Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Transfer Students

According to a recent article in the Community College Daily, community college students who transfer to a four-year college with an associate's degree are more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree than similar students who transfer without one. A new study from the Community College Research Center at Columbia University states that nearly 2/3 of community college students who transfer to bachelor degree granting institutions do so without first earning an associate degree. Furthermore, the authors state that students who transfer with an associate degree were 49% more likely to complete a bachelor’s degree within 4 years and 22% more likely to earn one within 6 years.

Friday, April 25, 2014


The various ceremonial activities steeped in tradition have contributed to what I have loved about spending most of my adult life on a college campus. Of course none is more evident than commencement with its traditions of academic regalia and all the pomp and circumstance.

Yesterday afternoon I attended the Honored Faculty Ceremony, a long standing NWC tradition where we recognized retirements, tenure, promotion, and professor emeriti followed by an honored faculty lecture.

Congratulations to Michael Konsmo, Lou McPhail and Deborah Williams for receiving tenure. Steve Walker was promoted associate professor and Kristine Walker received the Master Distance Educator Award.

Two retired faculty members, Harriet Bloom-Wilson and Bruce Watne, received Professor Emeriti status for their numerous contributions to the college over the years. A well-deserved honor!

Best wishes to retiring faculty members Steve Harbron, Deborah Spangler Koelling, Robert Koelling, Robert Stothart, Gary Sturmer, Carolyn White, and Mary Ann Wurzel.  The impact these faculty members have made is profound. It is with admiration and appreciation that I thank each one of you for all that you have done for NWC.

This year Professor Gary Sturmer was selected to give the honored faculty lecture. He delighted us with stories from the past and talked about times when everyone rallied together for our students. He made a comment that stuck with me regarding former President SinClair Orendorff's commitment to NWC students. He said, "first and foremost, it is all about the students." Hear, hear!

SinClair, I'll see your "first and foremost" and raise your bet to include "student success." It's all about focusing on student success. What a wonderful tradition!

Have a great weekend,


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Update from the President's Desk

Last night my husband and I hosted a reception for NWC retirees at our home. It was a great opportunity to get everyone together.
I recently returned from a conference in Washington DC. I took time to see some of the sights with my good friend Debra Yoder, a member of the faculty in the Dallas County Community College District. 

The following is a copy of my April report to the Board of Trustees:

President’s Report

National: I joined Trustees Paul Fees and Nada Larsen at the Association of Community College Trustees Governance Leadership Institute in Salt Lake City March 20-22nd. Not only did I enjoy spending time with Nada and Paul, but also I learned a great deal from the presentations and discussion.
I had the opportunity to travel to the annual American Association of Community Colleges conference held in Washington D.C. April 5-7. The keynote speaker for the opening session was Jim Collins, the author of “Good to Great.” In addition to attending other presentations, special sessions, and the Exhibit Hall, I also attended various receptions and meal events for organizations to which we belong and met with key consultants including the search consultant we have hired to assist with candidate pool development in our Administrative Services Vice President search. The conference was a great opportunity to network as the new NWC President.

Friday evening, March 28th, I attended a reception for Senator Enzi at the Nelson House. I had the opportunity to engage in the question and answer session during his presentation and to visit with the Senator personally. I am working with his field representative to have him tour the campus next time he is in Powell.

State:The Wyoming Community College Commission held its spring meeting on the Northwest College campus Monday, March 31st. At their meeting, Commissioners approved the suggested changes to Commission Rules and funding distribution based on the results of the recently concluded legislative session.

Local:On March 13th I was invited to attend the Cody Yellowstone Air Improvement Resources Board meeting where we discussed necessary improvements to the Yellowstone Regional Airport and the resulting economic impacts of improved air service. I attended the Forward Cody Board of Directors meeting and the Powell Economic Partnership Advisory Board meeting on March 25th.

On April 11th I spoke at the Lovell Area Chamber of Commerce Banquet about my background and the role community colleges play in rural community development.Part of my community involvement objectives include shopping locally and eating at local restaurants. On St. Patrick’s Day my family and I ate corned beef and cabbage at Hansel and Gretel’s. The following week, we participated in the customer appreciation party at Sunlight Sports in Cody. Both of these outings were good opportunities for me to visit with community members about the college.
Campus:This month, I have had the opportunity to be involved in the interview processes for the faculty positions we are hiring for next year. I have enjoyed getting to know the candidates and am encouraged by their qualifications and enthusiasm.

As part of our continued work to implement our campus emergency planning procedures, we held an emergency drill during Spring Break to respond to a life-like situation. We learned from our trainers and Powell Police Chief Eckerdt that they believe we are ready to conduct a larger-scale drill involving outside agencies.
The Budget Committee has finalized its budget analysis and evaluation of budget requests. Budget Committee members utilized strategic goals within the strategic plan to prioritize budget recommendations. The members have given me feedback that I will utilize as I consider budget recommendations that I forward to you for your May meeting.

Our facilities master planning consultants were on campus March 25th to meet with college constituents and Trustees before the Facilities Master Plan is finalized at the April Board meeting.  As we near the final stages of our facilities master planning development process, the Vice Presidents and I toured the Center for Training and Development and Trapper Village West on March 17th. As well, the Vice Presidents and I continue our training on our salary banding methodology.
On March 26th I participated in a meeting with NWC and Montana State University – Billings officials to enhance our transfer partnership and explore opportunities for course delivery.

On April 1st I attended the College Council meeting where I updated council members on the strategic plan and budget recommendations. I requested input from College Council members on the budget before the May Board of Trustee meeting. I met with constituent group presidents on April 10th and held our monthly all-employee meeting April 11th.
I hosted the Men’s and Women’s Basketball Teams at my home for dinner on April 1st, and the Wrestling team followed as my guests the next night. I enjoy opportunities to get to know our student athletes in an informal setting.

Jean Nash invited me to participate in NWC’s National TRiO Day celebration by presenting my story to participants on April 10th. Like all students in TRiO programs throughout the nation, I was a low-income, first-generation college student who relied on financial aid and scholarships to fund my undergraduate education. I hope that my story inspires struggling students to persevere and succeed in college despite the challenges they face.

Foundation: Foundation Executive Director Shelby Wetzel and I attended the West Park Hospital Board meeting on March 26th to request financial support for the Yellowstone Building. We will follow up with other regional healthcare organizations as well. The first meeting of the Foundation Resource Collaboration Group was held April 9th. Shelby and I are working on several projects to enhance the partnership between the college and Foundation. She and I work well together, and our collaboration has already yielded increased effectiveness and efficiencies.

Have a good weekend!

Friday, April 11, 2014

A week in the life of a president

Before                                                                   After

I started out this week at the American Association of Community Colleges Annual Convention in Washington, DC. I then traveled to Denver for the Mile High Phi Rho Pi Tournament
and returned home to Powell where I participated in our TRiO Day celebration and the Block and Bridle club pig wrestling fundraiser.

This week was but a small glimpse into all that Northwest College faculty and staff do to support our students. Tonight I will speak at the Lovell Area Chamber of Commerce banquet where I will have the opportunity to tell everyone why NWC Rocks!

It's a dirty job, but somebody's gotta do it.