Board of Directors Meeting March 6, 2019 | BCTC

Board of Directors Meeting March 6, 2019


Leestown Campus, Board Room, 6:00 p.m.


  1. Welcome / Introductions - Chair Ron Walker
  2. Business Meeting
    1. Approval of Minutes - Chair Ron Walker
      • Regular Meeting, December 5, 2018
      • Joint Meeting, December 5, 2018
      • Special Meeting, December 10-11, 2018
  3. Information / Discussion
    1. Vision for BCTC - Dr. Koffi Akakpo
    2. Transfer Initiatives - Dr. Palisa Williams Rushin, Charlene Walker, Aaron Akey
    3. Budget Update, 2018-2019 - Lisa Bell
    4. Budget Priorities and Planning, 2019-2020 - Lisa Bell
    5. SACS Reaccreditation Update - Mark Manuel
    6. Functional Area Updates - Vice Presidents
      • Advancement & Organizational Development - Mark Manuel
      • Student Development & Enrollment Management - Dr. Palisa Williams Rushin
  4. Announcements
  5. Adjourn - Chair Ron Walker


Approved by the BCTC Board of Directors on 06/05/2019

  • BCTC Board of Directors, Chair: Ron Walker Jr.
  • BCTC Board of Directors, Secretary: Dr. Joshua Hoekstra

Members Present

  • Pamela Brough
  • Dr. Joshua Hoekstra, Secretary
  • David Lee Kennedy II
  • Robert McNulty
  • Marissa Smith
  • Theodore Vittos
  • Ron Walker, Jr., Chair


  • Dr. Brian Houillion
  • Florence Huffman
  • S. Dudley Taylor

Others Present

  • Dr. Koffi Akakpo
  • Aaron Akey
  • Lisa Bell
  • Becky Critchfield
  • Dr. Greg Feeney
  • Mark Manuel
  • Dr. Laurel Martin
  • JoEllen Reed
  • Dr. Palisa Williams Rushin
  • Cole Tyson
  • Charlene Walker

I. Welcome / Introductions

Chair Ron Walker called the meeting to order at 6:01 p.m. He welcomed the members and thanked them for their attendance. He also welcomed Dr. Koffi Akakpo to his first meeting as the President / CEO of Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC). Members and others in attendance introduced themselves.

II. Business Meeting

Minutes from the December 5, 2018, Board of Directors meeting were presented for approval. A motion was made by Robert McNulty to approve the minutes. Pamela Brough seconded the motion, and the motion carried.

Minutes from the December 5, 2018, joint meeting with the BCTC Foundation Board were presented for approval. A motion was made by Mr. McNulty to approve the minutes. David Lee Kennedy II seconded the motion, and the motion carried.
Minutes from the December 10 - 11, 2018, Board of Directors meetings were presented for approval. A motion was made by Ms. Brough to approve the minutes. Theodore Vittos seconded the motion, and the motion carried.

III. Information / Discussion

Dr. Akakpo stated that the first month and three days have been good and he has enjoyed every moment. He knows he made the right decision to come to BCTC and foresees greater days ahead.

Dr. Akakpo remarked that his first area of focus, which is the same for every community college in the nation, is retention of students from application through commencement. National data reports that out of every 100 students who apply to attend, 56 are lost during the process. At the beginning of the second year, 17 additional students are lost. Only eight of the original 100 students make it past the second year. Dr. Akakpo will focus efforts on customer service and the onboarding process. He expressed that most students come to school with a full life and the first thing they drop is education because they cannot drop their family or their job. Focusing on those items will be a top priority.

The second focus will be to bring more resources to the college. BCTC is dependent on two sources of income: tuition and state subsidy. Dr. Akakpo has requested a grant position, and this new hire will be responsible for identifying potential new resources.

Dr. Akakpo is assembling a team to assess the current strategic goals of the institution and to realign them for the next twelve months. He will be listening to see what needs attention, as he does not want to come in and change things that are working well. College leadership is doing a great job and Dr. Akakpo looks forward to working with them to take the college to the next level.

Chair Walker thanked Dr. Akakpo and assured him of the board’s full support. The members are excited to welcome Dr. Akakpo and assist him to move the college forward.

