News & Events




Press Release



March 22, 2016


The Higher Learning Commission celebrates Cowley College's focus on student success     
Cowley College president Dr. Dennis C. Rittle shared findings from The Higher Learning Commission’s recent visit during the monthly Board meeting held Monday, March 21 in the McAtee Dining Center.

The Higher Learning Commission reviewers let Cowley College employees know of the many things they do well and noted “the passion the College has for its students”.

The Higher Learning Commission will look at the College over the period of the last 10 years and the College will receive an official report in the next three to six months. The results will show where the College’s processes are and how the school should use its data to shape ideas and thoughts moving forward.

“As a whole, the reviewers from The Higher Learning Commission were pleased with the College,” Dr. Rittle said. “I want to applaud the employees, administration, faculty, staff, and students for their contributions and efforts. I also would like to thank the Board.”

Dr. Rittle also informed the Board that Cowley College and Fort Hays State University (FHSU) are excited to announce the schools will enter into a partnership which will guarantee a minimum number of scholarships to be set aside specifically for Cowley College graduates who have a minimum of a 3.0 GPA and who transfer to FHSU after graduating with Cowley College.

To symbolize this partnership, the senior leadership, to include President Dr. Mirta M. Martin, of Fort Hays State University will travel to Cowley for the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the institutions.

Faculty, staff, students, and community members are invited to attend the signing, which will take place at 3 p.m. Monday, March 28 at the Calder Bonfy Amphitheatre located on Cowley College’s main campus in Arkansas City.

In the event of inclement weather the event will be held in the Atrium inside the Brown Center.

The 2+2 agreement is being called Tiger2Tiger Pathway in reference to the schools’ athletic teams which compete as Tigers.

At the conclusion of the signing, a reception will follow in the Earle N. Wright Community Room. Light refreshments and music will be provided.

Also during Monday’s meeting the Board was informed that Kelly Johnson, the College’s director of institutional research, plans to retire after 30 years at Cowley College, effective September 1, 2016. Beginning employment at Cowley College in 1986, Johnson has been a fixture on the school’s Arkansas City campus.

“It has been a joy to work here for the past 30 years,” Johnson said. “I appreciate the friendships that I have forged with colleagues over the years and the professional and personal development opportunities that the College has provided me during my employment.”


In other matters:
1. Approved fiscal officers of the College to execute payment of all bills and claims as presented with general operating funds of $894,326.42; financial aid funds of $2,653,742.97; and Foundation funds of $21,687.09.

2. Dr. Gloria Walker, vice president of finance and administration, informed the Board of her findings on the possibility of adding handrails in the seating area of W.S. Scott Auditorium. Due to the age of the facility by code regulations, structural engineers will need to investigate how handrails can be mounted. The structural engineers will have to determine whether mounting will require rail core or surface mount. Any modifications to the gym area inside W.S. Scott Auditorium will have to meet current code regulations. Other regulations regarding seating will have to meet code regulation. The College is awaiting more information and cost estimations from local engineers and vendors.

3. Conducted the first reading of the following policy, Graduation Requirements. Final approval will take place at the April Board meeting.

4. Dr. Harold Arnett, vice president of academic affairs, informed the Board that 10 of Lavaughan Scheurich’s students at the Winfield penitentiary recently successfully passed the GED test. Also, Joe Clasen, Career and Technical Education Department Chair, and Dr. Arnett recently met with Ray Frederick, chairperson of the Technical Education Authority and liaison for the Wichita Independent Business Alliance. During the meeting the possibility of providing trainings in Machining, Welding, Mechatronics and others for unnamed business in Wichita was discussed. Dr. Arnett also praised the work of Dr. Walker in saving the College over $45,000 in ongoing negotiations with Blackboard regarding the best plan of action for the SIS (Student Information System) to LMS migration and data transmission. Arnett also said Eddie Andreo, associate vice president of distance learning and site management, has been instrumental in the near completion of Blackboard contract realignments with Cowley’s fiscal year.

5. Paul Erdmann, vice president of information technology, informed the Board that work has resumed on the final phase of the fiber installation. Internal conduit has been placed inside W.S. Scott Auditorium between the two wiring closets, and the termination boxes have been mounted. Erdmann also praised the work of the College’s technical support team.

6. Ben Schears, vice president of institutional advancement, said the College’s feasibility study for the Capital Campaign is cruising along. The Foundation staff has wrapped up all written documents for the pre-campaign survey. The surveys are preparing to be sent to the various constituents whose insights will be collected for the survey. Schears also mentioned preparations for the Great Cowley Duck Dash are underway. The event will take place Saturday, May 14 at Spring Hill Farms. Also, the week prior to Duck Dash, the College’s annual commencement ceremony will take place on Saturday, May 7. There will be two ceremonies this year. Students graduating with an AA or AGS degree will be at 10 a.m. and students with an AS, AAS, or certificate will graduate at 2 p.m.

7. Josh Cobble, executive director of enrollment management, provided an enrollment update. Cobble also informed the Board that Rachel Schmeidler, coordinator of military services, recently had an opportunity to speak with over 40 high school students and their parents at the Fort Riley Youth Education and Hiring Fair. Cobble also let the Board know that the Financial Aid Office has had the PowerFaids trainer on campus this week to help in setting up the 2016-2017 academic year for financial aid processing.

8. Jason O’Toole, executive director of student affairs, provided the Board with an update on housing. The College’s dorms are at 90 percent occupancy which is slightly up from last year. Also, invitations are being sent for the Honors and Awards banquet that will take place at 6:30 p.m. April 19 in the Earle N. Wright Community Room.

9. Shane Larson, athletic director, discussed the Tri County Tiger Classic that will be held at the Wellington Golf Club on Sunday, April 10 and the Brian Groves Memorial Golf Tournament that will take place June 25 at the Great Life Golf Course in Ark City. Larson also informed the Board of the sendoff that was recently held for the Lady Tiger basketball team as they prepared to leave for the NCAA Division I National Tournament in Lubbock, Texas. Tiger Booster Club members, as well as Cowley College faculty and staff, were treated to a watch party in the Wright Room for the Lady Tigers first game at the national tournament.

10. Approved the administration, with assistance from the College’s finance committee, look into the Sick Leave policy. In addition, an ad hoc advisory committee will be appointed and join Board members JoLynn Foster, Ned Graham, and Bob Juden in looking into the Nepotism and Conflict of Interest policies.

11. Accepted a letter of resignation from Riann Mullis as head volleyball coach, effective April 11; accepted a letter of resignation from John Sefel as Director of Theatre, at the conclusion of the spring semester; accepted a letter of resignation from Ben Schears as vice president of institutional advancement, effective June 30. Schears was recently selected as the new president at Northwest Kansas Technical College in Goodland, KS. “On behalf of the Board we express our congratulations for your appointment of presidency at Northwest Kansas Technical College,” Board Chair Dennis K. Shurtz said.

12. Approved the employment of Cathi Coon as custodian, effective March 22.

13. Held a pair of executive sessions totaling 20 minutes for preliminary discussions of property and to consult with legal counsel. No action was taken.

14. Board Chair Dennis K. Shurtz mentioned the evaluation of the president will take place in June. Shurtz also asked the Board to look into having a Board Retreat in August.