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Advisory Council

Advisory Council Minutes April 20, 2023

The regular meeting of the NJC Advisory Council was held Thursday, April 20, 2023 on the NJC Sterling campus at the Lebsack Schmidt Hall Classroom.
Members Present: 
Kendra Anderson
Jamie Jo Axtell 
Jeff Long
Karen Ramey-Torress
Karla Rosas
Wade Tyrrell
Members Absent:
Felcicia Rodriguez

Others Present: President Mike White, Shawn Rose, Jesse Quinlin, Lisa LeFevre, Steve Smith, Amanda Kerker, Phil Ruch, Sharon White, Jason Winters, Jason Hazlett, Layton Peterman, Jason Hill, Ashley Kissell, Jason Rohm, Brady Ring, Stacey Nelson, Todd Puffinbarger, Steven Brady, Andrea Orin, Brock White, Brodie Reister and Callie Jones from the Journal Advocate.

  1. Jamie Jo Axtell, 2022-2023 Chair, called the meeting to order at 1:30 p.m.
  2. The group participated in the Pledge of Allegiance.
  3. The agenda for the April 20, 2023 Advisory Council Meeting was approved as presented. Karen Ramey-Torres made the motion to approve the agenda and Kendra Anderson seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
  4. The minutes of the February 16, 2023 Advisory Council Meeting were approved as presented. Wade Tyrrell made the motion to approve the minutes and Karen Ramey-Torres seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
  5. New Employee Introductions – President Mike White
    1. Brady Ring, Director of EMS/Fire Science Education introduced Stacey Nelson as a new Administrative Assistant for EMS/Fire Science, the HR Office, and Event Center/Athletics
    2. Todd Puffinbarger, Custodian III introduced Steven Brady as a new Custodian
    3. Steve Smith, Vice President of Student Services, introduced Andrea Orin as the new Director of Student Success, Equity & Inclusion
    4. Tabitha Held (not present) was introduced as the new Life Skills Coach/Nursing Support
    5. Amber Piel (not present) has transitioned from Administrative Assistant to Registrar
      1. Student Athlete Success – Andrew Kachel, Ken McAlpine, Kaden Campbell
        1. Student PresentationPhil Ruch
          1. Phil Ruch, 2022-2023 Associated Student Government President introduced the new 2023-2024 Associated Student Government officers:
            • President – Brock White
            • 1st Vice President – Brodie Reister
            • 2nd Vice President – Clayton Marty (not present)
      1. Amanda Kerker – Crystal Apple Award Winner
        • Amanda Kerker, Business Professor, was named the 2023 Sterling Journal Advocate’s Crystal Apple Award Winner for Northeastern Junior College.
        • Amanda and other award winners from other area school districts will be recognized at a banquet the evening of April 28 at the Sterling Elks Lodge.
  7. PRESIDENT’S REPORT Steve Smith for President Mike White
    • Enrollment
      • Fall enrollment was down 6%
      • Spring enrollment was only down 3%
      • Spring’s enrollment was helped as NJC had many instructors willing to teach online courses. These courses were taught through NJC Online and added to our enrollment.
      • NJC hopes to flatten or turn enrollment next fall. NJC is not the only college struggling with enrollment, it is a nationwide problem.
    • New Sports/Club
      • To help build enrollment, we will be adding three low cost of entry activities.  These are activities requiring only a small upfront investment to attract future students. 
        • An Esports intramural league ran this spring to test our ability to be an Esports team in the Fall of 2023 with the NJCAAE. The team took 5th place out of 25 in the nation in the Rocket League and 7th out of 33 in the Overwatch league. Ten out of the 18 intramural students are returning next year when NJC officially starts its new team.
        • NJC will be adding a trap-shooting team next school year. Trap shooting is an emerging NJCAA sport. Many local schools including Sterling High School and Akron High School have trap-shooting teams. We will be able to utilize the Logan County Shooting Sports Complex and the AG Department will serve as coaches.
        • A cheer performance team through a partnership with Ignite Cheer will be added. They will perform during timeouts of winter sports. This will be a club as cheer performance is not a NJCAA sport yet. NJC will be the only college east of the I-25 corridor to have a cheer performance team.
      • Athletics
        • Spring athletics are very busy at this time as many of their earlier games and matches were postponed with the long, frozen winter. 
        • The Ag sports including Rodeo and Livestock Judging are doing really well this year.
        • Both gym floors will be redone in the Event Center. The money will came from insurance money received for water damage and Event Center advertising. The new main gym floor is about finished and looks nice. In July, same process to the auxiliary gym floor. New logos will be put on the floors.
