Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Giving Thanks

As we approach the Thanksgiving Holiday, I am thankful to be a part of the Northwest College family. Last week was one of those times when I had multiple opportunities to gush about NWC. My pride in our students and gratitude for all that our staff and faculty do fills my soul.

Last Wednesday evening, I had the opportunity to attend the NJCAA National Volleyball Tournament Banquet with a group of young ladies and coaching staff that made me beam with pride to accompany them. The following day they beat the nation's top-ranked team and went on to finish 4th overall. When I visited with them over Facetime on Friday afternoon I told them that setting goals is about making it to the national tournament, but beating the number one team in the country and playing in the final four is what dreams are made of. Ladies, I am proud of you! Congratulations.

On Thursday night, my family and I attended the annual Native Ways Buffalo Feast. Not only was the performer amazing, the organization of the event and the food were superb. Through dance, music, and comedy, Supaman (pictured with me below) shared a powerful message with us that night.

I appreciate his willingness to perform at NWC, as well as visit classes and meet with us to discuss ways we can better recruit and retain Native students. Chris, thanks again for demonstrating the power of kindness and gratitude.

Supaman and President Hicswa

There was a Arapaho quote on a card at the Buffalo Feast that said, "When we show respect for other living things, they respond with respect for us." The same can be said for the power of gratitude.

Have a happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Update from the president's desk

Below is a copy of my November report to the board of Trustees.

Trustee Jim Vogt and I attended the 2014 Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) Leadership Conference in Chicago October 20-22. Prior to the conference, I attended my first national Advisory Board meeting of the Higher Education Research and Development Institute (HERDI) to which I was recently appointed. The opportunity to serve as a member of this Advisory Board is one of the most rewarding professional development experiences I have had since becoming a college president. During those two days, I worked with 20 other presidents to advise vendors seeking to develop products for the community college sector.

A recent article in the Community College Journal reports that the newly signed Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) puts a deeper emphasis on earning postsecondary credentials  across various job training and higher education programs including a focus on helping adult basic education students transition to postsecondary education. For community colleges, that means occupational education and adult basic education programs working better together. As a result of this new federal legislation we will see more focus on job-driven training activities. Senator Enzi played an important role in the 11 year Workforce Investment Act reauthorization process.

On November 5 I traveled to Gillette to meet with Senator Enzi and Higher Learning Commission President Dr. Barbara Gellman-Danley to discuss the implications of the Work Force Innovation and Opportunity Act.

The community college presidents in conjunction with Wyoming Community College Commission Executive Director Jim Rose have been discussing our legislative strategy for the upcoming legislative session. We are seeking legislation to recalibrate the enrollment growth portion of our variable funding every four years and endowment challenge funding.

The Wyoming Community College Commission will meet by conference call on November 20 to discuss tuition rates for next year and the potential of tuition incentives for continuous enrollment.

In conjunction with the Powell Economic Partnership Board meeting this month, Ady Voltedge and the Wyoming Business Council held a discussion for Powell’s business retention and expansion initiative focused on workforce development. The discussion centered on Northwest College as an asset, specifically the Center for Training and Development in meeting immediate workforce training needs in the community.

In addition to attending both Forward Cody and Powell Economic Partnership board meetings, I met with several community leaders and business owners in Powell and Cody in regard to concerns as well as potential partnerships. On October 15 I was Darian Dudrick’s guest on the Big Horn Radio Network’s Speak Your Piece program where I discussed student success, concurrent enrollment and the importance of meeting area workforce needs. I continue to prioritize attending community events and being visible and approachable in the community. I find that Blair’s Market is one of my best venues for informal interaction with community members.

As you know under my annual performance goal of organizational effectiveness, one of my priorities is to develop a policy framework. I have hired a consultant who will be working with our campus this year to assist us with this process.

Vice President for Administrative Services finalists were on campus for interviews the last two weeks. I expect to make a decision later this week. I appreciate all of the time and dedication the search committee has put into this search.

I attended the NWC Alumni Board meeting on Saturday, October 25, followed by a reception at the Nelson House. In my report to the Board, I discussed the importance of student success and our focus on improving our retention and graduation rates. I am always inspired by the strong ties our alumni have to NWC and Board members’ desire to help current students.

It was my privilege to speak at the Phi Theta Kappa induction on October 15th. Megan Eisenhower, a student in our radio/television program, interviewed me last week on NWC-TV and Alexandria Preis, a journalism student interviewed me for an article she is working on for the Trail. I always enjoy opportunities to interact with students.

The Foundation Resource Collaboration Group, of which I am a member, met on October 15 to finalize the draft of the NWC Foundation’s next strategic plan. I am very pleased with the participation of college trustees and administrators in this process. The plan incorporates the future needs of the college and our students excellently.

NWC Foundation Executive Director Shelby Wetzel and I continue to meet with prospective donors on various projects.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Speak Your Piece

This past weekend my family and I made our first run of the season. We had to hike up the mountain in below zero weather but it was worth it!! 

Here is a recording of an interview I did on the Big Horn Radio network last month. I am pretty outspoken regarding my thoughts on concurrent enrollment.

From Speak Your Piece (October 15, 2014)
Credit: Big Horn Radio Network

Stay Warm!


Thursday, November 13, 2014


I was recently interviewed by NWC student Megan Eisenhauer for the NWC Conversations program on our TV station.

Below is a copy of the interview. As you will see Megan is quite impressive. She has a bright future in this business.


NWC Reads

Have you seen the new NWC Reads poster? I am reading one of Janet Evanovich's novels right now as my guilty pleasure and listening to an audiobook featuring Stone Barington by Stuart Woods audiobook when I travel.

You can read more about my favorite books and other former NWC Reads cover models  at:nwc.edu/library