BY COURTNEY DITTO
AND TAYLOR ROBINSON
- Washtenaw Community College Board of Trustees fills vacant seat
Because of previous board treasurer Pamela Horiszny resigning earlier in October, the board received the opportunity to appoint a new member within 30 days of her resignation. The decision did not come easily.
Board members Dave DeVarti, Ruth Hatcher and Secretary Christina Fleming voted for Dilip Das and the remaining members, Vice Chair Diane McKnight-Morton, Stephen Gill (via telephone) and Chair Richard Landau voted for Alex Milshteyn.
As a result of a deadlock vote, Landau did make it clear to the board that if the deadlock continued, the Washtenaw Intermediate School District’s board would make the decision for them. Because of his assurance that other members stood firm on their votes, he opted to change his, thus breaking the deadlock. Gill also reconsidered his vote and supported Das. The final vote resulting 5-1 making Das the newly appointed member.
Landau announced that the position is temporary and Das, along with any other interested party, must hold a campaign for the Nov. 2016 election. After much deliberation ending in a deadlock 3-3 vote, appointed Das as the seventh member. Also in consideration for the position was Alex Milshteyn who is an eight-year member of the WTMC board.
- WCCEA President voices concerns
After the Higher Learning Commission’s latest update on Oct. 1, Faculty Union President Maryam Barrie expressed to the board her questions regarding the protection of fellow instructors. By Sept. 1, 2017, all instructors teaching general education/transfer credit courses will be required to either have a master’s degree in the area they teach or have completed 18 graduate-level course credits in that area. Barrie asked the questions some faculty are wondering such as how they will be supported, particularly those who fear losing their jobs.
“Decisions about their future are being made by people who don’t know them,” Barrie said. “As you can imagine, this is not relaxing.”
Later in the evening, Vice President for Instruction Michael Nealon provided a presentation outlining their plan thus far and into the near future as to how they are handling becoming compliant with the new assumed practices.
Barrie addressed another concern pertaining to the rumors of department downsizing while in a previous meeting with WCC President Rose Bellanca and Nealon. According to Barrie, no clear answer was shedding light on said rumors. She stated that this was the last time the subject was addressed with upper level administration as of the most recent board meeting.
“This concerns me and it doesn’t put me in a place where I can reassure my members that their positions are secure,” Barrie said.
- Official enrollment numbers are in
Vice President of Student and Academic Service Linda Blakey presented the official enrollment count for WCC. Enrollment for the 2015 fall semester is 12,211 students who are taking a combined 101,519 credits, according to Blakey’s numbers. Although enrollment is down by 0.6 percent or 84 students, the state average is closer to 6 percent with some schools declining by double-digit percentages. Blakey’s report highlighted that WCC’s been leading the state in maintaining enrollment.
She also expressed fall enrollment strategies including regular outreach to new, continuing and readmitting students, and through events and telephone outreach. They’ve also recently experimented with communication via texting, and reaching out to local high schools for future applicants.
- WCC Radiography team brings home first place
Addressing the board with good news and a big trophy were students among WCC’s radiography program. At the 60th Annual Meeting of the Michigan Society of Radiologic Technology, WCC students Aaron Amin and Brittany Tomlin were two of 75 students from several programs competing in the Student Bee – a competition where students were given 20 seconds to answer questions from subjects such as patient care, imaging exposure, imaging physics, radiographic poisoning, and radiation biology and protection.
Amin won first place, and Tomlin took third – this year being the fourth in a row that WCC students have won first place and kept the traveling trophy. Amongst the winning team were two more WCC students, Ashley Zavala and Michelle Rhodes. These students competed in a scientific display completion against 28 other displays, and brought first place to WCC with their imaging kidney stones display.
- Pharmacy Technician program makes large strides
Pharmacy technology instructor, Kiela Samuels approached the board to discuss the rise and success of the pharmacy technician certificate program at WCC. Samuels stated that this program prepares students to work entry-level jobs in pharmacies in places such as hospitals and retail stores right out of gaining their certificate, helping them gain real-world experience in their field while they continue school.
“It’s mostly a one-man show, or one-woman show,” Samuels said in regards to being the only instructor in this full-time program.
Samuels said that only 24 students are enrolled in this program, but thanks to affiliations with University of Michigan – where U-M pharmacy students come to aid in teaching WCC students – these students gain better experience in the pharmacy field.
Due to the incline of the program, Samuels stated the next step is moving on from what is now only a certificate program, to getting the accreditation of an associate degree.