The Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College Board of Trustees convened a meeting on Monday, May 3, 2021, at 3:00 p.m., in person, and via Zoom. Dr. John Parham, Chair, presided.
The following members of the Board participated in person: Theresa Banks, Wayne Brigman, Joe Brumit, Matt Kern, David King, Judy Lewis, Roger Metcalf, John Parham, and Frances Ramsey. Trustees Himanshu Karvir, Libby Kyles, and Max Queen participated via Zoom. Trustee Nian Avery was 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; Anne Oxenreider, Executive Director of Strategic Planning and Institutional Research; Beth Stewart, Vice President Instructional Services; Brian Willis, Vice President Information Technology/CIO; Dirk Wilmoth, Vice President Finance/CFO; Darryl Rhymes, Associate Director, Human Resources and Special Assistant to the President for Equity and Compliance; Chris Campbell, College Attorney; and Carolyn Rice, Secretary to the Board. Shanna Chambers, Executive Director of Human Resources 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 3:05 p.m. Chair Parham asked for a motion to approve the Consent Agenda.
Mr. Brumit moved to approve Consent Agenda items: 1. A. April 5, 2021 Board Meeting Minutes, and 1. B. Personnel Actions. Dr. Banks seconded the motion. Trustees Banks, Brigman, Brumit, Karvir, Kern, King, Kyles, Lewis, Metcalf, Parham, Queen, and Ramsey each verbally approved the Consent Agenda. The motion passed unanimously.
2. A. Dr. Beth Stewart shared that she is in the process of reviewing all of Instructional Service’s Policies and Procedures in an effort to build equitable policies and procedures to create an equitable culture at the College. During the April 5 meeting, the Board asked that the definition of a “living wage” in Asheville be included in the New Curriculum Program Development Policy. “Living wage” has been defined as the minimum amount a worker must earn to afford basic necessities without public or private assistance. The definition of “equity” has also been added to the New Curriculum Program Development Policy and will be added to all Instructional Services policies and procedures.
Mr. Kern moved to approve the changes to the New Curriculum Program Development Policy. Ms. Ramsey seconded the motion.
Ms. Kyles asked if students were involved in defining the word “equity” and stated that if the College truly wants to create “equity” at A-B Tech, there should be discussions regarding equity definitions from multiple sources, including the Board. When the lowest member of the population is served, then all of our population is served.
Mr. Queen then asked to have programs with program advisory committees be included in the policy to emphasize the importance of these partnerships with the College.
Mr. Kern moved to amend the motion to approve the New Curriculum Program Development Policy as the first reading, to incorporate the suggested changes to the Policy, and to bring the Policy back to the Board in June.
Trustees Banks, Brigman, Brumit, Karvir, Kern, King, Kyles, Lewis, Metcalf, Parham, Queen, and Ramsey each verbally approved the amended motion to incorporate the suggested changes to the New Curriculum Program Development Policy and to revisit the Policy during the June meeting. The amended motion passed unanimously.
2. B. Dr. Beth Stewart then introduced a new policy and procedure “Verification and Retention of Work-Based Learning Records” to the Board. This new policy and procedure were created to mandate that the College cease using paper copies for work-based learning records, and to maintain all records in a digital format going forward.
Dr. Banks moved to approve the new Verification and Retention of Work-Based Learning Records Policy and Procedure. Mr. Brumit seconded the motion. Trustees Banks, Brigman, Brumit, Karvir, Kern, King, Kyles, Lewis, Metcalf, Parham, Queen, and Ramsey each verbally approved the new Verification and Retention of Work-Based Learning Records Policy and Procedure. The motion passed unanimously.
2. C. Dr. Dirk Wilmoth presented the proposed Buncombe and Madison County budgets to the Board. The College had anticipated an increase in expenses, but due to the pandemic, the Buncombe County Budget has a small reserve remaining. Buncombe County authorized us to spend no more than three percent of the reserved funds. The College is asking for a 2.8 percent increase in our budget from Buncombe County. A salary increase is anticipated for state employees, and the College will match any increase for county employees as well. We also anticipate that the College will be fully operational in the fall, so expenses will increase.
Mr. Brumit moved to approve the proposed Buncombe County Budget as presented. Mr. Kern seconded the motion. Trustees Banks, Brigman, Brumit, Karvir, Kern, King, Kyles, Lewis, Metcalf, Parham, Queen, and Ramsey each verbally approved the proposed Buncombe County Budget. The motion passed unanimously.
Dr. Wilmoth stated that the College also has a small reserve remaining in the Madison County Budget for the same reasons as above. The College is proposing a zero percent increase in the budget from Madison County.
Mr. Brigman moved to approve the proposed Madison County Budget as presented. Dr. Banks seconded the motion. Trustees Banks, Brigman, Brumit, Karvir, Kern, King, Kyles, Lewis, Metcalf, Parham, Queen, and Ramsey each verbally approved the proposed Madison County Budget. The motion passed unanimously.
2. D. Dr. Wilmoth informed the Board that the Buncombe County Board of Education (BCS) wishes to increase security at the Middle and Early College on the A-B Tech Asheville Campus by consolidating classes in the Birch Building. The College is willing to give up some space on the first floor of the Birch Building so that the first and second floors of Birch can be secured apart from the College’s operations. The College is also willing to pay for part of the cost to install electronic door access and increase security for the building. In order to facilitate BCS’s investment in increased security measures at Birch, it is necessary to amend the original 2008 lease that BCS has with the College.
