Local consultant Tara Kuipers wants to do more with the local community college. After doing some work with the college, providing training to residence life staff and being involved in the Women’s Giving Circle, Kuipers is eager to help.
“Northwest College is an incredible asset to the community,” Kuipers said. “I’ve been involved with it in a few, smaller ways, now I want a bigger way.”
Kuipers worked for 15 years in various roles for different colleges and universities, most recently at the University of Wyoming Extension. Her experience includes work in student services and advising as well as admissions. With enrollment down at NWC, admissions is one area where she feels she can help.
“Enrollment was declining long before the pandemic was on our doorstep,” Kuipers said. “We have to look at a very broad perspective and a narrow perspective. We have to look at outreach, marketing and recruitment, but we also have to be looking at academic programs and extracurriculars, student services and amenities-types of things.”
The college’s “abundance” of opportunities and excellence in many areas, Kuipers said she wants to continue that excellence, but reduce it in one particular area.
“One of the things that Northwest College is great at, unfortunately, is humility,” she said. “NWC is not great at showing the community how awesome they are.”
Kuipers cited the wide selection of more traditional liberal arts offerings available at NWC and the variety of vocational programs offered as some of the areas where the college excels.
The college is also facing uncertain financial times, with large budget cuts on the horizon. Kuipers didn’t have a specific area she thought could be cut, preferring a more holistic approach.
“There’s not a single area that would provide the silver bullet” to solve the looming budgetary crisis, she said. “Everyone is looking at major questions and major changes that have to be resolved. It’s sort of a comfort that everyone is in it together.”
When asked if she would propose to follow in the footsteps of Sheridan and Gillette colleges in cutting athletics to address the shortfall, Kuipers was hopeful there could be an alternative.
“I think student athletics is an incredible part of the student experience,” she said. “I hope we would have a lot of other innovative ways to address the budget situation outside of cutting athletics fully.”