More Information from August Board Meeting
Faculty, students adjusting daily to learning environments
The Butler Community College Board of Trustees met at 4:30 p.m. Aug. 11 in person and by video. All trustees were present with Vice Chairman Lance Lechtenberg participating by video. After called to order, Trustees held a public hearing about the 2020-2021 legal and operating budgets. Trustees approved the unrestricted general fund taxes to be levied at 16 mills and the capital outlay at 1.846 mills for a total of 17.846. However, the Notice of Public Hearing failed to print in the local newspaper. Therefore, the vote is nullified and the Public Hearing will now be held Sept. 8 at 4:30.
Terry Sader, president of the Butler Community College Education Association, told trustees that professional employees “are very supportive of the college’s mask and social distancing requirements and very much appreciate the efforts on the part of the administration to work that out.”
Faculty “continue to be very interested in receiving timely notification of possible exposure from students in their classes. To the great credit of the administration, the administration continues to work with us to look for solutions for this extraordinarily complex issue.”
He also thanked administrative leaders for their efforts to make accommodations for employees who are at high risk for Covid-19.
“Faculty are very keen to have a say in the modality of class instruction, realizing of course that the faculty member knows what ‘s best for delivering the best content and learning possible as well as maintaining the best safety of their students as well as their own families, he said.
Faculty have expressed concerns about students who already have reached out to say they’ve tested positive for Covid-19.
“We have some concerns about how long the college can remain open. We hope to get through the whole semester maintaining face-to-face classes,” he said.
Board members also heard reports from Kiersten Kamholz, president of the Student Government Association for the 2020/2021 school year, and Lisa Bolin, president of the college’s operational staff. Kamholz highlighted some first week SGA sponsored activities for students as well as plans to participate in Sept. 4 in National College Colors Day, and Sept. 7-11 in Suicide Prevention Week. Bolin provided an overview of Welcome Back activities provided by staff for the students as the semester began. Staff provided water, snacks, informational fliers, promotional items and maps donated by different departments and programs.
“Offering something like this helps settle nerves for new students and gives them an extra place to help,” Bolin said.
President Kimberly Krull said she visited the El Dorado campus for the first day of classes Aug. 10 and planned to go to Andover’s campus on Aug. 12.
She said she was pleased to see that “everybody had on masks. It was good to have everybody back. It was really good to see cars circling the parking lot looking for a place to park. It was fun to see the activity back on campus.”
The student head count was up 8% over goal as of Aug. 11, she said. The college’s goal was 5,949 students, and 6,416 students were in classes on the morning of Aug. 11, she said.
“We’re still down credit-hour wise about 20 percent,” Krull reported. She noted the delay in high school enrollment has impacted that as high schools are just starting to get back into the buildings. The college will continue to push its numerous short-term classes various dates throughout the fall semester.
In addition, Krull attended the Butler County Board of Commissioners meeting and noted the county had approved reimbursement from SPARK (Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas) funds for personal protective equipment (PPE) for Covid-19.
Following the President’s Report, Trustee Shelby Smith noted he has three children enrolled in classes at Butler, and “probably half of their classes have changed from day to day” because of Covid-19.
“I have a daughter enrolled in face-to-face French. That went onilne, so she dropped that. I have a son with a cooking class, and they’re meeting maybe about half as much. I have a daughter with an art class for Tuesdays and Thursdays, but they split the class and she only gets to go half as much time.
“Hopefully we’re on the side of working with students,” Smith shared “I know teachers are concerned about health issues also, but it’s going to be a little bit of a bumpy ride, it looks like, and this is just two days in.”
Lori Winningham, Vice President of Academics, said she asked faculty “to be ready for remote instruction from day one not knowing if and when we will have to go to remote instruction. We don’t have enough classrooms to lower the capacities to social distance and double the number of sections that would have to have been added to the schedule,” she said.
That’s particularly true for science labs and classes that meet in studios, she said. While faculty might split classes to meet social distancing guidelines, “they are not to reduce learning outcomes,” she said. “We’ve been planning this for months, and yes, I know students to some extent are frustrated.”
She stressed that the college is charging online fees only for classes originally scheduled to meet online. Faculty are monitoring classes daily to accommodate social distancing, she said.
“If they get a few more students that might push them over capacity, they will have to split (the class). If they lose students, they can go back to regular class meetings. It works both ways.”
The college has numerous eight- and 12-week sections for students who may want to start the semester later, she said.
Online enrollment is up, she said. Students who are at high risk for Covid-19 can request to learn remotely, she said. “I have complete faith in faculty that they will make the best of this,” Winningham said.
Sader added that “it’s really amazing to watch faculty figure it out on the fly to make it all work out. Everyone needs to be flexible.”
BOARD ACTION ITEMS
The board approved reaffirming its commitment to remain in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Trustee Forrest Rhodes asked the college to reword its intentions by saying it would “remain fully committed to maintaining” ADA compliance instead of saying it was committed to reaching ADA compliance. The latter makes it sound like the college is not in compliance, he noted.
The board also approved an Equal Opportunity, Harassment, and Nondiscrimination Policy.
Krull gave an infectious disease report and noted that the Kansas Department of Health and Environment expects the college to allow students and staff to opt out of contract tracing. That means giving students and staff the opportunity to say they don’t want their name and phone number shared with the county health department to do contract tracing, she said.
Students Jacob Minter, Rebecca Whittaker and Naomi Galindo attended the first-ever virtual Phi Beta Lambda national conference. Minter placed second in small business management plan. Whittaker placed second in personal finance and information management. Galindo placed 10th in sales presentation. Phi Beta Lambda sponsors are Noreen Templin and Janice Akao.
Students Jakob Juul and Chad Hibdon received Livestock Judging Team Honors. Juul was named first All-American, and Hibdon was named second All-American in the country. They are the 57th and 58th students to receive All-American honors at Butler. Butler has consecutively fielded the #1 Academic All-American for the past five years in a row.
The volleyball team and Coach Lisa Lechtenberg won the United States Marine Corps/American Volleyball Coaches Association Team Academic Award for the second year in a row. The award requires students to maintain an average 3.3 GPA for the entire year. Butler volleyball players maintained a 3.59 GPA.
CONSENT AGENDA AND ADJOURNMENT
Trustees approved the consent agenda and adjourned at 7:15 p.m. The full meeting is viewable on Youtube BCTV Channel 20.