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CWC ranks #1 in Wyoming

Lander Journal | Sarah Elmquist Squires, Managing Editor 

CWC ranks #1 in Wyoming

Central Wyoming College Campus
Central Wyoming College, main campus in Riverton, WY

Last year, students from the Central Wyoming College (CWC) Alpine Science Institute traveled all the way to Mount Everest, and each year the college expands on its offerings for students and soars to reach new heights.

Now, CWC is the top-ranked community college in the state, and among the top 2.1% in the nation, grabbing the 20th spot of 922 colleges, according to a new college ranking list released from Niche.

Niche combines official education stats; six broad quality measures for professors, value, location, diversity, safety and student life; along with real student feedback to create its college ranking list, providing a comprehensive look into best options for families looking for quality higher education. 

And by virtually every measure, CWC leads the pack. During last month’s CWC Board of Trustees meeting, Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Kathy Wells shared some student success data highlighting Niches’ findings:

• 92.7% of students who completed general education courses in all Central Wyoming College locations via all delivery modes in the fall 2022, spring, and summer 2023 semesters achieved mastery of the learning outcomes

• 94.3% of degree-seeking students achieved mastery of the outcomes for all courses assessed in the 2022-2023 academic year, up from 93.08 the year prior

• CWC students performed above the total mean scores in all categories on the ETS® Proficiency Profile Exam in the semester they graduated from CWC

• CWC was identified by the NCCBP as a Best Performer (above the 90th percentile) in seven academic achievement categories

• CWC graduates performed well on industry certifications and licensing exams with all but one having a 100% pass rate

It may come as no surprise that while many higher education institutions are struggling to maintain enrollment, CWC actually increased student enrollment by 9% this fall. It comes as a result of a combination of efforts, from expanded academic programming to vibrant student life opportunities, to the campus boasting the most sports teams among community colleges in the state. Student support systems in place also ensure that CWC’s learners have the resources they need to succeed even when challenges arise.

“This high ranking is truly the result of everyone working hard implementing many things across all aspects of the college,” remarked CWC President Dr. Brad Tyndall. He pointed to the roll out of bachelor’s of applied science degrees and options for entrepreneurship, tribal leadership, law enforcement, agriculture, outdoor education and early childhood teaching as areas of new strength, along with the Trio and (Native American Serving Non-Tribal Institution) programs that provide student support.

“Our faculty have implemented embedded math tutors that have greatly increased student retention. With the new Rustler Ag & Equine Complex, we now have the largest equine program of the colleges, enhanced by their new ranch horse team,” Tyndall explained. “We’ve expanded our agriculture program immensely to include the state’s only ranch to table meat processing program with a USDA-certified facility. We’ve started a new meat judging team and have started a new farmer incubator program at our regenerative farm in Sinks Canyon that is working hard to expand the local food production and sales. So many of our unique student experiences are showcased through our great partnership at Wyoming PBS.”

CWC’s nursing program is consistently ranked the best in the state, and all of its offerings show clear paths to needed jobs and industries throughout the state and nation. Its concurrent enrollment program provides a way for younger students to earn credits even before they’re done with high school, and has seen substantial growth in recent years. It has options for all learners, and the numbers show it’s a great fit for many.

“We are honored to be recognized as a top community college nationally and acknowledge the passion and work of faculty, staff and students at CWC,” Tyndall said. “I am grateful to everyone who strives for excellence in education and improves the culture at CWC, and we are ready to build upon these standards.”

Learn more about how you can be a part of CWC at