J-W Staff Reports
Pittsburg -- With votes Wednesday, the Kansas Board of Regents actively began overseeing public community colleges and vocational-technical schools in the state.
Among the votes taken, the board set down a policy for approval of courses at the community colleges. Now, any new course a community college wants to offer must be approved by the board. The policy redefines a credit hour for the colleges, a change sought by the Kansas Association of Community College Trustees.
The redefinition gives the colleges more flexibility in designing curriculum and scheduling courses, according to documents presented to the board in support of the change. It also moves away from a definition based on the one used by public schools.
Joe Birmingham, regents deputy executive director, said the board will approve courses at the community colleges only until the end of the fiscal year, on June 30, 2000. After that date, the regents will approve programs, instead of specific courses, as they do at the six state universities.
Also, the board approved an articulation agreement between the community colleges and vocational-technical schools on associate degrees in applied science and general studies.
The agreement lays down minimum standards for the transferability of credits obtained in pursuit of those degrees. It is intended to increase the ability of students to move between schools in pursuit of a degree.
One of the goals of the Higher Education Coordination Act, which gives the board authority over community colleges and vocational-technical schools, is to improve the ability of students to move between colleges.