Board of Regents discuss enrollment report at February meeting

Student enrollment, bringing back training for CDL drivers and the annual Scholarship Gala were among the topics discussed during the February meeting of the South Plains College Board of Regents.

Dr. Stan DeMerritt, vice president for student affairs, reviewed the enrollment report and explained that the total unduplicated headcount is 8,744. That total is down 98 students, compared to spring 2017, which had a head count of 8,842.

Dr. DeMerritt stated that if the Texas Tech student enrollment in the TTAP program offered on the Tech campus is subtracted from the total, the college is only down two students. The total duplicated count is 12,173, compared to the 12,057 for last year, a difference of 116. Dr. DeMerritt also added that more students are taking classes across all SPC locations.

The enrollment for the Levelland is 3,767 students, while Reese Center has 2,265 students. Lubbock Center has 873 students, and Plainview Center has 280 students. The total dual credit student enrollment is 1,867, with 2,794 students enrolled in Internet course and 228 students enrolled in ITV courses.

The report also showed 1,778,544 contact hours for spring 2018, compared to 1,813,520 contact hours from spring 2017.

Dr. DeMerritt added that it is not uncommon to see a drop in hours taken from the fall to spring. Typically, students take a lighter load in the spring, 12 hours, as opposed to the fall when students tend to take 15 hours.

Dr. Ryan Gibbs, vice president for academic affairs, discussed the progress of bringing back a Truck Driving School. Star Career Training in Plainview has approached the college about being the operator of the program.

“We don’t really have enough information available yet to make a decision on whether to go with a third-party provider or to bring the operation in-house,” said Dr. Gibbs. “That’s the two most likely choices right now. We’ll look at the cost, the risk, profit/loss margins. Not only that, buying tractors, buying trailers and those types of things are something we have to take into consideration.”

Dr. Gibbs added that the college wants to continue with truck driving training because of the high demand in the Lubbock area for drivers with a CDL license.

“At any one time, there are anywhere from 30 to 50 open CDL jobs in Lubbock,” Dr. Gibbs added. “If you notice anytime you drive by United, they have the trailer sitting out there asking for drivers.”

Dr. Gibbs said that they will get more information and then hopefully bring it to the board next month to have a better picture of what they are dealing with.

Julie Gerstenberger, director of development and alumni relations, talked about the 20th Annual Scholarship Gala, “Generations of Opportunity,” that is set for Feb. 22. The Gala will be held at the Mallet Event Center in Levelland and is sold out this year. The Gala host is City Bank Texas, with underwriting sponsors Carrie and Richard Ellis and Donna and Ray West.

Entertainment will be provided by South Plains College alum Josh Abbott and his band. Additionally, Abbott’s band members, Preston Waite, Eddie Villanueva and David Fralin, are also SPC alums.

The table and ticket sales total was $116,000. Additional donations as of Feb. 8 are up to $6,275. This year, 484 seats were sold, while 461 seats were sold in 2017. The average attendance from 2012 to 2016 was 442, with the highest at 458.

Dr. Robin Satterwhite, president of SPC, mentioned the Presidential Roadshow with Dr. Lawrence Schovanec, president of Texas Tech. They spoke to high school students around the area in January. The two talked about the new partnership between the two schools that makes transferring easier between the two institutions.

“I felt like it was important for me to go out and talk to these students,” explained Dr. Satterwhite. “To talk to them about college, the reality of college and the need to go to college.”

Dr. Satterwhite also talked about progress on the Culinary Arts facility at the Lubbock Center. He thanked Ronnie Watkins, dean of administrative services, for overseeing the fiscal part of the project. He stated that the process of it all is going smoothly.

Dr. Satterwhite also announced that Jolee Dietrich has been hired as the new director of the SPC Plainview Center. She will start on March 5.

“We’re excited about it,” said Dr. Satterwhite. “Jolee grew up in the area… And she has a lot of great contacts in the Plainview area.”

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