EWC trustees appoint representatives

Cynthia Sheeley/Torrington Telegram Dr. Monica Teichert and Roger Humphrey presenting the two new academic programs.

Trustees approve new programs

TORRINGTON – The Eastern Wyoming College (EWC) Board of Trustees convened for their December meeting on Dec. 19. This meeting is the rescheduled monthly meeting that was to be held on Dec. 13. At this meeting, the board appointed representatives to board positions, approved new programs and approved staff appointments.

During the work session portion of the meeting, the newly elected Trustees Doug Mercer, Katherine Patrick and Rick Vonburg and reelected Trustee Jackie Van Mark took their oath of office. These members join Trustees Robert Baumgartner, Randy Adams and Kurt Sittner on the EWC Board.

Next, they appointed officers and representatives to board positions.

Van Mark was appointed as the vice chairman and Vonburg was appointed as the treasurer. Baumgartner was appointed to remain chairman of the board and Adams was appointed to remain the secretary. The trustees appointed Baumgartner, Sittner and Vonburg as representatives on the EWC Foundation Board of Directors. For the Board of Cooperative Educational Service (BOCES) the trustees appointed Patrick as their representative.

Executive Director Erin Taylor presented on the Wyoming Association of Community College Trustees Board (WACCT) and its importance.  
“Thank you, Mr. Chairman,” Taylor began. “My name is Erin Taylor, and I am the executive director for the Wyoming Association of Community College Trustees. I thought I would begin by giving you a brief understanding of what WACCT is.”

Taylor explained that WACCT is an organization that works in the government space to coordinate for the colleges, distribute the funding, set tuitions and approve programming. This organization gets in front of the legislature and works closely with the Community College Commission.

“The WACCT organization was founded in the 70s, our goal was to provide trustee education and advocate for the community colleges,” Taylor explained.

Also, she said WACCT’s primary focuses are on getting appropriate funding for the state’s community colleges, recruitment, retention and pushing bills made to help community colleges. They have also been working on the Wyoming Innovative Partnership (WIP). WIP is a program focusing on trying to get higher education to work better together for a strategic plan for Wyoming as a whole.

The trustees appointed Patrick and Mercer as representatives on the WACCT.

During the meeting, Vice President of Academic Services Roger Humphrey and the Health Sciences Department Director Dr. Monica Teichert presented two new academic programs. These two programs are the pre-allied health associate of science and medical assistant certificate.

“The pre-allied health associate of science program was developed by our math and science department,” Humphrey said. “They have been working on this for about six to nine months. It’s the second phase to help the pre-allied degrees at the college.”

Humphrey explained the pre-allied program is primarily for students pursuing health-related fields. This program will provide a step stool for students looking to go into these fields or who are waiting to be accepted into specific programs, like nursing. This will be an articulated transfer program with the University of Wyoming (UW).

“The pre-allied health is just a bit different from the pre-health science,” Teichert explained. “The pre-health science has a little bit more stringent math, chemistry and microbiology requirements. Some of these students that want the pre-nursing or pre-kinesiology, don’t need or want to take some of those more stringent courses. The pre-allied opens things up for them, by giving them more options.”

This will allow the college to not only attract those students but also better advise them as they move along their career paths. This program does not add any additional courses, its only intent is to better categorize the students with their future plans.

Moving on, Humphrey explained the idea for the medical assistant certificate program was inspired by Banner Health asking for a type of program.

“Medical assistants are used widely, mainly in the ambulatory setting, like clinics, specialty clinics,” Teichert explained. “Their scope of practice really varies. It is dependent on what clinic they are working in and on-the-job type training. It’s a little bit different from a CNA. Medical assistants are able to administer medications, phlebotomy and obtain lab specimens.”

Teichert said they have been told of the need for medical assistants and the large number of job opportunities in the area. This certificate could also be a stackable credential and would be a strong foundation for future paths.

The trustees unanimously voted to approve both programs.

The trustees approved several staff appointments including Jim Willox to the EWC board of trustees as the Converse County advisory member, Kwin Wilkes as (vice president) for administrative services and as the assistant to the treasurer of the board of trustees, Dr. Esen Saygin Koc as communications instructor, Tyler Vasko as the information security coordinator and Torrington Telegram as the college district’s official newspaper.

President Dr. Jeffry Hawes and Director of Human Resources Patrick Korell discussed adding a grant-writing position. This person would work with the college, the EWC Foundation and Economic Development to draft grants. At this time, the board was not voting to approve adding the position, they were asked to vote on approving the concept. The trustees approved moving forward with the idea.

After discussions from the previous two meetings, Korell introduced a lease agreement between the college and the EWC Foundation to secure a 2015 MCI Coach Bus. This lease will supply the college with a much-needed travel bus.  The board approved the lease agreement.

Humphrey provided an academic services report regarding academic fees. There have been changes to several fees as a result of inflation. The departments affected the most by the increased costs of supplies were barbering, cosmetology, gunsmithing and nursing.

Hawes provided an update for the board on the administrative operations occurring in and around his office.

“I would like to provide some updates to the board,” Hawes said. “I will be bringing them back at a future work session to provide updates. The college has been addressing two fronts over the past five months quite aggressively.”

Hawes said the first update was on the heightened cash management (HCM2) process. As a result of the college being placed on an HCM2 status, financial aid has not been flowing since the fall 2021 semester. Two weeks ago, the financial aid was turned back on by the U.S. department of education. This brings EWC a step closer to getting off of the HCM2 status.

Continuing, he said the second update is the college submitted its response to the review that happened in October. Prior to submitting, they ensured that EWC was in the highest compliance with the review recommendations. It can be up to 75 days to receive the final response from the assessment.

“On both fronts, the amount of work that our team had to put in, as well as the support of the board of trustees to bring in the specific experts to help us navigate those particular waters and raising the bar here at EWC, was absolutely vital to the process,” Hawes said. “We have moved very quickly through a very challenging process in a short period of time.”

The next meeting of the EWC Board of Trustees is scheduled for Jan. 10 at 5:45 p.m. The agendas, minutes, and recordings of meetings can be viewed at https://ewc.wy.edu/about-eastern-wyoming-college/presidentscabinet/board-of-trustees/board-agendas-minutes/.