Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Education Attainment Council Listening Session

Last Thursday we held one of nine statewide listening sessions on how to meet the state's post-secondary attainment goals at Northwest College.

Our listening session was the sight of the state's Facebook Live session. The Facebook Live archive is linked below. I was very pleased with the turn-out and the quality of the conversation. 

To view the video on Facebook and see full comments, visit

Thursday, September 27, 2018

In Meeteetse - #WeAreParkCounty

NWC Board Chair, Nada Larsen, and I visited with community members in Meeteetse to hear how NWC can better serve their community.

We also met with Superintendent Shane Odgen to discuss educational opportunities for Meeteetse High School students.

One of the highlights of the day (besides the trip to the Chocolatier) was lunch at the Senior Center where Mary Budd Flitner did a reading from her new book, My Ranch Too.

Park County is our home. We use the hashtag #WeAreParkCounty to give a shout-out when we come together with our neighbors and to celebrate each other.

Author Mary Budd Flitner at the Meeteetse Senior Center


Monday, September 17, 2018

Taste the Nations 2018

Our first Taste the Nations celebration was held last week. 

The purpose of the event was to roll out our Global Passport Partners program to create cultural awareness, inclusiveness, and celebrate global understanding. Gifts from our Global Passport Partners will help create an International Student Scholarship Endowment to provide much needed financial assistance to bring international students to campus and a Student Travel Endowment provide opportunities for students travel internationally. 

This program supports our mission to be student centered and our strategic plan for innovation and distinction in the experiences students have while they attend NWC. 

Check out the video and pics from the event! 

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Student Success

I received the following email last week. It made my day! 

Dear Dr. Hicswa,

I attended NWC for five semesters , summer 2016- spring 2018, preparing for entrance into medical school. Tomorrow, I finish my third week of med school and am quickly coming up on "weed out" week when three papers are due and we have seven tests.

I wanted to take a moment out of my insane schedule to let you know how proud I am to have come out of the NWC science program prepared and confident. I have just finished my second exam. Both tests this week were reviews for me. My fellow students come from all regions of the world and colleges large and small. I have to say, I feel like I am one of the most prepared in the class.

I want to call out Dr. Mat Osborne. He set me up profoundly well in Anatomy and Physiology. Even though they are separate classes here, I am leaps and bounds above anyone else in physiology, histology and embryology.

My sincere appreciation goes out to Dr. Monia Haselhorst and Dr. Osborne for teaching me how to meet the demands of high level classes. The skills they taught me have served me well already and will last a lifetime.

Dr. Jay Dickerson provided me with a fantastic microbiology background that I use nearly everyday. My chemistry and physics background is absolutely solid thanks to Dr. Michael Cuddy, Dr. Uko Udodong and Deepthi Amarasuriya.

I don't know how to emphasize it enough. The NWC science program provided me with a remarkable background to start medical school.

You and the board should be very proud of your department. You have incredibly well qualified, good teachers. Please give them all the support, accolades and resources you can. They deserve it.

With my sincerest regards,

Thea Marx

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Paint the Town Red 2018

Drawing hundreds from the community, our second annual Paint the Town Red event was a huge success!

It was great to see both new and returning students enjoying all that our vibrant community has to offer, as well as area residents welcoming them to a new school year.

Thank you to all who came downtown to participate and Paint the Town Red with us!

Check out these photos from Friday's fun.

Have a great week,

Friday, August 24, 2018

Kick Off Weekend Success

Our kick off weekend activities and move-in were a great success. Thanks to everyone who participated.

I have been talking to students this week. They are enjoying their classes and like their teachers. They appreciate how helpful everyone is and best of all - they are happy and smiling!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Anniversary Milestones

This week I celebrate my 5 year anniversary at Northwest College. My first day was July 15, 2013. We have done a lot in the last 5 years, but it seems to have gone really fast. When I first had children someone told us, "the days are long but the years are short." It aptly applies to a college presidency as well.

This is the summer of milestone anniversaries, as I will also celebrate my 25th wedding anniversary and my 50th birthday.

My lucky numbers must be 3 and 8. Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket!

I hope you are creating lasting memories this summer and celebrating milestones of your own.



Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Year end

As we near commencement, I thought I would post some photos 
with students from throughout the year. 

Thursday, April 12, 2018


#YouAreWelcomeHere is a welcome message from U.S. higher education to international students around the world.

It is a campaign designed to affirm that our institutions are diverse, friendly, safe and committed to student development. Participating institutions and organizations are communicating the message in statements, photos, videos, events and other creative expressions that feature students, faculty, and staff. The repetition of the statement, “You are welcome here,” by a broad array of people from different backgrounds--from college presidents to football players--is powerful and demonstrates that we support internationalization across our campus communities and across the country.

