Ahead of a new and exciting academic year at College of Western Idaho (CWI), staff, faculty, and leadership filled the Galaxy Event Center in Meridian on Wednesday, Aug. 16, to reunite with colleagues and listen to the Fall 2023 College Address. During President Gordon Jones’ State of the College, he emphasized the importance of maintaining exceptional performance each day and encouraged every employee to envision a future-ready institution that stays ahead of the curve.
The Address began with Jones greeting and acknowledging those who were in attendance and those who help support the College, including several CWI Board of Trustees members and CWI Foundation Board of Directors. Jones also held a special acknowledgment for Executive Vice President of Operations, Craig Brown, who will be retiring at the end of the year after 13 years of service at the College.
“Craig has played a significant role in numerous projects undertaken by CWI over the years, including the purchase of our Whitewater and Main Street property in Boise,” Jones said.
Jones then shared with the audience a few student stories he's experienced first-hand while out in the community. From running into an alumna in the Boise Airport who spoke great praise of the College and its Registered Nursing program, to a current Emergency Medical Technician student serving tables at Indian Creek Steakhouse in Caldwell with plans to work for Nampa Fire Department after completing the program, to even Jones’ son, Zach, expressing interest in the College’s Welding and Metal Fabrications program.
"We have a unique mission to transform lives and provide hope for a better future," stated Jones. "Our presence is already deeply rooted in the fabric of this community, embodying the true essence of a community college — serving and empowering our community."
Echoing statements Jones expressed throughout the previous academic year, he invited staff, faculty, and leadership to reflect on their “my why for CWI.”
He reiterated his “Why” is because he believes in the College’s model and commitment to students with its open access, 100% admission rate, undifferentiated outcomes for all, and providing an affordable, quality, and empowering education for all. He included high praise of CWI’s programs, like Academic Transfer and Career and Technical Education and the outstanding faculty who lead them; Dual Credit classes, number one in the state with more than 12,000 students served each year; and Adult Education and the work they are doing to help support refugee students.
Jones then shared his appreciation for the faculty and staff for all they do to help make CWI a community staple and how the institution and its successes would not be possible without them.
“You are the faces of CWI, you are the ambassadors of CWI, you model and affect our reputation in the community. I’d say our future depends on you.”
He then shared his commitment to go above and beyond to improve employee compensation. Acknowledging that this undertaking requires collaboration with various stakeholders and governmental support, he pledged to champion a compensation standard that properly acknowledges the rising cost of living in the Treasure Valley.
Before the conclusion of the 2023 Fall Address, Jones shared future projects and programs CWI has in the works, including the College’s Campus Expansion projects, the upcoming Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities visit, Idaho LAUNCH, and more.
Preceding Jones’ speech, the Fall Address recognized individuals who were awarded Faculty of Distinction and Staff of the Month over the last year and announced the award recipients of Faculty of the Year; English Department Chair and Professor, Joy Palmer; and Staff of Year; Enrollment Counselor, Maria Zavala.
Following, were the Years of Service Award acknowledgments, including CWI’s first ever 15-Years of Service Award recipients; Registrar, Connie Black; Assistant Director of Admissions and One Stop, Kim Bettencourt; Senior Information Technology Program Manager, Autumn Brackley; and Dean of Admissions and One Stop, Luis Caloca.