A few updates this week, as we are at the midpoint of the fall semester:
Each October, prior to the monthly meeting of the Board of Trustees, we have the wonderful opportunity to recognize employees who have reached milestones of service with East Central College.
This past Monday employees with five, 10, 15, 20, and 25 years of service were honored. I was struck as the awards were handed out that our work is as good as the people who serve as faculty and staff. And on that measure, we stand tall. Our employees are dedicated and passionate about our mission, and many have been expressing that through their work for many years.
The following employees were recognized: 25 years – Kevin Dixon; 20 Years – Jennifer Chitwood, Cynthia Cubas and Sue Henderson; 15 Years – Tom Fitts, Jennifer Judd, Bethany Lohden and Wendy Pecka; 10 years – Matt Cooper, Megan Elbert, Curtis Elliott, Deanne Fiedler, Karen Griffin, Becki Heimann, Cheryl Ladage, Paul Lampe, Dennis Pohlman, Peggy Reeves, Josh Stroup and Charles Warmack; 5 Years – Carol Bailie, Dan Burkett, Eric Clapper, Ehren Curnutte, Cole Halfaker, Amelia Heisler, Lisa Kang, Barb Kuelker, Nathaniel Mitchell, Phil Pena, Kelly Rinne, Jerry Poepsel, Nanette Sayles, Dave Steffens, Denise Walker and Kathleen Wright.
On behalf of the board, allow me to say “Thank You and Congratulations!” once again for your dedication to ECC and our students.
Also at the board meeting, a couple of significant items were presented to trustees. One is a proposed revision to our scholarship policy and procedures. Vice President Shelli Allen presented the proposal. The intent is to provide additional tools to reach students through scholarships. Among some of the changes would be awards for part-time students, scholarships to encourage completion, and opportunities for students beyond those who come to us through the traditional high school path. The change would also increase the value of institutional scholarships to cover tuition and general fees.
A final proposal will be presented to the board next month. If approved, the plan would go into effect for the 2018-19 academic year.
Drs. Tia Robinson and Russ Henderson updated the board on efforts to expand our work with high schools through dual credit. I believe this to be an area of growth for ECC and we will continue to find ways to enhance opportunities for high school students who are capable of college work. Reaching more of these students before graduation is a critical means of meeting our mission in the community.
As you know, a team from the Higher Learning Commission will be on campus next Monday and Tuesday, October 16-17. This is part of the process that ultimately leads to reaffirmation of accreditation. A schedule will be distributed this week, and we look forward to having the team visit ECC. The work that has gone into preparations for the visit is much appreciated, and I know it will pay off when the team arrives Monday.
I had the opportunity last week, along with other presidents and chancellors of Missouri’s community colleges, to meet with the administration at the University of Missouri. The system has a new president, Mizzou has a new chancellor, and there is clearly a renewed emphasis on working with community colleges to better serve our transfer students.
The meeting was encouraging. There has been a decision to allow transfer English Composition I to serve the writing intensive requirement at Mizzou. There are plans to establish a transfer center to focus on our students who matriculate to the university. And there appears to be a genuine interest in hearing from us as we have ideas about serving our students upon transfer. There are many leaders in key roles at the University of Missouri who are community college alumni. They understand the importance of this work.
There will be more to come, but I left hopeful that there is a genuine commitment to our students and I look forward to seeing that commitment pay off with tangible results in the future.