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BRAC Meeting – December 3, 2018

Agenda
Minutes

Call to Order – 7:34 p.m.

Attendance

  • BRAC: Ms. Garrigan-Piela, Mr. Jeffers, Mr. Pratt, Mr. Romanowski
  • Admin: Mr. Simons, Mr. McHugh, Mr. Edson
  • Guest:  Dr. Ramsammy, President – Hudson Valley Community College

Update from Hudson Valley Community College

Hudson Valley Community College is governed by a ten member Board of Trustees, which is appointed by the Governor (4), the Rensselaer County Legislature (5), and elected from among the student body (1).  Mr. Pratt was appointed by the Rensselaer County Legislature and his term expires in 2019. The Trustees began a president search well in advance of the resignation of Dr. Matonak as the sixth president of HVCC.  The Board of Trustees appointed Dr. Roger Ramsammy as the seventh president in 2017 and he began his term beginning July 1, 2018.

Dr. Ramsammy gave an overview of his life and career, including:

  • Birth in Trinidad, family of seven
  • Sold newspapers and played sports as a child
  • Participated in the World Cup in England
  • Attended Georgetown University and Howard University
  • At Palm Beach College, served as professor of Microbiology and Anatomy and Physiology, chair of Biology, associate dean of STEM and dean of Academic Affairs
  • Served as provost and chief academic officer at Northern Virginia Community College
  • Acted as president of the West Campus at Miami Dade College (over 165,000 students)
  • Received the Virginia Governor’s Award for the most innovative STEM program
  • Received the Florida Association of Community Colleges and Palm Beach State College Professor of the Year awards
  • Received the Martin Luther King Jr. Cultural Foundation Outstanding Educator Award for his dedication to educational outreach for underserved populations
  • Invited to participate in President Obama’s STEM Education College Opportunity Initiative
  • Reviewed his initiative to “make the book come alive” by building textbooks online

Mr. Harkin said the District has 15 HVCC courses at Columbia High School and initiatives for expansion are needed in advanced manufacturing and coding.  He noted that courses could be helpful for students studying engineering at RPI.

Dr. Ramsammy said he is working with area schools to develop a mobile testing program to evaluate areas of difficulty for students.  He believed that math is often an issue, since a fourth year is not required in high school, and some college students delay studying math until after the first year of college.

Mr. McHugh noted that the issue with math was being studied by the District and offering types of math in the fourth year, with particular attention to students with late arrival or early dismissal.  He also shared that the District is starting to track seniors after time at Columbia. HVCC is a selection for 30 to 35 percent of Columbia graduates, with the percent increasing in year 2 when students transfer from other colleges.  A goal is to increase the number of college credit bearing courses in the high school. Mr. McHugh was also interested in starting a regional P-Tech program.

Dr. Ramsammy said that instructors for HVCC courses must have a minimum number of graduate credit hours in the discipline.  This requirement is to maintain accreditation. As a result, faculty are being hired who have higher degrees.

Dr. Ramsammy spoke about summer boot camps planned for students between 11th grade and entering college with focus on writing and math.  He hoped this will stem the issue with students dropping out of college. Discussion ensued as to the type of math students need to be successful in business.

Mr. Pratt said that with the decline in total HVCC enrollment over time, methods to improve retention are more critical than ever.

Budget Update

Mr. Edson advised that the Board will be meeting on December 12 to review priorities for development of the 2019-2020 budget.  Mr. Simons has received a compilation of priority items submitted by departments for preliminary review. The Governor’s budget will be issued in late January.  Over the past few years, the District has received small foundation aid increases. The Gap Elimination Adjustment was paid in full, which provided some larger operating aid increases in the past.

Adjournment – 8:40 p.m.