Board member prioritizes filling full-time positions

MCCC Board of Trustees member James DeVries pressed the college to advertise the vacant full-time positions this semester at the Jan. 23 board meeting.

DeVries read a letter he wrote that addressed the college’s history of rapid retirements and slow replacement. The meeting also contained the recognition of art professor Ted Vassar’s retirement, and budget, millage, HVAC, and enrollment reports.

The board voted Lynette Dowler the chair of the board and Aaron Mason the secretary and administered the oath of office of new board members William Bruck and Steven Hill at a special meeting on Jan 9.

“I want to see a plan, post-haste, regarding this issue. For me ‘kicking the can down the road’ is not an option,” DeVries said.

He reminded President Kojo Quartey that he was assured that humanities professor John Holladay was going to be replaced when he retired in 2014, but the position is still open today. 

In the past year, four more humanities professors have retired and a fifth is preparing a letter of intent to retire in May 2017.

The college has only filled one humanities position, and no other positions have been posted, DeVries said. 

“We are at a crossroad: the Humanities/Social Science Division has faded to a shadow of its former strength,” he said.

“Without a solid staff of full-timers, we will soon become just another two-year institution with more adjuncts and more administrators, and just a degree or credit mill. The college may save a lot of money but we will have lost who we have been.”

DeVries said they should be advertising in February and March.

“There are several who retired just before the holiday, so it is difficult to fill those positions almost immediately,” Quartey said.

He said the organizational structure of the institution has to be considered. There were 4,500 students enrolled in 2010 and a little over 3,000 students enrolled this semester.

“There is some imbalance in the equation,” Quartey said.

Vice President of Instruction Grace Yackee was not ready to respond to the issue with detail at the meeting, so she offered to meet with Quartey to discuss how to address the issue.

She said they have posted two temporary full-time English positions for the fall. The positions will remain temporary until the English faculty present exact credentials for the positions.

DeVries read the resolution of commendation for Vassar's retirement. Vassar accepted the commendation with a grin.

Art professor Ted Vassar recieves commendation from the board.

"That was a lot of reading," Vassar said.

"It's been quite a journey. It just seems like a home away from home. I get choked up, so thank you."

Vassar received a standing ovation from the audience and many kind remarks.

"You will be missed, and we wish you the very best," Quartey said.

He said Vassar retained students by sharing his passion for art.

Sue Wetzel, vice president of Administration, informed the board that the Millage Maintenance and Replacement Fund was added to budget spreadsheets. The fund will track the revenue and expenses of the millage project.

Quartey is touring the townships, thanking them for their support of the millage.

“I’m there simply to say thank you,” Quartey said.

Millage plans are underway. The first project is repairing the masonry and sun shades on the L Building, which will begin in the summer, Wetzel said.  

The masonry refers to all the exterior brick on the building. Some of the bricks have cracks, so they need to be reinforced.

The sun shades are on the second floor of the building, and they provide shade for all rooms on the exterior walls. They were originally engineered out of concrete. The heavy material has cracked over time, which is endangering the structure of the building.

Wetzel said they will construct new sun shades out of a lighter material, probably metal.

The masonry and sun shade project will cost approximately $925,000.

Quartey assured the board that they are carefully managing the millage money.

“We will remain accountable with the funds,” Quartey said.

While the L Building is under construction, they plan to add a student space onto the north part of the building. The area will be an extension of the hallway that leads out to the front parking lot by the CTC Building.

Wetzel also informed the board of the HVAC project progress.

She said they are 68.5 percent complete. They thought they were 75 percent complete, but after another review they found they were not quite as far along.

The completion date for the project is scheduled for July 31.

Mark Hall, director of Admissions and Guidance Services, said enrollment was up 1.4 percent.

The college offers classes in six high schools, and they all plan to continue next year, Hall said.

The next board meeting will be Monday, Feb. 27, at 6 p.m in the La-Z-Boy Center.