CWI Faculty Recognized by Idaho GEM Awards

Published: September 28, 2022

Congratulations to several of our mighty College of Western Idaho (CWI) instructors who were nominated in several categories at the fourth-annual Idaho GEM Awards put on by the Idaho State Board of Education and CapEd Credit Union.

Each year, nomination forms are sent to CWI faculty and students in General Education courses in the previous fall and spring semester to nominate an instructor. The General Education Subcommittee (GESC) then selects six nominees from the forms received to represent the College in six different General Education categories at the statewide awards.

Criteria for this award include:

  • Exemplary teaching
  • Creativity in course design or implementation
  • Excellence in translating disciplinary methods of inquiry to non-majors
  • Delivery of instruction that improves access and affordability
  • Service to our General Education program at CWI and the state

This year to celebrate and honor the College’s nominees, GESC and CWI leadership held an awards ceremony on campus where each nominated faculty was recognized and given a certificate of excellence.

CWI’S 2022 Idaho GEM Award Nominees

Written Communication Amanda Fehrer, English Instructor

Fehrer’s Writing and Rhetoric (ENGL 101) class shows students how the writing skills they are learning translate directly into success in other classes and careers. She has transitioned her course to Open Educational Resources (OER) for textbooks, and the assignment chosen for the award is a persuasive letter to a specific audience on a topic or situation that is meaningful to them.

Oral Communication Anna Daly, Communication Instructor

Daly uses her Fundamental of Oral Communication (COMM 101) course to teach her students about media literacy, which leverages her experience as a part-time, local reporter. Comparing different news outlets stories on the same topic, students discover ideas about bias and presentation and communication.

Mathematical Ways of Knowing Emiko Quintana, Department Chair of Math

Along with other math instructors, Quintana was instrumental in rethinking how basic math skills are taught at CWI. While all students can take Technical Math and Technical Math Lab (MATH 118), this class is particularly helpful for Career Technical Education (CTE) students in allowing them an opportunity to put the math skills they learn to work in their CTE classes. Math instructors, like Quintana, team with subject matter experts to give students an in-class and lab experience where math is applied and appreciated as a necessary part of students learning.

Scientific Ways of Knowing Hollie Leavitt, Associate Professor of Biology

Leavitt helps students succeed in arguably one of the most difficult science courses, Anatomy and Physiology. To help students understand sometimes complicated chemical and biological interactions that take place in the body, she developed a series of interactive experiments where these ideas are hinted at in a lecture and then theorized on and figured out by students working together to come to a clearer understanding of these processes. Using these discovery Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) methods, she has seen increased student satisfaction and exam scores, as well as lots of excitement in her classroom!

Artistic and Humanistic Ways of Knowing Joel Gladd, Assistant Professor of English

In his American Literature class, Gladd has students write an ‘un-essay’ and has them think about how others have interpreted works of literature in new ways and using different mediums. These new mediums could include a TikTok video or a work of art based on a poem. Students then need to understand and practice the techniques and language of literary analysis to finish the job.

Social and Behavioral Ways of Knowing Nikki Gorrell, Associate Professor of Anthropology

Cultural Anthropology (ANTH 102) is where Gorrell uses the immersive experiences of field trips, both virtual and in-person, to help students understand the science of anthropology better. Her assignment, Where is One Place You’ve Always Wanted to Go, and What Society Would You Research There?, helps students make the connection of interest and curiosity with scholarship and research.

Congratulations to each of these recipients who have been recognized for their excellence. The Statewide winners will be announced Wednesday, Oct. 5.

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