Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Update from the president's desk

Good morning everyone,

On a recent trip to Sleeping Giant to go snowboarding with my sons, we had the opportunity to see several bighorn sheep. I know that those of you who have lived here for several years are used to it but I still feel like a kid on vacation in Yellowstone sometimes. Have I mentioned lately how much we like it here? J

The following is a copy of the March report to the Board of Trustees. The numbers in parentheses relate to our strategic plan.
President’s Report

March 2014

National:  According to Community College Week, after years of rapid enrollment growth, U.S. higher education is settling in to a new normal. Demographic trends are showing that the overall high school population is now in decline and that institutions will be competing for a dwindling number of students. David Longanecker, president of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), states “institutions will no longer be able to rely on growth in the number of traditional-aged students to boost [enrollment] funding.” Furthermore, WICHE recently published a report titled Knocking at the College Door which details the changing demographics of high school students which will mean greater demand for a college education for students higher education has not served well. This is a good opportunity for community colleges to recruit these students. (SP 3.1, 3.2)

Trustees Westerhold and Fees attended the National Legislative Summit (NLS) in Washington, D.C. February 10-13. NLS is sponsored by the Association of Community College Trustees. In addition to information and workshops on policy issues, Wyoming community college trustees and presidents met with our congressional delegation.  
Regional:  I have completed my term as the treasurer of the Mountain States Association of Community Colleges. I gave my final finance report to the membership at their semiannual meeting via teleconference on February 7th.

State:  Mark Kitchen and I traveled to Cheyenne February 17-21 to represent the community colleges during the legislative session. I emailed a lengthy legislative update to employees on March 3. In addition to spending time with legislators, I also had the opportunity to get to know UW personnel, including President Richard McGinity, Vice President for Governmental and Community Affairs Chris Boswell and  Special Assistant to the President for External Affairs Mike Massie; elected officials; WEA representatives; and lobbyists. (SP 2.1, 2.2)

On February 20th, WACCT held professional development sessions for trustees and college administrators. That evening, WACCT’s annual Awards Ceremony was held followed by the Legislative Reception. During the Awards Ceremony we were honored by the attendance of Governor Mead. Many of our Big Horn Basin Legislators attended the reception.

 The February Wyoming Community College Commission meeting was held February 21st in Cheyenne. During their meeting, Commissioners reviewed strategic plan drafts developed by various sub-groups. Trustee LaPlante and I have participated in the “Progress” sub-group. Trustee Vogt participated in the “Placement” sub-group. The Commission voted to implement the tuition increases approved at its December meeting beginning Fall Semester 2014.

On February 6th, Associate Professor of Agriculture and Coordinator of Agriculture Dr. Vern Dooley and I met with UW Dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Dr. Frank Galey, Associate Dean and Director of Agricultural Experiment Station Dr. Bret Hess, Associate Dean/Professor of Academic and Student Programs Dr. Donna Brown, Professor/Associate Dean/Director of UW Extension Dr. Glen Whipple, and Professor/Director of the Wyoming Reclamation and Restoration Center Dr. Pete Stahl to discuss the potential for partnerships between NWC and the UW in agriculture. (SP 1.2)

As the state PTK liaison for the community college presidents, I have been tasked with coordinating the PTK all-state awards ceremony. The event honoring exceptional students from each college will be held May 2nd in Casper. 

Local:  This month I had the opportunity meet with several community leaders including Mayor Don Hillman and City Manager Zane Logan, District 1Superintendent Kevin Mitchell, Powell Valley Hospital CEO Bill Patten, Homesteader Museum Director Rowene Weems, Powell Economic Partnership (PEP) Director Christine Bekes, and Powell Police Chief Roy Eckerdt. As well, on Monday, February 3rd, I joined the Pepe’s coffee group for breakfast. I attended the Powell Medical Foundation Mardi Gras on March 4 and a reception in Cody for visiting writer Valerie Hemingway on March 5th. (SP 3.1, 3.2)

Campus:  As you know, we have contracted with A&E Architects to develop our Facilities Master Plan. The consultants were on campus February 4th and 5th to continue gathering input from stakeholders. In addition to meeting at length with the Facilities Master Plan Steering Committee, they also met with College Council and Student Senate. They held a three-hour open meeting with faculty and staff the afternoon of February 4th and presented to members of the community that evening. On February 25, the consultants returned to campus to meet with the Steering Committee to finalize their proposal before presenting to the campus and trustees. 

The implementation of our emergency planning processes continues. Lee Blackmore has implemented training and monthly tests of our notification system to prepare for our upcoming emergency drill.

On February 5th, the Enactus Team asked me to speak at the kickoff of their monthly student empowerment group meeting. On February 6th, I had the opportunity to speak to two freshman seminar classes about my background and career path. Following my presentations, students asked questions and gave me suggestions for improving NWC. (SP 1.1, 1.2)  On February 14th, I visited the Mickelson Field Station. I had the opportunity to spend time with Becky and Scott Christensen and get an update on Field Station activities and plans for the future. (SP 2.1, 2.2)

In addition, I have met with several faculty, staff and students this month to discuss various opportunities and areas of concern. (SP 1.1, 2.1, 2.2)

Foundation:  Foundation Executive Director Shelby Wetzel and I traveled to New York the last week of January to meet with potential donors and NWC alumni. We continue to talk to benefactors regarding donations for the Yellowstone Building including naming opportunities and the brick project. As well, we are discussing legacy opportunities for retired faculty and staff. I attended the Foundation Board meeting on February 5th.


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