Thesecond meeting of the Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education of the Interim Joint Committee on Education was held on Monday, August 10, 2009, at 10:00 AM, in Room 131 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Leslie Combs, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Representative Leslie Combs, Co-Chair; Senators R.J. Palmer II, Elizabeth Tori, and Ken Winters; Representatives Jim DeCesare, C. B. Embry Jr., Tim Firkins, Kelly Flood, Jim Glenn, Jody Richards, Tom Riner, Carl Rollins II, Charles Siler, and Addia Wuchner.
Guests: Dr. Michael B. McCall, President, Mr. Timothy R. Burcham, Vice President, and Ms. Lori Davis, Kentucky Central Technical and Community College (KCTCS).
LRC Staff: Ken Warlick, Audrey Carr, and Lisa Moore.
Chair Combs asked for a motion to approve the minutes of the July 13, 2009, meeting. Representative Siler made the motion to accept the minutes and Senator Tori seconded the motion. The minutes were adopted by voice vote.
Chair Combs introduced Dr. McCall and Mr. Burcham to give the subcommittee a status report on the KCTCS performance indicators and outcomes. Dr. McCall showed the members a PowerPoint presentation that covered requested information such as: enrollments; completions; transfers from KCTCS to four-year programs; dual enrollments; new programs; new facilities; and changes to personnel policies and rationale.
Dr. McCall said House Bill 1 was enacted in 1997 and its goals were focused on business and industry as well as the needs of Kentucky citizens. He said KCTCS was charged specifically with enhancing the employability of Kentucky citizens. KCTCS focuses on workforce education, transfer education, and college and workforce readiness.
Dr. McCall noted that KCTCS wants to increase the technical skills and professional expertise of Kentucky workers through associate and technical degree, diploma, and certificate programs. He said KCTCS wishes to develop a pool of educated citizens to support the expansion of existing business and industry and the recruitment of new business and industry. KCTCS also wants to enhance the flexibility and adaptability of Kentucky workers in an ever-changing and global economy through continuing education and customized training for business and industry.
Dr. McCall said a priority for KCTCS is to increase access for students to complete the pre-baccalaureate associate degree in arts or associate degree in science for ease of transfer to four-year institutions. KCTCS should facilitate the transfers of credit between certificate, diploma, technical, and associate degree programs.
Dr. McCall said KCTCS is mandated through House Bill 1 (1997) to increase the basic academic and literacy skills of adults through adult basic education and remedial education services. KCTCS is working to enhance the relationship of credentials between secondary and postsecondary programs which permit secondary students to enter programs through early admission, advanced placement, or dual enrollment.
Dr. McCall said there were 51,000 students enrolled in KCTCS in 1998 and the numbers increased each year until a small drop in enrollment in 2008. He said the drop in enrollment, particularly in dual enrollment, was attributed to major cuts in the KCTCS operations budget. He said 2008 was also the year that KCTCS was given a modicum of the tuition increase requested from the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE).
Dr. McCall said there is a tremendous demand on community colleges right now due to the economic recovery that the state is in combined with President Obama’s focus on community college education. He said Kentucky community colleges are reporting 30 to 40 percent enrollment increases for the fall of 2009 compared with fall of 2008. KCTCS may see an increase resulting in an enrollment of 100,000 students this fall in a time where Kentucky citizens need an education more than they ever have before. He noted Kentucky’s unemployment rate is over 10 percent, and this gives an opportunity for people not working a chance to further their education. Dr. McCall noted that enrollments typically increase sharply during economic recessions.
Dr. McCall said KCTCS focuses on awarding three kinds of credentials: diplomas, certificates, and associate degrees. He said there has been a modest growth in the awarding of diplomas since 1998. He noted the diplomas represent a carryover from the vocational schools that were combined with KCTCS.
Dr. McCall said KCTCS has primarily focused on the associate degree and certificate programs. The number of associate degrees earned has doubled since 1998.
He said the real growth has occurred in the awarding of certificates, which grew from 1,154 people receiving certificates in 1998 to 14,051 people in 2007-2008. He said this is almost a five-fold increase in the number of certificates awarded. He said these programs were implemented as a result to KCTCS responding to what students need. The certificates ultimately lead to an associate degree, but the students get the credentials in segments, instead of having to attend college for two complete years. The certificates also allow the students to reenter the workforce with a legitimate certification that can lead to a better job.
Dr. McCall said he believes KCTCS students should be able to transfer to four-year universities with ease. He said KCTCS is working with the CPE to redefine what the term “transfer” means as both agencies see the need for a new definition. He said it is hard to define “transfer” because it involves variations of what happens to students at different points in their educational careers and when they transfer. He noted the new definition of “transfer” has nine different parts and focuses on all the different elements in the transfer process.
Dr. McCall said that he personally visited each university president within the last year and discussed the transfer issues. He commended the CPE and the university presidents on their focus to strengthen the transfer program. There is a transfer center that has been established at the Bluegrass Community and Technical College that has been very successful. Dr. McCall currently requires one formal transfer center at each community college.
