Pioneer News: April 27, 2016


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WEATHER ALERT: Spring 2016 Delays/Closings

April 26, 2016

Western Oklahoma State College will be close at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 26th due to severe weather forecasts in the area. All classes and events are cancelled for the evening.

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Pioneer News April 20, 2016


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Pioneer News April 13, 2016


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Board of Regents Report: April 12, 2016

The Western Oklahoma State College Board of Regents met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, April 12, 2016, at 7:30 p.m. in the Higher Learning Center at the college. Dr. Phil Birdine, Western President, introduced guests in attendance who included: Lisa Greenlee, Vice President for Academic Affairs; Tricia Latham, Vice President for Business Affairs; Chad Wiginton, Vice President for Student Support Services; Jacque Bellamy, Faculty Senate Chair; Melissa Smith, Staff Senate Chair; Katie Brewer, Staff Senate Chair-Elect; Heather Hood, Controller; Steve Prater, Dean of Learning Support Systems/CTO ; Josh Thiemann; Information Systems Specialist; Chase Castillo; Student Senate President; Richard Rose, CPA for Crawford and Associates; Briar Jenkins, Secretary to the President, and Judith Meyer, Director of Public Information.

Dr. Phil Birdine began the meeting by welcoming Western’s newest regent, Justin Lewis, who is filling the position recently vacated by Gilmer Capps.

Dr. Dana Darby then recognized Regent Lindsey Treadwell for her two years of service to the board and presented her with a plaque commemorating her service.  Chase Castillo also gave  Regent Treadwell a plaque on behalf of the Western student body thanking her for her service.

Jacque Bellamy gave the Faculty Senate report. She stated that senate officer nominations for FY 17 have been made and that a new chair will be elected this Friday by secret ballot and that Lisa Chaney will continue as faculty senate secretary. Bellamy also reported that she, Jennifer Patterson and Nicole Keenum will work in committee on the drafting of an academic freedom policy.  She reported that the senate is brainstorming ideas for additional revenue generation and savings ideas to help Western during this challenging economic climate. She also reported the many activities occurring in programs across campus.  She reported that the Child Development Program received confirmation of its continued accreditation with NAEYC.  Bellamy reported news of a pending articulation agreement with Cameron University in Liberal Arts with emphasis in Early and Elementary Education, as well as some agreements being pursued with other universities in the state.  She concluded with information about the math department’s work on a pathway to help students be more successful in their courses.

Melissa Smith gave the Staff Senate report.  She advised the board of many activities across campus departments to include; a POISE update in Admissions; an upcoming tornado safety table top exercise led by the safety and security section; interviews for next year’s Western Ambassador team; intramural sports activities, next week’s Mr. and Ms. WOSC luncheon and that as to date 261 degrees will be conferred to Western graduates this spring.

Tricia Latham introduced Richard Rose who delivered a report regarding Western’s recent internal audit for FY16. Six areas were reviewed in the audit to include miscellaneous claims encumbrance and pre-audit system; human resources/personnel services and payroll; cash-on-hand; academic affairs/grade reporting; livestock leases and follow-up on prior year recommendations. Four areas reported at least one finding, with one area reporting three findings.  All findings were addressed and corrected.  Prior year findings were also reported as addressed and corrected.  The board voted on and approved the audit report.

Chad Wiginton reported on recruitment and marketing strategies to reach underserved populations in Western’s service area and Western’s retention efforts.  He told the board that one of the FY16 school year goals, as recommended by the Higher Learning Commission, is to reach Western’s most underserved population, which is the Hispanic community.  Western’s five-county service area has Hispanic population of near 25% as compared to the current enrollment of 16%. In an effort to reach this underserved population, a focus group of 10 current Hispanic students has been convened.  The students suggested ideas for reaching the community to include the formation of a soccer club, a Hispanic student association, and more events that reach out specifically to the Hispanic population.