      • Academics
        • Jason Winter, Industrial Automation professor and Sharon White, Renewable Energy professor, shared details about tours/recruiting they have been conducting for career technical education by visiting 20 high schools in within a 230-mile radius. On these visits, they took NJC’s mobile learning lab. They sent out about 50 emails to high schools requesting visits. They also recruited at the SkillsUSA contest and FFA Ag Mechanics competition. Many students were not aware of NJC Career Technical Education programs or that we have residence halls on our campus.
        • NJC completed a Higher Learning Commission (HLC) Accreditation review. The committee reported that twenty-three our twenty-four categories were “fully met” and in one category we received a “met with concern” rating. This area was in assessment. We were very pleased with these results.   The HLC will review our assessment program in two years, and our next full review will be in five years.  
        • NJC has started a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) program. We held a three-day pilot program in Yuma for those who already have some training, such as an agriculture driver, but wanted to further their training. This pilot course had nine students. The next CDL course enrolled 19 students. We are bringing a larger CDL program to Sterling. The Auto and Diesel tech students rebuilt a truck for this program through a grant.
        • NJC received a $496,000 grant for a paramedic program. This grant is a one-year grant and starts in July. Part of this grant also includes funding for a bilingual CNA program for nursing.
      • Applied Technology Campus Expansion Project
        • NJC is closer to being able to begin construction on its Applied Technology Campus expansion project.
        • NJC was awarded $11 million by the state’s Capital Development Committee for the first phase of the project. We were informed that this year’s Long Bill, which has been approved by the legislature and is awaiting the Governor’s signature, includes another $5 million to finish the project.
        • The expansion will connect the two existing buildings – Lebsack Schmidt Hall and the Wind Energy buildings together with a new 35,700 square-foot metal building. It will also allow renovation of the 45,470 square foot existing building space and make improvements to the plumbing, HVAC, electrical and fire protection systems.
        • The expansion will allow more bays for the welding program – from 14 bays to 35 bays. It will also allow more bays for the automotive and diesel technology programs, which will make it easier to move trucks in and out.
        • There will be space for the precision agriculture program.
        • More classroom capacity for programs.
        • The expansion will bring opportunities for new programs such as electrician and HVAC technician.
        • Sharon White explained some new equipment that the wind program received through a grant. It is a hydraulic climb trailer shaped like a wind turbine.
    • Faculty Senate Report – Amanda Kerker
      • Faculty are busy finishing the school year.
      • Faculty are selecting students for their Faculty Impact Scholarship.
    • Associated Student Government (ASG) Report – Phil Ruch
      • The Associated Student Government elections went well. The proposal to increase student fees did not pass again this year.
      • Some sports intramurals have started. The assistant volleyball coach, Taylor Burns, is leading those programs.
      • The Ag Day at the Depot was a success.
      • A barbecue had to be rescheduled due to weather. It will be held during finals week.
      • The ASG Leadership Banquet will be held the evening of May 3.
      • A Glow in the Dark volleyball event will be held soon for students.
    • Wade Tyrrell commented it is exciting to see the design and progress on the Applied Technology Campus expansion project. There is a need for electricians and plumbing service technicians in our area. The grant for the paramedic program is also very exciting. He is hopeful the community will support and pay these trained professions to stay here in our community, as there is a big need for them.
    • Kendra Anderson complimented professors such as Sharon White and Jason Winters who were in the profession but are now teaching.
    • Jesse Quinlin, NJC Marketing Director, recognized NJC’s CCCS Student Award winners that were recognized in Denver at an award ceremony. The students were:
      • Joao Lucas Cerqueora Fonseca – Inclusive Excellence Champion
      • Alexis Camara and Abby Scholz – Rising Stars
      • Brady Zink and Brittney Geschwentner – Phi Theta Kappa All-Colorado Academic Team
    • Jamie Jo Axtell recognized our Livestock Judging team who were at Sterling and Akron High School recently.
    1. The meeting was adjourned at 2:10 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,

Shawn Rose

 Recording Secretary