News & Events

Press Release



May 17, 2016


Board hears of Cowley’s selection for High School: Pell ‘Dual Enrollment’ Program


Cowley College’s Board of Trustees heard the good news about the school’s recent selection for the High School: Pell ‘Dual Enrollment’ Program during the monthly Board meeting held Monday, May 16 in the McAtee Dining Center.

During Cowley College president Dr. Dennis C. Rittle’s College update, he informed the Board that the school was recently selected one of only 44 postsecondary institutions across 23 states, and the only college in Kansas and Oklahoma invited to participate in a pilot program that – for the first time – allows students taking college-credit courses to access Federal Pell Grants as early as high school.

As part of this pilot program, an estimated 10,000 high school students in the 2016-17 school year will have the opportunity to access approximately $20 million in Federal Pell Grants to take dual enrollment courses provided by colleges and high schools throughout the nation.

Dr. Rittle called the news of the College’s selection into the program “transformational”. Dr. Rittle also thanked the work done by Josh Cobble, Sally Palmer, and Janice Stover in helping the College be selected for the program out of hundreds of schools.

Dr. Rittle also thanked the Board members that were able to attend the Commencement ceremonies and praised the work of the Commencement sub committees. He also discussed the services planned for former Board member Lee Gregg Jr., and Dennis Strange, husband of Natural Science Department secretary Tammy Strange.

Cowley College Board Chair Dennis K. Shurtz recognized Ben Schears, vice president for institutional advancement, as Schears was attending his final Board meeting prior to becoming president at Northwest Kansas Technical College.

“The College has appreciated your 13 years of service,” Shurtz said. “We wish you the best and have no doubt you will be successful.”
Shurtz also praised the work done by Kristi Shaw, Director of Student Life, in making the Honors and Awards banquet a success, and spoke highly of the Commencement ceremonies and the work done by the staff in the College being selected for High School: Pell ‘Dual Enrollment’ Program.

Board member Bob Juden also praised the 19th annual Duck Dash event held on Saturday, May 14.

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 $464,225.59; financial aid funds of $170,289.27; and Foundation funds of $13,726.39. 

2. The Board acknowledged receipt of resignation by Trustee Jim Ramirez, effective May 3. 2016.

3. The Board approved the request to place a publication notice of vacancy on the Board. The original notice regarding vacancy has been amended to include contact information for the Board Clerk.

4. Discussed the KACCT/COP quarterly meeting that will be hosted by Hutchinson Community College on June 10-11. Dr. Rittle and Board member Ned Graham plan to attend.

5. Presented for first reading the Nepotism (170.00) policy. An updated version of the policy states no full time employee shall provide direct supervision or have line staff authority over a direct supervisor of an immediate family member, who is also a full-time employee of the College. The College’s organizational chart shall be used to determine whether direct supervision or line staff authority over a direct supervisor exists. Final approval will be presented at the June Board meeting.

6. Approved the student fee for the 2016-2017 academic year be set at $34 per credit hour.

7. Mr. Steve Cargill and Bobby Cobbs of Cargill Associates provided the Board with an overview of the pre-campaign survey for the capital campaign planning process.

8. Dr. Gloria Walker, vice president of finance and administration, informed the Board that the College has received a proposed audit contract for the year June 30, 2016 from Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk & Loyd, LLC. The Board approved the services rendered not to exceed $35,000 as presented.

9. Dr. Harold Arnett, vice president of academic affairs, informed the Board he has concluded the joint evaluation meetings with the faculty. The NC-SARA enrollment data was also successfully submitted and re-approved to maintain the school’s State Authorization agreements for Distance Learning and authorizes Cowley to continue teaching online courses in all 50 states. Dr. Arnett also mentioned the work done by Stephani Johns-Hines and Brooke Istas in developing a grant proposal for integrating Algebra instruction with technical courses. The grant was approved in the amount of $39,000. Also, the Fire Science and Milling programs have been officially approved and the first student has enrolled in the Fire Science course.

10. Paul Erdmann, vice president of information technology, let the Board know that all IT projects that were on hold have resumed with the recent hiring of Shae Nichols as systems network administrator. Also, the College is working in conjunction with USD 470 to develop a backup system.

11. Ben Schears, vice president of institutional advancement, discussed the 19th annual Duck Dash and praised the work done by endowment coordinator Elizabeth Thummel in making the event a success. Schears also voiced his opinion on the pre-campaign survey and said the concept of tackling a capital campaign at this time is not feasible. Schears, who was taking part in his final Board meeting, thanked the College for the last 13 years. “It has been a great run”.

12. Josh Cobble, executive director of enrollment management, informed the Board that fall enrollment is up and summer enrollment is down. Cobble said the College had a large marketing campaign and scholarship offer for summer school students that boosted last summer’s enrollment, which is why the College is down in summer enrollment.

13. Jason O’Toole, executive director of student affairs, said 89.9 percent of housing students were charged for a full semester. The College is now busy getting the dorms ready for summer camps.

14. Steven Gream, head volleyball coach, provided the Board with an athletic update. Gream discussed the Tiger Skins/Brian Groves Memorial Golf Tournament that will be held June 25 at Great Life Golf Course. He also informed the Board that the Tiger Baseball team captured the Region VI title on Monday night and has qualified for the JUCO World Series in Grand Junction, CO May 28-June 4, while the annual Tiger Booster Club Blitz Drive will be held in late July. Gream also mentioned the recent Coach of the Year awards won by Cowley tennis coaches Charity Andrews and Jeff Benito as well as the Tiger Athletic Banquet that was held on April 27.

15. Board member Brian Sanderholm requested to attend the ACCT session on Disaster Preparedness and have vice president of finance and administration, Dr. Gloria Walker, also attend the session. Dr. Rittle asked that the College have additional employees attend the session.

16. Approved the request from certain faculty members that have completed their contractual obligations at the end of the school year, to have advanced payment of their salaries for June and July. Also approved Club Sponsorship pay of $8,400 for the 2015-2016 academic year.

17. Accepted a letter of retirement from Tom McClaflin as bus driver, effective August 31, 2016.

18. Accepted a letter of resignation from Joe Clasen as NDT instructor/CTE Department Chair, effective April 15, 2016; accepted a letter of resignation from Josh Fleig as director of instrumental music, effective June 30, 2016.

19. Approved the hiring of Jennifer Rupp as English instructor, effective August 1; approved the hiring of Elizabeth Peck as Business, Computers, and Information Technology Department instructor, effective August 1; approved the employment of Michelle Lett as DVM, Life Science instructor, effective August 1; approved the employment of Cassady Cook as assistant volleyball coach/dorm manager, effective June 1; approved the hiring of Christopher Absher as webmaster, effective May 23; approved the hiring of Kelsey Steiner as financial aid service specialist, effective May 17; approved the employment of Tiffany Vollmer as administrative assistant to the President/Board Clerk, effective July 1.

20. Held a pair of executive sessions totaling 30 minutes for preliminary discussions of professional negotiations, property, non-elected personnel, and to consult with legal counsel, with no action following.