DOBSON — Surry Community College’s regular meeting of the Board of Trustees was marked by the swearing in of to re-appointed trustees and one newly appointed trustee.
Barbara Harrell and Dr. Earl Sheppard were re-appointed and veteran educator Pat Widdowson was the newly-appointed trustee in a brief oath of allegiance at the beginning of the meeting. Chairperson Deidre Rogers recognized long standing board member Betty Kay Vaughn on her return to the board. Vaughn had been absent from the board due to health issues.
“Congratulations and you are welcome on board,” said Rogers after swearing in the three trustees.
Discussion for the majority of the meeting centered on SCC President Dr. David Shockley proposing a “realignment” of several of the school’s satellite centers and how best to position the school for slow, sustainable growth within the next 10 years.
“Our budget (from the state) could’ve been a lot worse this year,” said Shockley. “We rallied because things changed at a rapid rate. One message was clear. The team effort from you (the trustees) was unprecedented.”
Shockley said that because of their lobbying efforts, legislators listened. He told the group that 50 new legislators will take office this year so the board must again educate them on the importance of community colleges.
In his report to the board, Shockley told the group the college was one of 16 schools statewide to receive an exceptional rating.
“I cannot underestimate how hard it is to receive this honor. It is rigorous,” continued Shockley. He also said that test results indicated SCC graduates did as good or better than resident four-year university students in four-year institutions. He was also complementary of the results of nursing student’s passing rates from the NC Board.
“We blew the top out of that,” noted Shockley as he informed the board that 100 percent of SCC nursing students taking the accreditation exams passed. The college also had a clean bill from the Corporate and Continuing Education 2012 Spring Semester Internal Audit Report. No major changes were recommended by the auditors who recommended the school examine the possibility of more strict attendance policies and more professional development for its instructors.
Shockley told the trustees that the Surry County School System had approved an extension of the vineyard lease until 2017. This will allow an ongoing viticulture project of N.C. State to fulfill its grant obligations by running until 2017 and will allow SCC viticulture and enology programs to not miss a growing season.
He reported on the land closing for a 58-acre parcel of land for future growth of the school. Shockley quickly noted how this posed a unique opportunity for students in these programs. They will not only have the use of a mature vineyard in the interim, they will have the experience of starting the new vineyard. The purchase gives SCC 30 percent more land for building.
“The (SCC) Educational Foundation and county commissioners were huge in making this happen,” said Shockley. “It could not have happened with out their support. It’s a testament to what can happen when you pull together for a common cause.”
Shockley also told the board the Viticulture and Enology program had been moved into the science division, like biology and chemistry, at the school. Gill Giese will be the lead instructor of the program.
He also proposed changing the focus of the school’s centers in Mount Airy and Elkin to improve foot traffic at the facilities. Shockley explained that he wants to quickly move and change the emphasis of the Mount Airy center to focus on Emergency Medical and Basic Law Enforcement Training.
Shockley said it was a natural progression because of the facilities’ proximity to many of these functions in the county. The “fine tuning” would cost an estimated $40,000 because separate shower facilities for gender would have to be added. He later said the project would only require the “movement of state equipment” to accomplish.
Shockley proposed that the center in Elkin be realigned to become a basic economic development center. This would help the school to concentrate development offices in a location to continue the programs. He explained that Elkin would maintain its current services.
He next proposed that the school’s center in Pilot be realigned with the school’s taxidermy, cabinetry and horticulture programs. The board appeared favorable to the suggestions. Shockley said that he hopes to have the realignments well along by January.
Reach David Broyles at email@example.com or 719-1952.