September DGB HiLites

September 20, 2013 by Anonymous

NPC adding computer equipment to keep up with increasing demands,

Federal grant funds will be used to update and expand Northland Pioneer College’s computer equipment and infrastructure to meet an exponential increase in demand for services.

The Navajo County Community College District Governing Board, during its regular monthly meeting Sept. 17, authorized the purchase of eight servers, 200 “thin client” devices and 365 19-inch monitors using $222,952 in federal funds awarded under a Title III Native American-Serving Nontribal Institutions (NASNTI) Project EAGLE (Equitable Access to Gainful Learning Experiences) grant.

Eric Bishop, NPC’s director of Information Services, had previously shared with the board industry projections expect a 50 times (5000%) increase in data transferred across the Internet by 2020. Those same projections estimate there will be 100 billion connected devices within the next 6.5 years. The number of devices connecting to NPC’s networks is growing at rates similar to national patterns.

The equipment purchases will allow implementation of a Virtual Desktop Interface (VDI) environment where a “thin client” device and a monitor replace a traditional computer with copies of instructional software installed. The “thin client” is wirelessly connected to a server, which houses not only applications but also a student’s “work” files.  With VDI, students will be able to remotely connect to the college’s network from nearly every Internet-connected device, at any time or place to use virtual desktops, applications and access files.

A student would have access to software applications, reducing their out-of-pocket expenses, plus the college saves by reducing the number of copies, or seats, of applications required. “Thin clients” are less expensive than a traditional computer and have no moving parts, such as hard drives, CD players or cooling fans. The manufacturer suggests a 10-year life expectancy for a “thin client” device. “We’re planning for 8 years of use, compared to 4 years for a computer,” Bishop said. “If a ‘thin client’ fails, it is a simple swap to replace, reducing the time required to restore usage.”

Project EAGLE has also allowed NPC to improve network speed and capacity, add technology-equipped classrooms and improve interactive video and multimedia classroom instruction. September marks the third year of the five-year grant.

Fire Science Equipment

West Sac using a Fire Vent unitThe board also approved using more federal funds, under a Carl Perkins vocational training grant, to purchase a mobile fire training base unit. Fire Vent designed and manufactures the unique hydraulic ventilation training unit that includes a variable roof top, adjustable from flat to 45 degrees, and vertical and gable end ventilation options. “This will greatly improve the training options for our fire science students and local fire departments,” noted Stuart Bishop, director of Public Safety Education programs for NPC. The unit offers multiple forcible entry possibilities; confined space entry; rescue options through the floor, basement or ceiling; second-story windows; ladders; firefighter bailouts and many other possibilities. The $55,038 purchase supports multiple components of the NPC 2013-16 strategic plan.

NATC Audit

In 2012, NPC began operation of the Northeast Arizona Training Center (Jake Flake Emergency Services Institute), in Taylor, with Stuart Bishop overseeing day-to-day operations and three NPC employees serving as the board of the separate non-profit corporation. For financial auditing purposes, NATC is a “component unit” of the NPC financial statements.

Nordstrom & Associates of Flagstaff completed an audit from inception in 2004 to June 30, 2013 and issued an “Unqualified Opinion” on the financial statements with no findings of any financial discrepancies.

“The efforts of Lauren Sedillo, business office accountant, Stuart Bishop, his assistant Dannell Elkins, and Maderia Ellison, financial service director, are particularly notable in being able to obtain and organize the required documentation for this successful audit report,” noted Blaine Hatch, vice president for Administrative Services and one of the three NATC directors.

Fleet Vehicle Purchases

The board authorized the purchase of four 2014 minivans from Larry Miller Dodge of Avondale, the only respondent to a request for quotes. A staff review of NPC’s current 15-passenger van and compact sedan usage found an increasing need to provide a means to transport 6 to 7 students to off-campus clinical studies or other activities. This new purchase, which is below the state contract price, will reduce fuel costs and extend the entire passenger fleet replacement plan. The delivered price for each Dodge Caravan SE minivans is $22,855.22.

Et cetera

Dual enrollment intergovernmental agreements with the Whiteriver, Snowflake and Round Valley school districts were renewed. Each outlines college-level courses taught at the individual high schools eligible for both NPC and high school credit.

The college has also created a four-member Institutional Review Board to assure any human subjects used in any research projects do so with informed consent and that no one will not be harmed. The college’s involvement in grants and various consortia may require review of human subject research designs.

Board reports

Reviewing the financial report for the first month of the 2014 fiscal year, Hatch noted both revenues and expenditures were on track. NPC has received the first quarter payment of state operating aid and for STEM workforce development. “All of the STEM funds will be used to purchase equipment,” Hatch added.

Hatch noted over $12 million had been budgeted for major capital projects this year. Several major projects were suggested in the three-year capital improvements and master facilities plans. Hatch suggested discussing the projects at the board retreat in late October.

Music professor Julie Neish reported on her summer participation in the Sarteano (Italy) Conducting Workshop. With students from throughout the world, the workshop was “an opportunity to improve myself so that I can share with my students.”

Neish and Performing Arts Chair Dr. Michael Solomonson highlighted fall performances, including the world premiere of Coeur d’Alene and November dinner theatre and show-only performances of The Drowsy Chaperone. Both plays have been submitted for consideration to be presented at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in Los Angeles in the spring. Several musical performances are also on tap.

Margaret White, Classified and Staff Organization vice president, reported $1,841.50 was raised through employee donations at NPC’s fall convocation for the student emergency fund. She also encouraged candy purchases, available at campus/center libraries, with all proceeds going to student scholarships.

“Our first meeting and election of senators and officers will be this Friday,” Melissa Luatua, Student Government Association adviser, told the board. SGA will also be supporting the Pedal the Petrified cycling event on Sept. 21. SGA and the Phi Theta Kappa chapter will be raising scholarship funds through the sale of doughnuts.

Luatua also requested help with the Outdoor Club’s skiing and snowboarding events. She also said SGA will be once again awarding a laptop scholarship to one student at each of the campus and center locations.

During her President’s Report, Dr. Jeanne Swarthout updated the board on the state committee on provisional community college districts and the four-district governing board summit on Sept. 20.

Board member Prescott Winslow commended Career Services Adviser Jeremy Raisor for the mentoring program available for students at the Winslow – Little Colorado Campus.

The next regularly-scheduled meeting will be Tuesday, Oct. 15, beginning at 10 a.m., in the Tiponi Community Center on the Holbrook – Painted Desert Campus, 2251 E. Navajo Blvd. Copies of the agenda are posted at least 24 hours in advance online.

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