Dr. Palisa Williams Rushin reported that the Transfer Center opened in 2006 after the Title III grant was awarded. This was the first Transfer Center in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) and it became the model for the other colleges. All colleges have since been required to open and provide similar services to students. BCTC is the top transfer institution in Kentucky.

Dr. Rushin welcomed Aaron Akey, the Associate Dean of Student Services. Mr. Akey manages the transfer center, advising, and the career center as a part of his responsibilities. Dr. Rushin reported that all of those areas are doing well under his leadership.

Mr. Akey provided an overview of BCTC’s Transfer Center and noted that the staff supports the largest student population at the college. There are more than 1,200 transfer students enrolled at BCTC each year. Between 58 and 69 percent of students plan to transfer to a four-year institution at some point after attending BCTC. The Transfer Center staff conducts over 2,500 appointments with students each year.

Mr. Akey reported that several institutions house transfer staff in the Transfer Center, including the University of Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University, Morehead State University, and Bellevue University. BCTC’s staff manage the appointments and the advisors manage the process on behalf of their college.

The Transfer Center hosts at least four transfer fairs each year. These events are good opportunities for students to learn about options that are available to them. Mr. Akey reported that BCTC has developed strong connections with 30 schools in Kentucky, and the transfer fairs are a large part of that success. BCTC students transfer to institutions all across the state of Kentucky. The top transfer destinations for BCTC students are Eastern Kentucky University and the University of Kentucky, and between 300 and 350 students transfer each year to both of those universities. Many BCTC students go on to major in health professions and related programs, business, management, marketing, and education.

Transfer scholarships are available to students and each institution has a different range of awards. Eastern Kentucky University offers students with a 3.75 GPA and above a $4,000 annual scholarship, making the cost similar to BCTC’s tuition. There are scholarships available at every college in the state.

Mr. Akey provided information gathered by the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) regarding student retention and graduation rates post-transfer. The total retention rate one year after transfer was 82.8 percent in 2014 – 15. Data shows that students who persist through graduation up to four years after they transfer from BCTC has shown a steady increase since 2011 – 12, with 44.1 percent of students completing a degree four years after graduating from the college.

BCTC has several transfer partnerships in place for students. Students may participate in the University of Kentucky’s Blue+ program, which allows students to take courses at UK while enrolled at BCTC. Tuition is assessed at BCTC’s current tuition rate. There are more than 100 students actively participating in this program every semester. Partnerships are in place with many other institutions that help students complete their pathway as efficiently as possible, such as the new agreement with Bellevue University and the University of Phoenix’s Registered Nurse / Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. In addition, there are agreements in place for reverse transfer.

Mr. Akey talked about pathway guides and peer transfer teams who work collaboratively across the state. Yearly transfer summits are organized by team members to work through challenges and assess concerns. Pathway guides are a way for advisors to work with students so they are efficient with their course selection. Not all courses will transfer to every institution, so advisors use this information to guide students to the appropriate coursework.

Charlene Walker provided information about two outstanding opportunities for students who wish to transfer to a four-year institution. The first is BLINKS, a collaboration between BCTC, The Links organization, and Kentucky State University. Ms. Walker helped establish this program six years ago. Successful applicants who complete an associate degree with BCTC and have a 2.8 GPA or greater will be offered full tuition and housing at Kentucky State University. Ten students receive this scholarship each semester. Ms. Walker reported that 40 students have graduated from this program debt-free, and three have graduated at the top of their class. Most students graduate in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) fields, business, education, social work, and agriculture. Ms. Walker noted that this is a great opportunity for any student who meets the GPA requirement. Any student can apply; there are no other requirements, so it is inclusive. The second opportunity is the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, or LSAMP, transfer pipeline program. This scholarship is for underrepresented minority students who wish to major in a STEM discipline. Students will transfer to one of the partner schools, which include the University of Kentucky, the University of Louisville, Marshall University, West Virginia University, Kentucky State University, Centre College, or Western Kentucky University. Ms. Walker also utilizes program funding to help students purchase books each semester, as well as to organize camps for LSAMP students. She recently traveled with nine students to Marshall University. BCTC has an LSAMP graduate who is working as an advisor and teaches math at the college. Ms. Walker noted that BCTC is providing a great service by giving students access to these opportunities.

