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CVTC Eyes Expansion, New Leadership in River Falls

Chippewa Valley Technical College is expanding its leadership team at the River Falls campus, in preparation for an expansion of the campus itself.

The College has named Beth Hein campus administrator and dean at River Falls, effective with the start of the spring term this week. Hein had been serving as CVTC’s dean of business and service. Among Hein’s new duties in River Falls will be to direct an expansion of both the physical facilities and program offerings at the 500 S. Wasson Lane campus, which opened in the 1998-99 term.

“Our plan in River Falls is to create a comprehensive campus, one in which all the services available at the Eau Claire campus will be available at the River Falls campus,” said Vice President of Instruction Dr. Roger Stanford.

The size, function, design, cost and financing of the physical expansion have yet to be determined, according to Director of Facilities Doug Olson.

“In 2010, CVTC purchased land adjacent to the campus in anticipation of future expansion needs,” Olson said.  “We will now be doing the research to determine what form the expansion should take.”

The same goes for a planned expansion of programs. CVTC currently offers nine programs through its River Falls campus. That number is likely to grow.

“We are doubling down on River Falls,” said Stanford. “We are adding leadership there, and Hein will do research to define the right program mix for the River Falls area.”

“The St. Croix Valley is one of the fastest-growing areas of the state, and it’s reflected in our growing enrollment at River Falls,” said CVTC President Bruce Barker. “We intend to do more to serve this area of our district, and Beth Hein will be taking a leadership role in working with the people, businesses and industry of the area to determine how we can best meet their needs.”

CVTC, with its main campuses in Eau Claire, serves an 11-county area, including Pierce, Pepin and Dunn counties, and part of St. Croix County. CVTC’s first facility in River Falls was in a former Pizza Hut building downtown. The current campus was built after passage of a $20 million referendum, which included funds for the River Falls campus, plus two facilities in Eau Claire.

Initially, only a nursing program was offered at River Falls. For the 1998-99 term, 899 different students were enrolled, including those in noncredit classes. However, those students made up only the equivalent of 28 full-time students. By the 2003-04 term, 1,054 different students were enrolled, for a full-time equivalent of 154 students. In the 2011-12 term, 1,160 different students made up 318 full-time equivalent students.

“The campus is at 100 percent capacity,” said Stanford. “Every room is booked virtually every hour of the day.”

“It’s going to be an adventure,” Hein said, emphasizing how much she’s looking forward to the new professional challenge. “One of the most exciting things is to get to know the region better and to learn how to meet the needs of the businesses and industry.”

Gaining a better understanding of their needs will drive the decisions on program expansions, which will affect the direction on facilities, Hein said.

This strategy will also serve the students well, Hein added. CVTC works to prepare students for employment in jobs that are available in the local job market.

“I will be doing the research to better align the programs to the employment needs. We want to be sure that whatever we’re adding, there’s a job out there for those students,” Hein said.

The River Falls campus currently offers programs in administrative professional, business management, human resources, marketing management, nursing, nursing assistant, criminal justice, building construction, and liberal arts.

In addition, Hein will be working for further partnerships with other educational institutions that serve the St. Croix Valley, including UW-River Falls, area high schools, and Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, which has a campus in New Richmond.

Stanford said the partnerships involve high school students gaining technical college credits for completion of certain classes that meet the College’s standards. Likewise, CVTC students may earn credits transferrable to UW-River Falls and other four-year institutions.

In her previous assignments at CVTC, Hein has already worked on such agreements in the St. Croix Valley.

Hein is also looking forward to forming relationships with the students at the River Falls campus. It’s something she’s used to doing at the Eau Claire campus.

“We work very hard with students who are struggling, letting them know what kinds of services are available to them. We want to see everyone succeed,” Hein said.

“We want to have a dean present to answer student questions and work closely with them to help them succeed. Beth will be there every day to provide help and guidance to students,” Stanford said.
Though Hein’s been working at CVTC’s Eau Claire campus full time since 2004, she’s been living on the edge of the St. Croix Valley practically her whole life.

Hein lives eight miles west of Menomonie, near where she grew up. Now her full-time office will be River Falls, where she’s also going to spend a lot of time out in the community getting to know people.

“I think that will be a lot of fun,” she said.

Hein has been a rising star at CVTC. She completed her undergraduate work in career and technical education at UW-Stout in 1996, after gaining some credits at UW-Eau Claire and CVTC. She completed her Master’s degree in 1998, along the way working some as an adjunct instructor at CVTC.

Hein then spent 10 years in the human resources field, working for some private businesses in western Wisconsin before joining CVTC as a human resources specialist in 2004. After two years, she became a program manager in the College’s business program, and went on from there to become dean of Business and Service.

Hein is in the final stages of work on her doctorate in higher education leadership.

While maintaining her status as dean, Hein will have expanded responsibilities at River Falls.

“It will be a new opportunity to provide support for multiple areas,” she said, noting that River Falls offers programs beyond the business and service areas in which she has been involved as dean previously.

Plus, she will be in charge of a 20,000 square-foot facility with plans for future expansion. Hein looks forward to the challenge, recalling how much she enjoyed a leadership role in expanding and redesigning the facilities for the Barber-Cosmetologist program at Eau Claire.

“Beth has a unique set of skills. She has a lot of business background, and she has a real strong understanding of education, student services and operations,” said Stanford.

The previous administrator at River Falls, John Kleven, will expand his main role with CVTC working with business and industry in the St. Croix Valley and other parts of the CVTC 11-county district to provide training programs to meet their needs