Oct 4, 2012

Highlights from FVCC Board of Trustees September Meeting

The Flathead Valley Community College Board of Trustees met September 24 for its regularly scheduled monthly meeting.

Faculty Senate Vice President Janice Alexander, Ph.D., announced that Physics Instructor Jim Boger was appointed to the Montana Space Grant Consortium Technical Advisory Committee which reviews the strategies and larger grants related to space work across Montana.  Ceramics Instructor David Smith was one of a dozen artists invited to participate in the Contemporary Clay Invitational in Farmville, Va.

FVCC hosted the statewide Computer Science Summit this summer.  Alexander reported that Montana State University and The University of Montana expressed interest in replicating the environment of FVCC’s programming facility.  Computer Science Instructor Nick Thiel is working with Montana State University on increasing the Montana State University computer science presence in Kalispell.

During the public comment segment of the meeting, a number of FVCC students addressed the Board, supporting and opposing the Student Government’s recommendation to make FVCC a tobacco-free campus.  In addition to public comment, the college collected comments on the issue from students and employees.  The Board voted to have President Jane Karas, Ph.D., develop a transition plan to present to the Board at the October meeting.

Executive Director, Institutional Research, Assessment and Planning Brad Eldredge, Ph.D., presented an update on fall semester enrollment.  The college’s full-time equivalent enrollment has decreased 5.6 percent from last fall to 1,626.6, and unduplicated headcount has dropped to 2,395, a 4 percent decline from this time last year.  Running Start and online enrollments are consistent with last fall’s enrollments.  According to Eldredge, the average credit per student has declined slightly with 51 percent of students enrolled as part-time status.  Eldredge noted the pattern is expected as the college is moving back toward its underlying growth rate trend prior to the recession, with fall enrollment up 24.6 percent from fall 2008 enrollment.  President Karas added that all institutions within the Montana University System are experiencing similar enrollment trends this fall.

President Karas reported on the self-study accreditation evaluation team visit that took place in April.  The college’s accreditation was reaffirmed for seven years through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.  FVCC was one of the colleges selected to compress seven years of work into a year-and-a-half in accordance with the new accreditation standards.  The college received commendations for its student-centered environment that faculty and staff have created; consistently responsive level of service and support and professional assistance at both the Kalispell and Libby campuses; strong sense of pride among trustees, staff, faculty and students; positive climate that makes student success a priority; innovative community partnerships resulting in robust scholarships and internships, raising substantial financial resources; and expansion of community education opportunities.  The college received two recommendations involving the refinement of its mission fulfillment and core theme objective in terms of planning, resources and assessment for the entire campus and the implementation and assessment of learning outcomes across programs, courses and general education.

“We’re not surprised by those (recommendations),” said Karas.  “We expected them as it was not possible to fully complete all of the steps involving seven years of work in a year-and-a half.  In light of that, we are doing extremely well.”

President Karas announced that the college is partnering with the Montana University System to explore the development of new program offerings and the expansion of existing baccalaureate and graduate degree programs on the FVCC campus through the creation of a university center.  The center would provide dedicated space on the FVCC campus to college and university partners and offer opportunities for local students to affordably complete four-year or graduate degrees without leaving the Flathead Valley

President Karas reported on the two-year education summer retreat meeting held at FVCC August 6 and 7.  They discussed the 21st Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges report and how to incorporate some of those goals and recommendations into what two-year colleges are doing in Montana.  A speaker from American Association of Community Colleges presented information on the Voluntary Framework of Accountability pilot project, in which FVCC was one of the participating colleges, which helps identify the best ways to measure community college success.

President Karas announced that FVCC will host a delegation of Chinese technical school educators and staff from October 26 through November 10.

The next regularly scheduled board meeting will take place October 22 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.