The information below is from my December report to the Trustees. The numbers in parenthesis relate to the items in our strategic plan.
National: A recent article in the Community College Times stated that community colleges under pressure to increase completion rates and student outcomes are increasingly relying on assessments to measure their progress and fine-tune programs to achieve better results. The article focused on examples of community colleges achieving dramatic increases in student graduation and job placement rates based on using data analysis to make improvements. Colleges implementing a campus-wide culture of evidence and making changes as a result of student outcomes assessment are demonstrating the most pronounced improvements to student success.
Region: On December 6th, campus leaders met with our counterparts from Montana State University-Billings to review our articulation agreements and discuss the potential for program offerings on our campus.
State: Governor Mead has appointed Powell resident and former NWC employee Kay Dooley to the Wyoming Community College Commission (WCCC). Ms. Dooley has been appointed to fulfill Jack Russell’s term which would have expired March 2015. According to state statute, Ms. Dooley's appointment by the Governor to fill the Commission vacancy is temporary until the Senate considers approval during the upcoming legislative session. If the Senate consents, the appointment will be effective March 1, 2014.
Governor Matt Mead submitted his proposed biennial budget on November 29th. The state’s standard budget has flattened over the last few years after a period of steep growth. According to a news release from the Governor’s Office, his recommended budget continues the flat spending trend, as stemming the tide of budget growth is a priority for the Governor. Included in the budget is modest funding for salary increases as well as funding for a statewide unified technology network. The WCCC’s request for $14.3 million to recalibrate the funding model was not included in the Governor’s budget recommendation.
University of Wyoming (UW) Outreach School Academic Coordinator Beverly Bell and I are updating the MOU we have with the UW. I have talked with University officials regarding the importance of a strong UW presence in northwest Wyoming and the bachelor degree programs needed in our area to meet workforce demands. (SP 1.2)
As the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) liaison for the Wyoming Community College Executive Council, I am working with NWC PTK Advisor and Assistant Professor of Psychology Eric Silk to plan the Wyoming Academic Team awards ceremony this spring. The PTK All-USA Academic Team program recognizes students throughout the state with exceptional scholarship, citizenship and service.
Local: I continue to commit time communicating with Big Horn Basin residents in various venues. I served as a guest on KPOW’s morning show with Scott and Russ on November 13th and as the speaker at the Cody Rotary Club on Thursday, December 5th. I have been appointed as a steering committee co-chair for the Voice of the Community Powell Economic Partnership (PEP) planning meetings. On November 14th, I met with the other steering committee co-chairs to review the results from the community visioning meetings. Planning meetings will continue after the first of the year. As an executive board member of PEP, I have also been involved in the executive director search process. (SP 3.2)
On November 12th, I had the opportunity to meet with the Big Horn Basin School Superintendents. Although I had previously met one-on-one with Powell Superintendent Kevin Mitchell and Cody Superintendent Ray Schulte, I had not yet met to discuss issues with the other superintendents. I was pleased with the level of discussion and look forward to more opportunities in the future. (SP 3.1)
On December 3rd, I attended my second Powell interagency meeting with key community leaders to discuss areas of mutual concern. I find these meetings informative and beneficial. (SP 3.1, 3.2)
Campus: In addition to one-on-one meetings with trustees, faculty, staff, and community members, I have studied contract timelines for future systematization consideration and have convened the FY ’15 Budget Committee. The first two Budget Committee meetings have focused on educating the committee on the budget categories, the funding formula, revenue sources, and prior years' expenditures. I have directed the committee to prioritize the Strategic Plan Goals in developing next year’s budget. Although we expect the budget to be relatively flat, we need to examine our revenue and plan accordingly to ensure the budget reflects our strategic goals. (SP 2.1, 2.2)
I have also convened a Facility Master Plan Steering Committee which held its first meeting with A & E Architects on December 3rd. In keeping with my commitment to shared governance, College Council has provided me with feedback from the campus community regarding a draft of our vehicle use procedure. My commitment to shared governance also includes meeting regularly with Student Senate President Quintin Brown, the constituent group presidents, as well as hosting a monthly all-employee meeting prior to the Board of Trustees meeting. (SP 2.1)
On November 22nd, the Emergency Management Team continued with emergency planning training by conducting tabletop exercises. The group is committed to continuing these exercises and adding to the variety and complexity in order to ensure that we will react appropriately and according to our plan in an emergency situation. In addition, fire drills are being conducted systematically throughout campus.
Although it is impossible to attend all of the numerous campus events each week, I had the honor of attending and speaking at the Foundation’s Scholarship Luncheon on November 6th, shared Thanksgiving Dinner with the Nursing Department over lunch on November 11th, and met with the Equine/Farrier Advisory Board on December 4th regarding facility needs. I had the opportunity to attend the 17th Annual Buffalo Feast on Thursday, November 14. My family and I attended the Empty Bowls event sponsored by the Art Department as a benefit for Loaves and Fishes the evening of November 19. The following day I traveled to Casper to attend the team dinner and coach of the year awards ceremony prior to the kickoff of the National Volleyball Tournament. The following day I watched our team win its first match of the tournament.
On November 19th I had the honor of speaking at our Facilities Assistant bi-annual training. I spoke about the importance of their role in accomplishing the goals of our strategic plan, and I shared with them a personal story of the impact a custodian had on my own undergraduate matriculation.
Our Annual Wassail Party was held on campus over lunch Wednesday, December 4th. The College Holiday Party was held Friday evening, December 6th, at the Fairgrounds. An ugly Christmas sweater contest is scheduled for December 18th. (SP 2.2)
The Vice President for Administrative Services position will be posted during the first week in January. Planning has begun for the Spring Semester In-Service on January 13-14 at which we will focus on student success (SP 1.1, 1.2).
Foundation: During the week of November 18, I worked with Development Coordinator Andrea Shipley to kick off the employee giving campaign culminating in an arm wrestling match on Friday, November 22nd, at the carillon at high noon. (SP 2.2)