College closer to offering four-year degree locally

Northern Wyoming Community College District successfully reached another milestone in its efforts to offer four-year degrees during a meeting of the Wyoming Community College Commission held in Cheyenne last week. The Commission unanimously voted to authorize NWCCD to proceed to the next step, which includes working directly with its accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission, to begin the substantive change process in order to offer an applied baccalaureate degree in Management and Leadership with two areas of emphasis – Business and Industrial Technology.

NWCCD President Dr. Walt Tribley presented survey results to the Commission based on 90 responses from community and industry partners and 385 Sheridan and Gillette College students that demonstrated overwhelming support for the new program. In addition, he cited 21 endorsement letters submitted by regional employers.

“We have a history of successfully partnering with regional employers to create the skilled workforce they need, and, in turn providing our graduates with jobs that lead to bright futures,” Tribley said. “A four-year degree offered locally is an opportunity to strengthen that symbiotic partnership.”

One letter of support came from Norco, an independent gas manufacturer and distributor with offices in Sheridan and Gillette.

“Norco values education and is always interested in hiring candidates with a welding/mining background, who have invested in themselves with a college education,” said manager Tom Klein. “The diversity of a business background would make them only more attractive as a new hire.”

According to Tribley, the WCCC authorization allows the District to move forward with developing curriculum for the program as well as making sure that each area of service is ready and equipped to serve four-year students.

Next steps in the process include approval of the actual curriculum by the WCCC and a site visit from the HLC. If all goes well, students could enroll in the four-year degree program as early as fall 2021.