Nevada State College

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Nevada State College
Seal of Nevada State College.
Other name
Motto Omnia Pro Patria (Latin)
Motto in English
All For Our Country
Type Public College
Established 2002 (16 years ago) (2002)
Affiliation Nevada System of Higher Education
Academic affiliation
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
Budget $31.8 million (2016-17 FY) [1]
President Mr. Bart Patterson [1]
Students 4,212 (Fall 2017) [2]
Location Henderson, Nevada, USA
35°59′14″N 114°56′20″W / 35.987248°N 114.938847°W / 35.987248; -114.938847
Campus Suburban
Colors Black and Gold [3]
Nickname Scorpions
Mascot Scotty the Scorpion [1]
Logo of Nevada State College,

Nevada State College (NSC) is a four-year public college in Henderson, Nevada, and is part of the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE). The college opened on September 3, 2002, and its main campus is located on a 509 acres (206 ha) site in the southern foothills of Henderson, Nevada.[4]

The college was founded as Nevada's first state college.[5]

Nevada State College has around 3,300 undergraduate students from a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds. In terms of minority or underrepresented students at NSC, close to 20% of the student body is Hispanic/Latino, 11% is Black or African American, 10% is Asian, and 2% is Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander. The college's average student age is 29, and 61% of its students attend part-time. The vast majority of Nevada State College's students are from Nevada.

Nevada State College's enrollment has grown from 177 students in 2002 to 3,389 in 2012, making it one of the fastest growing institutions of higher education in the country on a percentage basis.[6] During this period, however, some of Nevada State College's programs suffered from lower than expected enrollments.[7] However, enrollment for 2010 increased by 23.3% compared to the year before.[8][9]

Nevada State College's six-year graduation rate in 2010 was 21%, a roughly 10% increase from its 2008 six-year graduation rate.[10] From 2004 to 2010, 1214 students have graduated from NSC, over 500 of them earning nursing degrees.[11] Approximately 45% of Nevada State College's students are first-generation college students. An equivalent percentage are members of racial or ethnic minorities.[12]

Campus activities and organizations include student government and a student-run newspaper, The Scorpions Tale. Nevada State College does not currently have any varsity sports teams, but it offers a few club sports.[13] The school's colors are black and gold and its mascot is a scorpion.


In 1999, the Nevada Legislature created the Advisory Committee to Examine Locating a 4-Year State College in Henderson, Nev.[14] In December 1999, the Nevada Board of Regents approved the establishment of Nevada State College.[14]

In February 2000, the committee recommended the new institution be named Nevada State College at Henderson. The committee members determined Henderson should be part of the official name as they felt additional state colleges would be created in the state.[15] Later that month, the Henderson City Council, after having evaluated several potential sites, voted to locate Nevada State College northeast of Lake Mead Drive and Boulder Highway that was to be part of The LandWell Company’s Provenance master-planned community.[16] In March, James Rogers, owner of several television stations and later chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education, agreed to chair the college’s foundation.[17]

Opponents of the creation of Nevada State College feared at the time that its creation would take resources from UNLV.[18] However, proponents of the college argued the “proposed college would be up to $3,000 cheaper than educating them at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The savings would come from smaller salaries for professors, who would teach four classes (per semester), rather than the three or fewer taught by UNLV professors.”[19]

In April 2000, the Board of Regents voted 8-3 to begin negotiations for the Boulder Highway / Lake Mead site despite some concerns that the site was near a permanent toxic waste storage facility. The original site of the college, first proposed in 2000 and on approximately 300 acres northeast of Lake Mead Drive and Boulder Highway near downtown Henderson[20] raised environmental concerns as it was approximately one mile from a toxic waste storage facility,[21][22] which prompted the Nevada Board of Regents in 2001 to select the college's present day site[23] located west of U.S. Highway 95 in what was once the Wagon Wheel Industrial Park.[24] [25] In June 2000, the Regents requested $5.2 million for start-up costs for the campus and $7 million for instruction costs for its first cohort of students in 2002-03 as well as $43.5 million for capital construction which was to include a library.[26] Nevada Gov. Guinn’s 2001-2003 executive budget, which was developed later in 2000, reduced the Regents' request by recommending "$22.8 million in state funding, 6.8 million to open it to 1,000 full-time students in the fall of 2002, and $16 million to help construct the first campus building.”[27]

