Dr. Wynegar Joins WNC from Gulf Coast Area
After serving as a dean at two colleges in the Southeastern United States, Dr. Robert Wynegar didn’t hesitate to relocate nearly 3,000 miles away and take on a new professional role at Western Nevada College.
Wynegar, former Associate Dean of Arts at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Fla, is WNC’s new Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs. He replaces Connie Capurro, who retired this summer after dedicating 25 years to WNC as an academic counselor and administrator.
“The opportunity to become a vice president and have a more significant voice at the college was appealing to me,” Wynegar said. “I saw WNC as a college with a solid academic base and a core of talented and caring faculty and staff. My goal now is to provide the type of leadership that will help WNC grow as a provider of quality higher education and as a partner to our regional employers.
Wynegar moved from a region where water is abundant - the Gulf of Mexico - to become a desert dweller in Carson City.
He also brings two key areas of expertise to WNC: grant writing and distance learning. He has produced more than $13 million of external funding in his higher education career, including a $4.35 million grant for Hispanic Serving Institutions, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and course development. That grant helped his college upgrade labs, redesign courses, develop online courses and provide student support services.
“Generating additional resources is a significant need for (WNC) at this point, given the state’s funding issues,” he said. “If we can supplement the decreased state funding with external funding, that’s a good thing for us.”
Wynegar also believes he can help enhance distance education at WNC, which serves many of the college’s 5,000 students who reside over 18,000 square miles of Northern Nevada.
“I learned a lot about distance education as a dean” at Darton State College in Georgia, Wynegar said. “As a result, I was able to bring a great deal of information to HCC and help them build their distance education program.”
Long before Wynegar joined college administration, he was directly assisting students in the classroom. In 1988, he taught mathematics at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga before becoming the director of developmental mathematics from 1996 to 2000.
“That’s where I saw the need,” he said. “I wanted to help the students who wanted to be successful but didn’t get the training they needed in high school.”
The university also introduced Wynegar to grant writing. “The bulk of my focus at UTC was helping the local K-12 schools develop their programs so, hopefully, one day the developmental program wouldn’t be needed,” Wynegar said.
Wynegar received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Tennessee Technological University in 1986 and his Master of Science Degree in Mathematics there in 1987. He also earned a Master of Science Degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 1992 and a Doctor of Education Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Valdosta State University in 2010.
Outside of the office, he prefers to spend his free time outdoors. “Backpacking. That was one of things that drew me to the area,” he said. Wynegar has hiked the southern half of the Appalachian Trail, from Springer Mountain, Ga., to the Virginia-Maryland border. He also enjoys kayaking, scuba diving and power kiting.
As he familiarizes himself with his new position and surroundings, Wynegar said he looks forward to gaining perspective from the community of people that make up WNC. “I’m looking forward to working with the faculty and staff to enhance the college. I look forward to learning about their goals, desires and hopes, and seeing how we can make those mesh with where the college needs to be.”
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