Dr. Joshua Hoekstra noted the reference to the retention and graduation rates for students who transfer from BCTC and asked if there was a comparison to the national average or for the other KCTCS colleges. He believes it would be prudent for BCTC to know how we compare to our competition in light of the performance funding model under which we are operating. He suggested that we share data along with corresponding rankings as much as possible to contextualize how we are faring as compared to the other KCTCS colleges and nationally, as appropriate. Mr. Akey noted that there is a comprehensive report with detailed information and he will begin to consider that information going forward. Becky Critchfield suggested taking that recommendation to the peer team, so appropriate peers might be identified on a national scale.

Mr. Vittos asked about BCTC’s strategic goals and how leadership is setting goals for these initiatives. Mr. Akey said that there is some low hanging fruit that we will target. For example, students who graduate before transferring is less than 20 percent. If we can bump up strategies that will increase that number, our performance based funding will also increase. Dr. Hoekstra agreed that goals are important, but recommended a continual return to the metrics to realign efforts as information changes over time. Mr. Akey stated that graduation goals can be a main area of focus, but cautioned that other colleges are probably using these same tactics to use the system to their best advantage.

Marissa Smith asked if there were plans to utilize more reverse transfers if meeting graduation goals is more of a focus. Dr. Rushin responded that we are utilizing reverse transfer already, and there is an effort to establish criteria across KCTCS. The University of Kentucky is the first institution to provide BCTC with student data and her staff will work through that information. Mr. Akey views reverse transfer as a way to focus on students completing all of their coursework so they graduate with a credential. There are ways to be more proactive with advising so students take the maximum amount of classes they can at BCTC before moving on, then using reverse transfer as a secondary measure to catch those who move on before they complete.

Ms. Critchfield remarked that BCTC was ranked first in transfer in the nation for several years when national data collection was completed, and she believes that the college still ranks very high. Dr. Hoekstra encouraged more data analysis in the future as we try to find advantages in the competitive market.

Chair Walker asked what, if any, contact we had with former students who have transferred on from BCTC. This could be an opportunity to find out what we are doing well and where we need to make improvements. We might also ask what they believe has helped them to be successful at their new college, and what they believe would have been valuable since they transferred. This information could help to ensure that students are successful when they take the next step. Ms. Walker responded that the students she sends on have her cell phone number. She makes several trips each year to help students who run into obstacles and need additional assistance. The LSAMP students have specific contacts at each campus who provide direct support after transferring. Ms. Walker spends many contact hours will each of those students and knows it is not easy to navigate through various situations.

Dr. Rushin said that KCTCS conducted a survey about five years ago by contacting students after they transferred on to other schools. She recommended working with our partners in the Transfer Center to contact former students to obtain useful data.

Ms. Smith asked if there was a way to see the differences between BCTC and the other KCTCS colleges. Mr. Akey responded that the feedback report has a great deal of data. Dr. Rushin noted that CPE breaks down transfer decisions by school and provides the number of credits that students complete after they transfer, so a significant amount of data is available.

Mr. McNulty recently went on a trip and, upon his return, received an email from the hotel asking him to rate his visit. He noted that restaurants ask for feedback and receipts often have survey links. He asked if email was the best method for soliciting feedback, or if we should call or send postcards. Ms. Critchfield responded that it is hard to track students after they transfer, but we will work with our partners to make those connections. Mr. Vittos agreed that using the partners as a way to obtain feedback and determine if students are being successful is an important strategy for the college.

Mr. Walker agreed that our transfer partners have a vested interest in our student’s success because it will help their performance numbers. He suggested being more accountable to what we are trying to accomplish, not only within KCTCS but also across the state. BCTC’s product is of high quality and a good value, so leadership needs to be more aggressive about promoting that success so people in the community can see and understand the opportunities available to them.

Dr. Rushin also believes there is an opportunity for the college to tell a better story. She presented at a national conference last week in conjunction with a partner, Bellevue University. Many attendees were very interested in what BCTC was doing with not only transfer pathways but also other initiatives across the college.

Chair Walker thanked the presenters.

