A long-time Fallon resident and Western Nevada College faculty member is taking the reins as the director at the Fallon campus, beginning in January.
Sherry Black, the collegeâ€™s director of Career and Technical Education, was named director of the Fallon campus, effective at the start of the spring semester in mid January.
â€œSherry, with her history at the college, as well as her deep ties to the Fallon community, is a great choice for this position, and I am delighted she has agreed to assume this role,â€ WNC President Chet Burton said.
The opportunity to serve the students in Fallon and the surrounding areas in a larger role suits Black well.
â€œAfter having spent years at WNC in varying roles, I am excited to take on one more,â€ Black said. â€œThe Fallon campus holds a special place in my heart for many reasons, but most of all, because Fallon is my home.â€
In her new position, Black plans to further develop community relations and provide students with an education that surpasses their expectations.
â€œChurchill County, the city of Fallon, the Naval Air Station, the school district and businesses throughout our service area are key to the success of the Fallon campus. Fortunately for WNC, strong leadership prevails throughout each of those entities,â€ Black said. â€œLong range, my vision is to ensure that we provide quality instruction and new offerings, focus on student retention, and make customer satisfaction an integral part of our campus. I want students who graduate from WNC to receive more than what they expected from our college.â€
Northern Nevada has been buzzing with excitement since Tesla announced plans earlier this summer to build its gigafactory in Lyon County. Educating its students so they can benefit from the corresponding job growth anticipated from Teslaâ€™s presence has become a concern of the college and has affected its direction.
â€œWith the potential impact of the Tesla announcement to the region represented by Fallon, Fernley and Silver Springs, as well as other factors, we have great potential for growth in Fallon and we need to position the campus to support the opportunities as they occur,â€ Burton said.
Black said that some classes have already been restructured to meet the needs of these students, Tesla and other industries.
â€œWhether Tesla’s presence in Lyon County will have an immediate impact on the Fallon campus is unknown, but we have already begun the development and reorganization of several classes that will help prepare students for employment with Tesla,â€ she said. â€œAnother area that may be impacted is in the field of construction. We are planning to offer several classes from our Construction Technology program on the Fallon campus.
Additionally, our division will offer an accelerated welding program on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings that leads to welding certifications. As of today, the program is already full.â€
Black joined WNC in 1987 as a student counselor. She spent 10 years in that role and became a professor for the next decade.
â€œBoth of those positions afforded me the ability to impact the students before, during and after the education process,â€ she said.
During the past decade, Black has accepted leadership roles at WNC. For six years, she was the lead faculty member for Social Science, Education, Humanities, Criminal Justice and the Public Service division, empowering her to develop course schedules and evaluate instructors.
Over the past 18 months, Black has served as WNCâ€™s director of the Career and Technical Education Division. She oversaw Construction Management, the collegeâ€™s only bachelor’s program, along with 15 Associate of Applied Science degree programs, 14 Certificate of Achievement programs and more than a dozen certification and licensing preparation programs. Her responsibilities have also included working closely with Nevada State College to provide education students with a seamless transition from an associate degree to a bachelorâ€™s degree in Elementary Education.
â€œI have enjoyed the broad scope of management responsibilities from budgeting, scheduling, conflict resolution, evaluations, hiring, grants, Memorandum of Understandings, marketing, program reviews and community advisory committees, to name a few,â€ Black said. â€œI’ve learned to navigate a large division and advocate for the opportunities throughout our complex and varied disciplines.â€
Also in her previous role, Black gained more respect and admiration for the efforts of WNCâ€™s faculty and staff.
â€œI’ve enjoyed working with positive and creative faculty and staff. The majority of the staff and faculty in the CTE Division are some of the hardest-working individuals I have ever encountered. The words â€˜can’t be done,â€™ are not in their vocabulary,â€ she said. â€œI’ve also been fortunate to work with 11 different community advisory committees whose input and support of our programs has been immeasurable. Last but not least is the impact our area has on students and the many student successes I have been witness to.
Black has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and Finance and a Masters Degree in Counseling and Educational Psychology from the University of Nevada, Reno. She has received adviser and faculty awards from the Nevada Board of Regents, as well as WNCâ€™s Instructor of the Year honors on several occasions.