POWELL, Wyoming — The Northwest College Fine Art and Graphic Design programs entered an elite circle of colleges this fall by earning accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Only seven community colleges in the entire country are NASAD-accredited.
The rigorous multi-year process leading to accreditation involved a comprehensive self-study of NWC’s art and design programs as well as the entire institution, plus onsite evaluation visits, student interviews and compliance with stringent criteria.
All facets of the programs were studied in depth, including faculty, facilities, safety, student work and transcripts, communications, digital access, institutional support, recruiting practices, policies, administrative structures and operations, plus much more.
“This is a meaningful endorsement,” Gerald Giraud, NWC’s vice president for academic affairs, said. “NASAD accreditation tells students they will receive an art or design education that meets the highest standards in the country. That only six other two-year colleges have applied for and earned this honor says incredible things about the quality of the Northwest College Art and Graphic Design programs. We feel the accreditation will help us continue to attract the best students to our program as well as offer all our students a level of preparation that’s as high or higher than they could find anywhere.”
NWC’s accreditation is made even more unique because of its associate of applied science degree in graphic design. Unlike NWC’s transfer-oriented degrees in art and graphic design, the applied science program prepares students to enter the workforce in just two years. It is the only accredited program of its kind in the Rocky Mountain region.
The NWC Art and Design Program is driven by a team of six full-time positions and several adjunct instructors. The individuals who hold the six primary positions are familiar faces in the community due to their multi-faceted outreach. They are faculty members Elaine DeBuhr, John Giarrizzo, Renée Claire Tafoya, Anne Toner and Morgan Tyree, and Denise Kelsay, the art department assistant and galleries director.
The NASAD accreditation process is ongoing, with regularized self-evaluation and peer review to ensure academic strength and operational integrity. Northwest will submit a comprehensive updated report in 2019.