NorthWest AR Community College is an organization with a mission to “Empower Lives, Inspire Learning and Strengthen Community, through Accessible, Affordable, Quality Education. “
Founded in 2014, NWACC’s “Best Practice” is a homegrown staff development program that focuses on closing the knowledge gap in higher education professionals as identified by the American Association of Community Colleges. With a class-size limit of 10 and an extensive application process, 47 graduates have come through the program in the past 5 years. The yearlong curriculum includes Monthly meetings, Mentorship programs, Group presentations, Community Outreach, Field Trips, Leadership Style Assessments, and visits with state legislators and leaders from the AR Dept. of Education.
To measure effectiveness in attaining goals to close knowledge gaps and meeting the objectives of their mission, post-program surveys are utilized. These assessments have shown a significant increase in participant’s knowledge of other departments, an increased opportunity for intradepartmental communication, and a significant improvement in the confidence in knowing their strengths and how to apply them while at work and in the community. The best part is that three other initiatives have grown from this program and its feedback – STEP-UP (Strategies To Engage People and Unify Processes – a tool for continuous improvement), Mentor @ NWACC (for Senior-level mgmt. to sharpen their mentoring skills), and Community Begins @ NWACC (a volunteer program to develop team building within the community.)