2016-2017 Catalog


President’s Message


Dear Students,

For more than 50 years, Western Piedmont has been offering opportunities to students who want to change their lives.  As President of the college, I want to welcome you and commend you on your decision to continue your education at WPCC.  As you continue your educational journey, I want to assure you that the people who make up your college family are here to help you succeed.  We have a variety of services at this institution all designed to help you achieve your goals, so let us help you find your success.

This past year, the college adopted a new strategic plan.  Although all of the elements of this plan are designed to help build our community, the first and most important of our strategic goals is student success.  We are here to help you succeed, and we know there are exciting educational and work opportunities that await you as you pursue your chosen path at this institution and beyond.

Our core values of innovation, service, success, quality, diversity, and excellence embody the mission of this college which is to provide accessible, high quality education that improves lives and promotes growth in our community.

Thank you for choosing Western Piedmont Community College.  All of us at this institution look forward to helping you succeed and achieve your chosen goals.


Michael S. Helmick, Ed.D.


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

Strategic Goals

Student Success

WPCC students will be provided with opportunities to be successful when pursuing their educational goals.

Employee Development

WPCC employees will advance a culture of excellence and accountability by actively participating in professional development, continuous improvement, and open communication.

Workforce Development

WPCC will provide programs and services that meet local and regional labor market demands and the career aspirations of our students.

Community Engagement & Outreach

WPCC will actively engage our students and employees with the community and promote the benefits of our programs, services, and facilities.

Institutional Enhancement

WPCC facilities and support services will be maintained and enhanced to efficiently and sustainably serve students, the community, and employees.


Core Values


We recognize the evolving global economy and take that as an opportunity to be original and effective in providing students with skills and training to pursue their career goals and meet employer expectations.


We take pride in serving the needs of students and the community by actively participating in service learning, civic engagement, and collaboration with community partners.


We believe in providing a safe, supportive environment that promotes learning and professional development leading to completion of academic programs, training, and career goals.


We hold ourselves accountable for nurturing and developing the potential of every employee and student through assessment of student learning outcomes, institutional effectiveness, and continuous improvement.


We value global education and acknowledge the perspective and contributions of all people. We seek the opportunity to work, learn, and develop in a community of diverse students, faculty, and staff.


We strive to exceed the expectations of each other, our students, and the community we serve, and we aspire to be known as an exceptional institution for the programs and services we provide.

Academic Calendar 2016 - 2017

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 2016

"Last Chance" Registration/Adjustments

August 10-11

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

August 11

Classes Begin/Schedule Adjustments

August 15

Schedule Adjustments End

August 18

No Curriculum Classes/College Closed/Holiday

September 5

“A” Term Ends/”B” Term Registration

October 10

“B” Term Begins

October 11

No Curriculum Classes

October 17-18

Advising & Registration for Spring 2017

Nov. 7-Dec. 9

No Curriculum Classes/College Closed/Holiday

November 11

No Curriculum Classes

November 23

No Curriculum Classes/College Closed/Holiday

November 24-25

Last Friday Class Meets on Tuesday

December 13

Classes End

December 13


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

Spring 2017

"Last Chance" Registration/Adjustments 

January 4-5

Classes Begin/Schedule Adjustments

January 9

Schedule Adjustments End

January 12

No Curriculum Classes/College Closed/Holiday

January 16

“A” Term Ends/”B” Term Registration

March 6

“B” Term Begins

March 7

No Curriculum Classes

March 9-10

Advising & Registration for Summer 2017

April 3-May 18

Advising & Registration for Fall 2017

April 3-August 4

No Curriculum Classes/College Closed/Holiday

April 17

No Curriculum Classes

April 18-21

Last Thursday Class Meets on Tuesday

May 9

Last Friday Class Meets on Wednesday

May 10

Classes End

May 10


May 13


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

Summer 2017

Summer Registration Ends

May 18

Classes Begin/Schedule Adjustments

May 23

Schedule Adjustments End

May 24

No Curriculum Classes/College Closed/Holiday

May 29

“A” Term Ends/”B” Term Registration

June 19

“B” Term Begins

June 20

No Curriculum Classes

July 3

No Curriculum Classes/College Closed/Holiday

July 4

No Curriculum Classes

July 5-7

Classes End

July 24



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

Performance Report - 2015

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 2015 Performance Measures for Student Success report on 2013-2014 academic year enrollment statistics published by NCCCS. (Updated data for the 2014-2015 year will be published in May 2016.)


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
(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. (The building was re-named Jim W. Burnett Hall in 2015.) 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 Continuing Education 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.