14 Years of Progress and Student Success
After more than 14 years at the helm of Western Nevada College, President Carol Lucey announced in July that she will step down as president of the college in the coming months, following a national search for a new college leader.
The president acknowledged that the past several years have been difficult because of severe budgetary challenges from continual state funding reductions. But she said WNC students continue to earn degrees, gain employment skills, and successfully prepare for university transfer.
“You continue to serve our communities with integrity, largely because of your determination,” Lucey told faculty and staff as she announced her plans. Their efforts “have been instrumental in keeping Western Nevada College successful through very tough economic times,” she said. “I am grateful for that determination.”
During Lucey’s presidency, WNC has made significant advances in enrollment of recent high school graduates and minority students, science and technology-focused academic programs, and student success and campus life initiatives. College student success initiatives have strongly increased enrollment and degree completion by recent area high school graduates and minority students.
Lucey also led the college toward a greater emphasis on academic programs that focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, as well as those that enhance economic development in the region. During her presidency, through partnerships with the Northern Nevada Development Authority, the local Manufacturing Collaborative, state and federal training agencies, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the college established accelerated workplace certificates and applied bachelor’s degrees. These new programs include nationally recognized certifications in machine tool technology, welding and automotive technology, a Bachelor of Technology Degree in Construction Management, and a partnership with Nevada State College that allows WNC students to complete bachelor’s degrees in teacher education without leaving home. Plans to further expand technical certificates, associate and bachelor’s degrees in such areas as health care, information technology, business, manufacturing and hospitality must now await a resolution of the state’s rural community college funding crisis.
In addition to construction management and accelerated workforce certificate programs, other programs created during her tenure include deaf studies/American Sign Language, networking technologies, automated systems technologies, graphic communications, Geographic Information Systems, Information Technology certifications and the Specialty Crop Institute, which teaches water-sustainable farming techniques.
In addition, Lucey oversaw construction of the Joe Dini Jr. Library and Student Center, the Jack C. Davis Observatory, the John L. Harvey baseball field, a new college art gallery, and four solar arrays. She also encouraged a long-term focus on developing energy sustainable campuses that are safe, and friendly to disabled students.
Mark Ghan, vice president for Human Resources, said Lucey “has been a president devoted to the interests and success of students. She has been fiercely protective of the college and its mission.”
As she prepares to take leave, Lucey is positive about the future of her college. “I believe WNC offers students the right combination of high tech and high quality in a nurturing environment,” she said. “I feel good about the college and the courage and student-focus of all the people who continue to serve it.”
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