Support for three community colleges, including Pratt Community College, to get the Kansas Board of Regents to provide equal funding for technical courses was positive during testimony at the Technical Advisory Board in Topeka on Feb. 24.


Support for three community colleges, including Pratt Community College, to get the Kansas Board of Regents to provide equal funding for technical courses was positive during testimony at the Technical Advisory Board in Topeka on Feb. 24.
Three colleges including PCC, Dodge City Community College and Cowley County Community College do not receive the same level of funding for technical courses as the other Kansas community colleges that offer technical college courses.
The information was presented to the PCC Board of Trustees at its monthly meeting Monday night at PCC.
Testifying before the advisory board were Trustees Vice Chair Ken Van Blaricum and PCC President William Wojciechowski.
Van Blaricum reminded TEA that it was costing PCC $1 million a year and that was a lot of money. He also reminded TEA that when the colleges approached the Regents to talk about the matter, they were ignored.
“They wouldn’t talk to us. Clearly somebody dropped the ball,” Van Blaricum said.
He was pleased with his and Wojciechowski’s testimony.
“I felt our presentation was well balanced,” Van Blaricum said.
The Colleges also got support from state representatives from each of the three districts where the colleges are located.
“We have very solid legislative backing,” Wojciechowski said.
Rep. Pat George wants to have the matter settled and a recommendation is expected at the May KBOR meeting.
If there is no settlement in May a lawsuit will be pursued. It will take from six months to a year for all the necessary discovery and paper work, Van Blaricum said. 
While Van Blaricum and Wojciechowski were representing PCC in Topeka, Rotaract students were representing PCC in Washington D.C. as they helped improve a shelter house.
Students Breann Luckner and Craig Baldwin shared their Rotaract experiences. The group took 12 bags of supplies to donate to a homeless shelter. They helped clean a shelter, Jordan House, plus remove rats, put in a meditation garden, painted and spent two days organizing their contact numbers.
The group also got to tour many monuments and museums. A total of 17 made the trip from Pratt.
While PCC works to get equal funding for technical courses, the Student Success Center helps students overcome challenges and complete their careers at PCC. Members of the success center CTE Coordinator Hannah Bell and Academic Advisor Patrick Harrison, shared their responsibilities at the Trustee meeting.
During the 2009-2010 school year, the success center helped over 50 students through a variety of problems, Bell said.
Students received help with testing, attendance and case management. During the year the success center administered around 600 placement tests and 76 EDUKAN tests.
Improvements were made to the success center testing facility. Unused cubical from the library were shifted to the success center to improve the testing facility. The former facilities were not professional and inconvenient for students taking tests. Sometimes three students were testing at the same table, Bell said.
This year 54 students are scheduled for CAP or academic testing while 10 students are anticipated to take Work Keys or technical class testing, Harrison said.
Besides handling students with academic problems, the testing center also deals with students with alcohol problems. About a dozen students required assistance and half of those students had a positive response to success center training, Harrison said.
The center aggressively works with students that are in academic trouble. Students with a GPA of less than 1.0 are warned to bring up their grades in a week or be removed from the class. Students that fail to improve their grades are removed from the residence hall.
Students can appeal a decision to get reinstated.
Besides their work with students in the success center, the staff enrolls students during the summer because the faculty is not in the building.
The center is successful because of the dedicated young people who work at the center.
“We attribute our student retention as a direct result of their contributions,” Wojciechowski said.
Students may be reluctant to go to the success center but they need someone to act as a sounding board either because they never had one or they had one and need another. The success center has helped student athletes achieve their academic goals.
“We’d be hard pressed without them in athletics,” said Kurt McAfee, PCC Athletic director.
The Student Success Center consists of Dean of Instruction Pam Dietz, Interim director of Student Success Center Amy Jackson, CTE Coordinator Hannah Bell, Academic Advisor Patrick Harrison, Student Success Specialist Sarah D’Angelo and secretary to the dean of academic instruction Janet Horton.