September 2, 2021 Agenda and Minutes | GCTC

September 2, 2021 Agenda and Minutes

Board of Directors Meeting

Thursday, September 2, 2021, 6:30 p.m.
Teams Meeting – Audio and Video Conference
Convening Center, 500 Technology Way, Florence, KY 41042

Board Members Present: 

  • Mr. John Baines
  • Mr. Larry Brown
  • Mr. Charles Coleman
  • Mr. Sam Collier
  • Mr. John Hayden
  • Mr. Erik Hermes
  • Mrs. Ruth Howell
  • Mr. David Schoenling
  • Mr. Charles L. Session, Jr.
  • Mr. Joshua Wade

Board Members Absent: 

Gateway and KCTCS Faculty and Staff Present:

  • Mr. Mike Baker, Director of Maintenance & Operations
  • Ms. Sherry Blum-Pretty, Associate Professor, English
  • Ms. Jane Frantz, Executive Assistant, President’s Office
  • Dr. Fernando Figueroa, President/CEO
  • Dr. Denise Fritsch, Dean of Institutional Effectiveness
  • Ms. Christi Godman, Associate Vice President, Workforce Solutions
  • Mr. John Hall, Transfer Coordinator/Academic Advisor
  • Ms. Amy Hatfield, Associate Vice President, Human Resources
  • Ms. Adara Holbrook, Medical Assisting Instructor
  • Ms. Adrijana Kowatsch, Vice President Development and External Relations
  • Mr. Patrick Lamping, Assistant Director, Marketing and Communications
  • Ms. Erica Marye, Assistant Director, Marketing and Communications
  • Dr. Tiffany Minard, Associate Vice President of Inclusion, and Intervention Services
  • Mr. Doug Penix, Associate Vice President for Academic Services
  • Mr. Josh Risch, Information Technology Project Manager
  • Mr. Chris Russey, Assistant Professor, Math/Statistics
  • Mr. Paul Tontillo, Director of Budget & Fiscal Services
  • Ms. Laken Wallingford, Development Manager
  • Ms. Ingrid Washington, Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Mr. James Younger, Vice President, Administrative & Business Affairs


  • Mr. Sean McLernon, National Account VP, Divisions Maintenance Group


    Board Chair John Baines, called the meeting to order at 6:39 p.m. The board recited the Pledge of Allegiance and observed a moment of silence. Roll call was taken. The record will reflect that a quorum was present.

    Chair Baines asked the new student representative, Mr. Joshua Wade, who was sworn in before the board meeting, to introduce himself. He is in his second semester at Gateway studying environmental science. He said that he joined the Student Government Association and ran for the board post to be involved in finding solutions to problems. He also wanted to challenge himself to go outside his comfort zone.

    Dr. Figueroa introduced Mr. Sean McLernon, a Gateway graduate and National Account Vice President at Divisions Maintenance Group. He shared his Gateway story of working hard to pull up his GPA after having a negative experience at a four-year college. He succeeded at Gateway, earned a 4.0, had great experiences, and transferred to NKU to earn a bachelor’s degree. As a former student he is always happy to give back to Gateway. As a member of the community, he is proud and happy to see the opportunities for technical education being created at the Urban Metro Campus.  

    Chair Baines called for a motion to approve the minutes from the May 27, 2021, meeting. Upon motion by Mr. Larry Brown, and seconded by Mr. Charlie Coleman, a vote was taken to approve the May 27, 2021, minutes as presented. The vote was unanimous to approve.

    Chair Baines asked the members of the board if everyone had a chance to review the code of ethics, as listed in Appendix A of the bylaws. Mr. Erik Hermes asked if any changes were made to the Code of Ethics. Chair Baines said there were no changes. Chair Baines called for a motion to approve the reaffirmation of the code of ethics.  Upon motion by Mr. David Schoenling, and seconded by Mr. Sam Collier, the vote was unanimous to approve. Chair Baines then asked each board member to sign their copy of the signature page provided and return the signed page to Gateway Office of the President, to be kept on file with the bylaws. 

    Chair Baines indicated that each committee chair will report at this meeting on the committee goals, meeting plans, and what the committee members can expect.

    A. Governance Committee – Mr. Hayden
    Committee Chair John Hayden reported that the bylaws require a board self-evaluation every two years. He will ask Ms. Jane Frantz to send out the form to everyone to fill out and return, to discuss results at the annual meeting. The evaluation collects feedback on ten criteria.

    Chair Hayden said that he met with former board and committee chair Dr. Julie Smith-Morrow to gain more information about the role of the committee. He hopes the committee will meet quarterly going forward.

    B. Strategic Planning Development Committee – Mr. Collier
    Chair Collier said they are planning to meet August, November, February, and April. The committee’s purpose is to evaluate Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and to align them with the college priorities and the needs of the community. They will discuss actionable items around the college’s strategic enrollment plan.

