Northwest College

Annual Report



Institutional Priority: Environment
Strategic Priority

Innovation and distinction in ENVIRONMENT

Responding to last fall’s 10-13% enrollment drop, NWC launched a major student recruitment campaign. In concert with a Strategic Enrollment Management Plan, the college’s campaign includes online, radio, newspaper and billboard advertising. The three-to-five-year campaign focuses on four key messages—location, quality, value/affordability and experience—and targets two audiences: traditional students in 15 western states and non-traditional students in northwest Wyoming. The enrollment decline, also experienced by most other Wyoming community colleges, is attributed in part to the state’s lower unemployment rate.

In preparing next year’s budget, NWC faced the grim task of cutting approximately $1.6 million in annual expenditures. The 2019-20 budget accommodated 1) the Board’s spring 2018 action to provide a 4% cost-of-living adjustment for employees in 2018-19 and 2) about $600,000 in tuition revenue loss from decreased enrollment. Reductions for the coming year include loss of positions after resignations or retirements, reductions in force, eliminating instructional programs and scaling back or discontinuing services. This followed cutting nearly $2.3 million for FY17, including program eliminations and positions.


  • Construction planning work funded – Level II appropriations from the 2019 State Legislature will help NWC with architectural and design work for two construction/renovation projects, Student Center and Visual and Performing Arts Center, both of which are atop needs in the college’s Facilities Master Plan.
  • Residence life master plan – Long-term student housing decisions are being informed by a consultant’s assessment of residence life facilities on campus. After water damage was discovered in Cody Hall a year ago, the hall was closed and will remain unoccupied for the 2019-20 year.
  • Johnson Fitness Center renovated – Just in time for students’ arrival last fall, Johnson Fitness Center renovations sported asbestos abatement, updated HVAC and electrical systems, as well as new flooring. The project was funded by major maintenance funds NWC receives annually from the state.
  • Moyer Building renovation – The campus building that houses offices of Computing Services and Instructional Technology as well as student labs and meeting rooms received a facelift during the fall semester.

A Board-approved 4% cost of living adjustment (COLA) for all employees was the centerpiece of NWC’s 2018-19 budget. Additional increases were awarded for those still behind market after the COLA was applied. The action, taken in order to effectively recruit and retain employees, represented a nearly $1M investment in employees, who had not received meaningful college-funded increases since 2012-13.

Northwest joined the state’s other six community colleges in advancing the following key priorities for the Legislature’s 2019 General Session.

  • Cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for employees – The college sought funding to help the system of colleges mitigate growing employee recruitment and retention issues. NWC’s share of the Legislature’s salary increase appropriation is estimated about $160,000 for next year.
  • Capital construction – NWC saw approval of its exception request to 1) eliminate a 2018 footnote requiring NWC to pay 50% of Level II planning costs for two construction/renovation projects—Visual and Performing Arts Center and Student Center and 2) recalculate dollar amounts for the two projects. This action saved the state $1.98 million because updated Level II costs were considerably less than last year’s estimate. Plans call for requesting a portion of Level III construction funding for the Student Center at the Legislature’s 2020 Budget Session.
  • Adult-focused scholarship/financial aid program – “Wyoming works program” legislation passed, although with reduced funding from what was originally approved by the Joint Appropriations Committee. The measure provides 1) grants for qualified students and 2) funding to specific colleges for approved credential programs intended to develop technical skills most in demand in various service areas.

In a report from the college’s auditing firm, the Board of Trustees was presented with a clear audit for the 2017-2018 fiscal year. No instances of noncompliance or other matters that are required to be reported under Government Auditing Standards were found.

NWC’s ongoing manual and automated software to stop cyber criminalswas augmented by monthly Cybersecurity Awareness Training for all faculty and staff. With employees of organizations becoming more frequent targets, the college’s Computing Services Office expanded employee awareness of phishing emails, mobile device security, social engineering, safe Web browsing and more.

NWC President Stefani Hicswa co-chaired the state’s Educational Attainment Executive Council impaneled by former Governor Matthew Mead as recommended in a report from a statewide initiative titled ENDOW—Economically Needed Diversity Options for Wyoming. The college hosted one of several listening sessions throughout the state to seek public input regarding how educational attainment goals can be met. 

Institutional Priority: Environment photo 1
Institutional Priority: Environment photo 2

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