News & Events


Press Release



June 21, 2016


Cowley College exceeds enrollment projections by six percent


During an update from president Dr. Dennis C. Rittle, Cowley College’s Board of Trustees heard of the institution’s enrollment by credit hours for the 2015-16 academic year. Dr. Rittle shared that the college had budgeted for a total enrollment of 66,000 credit hours, and that end-of-year figures exceeded 70,000 credit hours. This represents a six percent increase over what was budgeted.


Dr. Rittle praised the work of administrators, faculty and staff during the past year, stating he is “proud of what teamwork can do.”


Along with several other college administrators, Dr. Rittle expressed excitement that Cowley College was recently selected as the only college in Kansas and Oklahoma to participate in a three-year program allowing students taking college-credit courses to access Federal Pell Grants as early as high school. Discussion centered on student eligibility and the opportunity for this program to radically increase student access. Dr. Rittle described this as a “game changer” for the college.


Dennis K. Shurtz, chairman of the board, initiated discussion regarding the expansion of the Senior Gold Card program, which currently allows Cowley County citizens 65 years and older to attend Cowley College activities free of charge. The Board approved extending the program to citizens of Sumner, Chautauqua and Sedgwick counties. The minimum age will be lowered to 60 years old. 


Dr. Rittle also informed the Board of the college’s efforts to expand its physical footprint in Sumner County, citing that college administration is exploring additional opportunities for revenue sources to support operations.


In other matters:

  • Approved fiscal officers of the College to execute payment of all bills and claims as presented with general operating funds of $627,659.01; financial aid funds of $213,765.59; and Foundation funds of $8,080.29.
  • The Board acknowledged the interest in filling the vacant board position from five individuals: Jeremy Biddle of Winfield, Jill Long of Winfield, Bonnie Niles of Arkansas City, Forest Smith of Arkansas City, and Mark Speck of Arkansas City.
  • Approved the Administrative Reports to include the final version of the policy for Nepotism.
  • Conducted the first reading of the following policy, Conflict of Interest. Final approval will take place at the July Board meeting.
  • A nominating committee was appointed including chairman Shurtz, Ned Graham and Bob Juden to present recommendations at the July Board meeting for the election of officers, the appointment of representatives and other actions.
  • Dr. Gloria Walker, vice president of finance and administration, presented a summation of year-end projects and a proposal for the 2016-17 budget. She also reported that the college received an 8.77 percent decrease in premiums from the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas medical and dental plan. Dr. Walker thanked the Board for continuing to provide the monthly stipend for employees and praised the commitment from the college’s insurance committee to keep rates low.
  • Paul Erdmann, vice president of information technology, shared with the Board the ongoing efforts of his team to streamline how the college’s network is configured and become more energy conscious.
  • Sarah Bryant, interim vice president of institutional advancement & director for marketing, reported that the 19th annual Great Cowley Duck Dash brought in $23,700 for the scholarship fund. Bryant also informed the Board of the marketing department’s summer projects including production on numerous promotional videos and a redesign of the mobile version of the college’s website.
  • Jason O’Toole, executive director of student affairs, provided the Board with an update on housing, sharing the efforts to add 15 to 20 spots at The Lodge and through repurposing of spaces in the residential halls. O’Toole reported that end-of-year feedback has been collected from the Trio Program/IMPACT and the Upward Bound TRIO Program participants, and that he was pleased with the positive response from students.
  • Shane Larson, athletic director, discussed the upcoming Tiger Skins Brian Groves Memorial Golf Tournament to be held at the Arkansas City Country Club/GreatLife Golf Course on Saturday, June 25. Larson also touted two recent announcements highlighting the performance of Cowley College Athletics.  As a department, student athletes earned a 3.22 cumulative GPA, which exceeds national averages. In addition, the 2015-16 athletic season placed Cowley College 15th in the nation by the National Alliance of Two Year Collegiate Athletic Administrators.
  • Accepted a letter of resignation from Dallas Brose, dorm manager/assistant athletic training, effective May 20, 2016; accepted a letter of resignation from James Sawyer, security/public safety officer, effective June 19, 2016.
  • Approved the employment of Cara Kem as interim director of theatre, effective August 1, 2016; David Smith as director of vocal music effective August 1, 2016; John Rohr as technical director of theatre effective August 1, 2016; and Amy Tharp as human resources coordinator, effective July 18, 2016.
  • Recessed for a period of 15 minutes to celebrate the birthday of outgoing board clerk Libby Moore. Held several executive sessions totaling one hour for preliminary discussion of non-elected personnel, professional negotiations, property and consult with legal counsel.