Regents discuss dual credit at recent meeting

by: CHESANIE BRANTLEY/Editor-in- Chief 

Dual credit students and enrollment were among the main topics discussed during the November meeting of the South Plains College Board of Regents.

There are 1,447 dual-credit students spread among 67 different high schools, according to Dr. Robin Satterwhite, vice president of academic affairs. Dual-credit students make up 15 percent of the total students enrolled at SPC.

Dual-credit classes are offered in three different formats, according to Dr. Satterwhite. The classes are offered through ITV, which is Interactive Television, where the instructor is at SPC and the students are at their high schools. There are face-to-face classes, where SPC faculty will travel to the high school, or hire a faculty member at that high school to teach the class face to face. Then there are the online courses available to students.

“The first two (ITV and face to face) are probably the better for our students, particularly with that age group,” said Dr. Satterwhite. “It gives them a little better interaction with the faculty member, and probably enhances the learning environment a little more.”

Dr. Satterwhite also said that he recognizes that the online courses are a very important component of dual-credit classes as well.

According to Dr. Satterwhite, 35 percent of students who take dual-credit classes with SPC enroll later. Although this is a good number, Dr. Satterwhite believes it can be improved. The strengths of SPC, according to Dr. Satterwhite, are the services the college offers students.

“I think it is going to be imperative that we develop and we place before them (dual-credit students) pathways that they can move through,” said Dr. Satterwhite. “Our greatest strengths are with our faculty, and with the service we provide at South Plains College.”

In recent years, retirees were celebrated once a year. But this year, SPC will start celebrating them twice a year. The fall retiree reception will be held Dec. 11. Those retiring include: Cary Banks, professor in commercial music; Ippy Greer, associate professor of fine arts; Susan Mills, professor of office technology and computer information systems; Al Sechrist, chairperson of the Business Administration and Industrial Technology departments; Miguel Vega, irrigator; Jack Wardlow, associate dean of research and reports; and Joe Wise, police academy coordinator and assistant professor of law enforcement technology.

SPC also recently had a physical therapy accreditation site visit with a team called CAPTE (Commision for Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education).

“That is a very challenging accreditation to go through,” said Dr. Satterwhite. “Overall, it was very positive. They (CAPTE) even said things were nicely put together, with an outstanding faculty.”

Dr. Satterwhite said that SPC may have to have a reporting requirement. He said it is very common, and basically it is just follow-up information that CAPTE will be able to present to their board.

Cathy Mitchell, vice president of student affairs, presented how veterans enrolled at SPC were honored on Veterans Day, and the services that are offered to them.

“We have quite a few military veterans that do attend South Plains College,” said Mitchell. “Yesterday, they were honored with a reception on the Levelland campus and at the Reese Center.”

According to Mitchell, the Reese Center has a specific room dedicated for veterans to mingle and visit with one another.

Mitchell also reported that SPC has 272 military veterans and their dependents, who are able to be identified and enrolled. She said there are a lot more enrolled at SPC, because the only way a veteran is able to be identified is through the financial benefits that are available, or through the testing waiver that is offered.

“We do honor and respect our military veterans, and look at ways that we can provide service back to them,” said Mitchell.

Stephen John, vice president of institutional advancement, was unable to attend the meeting, so Dr. Satterwhite presented in his place. He presented the overall enrollment for SPC.

“We had a slight decrease in enrollment, of 3.1 percent over last year.” said Dr. Satterwhite. “We had 9,661 students. That enrollment (decline) was almost entirely dual-credit students.”

According to Dr. Satterwhite, the number of traditional students enrolling has remained fairly stable. He said that 85 percent of the students enrolled are “college level” students, and 15 percent are dual-credit students. The percentage of the two groups of students has not changed a lot during the past five years. The slight decline in the number of dual-credit students earlier this semester accounted for about 14 percent of the total drop interval.

Dr. Satterwhite went through each demographic category of students and explained the slight increases and decreases in each. The enrollment of Hispanic students has increased by about 9 percent since 2010. The other demographics did not experience as significant of a change in either direction as the increase in Hispanic students enrolled at SPC.

“Enrollment of first-time college students, from high school, increased slightly this year by 2.7 percent,” Dr. Satterwhite explained.

Dr. Kelvin Sharp, president of SPC, presented an update for the Lubbock Center and upcoming events on the Levelland campus.

According to Dr. Sharp, the demolition work at the Lubbock Center is in the beginning stages.

“Everything is moving along fine,” said Dr. Sharp. “The word I got from the architect was that there were no load-bearing walls in that building.”

There are columns that are load bearing, according to Dr. Sharp, but none of the walls are. He said the building should be able to be gutted completely, which will open up the floor plan to do whatever is decided.

The upcoming activities Dr. Sharp presented include the Christmas Tree Lighting on Dec. 1 at 6 p.m., the Fall Retirement Reception on Dec. 11 at 10 a.m. and the President’s Holiday Reception on Dec. 11 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Regents’ meeting for Dec. 10 was also moved to Dec. 8 at 10 a.m.


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