Institutional Imperative #1:
Northwest College shall be the preeminent two-year educational institution in Wyoming.
-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.
- RETAINING, SUCCEEDING, GRADUATING
Northwest College posted the highest first-time, full-time student persistence rate of any Wyoming college—61.02%, nearly 5% higher than the state average—according to a Performance Indicators Report from the Wyoming Community College Commission. Add to that an 11% increase in NWC’s graduation rate (326 degrees awarded). NWC’s 91% fall-to-spring retention rate for students enrolled in freshman seminars validates research showing that such programs result in more positive student relationships with faculty, greater knowledge and use of campus resources, more involvement in activities, and better time-management skills than their non-participating peers.
- EARNING NATIONAL ATTENTION
Productive programs and a retiring faculty member were in the national spotlight.
- The Agriculture Program ranked 27th in the nation in associate degree production, according to Community College Week’s list of the top 100 community colleges in the Agriculture, Agricultural Operations and Related Sciences category.
- Art and Graphic Design Programs earned accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Only seven community colleges in the country are NASAD-accredited.
- 30-year Professor of Chemistry Dr. Allan Childs received by the Wyoming Department of Education’s first Post-secondary STEM Educator of the Year Award.
- BRIDGING THE GAP
NWC piloted a successful two-week Summer Bridge Program just before the start of fall semester. To boost skills in preparation for college-level math, students were invited to live on campus to ratchet up their math skills and prepare to succeed in all their studies. At the end of the program, 75 percent were able to skip developmental math courses and enroll directly in college-level classes. Because of its successful outcome, the Summer Bridge Program will be offered again in fall 2015.
- OVERCOMING OBSTACLES
When asbestos was discovered in the Oliver Building, welding students were temporarily vacated from the instructional building. To encourage them to persist with their studies in a makeshift lab off-campus, the NWC Foundation and the college’s Financial Aid and Scholarships Office teamed up to give each student $150 per welding course completed during the year. Thanks to this creative plan, 61 welding students were able to complete their coursework and also get a feel for real-life welding environments. Altogether, students collected $49,800 and the knowledge that NWC really does care about its students.
- COMPETING NATIONALLY
NWC student teams burnt their brand several times over on the national scene this year:
- Continuing its reputation as a national powerhouse, NWC’s Forensics Team raked in several notable honors, including gold medals in overall debate sweepstakes and overall combined sweepstakes at the Phi Rho Pi Nationals, one of the nation’s largest tournaments.
- The college’s student-produced newspaper, the Northwest Trail, won four Mark of Excellence Awards from the Region IX Society of Professional Journalists for general news photography, photo illustration, breaking news reporting and sports writing.
- The Men’s Basketball Team entered the NJCAA Division I Elite Eight after hosting the Region IX tournament for the first time ever and winning it.
- The Volleyball Team won the Region IX championship and went all the way to fourth at the national tournament.
- Trapper Rodeo Team ropers Shawn Bird and Zach Schweigert closed the regular season ranked as the top roping team in the country.
- ACHIEVING INDIVIDUALLY On the road to national prominence, NWC’s competitive teams boosted several individual competitors to national recognition:
- Men’s basketball player Chris Boucher was named an All-American and the NJCAA Player of the Year.
- Volleyball player Aleksandra Djordjevic was named First Team All-American for both AVCA and NJCAA.
- The parliamentary debate duo of Carter Reed and Sean Myers posted a perfect record at the Phi Rho Pi National Tournament on their way to a gold medal.
- COACHING GREATNESS
Great teams are the work of great coaches. NWC’s 2014-15 roster of award-winning coaches includes:
- Bob Becker — Collie-Taylor Coach Fellowship Award recipient for forensics
- Jeannie Hunt — Sisters and Allies Against Inequality in Debate Award for forensics
- Duane Fish — One of 17 local and national scholars invited to present at the 30th annual Casper College Humanities Festival
- Shaun Pohlman — Volleyball Coach of the Year for West Region, District I, Region IX North and WCCAC
- Brian Erickson — Region IX Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year
- ARTICULATING WITH UW
NWC engineering students now have a clearer path to earning a bachelor’s degree at the University of Wyoming. Thanks to a new articulation agreement between Northwest and UW, NWC engineering students now have specific assurances about courses they need to take to meet requirements for a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. The new agreement spells out NWC courses that meet UW degree requirements in the College of Engineering and Applied Science. This agreement is part of productive discussions with key faculty and staff members that is advancing UW’s acceptance of NWC students’ credit transfer, discussions that thus far have yielded more than a dozen other such agreements.
- ATTRACTING NOTABLE PROFESSIONALS
Among campus distinguished guests this year were Pulitzer Prize winning author Richard Ford who delivered the 2015 Wasden Reading, Native American celebrity Supaman who performed at the 2014 Buffalo Feast and legendary FBI profiler John Douglas, a pioneer in the modern-day science of criminal profiling.