Nevada State College President Bart Patterson delivered the annual State of the College address on Tuesday, Sept. 22 where he detailed the impressive and dramatic growth the college is seeing despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as well as initiatives for the upcoming Legislative Session.
In the last five years, Nevada State College’s student population more than doubled and the campus has grown in size from 70,000 square feet to 270,000 square feet. The most recent physical growth includes:
- Glenn and Ande Christensen School of Education, which is currently under construction, will feature an early childhood education center as well as a Speech Language Pathology lab.
- First-ever student housing, which was designed to help break barriers to higher education, will be ready for occupancy later this month.
- A shared health sciences building with the College of Southern Nevada.
However, due to the impressive progress, Nevada State has the highest space deficit in the state, particularly in areas of student study and support spaces, and science labs. To solve that deficit, Nevada State is prioritizing and seeking funding approval for the following projects at the upcoming legislative session:
- Academic Village – a modular construction design that will lower cost and speed of development which will provide additional science labs, student study areas and support spaces.
- STEAM Building – a building that will emphasize science, technology, engineering, art and math studies which will help address other critical state workforce needs along with crucial College needs.
The State of the College address also spotlighted the record-breaking Fall 2020 semester as full-time equivalent student enrollment increased by 14 percent – the highest enrollment increase in the state of Nevada as most institutions reported flat enrollment or decreases. This is also the College’s most diverse class which includes:
- 97 percent increase in African American students
- 83 percent increase in students joining the campus with a high school GPA of 3.75 and above and the highest ever average entering High School GPA of 3.2.
- Significant increases in students seeking degrees in visual media, criminal justice and law enforcement, education and biology.
- A 79% year to year retention rate, the highest in College history
New student support programs were also implemented this year to help increase success in diverse student populations with a special focus on Nevada State’s African American students – similar to programs established for its Latinx student population. This led to the following developments:
- Collegiate 100 Chapter at Nevada State, the second such chapter in the west, under the auspices of the 100 Black Men organization.
- Sankofa, a mentorship program aimed to help African American students throughout their college experience.
Patterson also noted the launch of new academic bachelor’s degrees in Bilingual Elementary Education, Human Health Sciences, Early Childhood Education and Interdisciplinary Data Science. The Fall 2020 semester also welcomed the first cohort of students in Southern Nevada’s only Speech Language Pathology Master’s Degree program.
Patterson also announced the award of two President Medals, the highest College honor bestowed on community members based on their extraordinary campus and community engagement. Sherry Colquitt received the award for her long time efforts as a community business leader to support the College and its Foundation including serving on the Foundation Board as Secretary and as Chair of the Committee on Trusteeship. Ken Evans, CEO of the Urban Chamber of Commerce, also received the President’s Medal for his work in the business community and involvement in education and workforce development including serving on the Nevada State College Presidents Advisory Council.
Patterson also gave special acknowledgement to the many efforts of faculty and staff to support the community during the pandemic including building 40,000 viral kits for COVID testing, making 3D mask inserts, donating 30,000 plus masks and gloves to hospitals when personal protective supplies were exhausted and even donating vegetables from the garden to local food banks.
As Patterson finishes the remainder of his presidency at Nevada State College, Patterson noted the fiscal challenges facing higher education and the state and intends to focus his efforts on building workforce development programs and creative partnerships with businesses on the campus’ 512 acres. He expects this effort will create the foundation for more economic diversification for the State and additional revenue sources to build out Nevada State’s campus facilities and programs. He also intends to explore how to better clarify Nevada State’s critical mission and improve Nevada State’s regional competitiveness as a top quality academic institution.
Click here for video of the State of the College address