Regents discuss articulation agreements at March meeting

by CHESANIE BRANTLEY/Editor-in-Chief


Articulation agreements was among the main topics discussed during the March meeting of the South Plains College Board of Regents.

Dr. Robin Satterwhite, vice president for academic affairs, discussed the current articulation agreements SPC has with surrounding universities. Essentially, students can attend SPC and transfer to any school that has an articulation agreement with SPC.

“Everything is very clearly laid out, like a road map, on how they get to the university and what is actually going to be accepted,” explained Dr. Satterwhite.

According to Dr. Satterwhite, the state requires that there be an equivalent to every core class when the student transfers. Therefore, sometimes the problem is not necessarily if a class transfers, but where it will transfer in regards to the degree program.

“Then, we have specific departmental agreements, for example, engineering or business or education,” said Dr. Satterwhite.

Dr. Satterwhite said that all of the departments at SPC work hard to go out, work with universities and develop these articulation agreements. Some of the universities that SPC has articulation agreements with are Texas Tech University, Wayland Baptist University, and Lubbock Christian University, among others.

“Really, it’s just a demonstration of when students come here and they have that assurance that all of those courses transfer to universities they would like to attend,” said Dr. Satterwhite.

Dr. Satterwhite also discussed a nursing grant that SPC received. In 2015, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board had a grant program called Professional Nursing Shortage Production Program. There were specific outlines given to those who applied, and the outcomes were measured through how many graduated from the program.

“There were a number of universities and colleges that did not meet those outcomes criteria,” said Dr. Satterwhite. “So, there was this large amount of money that was returned to the Coordinating Board, and they redistributed this back out to us.”

Dr. Satterwhite explained that the majority of the grant money has been set to go to clinical education at SPC. So, it will go to paying the faculty members who work in the hospitals with students. There also is money set aside for scholarships for students who are not eligible for financial aid.

“We are very proud of our nursing program for receiving that grant, and for exceeding the outcomes they had projected in the grant process,” Dr. Satterwhite said.

Ronnie Watkins, dean of administrative services, presented the 2016 Joint Election Agreement to the Board.

The Joint Election Agreement is between the County of Hockley, the City of Levelland, Levelland Independent School District and SPC. According to Watkins, if a school system and a city have an election on the same date, they are required to share expenses. As a community college, SPC is not required to, but is allowed to participate in the agreement.

“As many of you know, LISD cancelled the three elections of their board members, and the city has no election,” explained Watkins. “So, we are entering this agreement with them. They have already signed it; we want to sign it.”

According to Watkins, the three entities that signed the agreement will share the expenses of any future elections, and will have Cheryl Smart as the County Joint Elections Administrator.

The early elections location will be the Business Office at SPC, while the regular election location is not set in stone, but it could be in Texan Dome or in the Business Office at SPC again.

Julie Gerstenberger, director of development at SPC, discussed the outcome of the Scholarship Gala. The alums who presented and performed were Christy Hartin of KCBD-TV and country musician Jerrod Niemann.

“This (the Scholarship Gala) is a friend builder, and helps get the word out about South Plains College,” explained Gerstenberger. “This year, I was very excited to have some new attendees.”

She presented a financial report comparing the numbers this year to those in 2014, because that was the year that the Scholarship Gala had the best numbers. She said that this year came pretty close to 2014. A total of $181,398 was donated, not including the $10,000 scholarship endowment donated by Niemann.

There was a quilt raffle done at the Scholarship Gala, and the winner was 9-year-old Reed Hyatt from Smyer. He is a huge Lady Texans fan, and a surprise party was held for him March 10.

“His mom and dad wanted it to be a surprise, but his dad was out of town when we drew at the Gala,” explained Gerstenberger. “Unbeknownst to 9-year-old Reed, he’s coming to our offices, and I believe our Lady Texan basketball team is going to be there with me to surprise him.”

Dr. Kelvin Sharp, president of SPC, presented the faculty rank and tenure recommendations. He pointed out that each person who presented to the Board made a comment about the quality of faculty that is at SPC.

He explained that with rank promotion, a faculty member progresses from instructor to assistant professor, then associate professor and eventually professor.

“To move through those levels, it’s a combination of two things,” explained Dr. Sharp, “It’s a combination of education and also of experience at South Plains College.”

He said there is a group of people with no other educational opportunities left, but their leadership and time at SPC speaks volumes. Therefore, those faculty members are also recommended for rank promotion. The process begins with the chairs of each department, then goes to the deans, then it goes to Dr. Satterwhite, and then he recommends the faculty to Dr. Sharp, who presents it to the Board.

“Virtually, these people are all agreed upon by the leadership of the college that this rank promotion would be appropriate,” said Dr. Sharp.

Dr. Sharp explained that when an instructor comes to SPC, he or she goes through a four-year “probationary period” when his or her instruction is evaluated each semester. After those four years, faculty members become eligible for tenure.

Dr. Sharp also gave an update on the Lubbock Center. There were several meetings conducted during the past several weeks trying to get the floor plan to its final stage.

“Once we can get the floor plans set, according to the architects, it will take them about 60 days to draw up the bid documents,” explained Dr. Sharp.

According to Dr. Sharp, during those 60 days that the documents are being drawn, the demolition of all the walls that are not going to stay in the building will begin to be coordinated.

“We’re on a pretty tight timeline,” Dr. Sharp explained, “because our goal at the end is to be in there by Fall 2017. I think it’s going really well.

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