February Governing Board Highlights

February 23, 2018 by Anonymous

A snapshot using data from U.S. Census Bureau surveys of collegial educational attainment by residents within Northland Pioneer College’s two-county service area shows significant growth in the number of people with some college or an associate degree.

Save the Date April 3, 2018 - Arizona Gives Day

Betsyann Wilson, executive director of NPC Friends & Family, developed the snapshot to demonstrate how scholarships, combined with NPC's dispersed delivery model, are impacting students, allowing them to reach their educational goals. She shared the snapshot with members of the Navajo County Community College District Governing Board at the February 20 regular meeting while promoting Friends & Family's next major fundraiser on Arizona Gives Day, Tuesday, April 3.

Wilson looked at two age groups, 18 to 24 and 25 and above. In Navajo County, residents in both age groups completed college coursework up to an associate degree at rates equal to or exceeding the change in the national average from 2000 to 2016. In Apache County during the same period, the change in residents' educational attainment rates exceeded the national average for both age groups.

The most significant gains occurred on the White Mountain Apache, Navajo Nation and Hopi reservations, which saw dramatic improvements in educational attainment up to an associate degree during the time period.

“Your donations to scholarships, and the educational opportunities offered by NPC are making a difference in people's lives,” Wilson told the board. Donations received on Arizona Gives Day and through fundraisers like the April 28 golf tournament and September 15 Pedal the Petrified go directly to students through various scholarships and emergency fund programs. Numerous scholarship opportunities are listed on the college's website/www.npc.edu/scholarships.

One of the diverse ways NPC delivers instruction is through interactive video and multimedia classrooms connecting its nine locations. This provides greater access to courses in smaller communities where there is insufficient enrollment or available qualified instructors for face-to-face sessions.

Those distance learning classrooms will be getting an extensive technology upgrade over the summer utilizing high-definition cameras and monitors, like those piloted in Project TALON classrooms at local high schools. The newer technology uses less bandwidth; yet delivers a more reliable connection between the instructor and students. A small component of that upgrade will be the installation of 15 new computers, monitors, cables and external drives. The governing board authorized the purchase of the equipment as one of the action items on its agenda.

The board also approved replacement of the roof system on the Performing Arts Center on the Snowflake/Taylor campus. Scottsdale-based Flynn Southwest will remove the existing roofing material, rebuild crickets to direct water flow to roof drains and install two layers of roofing material with associated flashing and parapet cap.

Staff was given permission to pursue the purchase of a doublewide modular building to provide classrooms, faculty office and tool storage for the construction program at NPC's Whiteriver Center. The new unit would replace an existing single-wide building that is need of extensive repairs and is too small for the needs of the instructional program.

Chief Business Officer Maderia Ellison reviewed proposed tuition and course fees for the next academic year. The board had previously adopted a three-year tuition plan, which set tuition at $74 for the 2018-19 academic year. Only a few minor adjustments are being proposed in course fees, to more accurately reflect actual costs for supplies used. The board will formally adopt the tuition and fees at the March 20 regular meeting.

Ellison also reviewed the preliminary financial information being used in budget development. Uncertainty with state funding and property tax valuations clouds the budget development process. Based on Governor Ducey's proposed budget, NPC could see an increase in its state appropriation, primarily due to an increase in equalization funding. NPC is one of three community college districts statewide that receives equalization funding to help offset below-average property tax valuations.

Budget development is assuming the property tax levy will be increased by the maximum allowable of 2 percent higher than the current year tax levy, plus any new construction. Staff is still evaluating data recently received from the Navajo County Assessor's Office regarding valuation figures for next year. Ellison presented a revised budget development calendar, which bumps back a month the presentation and adoption of wage and salary recommendations. “Trying to submit that recommendation in February requires a great deal of guesswork,” remarked President Dr. Jeanne Swarthout. “By bumping this back a month, we can more accurately weigh the potential revenue versus expenditures.”

Modifications to completion requirements were approved for the Associate of Business (ABus) degree and the Associate of Applied Science (AAS), Certificate of Applied Science (CAS) and Certificate of Proficiency (CP) for Business specializations in Accounting, Management & Leadership, Medical Office and Modern Office.

NPC is already seeing positive results from the Proactive Advising for Student Success (PASS) program, Josh Rogers, NPC's director of advising services, told the board. The program includes a new pre-registration orientation for students, and more student interaction with advisers and faculty. “This is resulting in higher retention of students from semester to semester, leading to completion of educational objectives,” added Rogers.

In preparation for an accreditation visit in November 2019 by the Higher Learning Commission, the college is already preparing draft assurance arguments that address specific criterion the college needs to meet for renewed accreditation. Chief Operations Officer Jason Foutz presented an overview of the first criterion, which focuses on how the college's mission is understood, fulfilled and articulated to the public.

Five proposed ways to improve enrollment were the focus of the Strategic Planning and Accreditation Steering Committee (SPASC) report by co-chair Mark Vest, vice president for Learning and Student Services. While still in draft forms, these ways include increasing the college's involvement with local communities; expanding digital and social media outreach; developing additional partnerships to reduce costs while expanding learning opportunities; modernizing support services; and leveraging tuition pricing and instructional delivery options to reach new groups of students.

Vest also noted the reorganization of SPASC, with executive team members serving only as resource advisers. Student Services administrative assistant Colleen Readel, who also serves as Commencement Coordinator, will be taking on the SPASC co-chair's role with welding faculty member Randy Hoskins in the fall.

Early Childhood Studies Department Chair Dr. Allison Landy explained how the department works with students already employed in the field, as teachers, home visitors, parent educators or directors. She reviewed some of the changes being made in her program and explained how she and her early childhood specialists are providing individualized instruction and scholarship support throughout Navajo and Apache counties.

Many of the Early Childhood students are eligible for full scholarships from NPC's early childhood community partner, First Things First, and for additional educational attainment incentives of up to $1,500. Dr. Landy travels extensively, meeting with students, advisers and stakeholders to make sure NPC's instruction is meeting diverse community needs.

The next regularly-scheduled board meeting will be Tuesday, March 20, at 10 a.m. in the Tiponi Community Center on the Holbrook – Painted Desert Campus, 2251 E. Navajo Blvd. Copies of the agenda will be posted online at least 24 hours in advance. The board plans to meet in closed-door executive session with the Presidential Search Team on Wednesday, March 7, at 10 a.m. A second closed-door session has been scheduled for Friday, March 9, if needed, to discuss the hiring of the next college president. Announcement of the new president is not anticipated until the board's March 20 meeting.

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