2021-2022 Catalog


President’s Message

Dr. Joel Welch

Dear Students,

You have probably been asked many times in your life what do you want to be when you grow up? When we are young, that question is usually easy, and we snap off an answer quickly, but then we grow up, and reality sets in, and we realize that we are not sure what we want to be. No one is born knowing what they want to do with their lives. We find our path forward through experiences that shape and define the work that we care about, and that will contribute to our community. If you already know what your career path is, the staff and faculty at Western Piedmont Community College stand ready to partner with you to give you your best opportunity to successfully meet your goals. However, you may be looking for assistance in choosing a career path, and that is ok because, at Western Piedmont Community College, we will help you find the best path to a successful career. It doesn't matter what level you are starting from because we offer experiences that range from pre-college basic skills classes to university preparation to technical programs designed to help you enter the 21st-century workforce; WPCC is the place to help you start an education pathway that leads to universities or gets you ready to start a career quickly. Our faculty and staff are excited and ready to partner with you to develop an educational plan that begins where you are today and takes you into the future.

For over fifty years, WPCC has welcomed students into our classes, and we have thousands of success stories to prove that what we do changes lives for the good. We have a deeply committed faculty and staff that will come alongside of you to explore, identify and achieve your educational goals. We offer classes in flexible formats providing classes to fit almost any schedule, including face-to-face classes, hybrid classes, and online classes in many of our programs. We have state-of-the-art labs, small classes, and the best instructors in higher education. All of our resources are aligned with students' success.

I am pleased that you are considering or have chosen to attend Western Piedmont Community College. I look forward to seeing you on campus, and I look forward to helping you achieve your goals.


Joel D. Welch, Ph.D.,PE


Mission Statement

Western Piedmont Community College unites with all people in our community to identify and achieve their goals through an innovative, high quality educational experience. 

                                                                                            -Adopted February 2021

Historical Review

Western Piedmont Community College was chartered by the North Carolina State Board of Education on April 2, 1964, as a member of the North Carolina Community College System. The Board of Trustees, comprised of prominent citizens from Burke, McDowell, and Caldwell counties, assumed responsibility for the College and elected Dr. E.W. Phifer, Jr. as its first chair. From the very beginning, the citizens of Burke County demonstrated interest and strong support for their College by approving a state-required bond issue with an unprecedented margin of seventeen to one.

Appointed by the Board of Trustees in the fall of 1964, Dr. Herbert F. Stallworth served as the institution’s first president. With offices located in Morganton’s City Hall, the first classes were offered the following year at Central School, stores, church education buildings and other rented spaces in the area. Over 400 full-time curriculum students were admitted in the fall of 1966 when construction began on a permanent campus.

In August of 1967, Dr. Gordon C. Blank became president. Three buildings on the new 132-acre campus were occupied on March 25, 1968, and the first degrees were granted in June. Western Piedmont was accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges that same year and was well along the way toward fulfilling its purpose as a comprehensive community college. Mr. H.D. Moretz, Dean of the College and member of the staff since its founding, assumed the position of acting president upon Dr. Blank’s resignation in 1978. Dr. Wilmon H. Droze served as president from 1979-1981 and provided new directions for Western Piedmont Community College.

The campus bookstore was modernized and enlarged; all buildings were certified accessible to the handicapped; and grant funds permitted an expanded program for the hearing-impaired. In honor of two outstanding friends of the College, the administration building and the science building were dedicated as W. Stanley Moore Administration Hall and Frank C. Patton Science Hall.

Dr. Jim A. Richardson served as the fourth president of Western Piedmont from 1981 to 2005. To improve management practices, a planning and evaluation process was implemented to assist in the identification of both short-term and long-range needs. By 1986 these activities had resulted in the introduction of Cooperative Education, twelve new occupational programs, transfer degrees in the Performing and Visual Arts, and a record breaking annual enrollment of over 10,000 curriculum and continuing education students.

A successful blueprint for the PROGRESS campaign in 1987 raised $1.3 million locally toward the construction of a Learning Resources Center. With $2.7 million in state funds, the 46,000 square feet structure contains a library, conference rooms, drama studio, media services center, faculty offices and classrooms. The Phifer Learning Resources Center opened in the fall of 1989.

Western Piedmont attracted national attention with a replica of Senator Sam J. Ervin’s home library and the annual Constitutional Issues Forum. The College named Hildebrand Hall in honor of local educators Johnny and Abby Hildebrand.

