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Advisory Council

Advisory Council Minutes November 18 , 2021

The regular meeting of the NJC Advisory Council was held Thursday, November 18, 2021 at the Yuma Community Center at 421 E. 2nd Avenue, Yuma, CO.

Members Present:     

Kendra Anderson

Jamie Jo Axtell

Jeff Long

Sergio Sanchez

Wade Tyrrell

Member Absent:

Karen Ramey-Torres

Karla Rosas                                                                                         

Others Present:  Jay Lee, Shawn Rose, Steve Smith, Lisa LeFevre, Linda Merkl, Tim Stahley, Brandon Melnikoff, Kevin Stump, Jesse Quinlin, and Marylu Smith-Dischner.  

I.           Jamie Jo Axtell, the 2021-2022 Vice Chair, called the meeting to order at 1:30 p.m.

II.         The group participated in the Pledge of Allegiance.

III.        The agenda for the November 18, 2021 Advisory Council Meeting was approved as presented. Kendra Anderson made the motion to approve the agenda and Wade    Tyrrell seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

IV.       The minutes of the September 23, 2021 Advisory Council Meeting were approved as presented. Sergio Sanchez made the motion to approve the minutes and Wade Tyrrell seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.



  • New employees or employees recently changing positions are:
    • Carl Rosas Jr. – Event Center Supervisor
    • Veronica Koehn – Director of Academic Excellence
    • Shane Kloberdanz – Structural Trades
    • Brianna Bade – Holyoke Instructor (held a Grounds & Nursery position before)
    • Rene Nava – Assistant Director of Financial Aid (was a RISE Grant Outreach Coordinator before)



  • CCCS Chancellor Garcia announced the four finalists for consideration as the next NJC President.
  • The four Presidential Candidates were on campus on November 11, 12, 15 and 16. Each candidate had the same schedule each day which included meeting with the Leadership Team, the Faculty Senate, Open Forums, etc.
  • The Open Forums were available over WebEx.
  • There were feedback surveys for each finalist on NJC’s web page. The surveys were open through noon on Wednesday, November 17. Our feedback is a significant piece of the Chancellor’s decision making process and he reads all of the feedback provided.
  • Jay thanked Jeri Estrada, HR Director, for her working in bringing the candidates to campus. He also thanked Steve Smith, Vice President of Student Services, for serving on the Selection Committee.
  • Linda Merkl, Vice President of Academic Affairs, feels we had four very strong candidates. The four days of campus interviews was exhausting for college staff. She looks forward to the announcement.
  • Lisa LeFevre, Vice President of Administrative Services, said it was nice to hear the four different perspectives on how our campus is viewed from outsiders.
  • CCCS Chancellor will announce his choice for the next NJC President quickly – probably early/mid-December.  



    • Fall Athletics – President Lee
      • Volleyball
        • The volleyball team won the south sub-region.  This is the first time in a long while that NJC volleyball has gone undefeated in conference.
        • Volleyball team won the Region IX Tournament and qualified for nationals by defeating #11 ranked Central Wyoming College in 3 sets.  This marks the 4th straight year that the team has qualified.
        • Mackenzie Chrisman was named Coach of the Year, Jade Feather - All Region Libero of the Year and Region IX Tournament MVP, Mayson Fago - All Region, Kaytlin Smart – All Region, Taylor Wiescamp – All Region.  Jade, Mayson and Sidney Bills were named to the Region IX All-Tournament Team.
        • Unfortunately, they lost their first game today at Nationals losing to Utah’s Snow College. They play again Friday morning.


    • Men’s Soccer
      • Final record of 6-9-1 with forfeits and lost first round of the regional tournament (ineligible player).
      • Region IX First Team - Harry Reed (Forward) | Region IX Second Team - Lars Walczyk (Midfield) - Ivan Luna (Forward) - Dylan Viebrantz-Zavatini (Defender) | Region IX Honorable Mention - Jared Maciel (Midfield)


    • Women’s Soccer
      • 12-4-1, 2nd in regular season.  Lost in first round of playoffs.
      • Most wins in a season (12), highest finish in regular season (2nd), 1st win vs. Nationally Ranked Opponent, 1st time receiving votes for National Poll, Lowest goal-against average (0.88), Highest goals-for average (2.41)
      • Most players selected All-Region IX (7). 1st Team- Leslie Serrato, Lindsey Harris, Yanitza Garay. 2nd Team- Myriam Dominguez, Yadira Ramos, Fernanda Rios. Honorable Mention-Allison Seery



