Northern Wyoming Community College District Board of Trustees received an update during their board meeting Thursday night on efforts to offer an applied four-year degree program. During the meeting, NWCCD President Dr. Walt Tribley announced that the District anticipates offering a Bachelor of Applied Science in Management and Leadership with two areas of emphasis – Business and Industrial Technology.
Tribley presented trustees with a draft resolution in support of offering applied four-year degrees at NWCCD and pursuing necessary approvals from the Wyoming Community College Commission and the Higher Learning Commission, NWCCD’s accrediting body. He recommended the Board take action to approve the resolution at their next regular meeting on Dec. 12.
In March 2019, the Wyoming Legislature passed legislation enabling Wyoming’s community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees in applied sciences.
According to Tribley, offering applied four-year degrees furthers economic development initiatives in NWCCD’s service region and serves students who cannot move to attend a traditional four-year institution due to family or occupational commitments.
“We have an obligation to serve employers and the people of northern Wyoming,” said NWCCD President Dr. Walt Tribley. “These two degree options will allow us to meet employers’ demand for highly trained employees ready to take on leadership roles and give students the option to continue their education right here in northern Wyoming.”
The decision to offer degrees in the areas of management and leadership was the result of District-wide research conducted by the Office of Academic Affairs at NWCCD and involved extensive faculty leadership, Tribley explained to the trustees.
“My team took the time to meaningfully engage faculty and gather feedback from students, employers, and other stakeholders before finalizing the recommendation that we move forward with these degree options,” said Tribley.
Following approval by the Board of Trustees in December, NWCCD faculty will develop program curriculum. Then NWCCD must seek approval from the Wyoming Community College Commission and the Higher Learning Commission. Finally, the U.S. Department of Education must grant permission for students seeking these degrees to be eligible to receive federal financial aid dollars. The entire process will take an estimated 15-18 months.