With annual enrollments exceeding 13,000 students, Western Piedmont Community College revised its “Master Campus Plan” to direct campus development into the twenty-first century. With funding from an approved state bond and matching funds from the county, the College dedicated a new 42,000 square foot building named the Robert P. Carr Business Technologies Center in September 1997. The College acquired an additional 209-acres of land from the State in 2000. The Rostan Horticulture Center opened in 2002 to provide classrooms and office space for the horticulture program. A 25,000 square feet K Building was added on the Richardson Complex in 2003.

Dr. Jim W. Burnett became the College’s fifth president in 2006. The Health Sciences building (17,500 square feet) opened in January 2008 and includes classroom space for chemistry, medical assisting, medical laboratory technology and nursing. (The building was re-named Jim W. Burnett Hall in 2015.) Construction began for the Emergency Services Training Center in Fall 2007.

The Foothills Higher Education Center opened in August 2009 and houses WPCC's Division of Workforce Continuing Education, the Appalachian State University Center at Burke, and offices for Western Carolina University, Lees-McRae College, and Montreat College.

In 2013, WPCC successfully completed a critical step in the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) reaccreditation process, receiving an evaluation of "No Findings or Recommendations," a very rare and coveted report from the On-Site Reaffirmation Committee. The College was later reaffirmed by SACSCOC through 2024.

In 2014, WPCC celebrated its 50th anniversary and welcomed Dr. Michael S. Helmick back to Western Piedmont as the sixth president of the College.  Dr. Helmick served as Vice President for Academic Affairs from 2007 until 2011 and returned to Western Piedmont to replace Dr. Jim Burnett who retired after 41 years of service.

Western Piedmont Community College completed development of a new strategic plan in 2015 after a yearlong effort involving students, faculty and the community. The five year plan (2016 - 2021) included a new vision statement from Dr. Michael S. Helmick and is centered around five strategic goals including student success, employee development, workforce development, community engagement and outreach, and institutional enhancement.

In 2016, the Western Piedmont Foundation completed another record year of giving for student scholarships along with professional and community development programs. In addition, the year's Annual Giving Campaign marked record giving from 100 percent of full-time employees, the Western Piedmont Community College Trustees and all members of the Western Piedmont Foundation Board of Directors. This level of giving has only occurred two times in the College’s 51 year history with the previous year being 2014.

2017 was a busy year on campus as various building and renovation projects were completed or continued. This included a new building for the College’s Mechatronics program, a new kiln building and renovations to Rostan Hall to accommodate needs for the Professional Crafts program, a new off-campus space for the College’s new Cosmetology program, and renovations to the library to include a new Academic Success Center in Phifer Hall. In addition, plans were finalized to renovate space in Phifer Hall to provide a new campus café and space in H Building to provide more modern facilities for the Burke Middle College.

In 2018, renovations began on H Building on the main campus to create a permanent consolidated space for Burke Middle College and the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture/Arts and Mathematics) Academy. Work also continued on renovating Phifer Hall to develop a student center, including a new student café and common areas.  Preparations continued for partnerships between WPCC and the new western campus of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics which is scheduled to open in 2021.  Finally, the College unveiled a new marked trails system on campus for walkers, runners and bicycle enthusiasts to enjoy.



Academic Calendar 2021 - 2022

Dates are subject to change.

2021-2022 Academic Calendar

Fall 2021

 2021 BLET Fall Semester  August 9 - December 17

2021 Fall Registration

August 11

Classes Begin/Schedule Adjustments    

August 16

Schedule Adjustments End    

August 17

No Curriculum Classes/College Closed    

September 6

Fall Fest 2021 September 29 

"A" Term Ends/"B" Term Registration

October 11

No Curriculum Classes/Faculty Workday

October 12

“B” Term Begins

October 13

Advising & Registration for Spring 2022

November 1 - December 14

No Curriculum Classes/College Closed

November 11

No Curriculum Classes    

November 24

No Curriculum Classes/College Closed

November 25-26

No Tuesday Classes/Thursday Classes Meet December 14

Classes End

December 14

Grades Due December 15


NOTE: Please refer to the Semester Guide for tuition payment and refund deadlines.

