In the first meeting since classes began, the Board of Regents approved appointments to new faculty, approved new contracts for University learning equipment and stated that Northwest had received a $40,000 grant.
Provost Jamie Hooyman brought a proposal to the Board for the appointment of new faculty for the 2021-22 school year. On a unanimous vote, the Board appointed 11 new positions.
The first contract the Board approved was for an extension of Instructure Canvas, presented by Hooyman. The contract was for a $1.27 million five-year extension for the University’s use of the program.
Hooyman said that Canvas was important to every single course a student takes as well as the success of Northwest’s transition to online schooling due to COVID-19.
The second proposal was from Vice President of Finance and Administration Stacy Carrick for a $1.9 million contract during the 2021-22 school year with the Northwest Regional Professional Development Center and the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Missouri Market Development Grant
Northwest received a grant of just over $40,000 from the Missouri State Environmental Improvement and Energy Resources Authority to purchase a new boiler and heating system. What was once heated by electricity will now be heated with a new biomass boiler, which Northwest will fund using up to 75% of the grant money.
Northwest will have to provide 25%, slightly above $13,000, of the boiler funding due to EIERA requirements, and that money will be taken from the Recycling Center operations fund.
This biomass boiler will be fueled by mixed paper and will heat the Recycling Center.
Student Regent Connor Thompson made his report at the meeting and said campus is seeing more student involvement and overall acceptance of COVID-19 mitigation methods.
“Right now the biggest thing I’ve noticed is that we are kind of returning to normal, in terms of how people are operating,” Thompson said. “It looks like our vaccination efforts for students have gone very well.”
At the last vaccination clinic held on campus, the Northwest Wellness Center administered 27 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. As of Sept. 8, 34% of all students and 45% of on-campus students have shared their vaccination status. Based on a survey sent out to all Northwest employees, 60% have been vaccinated, but only 56% of faculty have shared their vaccination record with the University.
In order for the University to obtain their data, students have to send in a photo of their vaccination card to Wellness Services.
“I’m a little bit surprised at our vaccination numbers, at least what’s reported is lower than what I would guess them to be,” Regent Jason Klindt said. “Are they higher than we think they are? More broadly, what are some other things that we should be doing to drive those numbers up?”
Thompson suggested having Wellness Services send out more information on clarifying common misconceptions about the vaccine.
“We need to counter this information, otherwise we are going to go back to online learning,” Thompson said.
Vice President of Student Affairs Matt Baker spoke about social media posts and the incentive program through Wellness Services for people who have their vaccine, but then he mentioned that there is a problem with the current numbers that are reported.
“We haven’t seen the massive numbers, and I think that one of the things we just can’t know is, are people not vaccinated or are they not sharing their vaccination status?” Baker said. “We don’t know if we have a low vaccination rate or a low participation rate in the incentive program.