Friday, October 3, 2014

Legislative Update

As you can see from the photo below, I am getting excited for the Foundation Gala next Saturday October 11th. It will be the first big event  in the Yellowstone Building following the Dedication and Open House on Tuesday, October 7th.

"So we beat on...borne back ceaselessly into the past" F. Scott Fitzgerald

Below is a recent update I sent to our area legislators. Have a good weekend!

Dear Big Horn Basin Legislators,          


I hope you’ll be able to join us at the Dedication and Open House for our new Yellowstone Building Tuesday, October 7, at 4 p.m. We’re anxious to show off this beautiful and functional new instructional building. It would never have happened were it not for generous legislative funding that provided just over 60% of construction costs. It was the first capital construction appropriation NWC has ever received from the state’s general fund. We’ll be forever grateful. As you know from my message last month, Nursing students and faculty were fully moved in for the first day of classes August 25; all other programs—Criminal Justice, Communication, Social Science and Education—occupied the building September 22. 


It appears that our earlier enrollment estimates of an approximate 6% decline were accurate. This dip in numbers is a continuing response to a stronger economy after its weakening in fall 2009 produced an enrollment spike of nearly 20%. The good news is that during the 2009-10 year we worked very hard to accommodate the huge enrollment increase without adding faculty and staff. That puts us in a strong position as our enrollment returns to traditional levels.


A pilot Summer Bridge Program in mathematics attracted 12 student participants in a week-long, intensive math instruction session last month on campus. Designed to help NWC-bound students with math deficiencies prepare for college-level math courses, the program also included introduction to college services and procedures as well as on- and off-campus activities like a rafting trip. A Northwest College Foundation grant covered all students’ expenses for the entire week, including residence halls and food service. I’m pleased to tell you that five of the participants achieved a level of proficiency allowing them to enroll in college-level math this fall. In our ongoing efforts to help students succeed, that’s great news! 


Thanks to NWC Foundation underwriting, a new initiative implemented this fall is helping students who face emergency situations. Our new Higher Education Resource Opportunity (HERO) grant helps students with limited financial resources deal with unexpected financial challenges—loss of a job, medical issues or inability to afford child care—that may jeopardize their ability to succeed academically or threaten their continued enrollment. This program is but one initiative in place to retain students. Again, student success is our constant focus.


I’m excited to serve as a panelist at the Wyoming Association of Community College Trustees’ Fourth Annual Community College Summit October 9 in Laramie. The panel will focus on defining student success. Other panelists include an industry representative, a student, a Wyoming Community College Commissioner and a Legislator.


Ag program ranking: Northwest College’s Ag program ranks 27th in the nation in associate degree production, according to Community College Week. NWC bested 73 other two-year institutions that made it into the top 100 community colleges in the Agriculture, Agricultural Operations and Related Sciences category.

National Player of the Week:  Freshman Volleyball Team standout Aleksandra Djordjevic from Serbia was named NJCAA National Player of the Week. This marks the third consecutive season NWC has had an NJCAA National Player of the Week and the fourth in the last three seasons.

 Have a good weekend!                    


Stefani Hicswa, Ph.D.

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