Northwest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville has been working for more than 20 years to strengthen the community by providing a solid education.
On Saturday, the board of trustees gathered to discuss ways to keep that mission alive. Six new trustees learned at a mid-year retreat what goes into making the college successful.
"We are going through the initiation process," said new trustee Geovanny Sarmiento. "I think that we are new trustees and we need to know, and get to know, what`s important with the college. So, it`s a great introduction to what our responsibilities are going to be."
The community college is in the second year of a strategic five-year plan that focuses on improving the campus, classes, education and experience.
"In order for them to be effective, governing board members, they really need to get up to speed about the college," said NWACC President Dr. Becky Paneitz, who will step down in June. "NWACC serves so many people and has so many programs. So, we felt it was worth while for them to come in and learn from my key administrators about what we do."
NWACC is currently working on several projects that includes a tentative plan to build a permanent second campus in Springdale.
"I think there is a lot of opportunity to continue growing the college, there`s a lot of opportunity for expansion, there`s a great need for education, and our students are there and they`re waiting for us to make sure that we make things available for everybody," Sarmiento said.
During Paneitz's time at NWACC, she has strived to increase the quality of education, the affordability of classes and programs. The accessibility to not only the campus but to the faculty and staff as well.
"'I think when I walk out in June, I can truthfully say that these are the goals that you gave me this year, as well as the last nine before that, and the college is going to be left, hopefully, in good stance, and that was my goal," Paneitz said.
Evelyn Jorgenson will take over as president on July 1. Jorgenson is currently the president at Moberly Area Community College in Missouri.