By Keenan A. Mount
Lewis and Clark Community College’s Board of Trustees welcomed Bethalto Superintendent Jill Griffith, the new board member filling the vacancy left by former Chair David Heyen, who resigned after calling Faculty Member Gerald Mozur “an ugly son of a bitch” during September’s meeting.
“I have a genuine passion and enthusiasm for this work, as I’ve seen the power of education and its ability to transform lives,” Griffin said. “My education has opened doors for me that I never thought possible, and I believe in providing the same access and opportunity for all students interested in a post-secondary pathway. I am excited to be a part of the vision and opportunity that I believe exists at Lewis and Clark Community College. I want to assist in moving that vision forward on behalf of all L&C students.”
Griffin is no stranger to institutions of education. She holds a doctorate in education and has served as a building principal, classroom teacher, reading specialist and a softball coach.
“The trustees are grateful that we received many applications from members of the community who were interested in the success of Lewis and Clark,” said L&C Board Chair Julie Johnson. “We are especially excited that Dr. Griffin was one of those applicants. After interviewing all the applicants, the Board agreed that her background and expertise in the education field, and specifically in our district, best suited her to fill the board vacancy at this time. The Board looks forward to continuing to make Lewis and Clark the best it can be, now with Dr. Griffin’s assistance.”
President Ken Trzaska’s budget health update contained news of tuition and fees revenue being down $100,000. The college’s revenue, however, balanced out to be $200,000 in the positive. The budget continues to exceed actual spending due to positions remaining unfilled. Trzaska reported on an optimistic outlook for the 2023 fiscal year, saying
“We are trying to be more and more responsible with our dollars,” he said. “Things are getting more expensive, inflation is all around us, so we want to be good stewards of the money we have.”
The omnibus agenda was largely approved without discussion besides one item concerning a bid for 175 laptops at $1,130 each being funded by the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF). Board Secretary Kevin Rust was concerned with the price and there being only one bid for the laptops received.
The Director of Campus Technology Ron Wall explained that the bid package was sent to multiple companies with only one company responding with a bid. The item was approved following the discussion.
The board approved a policy revision which was motivated by the cybersecurity incident that took place in November of last year. The policy concerned the implementation of two-factor authentication protected VPNs for remote campus network access. The policy detailed that VPN access must be granted via request and is restricted to issued equipment.
The board addressed the upcoming holiday calendars, approving both the 22-23 and 23-24 holiday calendars after approving an amendment for future holiday calendars. The amendment added an all-team day off on Monday, March 13, the beginning of Spring recess.
In response to Rust’s financial scrutiny of the new holiday, Trzaska said “I’m not looking at it from a monetary perspective. “There is a positive emotional cost. We’re trying to take care of the team a little bit. I find value in it and always appreciate the consideration.”
Rust further responded by citing the total time off allotted to staff and said, “Seems like more than enough time off.”
Dean of Student Experience Cherise Jackson gave a report to the board that concerned a student satisfaction survey. The survey was sent to 2,051 students that composed the entirety of the student body.
Around 11% of the student body, or 218 students, responded. Jackson outlined some of the revelations of the survey, including that responding students found the campus secure and safe but they also felt that the college wasn’t helpful in directing students toward resources that would help finance their education.
“There wasn’t really a clear strategy as to why we sent it out when we did,” Jackson said. “We plan to think really hard about when would be a good time, and do it around the same time every year.”