I am pleased to announce Northwest College's #YouAreWelcomeHere video, released yesterday. To view on YouTube, visit


Wednesday, March 28, 2018


Last week I had the opportunity to travel to Jackson for a meeting with Wyoming's ENDOW Council. ENDOW stands for Economically Needed Diversity Options for Wyoming. Through the leadership of Governor Mead, we spent two days with representatives from Singularity University discussing how to instill an exponential mindset and think about the future in new ways. 

Governor Mead invited a student from each of Wyoming's Community Colleges and the University of Wyoming to participate. Chemical engineering major, Gareth Flowers, (pictured with me below) was selected as NWC's student representative. 

During one of the sessions, the Governor's Director of Economic Diversification Strategy and Initiatives, Jerimiah Reiman, held a focus group with the students to begin planning a statewide economic diversification summit for high school and college students. 

Gareth Flowers and President Hicswa/Jerimiah Reiman with Gareth and other student reps. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Accreditation Reaffirmation Final Report

I recently received formal notification and the official record of action by the Institutional Action Council (IAC) of the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) at its February 12, 2018 meeting. This constitutes NWC’s new status with HLC.

I am pleased to report that the IAC concurred with the evaluation team’s findings and voted to affirm our eligibility to select our pathway for reaffirmation of accreditation in the future.

We met each required Core Component for Criteria 1-5. Because Core Component 4.B was met with concerns, we are required to submit an interim report on assessment of student learning by 12/1/19.

This is one of the best accreditation reports in NWC’s history. We will be issuing the following news release to the media later today: Accreditation report among best ever for Northwest College

You may read the full report by going to our accreditation home page: Click on HLC Final Report.

The following is an excerpt from the final section which provides a summary of the 82 page report:


The 2017 HLC visiting team found that Northwest College is operating within its distance education stipulation and that it meets the Criteria for Accreditation.

The 2017 HLC visiting team found that Northwest College has made great strides in some areas since the 2013 Focused Visit. On the other hand, the Higher Learning Commission has revised its Criteria since that time and the institution is still lagging in other areas, such as establishing co-curricular outcomes relative to its assessment of student learning initiative.

It is clear that the College took seriously recommendations made by the 2013 visiting team. It is also clear that the Board of Trustees, administration, faculty and staff are committed to ensuring a culture of improvement and student success. As such, the 2017 HLC visiting team recommends that the College be eligible to choose its Pathway.

While the College should be congratulated for the aforementioned achievements, it is important to point out that NWC is challenged with the ability to maintain open channels of communication, an issue that was articulated by various constituency groups. While administration is vested with the role of establishing the means to ensure open communication, engagement and participation needs to come from all sides.

During the meetings with community members, as well as College personnel, the Team learned that acceptance of change tends to be a challenge for certain groups and individuals. While change can often be difficult, especially when driven by financial factors, it needs to be accepted in order for the College to continue to thrive and meet the needs of its students and the demands of a changing society.

I would like to acknowledge Dr. Giraud and our Accreditation Team for their hard work and dedication, and to everyone who supports NWC for your part in helping create a culture of continuous college-improvement with a central focus on student success. We still have work to do, but we can be very proud of our accomplishments over the past few years.

Please congratulate each other on a job well done! It is like winning a gold medal at the Olympics. 

Friday, March 2, 2018

WACCT Awards 2018

The annual WACCT awards ceremony and legislative reception was held in Cheyenne last week. I am proud to share that NWC had the following six nominees:
  • Student of the Year Award – Emiliano Mendez, Student Senator, Resident Assistant and Enactus Team President
  • Professional Employee of the Year Award – Amanda Enriquez, Intercultural Program Manager
  • Classified Employee of the Year Award – Diana Gwynn, Senior Office Assistant for Visual and Performing Arts
  • Faculty Member Award – Aura Newlin, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology
  • Trustee Leadership Award – Nada Larsen, Board President
  • Foundation Volunteer of the Year Award – Harriet Bloom-Wilson, Co-chair of NWC’s Intercultural House Advisory Committee
Congratulations to our statewide winners, Amanda Enriquez and Aura Newlin. Their names will be forwarded as Wyoming’s nominees for the national ACCT awards presented in New York October 26.

My appreciation goes out to all our award winners and nominees who work every day to create opportunities for students and further NWC's mission.

Below is a photo of Student of the Year nominee Emiliano Mendez and his parents at the award ceremony.

Have a good weekend!