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CWC eyes new emphasis on 'campus culture' in new year

Jan 6, 2013 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

Administrators at Central Wyoming College say they have started to focus on campus culture this year as their goals for the future evolve and mature.

"We're really needing to develop more leadership at all levels of the institution," president Jo Anne McFarland said during a recent meeting of the CWC Board of Trustees.

"(That will be) especially important with a very large wave of people retiring and leaving."

She said real insights and innovations begin at the ground level, where new and old employees will work toward increased efficiency and effectiveness when it comes to internal processes.

"At every level people have better ideas about how to do what they know," McFarland said. "We're trying to develop a culture and approve a culture that allows people to take risks and then make changes based on evidence."

The evidence will be developed by more closely measuring outcomes and student success, she added.

Changing market

Based on information gathered at national meetings, McFarland said community colleges throughout the country are "in the spotlight" now more than ever before.

"From the research we've seen we know to a very large extent a person's quality of life depends upon their post-secondary education, and the quality of that education," McFarland said.

"We also know that community colleges are providing the type of post-secondary training and education that is more highly valued in our workplace."

Her statements are supported by a 45 percent increase in enrollment at CWC over the past four years, and McFarland said even more people will seek a community college education in the future.

"By 2018 high school graduates will only qualify for one out of every four jobs," she said. "They're going to be left aside."

The students of the future also will have to move through college more quickly, McFarland said, citing statistics that show only about three out of 10 people enrolled at CWC graduate within three years.

"Our students are taking way too long to complete a degree," McFarland said. "We have many students who are caught in this very long track. ... If they're juggling too many things and only able to take one class at a time, it increases the chances they don't make it to graduation."

CWC staff have been working to help increase the graduation rate at CWC while also preparing students to work in a job market and society that are "rapidly changing."

"What we do really does matter," McFarland said. "We have to be nimble, very flexible, and ready to respond."

w that community colleges are providing the type of post-secondary training and education that is more highly valued in our workplace."

Her statements are supported by a 45 percent increase in enrollment at CWC over the past four years, and McFarland said even more people will seek a community college education in the future.

"By 2018 high school graduates will only qualify for one out of every four jobs," she said. "They're going to be left aside."

The students of the future also will have to move through college more quickly, McFarland said, citing statistics that show only about three out of 10 people enrolled at CWC graduate within three years.

"Our students are taking way too long to complete a degree," McFarland said.

"We have many students who are caught in this very long track. ... If they're juggling too many things and only able to take one class at a time, it increases the chances they don't make it to graduation."

CWC staff have been working to help increase the graduation rate at CWC while also preparing students to work in a job market and society that are "rapidly changing."

"What we do really does matter," McFarland said. "We have to be nimble, very flexible, and ready to respond."

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Central Wyoming College