The Mineral Area College Board of Trustees held an upbeat meeting Thursday in which it heard the latest report on spring enrollment and approved agreements with three area community colleges, along with other business.
In the absence of Board Chairman Scott Sikes, the meeting was led by Trustee Harvey Faircloth.
Announcing to the board of trustees that she had “great news to share,” Dean of Students/Director of Admissions Julie Sheets presented the school’s spring 2022 census report, noting that there had been a “significant increase” in the school’s dual-enrolled students (+33 students – 20.4%); a 6.5% increase in dual credit, excluding the tech centers; and a 12.2% hike in MAC’s high school population.
Sheets also reported that the school is seeing an increase in enrollment from Cape Girardeau, Crawford, Jefferson, and Ste. Genevieve counties. Concluding her report, she informed the trustees that 356 students are currently on track for spring graduation and fall registration begins March 28.
Provost Roger McMillian presented a Memorandum of Understanding of MAC with Jefferson College and East Central College for approval by the trustees.
Explaining the purpose of the memorandum, McMillian said, “Sometime back, Dean Sheets and I started working with our colleagues at both of these institutions to try to find some collaborative programs that maybe we could share between the three institutions. As part of that exhibit, you’ll see there’s a chart that lists particular programs that each institution has a pathway to.
“What this agreement will allow, should you approve it, that students — especially from MAC — could continue their studies in collaboration with JeffCo or East Central in one of the programs that we have mentioned there which is specified in this agreement as music, culinary arts, radiology and vet tech. The big benefit for the student is that they would accept our students as in-district students and charge them that in-district rate. There are also some programs that East Central and JeffCo are interested in sending students here for.
The board of trustees unanimously accepted the agreement.
During his monthly president’s report, MAC president, Dr. Joe Gilgour, provided board members with an update on a proposed agreement between the Park Hills-based community college and Three Rivers Community College in Poplar Bluff.
“You will today on the agenda be ratifying the agreement between us and Three Rivers Community College to move their service region (school districts) of Cape [Girardeau] County to us — which is a really big deal. And then that means we’re open to all the programs there, but we’ll have to have state approval before we can do that, though.
“So, we have put in our request for all those programs — every program we have on the list. So, we’ll see what sticks and we should know by April sometime if we’re able to do that. It’s a really big deal for the college. It could bring a lot of new students — a whole new market — over 80,000 residents in Cape Girardeau County that we can bring in.”
Later in the meeting, the trustees unanimously approved the agreement.
Also in his report, Gilgour noted that MAC has begun its redistricting process.
“I told you that we’d be getting the committee for redistricting together very soon,” he said. “They will do a recommendation and bring that to you to approve in the next two months, probably. Then it goes to the state and once it’s approved, we’ll take it back to our voters in the 2023 election.
Gilgour told the trustees that state funding is currently in a holding pattern.
“We haven’t heard anything that’s negative about the governor’s suggestion of core increase for community colleges and funding for our Industry and Technology Center, and so, we’re still holding out for that,” he said. “The good news is that nobody’s arguing about it right now and I think that’s good.
“That means it’s probably settled, but we may not know for sure until May. That’s really going to help us complete that building and give us a much-needed core increase so we can use it to invest in our people here on campus.
Gilgour congratulated MAC’s men’s and women’s basketball teams for successfully completing the season.
“Neither one of them finished where they wanted to finish, but both of them had really good seasons — a lot of wins, a lot of success throughout the year,” he said. “So, congratulations to Coach Strege and Coach Palmer and their student-athletes.”
Moving on to the subject of Pell Grants, Gilgour said, “Just yesterday, the United States House of Representatives approved a proposal to increase the Pell Grant by $400, which is really good for our students. We have a ton of students on Pell Grants, so any increase they can get is always good there. It’s proposed to be in the budget this year, so we’ll see how it goes, but it’s a good start.”
Gilgour told the trustees that the production of “Midsummer Night’s Dream” by the Mineral Area Fine Arts Academy was a “big success” with “a lot of people coming to the show,” despite having to move one of the performances to Sunday due to winter weather.
“Really good attendance,” he said. “I heard nothing but great reviews.”
Gilgour also reminded the trustees that the Mineral Area College Foundation Golf Tournament is set for May 4 and May 18 is the date for the Mineral Area Fine Arts Academy.
In other action, the board of trustees was introduced to two new employees — Instructional Designer Tim Baskin and IT Help Desk Technician Lucian Mira; heard the monthly classified staff report from Logan Shropshire and the faculty forum report from Jennifer Sikes; approved fiscal year 2023 fees and approved the expenditure of Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA) funds.
The trustees also approved the names of second eight-week full-time faculty overloads and part-time adjuncts for the spring semester; approved Boyer & Associates to continue as the school’s auditing firm; approved bids for laptops for the police academy and laptops and monitors for the library; approved a bid for a network switch equipment upgrade; approved a bid for the virtual server project, and approved the purchase of a 15-passenger transit van from Sam Scism Ford to replace one that was totaled out by the college’s insurance company.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Faircloth said, “Before we adjourn, I just wanted you to know that it’s nice to have an upbeat meeting. It starts when you drive down the road and see everything that’s happening (on campus).”
The next meeting of the Mineral Area College Board of Trustees will take place at 11 a.m. April 14 in the VanHerck Boardroom.
“It could bring a lot of new students — a whole new market — over 80,000 residents in Cape Girardeau County that we can bring in.” – Dr. Joe Gilgour, MAC president
Kevin R. Jenkins is the managing editor of the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-783-9667 or firstname.lastname@example.org