Hill College Board of Regents holds November 2023 monthly meeting

  Jessyca Brown
  Thursday, December 7, 2023 8:22 AM
  Enrollment Management

Hillsboro, TX

On November 21, 2023, the Hill College Board of Regents met for the monthly regular session meeting.

The minutes from the October meeting were approved. The financial report was also presented and approved.

Hill College President Dr. Thomas Mills presented his report, beginning with the announcement of the college receiving the Aspen Top 150 prize. Only 13 community colleges in Texas were chosen for the prize.

The Aspen Prize is awarded every two years and honors colleges with outstanding achievement in six areas—teaching and learning, certificate and degree completion, transfer and bachelor’s attainment, workforce success, access, and equity for students of color and those from low-income backgrounds. After being selected in the top 150, colleges must go through an application process.

The initial selection is based on publicly available data; the next step is for colleges to submit student success rates and narratives about their strategic plan (including key areas such as retention, credentials awarded, and completion and transfer rates) to better achieve the institution’s goals, which will lead to an intensive review process that will decide the recipients of the Aspen Prize in the spring of 2025.

In addition to potential award money, by applying to the Aspen Prize colleges contribute to the community college field by providing information and reflections on community college practices, which are shared with other colleges in fellowship, research, and presentations to state systems, municipalities, and other stakeholders.

 “Hill College students, faculty, staff, and community members should be exceedingly proud that the college is being recognized at the national level for its steadfast dedication to student success. Recognition like this certainly brings honor to the decades of hard work and dedication of countless contributors throughout the institution. Kudos to all, past and present, who have made Hill College what it is today,” said Dr. Mills.

Dr. Mills also gave a report on the college’s recent events, including the Phillip H. Lowe Performing Arts Series presentation of the Baylor Brass on November 9, 2023; the Medal of Honor Memorial Brick Ceremony on November 13, 2023, honoring four veterans including two Hill College employees, Dr. Dawn Cox and Scott Glasscock, as well as Michelle Bryant and Dr. Mills’ father, Samuel Mills; and the fall band and choir concert on November 16, 2023, during which several alumni and a local youth choir joined the performance.  

Personnel updates were also presented and approved.

Executive Director of Institutional Advancement Ashlee Ferguson gave an update on ongoing institutional advancement initiatives, including the Centennial Endowment Fund; the recently announced Phillip H. Lowe Performing Arts Series campaign, “30 for 30”; and the annual Century Club fundraiser/campaign. The college also received a grant for $100,000 for healthcare programming and has applied for several other grants geared toward dual credit students and workforce programs.

An update on deferred maintenance was presented. Phase one is nearly complete, including the demolition of Loftland Hall; improvements to the baseball field; Bailey, Dudley, and Frazier Halls; the Vara Martin Daniel Performing Arts Center; the Library and the Texas Heritage Museum; as well as cybersecurity and landscaping. Work for phase two is beginning, including continued work for the baseball field (dugout and bullpen) at a cost of $254,185. The ongoing work on electric at Bailey Hall at a cost of $170,600, as well as ongoing work on the Vara Martin Daniel Performing Arts Center at a cost of $281,757. Several new items were also presented, including improvements to information technology, the Bob Bullock Sports Center, and work on the softball field.

Interim Athletic Director and Dean of Students Randy Graves presented the athletic report, including standings and awards for men and women’s soccer, as well as reports on basketball, track, volleyball, and rodeo. Baseball and softball will resume in January 2024. For more information on standings, visit https://hillcollegeathletics.com.

The president also presented an update on the Financial Aid for Swift Transfer (FAST) Program, which is part of House Bill 8 that was passed earlier this year. FAST is geared toward expanding enrollment by offering students the option of dual credit at lower tuition costs so that all students have the opportunity to obtain college credits while in high school no matter their economic status.

Some of the benefits of FAST include reduced tuition costs for school districts, waiving all dual credit tuition costs for economically disadvantaged students, lowering tuition costs for non-economically disadvantaged students, providing more staff members to assist solely with dual credit programs implementing the use of open educational resources (online) for textbook material, and creating an endowed dual credit scholarship fund with the goal of maximizing the number of students who cannot afford dual credit tuition.

Vice President of Student Learning & Success Irene Accomando presented two considerations of approvals for affiliation agreements with Limestone Medical Center in Groesbeck and Pediatric Specialists in Plano for the Echocardiography Program. The motions were approved.

Vice President of The Student Experience Lizza Ross also presented two considerations of approvals of the college’s Emergency Operation Plan (EOP) and for policy updates. The motions were approved.

Acting Director of Human Resources Chris McElrath presented a consideration of approval for the removal of TIAA-CREF as an approved provider of 403B investment services for employees. McElrath also presented a consideration of approval for the addition of Equitably Advisors as a new provider of 403B investment services for employees. The motion was approved.

Members present: Karen Brackin, Bill Galiga, Jolene Lehmann, Dwight Lloyd, Tony Marley, Jennifer Nowlin, Kevin Ray, Bill Siddons III, and Rick Sullins,

Members absent: Kent Eubank, Dr. Allan Lane, and David Teel

The Hill College Board of Regents meets the third Tuesday of every month.