Lisa Bell referenced the budget information in the board packet, noting that she is still cautiously optimistic about the current year realized revenue as it is up slightly. She stated that enrollment data continues to change, but believes that realized revenue will stay positive through the end of the fiscal year. This is just the fourth time in the last 11 years that the college has been in this position, which is a result of conservative budget practices and much hard work and effort of college personnel. The budget is six percent less than the previous fiscal year, but it was a good conservative number.

Ms. Bell remarked that the excess tuition revenue from the fall was allocated for positions. Leadership felt comfortable in our ability to sustain this level of revenue, so the decision was made to allocate those funds for spending even though this has not been our practice in the past.

Ms. Bell reviewed the principles and priorities that guide leadership when formulating the budget, along with the annual plan, strategic goals, and strategic plan. She reported that we are still awaiting critical information from KCTCS to further define budget plans for the next fiscal year. The KCTCS Board of Regents is the authority that sets tuition rates, determines raises, approves benefits recharges, and more, and many of those details are unknown at this time. If tuition increases, it will be no more than $5 per semester credit hour.

Ms. Bell reported that by 2022, 100 percent of the state appropriation will be allocated by the performance based funding model. Currently, eight percent of the appropriation is run through the model, and we are not sure what the percentage will be for the next fiscal year. BCTC received approximately $1.7 million in new performance funding this year, but each year going forward is a new opportunity.

Mr. McNulty remarked that it is always an interesting experience to attend the legislative day with others from the college, and he appreciates the optimism regarding performance funding allocations knowing that Kentucky has steadily cut education funding since 2008. He appreciates the challenges and knows that leadership is working hard to do what is best for students by offering dual credit and career pathways that will lead to careers or further education. Ms. Bell noted that BCTC has sustained $4.9 million in cuts since 2008.

Dr. Hoekstra asked where tuition revenues went after they were collected. He was not sure if the revenue stayed at the college or flowed back to KCTCS. Ms. Bell said that 100 percent of the state funding is allocated to the colleges, and KCTCS recharges the colleges for services and contracts. The public funds allocation model was different, but it not in use anymore. It is fair to say that we keep our revenue here at the college.

Mr. Vittos asked if there would be some normalcy with the performance based funding model. Once KCTCS gets the money, what are the variables as to how that revenue is distributed? Ms. Bell responded that BCTC will compete amongst all of the colleges within KCTCS. We do not compete with four-year institutions directly, but KCTCS as a system does. The real competition is from the other community and technical colleges.

Ms. Smith asked how likely CPE would be to implement the $5 per credit hour increase to tuition. Ms. Bell responded that we have no indication as to what anyone is thinking, but we do know that $5 is the maximum increase that CPE will support.

Ms. Bell stated that leadership has started the budget development process by collecting recurring and nonrecurring requests. Any Administrative Planning Team member may enter a budget request into an internal database. The request is routed to the division vice-president for approval and ranking based on the division’s priorities. The leadership team reviews all approved requests and makes decisions to allocate funding based on available funds and budget constraints. No decisions have been made regarding those requests this year.

The bookstore commission is down this year. Revenues are around $250,000 and we budgeted for $400,000. Ms. Bell reported that the bookstore continues to provide excellent service for the students.

Mark Manuel reminded the members that BCTC is in the 10-year reaffirmation process through the Southern Association of College and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). BCTC recently submitted the first packet of materials for the external reviewers to begin the review process. The offsite review is scheduled from April 23 – 26, 2019. The review panel is comprised of peers from different colleges across the southeast. BCTC will receive a report in May with their comments. The onsite review will be conducted from September 23 – 26, 2019. Reviewers will meet with employees from across the college to review information and ask questions. Leadership has begun planning for this visit and everyone will be involved in some capacity. The steering committee has responded to data requests in the fourteen areas of focus. This information is also available on the reaffirmation website. This is a comprehensive document with over 3,000 links to supplemental and supporting information. Mr. Manuel commended everyone, but particularly employees in Academics and Workforce Development, for their work in preparing this information for submission. BCTC will be ready for the review and we will be successful in our reaffirmation efforts.

