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.

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