Cowley College

Arnett takes part in first meeting as Board Chair

May 19, 2020

Dr. Harold W. Arnett presided over his first meeting as Board Chair during the monthly Cowley College Board of Trustees meeting held Monday in the Earle N. Wright Community Room. The meeting was held in the spacious Wright Room in order to safely increase community access with an approximate gathering limitation of 40 people while maintaining adequate social distancing. The meeting was also live streamed to comply with social distancing guidelines.

Dr. Arnett has been a Board member since January 2020. His term will expire in January of 2024. Dr. Arnett’s bio can be found at

In other matters (the administrative reports were listed in the Board book):

1. Cowley College president Dr. Dennis C. Rittle provided a college update. Dr. Rittle expressed the sorrow of the Board on the passing of Board Clerk Tiffany Vollmer’s father, David Miley. “We wish her and her family comfort and peace.” Dr. Rittle also congratulated the 2020 graduates. “You have demonstrated courage to be a Cowley Tiger and we look forward to celebrating your accomplishments at the December Commencement ceremonies.” Dr. Rittle then informed the Board of the Capital Outlay Mill handouts in the Board packet and spoke on the Community Appreciation Tuition Scholarship (CATS) that runs four weeks in May. There were a total of 194 students (unduplicated headcount). Ninety five students were from Cowley County and 53 from Sumner County. A total of 88 percent of the students enrolled in the CATS initiative were from Kansas. Dr. Rittle then provided an enrollment update. “We continue in the face of challenges to make students our focus.” Lastly, Dr. Rittle thanked Jody Arnett for filling in for Tiffany Vollmer as Board Clerk during Monday’s meeting.
2. Jessica Lucas, Government Affairs Liaison, provided the Board with a legislative update.
3. Resolved, that the Board of Trustees replace its current "Guidelines for Public
4. Doug Riat, vice president of business development for the Wildan Group provided the Board with an update in the Board book.
5. The Board voted to not approve the renewal of Government Affairs Liaison Jessica Lucas’ proposed three-year contract extension.
6. The Board acknowledged the letter of resignation from Trustee Jill Long effective immediately. “We appreciate the service of Jill Long and her selflessly dedicating her talent and time to the Board of Trustees,” Dr. Rittle said. “She is one of the most talented accountants I have ever known. She loves the students and the College.”
7. The Board voted not to rescind the 0.75 mill levy approved at the February Board meeting.
8. The Trustees authorized Glennis Zimmerman and Nancy Burger to work with Dr. Rittle and the Board in revising the submitted president’s evaluation form.
9. Authorized the Board Clerk to publish the official notice of two Trustee vacancies.
10. Discussed Board member officer appointments.
11. Approved college administration to create a whistleblower policy to be brought back to the regular October Board meeting.
12. Approved the following Board policies: Accessibility Statement (146.00), Auditing a Class (204.00), and Academic Advising System (417.00).
13. Held a first reading of the Non-Discrimination, Anti-Harassment, and equal Employment Opportunity policy (128.00).
14. Approved the request for advanced pay for 14 Cowley College faculty members.
15. Approved Club Sponsorships for the 2019-2020 academic year.
16. Holly Harper, vice president of finance and administration, provided a Sumner Campus update and facilities maintenance update.
17. Dr. Michelle Schoon, vice president of academic affairs, provided a curriculum update. She also provided a distance learning and site management update.
18. Dr. Kori Gregg, vice president of institutional advancement, provided updates from the Golden Tigers program, marketing, public relations, website analytics, and upcoming Foundation events.
19. Paul Erdmann, vice president of information technology, provided an update on projects the information technology staff has worked on over the past month, and also provided a Student Information System update.
20. Kristi Shaw, executive director of enrollment management, provided an enrollment update. Shaw also informed the Board of the recruiting events the admissions representatives have assisted with over the past month and have lined up in the coming months.
21. Debbie Phelps, executive director of institutional effectiveness, provided the Board with CTE special collection information. She also informed the Board that she and Dr. Schoon are working to prepare data for the College’s annual performance agreement.
22. Jason O’Toole, executive director of student affairs, provided a housing update. He also provided updates from Health Services and the Student Life Counselor. Also, IMPACT has worked diligently to meet with students remotely.
23. Jan Grace, Sumner Campus Operations Officer, said CTE students recently returned to campus to complete their courses. Also, the Mulvane Math and Science Club donated over 500 pounds of canned food to the Mulvane Baptist Church Food Bank, bringing the school’s yearly donation total to more than 1,000 pounds.
24. Pam Smith, faculty liaison, provided updates from several Cowley instructors. She also informed the Board of the virtual Writers’ Corner and Concert Choir performances.
25. Shane Larson, athletic director, informed the Board that May 15th marked the start of a return to normalcy for athletics as the national ban on face to face recruitment was lifted. Coaches are making plans to visit potential recruits and for students to make their official visit to campus. During this time with athletes off campus and competitions cancelled in athletics, the College has taken advantage of the opportunity to use the time to invest in updating facilities and make needed repairs that have been unable to be performed in the past due to usage restrictions on the facilities. Many of Cowley’s coaches along with help from the maintenance staff have just completed the first phase of a face lift inside W.S. Scott Auditorium. The entire gym has been repainted for the first time since the mid 1980’s. The coaches provided the labor during their normal workday and saved approximately $15,000 of cost compared to estimates to have it done professionally several years back. The College is also in the process of updating banners and other facility equipment to enhance the appearance of one of campus’s most visited facilities.
26. Approved the resignation of Lisa McClure as accounts receivable specialist/cashier, effective April 29; approved the resignation of Martin Shaffer as physics instructor, effective at the conclusion of the 2019-2020 contract year.