May 9, 2012

Highlights from FVCC Board of Trustees April Meeting

The Flathead Valley Community College Board of Trustees met April 30 for its regularly scheduled monthly meeting.

Trustee candidates Michael Hebert, Jerry Elwood and Ralene Sliter introduced themselves to the Board and the audience in attendance.

The Board issued Certificate of Election by acclamation to Board of Trustee candidate Tom McElwain.  Clerk of the District Monica Settles administered the oath of office.

Logger Sports Team Captain Jamee Perkins presented a team update.  The team’s undefeated season was highlighted with its second consecutive national championship win and securing the Top Sportsmanship Award at the national competition.  The team will conclude its season May 12 by performing free demonstrations for the community at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at the Family Forestry Expo in Columbia Falls.

Student Government Activities Director Cord Thompson reported that FVCC students participated in Habitat for Humanity Build Day in Columbia Falls on March 24.

Director, The Scholars Program at FVCC Ivan Lorentzen presented the faculty report.  FVCC chemistry students, under the instruction of Dr. Mariusz Gajewski and Dr. David Long, teamed up with Columbia Falls-based company Zinc Air, Inc. to conducted undergraduate research this semester on elements within Zinc-Air batteries and their potential to reduce battery degradation.  The students presented their findings at the Montana Academy of Science and American Chemical Society Meeting in Miniature Conference in Butte April 14.

Physics Instructor Jim Boger attended the Montana Space Grant Consortium (MSGC) spring research symposium in Bozeman and serves on the advisory board for MSGC and as an FVCC Affiliate for MSGC.  He is working with physics students to complete a student spectrograph for the National Student Solar Spectrograph Competition to be held at Montana State University in Bozeman May 16-19.

Lorentzen and Business Instructor Chris Hanchett attended the annual Western Regional Honors Conference in Albuquerque, N.M., along with two Scholars Program students Kyle Selhost and Ursula DeStefano, each of whom presented their research projects at the conference.  They were among 300 conference participants comprised of faculty and student representatives from 27 two-year and four-year colleges and universities across the western United States.  The students shared their experiences at the opening session of the FVCC Scholars Conference on Student Research May 4.

Erin Howardson was the first online student to be presented the Montana State University-Billings Communications Graduate Student of the Year Award.  Mathematics Instructor Don Hickethier, Ph.D., was elected to the Board of Directors of the Montana Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Business Division Chairperson Brenda Rudolph joined two business students as they competed at the Business Professionals of America National Leadership Conference in Chicago.  Aimee Moriarty earned third place in Prepared Speech, and Keith McAtee placed in the top 10 in Human Resource Management.

In action items, the Board approved the deletion of the Administrative Assistant Certificate of Applied Science program due to lack of enrollment.  The Board approved the first reading of the proposed revisions to the Senior Citizen Tuition Policy that was updated to make the policy more current and to better address the college’s senior citizen students who take credit classes, excluding Senior Institute students.  The Board also approved the request to obtain an INTERCAP loan for $2.4 million to serve as bridge financing to facilitate construction of the Rebecca Chaney Broussard Center for Nursing and Allied Health Science.

The Board approved President Jane Karas’ proposal to increase tuition $1.60 per credit and $1 per credit for in-district, out-of-district and out-of-state students effective fall 2012.  The impact for a full-time, in-district student taking 14 credits will be an increase of $36.40 per semester.  Karas noted that her proposal was significantly lower than the national inflation rate and was less than the tuition increase recommendation made by the college’s Budget Committee.

President Karas was elected chair-elect of the American Association of Community Colleges Board and was invited to join the U.S. Department of State in Beijing, China, to explore the expansion of educational partnerships.  She announced that the FVCC Foundation has raised $875,000 for the Rebecca Chaney Broussard Center for Nursing and Health Science.  The college will break ground on the new building on May 22.

Anmol Manchala became the first student in FVCC history to be awarded the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship awarded to our nation’s top community college students.  A native of India, Manchala was one of 60 community college students in the nation to receive the award valued up to $30,000 per year that will assist her with the necessary expenses to achieve a bachelor’s degree at any four-year college or university of her choice in the United States.

The next regularly scheduled board meeting will take place May 21 at 3:45 p.m.  For more information regarding specific items included in this report or regarding college activities, contact Tara Roth at 756-3912.  For more information on board meetings, contact Monica Settles at 756-3801.