The Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College Board of Trustees convened a meeting on Monday, April 5, 2021, at 3:05 p.m., in person, and via Zoom. Dr. John Parham, Chair, presided.
The following members of the Board participated in person: Wayne Brigman, Himanshu Karvir, David King, Judy Lewis, Roger Metcalf, John Parham, and Frances Ramsey. Trustees Joe Brumit and Theresa Banks participated via Zoom. Trustees Nian Avery, Matt Kern, Libby Kyles, and Max Queen were absent.
Others present for the meeting included: Dr. John Gossett, President; Terry Brasier, Vice President Student Services; Amanda Edwards, Executive Director College Advancement; Kerri Glover; Executive Director of Community Relations and Marketing; Beth Stewart, Vice President Instructional Services; Dirk Wilmoth, Vice President Finance/CFO; Deborah Wright, Vice President Work Force Development and Continuing Education; Darryl Rhymes, Associate Director, Human Resources and Special Assistant to the President for Equity and Compliance; Ashley Leonard, College Attorney; and Carolyn Rice, Secretary to the Board. Anne Oxenreider, Executive Director of Strategic Planning and Institutional Research; and Brian Willis, Vice President of Information Technology/CIO participated via Zoom.
Call To Order
Chair Parham read the ethics statement. No conflicts of interest were reported. Ms. Rice called the roll, a quorum was present.
At 3:11 p.m., the Honorable Alan Z. Thornburg swore in Mr. David King to the Board.
At 3:14 p.m. Chair Parham asked for a motion to approve the Consent Agenda.
Ms. Lewis moved to approve Consent Agenda items: 1. A. March 1, 2021 Board Meeting Minutes, and 1. B. Personnel Actions.
The motion to approve the Consent Agenda was seconded by Mr. Brigman. Trustees Banks, Brigman, Brumit, Karvir, King, Lewis, Metcalf, Parham, and Ramsey each verbally approved the Consent Agenda. The motion passed unanimously.
2. A. Dr. Dirk Wilmoth informed the Board that annually, the College is required to reaffirm its commitment to articulation agreements with the Asheville City, Buncombe County, and Madison County Schools Boards of Education. The agreements are an expression of support for the Comprehensive Memoranda of Understandings that govern how services are provided to one another.
Mr. Brigman moved to approve the Joint College/Local Education Authorities Articulation Resolutions. Dr. Metcalf seconded the motion. Trustees Banks, Brigman, Brumit, Karvir, King, Lewis, Metcalf, Parham, and Ramsey each verbally approved the Joint College/Local Education Authorities Articulation Resolutions. The motion passed unanimously.
2. B. Dr. Beth Stewart shared that she is in the process of reviewing all of Instructional Service’s Policies and Procedures. The Academic Freedom Policy has been updated to conform to the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, as well as to ensure equity in the workplace.
Ms. Lewis moved to approve the changes to the Academic Freedom Policy. Dr. Metcalf seconded the motion. Trustees Banks, Brigman, Brumit, Karvir, King, Lewis, Metcalf, Parham, and Ramsey each verbally approved the changes to the Academic Freedom Policy. The motion passed unanimously.
2. C. Dr. Beth Stewart withdrew Item 2. C. New Curriculum Program Development Policy, from the Board Agenda. The Policy will be brought back to the May 3 Board meeting for approval. The definition of what a “living wage” is in Asheville will be included in the updated Policy.
2. D. Dr. Dirk Wilmoth asked the Board for approval to amend the Connect NC Bond Referendum Coman Gym Floor Project. The Coman Gym floor project, previously approved by the Board on October 5, 2020, needs an additional $180,000 to remove and replace the flooring in the gym. The new floor should last approximately 30 years.
Mr. Brigman moved to Amend the Connect NC Bond Referendum. Mr. Karvir seconded the motion. Trustees Banks, Brigman, Brumit, Karvir, King, Lewis, Metcalf, Parham, and Ramsey each verbally approved the Amendment to the Connect NC Bond Referendum. The motion passed unanimously.
2. E. Dr. Dirk Wilmoth then presented the 2021-2022 Schedule of Student Fees to the Board. Student fees include course materials, technology fees, College Access, Parking and Security (CAPS) fees that support the campus police, among other things. Foundation scholarships may be used to pay student fees as they are factored into the cost of attending college. Dr. Metcalf asked if the question regarding student fees covering employee salaries had been answered. Dr. Wilmoth stated that the College has received federal and state funds to offset losses during the pandemic and that the College can now hold itself harmless. Concerns regarding the decline in enrollment are no longer relevant. Additionally, support services are available and provided to all students whether they take one class hour or twelve class hours.
Dr. Metcalf moved to approve the 2021-2022 Schedule of Student Fees as presented. Mr. Brigman seconded the motion. Trustees Banks, Brigman, Brumit, Karvir, King, Lewis, Metcalf, Parham, and Ramsey each verbally approved the 2021-2022 Schedule of Student Fees. The motion passed unanimously.