Wiginton also highlighted the progress in retaining more students from semester to semester and from one year to the next.  Three programs, the Pioneer Partner Program, a professional mentor program; the Western Navigators, a peer mentor program, and Pioneers Aiming to Help (PATH), a newly implemented software program, are having significant impact on retention efforts.  The hiring of Veronica Headings, Retention Specialist, which was made possible by an AT&T grant has also enhanced those efforts.  Headings job is to reach out to students reported to PATH by faculty and staff as at risk of failing or dropping out.  She works with the students to find solutions to attendance, assignment, and/or personal issues that are affecting their academic success.

Lisa Greenlee updated the board about Western’s Radiologic Technology program and Great Plains Technology Center. She reported that the current state economic climate has mandated that any under-producing programs be examined, as well as those that are expensive to maintain. The Radiologic Technology program is the college’s most expensive program and is  experiencing a low application pool and the demand for graduates is not as high in this area.  Although the nationally accredited program produces highly skilled professionals with high earning potential, it is in danger of being deleted if alternate funding sources are not found.  Greenlee and Chrystal Overton, Dean of Technical Education, recently met with Great Plains Technology Center to see if they could offer monetary support to help the program that also supports the tech centers Rad Tech students. Great Plains has agreed to supply $30,000 a year for the next two years to help pay the salary for the clinical coordinator and maintain Western’s partnership with the tech center.  However, the agreement is not a long-term solution. If other funding sources are not found, the program will be deleted and the remaining students taught-out.

Greenlee also reported on the pending agreement between Ft. Sill and Western for a warrant officer training program.  The memorandum of understanding for both parties is still awaiting approval. Greenlee hopes to see the MOU signed by this summer with the first students enrolling by fall 2016.

The consent docket containing the minutes of the February 16 regular meeting and the March 2 special meeting and the expenditure comparison report were voted on and approved by the board.

Tricia Latham reported on a contract regarding Western’s surplus agriculture lease for 35 acres at the northeast side of campus.  Three bids were received and opened on March 21, 2016.  All bidders were contacted and the highest bidder notified of their selection for contract.  Payment has been received as well as all contract materials. The contract will commence pending board approval. The board voted to accept the contract.

Latham also reported the requirement of grievance procedures in the employee handbook.  She cited the addition of language to the current policy that protects the confidentiality of the procedure and the addressing of grievances in a timely manner.  The board voted on and approved the change.

Latham concluded with a proposed increase in residence hall room and board rates for FY17. Two pricing scenarios were presented. The first scenario maintains the 15 meal per week option with a $250 increase in the room and board rate for a total of $4500 annual expense. This rate change equates to a 5.88% increase in the package.  The second scenario adds two meals a week to the current meal plan for a total of 17 meals and a total room and board rate of $4950. This would equate to an overall 16.47% increase in the package. Western will still be below the average rate for community colleges and be among the three most affordable campus housing options in the state even with the proposed increases. The board voted on and approved the scenarios, one of which will be activated pending approval of the athletic director/residence hall supervisor.

Lisa Greenlee reported on the proposed deletion of the A.A.S. Office Systems Technology Degree Program. The program is offered at Southwest Technology Center and other career tech centers.  Western no longer grants credit for the program through cooperative agreement, therefore enrollment has decreased and there is little growth potential.  Western will provide a teach-out program for any students remaining in the program.  The board voted on and approved the deletion.

Greenlee concluded with the proposed deletion of the Simulator Maintenance Technology Option.  The option was suspended in 2013.  Per Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education policy, a program/option can only be suspended for three years. In addition, Southwest Technology Center no longer offers the program through cooperative agreement. Due to no changes or increased interest in the option, it is in the college’s best interest to delete the option. The board voted on and approved the deletion.

At 9:19 p.m. the board convened in executive session.

At 9:46 p.m. the board reconvened in open session for the approval of the personnel retirements of Mike Tucker, English Instructor, effective May 30, 2016 and Otis Pelt, Lead HVAC Technician, effective June 30, 2016.


The board adjourned at 9:47 p.m.


The next regularly scheduled regent’s meeting is June 21, 2016, at 7:30 p.m. in the Higher Learning Center at the college.

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