Ron Granger: CNCC taking comments seriously |

Ron Granger: CNCC taking comments seriously

Ron Granger/For Craig Press

Ron Granger

The administration at Colorado Northwestern Community College and I are taking comments from the focus groups seriously, and we look forward to continued conversations with the Craig community and the Moffat County Affiliated Junior College District Board of Control. I would also like to take this opportunity to give an update on where we are in our strategic planning and highlight several program initiatives aimed at meeting community and workforce demand.

Strategic plan

Over the past year, college personnel have been working on a new strategic plan that will be unveiled on July 1 of this year. In that strategic plan, our top goals are promoting transparent communication; concentrating on student retention, recruitment and completion; creating more and stronger partnerships with industry, communities and other educational institutions; and creating a model for long-term sustainability. A detailed plan will be established so each of the goals in the strategic plan will have a pathway to be successful. Communication is a priority, which includes developing protocols for collaborative and transparent ways to get information to and from all stakeholders. Enrollment growth is also a priority, which can only be done through partnerships and creating an environment that will help us recruit and retain our students.

5-year vision

As stated in the information provided to the MCAJCD Board in November 2017, my vision for the next five years for the Craig campus includes increasing our enrollment by a minimum of 15 to 20 percent, increasing our completion rate by 3 percent or more each year, increasing our workforce offerings by a minimum of five programs and making the college, as a whole, and the Craig campus sustainable for the future. This vision includes adding five new programs to the Craig campus, with a concentration in the medical fields. The Medical Assisting Certificate will start this fall and the Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program will start no later than fall 2020. The BSN program provides our nursing students an option to continue their education after the Associates' Degree Registered Nurse Program is completed. This will be vital to these students in the future, as more and more hospitals are asking for a bachelor's degree for nurses. Other programs we are looking at possibly starting include occupational therapist assistant, physical therapist assistant, respiratory care assistant and Pphlebotomy. These programs will be dependent upon employer demand. Also, in this next year, we plan to offer classes in agriculture and equine studies on the Craig Campus. These course offerings are dependent upon finding a suitable place for the lab portion required for the courses. Our drone classes are moving forward, with classes being offered this fall on both the Craig and Rangeley campuses. These classes will be offered through our cloud-based video classroom, so students at either campus can take advantage of the offerings.

Along with these programs, we are looking at ways to provide our students with good, affordable housing. A meeting will be held at the end of this month to look at the options around building and/or financing residence halls. In the interim, we have an agreement with the Clarion to provide our students with a housing option for the next few years. This agreement will allow us to house up to 40 students, with an option to add more, if needed.

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New programs, certificates

In the past two years, we have added two new associates' degree programs at the Craig campus. The Associates' Degree in Diesel Technology was created to give students the knowledge and experience needed so they can be employed working on diesel engines, either in the area or throughout the state of Colorado. The new Associates' Degree in Emergency Medical Systems was designed to give our students advanced knowledge to better prepare them for employment and for promotion in the EMS field. Both these programs were created due to the high demand in these fields. We have also added three certificate programs during the past two years. The Emergency Medical Technician certificate and the Advanced Emergency Medical Technician certificate were created to give the students the credentials necessary to begin a career in the medical field. Meanwhile, the Medical Assisting certificate was created on the recommendations of our advisory group, which included local businesses, college personnel and hospital personnel. This certificate is another way for students to get a start in the medical profession. This certificate program will begin this fall.

Finally, part of the mission of any community college is to provide training and education to displaced workers, so they can be employable in another profession. With the recent layoffs of 24 employees at the local hospital, the college has set up a program for these workers that will offer scholarships to reduce the tuition and fee costs by 75 percent or more. The scholarships will be funded by revenues generated through tuition at the Craig campus and the tuition buy down funds provided by the taxes paid to the MCAJCD Board of Control and available to all Moffat County residents. Packets are being sent to affected workers. College personnel, including administration, will be meeting with any of the laid-off workers from the hospital who are interested in this program. The meeting will be held May 22 on the Craig campus. We will spend time with the affected workers going through programs, getting them registered and providing them with more financial aid opportunities.

Continued partnerships

I welcome the opportunity to hear more from the community. I have made concerted efforts to open additional office hours for any community member to sign up and come in to meet with me one-on-one. Denise Mosher, administrative assistant at the Craig campus, is available to set up dates and times for any meetings.

The Craig campus plays a central role in the overall success of CNCC. The college administration looks forward to working collaboratively with the community to provide excellent educational opportunities for students and to strengthen the Craig campus.

Ron Granger is president of Colorado Northwestern Community College.