Regents discuss new Title V grant at October meeting

by: CHESANIE BRANTLEY/Editor-in-Chief

South Plains College received a grant that will be the key to begin implementing a new project.

The new Title V grant for $2.62 million was among the topics discussed during the October meeting of the SPC Board of Regents. The project that will be implemented because of this grant is called Fostering the Access and Success of Hispanic/Low-Income Technical Students.

Stephen John, vice president of institutional advancement, presented the plans for the project. He first brought up the grant to the regents last fall when they began the process of applying for it.

“A proposal team spent the better part of last year putting this proposal together,” said John. “We submitted it in May, and we heard the results of that about a week ago.”

John said that there are several different areas that they plan on spending the money on. Diesel services will be developing and implementing a new Heavy Equipment Technician specialization. This program will actually begin running this year.

“We are going to have this program accredited by AED (Associated Equipment Dealers),” said John. “If we’re successful in getting that accreditation we will be the only college in a four-state area that has a certified program.”

There are also plans in place to develop a new Culinary Arts program. There has been a strong student interest and job demand in our region, according to John. This program will start in the year 2016 – 2017.

The other plans that will be able to be implemented with the grant is the opportunity to improve success in the associate degree completions by incorporating active learning strategies into the Technical curriculum, and providing new online remedial options and improved tutoring for technical students. Also, there are plans to strengthen professional development for Technical faculty by emphasizing innovative, active learning strategies, according to John.

“The more actively engaged we can keep students in learning and in what they’re doing in their programs, then the more success they’re going to have,” John said.

Cathy Mitchell, vice president of student affairs, presented the student services update. The new Health and Wellness Center has been training the residence hall directors on handling student stress and conflicts. The student staff has also been trained on the same things as the directors.

“They are currently doing a new project called ‘Don’t Cancel That Class,’” said Mitchell.

According to Mitchell, information has been sent to all SPC faculty members about the project. If a faculty member is sick or has to miss a class for any reason, instead of canceling the class, they simply let the Health and Wellness Center know and they already have lectures ready to cover that class.

“They will talk about healthy relationships and boundries,” said Mitchell.

The Advising Center is also going to work on the Don’t Cancel That Class project, with lessons on stress relief and study skills. They are also doing skills workshops in classrooms where they give a lecture on how to take notes, and then stay and take notes for the rest of the class lecture. Then, after the class, they allow the students to come to their office and compare notes, according to Mitchell.

“One of the biggest groups that is doing things are our Residence Hall Association,” Mitchell said. “We have some really fantastic residence hall directors.”

According to Mitchell, the residence hall directors are planning their own activities. In November, they are having a James Bond Black Tie Affair, which will be a formal dance, among other activities.

Dr. Robin Satterwhite, vice president for academic affairs, presented the health occupations and articulation agreement update.

Dr. Satterwhite first went over the applications versus the number of students admitted. In some of the health programs, such as EMS, the numbers are close. But in the more competitive programs, such as nursing, there are usually significantly more applications than the number of students admitted.

“We’re not intentionally limiting admission,” said Dr. Satterwhite. “But we do have limitations on how many student, we can admit.”

According to Dr. Satterwhite, the Allied Health programs have a positive placement rate. Some of the rates are lower, but that is because some students realize later what they have their degree in is not what they want to do anymore. The licensure percentage is also positive, and that is based on the first time students took the test.

Dr. Satterwhite also reported on the updated articulation agreements. According to Dr. Satterwhite, SPC has large-scale articulation agreements with certain colleges, such as Texas Tech University and Lubbuck Christian University. But SPC also has articulation agreements with certain fields of study.

“We can measure exactly what courses we have that will for sure go towards a degree in engineering or business,” explained Dr. Satterwhite.

Dr. Satterwhite said they are reevaluating those classes throughout the fall and the spring. The goal is to be able to set down a plan in front of the student so he or she knows what is needed to be taken at SPC that will transfer toward a degree to whatever university he or she is planning on attending.

Dr. Kelvin Sharp, president of SPC, informed the Board about upcoming activities and a construction update for the Lubbock Center.

The first advisory committee for the Lubbock Center recently held a meeting. The committee discussed what is going to be done with the building. The locks have all been changed, and a previous ventilation area has been patched up to keep out the rain and birds.

The upcoming activities include: the T-Club Lunch on Oct. 26, the Halloween Carnival on Oct. 29, Meet the Texans on Nov. 2 and the Scholarship Banquet on Nov. 5.

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