2015-2016 Catalog


President’s Message


Dear Students,

For over fifty years Western Piedmont Community College has been offering high-quality, relevant education to the citizens of the Western North Carolina region. As the President of the college I want to extend an invitation to you to join us as you seek to expand your horizons or fulfill your educational dreams. At Western Piedmont we have a place for everyone whether you are continuing your education after high school, preparing for advancements in your chosen career, or taking classes for personal enrichment.

With a dedicated faculty and staff ready to serve you and state of the art facilities, Western Piedmont Community College strives to provide an atmosphere that is conducive to helping you meet whatever educational goals you have set for yourself.

Thank you for your interest in Western Piedmont Community College - we look forward to helping you Find Your Way to higher education and future career success!



Michael S. Helmick


Mission Statement

The mission of Western Piedmont Community College is to provide accessible high-quality education that improves lives and promotes growth in our community.

                                                                                            -Adopted September 2009


Competent Citizenry

Develop an engaged competent citizenry, possessing skills necessary for personal and academic achievement, and promote workforce training opportunities that meet employer needs and propel regional economic growth.

Student Potential

Nurture and develop the potential of every student through innovative and diverse learning strategies, exceptional advising, mentoring, and individualized student services.

Safe, Supportive Environment

Maintain a safe, supportive environment that aggressively promotes lifelong learning and professional development by integrating ideas and concepts that guide goal setting, remove barriers and empower students for success.

Professional Development & Compensation

Create an environment where faculty and staff (part-time & full-time) are encouraged to excel by providing professional development opportunities as well as competitive salaries and benefits.


Increase the diversity of students, faculty and staff to reflect that of the community while creating a campus environment that values global education and acknowledges the perspectives and contributions of all people.

Distance Learning

Explore and implement new avenues of distance learning opportunities to promote access and ensure students are exposed to advanced instructional technologies.


Develop a comprehensive, technology-based infrastructure that will enable the college to respond to evolving opportunities and exceed student support services expectations.

Data-Driven Decisions

Use data and a comprehensive, college-wide planning and evaluation system to ensure excellence and continuous improvement in all programs and services.

External Funding

Institute a fully integrated, far-reaching system for identification and procurement of external funding that supports the continued pursuit of quality educational programming and services.


Plan future construction and renovations to effectively meet the needs of student population and program growth.

Our Commitment to Students

At Western Piedmont Community College our focus is on you, the student. We are here to help you meet your personal, professional and educational goals, while at the same time meeting the needs of an ever changing, increasingly diverse community and workforce. Western Piedmont Community College is an open-door institution, and we encourage you to contribute to the College by participating in and leading campus clubs and campus activities and by serving, when possible, on college-wide committees. Our mission is to provide accessible, high-quality education that improves lives and promotes growth in our community. Our vision is to achieve excellence in teaching and in the programs and services we offer you. With your active participation in the learning process, we commit to the following:

  • To provide the best learning environment that our resources can support,
  • To design and provide the finest programs of study possible,
  • To provide support services which enhance your chances for success,
  • To provide opportunities to engage in civic activities which benefit the community through service learning,
  • To provide classroom and extra-curricular activities that promote critical thinking, self-esteem, cooperation, and diversity, and
  • To develop a competent citizenry by encouraging the democratic principles of academic freedom, fair play, team-work, and individual responsibilities.

- Adopted January 21, 2010, WPCC Faculty/Staff Council

Academic Calendar 2015 - 2016

Dates are Subject to Change

Please see the semi-monthly edition of the Pioneer Press for changes and additional information.

Students are encouraged to pay during Registration periods; however, payment is required by the 5th business day after the registration period ends to avoid automatic withdraws for non-payment, excluding financial aid and sponsorship students, and with the exception of summer semesters. Students registering for summer semesters are required to pay at the time of registration.

Fall 2015

Registration/Adjustments  8:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.

August 13

Registration/Adjustments 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

August 14

Classes Begin/Schedule Adjustments

August 19

Schedule Adjustment Period Ends

August 24

Fall Tuition and Fees Due by 1:00 p.m.

 August 25

Last for 75% Refund

August 28

No Classes/Holiday

September 7

No Curriculum Classes

October 6-7

“A” Term Ends/”B” Term Registration

October 14

“B” Term Begins

October 15

Early Advising & Registration for Spring 2016

November 9-13

Early Advising & Registration for Spring 2016

November 16-20

No Classes/Holiday

November 25-27

Classes End

December 16

Spring 2016

Regular Registration 8:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.

January 6-7

Classes Begin/Schedule Adjustments

January 11

Schedule Adjustment Period Ends

January 14

Holiday/College Closed

January 18

No Curriculum Classes

February 23-24

"A" Term Ends/"B" Term Registration

March 9

“B” Term Begins

March 10

Holiday/College Closed

March 28

No Classes        

March 29-April 1

Early Advising & Registration for Summer and Fall 2016

April 11-15

Early Advising & Registration for Summer and Fall 2016

April 18-22

Classes End

May 11

NOTE: Please refer to the Semester Guide for tuition due dates.  

Summer 2016

Registration 8:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.  

May 25-26

Classes Begin/Schedule Adjustments

May 31

Schedule Adjustment Period Ends

June 2

“A” Term Ends/”B” Term Registration

June 27

"B" Term Begins

June 28

No Classes/Curriculum-Limited Con-Ed Classes           

July 4-8

Early Advising & Registration for Fall 2016

July 18-22

Classes End

August 1

NOTE: Please refer to the Semester Guide for tuition due dates.  

Performance Report - 2014

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 2014 Performance Measures for Student Success report on 2012-2013 academic year enrollment statistics published by NCCCS. (Updated data for the 2013-2014 year will be published in May 2015.)


NCCCS Performance Measure Area



Overall NC Community College Average

Passing rates of Students seeking High School Equivalency Diploma








Passing rates of Students in Developmental Courses (Aggregate)
(Percentage of students completing courses with grade of “C” or better)




    – Math




    – English








Passing rates of Students seeking Licensure or Certification (Aggregate)




    – Basic Law Enforcement Training




    – Nursing








Success rates of First Year Students

(Percentage of first-time students completing at least 12 credit hours with a grade of "C" or better)








Success rates of Student Completion

(Percentage of first-time students who graduate, transfer or remain enrolled with at least 36 credit hours of study)








Success rates of Students Transferring to Four-Year UNC Institutions

(Percentage of students with a GPA > or = 2.0 after two semesters at a UNC institution)










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 Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools 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. Construction began for the Emergency Services Training Center in Fall 2007.

Foothills Higher Education Center opened in August 2009 and houses the Division of Workforce and Professional Development and the Appalachian State University Center at Burke, as well as Western Carolina University, Lees-McRae College, Montreat College and Gardner-Webb University offices.

In 2014, the College celebrated its 50th anniversary, and welcomed Dr. Michael S. Helmick as the sixth president of the College.