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College hires full-time theater instructor
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Barton Community College’s Board of Trustees met some new employees and hired a few more at Thursday’s meeting.

Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman said some people were already on the job, with the understanding that their employment was contingent on formal board approval.

New hires were:

• Victor Martin – Instructor & Coordinator (Agriculture) (Barton County Campus)

• Erin Renard – Instructor (Theater) (Barton County Campus)

• Travis Hendryx – Academic Tutor (Adule Basic Education) (Great Bend)

• Elijah Sturn – Assistant Care Provider – part-time (Barton County Campus)

• Colleen Hampton – Instructor (Biology) (Barton County Campus)

• Sandra Schenk – Secretary (Grants/President’s Office) (Barton County Campus)

Renard was featured in a June 17 story in the Great Bend Tribune, as she prepared for a bicycle trip from her home in Russell to New Jersey, where she would attend a family reunion. This trip was also designed to raise funds for and awareness of Alzheimer’s Disease. With her hiring, the college once again has a full-time theater instructor and goals to strengthen that segment of its fine arts program.

As a part-time instructor for the college last year, she directed the fall play "True West," and the spring musical "Beauty and the Beast." Before starting on her bicycle trip on July 24, she also directed the Russell Arts Council’s summer production of "Chicago."

With school getting under way this week, Renard didn’t have time to recruit more students for the theater program, Heilman said. But recruiting students for 2011-12 and promoting the college will be part of her job. "She certainly knows the challenge ahead of her."

The college still has a faculty position to fill on campus. For now, Dean Elaine Simmons said the course had been rescheduled as an evening class and is being offered with help from the community.

The Fort Riley campus still needs to fill an instructor’s position and a customer service position.

The board of trustees also accepted three grants that require a commitment from the college of $50,000 or more. They are:

• The federal Title III Strengthening Institutions Grant, which funds distance education staff for programs such as interactive television (ITV) instruction. This is year two of a five-year grant totaling more than $1.9 million.

• Adult Education Grant from the Kansas Board of Regents, for $102,000. The grant helps provide education services to a number of non-traditional students, including those working on a GED diploma or people learning English.

• The Kansas Arts Commission Grant for $3,603, which helps staff the Shafer Arts Gallery and its exhibits.

Although these grants require an obligation from the college, often the college’s portion is not monetary. For example, the Kansas Arts Commission Grant match does not require additional college funding; it includes the salary of the director, student workers and the existing Shafer Gallery budget.