In a special board of trustees meeting on Monday, the Dodge City Community College approved the non-renewal of personnel contracts for 10 faculty members.


Those faculty let go were David Aguado, professor of Spanish; Andrew Campfield, associate professor of nursing; Terri Nicholson, professor of chemistry; Nancy Schmidt, professor of English and Speech; Doris Donovan, professor of business; Steven Ellis, professor of chemistry and physics; DeWayne Donaldson, professor of health, physical education and recreation; Justin Weil, professor of welding; Michael Otterstein, professor of welding; and Jose Ruiz, instructor of welding.


Regarding the non-renewal of the contracts, DCCC vice president of academic affairs Jane Holwerda said, "Decisions are never easy. We analyze enrollment patterns and teaching methodology to make these decisions.


"A majority of these positions will be filled as we move forward through the summer and into next year.


"As we move through, next year, we will continue to analyze curriculum, employment trends and transfer rates."


With three faculty members of the welding program being let go, the move called into question on whether the program would still be offered at DCCC going forward.


In a post to the DCCC Facebook page it stated that the college had been working on a strategic plan to better meet the educational needs of students and community members over the past two years.


"As part of this plan, the college is also making several changes to its technical education offerings and workforce development programs," the Facebook post read. "For example, DCCC is currently making necessary changes to its welding program, which will allow the college to better serve both full-time and part-time students.


"In addition, the college is also expanding its existing allied health program and adding new climate and energy control technologies (HVAC) and electrical technology programs."


At the end of the post, DCCC vice president of workforce development Clayton Tatro said, "I want to emphasize that the DCCC welding program is not being discontinued.


"We are actually increasing the number of welding classes that we offer, and the Fall welding schedule is available on the DCCC website.


"Any suggestion or rumor that we are closing the program is blatantly false."


In speaking with Justin Weil on being let go, he stated he was not bitter and held no animosity. However, he did say some things needed to be addressed regarding teaching credentials.


"When the Higher Learning Commission came in and raised concerns at the college, one of the major ones was faculty credentials because there was not a policy in place," Weil said. "As per the minimum requirements of the HLC, a bachelor's degree is not required for workforce instructors.


"The college then put a policy in place to make it to where faculty needed a bachelor's degree.


"I raised the issue that we were in compliance according to HLC standards and we tried to supplement training, especially with becoming Lincoln Electric certified training instructors, but they turned us down."


Weil added that work was underway with Pittsburg State University in achieving a degree but felt the need to take a literature class, for example, to be qualified to instruct on welding was unnecessary.


"To keep my industry-based certification to bring to students I am required to have 80 contact hours to keep my CWI, and taking the bachelor's degree courses didn't apply towards that,“ he said.


The board of trustees voted on each individual faculty member for non-renewal.


All votes were unanimous with exception to those concerning Weil, Otterstein and Ruiz. Trustee Dan Reichenborn was the lone nay vote.


To contact the writer, email vmarshall@dodgeglobe.com.