President's Page - September 10, 2021

Welcome to Barton 2021-2022

During the 2020-2021 academic year, Barton exhibited outstanding composure and an abundance of grit in meeting the Mission of the College and the many needs of our students and the general public. Like each of you, I was encouraged and hopeful this past spring that we would see continued progress in reaching pre-COVID-19 pursuits. With that thought, Barton approached planning with a lessening of restrictions for 2021-2022. However, in light of on-going uncertainties regarding COVID variants, we will adapt to current circumstances and promote the well-being of all. Adapting to circumstances was quite evident this past year. I am sharing with you an instructional report that illustrates the extent of productivity, despite the COVID presence. What was of critical importance this past year remains all important at this time – responsiveness and compassion. As we embark on this new year 2021-2022, the opportunity to transform and positively impact lives remains constant and is no less critical than in past years.

In the past year a host of developments came to the forefront, primarily pandemic driven, that have or will be further shifting the ground on which we stand. Developments include:

  1. Enrollment – nearly 9% decline for 2020-2021
  2. CAREs stimulus funding – Barton received $4.5 million in federal support
  3. Kansas Promise Act – as of July 1, 2021, Kansas is providing last dollar scholarship funding support for career technical training
  4. Kansas Department of Correction – corrections programming was not fully funded for fiscal year 2021-2022, thereby limiting student access
  5. Barton Workforce – filling vacancies has been a growing dilemma and currently Barton has too many vacancies threatening our levels of service
  6. Public – the pandemic has impacted all walks of life and that includes education/training decisions
  7. Higher Learning Commission – June 2021 Multi-Location Visit and October 2022 on-site accreditation evaluation

More details concerning the above listing will be shared this week and in the coming weeks.

As per the enrollment factor, Barton’s 2020-2021 enrollment outcome was common to most higher education entities nation-wide and of course there is disappointment with this summer’s results. Fortunately, fall 2021 enrollment is providing reassuring signs. We will be carefully assessing the needs and expectations of our student markets and revise student messaging/services where needed. 

Additionally, a stark pandemic outcome has been the changing the world of work. Help wanted signs are common to every market and Barton is no exception. Attracting and maintaining a qualified workforce was a forceful measure in the decision of Barton Trustees to approve a 7% wage increase. With the troubling number of College employee vacancies, I ask each of you to take care in assessing your work environment. If there is a matter that appears to be out of order or needs to be addressed/brought to someone’s attention, please consider taking the added step and assist as you can in making a difference.

The above narrative may appear to be a somber glimpse of what lies ahead. The continuing trail of pandemic episodes are to be anticipated, but I believe that despite 2020-2021 hardships, the College persevered, adapted, worked tirelessly, and succeeded. Based on our values, purposes, and commitments, and although the year ahead will have similarities to the year prior, this College is seen as a secure and safe pathway for those seeking to reach their lifelong goals. For each of you, these factors have not changed and these factors serve as our individual and collective “anchors” in serving greater purposes – the well-being of our students and the public good. Our “anchors” have defied steady winds and because of each of you, we are sailing ahead in to 2021-2022 with our sights set on making a difference in peoples’ lives.

As of April of 2021, the linked listing of new employees are being brought to your attention. We welcome our newest co-workers and extend best wishes. Please introduce yourself as the opportunity is presented.