Dr. McCall said that KCTCS has a wonderful relationship with private colleges in Kentucky. He said about 12,000 students transfer to a private college, but are not counted within the current definition of transfers. He also noted KCTCS is working very positively with the high schools on transferring students in secondary schools into the community colleges.
Dr. McCall said dual enrollment was a mandate to KCTCS in House Bill 1 in 1997. He said a data system has been installed to accurately capture the number of dual enrollments with validity. There were 676 students that were dually enrolled in high school and in a KCTCS school in the fall of 2000. The dual enrollments peaked at 16,295 students in the fall of 2007. He said KCTCS is currently implementing some pilot programs to increase dual enrollment numbers. It is a major goal of KCTCS for high school students ultimately graduating high school with some college credit.
Dr. McCall discussed some new programs being offered at KCTCS. He said there are 71 new associate degree programs, 43 new diploma programs, and 419 new certificate programs. The largest number of new programs has been added in the manufacturing sector.
Dr. McCall said KCTCS has built 37 new facilities from 1998 to 2009. He said there are 14 new campuses with $431,078,288 in the total construction budget. The new construction projects were spread out fairly evenly across the state and there is a detailed map of the specific counties and facilities in the meeting folder in the LRC library.
Dr. McCall said that KCTCS has a major concern about the maintenance and operation of the new facilities. He urged the committee to support funding to keep the facilities maintained.
Dr. McCall discussed KRS 164.350 and changes to the KCTCS personnel policies and rationale. He said the Postsecondary Education Improvement Act of 1997 (House Bill 1) created six personnel systems for KCTCS. The personnel systems included faculty and staff from the University of Kentucky (UK) personnel system, 151B and 18A state government faculty and staff, and faculty and staff that opted to be in the new KCTCS personnel system.
Dr. McCall explained that KRS 164.5805 and 164.5807 provide for the continuation of former UK and Kentucky Tech employee’s status earned with the previous organization. The statutes also provide the employee the choice to participate in the KCTCS personnel system and establish the current personnel policies for KCTCS employees. Dr. McCall noted that there were over 3,000 employees in the other personnel systems in July of 1998. There are currently 3,828 employees in the KCTCS personnel system, with around 500 employees still existing in the other personnel programs.
Dr. McCall said the board of regents adopted a new personnel policy in March of 2009. This policy provided the rationale for the change of employment categories. It included the concept that flexibility in the employment of faculty and staff is essential in continuing to build a comprehensive community and technical college system for the 21st century. The policy revision separates employment status categories into two distinct sections; one section form employees appointed prior to July 1, 2009, and one section for employees appointed effective on or after July 1, 2009. He noted that the new section for employees appointed effective on or after July 1, 2009 has two employment status categories: “term contract” and “at will”.
Dr. McCall explained the provisions for KCTCS employees operating under the term contracts. He said the term contracts preserve and protect: due process rights; academic freedom privileges; promotion in faculty rank; and shared governance. He noted that regular full-time faculty and staff shall be issued a term contract and have term contract employment status. Regular full-time faculty and staff may be offered a series of employment contracts with varying lengths over a long term association with KCTCS.
Dr. McCall explained the “at will” employment status adopted by the board of regents in March of 2009. He said temporary faculty and staff (contract and non-contract) shall have “at will” employment status. He also said regular less than full-time faculty and staff shall have “at will” employment status as well.
Dr. McCall said 53 percent of the KCTCS faculty is on the tenure track. The board of regents did not eliminate tenure for any employees who had that status. He said 22 percent of employees are continued, continuing, and status employees. Finally, 25 percent of KCTCS employees are under term contracts.
Dr. McCall discussed some examples of national recognition that Kentucky community colleges have received. He also explained KCTCS’s focus for the future, which includes a comprehensive on-line higher education program. He said students love the convenience that on-line classes and degrees offer and these classes tend to fill up the quickest. He also said Workforce Solutions is a new statewide initiative that KCTCS will implement in the future to customize employee training.
Representative Rollins asked how much a student pays to enroll in a dual enrollment course. Dr. McCall said the entire fee is waived or the student pays the full price of $124 per credit hour.
Representative Rollins asked who provides the instructors for the dual enrollment classes. Dr. McCall said it could be a high school faculty member if they meet the qualifications, if not KCTCS will provide the instructor. Representative Rollins asked if the requirement for instructors to teach dual enrollment is 18 hours in the subject area above the master’s degree. Dr. McCall said that was correct.
Representative Flood asked what types of core courses students were signing up for in dual enrollment and if they were basically courses to prepare them for getting into college. Dr. McCall said in the past, most students were signing up for dual enrollment in the occupational/technical area. He said KCTCS is expanding the dual enrollment courses to offer a broader variety, such as psychology.
Representative Flood said the certificate program is a big growth industry. She noted that Dr. McCall had noted that most of the certificates offered by KCTCS were in the manufacturing sector and she asked why this is the case. Dr. McCall said the primary growth in manufacturing certificates is because the old Kentucky Tech program could not offer degrees and/or certificates in that area. KCTCS wanted to ensure that people working in the manufacturing industry could get a college certificate.
