Board of Trustees Approves New Early Childhood Certificate Program During Monthly Meeting

[Garden City, KS] Oct. 13,2020 - 

The Garden City Community College Board of Trustees approved a new Early Childhood Certificate Program during their monthly meeting Tuesday night in the President's Conference room.  

"We have offered courses for Early Childhood in the past," Dr. Ryan Ruda said. "But they were strictly courses, and they didn't lead towards any type of certification." 

This changes all of that, with the initiative providing a 17-credit-hour short-term foundational program, training students in the basics of high-quality childcare and education and is designed with a flexible curriculum and delivery options to meet the needs of prospective learners. The idea was a collaboration between GCCC and Finney County Economic Development, both of whom stressed the need for quality training in that field to meet the needs gap in regional childcare.  

"We need to have a more robust and specific credentialed training," Dr. Ruda added. "This will help better prepare the individuals as they move into those positions." 

With the board's decision, the College will now submit a formal application for program approval to the Kansas Board of Regents.  

"Really, it's a packaged deal," said Marc Malone, Vice President for Instruction Services. "This provides both a college credential and prepares the student for a professional industry." 

In other business, Instructor Sheena Hernandez gave a presentation on the English Department, specifically focusing on the advantages to obtaining a degree in that field.  

"Generally, English majors even out in potential earnings, so it grows over time," Hernandez explained. "You compare that to other majors who may start out well but have to go back for more schooling, flatlining their potential for more earnings." 

Hernandez also stressed the fact that English majors are employable in more than just teaching, stating that several students have gone on to careers in communications, publishing, and public relations.  

"English is a very good starter degree for students going into graduate studies like medical school or law," Hernandez added.  

Following Hernandez was Allied Health Coordinator, Glenda Owens, who updated the Board on the College's Certified Nursing Assistant program.  

"The mission of our CNA is to provide a pathway, an entry level into the health-care field," Owens said. "The primary focus of a CNA is geared towards long-term care skillsets. We are very fortunate because our program also teaches students to work in a clinical and hospital setting, that way they are extremely versatile when they graduate." 

The program has been a tremendous success, with students posting a 92-percent pass rate on state exams. Furthermore, those who have moved into GCCC's top-notch Practical Nurse program, reported a 100-percent pass rate on the NCLEX.  

Meantime, Dr. Ruda shared the college's annual strategic plan, which included an initiative based on multiple measures.  Instead of a student taking a single placement test, this idea takes a look at his or her collective effort, including high school grade point average as well as ACT and SAT scores.  

"It just gives a broader picture as far as skillset," Dr. Ruda said. "I applaud the work of our faculty and student services staff on this, which was completed this past spring." 

In addition, the administration team outlined the new general education committee, which was constructed to look at general ed courses and evaluate which ones were listed for degree requirements.  

"We put that committee together to help improve the process," Dr. Ruda described.  

The Board was also presented with a new adult-learning program called Upward Academy, which uses the school's mobile lab out at Tyson. It allows Tyson employees to work on their GED, English as a second language coursework and citizenship.  They also heard the College's plan on evaluating and reconstructing job descriptions across the board, streamlining the process and providing the right degree requirements for students.  

"We are really building momentum," Malone said. "Our strategic plan is built towards making sure we have a successful future." 

In the President's monthly report, Dr. Ruda was excited to announce a $235,000 grant that will go towards four virtual welding simulators, allowing for enhanced training at different high schools across the area as well as on-site training for industry.  

"This is a tremendous addition to our welding program," Dr. Ruda said. "Our plan is to take them out to some of our partners, so they can do training in the field." 

Finally, the Board voted to go into executive session where no action was taken.  

The Board has scheduled a special meeting for Thursday, Oct. 22 at 7 a.m. to discuss three specific grants funding requests: welding simulators, refrigerated truck, and access controls.  


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