J'Ville College starts year with staff changes, facility plans

Published on Monday, 30 December 2013 19:20 - Written by KELLY GOOCH kgooch@tylerpaper.com

As the spring semester approaches, Jacksonville College has undergone personnel changes and continues work on student housing.

President Dr. Mike Smith said personnel changes occur at the end of nearly every semester, and multiple changes were made.

That includes the departure of a math professor, Johnnie Ross, and her husband, religion professor Leon Ross. He said the college didn’t want to see them go, but Ross, a pastor, was called to a church in Gilmer, and the couple is moving.

He said existing personnel took over the positions.

Three maintenance workers also were let go based on performance issues, and an employee in the music department was let go because of “what was best for the school,” Smith said.

Someone from another department was moved into the music department, he said.

The Information Technology department is smaller by one person.

“We just had too many in that department to stay within budget,” Smith said.

Dean of Students Ken Rawson has left, and Kaley Dean is the new acting dean of students.

“We made some changes in the job description and found someone who was best suited for that job position,” Smith said.

The personnel changes took place earlier this month, Smith said.

“We start a new year in January. It was just the right time. Some of this just naturally happened. We were forced to make a decision,” Smith said.

“We’re not cutting back on any services to our students. We’re not cutting back on any courses. … We don’t feel like we’ve given up anything. We just made some personnel changes that we think is going to be best for the college.”

The college also has a lease agreement on the old Joe Wright Elementary School and plans to move classes there after renovations, Smith said.

Academic Dean Lynn Nabi has said the old Joe Wright building would provide a lot more classroom space and allow the school to focus on keeping the student-to-teacher ratio small.

Smith said he hopes to have the ability to do renovation to the old Joe Wright in 2014 and move in in 2015.

In the meantime, the college also continues work on a new student housing project.

In September, Jacksonville College broke ground on a new housing site, which is located behind the library on Kickapoo Street, according to an email from college public relations director David Heflin.

Smith said plans for the student housing project include three units, with units constructed as money is available. According to Heflin’s email, each unit is slated to comfortably house 20 students.

Jacksonville College begins spring semester classes on Jan. 15.

Smith said the goal is for enrollment to stay above 500 for the spring semester.

“I think we’ve got a real good attitude. We’ve got a good spirit on campus and everything,” Smith said.

“We’re just looking for a good spring enrollment,” he said.