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May 20, 2014 7:21 am

EDITORIAL: NWC’s Hicswa earned extension for job well done

Written by Tom Lawrence

We join with Stefani Hicswa, the president of Northwest College, in cheering when the NWC Board of Trustees moved to negotiate with her to extend her contract.

Hicswa, who marks a year on the job in June, has earned it. We hope this is the first of many extensions.

She replaced Paul Prestwich, who departed in 2013 after five years that were all too often fraught with internal squabbling and disharmony. We’re not laying all that at Prestwich’s door, but we have noticed that Hicswa has made several wise steps to calm the waters.

A college president has to be able to work with the faculty, staff, students and community. Hicswa, who swung from a zip line while wearing a brave smile during her first week here, certainly took that to heart.

She has lunch with students, has apparently calmed the at-times fractious faculty, and taken part in the Powell Economic Partnership’s efforts to bolster the local economy. Hicswa has made a determined effort to fit in and get involved here, and it has been noticed and appreciated.

She and her husband Scott bought a house in Powell, even though free housing was available. They and their sons, Kalin and Keegan, have made Powell their home. In fact, Hicswa has long admired NWC and Powell, and she studied the community for a paper she wrote a few years ago.

She signed a two-year contract for $162,000 a year when she agreed to become the head Trapper. At the time, the board said her “approachable manner” was one reason she was offered the position.

“My first priorities are to get to know students and listen to the needs of faculty and staff,” she said upon her selection. “I will spend much of the first year learning about NWC and gaining insight from the incredible institutional memory of many long-standing employees.”

Hicswa has faced challenges, including an enrollment drop and a struggle to raise completion rates. She has tackled the college’s long-term strategic goals and shown signs of helping NWC achieve them.

Hicswa, a self-professed political and government junkie, was eager to attend the Wyoming Legislature’s 2014 session and wrote a perceptive column about it for the Tribune. The knowledge she is gaining will be useful down the road, another reason to make a commitment to her.

This extension should keep her here through the 2015-16 school year, and we hope Hicswa can continue to serve NWC and Powell for years to come.

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