NWC establishes new strategic plan

Posted 12/6/22

Northwest College has a new strategic plan to guide faculty, staff, administration and trustees going forward for what they hope will be many years to come.

The plan was approved on second reading …

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NWC establishes new strategic plan


Northwest College has a new strategic plan to guide faculty, staff, administration and trustees going forward for what they hope will be many years to come.

The plan was approved on second reading by trustees at the November meeting and includes overarching goals and more detailed strategies to achieve those goals, such as growing enrollment, employing top quality faculty, ensuring innovative academic programming and being a partner in the community.

“President (Lisa) Watson and her staff worked very hard on this and I feel it’s a significant accomplishment,” trustee John Housel said. “We’ve come up with a great strategic plan here, haven’t seen a strategic plan this comprehensive since I’ve been here. This will guide this board and future boards for many years to come.”

The plan was also approved by the Wyoming Community College Commission, which offered a few tweaks, mostly to use the terminology all colleges are using such as CTE.

“They loved it,” she said.

The plan took months to create, starting after the board’s May retreat. A first draft was revealed to trustees at their September meeting and administration made edits and changes as a result of comments made at that meeting to create the final product.

Trustee Dusty Spomer had questioned at multiple meetings what the board’s role would be in regards to ensuring the strategic plan was being followed and how success would be measured.

Watson said the plan can be reviewed annually if needed and, after the plan was tabled during the October meeting, more changes were made, leading all trustees to unanimously approve the plan — with trustee Carolyn Danko absent — at the November meeting. Danko had been in support of the plan at previous meetings.

The plan is broken down into sections that start with a vision and end with strategies and tactics to accomplish the larger goals.

“The world is changing rapidly, and so is the higher education landscape. Changing demographics, industry growth, regulation, cost escalation, and student needs require a responsiveness not seen previously in higher education. As traditional enrollments drop and funding sources remain unstable, the college seeks to retain its focus on preparing students to succeed in transfer, career, and life,” reads the beginning of the plan’s vision. The overall vision is Distinction and Destination of Place. The four pillars of the 2030 Strategic Plan, centered around the college’s mission, are:

1. Innovate Academic Programming

2. Attract New Students and Quality Employees

3. Champion Student and Employee Retention and Success

4. Revitalize Campus


Plan intro

“In 2021-22 Northwest College celebrated its 75th anniversary. What began as a partnership between the University of Wyoming and the Park County School District 1 has flourished into a high-quality, comprehensive community college of tremendous accomplishment. The landscape of higher education is changing. National undergraduate enrollment has decreased over the past decade, particularly at community colleges. Future enrollment is uncertain as institutions are increasingly competing for students. Budgets are shrinking. Students desire more flexibility than in the past. Throughout its history, NWC has been no stranger to change. The budget and enrollment challenges we have faced are no exception. History has taught us that times of uncertainty can also be incubators for unprecedented creativity, innovation, and change. We are committed to a future where NWC will celebrate its 150th anniversary and many more milestone anniversaries. To do that, we must think big. We must be bold and stretch the college to new possibilities for the future sustainability of the college and the citizens that we serve. Over the past three years, Northwest College has worked to re-envision and position itself for the future. We have spent time discussing what is unique to NWC and how to use those strengths. Through challenges, the college has proven itself to be flexible, resilient, and resourceful. We have re-envisioned and reinvigorated what started as a Vision 2025 plan to become a robust Strategic Plan 2030, which incorporates the transformational work completed over the past three years and provides clear direction for the college’s future efforts.”