To enhance student learning opportunities and to launch new success initiatives, student and academic services at Central Wyoming College are being brought under one umbrella.
With the retirement of longtime Vice President of Student Services Mohammed Waheed, and the promotion of VP for Academics Jason Wood as the new executive vice president, the two departments will work as one.
“The student success piece, in my mind, was paramount,” Wood said. “I think it’s time we focus less on an organizational chart and more on what happens in our students’ lives.”
CWC had employed the predominant community college model of dividing the interactions with students into two distinct divisions with the academic side of the house focusing on curriculum and instruction and student services providing support, such as counseling and tutoring, outside of the classroom. In times of tight budgets, the merger is allowing the college to eliminate one administrative position while elevating existing staff to increase efficiency.
An appointed task force spent the better part of a semester studying the merger, and came up with a model for a new chief student services officer that considerably enlarged the scope of responsibilities. A plan was launched to encourage greater interaction and developed a means for creating learning partnerships on campus.
With the reorganization, former Library Director Cory Daly has been promoted to the Associate Vice President for Student Services, supervising Registration and Records, financial aid, counseling and grant-funded programs. Former Campus Safety and Student Life Director Steve Barlow has been named Assistant Dean for Student Services, continuing his oversight of student housing, student activities, campus safety and adding athletics to his responsibilities. Assistant Dean for Student Learning Martha Davey is now the AVP for Academics, taking charge of student recruitment and Adult Basic Education/GED, while maintaining supervision over institutional research, accreditation and advising.
With “all the excitement and enthusiasm” of bringing the two divisions together came an initiative to formalize co-curricular learning, Wood said. “No one is sure what got that snowball rolling down hill.”
Learning is not limited to what takes place in the classroom yet students aren’t given credit on their transcripts for that experience, he said. A proposal is being brought forward to the CWC Curriculum Committee where students can receive credit for service learning, practical experience/internship, cultural appreciation and professional development.
“This formalizes a process of learning outside the classroom,” Wood explained. Students who have been participating in existing co-curricular projects, such as acting in theater productions or participating in undergraduate research programs, would earn credit.
With the merger, students will receive a better learning environment with the college catering to the students’ academic interests as well as their personal and professional concerns.
“We are all partners in this,” Wood said of the entire CWC staff. “All of us who work at the college want students to be successful.”