Thursday, November 14, 2013

Update from the president's desk

The following update is from my November report to the Board of Trustees. The numbers in parentheses refer to our strategic plan.
President’s Report

November 11, 2013


First 100 Days: During my interview, Board President Westerhold asked what I would plan to accomplish in my first 100 days if I was hired as NWC’s President. I replied that I would focus on the accreditation recommendations, shared governance, facilities master plan, and learning everyone’s name. Although I have not had the luxury of solely focusing on these items, I thought it appropriate to report on my progress, as October 25th marked my 100th day. I have appointed a steering committee for our 2017-18 HLC accreditation visit and identified employees for HLC reporting access. I have prioritized utilization of our strategic plan in campus decision-making and in developing next years’ budget. As well, I am working diligently to implement the tenants of our Shared Governance and Decision-Making Guide that has been posted on the college’s portal for access by all employees. Five responses to the RFP for the Facilities Master Plan have been received, and we will be reviewing proposals later this month. Although I have learned almost everyone’s name, I find that I do not necessarily call people by the correct name (yet).

Student Success: As the community college mission shifts nationally to include the importance of student success, organizations are conducting research to better understand factors that influence improvement in student success outcomes. In a recent study, the Aspen Institute and Achieving the Dream identified skills, attributes, and strategies necessary for community colleges to adapt and thrive within the constraints of increased pressure to deliver more degrees of higher quality and lower cost. The researchers found that “presidents must understand – and in many ways reflect – the mission, demographics and culture of the colleges they lead.” The report states that presidents must have a deep commitment to student access and success, take significant risks to advance student success including significant realignment of resources, create lasting change within the college, as well as develop external partnerships to access assets, expand economic development opportunities, and educate students in new, highly effective ways. (SP 1.1, 1.2)

State: The Wyoming Association of Community College Trustees hosted the third annual Summit on Community Colleges in Laramie on October 17th. Over 130 people attended from across the state, including NWC Trustees Larsen, Vogt and LaPlante, Mark Kitchen, Gerry Giraud, Sheldon Flom, Jeannie Hunt and myself. (SP 1.1)

 On October 18th, the Wyoming Community College Commission met on the University of Wyoming campus.  Commissioners voted to accept the Complete College Wyoming (CCW) white paper prepared by the CCW team as well as the Performance Funding white paper prepared by the community college presidents. The Commission also voted to adopt the goal of increasing the number of certificates and degrees by 5% per year (compounded) as per the CCW success goal. Definitions of the performance metrics will be further defined by an expanded sub-committee of the Complete College Wyoming group. I requested the Commissioners consider representation from Northwest College on the sub-committee and have appointed Steve Thulin as our representative. (SP 1.1, 2.1)

UW President Sternberg presented to the Commissioners regarding the importance of access and how traditional measures to predict student success in college are not necessarily accurate. President Sternberg and I have been communicating regularly regarding potential partnerships and ways we can work more closely together for the mutual benefit of both our institutions. (SP 1.2)

 One such partnership is with the Buffalo Bill Center of the West (BBCoW). On October 21st, President Sternberg and I met with representatives from the BBCoW to discuss summer academic opportunities utilizing the resources of our three institutions. (SP 1.2)

Local: Nursing Director Marneè Crawford and I met with Powell Valley Health Care leaders on October 14th and Doug McMillan, West Park Hospital CEO, on November 1st. Marneè and I visited with them about our Nursing program and the new Yellowstone Building. Following the meeting, Marneè gave them a tour of the facility where nursing instructors demonstrated the simulation equipment.
This month I launched a monthly communiqué to legislators to keep them informed of Northwest College’s needs, major developments, and accomplishments. I met with Hank Coe over lunch on October 15th to inform him of the emerging legislative agenda for our system of Wyoming community colleges.

 I participated as a panelist on educational quality and attainment at the October 22nd Forward Cody meeting and had the honor of being the guest speaker at the November 4th Cody Club meeting. I served as a steering committee co-chair for the Voice of the Community Powell Economic Partnership planning meetings the week of November 4th. As well, I continue to meet with various community members in Park County to discuss ideas for collaboration.

I attended Dick Wilder’s funeral in Cody to pay respects for this special alumnus who enrolled in the college’s first class in 1946. A longtime NWC Foundation Director, Mr. Wilder was deeply committed to NWC.

 Campus: I met with Dennis Quillen and Dave Plute on October 22nd where I received an overview of physical plant operations and the computerized control system. Bill Johnson gave me a tour of the welding shop on October 24th, and Kathy Crookshanks gave me a tour of the Cody Center on October 29th. I had the opportunity to attend Dave Barkan’s chemistry class and attended the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) induction ceremony on October 23rd. Carey Miller, Mark Kitchen, and I met October 24th to discuss the potential of a presidential blog.

 At the October 22nd College Council meeting, I requested a change to the meeting date to move the meeting closer to Trustee meetings. In keeping with my commitment to shared governance, I reviewed the vehicle procedures with members of the Council and asked them to provide me with questions and concerns from their constituent groups. My commitment to shared governance also includes meeting regularly with Student Senate President Quintin Brown.

 I attended my first Alumni Association Board of Directors meeting November 2nd followed by a reception at the home of Mark and Sandee Kitchen. On November 8th, I met with constituent group presidents and held an all-employee meeting to update faculty and staff on various issues including performance funding and Complete College Wyoming activities.

 Foundation: In addition to attending the October NWC Foundation Board of Directors meeting at Choice Aviation in Cody, Shelby and I continue to meet with potential donors for the Yellowstone Vista Campaign.


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