CWC begins Higher Learning Commission process for approval to offer applied baccalaureate programs

    In a special meeting Wednesday, August 28, the Wyoming Community College Commission unanimously approved a motion “to authorize Central Wyoming College to begin the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) substantive change process to offer no more than two applied baccalaureate programs.” The HLC accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in the North Central region of the United States, including Wyoming. Laramie County Community College also received approval to begin the process.

    CWC submitted the request to offer the Bachelor of Applied Science in Organizational Management and Leadership with two emphasis areas planned, one in tribal leadership and the second in business and entrepreneurship. This would allow for students to concentrate 12-15 credit hours of their coursework in either program option. Additional program course electives will allow for specialization in either degree path.

    CWC’s approval process for the BAS began with a new Wyoming law enacted earlier this year and with a resolution from the CWC Board of Trustees on August 21, 2019. The WCCC meeting August 28 authorized CWC to begin the approvals with the HLC. Next, CWC must receive specific program approval for its degree in Organizational Management and Leadership from its trustees, the WCCC and the HLC. The approval process would include a visit from the HLC in December 2019 or January 2020. The HLC would make a decision sometime in the spring, 2020. If the HLC approves the program, CWC would start classes in fall 2020.


    In a presentation to the WCCC, President Brad Tyndall said that the BAS will help area residents advance in their careers or start new businesses.

    “Area residents with vocational or career and technical backgrounds, whether on the Wind River Reservation or off, need to advance from technician to higher positions of management and leadership,” Tyndall said. “Imagine the welder with a BAS advancing to floor supervisor or to a regional manager or local Reservation or city leader. Imagine the automotive technician who learns what is needed to start his own shop. This degree would be so important for our region.”

    Tyndall said that the BAS would largely serve “home stuck” individuals who cannot leave their car and house payments, current employment and family responsibilities behind and attend college in another location. He explained that around 70% of CWC students are part-time.

    Following President Tyndall’s presentation, Dr. Joe Schaffer, president of LCCC, presented LCCC’s request to begin the HLC substantive change process for the Bachelor’s of Applied Science in Management and in Healthcare Administration.


    Dr. Kathy Wells, vice president of academic affairs, is taking the lead for CWC’s BAS project.

    “The CWC faculty are eager to continue the process of approval to offer this BAS degree. They have designed a degree that meets rigor and quality expectations in baccalaureate-level education,” Wells said. “The approval from the WCCC to continue seeking full approval from the regional accreditation entity is an exciting next step for CWC to serve the educational needs of our community and assisting the state of Wyoming in achieving the lofty educational attainment goals.”

    During the presentation to the CWC Board of Trustees a week earlier, Wells explained that the faculty and staff have been working hard to ensure quality. Information presented at the August 28 WCCC meeting can be found here.


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