Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Monday, August 25, 2014

President Hicswa's Graduation Challenge

On Saturday I braved 50 degree weather to challenge students to complete their degree at Northwest College.
In order to have a chance to dunk me, they had to commit to complete college by filling out the Phi Theta Kappa Community College Completion Corps Student Pledge. 
Almost 50 students signed the document and committed to graduate by planning for college completion, discussing career planning and seeking advisement on course selection from college faculty and staff. They committed to learning about college resources, attending and participating in class, as well as reaching out to encourage other students to complete college.
I was proud of them for making the commitment! I didn't expect so many of them would hit the target though. As you can see I got soaked - over and over.  

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The most wonderful time of the year

I absolutely LOVE the month of August! 
This is my favorite time of the year - the anticipation and excitement of the back to school season, the buzz around campus, new school supplies, tomatoes from my garden, the smell of fall in the air, purple ambrosia (a.k.a wild huckleberries) along hiking trails, the color of sun ripened barley, and the smell of fall in the air first thing in the morning. An added bonus is that I celebrate both my birthday and my wedding anniversary in August.
Below are photos of my husband Scott and I at our wedding in Seely Lake, Montana and 21 years later at the Willwood ponds here in Powell.  
Stefani and Scott Hicswa in 1993
(photo by Sheri Rhodes)

Stefani and Scott Hicswa in 2014
(Photo by NWC grad Keith Christensen)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Legislative Update

The following is an excerpt from a recent update I sent to our local legislators:
We had a very productive meeting with UW President Dick McGinity and key staff members earlier this month when they came to Powell to discuss UW acceptance of our transfer students’ credits. It’s a frequently-mentioned concern among our current and prospective students, their parents and high school counselors. NWC participants included academic Division Chair, VPs for Academic Affairs and College Relations, Registrar, and myself. Joining President McGinity were his Associate VP for Academic Affairs, Coordinator of Student Success and Transitions, and Associate Director of UW Extension. In addition to credit transfer, we also discussed the potential of increased UW degree offerings in Park County. They listened closely to our concerns and suggestions. My sense is that Dick is taking the issues seriously, and I appreciate the commitment they made to come to our campus for discussions. Naturally, we want to see our transfer students attend the state’s only four-year university. We’ve worked closely with UW in the past and will continue doing so. I look forward to productive discussions as the JEIC considers this topic.

Construction of our new Yellowstone Building is going well. Our Instructional Technology and Computing Services staffs have considerable work ahead of them in the building however. The first space occupied will be classrooms, and the dividable Conference Center. We have the luxury of transitioning into the rest of the building over time. I’m excited that my second annual Fall State of the College Address on August 20th will be in the Yellowstone Building’s Conference Center! We anticipate an October building dedication ceremony. Legislative funding was paramount in providing just over 60% of funding for the building.

Our Trustees recently approved the new Facility Master Plan, which the college is required to update every five years. It provides a strong road map for development of the physical campus. Projects in the plan total 10s of millions of dollars, with construction of a new DeWitt Student Center being the top unmet need. Completing such enormous projects will undoubtedly require a variety of funding sources.

I spent most of the day on July 2nd getting to know Meeteetse residents. Thanks to Trustee Nada Larsen, I got a first-class introduction to that unique community and its members. I heard several great ideas for ways NWC can improve its service to that area of our district.

We’ve selected a company, Chartwells, to provide dining services to our students. Chartwells has developed a higher education niche and has a strong reputation for understanding, engaging and satisfying students with tailored campus dining service operations. Chartwells assumed operations in July, replacing Aramark with which Northwest contracted for about 25 years. I’m pleased to let you know that the new company has rehired Ken Beebe, longtime Director on campus, and that off-campus catering to community groups will remain a part of services provided.