Enrollment at both rural campuses of Western Nevada College has increased this fall, after six years of state budget cuts that drastically reduced programs and available classes.
Full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment, which measures the number of credits a student takes and is a key factor in determining state funding levels, rose 4 percent at the Fallon campus to 415 and 3 percent at the Douglas campus to 371. At the Carson City campus, full-time equivalent headcount rose by 2 percent, indicating that individual students are enrolling in more credits.
College-wide, FTE enrollment jumped 28 percent in Career and Technical Education classes over the prior year. These programs provide significant hands-on instruction and practice to prepare students for jobs and national certifications in a wide variety of applied technologies. Programs include American Sign Language/deaf studies, applied industrial technologies, automotive technology, business, construction management, construction technology, criminal justice/POST Academy, education, graphic communications, Information technology, machine tool technology and welding.
“We have been all hands on deck” at the Fallon Campus, said Sherry Black, academic director of Career and Technical Education. “We broadened the spectrum of on-site offerings, including a wider variety of business courses that include management, marketing and business speech communication. We are determined to offer the maximum support to our community and workforce that we can.”
Course offerings were also expanded at the Douglas Campus said Dean of Student Services John Kinkella.
“We continued our partnership with Douglas High School to offer students dual credit high school/college classes. We also offered an open house to the community, and our Douglas Campus employees continue to provide outstanding customer service to the students and the public,” Kinkella said.
WNC President Carol Lucey said the college expanded its Summer Bridge to Success program to the Fallon campus this year, and it seems to be playing a role in the growing number of full-time students enrolled this fall.
Lucey said that the rural campuses play a vital role for Northern Nevada residents who are often place-bound from the state’s two universities.
“Many rural residents in the Silver State are the first in their family to attend college. These students need lots of support to prepare for college, enroll, and succeed in college,” she added.
Lucey said that although distance learning is an adequate mode of delivery for “mature learners and returning adults,“ younger and less prepared students need a live teacher and personal contact with support staff and peers.