    C. Finance and Facilities Committee – Mr. Hermes
    Chair Hermes reported that the committee’s work centers around the college budget process, with participation by Gateway business office staff. The committee meets several times starting in January and continuing through May when the budget is presented to the board and submitted to KCTCS.

    D. Nominating Committee – Mr. Coleman
    Chair Coleman reported that the committee did not meet in 2021 because the executive officers’ two-year terms expire next year.  The committee will meet next summer to nominate a new slate of officers for the October 2022 meeting.

    E. Executive Committee – Mr. Baines  
    Chair Baines reported that the Executive Committee has not had a need to meet.

    F. Performance Evaluation of the President Committee – Mr. Session
    Board chair Baines gave a summary of the committee’s purpose and meeting plan because Mr. Chuck Session was not in the board meeting at that time. The evaluation is completed at the May meeting. Dr. Figueroa will send his yearly goals to the committee before the next board meeting.

    Chair Baines introduced Mr. Charlie Coleman. He shared a YouTube video and photos of his family.  The video was used when he ran for political office six years ago. He is not in office and not running for office currently. The video included the story of his background in Bellevue and Campbell County.

    Mr. Coleman nominated Mr. Hayden to present the board member spotlight at the next meeting.


    Chair Baines said that he is optimistic for the future. He said area growth is slow in the headwinds of multiple challenges from the effects of Covid-19, the choice of many to opt-out of the workforce, and a long-term decline in Kentucky population. He said that it is important for Gateway and the board members to focus on what they do well and what their purpose is. He asked the board to continue to speak up for the college, promote the Gateway brand, and stay involved. He thanked the board members for their service on the board.

    Dr. Figueroa reported to the board that the Paramedic program achieved 100% pass rate on the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technician Paramedic (NREMTP) exam. He said that the board will have two opportunities to meet with new KCTCS President Czarapata during his visit to Gateway on November 8 and at the board meeting in December. He gave an update on the River City Network renovations at the Center for Technology, Innovation and Enterprise (TIE).  There were some equipment and other delays, and it is planned to be complete in June 2022. Gateway is offering free exams for the Microsoft Cloud Challenge to students, faculty, and staff.

    Dr. Figueroa pointed out several advocacy tools distributed to the board, including a folded document, one-pager board highlights, Who We Serve report on student demographics, and Workforce Solutions materials. He said that the legislative advocacy focus for the next session is on increasing dual credit tuition rate to half of the tuition rate and requiring a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) from tuition waiver recipients. In response to Chair Baines’ question about barriers to the legislature voting these into law, Dr. Figueroa asked Gateway Vice President of Development and External Relations, Ms. Adrijana Kowatsch, to provide input. Ms. Kowatsch said that with the FAFSA requirement federal money would be leveraged first to pay for waivers, and that the issue is to make legislators aware of the advantage for the state of requiring the FAFSA. The dual credit tuition rate is also an issue of awareness. KHEEA funds are the primary source of dual credit tuition so that increasing the rate would not be a direct burden for families. Dr. Figueroa said the tuition rate has been in the budget bill in the past, but KCTCS is asking it to be put into law now so that it is permanent.

    Dr. Figueroa invited board members to ask questions and lend their support through any connections they have with legislators. Mr. Session asked Dr. Figueroa if there have been or will there be conversations about the FAFSA requirement with NKY caucus members between the third and fourth quarter of 2021, if it will be on the agenda during the session in 2022. Dr. Figueroa replied in the affirmative, described what has happened, and gave plans for future meetings. Mr. Session recommended preparing a one-pager on the topic to share in advance of conversations with the legislators and recommended inviting Senator Schickel speak with third-party advocates on behalf of the college.

    Dr. Figueroa asked Mr. Younger to present information to the board on enrollment. He said that the budget was planned in June and July when Covid-19 numbers were down and the outlook was positive. Fall enrollment numbers reflect a decline in enrollment across all student groups. College enrollment is down across the country and the state. Gateway is continuing to focus on Strategic Enrollment Management (SEM) tactics, especially to reach high schools where Gateway could not recruit last fall or spring because of Covid-19. He detailed efforts to identify causes of the enrollment decline, address anything that can be changed, and collect data to inform future enrollment and budget plans. He explained that federal Covid-19 funds were used to pay off student debt and write-off additional maintenance and operation costs of the college due to the pandemic. He said that a new scholarship and marketing plan have been created to grow awareness of Gateway and the many options for tuition assistance that are available.

    Dr. Figueroa summarized by asking the board members to encourage everyone to enroll at Gateway because there is no reason to stop out of education now.

    The full report was placed on file.

    Chair Baines called the meeting adjourned at 7:45 p.m.

    Prepared by Ms. Jane Frantz, Recording Secretary

Important Dates to Remember

  • Board Meetings –
    • October 21, 2021
    • December 9, 2021