New WNC Fallon director offers campus, programs update

Western Nevada College’s Fallon campus joined other community groups for the Fourth of July parade.

Western Nevada College’s Fallon campus joined other community groups for the Fourth of July parade.
Photo by Steve Ranson.

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The future looks good for Western Nevada College’s Fallon campus as the first-year director presented an update to Rotarians at their weekly lunch meeting July 2.

Lisa Swan, who was named to the post in January after spending eight years at Oasis Academy as an academic adviser and assistant athletic director, said enrollment is growing, and the number of offerings is increasing for local students. WNC’s Fallon campus serves not only students in Churchill County but also students from the Fernley-Silver Springs-Yerington corridor.

WNC has begun offering aviation classes, and the instruction includes ground school courses that provide both the foundation for a flying career while allowing students to earn college credit. Swan said the initial phases of an applied science degree in aviation may be available in 2025.

“WNC is beginning to explore the possibility of offering an Associate of Applied Science in Aviation and is actively working with members of the Fallon community to potentially form a partnership with a flight school,” Swan said.

To show how serious WNC and Swan are about aviation, the college will present information on the aviation in-person courses on Friday and Saturday from 6-7 p.m. at the Fallon Theatre. Interested students are invited to attend one of the two nights. She said a presentation will focus on the courses and answer any questions from prospective students. After the college’s presentation, she said the original 1986 Top Gun movie with Tom Cruise will be shown at 7 p.m.

WNC is adding other programs including nursing that will begin in 2026. She said the program’s goal will have upward to 12 first-year students and just as many for the second year. The college also offers five-week Commercial Driver's License classes at both the Carson City and Fallon campuses. Swan said WNC has both welding and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) programs, but the campus needs an HVAC instructor since the previous teacher died. She added the college is also working with Churchill County High school on the auto technician program.

Other projects on the campus including landscaping, replacing signage to spell out Western Nevada College and renovating Getto Hall since Oasis Academy’s students are returning to their new campus which is opening next month. Swan said Fallon Mayor Ken Tedford told her improvements are planned for Auction Road, a major street near the college.

The WNC campuses have been on the upswing since J. Kyle Dalpe was named president in March 2023. Enrollment on the campuses has exceeded 4,000 students with 468 students attending the Fallon campus. Of Fallon’s enrollment numbers, Swan said 278 are high school students with 90 in the Jump Start program. The Jump Start program allows high-school students to not only obtain their diploma, but they also earn a two-year associate college degree that transfers to many universities.

“It affords a lot of great opportunities,” she said, noting students can save as much as $40,000 depending on the four-year university they will be attending.

Swan used her family as an illustration, saying the University of Arizona accepted all of her daughter’s college credits from WNC.

Swan said WNC is attracting students and improving their success by developing a culture of student support that’s leading to their success and ensuring students from all backgrounds have the same opportunities. The longtime educator said WNC has been increasing its visibility and enrollment at both campuses.

“WNC’s mission is to have a pathway for all students,” she said. “We want students in the rural areas to have everything offered in the bigger cities such as the Carson City campus. We want to ensure everything that’s happening in Carson City is happening in Fallon. We want our students to feel part of the Fallon campus.”

The Fallon campus has its own graduation ceremony, for example, which is heavily attended every year by Fallon and Fernley students and their families.

Additionally, Swan said six people are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the campus, which was founded in in 1981, a decade after the main campus began offering courses and seven years after the Carson City campus opened.

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