As calendars made an odometer-like flip from 1999 to 2000, Clark College was thinking strategically about its future in the new millennium. That vision would prove to be crucial in a decade that has been defined by growth and change.
In October 2003, the college reached out to the community, beginning work on a five-year strategic plan for Clark. With a focus on student success, the plan defined the strategic directions (originally called mission imperatives) that are essential to what the college does.
When the 2000 U.S. Census was released, statistics for Clark County showed that people of color made up 9.2 percent of the county’s population. At Clark College, more than 15.1 percent of students enrolled in the fall of 2000 were people of color. As the region became more diverse, the college fostered a welcoming environment through multicultural events and programs, the International Student program, and participation in programs such as “College Is Possible,” which encourages middle and high school students from underserved communities to seek a college education.
New programs and apprenticeships helped the college respond to the needs of employees and employers who are competing in the global economy. In addition, new partnerships were formed with FranklinCovey, Achieve Global, DDI and The Ken Blanchard Companies, expanding Clark’s ability to offer world-class training in Southwest Washington.
In 2006, eLearning took flight at the home of Penguin Nation. The Clark eLearning program became one of the largest in the state, providing classes via the Internet and multimedia formats. The college also expanded its classes in adult literacy and English as a Second Language (ESL.)
Changing times have also meant growth at Clark with new programs such as medical radiography, new buildings and more students. In 2005, Clark College at WSU Vancouver opened its doors, home to the college's nursing program and general education classes. In 2006, the Clark College Teaching and Learning Center was launched and the Clark College Welcome Center began offering new students information on admissions, registration, college visits and other facets of college life, all in one convenient location.
During 2007-08, the O’Connell Sports Center was renovated and Central Gaiser Hall was demolished to make way for a beautiful new facility that houses the Clark College Bookstore, Financial Aid, the Career Center and other student services. In 2007, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for Clark College at Columbia Tech Center, which will open in fall 2009.
On the verge of yet another decade, Clark College has many reasons to shine at its diamond anniversary. Yet it’s important to remember that what’s truly being celebrated is 75 years of student success.
So stay tuned -- our centennial is just around the corner.