Congratulations to Josee Ward, College of Western Idaho’s (CWI) Staff of the Month for November 2021. Over the past 12 years at the College, Ward has held several positions including One Stop Specialist, Student Enrichment Advisor, Student Success Coach, Student Success Advisor, and a Manager. She is currently the Assistant Director of Student Advising and Success.
Ward holds a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Lewis-Clark State College and a master’s degree in Human Resource Development from Idaho State University. Drawn to education, she came to CWI excited help the College grow. Over the years, she has been instrumental in helping students be successful.
“I get to help students reach their goals every day,” she said. “I hear their stories, am a cheerleader, advocate, and a problem solver. I love what I do, love my colleagues, and appreciate feeling valued for my skills.”
“Josee makes a difference to each student she advises,” said Associate Professor of Math, Cathy Carson. “She knows her students, knows their names, is engaged in their plans, ensures they are aware of important dates and deadlines, helps them prepare to transfer successfully, and is always ready to help. She performs her duties excellently with integrity, caring, respect, and dedication. She is professional in her interactions, and yet is able to convey warmth and empathy.”
As the Assistant Director of Advising, Ward hopes to continue contributing to CWI by assisting with institutional initiatives all while centering on the ‘one student at a time’ approach. One of her focuses in her new role will be creating additional touchpoints for undecided students, which is a student population the advising team has found needs more support. A strength of hers from the Clifton StrengthsFinder is Developer, and she loves utilizing this to help new team members grow in their advising skills.
An example of the ‘one student at a time’ approach is a student Ward has had the pleasure of advising over the past several years named Gaetana.
“Gaetana wanted to become a teacher and was dedicated to completing her associate degree to join her boyfriend at University of Idaho to complete her bachelor’s. She was nervous about college at the beginning but met with me each semester throughout her journey at CWI. In the semesters I worked with Gaetana, I had opportunity to see her not only find achievements in her academic success but watched her grow as an individual. The day she crossed the stage at commencement, I was there cheer her on. It will always be a day I remember! She recently graduated from University of Idaho and will be fulfilling her dream of becoming a teacher.”
"Josee is an amazing advisor," said Gaetana. "She's always there for you no matter always greeting you with a smile, and she remembers little things that make you feel important. Josee made my experience at CWI one of the best. She helped me get my degree in the timeline I wanted and even helped me after I transferred from CWI. She doesn't stop being an advisor or friend no matter where you are at in life. CWI is lucky to have her!"
Ward grew up in two, small, southeast Idaho towns – Hamer and Mud Lake. As a child, she lived in a solar home built by her dad who was an inventor.
“I loved the community feel of where I grew up but knew I needed a bigger town. I moved to Boise in 2005 after college and bought a house in Nampa in 2017. My amazing mom lives with me now so my sister and I can help her, and we have two cats – Autumn & Olaf. This year, our lives changed forever when our dad passed, but we will always be thankful for all his love and support.”
Outside of work, Ward enjoys visiting Garden Valley, spending time with family and friends, riding horses, traveling, watching action movies, playing board and card games, eating good food, and exploring Idaho. Thailand is her favorite visited country to date.