By NATALIE WRIGHT
1. Board considers tuition hike
Chief Financial Officer Bill Johnson presented three tuition increase scenarios to the trustees. The first proposed a 1.5 percent increase for next fall and Fall 2017 for all classes. The second proposed a 0 percent increase for next fall and a 1.5 percent increase for Fall 2017 for all classes. The third option proposed a 1.5 percent increase for in-district students, 2 percent for out-of-district, 2.5 percent for out-of-state and 3 percent for international and distance learning – for both Fall 2016 and 2017.
The trustees are expected to continue discussion of tuition at the March 24 board meeting.
2. Twelve new programs proposed for fall
Interim Vice President of Instruction Bill Abernethy presented six new certificate programs, two new associate of applied science degree programs and four new articulation agreements with other colleges for the trustees’ approval.
The certificate programs include: machine tool setup and operation, machine tool programming, applied data science, C# programming for modern computing, English as a second language and magnetic resonance imaging. The associate of applied science programs are: automotive test technician and powertrain development technician. The articulation agreements include three agreements with Madonna University in business administration and science in child development and an agreement with Wayne State University for multiple engineering degrees.
3. College asks to invest $2 mil in advanced transportation
On Feb. 24, WCC received a $4.4 million grant towards the college’s proposed Skilled Trades Equipment Capital Project, which includes the proposed Advanced Transportation Center and the programs that will utilize it. The administration recommended that the trustees approve an additional $2 million towards the project.
The trustees are expected to vote on allocating the funds at a future meeting.
4. Trustees mull options to televise meetings
The trustees engaged in a lively discussion about the possibility of televising board meetings for the public, an idea proposed by trustee Dave DeVarti at the board’s Feb. 24 meeting. The options presented include the college’s web services department filming the meetings and sending footage to Ann Arbor’s Community Television Network or streaming the footage online – both of which would be close to free of cost – live broadcasting the meetings from campus – which would cost $100,000 in equipment installation, or moving board meetings to another location, such as the Ann Arbor Public Library, which is already equipped to handle a live broadcast.
The first two options, which are free and allow the trustees to continue to meet on campus seemed the most popular, but the board decided to push further discussion back to the summer with a hope of beginning the filming next fall.
5. Strategic plan update inspires excitement and skepticism
Julie Morrison, executive director of institutional effectiveness, planning and accreditation, presented the trustees with an update on the college’s strategic plan, which was put in place in 2012 and ends this year.
She explained the progress that has been made in the plan’s eight strategic priorities – professional development, student success, agility and responsiveness, visibility and branding, workforce development, academic partnerships, funding and resources and community development – and the goals for the plan’s final year.
“My skepticism has been smashed into a million pieces,” board Chair Richard Landau said following the presentation.
But other trustees still had concerns.
“I remain skeptical on strategic plans,” said Trustee Ruth Hatcher. “I don’t know that any of that wouldn’t have happened without the strategic plan, but I see that it all is wonderfully organized.
“I know that one of the complaints faculty made was lack of involvement in the strategic plan. My request, at some point, I think it would be useful to see the people who were on the committees. I’m seeing two different colleges in my role, and I want to bring them together.”
The WCC board of trustees will meet next on March 24 at 6 p.m. in ML building