Mr. Manuel announced that the community reached the $1 million goal for the Danville Advanced Manufacturing Center. This was a huge effort by Dr. Erin Tipton, Danville Campus Director, and her staff. Planning is underway and construction will begin as soon as possible.

The Professional Development staff is focusing efforts on cultural competency, including a student version with different modalities. This will be a good experience for employees and students.

The Human Resources staff has been looking for new ways to orient people as they join BCTC. New employees are given a passport that guides them through various tasks and goals they should accomplish during their first few months of employment. We hope this will help onboarding processes and integrating people into the organization. KCTCS has shown interest in adopting this system-wide. Dr. Hoekstra noted that we are in competition with the other colleges, and there are practices that might give us an advantage when it comes to others. He asked if BCTC had to share things. He recognized that we are a part of a system, but our roles are not the same and that if there is a competitive advantage, we may want to protect that or, at the very least, be careful with sharing that information.

Dr. Rushin shared several celebrations from the Student Development and Enrollment Management division.

Student Support Services at the Danville Campus provides support to low-income students, first generation students, and students with disabilities. Two students won first place at a statewide TRIO debate competition, allowing them to advance to the Southeast Regional competition in Atlanta, Georgia.

Dr. Rushin reported that the default rate has dropped to 18.3 percent. This is a decline of 1.6 percent from the previous year.

Student advising and registration began on March 1 for the fall semester. There are currently 512 students enrolled. BCTC is in third place among all colleges. There is a focus on African American, Latino, and low-income students, which will help boost performance based funding outcomes.

A Few Good Men, a program geared toward men of color, has shown excellent results. Of the 384 African American males enrolled at the college, sixteen percent participated. The overall Fall to Spring retention rate for that demographic was 64 percent, but 71 percent of the participants in the program were retained. This program offers monthly meetings that build a sense of community. Plans continue to offer another class for them next fall.

Dr. Rushin reported that 15 recruitment events are scheduled between March and April to impact fall enrollment. These events will be held in Anderson County, Georgetown – Scott County, and in Lexington, and will target African American, Latino, and low-income students. Events include college experience days for Latino students and a joint event with Adult Education / Skills U focused on financial literacy at the Newtown North Campus. A new program, BCTC to You, will be held at three high schools in Lexington. This program will target African American and Latino students. We hope to register, advise, and admit students while onsite at the school. The Georgetown – Scott County Campus is hosting Manufacturing Madness. Over 230 students enrolled for this campus visit. This event will help promote the work ready scholarships that are available to help students.

Dr. Rushin reported that the 15 to Finish program has been very successful. This program is an opportunity for students to complete 15 credits per semester. If they are successful, they get one free class the following semester. There were 210 students who completed 15 credit hours in the Fall who reenrolled for 15 credits this semester and received the scholarship.

Chair Walker remarked that several members attending the training for board members at KCTCS last week. He believes that BCTC is the premiere college in the system, which is a result of the hard work that faculty and staff do every day. He appreciates that faculty and staff serve our communities well.

IV. Announcements

Chair Walker recommended that all board members attend upcoming college events. The Graduate Achievement Recognition program will be held on Thursday, May 2, 2019, at the Leestown Campus Conference Center. The event will begin at 7:00 p.m. with a reception immediately following. BCTC’s Commencement Ceremony is planned for Sunday, May 12, 2019, at 4:00 p.m. This event will be held in the Alumni Coliseum on the campus of Eastern Kentucky University. Chair Walker noted that it is always tremendous to see students celebrate their achievement knowing they have accomplished a goal they have had since they were small, or recommitting themselves to go back to school to finish something they thought was unattainable. Commencement, in particular, is a very heartwarming event to experience. He strongly encouraged all members to attend, knowing that all will come away feeling proud to serve on the Board of Directors. Members should RSVP to Ms. O’Neill if they plan to attend either event.

Chair Walker asked members to review their committee assignments and to note any changes by responding to Ms. O’Neill.

V. Adjourn

At 7:23 p.m., with no further business to come before the board, Dr. Hoekstra made a motion to adjourn. Ms. Smith seconded the motion and the motion carried.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the board will be held on Wednesday, June 5, 2019. The meeting will be held at the Leestown Campus.