How CWI Employees Directly Impact Student Learning

Published: April 29, 2016

Each year, the College of Western Idaho (CWI) Foundation asks employees to consider the Wishing Well Fund in their annual gift giving plan. The fund allows faculty and staff to develop and implement unique classroom ideas, and helps them buy some of the equipment and items that are needed to better serve CWI students. This past year, the Foundation was able to award 6 of 11 applications received. Here is a look at how some of the awards are directly impacting student learning at CWI.

Intuous Pen and Tablet – $430.18 to purchase an Intuous Pen and Tablet used to create videos.

Biology instructor Hollie Leavitt teaches the majority of her classes online. She uses her newly-acquired technology to create Kahn Academy-style videos that help her teach flip class courses. Her biology students are the first to benefit from the gift. Leavitt’s students can watch the videos before they get to class, and then use valuable classroom time to complete the activities associated with the videos. She says this style of learning is invaluable for her students.

“They’re getting the opportunity to teach each other and problem solve—which is used in the real world. Plus, they are able to go over the materials as many times as needed; instead of one pass like they would during a lecture. I’ve seen students that are more engaged, that are active learners, that are talking about material before class begins and staying after class (sometimes for hours!) to continue debates and discussions. The grant money has been a total game changer for me and my students, and I just wanted to say thank you, thank you, thank you!” – Hollie Leavitt

3D Printer – $1,000 to purchase parts and materials to build a 3D printer.

Drafting Technology Program Chair Rob Green says the printer his students are building from scratch is a huge step because it will allow them to show off their work. Not only will they be able to build what they design, they will also be able to take their designs and put them online.

“Students have worked on this project over two consecutive school years. This spring, the Wishing Well grant provided an opportunity for the students to build this design. For students, building what they design is an invaluable learning experience. It provides a type of grading feedback that any instructor simply cannot duplicate. Thank you to all who contributed to the fund.” – Rob Green

Choking Victim Manikins – $1,292 to purchase three manikins; two Choking Charlie, one child.

The Emergency Medical Services program teaches students how to save lives. In order to provide students with realistic, real-world training, having a variety of manikins is priceless.

“I cannot tell you how wonderful it is to have a full-bodied child manikin for our CPR and EMS classes. Choking Charlies are used for our many students to practice abdominal thrusts, as we cannot practice on each other. Rescue Jennifer helps students practice CPR, immobilizations, etc. Having a manikin with arms and legs, along with some weight to it, brings a more realistic learning experience for all. Your generosity is appreciated and will have many years of use for our CWI students and Instructors!” – Dana Hoyer

Projection System – $1,400 to purchase a camera and projector screen.

The world of electronics is filled with all kinds of tiny pieces and parts. To help take the guesswork out of what they are able to see in class, Mechatronics instructor Mike Scuka set up an old video camera and projected his projects up on the wall. His prototype worked so well that he decided to apply to the Wishing Well Fund in hopes of receiving a dedicated display system. His wish came true.

“Thanks to you, I have a high-resolution camera and high-quality projector screen which is awesome. It has turned out much better and more useful than I had anticipated. Thank you for this valuable tool which is helping students better understand how to make measurements and troubleshoot electronic equipment.” – Mike Scuka

The Wishing Well Fund is supported by generous contributions from CWI employees and community supporters. The application deadline for this year’s awards is September 23, 2016.

For more information on the fund’s guidelines, or how to sign up for automatic payroll deductions that support the Wishing Well Fund, please contact the CWI Foundation office at 208.562.3100 or email

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