Nevada State College opened in 2002. The college acquired accreditation, moved with its master plan for a 509-acre (2.06 km2) campus, and its first permanent building, the Liberal Arts and Sciences building, opened in August 2008.[28] In 2008 Nevada State College launched a campus-wide recruitment and retention initiative. Between the Spring 2009 and Spring 2010 semesters, Nevada State College increased enrollment by over 20%, to over 2,600 students.[29]

As of the end of spring 2008, Nevada State College has graduated 16% of the full-time students who registered as freshmen in fall 2002, and 11% of 2003's incoming freshmen. A graduation rate of 16% is one-third that of California’s public state colleges. School officials characterize the rate as low, and are launching programs to increase student retention.[30] The average six-year graduation rate for colleges in the United States is 57%.[31]

Budget cuts and student protests[edit]

Among the different educational institutions of the NHSE, the largest 2009 budget cuts by the state legislature were for Nevada State College at 24.1%. Neighboring College of Southern Nevada had its budget cut by only 4.9%.[32]

Nevada State College budget cuts could have resulted in larger class sizes, fewer available classes and construction project delays. This has led to student protests.[33] According to NSC officials, budget cuts have left student services understaffed,[34] and about 25% of the university's teaching and administrative positions will be left vacant in 2008.[35] The university has laid off an undisclosed number of staff in 2008 as a cost-saving measure. These layoffs could hurt student services such as counseling and financial aid.[36] According to Nevada State College's late President Dr. Fred Maryanski (1947–2010), budget cuts were implemented in a way that avoids reducing class offerings.[37]

On May 10, 2008, Nevada State College held its fifth graduation ceremony. During the ceremony, officials referred to NSC as a small but growing college of roughly 2,000 students. Graduating students recognized the role the faculty played throughout their college careers and the connection they felt to Nevada State College.[38]

In August 2008, the Las Vegas Review Journal reported "Officials there are considering more drastic reductions as the newbie in Nevada's higher education system faces the prospect of more state-mandated budget cuts. The school's president warned Tuesday the cuts will probably mean fewer classes available, which could mean some students will lose financial aid or take longer to graduate... Gov. Jim Gibbons has proposed cutting next year's budgets by another 14 percent." NSC officials have also formed a committee to consider whether to hold back a part of each unit's operating budget for a mid-year review and impose a credit surcharge on student tuition.[39]

In January 2010, students initiated the "myNSCstory" campaign as a response to proposed budget cuts and tuition increases. The campaign involves handwritten notes from students, accompanied by photos, sent to state officials. Over 10% of the entire student body participated.[40]

The Nevada System of Higher Education, faces a $900 million budget deficit. Due to budget cuts, there have been proposals to close down Nevada State College along with other NHSE programs and schools.[41]

Due to state budget cuts, there have been proposals to close down Nevada State College.[41] However, in March 2010 members of the Board of Regents expressed their continued support of Nevada State College despite budget cuts.[42]


Nevada State College’s 509-acre site is located at the base of the McCullough mountain range in the southeastern corner of Henderson.[43] The site was conveyed from the Bureau of Land Management to the city of Henderson in November 2002 as part of the Clark County Conservation of Public Lands and Natural Resources Act of 2002.[44][45]

The college opened its first permanent building, the Liberal Arts & Sciences Building, on its 509-acre site in August 2008.[28] The 42,000-square-foot (3,900 m2) building has faculty offices, labs and seven classrooms. The building includes SMART classroom technologies which allow professors to use a wide array of audio and visual teaching techniques, and scientific equipment for educational use.[46]

In addition to the Liberal Arts and Sciences Building, the college leases three buildings, one of which is located near the main campus site (the Dawson Building), and the other two buildings are located on Water Street in downtown Henderson (Basic & Water I & II).[47]

