As President Gordon Jones stepped up to the podium to deliver his first College of Western of Idaho (CWI) Fall 2022 Address Wednesday, Aug 17, he shared several themes with faculty, staff, and leadership for the upcoming academic year. A major theme carried throughout his speech; provide students with relevant skills to gain a competitive advantage for the workplace, as well as provide work-based learning experiences through collaboration with CWI’s employer partners.
How to get there starts with CWI faculty and staff.
“I have a deep passion for working with colleagues who want to transform lives,” Jones said. “I love being in the ‘people transformation’ industry. I love joining people as they look to transform lives that far out exceeds any paycheck.”
The College gathered for the Fall 2022 College Address at the Galaxy Event Center in Meridian. Wednesday’s event marked CWI’s first in-person Fall College Address since 2019, where Jones shared, he “feels excitement” when he thinks about CWI’s future and all the different areas of interest a student can pursue at the College.
With how much CWI has grown in the last 13 years, Jones has a belief the College will continue to reach new students with different backgrounds who have goals they want to achieve.
“We are sitting right at the center of where the future is when it comes to our focus,” Jones said.
Jones echoed statements heard just moments before from the Fall 2022 Address’ guest speaker, Dr. Kevin Fleming.
Fleming is the vice president of Planning and Development at Norco College in Southern California. He shared with CWI faculty and staff his presentation, Redefining the Goal: The True Path to Career Readiness in the 21st Century. He discussed his passion to ensure higher education positions all students with the tools and resources to succeed in the labor market.
Helping students succeed is what Jones said brought him into education and to CWI in the first place.
Jones invited staff, faculty and leadership to reflect on “their why for CWI.” He wants people to ask themselves what brought them here, what is their role serving students, and how they are connected to the institution.
“My Why for CWI comes down to this; I am passionate about how public higher education has a commitment to the communities they serve to deliver affordable high-quality education that leads to empowerment,” Jones said.
As times continue to change, Jones would like to see CWI, staff, faculty, and leadership transform too. He challenged CWI to adapt to help meet new demand and any challenges that may appear.
“I believe we're going to be entering an era where we're going to have to compete,” Jones said. “We really have to try to tell people why we're distinctive why we should be their choice.”
To be people’s choice, Jones said CWI’s relationships throughout the Treasure Valley and in Idaho is a way the College can be set apart from other institutions. He tasked faculty and staff to think and incorporate new distinctive ideas CWI can continue to be the go-to source to meet students’ needs.
Jones feels strongly, he states, “Our culture and posture allows us to approach and meet the individuals we serve uniquely and arguably better than others are able to.”
Before Jones finished his first address, he shared CWI’s new Strategic Plan for FY24.
CWI Board of Trustees recently approved the College’s vision and updated its mission.
“The vision is what mission fulfillment looks like,” Jones said.
The Three-Year Strategic Plan focuses on four goals; student success, affordable and accessible education, advance the local and global workforce, and inclusive culture. A more thorough presentation will be shared across campus this fall, which will include objectives, indicators of achievement, and targets.
"I want to be an advocate for this institution and relentlessly focused on helping us walk a journey together towards excellence, continued adaption, and service to the community," Jones said. "I hope you know you have that in my intention and hopefully you feel that as a leader that is my commitment to you. I know it's going to be a shared journey."