Responding to requests from regional healthcare partners, Northland Pioneer College will begin offering Surgical Technology and Therapeutic Massage degree programs starting this fall. The college’s governing board approved the new programs during its regular monthly meeting March 19 in Holbrook.
Surgical Technologists are responsible for providing the sterile instruments and environment in operating rooms. There is a high demand for certified professionals, who, by 2021, must have at least an associate degree, with a median annual salary in Arizona of $50,000. NPC will become the third community college in Arizona offering an associate’s degree in surgical technology.
Prior to admission to the program, students must complete 22 credits of science and English courses. The program will initially be offered at the Show Low Campus, with clinical experiences at other medical facilities throughout the region.
NPC’s Allied Health Advisory Board recommended restoring the Therapeutic Massage program in response to a vibrant interest in alternative medicine within NPC’s service area and general community interest. NPC will be offering a Certificate of Proficiency (CP) which provides the fundamental knowledge and skills to become a licensed massage therapist. A Certificate of Applied Science (CAS) and Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree will also be offered.
For more information about either program, contact an NPC academic adviser or the Nursing and Allied Health Department.
As part of the introductory budget analysis, Maderia Ellison, vice president for Administrative Services, explained the basis for a proposed 5 percent salary and wage increase for contracted employees and adjunct faculty. “We have difficulty recruiting qualified faculty and staff, especially in the technology areas,” noted Ellison. Even with the proposed increase, NPC will remain near the lowest for median faculty salaries.
The salary and wage recommendation was developed in negotiations with faculty and staff representatives. The proposal calls for a 3.5 percent increase to the base and one-step (1.5 percent) for faculty and hourly employees. Exempt employees would see a 5 percent increase, with an increase of 3.5 percent to the salary ranges.
College employees would also receive one additional day of paid personal leave. NPC has the fewest days of winter break between Christmas and New Year’s, and most staff is expected to use that extra day during that time.
Under the proposal, nine-month faculty would no longer be allowed to spread their salary over a 12-month period. “While this may be a common practice in K-12, it causes an administrative and accounting nightmare, with pay spreading across two fiscal years,” explained Ellison.
She noted that healthcare costs will be increasing 5 percent. NPC dropped dental insurance coverage from the benefit package two years ago, but continues to make it available if the employee chooses to pay the total cost.
Ellison included the salary and wage recommendations in the three introductory budget options she presented to the board. “Property taxes make up 40 percent of our revenues. In prior years, the maximum levy has allowed us to build a capital reserve fund that now lets us make facility improvements without imposing a secondary tax to pay for bond indebtedness,” she explained.
The three budget options included estimates for state operating aid and equalization and different views on property taxes. The first budget option used property taxes at the maximum levy rate of $1.8621 per $100 of assessed.
Option two keeps the tax rate at the current rate of $1.8164, and Option three uses the Truth in Taxation (TNT) rate of $1.7899. Both options 1 and 2 would provide adequate funding for NPC’s operating needs, but option three would require the college to reexamine the salary and wage proposal, or dip into savings,” Ellison noted.
Both budget options one and two would require truth in taxation hearings and notices. At the April 16 regular meeting, the board will be asked to adopt a preliminary budget. Once that is approved, the budget can be reduced, but not increased. Formal adoption of the final budget is expected to occur at the May 21 board meeting.
In other action, the board:
- Reaffirmed tuition at $77 per credit hour, starting with the fall semester, and approved general and course fees. NPC’s tuition remains the lowest of the state’s 10 community college districts.
- Approved a Reduction in Force request by Apache County to decrease expenditures by eliminating the St. Johns Center Manager position and one the fulltime Cosmetology faculty position. Apache County reimburses NPC for expenses related to providing services within the county under an intergovernmental agreement.
- Awarded the contract for the pre-purchase of replacement heating and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment for the Aspen Center on the Show Low Campus. This will ensure the equipment is on-site when the installer, to be awarded under a separate contract, is ready to begin work immediately after classes adjourn in May.
- Approved the purchase of PowerFAIDS software to help automate the processing of student financial aid requests. The software acquisition is part of an initiative to streamline the entire financial aid application process from six to eight weeks to just a few days.
- Approved modifications to the Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) to Registered Nursing (RN) degree requirements and general education requirements for the Nursing program.
- Reviewed College Operations policies.
During a work session prior to the regular meeting, members were briefed on the progress of hiring a construction manager for the upcoming facility projects and qualifications from prospective architects/master planners.
Dr. Judy Yip-Reyes continued her briefing of the board on what to expect during the Higher Learning Commission’s accreditation visit on November 18 and 19. She reviewed the yardsticks used to relate jobs to the college’s mission, prove the integrity of the institution, and demonstrate effective leadership in financial and academic matters. Evidence arguments are nearing their final review by three English faculty members.
“When is Arizona Gives Day?” Ann Hess, NPC’s Marketing director asked those in attendance. “April 2, 2019” was the unanimous reply. Hess was substituting for NPC Friends and Family Executive Director Betsyann Wilson. Hess encouraged splitting donations, in any amount, pre-giving a portion, which makes Friends & Family eligible for bonus awards, and then making the balance of your donation on April 2. To make your donation, visit www.azgives.org/npcfriendsfamily.
Hess and NPC’s Social Media Specialist Kelli Freeman presented an overview of how NPC is improving communication with students, staff and our communities through the use of social media platforms. Freeman encouraged following NPC on Facebook and Instagram, as she posts items of interest, including video segments, about students and activities, and hosts contests in partnership with local businesses.
President Mark Vest discussed the “unusually slow pace” at the state legislature. With an evenly split House, attendance for voting is critical and bills are stalled as a consequence. His meetings with the college and community college districts lobbyists are raising concerns that a state budget may not be approved before the date local community college boards are mandated to adopt their budgets.
Vest also encouraged board members to review the résumés of the three finalists for the Learning and Student Services vice presidency. On-site interviews with all of the candidates were the week of March 18 – 22 and the search committee hopes to have a recommendation in the coming week.
He also suggested a board retreat on Wednesday, April 26 at the Winslow Campus to discuss strategic planning and to receive legal training on the role of a board member.
The next regularly-scheduled meeting will be Tuesday, April 16, 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. Copies of the agenda will be posted online, at least 24 hours in advance.
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