Dr. Gossett stated that it is a pleasure to be the President of A-B Tech and that he is proud of all of the work being accomplished at the College.
Dr. Gossett then shared the following information with the Board:
- We are in the process of reviewing the language of our policies and procedures. All policies and procedures will be updated to include statements on equity and inclusion.
- Discussions continue with the Dogwood Health Trust on how our two organizations can work together to support Buncombe and Madison Counties.
- Mr. Bill Sederburg hosted the Western NC Broadband Summit to discuss the importance of broadband access for our communities. A-B Tech will be at the table for these future conversations.
- The Western Presidents continue to meet and discuss how to bring students back to campus as safely and quickly as possible.
- We hope to have students back in classrooms for the fall semester.
- The Legislative Agenda continues to be a big topic of conversation. The System Office is requesting that the General Assembly hold all North Carolina Community College’s budgets harmless for the pandemic year. An increase in salaries to bring our employees up to the same level as state employees is also a very important part of our agenda.
- We are hosting the Mexican Consulate on campus. The Consulate is here to help Mexican citizens with their paperwork for citizenship in the United States.
- Many discussions have been held with the Buncombe County Manager and the County Commissioners regarding A-B Tech Enka. We feel positive that A-B Tech Enka will receive the requested support from the County.
- Mr. Nation Hahn, editor of EdNC has spent a lot of time in Asheville interviewing our faculty, staff, and students. EdNC is a micro journalism business focused on education. The College is getting great exposure!
- I have met with the Superintendents of the Asheville, Buncombe, and Madison high schools. All three are anxious to get students back on campus.
- Conversations continue on the programming for Pratt & Whitney. A position at Pratt & Whitney can be transformational for future employees, especially for those currently employed below the poverty line.
- Mr. Max Queen is dealing with a small health concern. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and we look forward to his return to the Board.
4. A. Ms. Anne Oxenreider thanked the Board for their leadership of the College. Every two years the Board completes a “Self-Evaluation” to see what is working for the Board and what may need to change. Ms. Oxenreider asked all Board members to please fill out the Survey that is available online and on paper. Chair Parham urged all members of the Board to participate in the Self-Evaluation Survey.
4. B. Chair Parham appointed Trustees Brigman, Lewis, and Metcalf to the Presidential Evaluation Committee.
4. C. Chair Parham then appointed Trustee Ramsey to join Trustee Brumit on the Audit Committee.
4. D. Chair Parham reminded the Board to please complete their Statement of Economic Interest Forms which are due to the State Ethics Commission by April 15.
Mr. Kevin Kimrey, Director of Workforce and Development, discussed and then demonstrated an aspect of the virtual reality training that will be used by Pratt & Whitney in their customized training. -B Tech is one of five community colleges that have worked together to create a pipeline for qualified candidates to work for Pratt & Whitney. All of the colleges are offering different programs that will guarantee those who complete their programs an interview with the Company. A-B Tech currently has students in fundamental machining, in both day and night classes. We are currently completing a training needs analysis, meeting weekly with the Pratt & Whitney team, and have completed outlines for pre-hire assessment, pre-hire training, and post-hire training, as well as on-the-job training. Funds have been committed for marketing and recruiting, as well as funding for some of the virtual reality training. The virtual reality training is exciting! Training is available with a library of customized simulations that will not only be used for Pratt & Whitney but for other workforce training as well.
Mr. Kimrey then demonstrated a virtual training session for the Board.
At 4:10 p.m., Mr. Brigman moved that the Trustees enter into a closed session pursuant to G.S. 143-318.11(a) (1) and (3) in order to discuss confidential personnel matters pursuant to G.S. 115D-27-29 and to discuss matters protected by the attorney-client privilege.
At 4:27 p.m., Mr. Brigman moved to return to Open Session. Dr. Metcalf seconded the motion.
Mr. Brigman moved to accept the City of Asheville’s Easement Request for a permanent utility easement at A-B Tech Enka for the same appraised value agreed to by Dominion Energy in December 2020, at the rate of $8.18 per square foot, or for a total of $109,414.
Mr. King seconded the motion. Trustees Banks, Brigman, Brumit, Karvir, King, Lewis, Metcalf, Parham, and Ramsey each verbally approved the City of Asheville’s Easement Request at A-B Tech Enka. The motion passed unanimously.
Chair Parham mentioned that the State and County Budget Report as of February 28, 2021, and the March 2020-2021 Student Success Scorecard were in the Handouts.
The next Board meeting will be on May 3, 2021, at 3:00 p.m. in The Brumit Center for Culinary Arts and Hospitality.
On a motion properly made, the meeting adjourned at 4:26 p.m.
Carolyn H. Rice