National College Conference Attracts Leaders to NWA
The NorthWest Community College (NWACC) hosts around 40 community college leaders from across the country at the 2012 COMBASE Conference.
This year’s three-day conference takes place at the Embassy Suites in Rogers.
Community College leaders plan to accommodate need of the workforce and discuss the future and goals for their students.
“That’s what community colleges do,” said Tony Zeiss, president of Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, NC.
“The faster we can do that and get people with the skills to get those jobs, the better the employment is going to be, the better our prosperity is going to be,” Zeiss said.
The Arkansas Association of Two-Year Colleges works together to graduate students in rapidly growing fields. President of the association Ed Franklin said the system, made up of 22 community colleges, has a priority in the health professions.
“We have some grants that we are doing,” Franklin said. “We are partnering with the med center to increase clinical sites and increase the number of students we take into our programs.”
One way NWACC is helping non-traditional students is by offering nursing classes on nights and weekends as well as at a slower pace.
“Do your clinicals over a longer period of time and then you are successful and you won’t have to quit work,” said Mary Ross, NWACC Dean of Health Professions.
Ross said NWACC will soon open a new health professions building that will offer students more opportunities.
“We’ll be able to do more simulation labs so it will allow more students into our program,” Ross said.
All the presidents will return home and place into practice what they learned at the annual conference.
“So, if you will we’re stealing ideas from each other and then we go back all over the country and try to skill them up,” Zeiss said.
Participants will visit Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art for a tour, cocktail reception and dinner on Monday evening.
Shane Broadway, interim director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, will be a special guest at the dinner.
COMBASE was established in the 1970s by 10 community colleges. More than 50 institutions in 22 states are part of the network of community colleges’ presidents.