Lewis & Clark Community College employees were asked to enroll in academic courses to boost enrollment, according to David Heyen, a member of the Board of Trustees.
Heyen said that two people he trusts told him they were verbally requested to enroll, although he does not know whether they actually signed up for classes.
“(It’s) kind of a new edict,” he said.
Heyen, who said he’s been a trustee for six months, plans to bring up the topic at the next board meeting, which was scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday.
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“There’s been a lot of strange things going on over there,” he said, referring to a story from Fox 2, which reported Nov. 2 that the college’s president, Dale Chapman, and his spouse are paid roughly $700,000 a year.
The station also reported that Chapman accepted a $1.8 million retirement payout in 2010, only to return to work two months later.
Classes at the college cost $144 per credit hour, and one class is three hours long, Heyen said.
Lori Artis, vice president of administration for the college, said in an email the only classes faculty are asked to take are for training. They include topics such as Title IX, the Clery Act, ethics training and other requirements. Most of these are online training courses.
“These courses are not aimed at boosting enrollment numbers,” Artis said. “They are a function of keeping Lewis and Clark legally compliant with state and federal policies.”
“Lewis and Clark has had both enrollment increases and decreases over the past few years,” she said. “Lewis and Clark is not focused on boosting enrollment numbers. One of the college’s major strategic goals is focused on retention and completion.”
Because Heyen only recently became aware of the situation, he didn’t know how many people were asked to take classes, how many were being taken or who asked employees to sign up. Still, he reiterated that the classes they were asked to take were not mandatory training, but academic.
“That’s what I understand,” Heyen said.
Approximately 15,000 students take courses at Lewis & Clark each year, according to the college’s website. It was founded in 1970, and today it employs more than 600 faculty across three campuses in Godfrey, Edwardsville and Alton.