Spring 2022

Spring Registration

January 4

Classes Begin/Schedule Adjustments

January 6

Schedule Adjustments End

January 7

2022 BLET Spring Semester  January 7 - May 20 

No Curriculum Classes/College Closed

January 17

“A” Term Ends/”B” Term Registration

March 7

No Curriculum Classes March 8 - 11

“B” Term Begins

March 14

Spring Fling 2022  March 31 

Advising & Registration for Summer 2022  

April 4 - May 18

Advising & Registration for Fall 2022

April 4 - May 18

No Curriculum Classes  April 15

No Curriculum Classes/College Closed

April 18

No Curriculum Classes

April 19

No Thursday classes/ Tuesday classes meet May 5

Classes End

May 9

Grades Due May 10


May 12


NOTE: Please refer to the Semester Guide for tuition payment and refund deadlines.

Summer 2022

2022 Summer Registration Ends

May 18

Classes Begin/Schedule Adjustments

May 23

Schedule Adjustments End

May 24

No Curriculum Classes/College Closed May 30

“A” Term Ends/”B” Term Registration

June 20

“B” Term Begins

June 21

No Curriculum Classes/College Closed

July 4

No Curriculum Classes July 5 - 8
Fall Registration   July 11 - August 11 

Classes End

July 25

Grades Due

July 26



NOTE: Please refer to the Semester Guide for tuition payment and refund deadlines.

Performance Report - 2020

The following information is required to be collected and reported by all colleges in the State and is provided as mandated by the North Carolina General Assembly and the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS). Data reported below is from the 2020 Performance Measures for Student Success report published by NCCCS.  Seven measures are evaluated with established baseline and excellence levels.  Based on three years of data (if available) for each measure, baseline levels are set two standard deviations below the system mean, and excellence levels are set one standard deviation above the system mean.  In the most recent report, WPCC students exceeded the excellence level on three measures, were below excellence but above the system mean on one measure, and were above the baseline but below the system mean on three measures.  WPCC strives for students to meet or exceed the excellence level on all measures. 

1)      Basic Skills Student Progress

Purpose:  To ensure individuals with low literacy skills are progressing academically toward credential or employment.

Description:  Percentage of Periods of Participation (PoP) with at least one Measurable Skill Gain (MSG).

Results:  2018-2019 Basic Skills Student Progress










2)      Student Success Rate in College-Level English Courses

Purpose:  To ensure students are successfully completing credit-bearing English courses within their first three academic years.

Description:  Percentage of first-time fall associate degree seeking and transfer pathway students passing a credit-bearing English course with a “C” or better within three years of their first term of enrollment.

Results:  2016 Fall Cohort Student Success Rate in College-Level English Courses










3)      Student Success Rate in College-Level Math Courses

Purpose:  To ensure students are successfully completing credit-bearing Math courses within their first three academic years.

Description:  Percentage of first-time fall associate degree seeking and transfer pathway students passing a credit-bearing Math course with a “C” or better within three years of their first term of enrollment.

Results:  2016 Fall Cohort Student Success Rate in College-Level Math Courses










4)      First Year Progression

Purpose:  To ensure first-year students are making progress toward credential completion.

Description:  Percentage of first-time fall credential-seeking students who graduate prior to or enroll in postsecondary education during the subsequent fall term.

Results:  2018 Fall Cohort First Year Progression










5)      Curriculum Completion

Purpose:  To ensure student completion and/or persistence toward a post-secondary credential in a timely manner.

Description:  Percentage of first-time fall credential-seeking curriculum students who have graduated, transferred, or are still enrolled during the fourth academic year with 42 successfully completed non-developmental hours.

Results:  2015 Fall Cohort Curriculum Completion










6)      Licensure and Certificate Passing Rate

Purpose:  To ensure programmatic coursework prepares students to competently practice their chosen profession.

Description:  Weighted index score of first-time test-taker results on licensure and certification exams.  Exams included in this measure are state mandated exams which candidates must pass before becoming active practitioners.  Weights are based on the tier associated with the related instructional program.

Results:  2018-2019 Licensure and Certification Passing Rate










7)      College Transfer Performance

Purpose:  To ensure the academic success of community college students who transfer to a four-year university or college.

Description:  Among community college associate degree completers and those who have completed 30 or more articulated transfer credits who subsequently transfer to a four-year university or college during the fall semester, the percentage who graduate prior to or remain enrolled at any four-year college or university the subsequent fall semester.

Results:  2017-2018 Community College Students College Transfer Performance









In addition to the measures listed above, WPCC monitors the six-year completion rate for students who started at the College.  This data is provided by the National Student Clearinghouse and includes both full-time and part-time students who began their post-secondary studies at WPCC.