Representative Flood asked whether external pressures led Dr. McCall to individually meet with each university president in the state about the transfer policies this year. Dr. McCall said he and the KCTCS board of regents felt the issue of transfers was important enough to warrant individualized meetings with the university presidents.
Representative Flood said she was impressed with the new on-line program that KCTCS is implementing in the future. She also said she was interested in solutions to the remediation problems students are facing in Kentucky when they enter into college.
Representative Wuchner asked the average number of credit hours students are receiving in dual enrollment courses. Dr. McCall said a student usually receives 3 credits per semester, but the goal in the senior year is between 6 and 12 credit hours.
Representative Wuchner asked if KCTCS could offer the remediation courses, such as the non-credit math and English, in the dual enrollment courses. Dr. McCall said KCTCS is addressing the remedial courses and they will be included in the upcoming on-line program.
Representative Wuchner asked for a data report on the students who continue their education after finishing KCTCS and also for the number of completions in each area. Dr. McCall said KCTCS will be glad to provide the information to the committee. He agrees with President Obama that there should be more accountability and KCTCS should show where students exit the program. Representative Wuchner would also like to know why students are not completing the certificate programs and what KCTCS can do to keep those students enrolled and on track.
Representative Riner commented on students wanting to receive 24/7 access to the internet instruction. He asked if KCTCS could provide DVD’s to students who may need supplemental instruction in subjects such as calculus.
Dr. McCall said the on-line instruction program utilizes a format called Blackboard that lets the student review the instruction repeated times. He said Blackboard also embeds the textbook within the course that students can download instead of going out and purchasing the textbook.
Senator Tori commended Dr. McCall on his presentation and said the only downfall she sees in the KCTCS program is the decision not to offer tenure to future professors. Dr. McCall does not see the lack of tenure as a pitfall to employment within KCTCS. He said a faculty member still has job security and he said tenure means nothing more than long-term continued employment. He noted tenure is on the decline as many other states have discontinued the tenure track for faculty. He said KCTCS has not experienced any trouble attracting qualified employees into the new personnel system and reiterated that current employees in KCTCS were not affected by the personnel changes.
Representative Combs asked about the time notification period for faculty to be notified that their term contract will not be renewed. Dr. McCall was unsure of the specific timeframe and deferred the question to Mr. Lewis Prewitt, Executive Assistant for Administrative Affairs in the Chancellor’s Office, KCTCS. Mr. Prewitt said faculty must be given 90 days notice if their contract is not being renewed.
Representative Richards said transferability and remediation were the two main reasons for postsecondary education reform in 1997 and remain two major issues in 2009. He asked why the transferability issue has been so complicated and if the problems are due to course numbering or something else.
Dr. McCall said at one time he thought the problem was course numbering, but now he is not so convinced. He said the bigger problem is making sure there is course competencies and that they are aligned. He feels course numbering is easily corrected. He also said Senator Shaughnessy’s legislation enacting block transfers helped to correct many transfer problems.
Representative Richards asked if some institutions make it easier for students to transfer than others. Dr. McCall said it is a problem across the board and he would not single out one institution over another. He said all the universities have been very responsive to transferability issues in the past few years and the presidents are committed to solving the problem.
Representative Richards asked if the mandates of Senate Bill 1 will have a realignment of curriculum and facilitate progress in this area. Dr. McCall said he thinks Senate Bill 1 is the answer to remediation and particularly alignment of the curriculum. He also feels the commitment from President King at CPE will help to resolve the issues quickly. He noted he has seen major improvements in the past few years.
Representative Richards asked if the decision by KCTCS to not offer tenure to faculty will affect the quality of instructors hired over the long-term. Dr. McCall said he does not believe the changes in the personnel system will minimize the quality of instructors that KCTCS will be able to hire in the future. He said many other states have the same type of system and have a wonderful and qualified faculty. Dr. McCall said eliminating tenure is a perceived issue with individuals and is not a real problem that will detract from attaining or retaining qualified faculty.
Senator Shaughnessy said Senate Bill 1 is a tremendous opportunity for KCTCS to address the issues of curriculum alignment. He said the number of students taking dual credit courses is impressive, but does not necessarily ensure that these students will go to college, and more importantly stay in college. As Kentucky moves forward, he feels it is important to emphasize quality and consistency. He also noted that the General Assembly should honor their financial commitment and help to keep these new facilities maintained.
Dr. McCall said community colleges cannot be all things to all people. He said priorities must be implemented given the resources at-hand to provide quality programs.
Chair Combs thanked Dr. McCall for his thorough presentation. She discussed the need for providing endowments in the budget for maintaining educational facilities. She also mentioned that academic deans usually play in a role in interpreting the transcripts for transfer students within the private, state, and technical colleges.
With no further business before the committee, the meeting adjourned at 11:32 a.m.