Ms. Lewis moved to approve the Amendment to the Interlocal Governance Joint Use and Lease Agreement for the Birch Building. Dr. Banks seconded the motion. Trustees Banks, Brigman, Brumit, Karvir, Kern, King, Kyles, Lewis, Metcalf, Parham, Queen, and Ramsey each verbally approved the Amendment to the Interlocal Governance Joint Use and Lease Agreement for the Birch Building. The motion passed unanimously.
2. E. Dr. Wilmoth stated that the College is coming to the end of the funding for the Connect NC Bond Referendum Projects. The College is seeking to amend the Coman Gym Floor project again, as the price has increased due to the hazardous materials in the flooring that must be mitigated. Finally, the renovations to the restrooms in the Elm Building have been completed. The Administration requests approval to close out the Elm Restroom project.
Mr. Queen moved to approve the Amendment to the Connect NC Bond Referendum Projects. Mr. Kern seconded the motion. Trustees Banks, Brigman, Brumit, Karvir, Kern, King, Kyles, Lewis, Metcalf, Parham, Queen, and Ramsey each verbally approved the Amendment to the Connect NC Bond Referendum Projects. The motion passed unanimously.
Dr. Gossett stated that it is always a pleasure to stand in front of the Board of Trustees.
Dr. Gossett then shared the following information with the Board:
- The College has had several audits, one scheduled and one that was a surprise. The good news is that we passed all audits with flying colors.
- We have held several tours of A-B Tech Enka to show attendees the amazing things happening in Enka, as well as to help everyone understand the depth and the breadth of support that the College is seeking. The most recent was with the Buncombe County Manager and two Buncombe County Commissioners.
- The Academic Awards Ceremony was virtual this year, and it was nice to “see” our students celebrating with their family members.
- The May 15 Commencement Ceremony will be virtual and live-streamed on the College’s YouTube channel. Thanks go to Dr. Brasier and his staff for making this a successful event for our students.
- Twenty employees graduated from the College’s Trailblazer Leadership Academy. A-B Tech is collaborating with Blue Ridge and Haywood Community Colleges to develop a regional Leadership Academy. If the regional Academy is successful, we will expand it to other Community Colleges if they choose to participate.
- Ms. Oxenreider and Ms. Wright have led us through the Strategic Planning Process. Our Executive Leadership Team will hold a retreat to take all of the recommendations and formulate them into the Strategic Plan. The final Plan will be presented to the Board for approval.
- We continue to put workforce alignment at the forefront of our thinking. We will hold a joint meeting with the Land of Sky, My Future NC, Pratt & Whitney, and other community partners to discuss recruiting for manufacturing jobs.
- Pratt & Whitney has agreed to the deed to the land where the A-B Tech Training Center will be located. The College has begun training for these jobs, and we already have 40 people ready to be interviewed by Pratt & Whitney.
- Finally, the pandemic. The County has been a wonderful partner working in our Conference Center to supply vaccines to those who wish to receive them. The demand for the vaccine is waning, so the County will not need the Conference center space much longer. We are getting closer to something that resembles “normal”.
4. A. Dr. Parham stated that we had six Board members attend the April 23 NCACCT Virtual Conference. Several Trustees commented that the Conference was very informative, and a good refresher of what our roles as Trustees are.
4. B. Dr. Metcalf reminded the Board that they all have an opportunity to evaluate the President, and asked the Trustees to participate in the Presidential Evaluation Survey thoughtfully.
Ms. Heather Pack, Director of Student Support Services updated the Board on the vast array of support that the College has to offer to our students. Ms. Pack stated that the College wants to make sure all of our students are connected and engaged with support services, and this past year has proved how valuable our support services are. With a team of five, Support Services offers the following to our students:
- Accommodations include coaching, proctoring tests, and general support. Many of our students have multiple disabilities, such as learning disabilities and health issues.
- Career Counseling with individual sessions for both prospective and current students. We work with both curriculum and continuing education students and travel to our other sites as well.
- Career Counselors promote all areas of the College and help with resumes, interview skills, etc.
- Employment opportunities are posted on the Career Coach page of the A-B Tech website.
- Personal counseling on topics such as anxiety, depression, relationship issues, trauma processing, grief, substance misuse, academic concerns, suicidal thoughts, and eating disorders. We have three full-time personal counselors on staff and have seen an increase of 188 percent in sessions needed during the pandemic. If we cannot help our students, we provide referrals to places in the community that can.
- Addiction, Recovery, and Coping Seminars, the last one focusing on successful A-B Tech alumni. We have a large population of students on campus living with addiction or are in recovery. The RESET room will reopen in the fall. The RESET room is a place where students can go for help and support. A volunteer or staff member is always in the RESET room to provide support for our students.
- Veteran Services. The College has 151 students currently receiving Veteran’s benefits. The Vet Café, a room also designed as a place for our Veteran students to seek support, will reopen in the fall.
- The VITAL (Veterans Integration to Academic Leadership) Program is a national program that connects colleges with the local V.A. Hospital. VITAL focuses on the holistic health of our veterans and is available to both students and employees. VITAL will come to campus, and provide case management, check-in services, etc.
- Other services include financial aid support plans, academic standing support plans, mental health first aid, technical standards of all programs, and T-Step. The T-Step program is for autistic students between the ages of 16 and 21. Students learn executive function skills, in a very structured and guided program.
- Ms. Pack is trained in Mental Health First Aid and is certified to train our employees to help engage with students.
Chair Parham mentioned that the State and County Budget Report as of March 31, 2021, and the April 2020-2021 Student Success Scorecard were in the Handouts.
The next Board meeting will be on June 7, 2021, at 3:00 p.m. in The Brumit Center for Culinary Arts and Hospitality.
On a motion properly made, the meeting adjourned at 4:23 p.m.
Carolyn H. Rice