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Press Release



March 18, 2014

Three long-time employees to retire from Cowley College


Having made valuable contributions to Cowley College, three long-time employees recently announced their plans to retire. The announcements were shared at Cowley College's Board of Trustees meeting held Monday in the McAtee Dining Center.

The three soon to be retirees are, Deb Nittler, Karolee Weller, and Melinda Neal.

Deb Nittler, Social Science instructor, has been employed at Cowley College since 1984.

She plans to retire on May 31, 2014.

Nittler was a standout member of the Lady Tiger basketball team prior to coming to work at the school. She was head volleyball coach from 1986 through 2000, asst. women's basketball coach from 1984 -1989, Assistant Athletic Director from 2001 - 2007, and head women's tennis coach in 1995. Nittler also served as the Social Science Dept Chair, 1999 - 2001, CEA negotiator, 1996 - 2001 and Academic Advisor 1986 - present. She received the NISOD award in 1993 and is in Who's Who Among America's College Teachers.

Karolee Weller, mathematics instructor, has spent the past 16 years as an instructor in the Natural Science department at Cowley College. She also plans to retire on May 31, 2014. Previously, Weller taught several semesters as an adjunct faculty member at Cowley College's Mulvane Center. She was the school's recipient of the Paul Stirnaman Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence in 2010.

Melinda Neal has been at Cowley College since 2001 as an instructor in the school's Natural Science Department. She teaches Principles of Biology and General Chemistry. Neal received an Excellence Award from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development in 2008 and was the recipient of the March, 2008 Horizon Award Faculty Advisor for the Phi Theta Kappa Kansas Region.

She also received the March, 2009 Paragon Award for the Phi Theta Kappa Kansas Region, and was the recipient of the March, 2008 and 2010 Honorable Mention Paragon Advisor Award for the Phi Theta Kappa Kansas Region.

Neal was the 2012-2013 Endowed Chair for Teaching Excellence and received the Paul Stirnaman Award for Teaching Excellence in 2012-2013. She plans to retire on Aug. 1, 2014.

In other matters:

  1. Held three executive sessions totaling 50-minutes for preliminary discussions relating to property acquisition, non-elected personnel, and consult with legal counsel.
  2. Discussed the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) Board training, which has been scheduled for May 2-3. Narcisa Polonio, Ed.D./Executive Vice President for Education, Research & Board Leadership Services will be on hand to conduct the training.
  3. Reviewed the Administrative Reports.
  4. Approved a $3 per credit hour increase in tuition and a $1 per credit hour increase in fees for all Cowley College classes, except for those taken by Oklahoma residents. There will be an additional $5 per credit hour increase in tuition for Oklahoma residents.
  5. Approved new dorm rates for 2014-15 based on Great Western Dining's proposed 2.3 percent increase in food costs for next year. Both dorm plans will experience a price increase of $75 per year.  Cowley College's cost for its meal plans still rank among the lowest of any community college in the state of Kansas.
  6. Linda Kreutzer, director of human resources, provided an update on personnel vacancies, resignations, and hirings. In-person interviews for the Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs will be conducted March 25 and March 28; video interviews for the Director for Theatre position will be held on April 4; applications for the head softball coaching position will be accepted through April 8; applications for the instructional design specialist position will be accepted through March 25.
  7. Announced the hiring of Shane Larson as athletic director, effective March 12; announced the hiring of Dange Sanders as part-time library assistant, effective March 10.
  8. Stephani Johns-Hines, associate vice president of Mulvane & Online Operations, provided the Board with an update on Cowley College's Mulvane Centers. Cowley began holding classes in Mulvane on Dec. 17, 1987 and expanded to hold an Industrial Technology Department in 2004. In 2005, the Bloomenshine building was renovated and opened for classes. While, on Aug. 16, 2012 the former post office in Mulvane was opened to hold additional Cowley College classes.
    Johns-Hines spoke of the Open House to be conducted at Cowley College's Mulvane Center on May 7. The Open House will run from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. She also mentioned ways that she, Helen Nakos (admissions director), Sarah Bryant (marketing director), and the Director of Outreach Services will work together to strengthen enrollment at the Mulvane Center.
    "Though we don't like the (enrollment) numbers in the fall, we are optimistic about where we are going," Johns-Hines said.
  9. The college chose Bartlett & West, out of three firms that were interviewed, to conduct the school's extended Master Facilities Plan. Tony Crouch, executive vice president for Business Services, prepared and released the request for proposal.