The January 15 meeting of the Navajo County Community College District Governing Board was filled with numerous oral, visual and written reports, interspersed with the re-election of officers and routine approvals of annual single and comprehensive audits, hearing officers, intergovernmental agreements, curriculum changes and purchases.
As the five-member elected panel that oversees the operation of Northland Pioneer College made their way through a 269-page packet, a few morsels enticed more discussion.
Of the 3,997 students who attended classes during the fall 2018 semester, 2,541 (64%) received some form of financial aid. Overall, there were 2,930 awards, with some students receiving more than one. Institutional awards totaling about $221,350 went to 2,344 students. Federal Pell grants totaling approximately $920,939 went to 476 students. And 110 students received private assistance totaling approximately $201,881. Scholarships from outside sources, including civic clubs and tribal agencies are not included in these counts or disbursements.
“With the economic demographics of our service area, we believe more students would qualify for financial aid, if they would apply,” noted Rickey Jackson, interim vice president for Learning and Student Services. NPC is in the process of totally revamping the financial aid application process, reducing approval time from six to eight weeks to two or three days. Most of the application process is now done online. To get started, visit www.npc.edu/financial-aid-scholarships.
As Dr. Judy Yip-Reyes, institutional effectiveness director, outlined some of the areas to be reviewed by the Higher Learning Commission’s (HLC) accreditation team during their visit on November 18 & 19, a very worried board member James Matteson interrupted. “What if we, the board, fail the oral exam? Will NPC lose its accreditation?”
Yip-Reyes assured Matteson and other board members that is was not an oral exam, but an open dialog about where the college has been, is, and will be in the future. To prepare, the board will be meeting a half hour earlier February through November for a study session to discuss their role in the accreditation process.
NPC Friends & Family Director Betsyann Wilson happily reported just under $6,000 was raised for student scholarships as a result of her bi-annual newsletter mailing. She also explained the growth in endowed scholarships and that Friends and Family had earned the highest rating, a Platinum, for transparency from GuideStar, an online clearing house for vetting the integrity of nonprofit fundraising agencies. She is also gearing up for Arizona Gives Day on April 2 – a one-day statewide promotion of giving to nonprofit organizations.
Wilson and NPC President Mark Vest have been expanding their community outreach, meeting with city and town councils, chambers of commerce and NPC industry partners to increase awareness of what services and programs NPC has available and to hear what those groups want from NPC.
Chief Business Officer Maderia Ellison reviewed the financial report, noting that revenues for the period July through November were slightly above budget, while expenditures were below due to several unfilled positions and the ramping up of several major capital projects.
Ellison also introduced Donna Miller, financial audit director, and David Glennon, audit manager, with the Arizona Office of the Auditor General. Miller described the NPC’s audits, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018, as “clean,” with no abnormalities, no federal audit compliance issues and only two findings that the college is already working on to tighten access to protect data.
Glennon outlined how auditors reviewed Information Technology (IT) policies and procedures to control unauthorized access, the configuration of IT systems and how to handle a disaster recovery. Chief Information Officer PJ Way stated the college is already doing many of the things the auditors are recommending, and proper documentation is currently in development or presented to the policy and procedure review team. The college has been recruiting to fill two positions specifically for database and security administration to help address the auditors’ concerns.
Film and Digital Video Professor Mark Ford presented a short video produced by students Jackson Kittrell and Anthony Marietta highlighting the Winslow Classic Film Festival and the #SupportYourTheater effort, January 3-5. The two video students worked with NPC student Larrilynn Oso who helped organize the film festival to show how the small movie theater played such a vital role in their community.
Marketing Director Ann Hess provided a quick overview of the new college website, www.npc.edu, which launched January 2. The mobile-friendly site has been drawing praise from both internal and external sources about the ease of use and how the structure is designed to be student-user friendly.
President Vest will be meeting with state legislators regarding proposed changes to the Proposition 301 funding formula. He also touched on the impact the federal government shutdown is having on students seeking IRS tax data to apply for financial aid.
Board members also offered suggestions to the Request for Qualifications (RFQu) for architectural and design services for the proposed construction projects on the Show Low – White Mountain Campus. Board member Matteson, a licensed civil engineer, suggested cost should only come into consideration after negotiations with the top-ranked firms. Matteson also suggested requiring the Construction Manager be certified by the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA);
In action items, the board:
- Re-elected Frank Lucero to serve as chair and Arizona Association of District Governing Boards (AADGB) representative; and Daniel Peaches to serve as secretary;
- Approved the intergovernmental agreement with Apache County to provide educational opportunities at the same tuition rate as Navajo County residents;
- Approved curriculum modifications to the Construction Technology Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree, Certificate of Applied Science (CAS), and Certificate of Proficiency (CP); General Education options; the Business transfer degree and within five specializations of the AAS, CAS and CPs; Computer Information Systems modifying the CIS specialization, creating a new Software and Web Development AAS, CAS and CP and deletion of the PC & Network Support, Commercial Graphics Fundamentals and Graphic Design & Web Development areas;
- Accepted the Financial Audit and Single Audit for the Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2018;
- Approved the list of possible hearing officers to settle disputes with the college;
- Approved the Standards of Conduct Policy;
- Re-approved a multiyear contract with EBSCO to provide access to library databases, ebooks, audiobooks and e-magazines. The adjustment shifts the contract renewal to fiscal year rather than calendar year;
- Re-approved the purchase of two Anatomage tables to be used for virtual human anatomy courses. The original approval in December failed to include Use Tax, collected because the seller is from outside Arizona;
- Approved the purchase of network switches, licensing and support to replace end-of-life-cycle equipment in the college’s technology infrastructure;
- Approved the purchase of on-site data storage, service and support to meet increased demand and security requirements.
The next regularly-scheduled meeting will be Tuesday, February 19, at 10 a.m. in the Tiponi Community Center on the Holbrook – Painted Desert Campus, 2251 E. Navajo Blvd. The board will meet in work session at 9:30 for a briefing on the upcoming accreditation visit and to discuss the Show Low construction projects. No action will be taken during the work session. Copies of the agenda will be posted online, at least 24 hours in advance.
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