Northwest College

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Annual Report



Institutional Priority: Experience
Strategic Priority

Innovation and distinction in EXPERIENCE

Northwest College’s accreditation report is among the most positive in its history. The official report followed a comprehensive campus visit by the Higher Learning Commission last September. It recommends continued accreditation, with the next comprehensive visit expected in 2025. All sub-components for the five criteria’s Core Components were met, and prior focus visit concerns were addressed. 

A total of 363 degrees and certificates were earned by 258 graduates during the 2017-18 year, including 24 Associate Degree Nursing students. Commencement Exercises drew an unusually high percentage of graduates participating in the ceremony.

  • Graduation rate – NWC’s 39% graduation rate for first-time, full-time students who began in fall 2014 and completed within three years (most recent data) is the highest on record. This is a 2% increase from the previous year’s graduation rate and among the highest in the state.
  • Retention rate – Maintaining its exemplary student retention rate—61% for first-time, full-time students who began at NWC in fall 2016 and returned in fall 2017—was the second highest in the state. 

Three new degree/certificate programs were approved by NWC’s Board of Trustees and the Wyoming Community College Commission. The Criminal Justice program’s Associate of Science degree was augmented with an Associate of Applied Science degree and a one-year certificate. Also approved was a Medical Assistant certificate.


  • Studio Singers are big hit at national conference: The college’s Studio Singers received an “outstanding” rating and two standing ovations at the prestigious Jazz Education Network Conference in Dallas that draws select groups from both two- and four-year institutions throughout the country. Music accolades kept coming when the group’s third-year Director Brennan Baglio, Instructor of Music, received the Wyoming Music Educators Association’s Jazz Educator of the Year Award the next week.
  • President pens chapter in new book – President Stefani Hicswa authored a chapter in a new book titled Generation X Presidents Leading Community Colleges: New Challenges, New Leaders.
  • Winning again in the Big Apple – NWC’s six-student team once again scored big at the National Model United Nations Conference in New York City, earning an Outstanding Delegates in Committee Award. The team represented Uruguay, Belgium and the Russian Federation. The conference attracts colleges and universities from around the world. This was the college’s fourth consecutive Model UN conference at which students earned awards.
  • Prexy picks up Phi Theta Kappa award – President Stefani Hicswa was one of 35 two-year college presidents to receive Phi Theta Kappa’s (PTK) 2018 Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction at the annual convention in Kansas City. PTK is the two-year college honor society.
  • Forensics Team does it again – The perennial-powerhouse Forensics Team placed third in the nation among community colleges and 20th out of 165 colleges and universities in season-long sweepstakes awards, the national ranking of all colleges and universities competing in parliamentary debate at tournaments throughout the season. Sophomore Taylor Rempp, a Photographic Communication major from Harrison, Nebraska, earned All-American honors, the only community college student to do so.

The Advising Center continues to assist more and more students. Visitors numbered 2,979 this year, nearly a 13% increase over last year; 620 of those sought primary academic advising. Transfer events were hosted with the University of Wyoming, Montana State University - Billings, Valley City State University, University of Wisconsin La Crosse and Minot State University.

One of nature’s most awe-inspiring experiences kicked off Northwest College’s 2017-18 academic year. As sunlight dimmed and the temperature dropped, hundreds of students, faculty and staff gathered around the Carillon on the Campus Mall to gaze into the sky and share the moment the moon swallowed the sun, leaving only a small sliver of orange. A first for many students, the highly anticipated solar eclipse was the perfect beginning to a new school year and a fresh start.

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