Creston— The Southwestern Community College (SWCC) board of directors met by phone for their regular meeting on Tuesday, April 13, 2021, at 5:30 p.m. The meeting was held electronically due to social distancing requirements related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lindsay Stoaks, SWCC vice president of instruction, presented to the board regarding the addition of an early childhood education certificate. Stoaks said as a part of the early childhood education (ECE) curriculum, students will have opportunities to learn foundational skills in the ECE field while fulfilling many of the requirements associated with obtaining the Child Development Associate (CDA), which is a nationally-recognized credential earned by those working in the early childhood care and education field. The stand-alone certificate program will require completion of 13 credits. All of the coursework will be delivered online. In a memo to the board, Stoaks said SWCC has offered ECE coursework, through its partnership with the Iowa Community College Online Consortium, since 2008. Following Stoaks presentation, the board unanimously approved the addition of the early childhood education certificate program.

Stoaks then presented to the board regarding the addition of a nurse assisting certificate. As part of the health sciences curriculum, Stoaks explained with this program students will have opportunities to learn foundational skills in the health care field and, following completion of the program, take a written and hands-on skills examination to become a certified nursing assistant (CNA). The stand-alone nurse assisting certificate will require the completion of 12 credits, which may be completed in one academic year. Stoaks said the coursework will be delivered to students through a combination of face-to-face and online instruction. Currently, the college offers health sciences courses at the following high school locations: Central Decatur Community School District, Murray Community School District, and Red Oak Community School District; as well as at the Creston campus. The board approved Stoaks’ proposal as presented.

Stoaks then asked the board to consider a building partnership contract with Holy Spirit Catholic Church. The project will be completed by the carpentry and building trades program during the 2020-21 academic year and consists of the construction of a 16-foot by 60-foot storage shed on property owned by the church. Stoaks said the project would allow the college to provide additional lab experience for students without incurring the expense and risk associated with another building project. The board approved the partnership project following Stoaks’ presentation.

In personnel, the board approved the employment of Shawn Oaks as industrial technology instructor. Oaks comes to SWCC from Bunn-O-Matic in Creston, where he has been employed as a manufacturing engineer since 2019. Prior to that, he worked as a manufacturing engineer for ALMACO in Nevada. Oaks earned a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial technology from William Penn University and an Associate of Applied Science degree in engineering design technology from Iowa Central Community College. Oaks will start his position on April 14.

The board approved Elyse Lovell as a psychology instructor for the 2021-22 academic year. Lovell will start her position on Aug. 18, 2021. Lovell comes to Southwestern from Montana Technological University in Butte, Montana, where she has been an instructor since 2014. She has her Ed.D. in adult and higher education from Montana State University; an M.Ed. in adult education gerontology from the University of Central Oklahoma; and a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University of Central Oklahoma.

The board approved early retirement requests from Jan Pettit, administrative assistant for instruction; Jody Nedley-Newcomb, sociology instructor; and Rick McIntosh, maintenance technician.

During the president’s report, Dr. Barb Crittenden, SWCC president, recognized Nedley-Newcomb was in attendance at the meeting, as the faculty representative. Nedley-Newcomb, who is also the Phi Theta Kappa co-advisor, shared the Phi Theta Kappa spring induction ceremony is scheduled for Tuesday, April 20, at 5:30 p.m., in the Student Center gymnasium. A livestream of the induction will be available.

Jerry Smith, board member from Osceola and designated Iowa Association of Community College Trustees (IACCT) representative, gave a brief report on the recent IACCT meeting.

Tom Lesan, vice president of economic development, updated the board regarding progress on the college’s presidential search. Lesan said 14 candidates have been screened. The list will be narrowed for interviews, which will take place on Zoom, tentatively scheduled for the week of April 19. Lesan said on-campus interviews for the final candidates will take place in early-May and will include meetings with faculty and staff groups.