August 2019 Meeting Minutes

Board of Trustees

August 8, 2019

The North Arkansas College Board of Trustees met in regular session on Thursday, 8 August 2019, in the Bennie Ellis Board Room on the South Campus. Chair Bill Lovell called the meeting to order at 2:59 p.m. Trustees R.G. Earnest, David Evans, Chris McNew, Sarah Newman, and Don Tomlinson were present.

North Arkansas College personnel attending included Kris Greening, Sharla Hellen, Helen Haley, Emily Akins, Micki Somers, Dr. Rick Massengale, Charla Jennings, Katie Vaughn, Dr. Rodney Arnold, Don Sugg, Joe Berry, Mandy Kilbourn, and Dr. Randy Esters.

Approval of Agenda

Chair Lovell asked if there were any changes to the agenda as presented. There being none, the agenda stood approved.

Regular Reports

Foundation Report—Dr. Rodney Arnold shared the quarterly update for the Northark Foundation. The quarterly Board meeting was in June. As of May 31st,  net assets were $7.498 M (as compared to $7.555 M last year). He shared that revenues are down some, mainly because donations are down, but currently there isn’t reason for concern. New Foundation Board Officers were elected; Jim Sprott (President), Melanie Savells (Vice President) and Anne Hubbard (Secretary). Officers typically serve for two years.

Northark is still working toward finding backing to build student housing. Bluffstone has undergone a reorganization, so conversations with them have recently stalled. However, the Foundation has still been talking with Servitas as well as other potential investors.

The Summer Movie Series kicked off with Detective Pikachu, with approximately 500-600 community members in attendance. The next movie will be Secret Life of Pets 2, with 1,000-1,200 expected to attend. Other upcoming events include the Economic Update Breakfast on August 28th with Mervin Jebaraj, the 21st Annual Golf Tournament on September 9th, and the JPH Lecture Series hosting NFL referee Sarah Thomas on November 19th.

President’s Report—Dr. Randy Esters said that though enrollment numbers are still down, they are starting to move in the right direction. The 2019-2020 budget was planned using conservative numbers for enrollment, so there shouldn’t be a major cause for concern yet. We are simply making the adjustments that most colleges are having to make right now. However, everyone will be working toward boosting enrollment.

We closed on the Center Campus, and Jeff Crockett has been incredible to work with us as we move everything out of the building. Dr. Esters also gave special thanks to Kevin, Eddie, Ricky, and Bobby for all the work they have done to get everything moved, saying it had significantly added to their workload and they have handled it extremely well.

This year’s tax free weekend was a huge success, serving 430 students and saving them $14,023.54. Jennifer Marshall and her staff, along with many volunteers, worked hard to make it a success, with an average wait time of less than five minutes per customer.

Northark’s people have been recognized outside of our organization lately. Janet McMurrin was honored as the ABEA Post-Secondary Teacher of the Year; Steven Powell is a Northark graduate now working at PACE Industries who was featured in the Next Pro magazine; Nikita Fletcher earned her GED and Automotive Service Technology certification through Northark and is now headed to the NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, NC.

Our Health Professions have again been recognized, this time with Northark being ranked as the best value in the state for the RN program and second best value for an LPN program. We are in the process of establishing an agreement with UAMS which would allow our online Associate of Applied Science in Medical Laboratory Technology to seamlessly transfer to the UAMS online Bachelor of Sciences in Medical Laboratory Science.

Dr. Esters finished by pointing out that Welcome Week starts August 19th. Numerous faculty and staff members will be on hand to answer questions, hand out popcorn, and help students find classes. He said the goal is to make sure that no student is afraid to be on campus.

Following the President’s Report, there was a Student Spotlight on Helen Haley. Helen shared that after Brooklyn, NY; New Orleans, LA; and Mississippi, a cervical cancer diagnosis brought she and her husband closer to family in Western Grove. She said that her only regret was not going back to school, so upon moving to the area she did just that at Northark. She shared that she feels fortunate to have found the College, noting specifically the family culture, noting that there hasn’t been a single person on campus who has ever made her feel uncomfortable or unwelcome. Besides being a student, Helen works with TRIO and as a tutor in the LRC. She will be running for Vice President of SGA this fall, and she was selected as the Academic All-Star for this year. She was selected for her academic achievement and community service and will attend an award banquet in Little Rock and receive a $500 scholarship from the College.

Dr. Esters congratulated Helen and added that it thrills him to hear that kind of report because a family atmosphere is what we are always striving for.

Consent Agenda

The Consent Agenda included the July Regular Meeting Minutes, Replacement Position—Educational Opportunity Center Academic Advisor (grant funded), 2019 Distinguished Alumnus Award—Paul Harp, Durand Center Furniture & Equipment Sale, and the Center Campus Tower Furniture & Equipment Sale.

Chair Lovell asked for a motion to approve the Consent Agenda. A motion was made by Trustee McNew, seconded by Trustee Newman, and unanimously approved. Chair Lovell added that he is proud the College has selected Paul Harp, saying he is a wonderful representation of everything Northark stands for and is deserving of the recognition.

Monitoring Report

Kris Greening shared her report on “Engagement: Increase Employee Satisfaction.” Northark uses the results of the PACE survey to measure this objective. The goal is to always hit the national average; not only did Northark hit that goal, but the College scored higher than our cohort in 100% of categories. Employees rated the College 4.112 overall on a 1-5 Likert scale.

Recent improvements, as noted by responses on the qualitative sections, include the finalization of the reaccreditation process, updated professional development opportunities through Pioneers Making Tracks and the Center for Teaching and Learning, the establishment of a new compensation plan, updated Emergency Operations and active shooter training, and the opening of the Learning Resource Center. She shared that the recent hardships we have faced as a College have made us stronger.

Communication was one area in which the score was slightly lower, so it will be an area of focus moving forward. Kris plans to share the PACE results with the various representative groups to gather feedback on how we can improve. She also noted that the new SIS should help with future scores, as well as getting employees settled after the move from Center Campus.

New Business

No new business.

Board Comments

Trustee Newman congratulated everyone on a job well done wrapping up the 2018-2019 academic and fiscal year. Chair Lovell added that all staff should be recognized for all the work involved with Center Campus, Dr. Esters for his leadership, and Don Sugg for all the extra work required in order to move forward with the sale.

Trustee Newman made a motion to adjourn the meeting, which was seconded by Trustee Tomlinson and unanimously approved. The meeting was adjourned at 3:29 p.m.