Gillette and Sheridan College Boards Hold First Joint Meeting | Local News


BUFFALO – In one of the first major steps of the collaboration since Campbell County voters approved the creation of the Gillette Community College district, representatives from the new district and the Northern Wyoming Community College District met in Buffalo on Saturday morning to define the common values ​​that will guide the separation process.

Wyoming State Bar lawyer Mark Gifford moderated the discussion which included members of the Gillette College and NWCCD boards of trustees and the presidents of each school.

Saturday’s discussion was the first joint meeting of the two councils.

After the presentations from the two boards, Giffords outlined the values ​​to be benchmarked throughout the transition process and concluded the meeting with the board chair and the president of each school signing the document.

“This is an emotional issue and therefore the ability to sit face to face, to get to know each other, to remember that we can be on the same page – it has huge implications. , but only if we continue to remember that moving forward, “said Deb Wendtland, NWCCD board chair.” So this is the start. “

The shared values ​​statement includes six statements:

1. As part of the Wyoming Community College System, the Gillette Community College District and the Northern Wyoming Community College District play a critical role in supporting the 2021-2025 statewide strategic plan, which incorporates the principles of academic success, affordability, program alignment and economic development.

2. As public institutions, both Districts understand that we are all subject to federal and state laws, as well as other matters related to compliance governed by the Wyoming Community College Commission, the US Department of Education and the Higher Learning Commission.

3. We agree that the two entities, GCCD and NWCCD, are equal partners, to work in and be treated as such throughout the transition process, and to use all reasonable means to expedite the accreditation of GCCD as a diploma-granting institution. , with the aim of facilitating a stable and efficient accreditation process.

4. We agree to work with integrity, collaboratively, transparently, respectfully and professionally to ensure the success of Gillette College and Sheridan College in terms of accreditation and financial strength in the best interests of students, faculty, staff, current and future academic staff and programs. disturbs.

5. We understand that there are many topics and issues that will require research and discussion, and we agree to set reasonable expectations regarding schedule and deliverables. Additionally, we recognize that there are variables that we do not control, including, but not limited to, the biennial budget cycle, potential changes in government funding, potential emergencies or crises (e.g. , pandemic) or legislative changes.

6. We agree to communicate in an open and timely manner, taking into account the opinions and perspectives of others (including, without limitation, administrators, administration, faculty, students and other stakeholders) and provide a space for all to be heard and support one another during the transition, without retaliation or retaliation.

Gillette College Board Member Alison Gee recommended adding the latest shared values ​​clause.

She acknowledged that the transition will be difficult and noted the unusual nature of Gillette College’s separation from the existing NWCCD.

“… We need to create a safe environment for our faculty, students and staff to work together and collaborate to figure out how to make this transition, how to get accreditation while helping us have enough resources to do what we need to do it, ”Gee said. “And there’s going to be a lot of conflict in this process because you pit each group’s values ​​and desires against each other in making these choices. We’re both going to have to sacrifice a little bit along the way and we don’t want students, faculty, and staff to feel stuck in the middle of it. “

The shared values ​​statement will serve as the foundation for Gillette College’s transition to its own district.

Wendtland said the next step will be the meeting of leadership team members from each university district to start working on a draft memorandum of understanding between the two groups. This meeting will take place on Tuesday morning.

“This document will be essential because we don’t know all of the aspects that will be involved, so it has to be something that can withstand all problems and yet be modified to address all of these variables,” said Wendtland.

The list of challenges facing both boards is long and includes issues of accreditation, funding, staffing, academic programs and registration, which would only be further complicated by poor communication or mistrust between the two entities.

“The work done today is the foundation of our way forward,” said NWCCD Chairman Walt Tribley. “It was an important step. “

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