Guests in attendance included Dr. Phil Birdine, Western President; Lisa Greenlee, Vice President for Academic and Student Support Services; Tricia Latham, Vice President for Business Affairs; Heather Hood, Controller; Faculty Senate President, John Phelan; Chad Wiginton, Dean of Student Support Services; Lindsey Treadwell and Cindy Clayton, newly appointed Western Regents; Richard Rose and Chris Pembrook of Crawford and Associates; Briar Jenkins, Secretary to the President and Judith Norton, Director of Public Information.
Western Oklahoma State College’s Board of Regents met for its regularly scheduled meeting this week in the Higher Learning Center at the college. During the meeting, Tricia Latham introduced Richard Rose and Chris Pembrook, of Crawford and Associates who delivered the final internal audit report for fiscal year 2014. A team of four auditors were on campus February 24-26 evaluating: miscellaneous claims and encumbrances, the college bookstore, informational technology controls, Clery Act reporting compliance, grants and contracts, and follow-up on prior year recommendations. No findings were reported for claims and encumbrances and recommendations were given for the college bookstore, IT general controls, Clery Act reporting and grants and contracts. Prior year recommendations were reported as implemented by Western.
Lisa Greenlee updated the board on the recent focus visit from the Higher Learning Commission peer review team on March 31- April 2. The final focus visit report should be issued in a few weeks. The HLC comprehensive visit is scheduled for February 9, 2015. A team of five reviewers will conduct the visit that will include all areas of the campus. The comprehensive report is already underway and is expected to be presented at the October board meeting for regent approval.
Phil Birdine delivered the president’s report and recommendations that included his commendation to all the faculty and staff that have prepared for the HLC focus and comprehensive visits. He also invited the regents to an upcoming reception for Western employees who will be retiring this spring.
At the beginning of the meeting, a presentation of plaques was given to Lindsey Treadwell of Frederick and Cindy Clayton of Mangum who are the newest additions to the Western Board of Regents. Gilmer Capps, Board Chair, issued the oath of office to both regents and welcomed them to the board.
John Phelan, Faculty Senate President then updated the board on the senate’s latest activity. Phelan reported that the year anniversary of the senate is soon approaching. The senate’s final meeting for the semester is in May, at which time the officers elect for the 2014-15 school year will sit in for the meeting. Phelan reported on items brought to the faculty by the peer reviewers at the recent HLC focus visit March 31- April 2. The items included a request for all references to “instructor” to be changed to “faculty”, a request to allow for faculty input in regard to campus policies and procedures, and finally a request for designated representation on the Dean’s Council and the Administrative Council.
Latham presented proposed changes to section two of the employee handbook regarding governance. The proposed change would give the President the authority to hire part-time employees including adjunct faculty, but the regents retain all responsibilities for decisions concerning appointment, retention or dismissal of all full-time faculty and other full-time staff members. The board voted to accept the revisions to the handbook.
Latham also presented a proposal for an increase of $250 in the room and board rate for fiscal year 2015. There has not been an increase in the rate since fiscal year 2008 but meal costs have increased 23% since that time. Even with the increase, Western will still be well below the average rate for community colleges and second lowest in the state for room and board rates. The board voted to accept the increase.
Chad Wiginton reported to the board on recent updates to the college’s drug and alcohol policy. This draft document is currently under review by the U.S. Department of Education. It is hoped that the draft review will be complete by the June 2014 board meeting, at which time the administration will request formal board action. The board voted to table discussion about the policy until June meeting.
After an executive session, the board moved back into open session and approved the personnel employments of Stacey Jerrick, Altus Sophomore Nursing Instructor; Adrianna Kelly, WINDS Clerk and Angela Roberts, Upward Bound Academic Coordinator. The personnel retirement resignations of Rebekkah Morrow, History Instructor; George Medlock, Grounds Maintenance Supervisor and Lourie Sharzter, Administrative Secretary for the VP of Academic and Student Support Services were also approved, as were the personnel resignations of Joanna Neff, Deans’ Secretary and Susan Childs, Business& Information Systems Coordinator/Distributed Learning Facilitator/ Reach Higher Campus Coordinator. Recommended tenure appointments were also approved.