The Wilkes Community College Board of Trustees met on Thursday, April 11, at the John A. Walker Community Center on the Wilkes Campus. Prior to the start of the business session, the board heard a presentation entitled, Training the people behind the sirens; A public safety overview and innovations.
The business session began with approval of the minutes from the March 2019 Board of Trustees meeting.
Dr. Cox and Chairman Terry Bumgarner presented a plaque and resolution to Pratt Davis, Duane Davis’ widow, in honor of Duane’s service to the board. Mr. Davis served on theWCC Board of Trustees from June 29, 2009 until his passing on February 26, 2019. Trustee Davis served with great dedication, compassion, and pride in the college. Dr. Cox, the Board of Trustees, and college personnel wish to extend their respect and appreciation for Duane’s service, as well as deepest sympathies to Ms. Davis and the family.
Cynthia Alford, liaison to the board, alongside Dr. Cox administered the Oath of Office to Ricky Brown. Mr. Brown will fulfill the unexpired term of late trustee Duane Davis.
Dr. Cox and Chairman Bumgarner recognized Greg Rosales, SGA President, for becoming an American citizen on April 11, 2019.
Buildings and Grounds Committee
The board gave the building and grounds committee authority to approve the preliminary guaranteed maximum price contract for the Ashe Campus classroom and lab project. It was reported that the design of the new Ashe Campus classroom and lab building is nearly complete. College staff has been meeting with LS3P Architects and Vannoy Construction (construction manager at risk) to refine the design and evaluate cost estimates. The current project timeline indicates site development to begin in late July or early August (pending State Construction review times) with final completion in the spring of 2021.
Trustees voted to give the building and grounds committee authority to approve the final design and construction contracts for Herring Hall renovations. Enrollment and accreditation changes in two health science programs, Dental and Radiography, have resulted in some needed renovations in Herring Hall.
Funding for the Herring Hall renovations would come from the WCC Foundation. College staff is continuing to work with LS3P Architects to determine the best layout for the new space, with the goal of maintaining enough unused space to add a new health science program in the future.
The board approved the 2019-2020 local budget requests for Wilkes, Ashe, and Alleghany counties.
Program and Planning Committee
Trustees reviewed and approved the 2020-2021 college calendar. Required professional development days have been scheduled following Labor Day and following Martin Luther King Day. The college will be closed December 24, 2020 – January 1, 2021. Having been directed by the state to allow only twelve paid holidays, Easter Monday will not be a holiday. Graduation and the last day of nine-month faculty contracts will be May 13, 2021.
The board gave authority to the Personnel Committee to approve salaries and other personnel matters for the 2019-2020 year. The committee will approve changes and other personnel matters once the State Board of Community Colleges issues sufficient salary and benefit information for 2019-2020. In such case, the personnel committee will report these findings at the next meeting of the board.
The personnel committee shared that Meret Burke, previously instructor of English, Arts and Sciences, assumed the position of Chair of Communication and Language departments effective January 1, 2019; and Britt Church, previously Director of Recruiting, has assumed the position of Career Coach at West Wilkes High School effective March 1, 2019. One retirement was announced; Jan Huggins, QEP Director, effective January 31.
The following resignations were shared with the board: Daniel Smith, Psychology Instructor, effective December 31, 2018; Devonne Gaddy, Career Coach, effective January 28, 2019; Josh Whitley, Network and Security Administrator, effective March 15, 2019; and John Eller, Custodian, effective March 31, 2019.
Terry Bumgarner, chair of the WCC Board of Trustees, shared with the board that the terms of the following trustees will expire on June 30, 2019; William Davis, appointed by the Wilkes County Commissioners; Mike Inscore, appointed by the Governor; and Larry Stones, appointed by the Wilkes County Board of Education. The following are newly appointed or reappointed trustees; Susan Murphy was reappointed for a four-year term, Ricky Brown, newly appointed to fulfill Duane Davis’ unexpired term; and Jay Vannoy.
Mr. Bumgarner appointed the personnel committee to serve as the nominating committee to recommend a new slate of officers for 2019-2020 for the board’s consideration at its next meeting.
College President’s Report
The 2019 recipient of the Academic Excellence Award is Aaron Thomas Clark, who will graduate with a 4.0 GPA in both Associate in Arts and Associate in Science degrees this spring, as well as his diploma from the Wilkes Early College High School. He completed all his high school and college requirements in only four years, instead of the usual five. In addition to his academic achievements, he has been very active in high school, college, and church activities. He has been accepted into the elite Honors Carolina program at UNC-Chapel Hill for Fall 2019.
The 2019 Dallas Herring Achievement Award nominee is Deborah Van Westin. The award recognizes students who symbolize Dr. Herring’s philosophy of “taking people where they are and carrying them as far as they can go.” Ms. Westin, who graduated from high school in 1980 and worked for a while as a hair stylist, has struggled with family tragedy, illness, financial crises, and even homelessness in her adult life, but she has always been determined to improve herself through education. At WCC she had to take developmental courses and learn how to use a computer, but she persevered and will complete her Associate in Arts degree in August 2019 with a 3.15 GPA. She plans to transfer to a university (possibly Brigham Young) to complete her bachelor’s degree in education.
Damaris Torres is the 2019 nominee for the Governor Robert W. Scott Student Leadership Award. Damaris is a Wilkes Early College High School (WECHS) and WCC student who has already completed the requirements for the Associate in Science degree with a 3.77 GPA and is taking some additional courses in her final semester at WCC. While here, she has immersed herself in extra-curricular activities in both settings, becoming a student leader who took on more and more responsibility every year. As a WCC Student Ambassador, Damaris was recognized with the “Dedicated Service Award” and is highly regarded by her peers, her instructors, and WCC’s Student Activities director Sabrina Bowman, who nominated her for the award. Ms. Torres organized and volunteered for student activities such as blood drives, welcome back lunches, voter registration events, Spring Fling, and much more. Ms. Torres plans to transfer to a 4-year program in pre-med and eventually become a pediatrician.
WCC enlisted the aid of Campbell and Shatley, Attorneys at Law, located in Asheville, NC, to perform a comprehensive review and refurbishment of WCC’s policy manuals. The newly revised policies will be presented for a final reading and adoption at the board meeting in August.
Dr. Cox provided a brief update on the tremendous progress that has been made this year on implementing the 21 SMART Strategies identified as priorities for the 2018-2019 academic year. WCC’s Strategic Plan is available for view on the website or at the following link:
It was determined that plans for a new building in Alleghany County should be temporarily withheld to make sure the proposed programs are going to have enough enrollment to make them sustainable. Dr. Cox will work with the administrative team to develop a new interest survey that will be administered to students at Alleghany High School within the next couple of weeks to gauge their interest in several different programs that could be explored. Once there is a better understanding of current students’ interest, Dr. Cox will make a recommendation about how to proceed with facility plans for Alleghany County.
During a closed session, the WCC Board of Trustees discussed its evaluation of Dr. Jeff Cox and a naming opportunity for the new Culinary Lab.
During regular session, Mr. Gerald Lankford, chair of the personnel committee, congratulated Dr. Cox on another outstanding year and on his successful five-year tenure as president of the college. The board voted unanimously to extend Dr. Cox’s contract for another four-year term.
The board voted unanimously to name the new Culinary Lab in memory of Clyde D. Stone by his children Diane Swaim, Susan Hawkins-Stone, Steve Stone, and Larry Stone.
The WCC Board of Trustees will meet again on May 14, 2019, at the Walker Center.