Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Update from the President's Desk

It seems that summer is never long enough!
President Hicswa at Fish Lake west of Dubois, Wyoming 
The above photo was taken on a recent camping trip to Fish Lake where my family and I hiked a few miles of the Continental Divide Trail, mountain biked, and spent plenty of time sitting around the camp fire.
Below is a copy of my July report to the Board of Trustees.
July 14, 2014
I am pleased that NWC’s federal loan default rate of 13.6% is well below the national average of 21% for two-year public colleges.
On June 19th I traveled to Casper to attend the College National Finals Rodeo. Our Men’s Team finished 24th at the CNFR sponsored by the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association for which Coach Del Nose serves as a board member. Our Men’s Rodeo Team’s 24th place finish is added to the impressive list of competitive teams finishing their seasons in the top echelon of the nation. Other national finishes by our competitive teams this year include Wrestling (2nd), Volleyball (8th), Journalism (2nd) and Forensics (Bronze).
I was privileged to participate in the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation’s reenactment of the 1944 trial of Heart Mountain draft resisters as part of the 26th Annual Conference of the National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts. Trustee John Housel, Instructor of Sociology and Anthropology Aura Newlin, and I were among “cast members” for the reenactment. Ms. Newlin is a HMW Foundation Board member who deserves special praise for her work in helping host the consortium.
Recently, I was named to the Higher Education Research and Development Institute (HERDI) nationwide advisory board. HERDI provides better products and services for students, faculty and staff of America’s community colleges by facilitating frank and critical dialogue between community college leaders and the business community that seeks to serve us.
I have been asked to present a pre-session workshop for the American Association of Community Colleges Annual Conference in April 2015 on the unique challenges and opportunities of serving as a rural community college president.
We were once again honored to host the Wyoming American Legion Auxiliary Girls State on our campus June 7-14. Vice President Sean Fox greeted the group at their opening on June 7th, and I had the opportunity to speak with them at their graduation ceremony on June 14th. 
On July 8th I met with UW President McGinity and a few of his staff members to discuss transfer and increased degree offerings in partnership with NWC. Joining President McGinity were Dr. Alyson Hagy, UW Associate VP for Academic Affairs; Dr. Patrice Noel, UW Coordinator of Student Success and Transitions; and Kelly Crane, Associate Director of UW Extension.   
I had the opportunity to serve as the guest on KODI Radio’s Speak Your Piece talk show in Cody with alumnus Bryce Cornatzer on May 4. Vice President Mark Kitchen and I attended the annual National Parks Day luncheon sponsored by the Cody Chamber of Commerce on May 19th.
I met with Cody Superintendent Ray Schulte May 27th to discuss concurrent enrollment and other issues. Leah Bruscino, Wyoming Business Council’s Northwest Region Field Operations Director, and I met on July 3rd to discuss partnership opportunities. I have been actively involved in the Forward Cody Board and Powell Economic Partnership Board.
On July 2nd I traveled to Meeteetse to get to know community members better and hear their ideas for ways we can improve our service to our tax district. I appreciate Trustee Nada Larsen making the arrangements.
Vice President Gerry Giraud and I met with representatives from Choice Aviation on June 17th to discuss terms for the renewal of our memorandum of understanding with them for our Aeronautics program.
Nurses pinning and Commencement were particularly poignant, as I ended my first year as president with this graduating class. We granted 354 degrees and 43 certificates during 2013-14.
Members of the Professional Staff Care Committee and their families joined my family for dinner at my home Wednesday, May 21st. The following week, the custodial and grounds crew joined us for an appreciation BBQ in my backyard.
On June 28th I attended my first NWC alumni reunion. Alumni from each decade were in attendance including two from the class of 1946 and a future alumnus who will start at NWC this fall. It was a joy to meet everyone and hear stories of their experiences as students.
Foundation Executive Director Shelby Wetzel and I continue to discuss ways we can leverage foundation dollars with college needs as well as match college needs with donor preferences. In addition, we have met with donors regarding the Yellowstone Building, large legacy gifts, and special projects. 
 Enjoy these warm summer days!

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