    • LPN Students – Linda Merkl
      • Six nursing students who completed a summer class called Transitions to Practical Nursing were successful in passing the NCLEX-PN (state board exam) to become licensed. This is a 100% pass rate. All are continuing this year to finish their Associate of Applied Science in Nursing. The students are:
        • Juana Lopez
        • April Vallejos
        • Shanna Garvin
        • Lindsey Nestor
        • Andrea McCallum
        • Jessica Teter



  1. COVID Protocols Update – Steve/Linda

    • Student Protocol – Steve
      • The COVID-19 Testing and Vaccine Protocol for Students was discussed.
      • Steve emailed this protocol to students and employees on November 1, 2021.
      • Students have been showing proof of their vaccination status to Student Services.
      • Rural colleges vaccination rates are much lower than metro colleges.
      • NJC’s Yuma Campus is now an official COVID testing center for the area. Testing will be held at that location once a week. The first testing started today.
      • The administration does worry about the students leaving and coming back from the holidays and bringing COVID with them, however, last year after the holidays, NJC did not have any large outbreaks.
      • NJC does have one floor of a residence hall that is used for isolation/quarantining for students with COVID or for students who have been exposed to COVID.


    • Employee Protocol – Linda
      • The COVID-19 Testing and Vaccine Protocol for Employees was discussed. Linda emailed this to all employees on November 1.
      • The document will also be located on the Website under COVID response.  
      • NJC currently has 95 unvaccinated employees. Twenty percent of those names get randomly pulled each week for testing. Employees have ten days to test and provide their results to the HR Office.


  1. 2022 Commencement Update – Steve Smith

    • In 2020, NJC held a virtual commencement. In 2021, we had a virtual commencement as well as two in-person ceremonies. We are planning to have two commencement ceremonies again this spring, but no virtual ceremony. The two ceremonies will be live-streamed however. The afternoon ceremony will be at 2:00. The morning one will be at whatever time will work best for finals—likely, either 10:00 or 11:00. Steve will finalize that time soon.
    • Presently, our ceremonies should not need to have limitations regarding guests. Last year, we were not able to exceed 500 per ceremony. Thus far, there are no such restrictions here, although lately, there have been some districts and/or counties that state that events with 500+ in attendance are required to have attendees show their vaccination card. We do not anticipate that to be the case for us.
    • We will of course have a new president for our spring commencement, so he or she will likely have some suggestions or recommendations.


  1. Meal Scholarship Update – Tim Stahley

    • Tim Stahley and a committee made up from Student Services, have been meeting to discuss the meal scholarship.
    • Here are their recommendations:
  • Rebrand the meal plan scholarship to make it more marketable to students.
  • Allocate $100,000/year with option to increase based on need of student population. (We paid $331,000 in 2021 Aid Year and $346,5000 so far this year). These funds come from auxiliary funds.
  • Students will need to apply to be eligible. Application includes:
    • Name, S#, freshman/sophomore
      • Explain how your financial need will make you a good candidate for this scholarship?
      • Explain your education and career goals.
      • Beyond this scholarship, what other ways can we help you succeed at NJC?
      • What food would you like to see in the café?
      • Completion of FAFSA
  • Students can receive up to $500/semester
  • Students must exhaust all sources of financial aid excluding student loans before they can receive this scholarship
    • Awarded by need. For example, if a student has exhausted all forms of financial aid (grants and loans) and still has a balance of $300. This scholarship would then step in and cover the remaining balance. If a student had a balance of $700, the scholarship would cover $500 and the student would still owe $200.
  • Open the 100 and 75 block to all students, but only offer the scholarship to students who purchase the 10, 14 or 19 meal plans.
  • Right now room and board is priced together in all of our marketing materials. We will break this up into the housing cost and meal cost so we can better educate potential students and have them make the most informed decision and understand what they are purchasing.
  • The selection committee will consist of Residence Life, Financial Aid, Admissions and Cashier to select recipients. We will meet after each Registration Day. Students who apply earlier will be awarded earlier.
  • Wade asked if NJC’s food vendor provides for food discounts. Lisa indicated the contract does provide for a dedicated fund for food insecurity and a limited amount of meal plan scholarships.


