Looking back and looking ahead for BCC
After 90 years, Butler Community College remains strong. With an annual enrollment of more than 13,000 students who range in age from 15 to more than 70, Butler remains dedicated to providing affordable education to all. Our College operations and more than 13,000 students added just under $400 million in income to the South-Central Kansas economy, with the students alone contributing $6 million dollars of this total in their spending. Almost 8 percent of these students relocated to the region last year. These students, along with the ones commuting to our campuses, spend money on gasoline, groceries, restaurants and entertainment. They become a vital part of our communities. While 90 percent of Butler students remain in Kansas upon completion of their educational goals, many of our students obtain internships while in college and secure employment so they can remain in South-Central Kansas after graduation.
We had an exciting and eventful year. Our Early College Academies are thriving. Butler was given ACT’s top award and named the National Exemplar Career Preparedness Award recipient for 2016-2017 for College and Career Readiness. Our exceptional Early College Academies, where high school juniors and seniors can complete an associate degree while finishing their high school diplomas, were the focus of the award. The ACT staff brought a national video team to campus and captured our Early College story. Butler was also nominated as a top community college in the nation by the Aspen Institute. By receiving this nomination, Butler is one of 150 community colleges able to compete for the $1 million prize and the honor of being named the top community college in the nation.
The Butler Grizzlies continued a tradition of excellence as well. Our softball team won the NJCAA D-1 national championship again this year with a 58-1 record. With their back-to-back national championships, a two season record of 111-5 and 88-game winning streak, Butler was identified with the longest winning streak in softball history at any collegiate level. For the second year in a row, the softball coaches received national recognition as the “Staff of the Year.” Five players received All-American status with Brynn Minor being named the 2017 NJCAA Betty Jo Graber Female Student-Athlete of the Year, the Dudley NJCAA D-1 Player of the Year and Regan Mergele as the Dudley NJCAA D-1 Pitcher of the Year. Men’s Track won the Region VI Indoor Championship again this year and finished fourth nationally. Our other teams also saw great season successes both on and off the field. We’re also very proud that we had 55 NJCAA Academic Student-Athlete Award recipients.
Butler’s Livestock Judging Team received national recognition as well by being named the “Team of the Year” by the Junior College Coaches Association. Butler’s Coaches were recognized as “Coaches of the Year.” Five of the 15 All-Americans were members of Butler’s team; bringing Butler’s total to double that of any other program in the country.
In November, we partnered with Kansas State Polytechnic in Salina and will offer students the chance to graduate with an associate degree in UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems). Once they successfully complete the program, students will be able to transfer into K-State Salina’s UAS bachelor degree program – one of the top in the nation. This program, which includes drones, launches in fall 2018.
With a continued focus on student retention and success, Butler’s math faculty have spent more than a year redesigning many of our math courses, including College Algebra, into one credit-hour modules, allowing students to focus on specific topics where additional learning support is needed. Promising results are already being realized with the inaugural students in the fall 2017 “roll-out” of the modules.
Faculty and staff across the College have been diligent the past year in redesigning all our programs of study. Fall 2018 will see the implementation of “Guided Pathways,” a model promoting a streamlined navigational approach to choosing classes and a clearer pathway toward graduation. National statistics indicate that with “Guided Pathways” students are more likely to graduate or receive their certificates in a timely fashion, thus saving them time and money.
Butler is in the midst of a digital transformation as well with a number of IT infrastructure projects underway to meet the current and future teaching, learning, digital safety and security needs for our students, faculty and staff. As technology is being updated, Butler is also involved in a comprehensive master site and facilities planning process with Gravity::Works + DLR Group, Inc. The completed master plan will include not only deferred maintenance information but suggested renovation, future building, and landscaping plans and provide a facilities roadmap for the next number of years.
We are so grateful for our wonderful supporters as well. This past year, Butler was able to provide more than $3.5 million in scholarships for academic, activity, and athletic accomplishments, with the Foundation contributing more than a half million dollars of that total to more than 500 students. We are excited to be helping students transform their lives at Butler, where thousands of tomorrows start today.