DENMARK – Denmark Technical College is taking steps to follow the recommendations of a Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges committee that recently visited the campus.
Interim President Dr. Christopher Hall stated that the committee visited the institution on April 9 and made nine recommendations based on the visit. He discussed the visit with the Denmark Tech Area Commission on Monday.
The first two recommendations “have to deal with the board regularly evaluating the chief officer of the college. The second thing is regularly evaluating the board itself, so you would actually conduct a self-evaluation,” Hall said.
“The third thing is the evaluation of the administrative officers of the college. We have to make sure we’re doing that on an annual basis,” he said.
In response to the recommendations, the area commission on Monday approved amendments to its bylaws relating to the board’s self-evaluation and its evaluation of the chief executive officer of the institution.
Hall stated that the SACSCOC committee also recommended that the institution adhere to its written policy regarding, “faculty being involved in the program development process and approval process. That’s academic governance.”
The committee also made recommendations related to the college’s finances.
Hall stated that the committee recommended that the institution manage its financial resources in a responsible manner.
“We have to make sure that we are operating within our established budget,” he said.
It’s also recommended that “the institution exercise appropriate control over its finances,” Hall said. “That’s our processes, making sure that the processes that we have in place are sound, and that we are operating within those policies.”
The committee also recommend the college be in compliance with federal Title IV funding requirements “and making sure that we are distributing those funds the way they are supposed to be distributed and returning any of that money on time as well,” Hall stated.
Hall said another recommendation “has to do with our physical resources. The committee noted that there are some areas of the campus that need to be updated and improved, physical buildings and things like that.”
The college has until Sept. 11 to respond to the recommendations, according to Hall.
Hall noted that the college’s responses along with the committee’s recommendations will be presented to the SACSCOC board in December, and the board will then decide at their annual meeting what happens with Denmark Tech’s accreditation status.
Dr. Angelica Christie reported that the institution is continuing its efforts to recruit students.
Christie noted that a total of 90 students pre-registered for the summer semester, and 15 students pre-registered for the fall semester.
“Our enrollment management team is out with ministers and churches to get information into the churches, asking ministers to assist in identifying at least one student that we can recruit for summer and or fall enrollment. We have been at many of the festivals in the area,” she said.
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Christie noted that several local businesses have allowed the college to come in on a weekly basis to set up displays and recruit students, including Piggly Wiggly, Hardee's and Walmart.
Christie also reported that the institution recently visited Charlotte, N.C. to recruit students.
Christie detailed other recruitment efforts during her report.
“We held, last Thursday, our first community appreciation day, which I think went very well. We actually received 12 applications from the event,” she reported.
“We’re gearing up for a high school initiative. We’ve also extended the offerings for second summer to provide offerings that would attract continuing adults and transients,” she said.
A plan before the General Assembly would close the college on June 30 and reopen it as an area trade school. The House approved the plan as part of its budget while the Senate did not. The two bodies now have to reconcile their versions of the budget.
Area Commission Chairman Kevin Whitt said the college should work to publish a story that informs the public that the House plan would not interrupt the institution's first summer semester, which ends on June 27.
"They're going to bury a story," Christie replied. "The good news doesn't hit the front page.”
The board continued to discuss the idea, but didn't take any official action.
Also during the meeting:
• Stephen Mason gave a report on continuing education and workforce development.
Mason reported that the college was awarded a grant from ManuFirst SC worth about $70,000. He noted that the funds have been put on hold across the state due to an issue with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.
Two-full time and two part-time students completed a co-op with Advance Tabco, Inc.
He reported that the institution’s mechatronics apprenticeship with American Zinc Recycling Corp is still ongoing and that the institution is working to establish a summer welding program with the company.
Mason reported that Four Star Industries in Allendale currently has a project with students that will give them pipe welding experience.
Boeing recently visited the institution with dual enrollment students from Denmark-Olar High School.
Dual enrollment students from Estill High School attended the SkillsUSA competition in Greenville to learn how the competition works in preparation for next year’s competition.
Mason also reported that the institution is establishing a new EMT program. The CNA program recently re-certified its lab in Barnwell.
• Shatika Spearman gave a financial status report. Spearman reported that the institution has collected $6.83 million, or 86% of the $7.4 million state budget, and has spent approximately $5.4 million, or 73% of the state budget to date. Spearman also reported on the federal budget of $3.29 million, noting that the institution has collected $1.4 million or 44% of the budget, and has spent $1.5 million, representing 47%.