Students to begin enrolling in spring

The Pratt Community College Board of Trustees approved a new program at Monday's board meeting. Beginning in January, students can enroll for classes in a Wildlife Enterprise Management program, leading to an associate's degree that will allow them to transfer to Kansas State University, the only university in the nation offering a bachelor's degree in wildlife management, or go to work within the industry.

A community college in southeast Illinois is the only two-year school with a similar program, according to Kent Adams, vice president of finance and operations, in a phone interview Tuesday.

Courses will include agriculture, science, business, math and computer skills, in addition to more specialized classes in wildlife habitat, food plot establishment and management, hunter education, and hunting skills. Activity courses will attract a wide variety of students, Adams predicted.

College administrators have been putting the course together for a couple of years. Jim Stratford, vice president for instruction, spent a lot of time in the fall talking to potential students and industry people, and Dr. Tom Warner, the director of the KSU program, was on campus to meet with various groups.

Now that the course has been approved, priority items will include hiring an instructor and publicizing the program. It is expected to be fully implemented by the fall of 2013.

"Everybody we've talked to has been real excited about the program," Adams said.

Trustees and administrators reviewed an extensive data report that compares Pratt Community College with 19 two-year and technical colleges, mostly in rural Kansas areas and a couple in Missouri and Nebraska.

In comparison with its peers, PCC

• has a higher headcount, 2,719 compared to an average of 2,073, but the full time enrollment (FTE) is similar, 1,160 compared to 1,170. The figures would be reversed if PCC were compared to the 19 Kansas community colleges, Adams noted.

• awards more associate's degrees and more certificates of less than one year, but fewer certificates of at least one year.

• has a slightly higher rate for tuition and required fees, $2,720 per year, compared to $2,535 and higher net price — tuition and required fees, books and supplies and room and board, less the value of scholarships. PCC's average net price is $6,543, about $1,000 more than for its peers.

• Ninety-five percent of PCC students receive some type of scholarship, compared to 85 percent for other institutions. The average amount of aid is lower at PCC, $3,071 compared to $3,973.

• Graduation and transfer-out rates are similar for all institutions in the study.

• PCC employs 42 full-time instructional staff members, compared to 73 for peer institutions. Adams explained that PCC also has a number of part-time or adjunct faculty members.

• The average salary of PCC instructors of all ranks is $39,210, more than $3,500 less than their peers at other schools.

The college uses the data to compare itself with schools considered to be direct competitors for students, Adams said.

In other business, the Board

• received an auditor's report from Allen, Gibbs & Houlik, who gave an unqualified opinion of the college's compliance with procedures.

• noted that trustee positions currently held by Wendell Howell, Mike Koler and Jeff Shumway will be up for election, with a filing date