(Rock Springs, Wyo.) – A new partnership over 14 years in the making involving Wyoming community colleges, the University of Wyoming and the Wyoming Department of Education has set the stage for an increased level of information sharing aimed at improving the performance of the state’s education system.
At a meeting of the Wyoming Community College Commission in Rock Springs, a memorandum of understanding — signed by presidents of each of the seven community colleges, the Wyoming Community College Commission (WCCC), the University of Wyoming and the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) — paves the way for seamless transitions for students from high school to the workforce, while meeting the state’s objectives related to educational attainment and economic diversification.
The agreement establishes a process whereby UW, WDE, the colleges and WCCC will share data elements related to the state’s Hathaway Scholarship Program, student financial aid, student success, dual and concurrent enrollment, virtual education and electronic transcripts.
Central Wyoming College President Dr. Brad Tyndall was among the signers of the document.
The partnership will support Governor Mead’s Executive Educational Attainment Council established by executive order in August, responsible for coordinating data throughout Wyoming’s education system from primary to secondary education with the ultimate goal of increasing the level of education and training of the State’s workforce.
“It was certainly an exciting first step toward achieving our educational attainment goals for the State of Wyoming,” Executive Director of the Wyoming Community College Commission Sandy Caldwell said. “Partnerships that will facilitate sharing data, common course numbering and common college transcripts (HEA 47) will help us increase completion rates and strengthen our education to work pipeline. This will ultimately help us reach one of the main objectives of ENDOW which is a more diversified economy supported by an educated workforce.”
“This agreement allows us to provide information without collecting any additional student data,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow says. “I look forward to carefully crafting a data governance structure that safeguards student data and helping students make seamless transitions from high school.”
UW President Laurie Nichols says the agreement is a major step in efforts by the university and the community colleges to ease the transition for students transferring from the colleges to UW. Those efforts include nearly 200 articulation agreements to help ensure that students earning associate degrees at Wyoming community colleges can transfer to UW and earn their bachelor’s degrees in the same majors in two years.
It was noted at the Rock Springs meeting that of the University of Wyoming’s spring 2018 graduating class, a full 75 percent were community college transfer students. “Our community colleges are preparing our students for success in life,” Dr. Caldwell said.