P O W E L L, W y o. - As a music professor, director of bands, and music accreditation coordinator at Northwest College, plus a board member on the Wyoming Arts Council, Neil Hansen finds his time divided in many directions. The National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) recently added another when its members elected him chair of the NASM Commission on Community/Junior College Accreditation.
Hansen has served seven years as a commissioner of the three-member committee, but will have expanded duties as its chair, which requires that he also sits on the NASM board of directors.
The commission is charged with applying the association's accreditation and membership standards for community/junior colleges and associate degree programs. The commission receives applications and determines the qualifications of institutions seeking membership and, after thorough examination, takes action on behalf of the association. The commission has the power to investigate the maintenance of standards and the observance of published commitments in any member institution under its jurisdiction.
Hansen spearheaded the drive for music accreditation at NWC, which has been a fully accredited NASM member since 1995. Of the 625 institutions recognized by NASM, fewer than 30 are community colleges.
In the larger community, Hansen is probably recognized more for his work organizing the college's annual jazz festival, which brings well-known jazz performers and hundreds of high school and college students to campus each spring. He also founded and operates the college's annual Yellowstone Summer Music Camp and Jazz Camp.