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July 2013 Meeting at Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado Springs

Glenwood SpringsFelix Lopez, Vice President for Student Success, welcomed everyone to Pikes Peak Community College. He spoke eloquently about how the classified personnel system is imperative. He stated that he appreciates all that classified staff does. He used to be a president of a college and attested that people do not realize when a president is gone, but do realize when staff are missing.  He spoke about being a team saying “It is not what we do but what we do together”. 

How do we improve communication? Having an adequate support system is imperative for effective communication. 
What do we do for classified staff? It is important to keep things going and moving in the right direction.  Mr Lopez spoke regarding his past work with DPA directors while in Trinidad and how difficult it sometimes was to receive information from Denver. Instead he invited people to Trinidad to get pertinent people to the table and share the information across employee groups.

Mr Lopez provided a brief history of PPCC. El Paso Community College opened in 1968.  We are the fitting system for four-year colleges.  Colorado has one of the most accessible educational systems in the USA. PPCC has grown – enrollment has almost doubled. We have over 1200 people employed at PPCC.  Military Programs are over 25-30% of the student population.  They are working now on the creation of a new building for the Center of Excellence for Military Programs. That campus will provide a one stop shop for military personnel and will house all services for MP. 

He spoke about the importance of providing support services for students to make it through college.  Of the 22,000 current students in the system,  approximately 69% are enrolled part-time.  There needs to be a great deal of accountability in higher education. How many students have successfully completed? Using Metro State – Center of Excellence for Student Success as a model you can see the results of intrusive, collaborative, supportive student services. The PPCC motto: If you come to us we will help you complete.  50% of PPCC students are FA eligible with 40% as Pell Grant eligible. Providing services to those students is imperative to their and our success.
Mr Lopez spoke about the current challenges in higher education and at PPCC. Male minorities are not completing at the same rate as other populations.  Hispanic populations are growing, but educated Hispanics are not completing college.  Mr Lopez referenced the Education is being revolutionized and administrators are beginning to recognize new and innovative ways to reach those populations and increase success rates. Developmental education was also listed as a challenge. Currently, there is a redesign taking place in Colorado. Many students come in needing two years of developmental education before starting their major coursework. With the redesign, students will only be given one year to complete their developmental coursework. The difficulty lies with school districts who are graduating almost 50% of students that are not college ready.   

In answer to this need, PPCC is currently working on:

  • Learning commons –community based services that have everything that a student needs in one place.
  • First year experience – creating a one stop shop for students so they can do all enrollments, etc. things in one place. 

We are in this together – we are one. The administration is committed to have the college informed and working together. They strive to share information freely and with good cause.  If you say “No” give a reason why.  It’s important to keep communication lines open and frequently used. He encouraged the SLC members to keep their council moving forward and stressed that leadership needs to be involved.

Other items of discussion included Real Colors Training, SLC members participated in a facilitated Real Colors training to better understand ourselves and our co-workers, bylaws and vote, revisions were discussed one by one, the bylaws were updated and the SLC voted to ratify the amended by-laws unanimously, fee structure. At a previous meeting, we had discussed reducing the fee structure.  The bylaws are being updated to reflect the change.  However, there were discussions to reinstate the previous fee structure so we could accommodate outreach to other institutions.  Sheela stated that we need to talk with outlying areas and let them know if they participate, then we can host meetings at their locations. Also Sarah  made a motion to change July/August to just July.  Deb seconded motion.  MOTION CARRIED.
Sarah made a motion that the duties for secretary/treasurer to be account executor.  Sheela amended the motion to “act as account key executive.” 

The next meeting will be November 8, 2013 at Front Range Community College, Larimer in Fort Collins.