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Barton College prepares for HLC accreditation visit
Faculty contract renewals reviewed
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A Peer Review Team for the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) will visit Barton Community College this year. According to Myrna Perkins, BCC’s chief accreditation officer and director of financial aid, this is the final year of a 10-year accreditation cycle. Thanks to work done over the past decade, Perkins expressed confidence in the outcome of the comprehensive visit.

“We’re in a good state as we go into the visit,” Perkins said at the BCC Board of Trustees’ monthly study session on Tuesday. Because of the nature of the visits, she said they expect the Peer Review Team will “provide suggestions for furthering our continuous improvement.” But, she said, that should be considered a good thing.

“We don’t have any sanctions,” Perkins said. “We’ve been doing accreditation activity all through the 10 years. I’d like to say this is the capstone of our accreditation.”

Substantive changes require formal requests and reports. For example, one action taken by Barton this spring was receiving approval to operate a satellite Registered Nursing Program at Pratt Community College. 

An HLC Study Survey was done there for the compliance report. There are also federal compliance reports.

Perkins has served as an on-site visitor when other colleges were reviewed. 

Board Chairman Mike Johnson praised all of the college employees who have been involved in the process.

“We’ve known for awhile we’re in a pretty good place,” Johnson said. “You and your team make it seem easy, and we know it’s not easy.”

The final step in the 10-year cycle is reaffirmation of accreditation.

Special meeting

Although Tuesday’s meeting was a study session where no action was taken, there was a brief Special Meeting held a few minutes before the study session. This allowed the board to go into executive session for discussion of a personnel matter. No action was taken after the executive session.

Faculty contracts

Another topic at the study session was the annual Faculty Contract Renewal List. Board members reviewed a list of faculty who are on the tenure track, those who will be granted tenure with the next contract offering, those who already have tenure and those whose contracts won’t be renewed.

Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman said there could be changes when the list comes before the board for formal approval at the next business meeting. “This is how it looks right now.”

Eight faculty members are on the non-renewal list. Carol Murphy and part-time instructor Karole Erikson are retiring; James Miller has already left the college and his contract will not be renewed; and Brian Forshee, Kristen Hathcock, Shannon Schreiner and Lacy Swain are resigning. Kristin Steele’s faculty contract as a nursing instructor won’t be renewed because of a position change. She is now the Simulation Coordinator for the nursing program, which is a staff position.

There are 14 faculty on the tenure track, four who are eligible for tenure this year, and 37 tenured faculty. This includes two part-time faculty members who have tenure.