Jun 222012

By Linda Kor —

Students planning to attend Northland Pioneer College will have a new requirement, one geared to help them better utilize the services offered by the college. SOAR (Student Orientation for Advisement and Regis-tration) is a two and a half hour orientation program that will be implemented with the upcoming fall semes-ter. The program will be required for new students or returning students taking 12 or fewer credits as a method of helping students plan their college career.

“In the orientation students will be able to have all their questions answered, be informed of college sup-port services, policies and learn about campus activities,” stated Jake Hinton, Dean of Students, who was ad-dressing members of the Navajo County Community College District Governing Board at their Tuesday meeting. The orientation will also provide a tour of the campus, and information on how credits transfer and how to sort through the financial aid process.

There is no fee and no credit is given for participating in the orientation, but those who don’t will find themselves unable to register the following semester. “This is a requirement because not attending means limiting students’ progression. Students who do not attend the first semester have until the next semester to take part in the orientation or they will not be able to register for classes,” explained Hinton.

The SOAR orientation booklet outlines the topics to be covered, including how to maneuver through the My NPC website, the difference between high school life and college life, and other necessary resources in order to maximize the college experience. The orientation will take place at each NPC location from registra-tion until two weeks into each semester. More information on the program can be found by visiting www.npc.edu.

The board also passed a resolution calling for an election of district governing board members on Nov. 6. The board will have two vacancies, one in District II currently held by Louella Nahsonhoya, which will ex-pire Nov. 6, and the other in District III currently held by Bill Jeffers, which will expire Dec. 31. The term of the District II position will be for the remainder of the appointed six-year term commencing on Nov. 7, 2012, and expiring Dec. 31, 2016. The District II position is for a six-year term, commencing Jan. 1, 2013, and ex-piring on Dec. 31, 2018.

Eric Bishop, director of Information Services and faculty in Computer Information Systems, updated the board on the technological advancements taking place at the college.

NPC has been implementing the EAGLE (Equitable Access to Gainful Learning Experiences) Project, with model classrooms now installed at all four campuses, and classes have been scheduled for the fall semes-ter. The college is also taking advantage of an agreement with Navajo County that allows for the use of county facilities to add network redundancy as part of the EAGLE project The county is benefiting from the agreement by using NPC facilities in Show Low, Snowflake, Winslow and Dry Lake to support county serv-ices in these communities.

Recent upgrades to NPC’s computer system include the implementation of thin clients, which are com-puters that depend upon centralized application servers rather than on internal servers. The servers provide the actual data processing, software programs, storage and security, eliminating the need for students to purchase or update particular software.

“We have had some issues with upgrading the system, but they were simple ones. We’re really at the crest of the hill and almost where we need to be. There is still some work to do in implementing software and with training,” stated Bishop.

In other business June 19, the board:

* Approved a renewal of contract with Corder Community Services for security personnel at all four cam-puses for an annual amount not to exceed $75,000.

* Approved updates pertaining to the intergovernmental agreement with the Northern Arizona Vocational Institute of Technology (NAVIT) as part of the annual review of contract. The updates consist of estimated expenditures for the current year and the list of available courses.

* Approved the renewal of contract between the college and the Navajo Nation Regional Partnership Council of First Things First, with funding for the program to come through a $296,874 grant.

* Approved the 2012-15 Strategic Plan.

* Authorized a deletion of the program Computer Programmer in Computer Information Services.

There will be no meeting of the board in July, with the next meeting slated on Aug. 21.