I.S. Project Manager and Contract Administrator Tracy Bray met with the Butler Community College Board of Trustees at the meeting Tuesday, June 13 to discuss the possibility of hosting an electronic gaming event on campus during either the fall 2017 or spring 2018 semesters. Local and big-name sponsors would be sought to help support the event.
"Big sponsors like Dell, like Red Bull, they put in millions of dollars. They donate millions of dollars in money and equipment to colleges for these types of things. I mean, it is amazing – the money. And we'll get into that a little bit further. But right now, we're working with marketing, and we put some packages together. And we're going to reach out to some potential sponsors to see if they would be interested in sponsoring something like that for our college. And then we'll kind of go from there and see where it goes," Bray said.
Last year was a huge milestone for college eSports, with over 1,600 college teams and 300 schools from across the U.S.A. and Canada participating in the North American Collegiate Championships (NACC). Teams participating in the NACC are competing for both institutional and individual team member scholarships. Currently, there are eight Kansas colleges and universities with eSports programs.
"Competing in eSports takes quick wits and strategy. eSports is the fastest growing sport in the world. As such, it will be an Olympic event in 2022," Bray said.
eSports are often played in a first-person shooter (FPS) or multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) style. Currently, the most popular MOBA is League of Legends, with an estimated 100 million monthly active players. The 2014 League of Legends Championship was watched by more than 27 million people on ESPN.
"If we were to hold an event on-site, we would be the first college in Kansas to hold an event on-site. WSU had an event on-site, but they did not run the event. They had an outside party come in and run the event for them. So, it's really an exciting opportunity," Bray said.
BCC President Kimberly Krull encouraged Bray to keep the board of trustees updated on the progress of potentially hosting an eSports event.
During the board action items segment of the meeting, the board of trustees discussed and approved revisions to the college's expectation of student conduct policy. The policy was revised in order to provide clarity for students and to be consistent and applicable to the college's recently-approved weapons policy, which will be effective July 1.
"Really, the additions or the changes, revision-wise, [are that] we moved some things around. We also just tried to clarify some processes so that students understood, you know, which track they were going to head down depending on the type of disciplinary situation they were faced with," Krull said.
Krull added that the expectation of student conduct policy provides students the opportunity to appeal.
"Whether they go down the student disciplinary process or the academic integrity process, in both cases, there's a very step-wise process that we've lined out. In every case, they have an opportunity to appeal the decisions along the way. They have due process, so they have the ability to appeal along the way .... The final step is also a very formal complaint process. If they don't agree with the decisions that come about because of the disciplinary process, then they have a grievance process that could eventually end up in front of you folks [the trustees] as a final appeal process," Krull said.
Next, Vice President of Finance Kent Williams and Ryan Murray from Insurance Center, Inc. recommended renewal of the college's property insurance. The board of trustees approved three premium summaries, with the general fund budget as the funding source.
Then, the board updated their Federal Red Flags Identity Theft Prevention policy. The only significant change is in the covered accounts. The pre-update policy lists the following covered accounts: refund of credit balances involving PLUS loans, refund of credit balances without PLUS loans and tuition payment plan. The revision includes those three accounts and expands the scope to include all student accounts under the control of the following departments: registration, accounts receivable and financial aid.
Vice President of Academics Lori Winningham also addressed the board concerning the college's partnership opportunities with Plumbers and Pipefitters Apprenticeship Training in Kansas (PPATKS) and the Construction and Trades Union, respectively. The partnerships would allow apprentices of PPATKS and the Construction and Trades Union who are completing their programs to take 15 credit hours, primarily general education courses, from BCC. This gives students the ability to graduate with both their Journeyman credentials and their Associate of Applied Science degree.
"They've asked that these courses be online. So, we've had informational sessions. We've had about 65 people through the three sessions ... that were interested that can start [with the PPATKS partnership] this fall. For the construction and trades, like I said, we're still working through some details on the MOU [memorandum of understanding] and probably wouldn't start until spring of '18," Winningham said.
BCC already has two programs right now that are set up in a similar fashion – the sheet metal program and the electricians partnership. The two new partnerships were approved by the board of trustees.
Afterward, the board accepted the retirement of academic advisor Lois Pierson. Pierson worked for 19 years as an academic advisor at BCC, and she was involved with the allied health areas at the college.
"Lois has done a wonderful job. She's going to be missed greatly by her students and by student services as a whole. She's done a great job. Anytime you put in 19 years for students, you're making a difference for a lot of people," Bill Rinkenbaugh, vice president of student services, said.
Pierson would like to use her retirement to spend more time with family, travel and pursue hobbies.