eligible. Stoaks said due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, program offerings were re-structured to reflect online pre-nursing coursework. According to Stoaks, online classes began Monday, June 8, with 62 students from 14 districts participating in one or more online pre-nursing courses. Welding classes got underway on Monday, June 1, with seven students enrolled from five participating school districts.

Jerry Smith, SWCC board member from Osceola and Iowa Association of Community College Trustees (IACCT) representative, spoke briefly regarding IACCT activities. He mentioned he will be participating in the IACCT meeting scheduled for later this month.

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