Enrollment among topics discussed at recent Board of Regents meeting

by: CHESANIE BRANTLEY/Editor-in-Chief

Enrollment for South Plains College was among the topics discussed during the February meeting of the Board of Regents.

Cathy Mitchell, vice president for student affairs, presented the official enrollment report for 2016.

“Basically, enrollment is holding steady,” said Mitchell. “We’re down a little bit, by 157 students overall, and we’re down 498 students off campus.”

Mitchell said the decline in the number of off-campus students meant that SPC was actually up in certain areas, such as the Levelland college district is up by 228 students, or 3.5 percent.

“So, the majority, as you see, is down on the off-campus, which would include our dual credit, and we knew that was coming,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell reported that the ATC campus is up by a significant 21 percent. While the Reese Center is down again by 2.8 percent.

Mitchell also told the Regents that Shanna Donica administered a survey SPC participates in every year called the Noel Levitz Student Satisfaction Inventory. She said it is completed by participating students every two years. The results were based on a seven-point scale and was completed by 543 students, which is a significant increase, according to Mitchell.

“Some of the things our students feel like we’re doing well in are they feel like they are welcomed here,” said Mitchell. “I think that’s a huge thing. We want them to be welcomed here, and they are saying that they are.”

She also said that some of the other areas students felt the college was doing well in are: the campus is well maintained, the campus is safe and secure for all students, the campus provides access to online services; and the campus staff are caring and helpful.

“A lot of good, positive things that we want to continue building on and working on,” said Mitchell.

There were also some very low ratings that students gave. According to Mitchell, one of the lowest was the amount of student parking space on campus, the financial aid process being explained clearly and academic advisors helping to define students’ academic goals.

“That is something (academic advising) we are working with and improving,” Mitchell said.

Dr. Robin Satterwhite, vice president for academic affairs, presented to the Board an update in instructional areas. The first thing Dr. Satterwhite presented was the District 3 SkillsUSA Contest that was held on the Levelland campus.

He said Rob Blair, dean of technical education, put the contest together. In the competition, there were 483 students who represented 16 high schools from all over Texas during the two days.

“The contest is designed to measure students’ skills in a long list of career and technical education areas,” according to Dr. Satterwhite.

Dr. Satterwhite said there is a Leadership category a lot like what is seen in 4-H. The students are judged on their skills with job interviews, presentations and professional skills.

There are 10 SPC programs that are involved in the SkillsUSA competitions. Those programs are: automotive technology, automotive collision repair, business/office technology/accounting/computer information systems, cosmetology, diesel technology, industrial manufacturing/emerging technologies, law enforcement technology, video production technology, radio, television and film, and welding technology.

“The Foundation (SPC) was extremely generous and awarded us 20 scholarships to give to the top senior performers,” said Dr. Satterwhite.

According to Dr. Satterwhite, the Student Government president and parliamentarian Association presented the 20 scholarships at $500 each to the top performing seniors. Also, the district winners will be eligible to compete in Corpus Christi at the state conference in summer 2016.

“It brings a huge number of students to South Plains College,” said Dr. Satterwhite. “It really helps grow our technical programs.”

Next, Dr. Satterwhite reported on the TTAP (Tech Transfer Acceleration Program). He said that this program is a partnership with Texas Tech University, and it is an alternate admissions program where students take two hours at Tech, live in the dorms at Tech, they have all the benefits of being a Tech student, but they take 12 hours from SPC. The classes for these students will also be at Texas Tech, taught by SPC professors or adjoint instructors.

“There are requirements to get in,” explained Dr. Satterwhite. “Students have to accumulate a GPA (grade point average) of 2.5 before they are admitted into Texas Tech. They also have to be TSI compliant, a letter of recommendation, applications to TTU and to South Plains College, and then they have specific attendance requirements.”

Dr. Satterwhite said this program is for those students who are on the border of being admitted to Texas Tech and still be willing to take those classes from SPC.

Danny Barrett, director of Texas Communities Group, also came and presented to the Regents. He is a part of a tax firm that collects property taxes for the college. He said he has created an extension for small towns that need help dealing with properties.

“I love the small town,” said Barrett. “That’s where my heart is, and they’ve had an issue with structures and buildings that are old and abandoned, and property tax work can only go so far.”

According to Barrett, this extension will allow cities to expand their role and ability to deal with these situations.

The Board of Regents will decide whether they would like to further discuss this program at next month’s meeting.

Julie Gerstenberger, director of development at SPC, reported on the upcoming 18th Annual Scholarship gala. She said since the annual Scholarship Gala started in 2003, more than $1.2 million has been raised.

“To have the opportunity to tell 3,000-plus people about South Plains College is always a good opportunity, and that’s what we’ve done in our most recent mailing,” said Gerstenberger.

The Scholarship Gala will be held on Feb. 27 at 6 p.m. at the P.E. Complex. The featured entertainer will be SPC alum Jerrod Niemann, and the special appeal for scholarship support will be presented by SPC alum Christy Hartin.

Dr. Kelvin Sharp, president of SPC, presented last to the Board. He gave an update on the construction at the Lubbock Center.

“When you go into a building like this and you design the spaces and put the spaces in, the architects automatically adjust your space by 30 to 35 percent for hallways,” according to Dr. Sharp. “It takes that percentage of the area of the building to connect all the spaces in the building.”

He presented a color-coded floor plan to the regents, with different colors representing what each space is designated for. The automotive area is set up to have 16 bays, so that the two instructors will be able to work on eight cars, with two students at each one. According to Dr. Sharp, the hallway space was minimized as much as possible, with classroom space being maximized as much as possible.

“I think those spaces that I mentioned so far are going to be great spaces for us,” said Dr. Sharp. “We kind of know where those spaces are, and we know just about the size of those spaces.”

Dr. Sharp also informed the regents of the NJCAA Region V Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament that will be held March 2-March 5 in Brownwood, Texas. He gave each regent a bracket for the men’s and women’s tournament.

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