Cloud County Community College Board Approves Personnel Hires; Interviews Being Scheduled with Vice President Candidates

Cloud County Community College Board Approves Personnel Hires; Interviews Being Scheduled with Vice President Candidates

The Cloud County Community College Board of Trustees met for its latest regular meeting on Tuesday, August 25th.

The college resumed on-campus classes on August 19th.  Classes this fall are being delivered both in-person, remotely and in an online format.

College Interim President Amber Knoettgen said it's been fun to have the campus alive with students again.


In personnel matters, the board approved the hire of Dr. Brian Stark as the new Division Dean of Math, Science and Technical Programs, effective August 31st.  Dr. Stark replaces Dr. Todd Leif, who retired from Cloud County Community College this summer after 30 years with the institution.

Dr. Stark has a Doctorate in Education from the College of Saint Mary in Omaha, Nebraska.  Previously, he served as the Dean of Faculty and Graduate Studies at California Intercontinental University in Irvine, California.  He also was formerly the Senior Dean of Instructional Services at Stayer University in Lincoln, Nebraska, and the General Education Department Chair/Faculty/Mentor at Kaplan University in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The board also approved the hire of Ryan McCullough as an Assistant Coach for the Cloud County Men's and Women's Track and Field teams, effective October 1st.  McCullough, who replaces Sandy Moran, will work primarily with the Cloud County throwers.

A native of Cadillac, Michigan, McCullough graduated from Central Michigan University in 2012 with a degree in Outdoor and Environmental Recreation.  McCullough had a distinguished career at Central Michigan.  A former All-American, he holds the Central Michigan school record in the Hammer Throw with a toss of 210'7".  He was the champion in the Mid-American Conference in the event.  He also earned the Mid-American Conference Outstanding Field Performer award as well.

Knoettgen reported a search committee met Tuesday to discuss more than 30 applications the college has received for its vacant Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Success position.  The college's former Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Success, Dr. Pedro Leite, submitted his resignation in July.  He had been with Cloud County Community College since September 2018.

The college will begin scheduling interviews with applicants this week.

In the meantime, Knoettgen said Brent Phillips, Division Dean of Humanities, Social Science and Business, has stepped up to oversee the academic side of the college, while Kris Farmer, the Director of Advisement and Retention, is looking after the student services side of things.

A number of employees of Cloud County Community College were honored with awards this month.

Farmer received the second-ever Administrative Support Award.  The Board of Trustees Award for College Service was presented to Knoettgen.  Bookstore Manager Brent Cox received the Board of Trustees Award for Student Service.  Foundation Specialist Stephanie Downie picked up the Support Staff Award.  And the President's Council Award, which focused on an individual who emulated the guiding value of excellence, went to Nursing Administrator Stefanie Perret.

During her Interim President's Message, Knoettgen announced the college has been named the recipient of a $100,000 grant from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation for student scholarships for the Cloud County Community College Nursing Department.  This is the second straight year the Dane G. Hansen Foundation has supported the medical scholarship fund, which is administered by the college. 

Last year, 12 students were awarded $7,500 scholarships.  The scholarship recipients were:

Michael Chaput, Glasco; Brittany MacLean, Concordia; Emily Payne, Scandia; Dominic Rotich, Concordia; Catherine Ferguson, Concordia; Karen Finney, Beloit; Lauren Higle, Glasco; Ana Perez Marquez, Concordia; Stacey Shipp, Beloit; Adelita Stanley, Salina; Sarah Weatherhead, Belleville; and Paxton Yager, Glasco.

The Dane G. Hansen Foundation aspires to enhance the quality of life throughout rural communities in northwest Kansas.  The Foundation strongly supports the continuing education of rural community members, and will award scholarships to those who are willing to work in the 26 county service area of northwest Kansas upon graduation.  Those who receive this scholarship must be currently enrolled in the Cloud County Community College Nursing Program.  The scholarship will cover tuition, fees, books, and some miscellaneous expenses.

Kansas community colleges are also receiving about $9.4 million for COVID-19 related expenses from the state's Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas (SPARK) Taskforce, which is charged with distributing over a billion dollars in federal funds Kansas received under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  Cloud County Community College will receive $256,788 for personal protective equipment (PPE) and technology integration for distance learning.

In action items, the board voted to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding between Cloud County Community College and 33 North Strategies, LLC of Lubbock, Texas, otherwise known as Rural & Remote.

Rural & Remote is an effort to empower people in rural communities in the Great Plains to gain the necessary skills and experience to pursue remote work.  Because of the generosity of the Northwest Kansas Economic Innovation Center and the Dane G. Hansen Foundation, 33 North Strategies, LLC is able to implement Rural & Remote in its entirety in northwest Kansas.

Maria Dahlquist will develop courses for a coding certificate.  Maria will be considered a contract employee of 33 North Strategies, LLC.  Her total salary will be paid by 33 North Strategies, LLC.  Cloud County Community College has agreed to provide Dahlquist single employee health, dental and vision coverage.

The agreement will take effect September 1st and will be in effect until August 31, 2021, with a possible renewal by agreement of both parties.  Either party may cancel this contract with 30 days' written notice to the other party.

Scott Sproul, President and CEO of the Northwest Kansas Economic Innovation Center, thanked the Board of Trustees for the leadership they are showing to adapt to today's challenging world and providing the education and training that can help students adapt to today's workplace.

"I applaud Cloud County Community College for being one of the first institutions willing to explore alternative partnerships in these unprecedented times," Sproul said.  "Thanks to the pre-work that was done and the leadership of Cloud County Community College staff, we are at a place to offer a unique opportunity to Cloud students which will position them for a potential successful career whether they want to work full time remote or are forced to due to the world health crisis."

Board Chairman Jesse Pounds said it's a real exciting partnership and opportunity.


In other items, the board has scheduled a Higher Learning Commission mock interview with Dr. Betty Stevens on Tuesday, September 29th at 5 pm.  The Higher Learning Commission will perform a Comprehensive Evaluation of Cloud County Community College in October 2020.

The Higher Learning Commission is an independent corporation that was founded in 1895 as one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States.  They are a regional accreditation agency that accredits degree-granting colleges and universities that are based in a 19-state region of the United States.

For over 25 years, Dr. Stevens has been serving as a consultant evaluator and visiting team chair conducting accreditation visits to colleges and universities in the North Central region, stretching from West Virginia through the upper Midwest and the northern Great Plains to Wyoming and south to Arizona.

The board also scheduled their annual retreat for Saturday, November 14th from 9 am to noon.

Before adjourning, the board held a 15-minute Executive Session for Negotiations with Knoettgen, College Attorney Justin Ferrell and Human Resources Director Chris Wilson.  A 15-minute Executive Session for Attorney/Client Privilege also was held with Knoettgen and Ferrell.  And the board met for a 20-minute Executive Session for Non-Elected Personnel with no guests in attendance.

No action was taken at the end of the sessions.