February 27, 2007
9:00 am to 12:00 pm System Office - Room 112
Attendees: Earl Campa, CFC; Jade Borne, MC; Bennie Lambert, NHC; Severo Balason, NHC; Linda Bilides, System Office; Jason Kot, System Office; Mary Shafer, System Office; Nithy Sevanthinathan, System Office; Raphael Turner for Larry Rideaux, TC; Tammy McFarland, System Office- Recorder.
Guests: Ken Lynn, System Office; John O'Malley, KC: Johanna Boley, NHC; Jim Taylor, MC; Marian Burkhart, System Office
Absent: Diana Pino, CFC; Terry Sawma, KC; Larry Rideaux, TC; Debra Britton, TUC; Nockie Zizelmann, System Office;
Opening ItemsApproval of minutes - accomplished via email
1. The Chart of Accounts --an executive summary and timeline of the project-Marian Burkhart
A handout was distributed detailing the changes to the chart of accounts that will take place on June 29 - July 5, 2007. This is a huge undertaking that will result in the shifting to a new code for budgeting in Colleague, which will not only impact OP08 budgets but will reorganize the budget reports for the past 10 years.
The group responsible for this transition will be testing, beginning April 16, its impact to try and prepare for any issues that may occur over the transitional week.
Beginning on June 1 an "email blast" will begin cautioning personnel that ALL functions of colleague will be offline beginning June 28.
Planning on campuses for this down period should begin now-consider training sessions on items not related to colleague, team building, vacations, and workshops.
Contingency plans are in place to insure that the transition runs smoothly-and if not, to shut it down and return to the current system until problems can be resolved. It is suggested that detailed budget reports be run prior to 6/28/07 to insure that each department has a reference point to refer to after the shift has occurred.
2. TouchNet- Ken Lynn accompanied by Johanna Boley, Jim Tucker and John O'Malley, reviewed the new TouchNet system, which will allow students to pay tuition and fees and make limited purchases online. The program will be launched in two (2) phases. Phase 1 will launch on 04/02/07 with a bill/payment suite to allow students to set up an online account for payments using credit card or web-checks and authorize other users (parents, spouses, etc) to access the account. Students will also be able to set up their payment plans online. In phase 1-- automatic recalculation of billing will be accomplished overnight to accurately reflect the current billing. Phase 1 will also include a Marketplace Suite to allow for sale of various items such as on-campus event tickets, assessment testing, student insurance and other fees.
It will still be necessary for students to access a separate screen to set up the TouchNet Account-at this time colleague will not allow for a direct link from the registration site to TouchNet.
VPADs are proposing accessing a convenience fee for credit card use to help cover the fees that the credit card companies charge for processing credit purchases. The proposed rate would be 2.75% of the total charge.
Once students have set up their accounts the business offices will be able to email to their preferred email account and advise them of payment due dates and other financial items. Once in place the information will be saved and may be used in the future by the authorized users.
The SSC members voiced their concern regarding access to TouchNet and the inability to go directly to the site from online registration. Members were also concerned about the proposal to charge a convenience fee. The VPADs acknowledged that the indirect access was a weakness in the program but felt that the overall system would be a great improvement to the current process. VPADs also believe that the high cost of credit card service fees makes a convenience charge inevitable.
Concerns were also voiced regarding the emails sent out by the college, which often ends up in the students spam folder due to the bulk emailing process. Students need to be informed to add the sending address to their account so it will not be rejected. Ken will check to see if text messaging can also be used.
Major problems were encountered in the fall when the business offices shut down while there will still long registration lines and multiple students were de-reg'd because they had not completed payment plans.
Other measures that will be taken:
Pilot program with students- the program has not been piloted with students-Nadine offered to "round up" some students at Kingwood so that the program could be tested.
Public Information Council will produce an information campaign marketing to the students
Video tutorial is being developed and will have a link on MyRecords
Additional PCs are being ordered to handle the increased use in the business office areas, any PC can be used to access the site.
Student Services and Business Offices must work together to make this successful.
Trainers will be trained for each campus and will train in-house staff prior to April launch.
Decision: SSC members agree that this is a good first step and the council supports the implementation of the program. However, everyone voiced concerns due to the inability to have a direct link from online registration as well with the plan to impose a convenience charge for credit card used.
3. Maximum # of dual credit courses permitted-Earl Campa.
CFC has adhered to the policy of restricting dual credit students to two courses per semester. The other colleges do as follows:
KC-typically permits dual credit students to take up to 4 courses with the approval of the HS advisor and Academic VP. Students must be academically capable to do this.
MC- adheres to the 2 course limit.
TC-permits up to 3 courses with Academic VP approval
NHC- adheres to the 2 course limit
Mary Shafer indicated that THECB allows for exemptions to the 2 course rule-and encouraged the council to develop a policy including how exceptions are granted and then to stay within those parameters. (No action taken to assign development of the policy)
4. URRS Report Review - Larry Rideaux asked that this be kept on the agenda from last month, but was absent. A discussion occurred on the need to review the information currently appearing on the website for accuracy and consistency- this information can be updated at anytime.
The question was also asked, "Can we report as a district, rather than individually?" Action: Nadine will check on this and report back to the council at the next meeting. The council asked that this item remain on next month's agenda.
5. Employee and Student Health Concerns - Bennie Lambert. Severo reported on the resolution of the TB incident at NHC. The Harris County Public Health Service stepped in and handled all the testing, x-rays and prescription of prophylactic drugs at no cost to the college or faculty or students involved for those exposed to the student with an active case of TB. The incident was handled professionally and the health service worked effectively with the college to insure that everyone was protected including the sick student.
6. Registration Debriefing-the registration debriefing session on February 20 went very well. Fewer negative remarks were noted and a commitment to improving the process was evident. Jade will distribute the minutes from the meeting by the end of this week and will meet with Steve Head to present the recommendations for improving the registration process developed at the meeting. The group will meet again in the late spring or early summer to prepare for the fall registration period.
7. Disciplinary Holds-----Nadine Jenkins/Terry Sawma-Nadine wanted to know who was responsible for removing disciplinary holds. The consensus was that before any holds related to disciplinary actions should not be removed until the person responsible for inputting the hold is notified and has the opportunity to "weigh in" on the resolution of the hold.
8. AskOnLine Tutoring Initiative--deferred to next meeting.
9. Testing Fees for Employees - CFC has had requests to waive testing fees for employees, how are the colleges handling this? At this time, fees are being charged for all testing.
Action: Jade will place this on the agenda for the Employee Higher Education Committee, which is reviewing tuition reimbursement benefits for employees.
10. My Educational Plan - Larry Rideaux requested that My Educational Plan (MEP) be re-evaluated as part of the advising process because it is too difficult for students to maneuver. Everyone agrees that the sluggishness of the MEP is keeping students from using it as a tool to degree planning.
Action: If MEP is not meeting the needs of the students then another program must be in place-get with Jen Murillo to see what else is available.
Jade asked what happened to the council's decision not to de-reg students who had not completed their payment plans and furthermore, how can the council insure that its proposals that are approved by CESD are initiated at each of the colleges. What are the correct reporting lines? And is it a problem that the district Financial Aid Director is no longer a part of College Services and yet the FA directors at the college all report to the VP or dean of student services resulting in "mixed messages" on how to best serve the students.
Action: Jade and Nadine will meet with Steve Head to see how to best handle this issue and better understanding reporting lines.
Severo will report on the progress of the formulation of a student services help desk at our next meeting.
Next Meeting-March 27, 2007