Urban takes part in first WSCC board of trustees meeting

New West Shore Community College President Dr. Kenneth Urban (second from left) took part in his first meeting since he took over as president. Urban said he has enjoyed being at WSCC.

New West Shore Community College President Dr. Kenneth Urban (second from left) took part in his first meeting since he took over as president. Urban said he has enjoyed being at WSCC.

SCOTTVILLE — Members of the West Shore Community College Board of Trustees greeted Dr. Kenneth Urban to his first board meeting as college president on Monday afternoon.

Urban began in his position July 13. He told the board his first week on the job has been a very pleasant experience. WSCC president James Jensen said he and Urban had an extensive talk about the college and its future.

“Last week I spent an hour with Dr. Urban welcoming him to the campus and going over some of my ideas of things we should be thinking about,” said Jensen. “One of the things I found interesting was Dr. Urban went through a list things he thought we should look into. What struck me was the pronoun he used as it wasn’t you or I, but ‘we,’ so I think he is already one of us.”

Urban said he has really enjoyed it.

“The first week has been outstanding,” he said. “It is everything I hoped for and more. I am really amazed at the welcome I have seen and am excited about the opportunity to lead West Shore Community College.”

Trustee Bruce Smith said he is impressed with the new president.

“We talked for quite some time and during that whole conversation Dr. Urban didn’t say much which told me he is a good listener, and that is important,” said Smith.

Other items to come before the board was a report from vice chair Mike Ennis on the Michigan Community College Association monthly meeting. Ennis said there is some specific legislation the MCCA is watching carefully in the state legislature.

“The new jobs training program is one, and there were some issues with minimum wage and other issues that has been resolved,” he said. “That legislation is on the governor’s desk and should be signed any day.”

Ennis said the the MCCA is also watching House Bill 4182, which would require elected officials to be present in order to vote. It is not required right now and Ennis said the MCAA is not opposed to the bill.

“We are proactive on legislation and not reactive,” he said.  “That is why we are looking at this legislation before it becomes law.”

Board members were also given a report by Christy Christmas on the College for Kids program. She said it is a very popular program and early response to registration has been strong.

“Children are ecstatic and instructors are excited to get started,” she said. “College for Kids is a wonderful opportunity that allows children to have an experience on a college campus that is both fun and educational.”

WSCC Dean of Student Services Chad Inabinet presented the board with a list of 39 names of students who met all the requirements for graduation after the summer semester.

“Thirty-nine students is about the average of where we are at for summer graduation,” he said. “We usually have anywhere from 38 to 42 students that graduate in the summer. We are happy to see these students graduate.”

Board members voted 6-0 to approve the graduation list.

Administrative committee member Bruce Smith delivered the board the quarterly investment report. Although no action is required on the matter, the board hears four reports a year on how the college’s investments are doing in terms of return.

“There wasn’t much change and a very small increase in percentages if you consider a .744 to a .88 percent a significant increase,” said Smith. “Most of that was some of the long term investments went up to 1.15 percent.”

Smith presented the board with the June financial report for consideration.

“The administrative committee that includes Dr. Urban, vice president Scott Ward, (trustee) Mr. Ennis and (administrative assistant) Lisa Stankowski reviewed the financials,” he said. “It was difficult because we made some budget amendments this month and those figured into the June numbers.”

Smith said overall the review is in line with the amended budget. He said there are two state aide payments that will be going to the 2015 fiscal budget, but not reflected now, until they are released from the state

“Remember the state fiscal year starts Oct. 1, so our payments rotate in that manner, so we don’t have those two payments yet,” he said. “Our revenue is right on line with our amended budget, and our expenditures are lower in a couple of areas is because positions weren’t filled. That made us move some money from one area to another.”

Smith said the auxiliary funds are something they have been following quite  closely.

“Now that the facilities management study is done, we are looking at a different utilization of facilities that will include both the book store and the food service,” he said. “The administrative committee is also expressing concerns of the ice arena and recreation center, and we have encouraged some additional work in those areas to curtail the extra expenditures.”

Smith stressed the college is not looking at a deletion of any of those departments. He said they are all important, but are just looking to better utilize the staff and facilities.

“We have asked vice president Ward to look at all expenditures in those areas,” he said.

Board members voted 7-0 to approve June expenditures of $790,271 from the general fund and $65,766 from the Auxiliary Fund.

Smith said that the committee also reviewed and approved some budget modification. Ward gave a report to the board on the changes, which focused around staffing, instructional support and other areas. The board granted the modifications on a 7-0 vote.

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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