2018-2019 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

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.

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.


Academic Calendar 2018 - 2019

Dates are Subject to Change

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 2018

"Last Chance" Registration/Adjustments

August 13

Classes Begin/Schedule Adjustments    

August 20

Schedule Adjustments End    

August 21

No Curriculum Classes/College Closed    

September 3

"A" Term Ends/"B" Term Registration

October 15

No Curriculum Classes/Faculty Workday

October 16

“B” Term Begins

October 17

Advising & Registration for Spring 2019

Nov. 5-Dec. 7

No Curriculum Classes/College Closed

November 12

No Curriculum Classes    

November 21

No Curriculum Classes/College Closed

November 22-23

Classes End

December 17


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

Spring 2019

"Last Chance" Registration/Adjustments 

January 3

Classes Begin/Schedule Adjustments

January 7

Schedule Adjustments End

January 8

No Curriculum Classes/College Closed

January 21

“A” Term Ends/”B” Term Registration

March 4

No Curriculum Classes/Faculty Workday

March 5

“B” Term Begins

March 6

No Curriculum Classes/College Closed    

April 22

No Curriculum Classes

April 23-26

Advising & Registration for Summer 2019

April 1-May 8

Advising & Registration for Fall 2019

April 1-August 2

Classes End

May 7


May 11


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

Summer 2019

2019 Summer Registration Ends

May 8

Classes Begin/Schedule Adjustments

May 20

Schedule Adjustments End

May 21

No Curriculum Classes/College Closed/Holiday

May 27

“A” Term Ends/”B” Term Registration

June 17

“B” Term Begins

June 18

No Curriculum Classes

July 1-3

No Curriculum Classes/College Closed/Holiday

July 4

No Curriculum Classes

July 5

Classes End

July 22



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

Performance Report - 2017

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 2017 Performance Measures for Student Success report published by NCCCS. 


NCCCS Performance Measure Area


NCCCS Excellence Level

Overall NC Community College Average

Basic Skills (Percentage of students who progress by an educational functioning level)








Student Success Rate at College-Level Courses
(Percentage of first-time Associate Degree seeking and transfer pathway students completing courses with grade of “C” or better within first two academic years)

    – 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 within their first academic year)








Success Rate of Student Completion (Percentage of first-time students who graduate, transfer or remain enrolled with at least 36 credit hours of study after six years)








Success rates of Students Transferring to Four-Year University or College (Percentage Associate Degree completers and those who have completed 30 or more hours who transfer to a four-year university or college and earn a GPA > or = 2.25 after two consecutive semesters at a transfer 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 2013, WPCC successfully completed a critical step in the Southern Association of College 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, the College 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 to the College.

The 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, professional and community development programs. In addition to record giving, 100 percent of full time employees, Western Piedmont Community College Trustees and all members of the Western Piedmont Foundation Board of Directors gave to the 2016 Annual Giving Campaign. 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.