IX.       PRESIDENT’S REPORT President Lee

  • Jay thanked Tim Stahley, Director of Residence Life, for being creative in ways to save the college money including his work on the Meal Scholarship Plan. Tim also came up with a plan to avoid closing Herbie Hall as the Administration had recommended for spring semester. Tim and Brandon Melnikoff, ASG President, came up with a plan to give students an option of purchasing single residence halls rooms to fill the vacant rooms around campus. This plan has been successful and such, Herbie Hall will remain open. This plan will save the college even more money than the plan to close Herbie Hall.


  • NJC buildings are starting to show their age. Currently the heat boiler in the north part of Walker Hall is broken. Luckily the state emergency construction fund will pay for a temporary fix and a new boiler which will save the college about $200,000. Jay learned also that a portion of Whyman Hall has been without heat for about three weeks. That boiler fix is supposed to happen tomorrow.


  • We have good news about enrollment. Our fall semester enrollment is up about 3%. Even better news is that right now our spring enrollment is trending high compared to the same time last year. We hope this continues. Last year we ended our enrollment down about 18%.


  • NJC’s soccer field and practice soccer field are not in good shape. One opposing team coach was heard hollering that our fields were the worst fields he has ever played on. Our Softball field also needs about $100,000 to make it playable. We need to find about $300,000 to fix up these fields. The NJC Foundation has offered $50,000 up front for these projects. The will match another $50,000 if the college can come up with an additional $200,000. Jay and Vivian Hadley, NJC’s Foundation Director, have been working with a family that is willing to make a sizable donation to the college for these projects. Jay thanked Vivian Hadley for her work on this effort.


  • President Lee is wrapping up his tenure on the NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) board. He will be attending their end-of-the-year event on December 16th in Arkansas which includes the football championship game.


  • This is President Lee’s last Advisory Council meeting as he is retiring on December 31. He thanked for the Advisory Council for the opportunity to work with them. The Colorado Community College system has a great procedure of allowing Presidents to handpick their own Advisory Council members. He thanked the present members and past members for their service to the college and community.



  • Associated Student Government (ASG) Report – Brandon Melnikoff, ASG President

    • Brandon is proud of the student body and the student leaders who are very involved in events this year.
    • The student Senate is lacking in numbers, but has good quality students involved.
    • The residence halls have held activities that have had good turnouts.
    • The ASG event, Loteria (Mexican bingo), was held bi-weekly for four weeks and was very popular. ESL students called the bingo cards which was good practice for them to learn and speak English.
    • ASG sponsored a Trick or Treat Street for local kiddos up in the Hays Student Center Ballroom. Non-perishables were collected as an entrance fee.
    • $2 Movie Nights are taking place again and are popular.
    • ASG sponsored a Mentalist on campus as an evening entertainment event for students a few weeks ago.
    • ASG is planning a Christmas Extravaganza event.


  • Faculty Senate Report Kevin Stump, Faculty Senate President  

    • Faculty and students are doing well.
    • There is a Pie Eating Contest being planned for a challenge between departments.



  • Marylu Smith-Dischner, NJC’s Yuma Campus Director, was introduced to the group. Advisory Council members are encouraged to reach out to Marylu if the Yuma Campus can be of any assistance to the community. Yuma residents are being very supportive of NJC’s presence in Yuma.
  • Wade Tyrrell brought up his concern after reading an article in the newspaper that Morgan Community College is now offering a Bachelor of Science for Nursing. He asked if this will hurt NJC’s nursing program enrollment? Linda Merkl, Vice President of Academic Affairs, commented that this may hurt our nursing program a little bit. We will need to market to those areas that have waiting lists for nursing programs and let them know about our ADN program. We will need to let them know the value in our two-year program. The rural consortium is also discussing whether rural colleges can come up with a shared BSN program. Jay commented that MCC can offer this BSN program because their Nursing Director has a doctorate degree which allows them do so.



  • The meeting was adjourned at 2:45 p.m.


XIII.     TOUR OF YUMA CAMPUS910 South Main Street, Yuma



Respectfully Submitted,


Shawn Rose

 Recording Secretary