Wayland, Cannon have lengthy history

Cannon Connections photo: Liliana Castillo James Floyd teaches business classes at the Cannon Education Building for Wayland Baptist University.

By Eric Butler: Cannon Connections

At the Education Building at Cannon Air Force Base, a handful of colleges offer classes either through video feeds or with live instructors.

Wayland Baptist University’s Clovis campus has a unique relationship with Cannon — compared to the rest. It was actually on base where Wayland got its start in Eastern New Mexico University.

In 1997, officials at Cannon invited Wayland Baptist to offer classes on site. It was something the Plainview, Texas-based university was used to as much of WBU’s expansion had come through similar avenues.

For example, the 1800-student satellite campus of Wayland Baptist in San Antonio, which is now bigger in numbers than the parent school in Plainview, started as a result of offerings at Randolph Air Force Base.

“That’s basically how we started out here in Clovis at the request of the Air Force,” said Gary Mitchell, president of Wayland Baptist’s Clovis campus. “In fact, that’s how we’ve started most of our 13 satellite campuses, not all of them. The first was at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls back in 1979.”

The Clovis facility for WBU is now located on Pile Street in the city itself. Ten years ago, however, it was founded at Cannon by administrator Curtis Speck, who eventually turned over leadership to Carol Green.

“She started out with 15 students. Within a year they had 96,” Mitchell said.

Eastern New Mexico University, Clovis Community College and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University all have some kind of offerings at Cannon these days.

Wayland currently has four classes on base and its office is headed by former chief master sergeant James Floyd, who is a business instructor.

Floyd said that anyone can take a class that is taught at the Cannon Education Building, but that half of his classrooms generally tend to be made up of current personnel at Cannon Air Force Base.

His own experience in the Air Force proves invaluable in relating to his students, according to Floyd.

“The jobs I’ve had, I can convey things they understand,” he said. “I can ascertain where they were and make examples that apply to them. It’s probably a quicker way for them to grasp that rather than what the book says — that kind of stuff.”

Floyd’s “Theory and Practice of Supervision,” along with two other business courses (”Stress Management” and “Principles of Management”), are offered this semester.

The fourth course is an Old Testament religion class, which Mitchell said Wayland Baptist requires along with New Testament — if students want a degree through this particular university.

It’s one area that tends not to be covered through base offerings by the other colleges. And that’s something Mitchell and the Wayland staff continue to be wary of in continuing its working relationship with Cannon.

“If CCC offers the same class on base, generally we can’t have it, because the Air Force wants to utilize the cheaper educational opportunity,” Mitchell said. “Generally, we don’t have too many lower-level classes offered on base. Most are junior-, senior- or masters-level.”