Northwest College

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Annual Report



Institutional Priority: Preeminence
Institutional Imperative #1:

Northwest College shall be the preeminent two-year educational institution in Wyoming.

Strategic Goals:

-The highest student completion rates (earned degrees and certificates) of any two-year educational institution in Wyoming

-The highest level of Wyoming community college student performance at transfer institutions (AA/AS) or in the workplace (AAS/certificate)

-A national leader among rural two-year colleges in international and intercultural programming, with unparalleled campus and curricular diversity.

    An Academic and Career Advising Center was launched in fall 2013 to assist general studies students with academic advising, transferring to four-year institutions, career planning and internships. With a focus on increasing student retention, the center became an instant success, logging 922 student consultations during the year and hosting the first of what will become an annual Spring Transfer Fair.
    The Academic Affairs Office reached out personally to 192 students during the year to encourage them to take the next step in achieving their academic goals. Every NWC student who was within reach, but not on a path to graduating, was encouraged to enroll in classes they needed to complete a degree. General education students were given help finding a major to direct the next phase of their education.
    Students enrolled in general education studies responded well to a newly-instituted Academic Maps advising model. Designed to help students identify earlier the disciplines they'll focus on when they choose a major, this model also motivates students to complete their studies and prepare more successfully for transferring to a four-year institution.
    A Freshman Seminar was offered for the first time to students enrolled in general studies. The two-credit class introduced academic resources and encouraged exploration of disciplines. The 91% fall-to-spring retention rate of Freshman Seminar students compares to a 72% retention rate for students who didn't enroll in the seminar. This initiative was so successful, a discipline-specific freshman seminar will be mandatory for all declared majors by 2015.
    A comprehensive strategy for identifying and supporting at-risk students was developed to specifically target students who will be the mostly likely to need help staying in college. An intervention timeline will be activated at the start of the fall 2014 semester.
    Peer mentors worked to increase student contacts by more than 30 percent. Mentor support from peers and staff helped Project Succeed students raise their cumulative grade point averages by .248 from spring semester 2013 to 2014. The cumulative GPA of the active Project Succeed students was 2.906, nearly a B average—significant, considering these students are characteristically at the highest risk of failing or dropping out of college. Funded through a federal TRiO grant, Project Succeed students must be first-generation college students, low-income or have a documented disability.
    The hands-on, near-to-real-life learning labs built during the year into the Nursing, Allied Health and Criminal Justice labs in the new Yellowstone Building will provide elite learning opportunities to prepare students in ways that are not possible in traditional learning environments. Students who participate in these simulation labs will also have an advantage when transferring to baccalaureate institutions.
    Fundraising for an Intercultural Center was completed in January 2014 to transform a residential dwelling near campus into an oasis for international understanding. Just over $480,000 was raised, including a $131,000 challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The center is scheduled to open in fall 2014.
Institutional Priority: Preeminence photo 1

For the second consecutive year, NWC was the only institution of higher education in Wyoming to field a team at the National Model United Nations in New York City.

Institutional Priority: Preeminence photo 2

Northwest awarded 335 degrees and 42 certificates to 312 students during the 2013-14 academic year. Nearly 1,200 students enrolled in online classes.

Institutional Priority: Preeminence photo 3

Almost 80 students from other countries attended NWC this year, representing 34 nations and every continent except Antarctica. A record number of public programs attracted more than 1,300 people to campus for international student events.