Congratulations to Cathleen Currie, College of Western Idaho’s (CWI) Staff of the Month for January 2021. Currie has been at CWI since the very beginning supervising several areas of Career Technical Education including Horticulture, Early Childhood Development, Culinary Arts, Drafting, Law Enforcement, and Health programs in Program Manager, Department Chair, and Assistant Dean roles. She is currently the Dean of the School of Health.
Currie discovered her passion to care for others while attending nursing school at Good Samaritan School of Nursing in Portland, Oregon. This realization resulted in more than 36 years as a Registered Nurse (RN) working in Outpatient, Med-Surg, Post-op, Oncology, and Hematology. After spending several years raising her three sons, Currie attended Idaho State University earning a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Education and began teaching at College of Southern Idaho (CSI)
“I thought education would be an interesting expansion of my RN experience,” Currie said. “In 2007, I met with Gerry Gee, Interim Vice President at CSI at the time, to ask his thoughts on what I should do next. Encouraging me to look into CWI, he described what an amazing opportunity it would to help create a new college and its programs.”
Hired in 2008 to be the Program Manager for Health at Selland College (Boise State University), Currie was given the task to transition the College’s Health programs to CWI. As a result, one of CWI’s first associate degree programs, Nursing, was created.
“I hit the ground running cold calling and creating relationships in the healthcare industry throughout the Treasure Valley and the state asking for support in developing the Nursing program. I had always worked hard, so creating something so new and extensive was not as daunting as it now looks in retrospect. Oh, what an adventure it has been!”
At CWI, Currie has helped in the development of six Health programs and the Law Enforcement program. Now, as the Dean of the School of Health, Currie oversees all of the College’s Health programs, facilities, and faculty and staff which includes three departments: Nursing, Health Science, and Health Professions. Many of the programs she oversees have 100% or near 100% license exam pass rates and job placement rates.
“I have great pride in the programs, faculty, and staff I supervise. My super power is hiring great people and supporting them to do their best. Even through COVID, our Health programs have not missed a beat moving many of our labs and hands-on learning experiences to an online format.”
Among her milestone moments at the College was the accreditation of CWI’s Professional Nursing program in 2013.
“My mom, a retired RN, was a huge support during the stressful days of developing the Nursing program. She always encouraged me to leap, take myself lightly, laugh, and move on. It was a God wink when she passed away at the very time the accreditors were onsite meeting with me to share their recommendation that CWI’s Nursing program receive five year accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).”
“Because of CWI, I am a better and more fulfilled person. My work here has filled me with purpose, great excitement, and humility. I see the impact of working as a team and have pride in the students who have benefitted from the hard work of so many.”
Currie grew up in Portland, Oregon. Her spare time over the past year, she jokes, has been spent away from her computer screen. She enjoys cooking, baking bread, creating knotted pearl jewelry, and experiencing all Idaho has to offer through walks, bike rides, and whitewater rafting.