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Enrollment growing on Douglas campus of WNCC

by Merrie Leininger, staff writer

The Douglas campus of Western Nevada Community College in Minden started its fall 2000 term with a slightly growing enrollment.

School began Monday and Assistant Dean Mike Hardie said the enrollment was up 5 percent from the same time last year.

“It looks like things are progressing very well. We may have to cancel a few classes that have low enrollment, but that will take a few days because we want to give people right up to the last minute to register,” he said.

Students can register for classes until Friday. Students who haven’t paid for their classes by that day will be automatically kicked out of the system and have to re-register, which will involve a $10 late fee, said Public Information Officer Anne Hansen. Students can register, with a late fee, until Friday, Sept. 8. However, there are hundreds of short-term classes that students can register for up to the day the class starts, she said.

She said the school doesn’t have a solid number on enrollment until Oct. 15 when WNCC reports their enrollment to the regents.

“The college is seeing steady growth and its nice to see the facility at Douglas is meeting the needs of the community,” Hansen said.

He said the campus will end up with about 70 classes after a few are dropped. Hardie said the school receives funding for classes based on the ideal number of students – 12 – for each class. Some classes have more than 12, so some classes may have as few as six or seven, but the school cannot justify classes with fewer students than that.

Hardie said he is basing the number of students who are enrolled on full-time students.

Full-time students must be registered for 15 or more credit hours and Hardie said 172 students are registered as full-time students now, compared to 162 registered last year, about 120 credits less.

Hardie said he didn’t have completed figures on the part-time students, which make up the majority of the school’s students, – the average student takes about six credit hours – but estimated there are about 425.

Hardie attributes the rise in enrollment to mass mailing the campus has done for the last two semesters to residents of Minden and Gardnerville.

“We wanted to raise the level of awareness. We just wanted people to know what’s available in this area,” Hardie said.

Hardie said 20 students have signed up for the new culinary arts program, and some individual classes have been added, such as conversational Spanish.

For the technology students, the computer lab received an upgrade over the summer to Windows 98.

Hardie said the school is in the process of putting together the spring classes, so now is the time to contact the campus about classes that should be added.

“I think the entire staff is committed to serving the community, so we’re always looking for information about what they would like. Anyone can call 782-2413 and leave a message with any staff member,” he said.

Hardie said the school is proud to provide all the basic classes for most bachelor degrees now, and is striving to provide every course needed for a two-year degree so Carson Valley residents don’t have to travel to Carson City.

“When we get more full-time staff, hopefully, we will be able to offer more things Carson City can staff,” he said.

Staffing levels are, of course, based on state funding, and Hardie said some increases have been included in next year’s budget.

“I think everybody’s waiting to see what the Legislature does. They have built in a slight increase in funding. If that comes through, we will be able to do some more. We are in pretty good shape for the basics with the staff we have, and a lot of kudos go to the part-time teachers, who carry the bulk of the classes, and also the people from Carson City who come out here to teach one to three classes,” Hardie said.

The school is also waiting for word on funding for a technology center that the Board of Regents has put on their top-10 list of projects.

“We are still moving forward. Whether it will be in Douglas or Lyon county will primarily be a decision of the Legislature. The (Douglas County) school district has been exceptional in cooperation with us. We have been doing the primary work, so we are prepared,” Hardie said.