TORRINGTON – Young people can face new and sometimes daunting challenges when they first venture out into the world of higher education.
And Dr. Lesley Travers, new president of Eastern Wyoming College, experienced several of those challenges first hand.
“I went from Lander – with a population of about 6,000 – to a college with a student body of 10,000,” she said. “From a small community to a college that was bigger than my whole community.
“All of a sudden, I had this freedom, I was an independent person,” Travers said. “That freedom provided me with some poor study habits.”
Along with self-discipline, first-time college students can face a host of other emotions and issues that can make those early days of their freshman year a challenge. Separation from family and friends while meeting a host of new people can combine with increased expectations on the part of instructors to make those early academic days difficult, to say the least.
“Going from very small classrooms, if they went to a small high school, to larger classrooms,” Travers said. “Not to mention talking to someone who goes by ‘Doctor so-and-so.’
“Students might be a little overwhelmed,” she said. “Students can get lost, get a little frantic.”
Battling that stress, those feelings of almost being buried alive, is one of the advantages of an education at a small community college like EWC. With only 2,000 students, it allows faculty and staff to not only hold class size down to manageable numbers, but to have better interpersonal relationships with students.
“We are a small college and we get to know our students,” Travers said. “That’s a good thing. We can see if our students are struggling.”
EWC is one of only a handful of schools in the Wyoming community college system offering agriculture programs and the only one with a veterinary tech program, she said. With the new Career and Technical Education Center set to open this fall and plans for the new Agriculture Technology Education Center well underway, EWC is positioned to be one of the premier institutions of its class in the region.
“We have a number of shining stars at EWC,” Travers said. “Agriculture is certainly one of those. We have very solid programs with great instructors and great opportunities for our students.”
EWC also offers a variety of programs and amenities to help with the other side of the college experience coin. On-campus housing is available, as are other social activities, including sporting and cultural events.
The college also hosts a part-time counselor for students, academic advising and tutoring services, unusual for a smaller community college. And faculty members keep regular, daily office hours, making themselves available for students who are having difficulty in class.
“Activities are definitely one aspect of campus life,” Travers said. “And we have a very safe campus. That’s another very strong attraction