CNCC grows in mind, and possibly in body

Colorado Northwestern Community College-Craig (CNCC) is gearing up add several new courses in the near future, and is looking at the possibilities for expanding its services and facilities in the not-so-near future.

Over the next five years, CNCC is going to move sharply towards various goals and possibilities.

Dr. Dean Hollenbeck, vice president of CNCC-Craig, is excited about the future of CNCC, and the Craig campus specifically. He is proud of what the college offers the community, and sees a bright future for the programs being introduced and those programs that are under development.

"We are ready to begin offering classes within our new fire sciences program. Starting this spring, we will begin offering a Wildland fire training course. It was designed in accordance with BLM standards. This course will certify individuals by allowing them to earn their Red Card Certification, which will allow them to join wildland firefighting teams anywhere in Colorado," Hollenbeck said.

The sire sciences program will also include Firefighting I and II, which will cover residential firefighting and hazardous materials training.

Still in the developmental stage is a Geographical Information Systems (GIS) training program and a LPN nursing program.

The Rangely campus already has this instruction, and the Craig campus is exploring bringing that curriculum program into its own educational offerings.

The LPN program is one that Hollenbeck feels is needed in this community and is in a very preliminary stage of consideration.

"Before, we didn't have the clinical facilities to offer this course, but we are exploring partnerships with Mesa State College in Grand Junction and Colorado Mountain College in Glenwood Springs that would allow us to offer this LPN training to our students," Hollenbeck said.

A cosmetology program is being considered, and the school is presently running a survey to see if there is an interest in the community for that type of education. The program could be developed in-house or through partnerships with other campuses, allowing the program to be organized fairly quickly if enough interest is shown.

Hollenbeck said the Craig CNCC campus boasts an exceptional staff and core academic courses and training.

The campus' good relationship with the high school and the success of early enrollment courses is another offering of the college Hollenbeck sees as a great benefit to the community.

The future holds many changes for CNCC in Craig. And if all the plans are successful, larger changes may take place.

"Within two to three years, the campus could expand physically or move if that is deserved if that is justified by our growth," Hollenbeck said.

Hollenbeck said the college will need to create programs that will bring in students and allow them exposure to a quality educational experience is the first and foremost priority. If, through that academic growth, the students come to the Craig campus in certain numbers, then an adjustment to the physical campus could be initiated.

Hollenbeck said that since CNCC joined the statewide organizing body for community colleges in 1999 any move toward physical expansion will need state approval, and that is not forthcoming in the immediate future.

Restrictions notwithstanding, Hollenbeck says the campus at Craig is changing in one important way: Technologically.

The new Internet Protocol (IP) phone system is almost complete, and allows for internet access, voice mail, long distance calling and data transfer to happen on one cohesive system. The IP system allows for free long-distance calling, since the communication is through the Internet, not a traditional phone line.

Also, the campus has distance-learning capabilities educators use live-feed technology to teach a class from anywhere in the world.

The Craig campus, at approximately 1,700 students a year, has the largest enrollment in the CNCC system. And Hollenbeck and the staff at the Craig campus are ready and excited about moving the campus into the future, wherever that may lead.

"We are very excited by what we are doing here, and what we see down the road for this campus," Hollenbeck said.

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