Carol Lucey, president of Western Nevada Community College in Carson City, told the Board of Regents on Wednesday her student population is largely part time, typically falls between 34 and 44 in age and goes to WNCC because of its location.
The comments were made during a presentation on strategic planning by the two universities and five community colleges in the Nevada system at a regents meeting in Reno.
The vast majority of WNCC's students are part time with the average number of credits about one-third of a full time load. As a result, she said, the average student takes 7 semesters or more to finish.
Lucey, who took over as WNCC president in August, told the board one of the most telling statistics is that 80 percent of WNCC's students attend the college because of location.
She said more than 97 percent of the students surveyed this past year indicated they are satisfied with what they got from the classes.
She told the regents she'd like to see more students come directly from high school to take college classes, instead of waiting 10 years or more. But she said her immediate effort will be to focus more on the needs of her existing students.
"We should be asking students what they want and when they want classes. I think that would be more classes at night and on weekends," she said.
And becaise 62 percent of WNCC students are women who have children, she said, there is a need for the best possible child care and related services.
Over the next decade, WNCC should work to increase the number of students attending right after high school and to double or triple the percentage seeking degrees.
Now, less than 40 percent of students surveyed said they are seeking a degree.
"We need to seriously recruit high school students," Lucey said.
The opportunity to increase the number of students seeking a degree exists because nearly 90 percent of them said they would like to get a degree.
She will return to the board with more detail on her plans for WNCC this coming spring, she said.