John Boyd is making good on his promises.
Boyd, who took over as president of Colorado Northwestern Community College in mid-March, is initiating new programs and hiring new faculty and staff members, objectives he cited as goals for his tenure.
"We're on the move, and we're excited," Boyd said. "We're ready to take off."
New positions include a guidance counselor and information technology and institutional research staff members, all of which will serve the Rangely and Craig campuses.
Boyd also plans to hire someone to fill a community education and vocational education role at the Rangely campus. He is hiring a maintenance crew member and a second grounds staff member.
Boyd said he's excited to bring music and theater back to the Rangely campus, as well.
Charissa Chiarazalloti was the director of those programs, but she left a couple of years ago, Boyd said. He enticed her to come back, which Boyd said will bring the arts -- in the form of a community choir -- back to the town.
Other new programs include the petroleum-technology program in Rangely and power-plant technology program in Craig. Both are two-year programs slated to begin in the fall.
"The industry has come to us and said 'We need employees with a certain level of education,'" Boyd said. "When they hire one of our grads, they know exactly what they're getting."
Boyd said the college will teach students the basics about the industries, so employers can teach specific skills for jobs.
Employers also can gauge students' skills through the Work Keys test, a post-program standardized test that reveals what students have learned throughout the program.
Boyd said these exams, and pre-program tests geared at tailoring the program to students' needs, will be administered through the Colorado Workforce Center, which opens a Rangely office at the CNCC campus Monday.
"We're really taking the lead in the state on this," Boyd said.
He said CNCC is the first college in the state to have a Workforce Center office on campus, and the first to offer the Work Keys test.
Boyd said he and other college administrators are looking into the possibility of starting farm and ranch management and equestrian programs at CNCC. They are looking at locations for those programs, which Boyd said will not begin in the fall.
Cross country will return to the college this year, however. Matt Scoggins, a member of the business faculty, will coach the team.
The Meeker extension of the college is moving into a new office in July. Boyd said the new office is below the existing office in the same building but that it is much larger and is more visible, with a picture window.
The Meeker extension currently caters to high school students in the dual-enrollment program. Boyd said he hopes to expand services to offer business and petroleum classes, as well as special-interest classes that would teach skills such as computer programming and fly-fishing.
Boyd said these programs and staff increases mark the beginning of an era for the college.
Since 2001, the college has lost $2.5 million in budget cuts.
"That's a pretty big hit," Boyd said.
Now, the college is moving in the right direction, Boyd said.
"We feel like we are turned around and are headed forward now," he said. "Sometimes, you have to take some risk in order to grow. I think we're taking minor risk, but some risk, by hiring some people who will help us be more efficient and more effective."
Boyd said he is also looking to get out of the rental business.
CNCC currently owns Sage--wood Apartments in Rangely. The college is under contract with a Las Vegas company to purchase the complex for $1.1 million.
The scheduled purchase date is Sept. 29.
Boyd said the money will be used to update dormitories, create studio apartments for married students and possibly build isolated apartments for students with children.
Boyd said he hopes these improvements will aid with student recruitment.
He is running a 10-week radio campaign at seven stations for the same purpose.
The ads ask listeners "Did you know?" questions about what the college offers in programming and student services.
"We want people to know what we have here," Boyd said. "Last year, we didn't do a lot of marketing, and we got hit hard on enrollment."
He thinks with the changes set in motion, the college is on its way to achieving his goals.
"It's a good feeling," Boyd said. "The college is alive, it's vibrant, and we're looking forward to being a leader in the area."