On-going campus planning activities[edit]

In 2010, the Nevada Board of Regents approved the college's campus master plan, which calls for the development of roughly six million square feet of academic, residential, retail, and cultural space by full campus build-out in order to accommodate 25,000-30,000 students.[43]

Sustainability Initiatives[edit]

As it relates to sustainable planning and design, NSC's campus master plan is informed by three central goals: (1) achieve operational carbon neutrality, (2) become a model of sustainable development for the city, county and region, and (3) enable the campus to serve as a learning and training tool for topics related to sustainable development.[43]

Organization and administration[edit]

Current leadership[edit]

  • President: Bart Patterson
  • Provost: Dr. Vickie Shields
  • Vice President of Finance & Administration: Kevin Butler
  • Associate Vice President of Development: Erin Keller
  • Associate Vice President of Community Relations and Diversity: Dr. Edith Fernandez
  • Faculty Senate Chair: Dr. Zachary Woydziak


The 2011-2012 institutional operating budget is $14,196,481,[48] which represents an approximately 14% reduction from the college's 2010-2011 institutional operating budget of $16,164,734.[49]


NSC's Board-approved mission is to provide "educational, social, cultural, economic and civic advancement to the citizens of Nevada. To this end, the college addresses the state’s need for increased access to higher education through teaching practices and support services that promote the success of its largely first-generation, low income, under-represented student population. Nevada State College places special emphasis on meeting the state’s need for highly skilled, well-educated teachers and nurses and offers a wide range of baccalaureate degree programs grounded in the liberal arts and sciences."[50]


In August 2011, Nevada State College received independent accreditation at the baccalaureate degree level from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities approved NSC as a Candidate for Accreditation in July 2006. Since July 2006, Nevada State College has filed two comprehensive self-study reports with the Commission, and has undergone three comprehensive on-site visits by the Commission. Since 2002, Nevada State College has been operating under the accreditation of the University of Nevada, Reno.[51]

Tuition and financial aid[edit]

For the 2014-2015 academic year, Nevada residents will pay $148.50 per credit for tuition, plus student fees.[52] Nevada State College offers financial aid in the form of grants, scholarships, and loans.

Degree programs[edit]

NSC offers 26 bachelor's degree programs and 16 minors. Some of the college's bachelor's degree programs include: Biology (B.S.), Business Administration (B.S.), Elementary Education (B.A.), English (B.A.), Environmental and Resource Science (B.S.), History (B.A.), Integrated Studies (B.S.), Law Enforcement (B.P.A.), Management (B.A.S.), Nursing (B.S.), Psychology (B.A.), Speech Pathology (B.A.), and Visual Media (B.A.). Some of the college's minor programs include: Biology, Business, Chemistry, Communication, Counseling (Addiction Treatment and Prevention), Ethnic Studies, and Gerontology.[53]

In the Fall of 2008, Nevada State College launched Nevada’s first bachelor of science degree in the education of the deaf and hard of hearing. The program addresses the deaf culture and its integration of deaf students into specific subject areas.[54]

Nevada State College also partners with Touro University to accommodate students in Occupational Therapy. Through the partnership, students complete three years of their bachelor's degree in Occupational Therapy Science at Nevada State College, then transfer to Touro University for the final two years.[55]


As of the latest IPEDS Diversity Report, Nevada State College’s full-time faculty is 34.2% ethnic/racial minorities which is the highest percentage of all of the Nevada System of Higher Education institutions.[56]

Student enrollment[edit]

NSC enrolled 177 students in the fall of 2002; in the fall of 2010, the college enrolled 2,988 students.[57] For the fall of 2011, NSC enrolled 3,167 students, which represents a year-over-year six percent increase in student enrollments.[58]

Degrees awarded[edit]

From 2004 (the first year in which students were eligible to graduate from NSC) to 2010, the college has graduated 1,214 students with the majority of degrees being awarded in the fields of nursing and education.[59]

Academic units[edit]

The college's academic programs are housed in one of three schools: the School of Liberal Arts & Sciences, the School of Education, and the School of Nursing.[53]


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