Search On To Replace CWI Prez

Dennis Griffin, president of the newly created College of Western Idaho barely made it through his first semester of junior college classes.  He is ready to retire.

Griffin was hired for a two year contract in August of 2007 to head up CWI and told the GUARDIAN he will retire in August of this year when his contract expires.  “I signed for two years and I truly am going to retire,” he said.  No word on whether he will receive an honorary associate degree.

The school began classes in January and the board is struggling to make ends meet without increasing fees or taxes in these tough times.  

A committee strong on special interests and lobbyists has been formed to find a new president for the fledgling two year college.   With all the cuts in educational staffing throughout  the nation, the committee is likely to be as busy as the judges on American Idol choosing a winner.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Where or where did you get the information that the CWI is fledgling? Sure, I doubt they are rolling in cash and I’m sure they are experiencing the same economic issues as any high ed institution right now. But, I understand they are actually doing well.

    Recently, a study was done to compare the number of students who are attending CWI in its first semester and the 1,200 that enrolled far exceeds any start up cc in the country in recent past history. They achieved this during the spring semester, which is astonishing. They wanted something like 1,700, but they did pretty darn good getting 1,200 and we need to give CWI some credit. God forbid they get knocked for setting a high goal. They beat the national odds during an economic downtown at mid-year!!

    I also talked to a CWI official today and the numbers are looking explosive for fall. Did you actually interview anyone for your little blog post? It just isn’t accurate. Plus, can you please learn the difference between a community college and a junior college? This is just plain frustrating. In this economy, anyone who has a child or grandchild who may want to go to college this fall should be thanking the Lord for a community college. There will be many kids who could not afford to go to school without this option, which is less than half of any option in the Valley. When the economy gets better they will be able to transfer to a 4-year if they want. There are also 1,000’s of people who are getting laid off and need to re-train. The community college also gives them an affordable option.

    I don’t know why you, Mr. Frazier, continue to put a bad spin on something that we should actually be grateful for? What is the point?

    I’m sorry. I don’t mean to sound like an advertisement for CWI, but there are many things about CWI that are just plain facts and much needed during these hard times. I know you can say whatever you want in this open forum blog, but please try to report a few of the FACTS.

    EDITOR NOTE–BB try some vocabulary classes. My dictionary says of FLEDGLING: “emerging, emergent, sunrise, dawning, embryonic, infant, nascent; developing, in the making, budding, up-and-coming, rising.” That pretty much describes a school that offered classes less than 3 months. Those terms also have a pretty positive ring to most of us.

  2. Well I am glad Mr. Griffin is smart enough to get the hell out of Dodge while the getting is good!
    This effort will suck tax dollars till Hades won’t have it!

  3. Dave is right about the word fledgling, but it still doesn’t really sum up this new stage CWI has entered. It does sound negative, so I understand the confusion of BB. CWI has been in existance for more than 3 months. And what is Cyclops basing his/her information on? I have not seen any proof of a tax suck. Even if it is true, (as a taxpayer) I sure would prefer to pay for someone to take classes versus funding unemployment or welfare. My daughter attends CWI and I’m counting my lucky stars the community college came to fruition. She would not be going otherwise because we can’t afford the tuition anywhere else.

  4. Are we at the point where the criterion is “how words sound” rather than what they mean?

  5. Lá Fhéile Pádraig

  6. Ahh reminds me of a young Boise Junior College or would that be BSU now?

  7. I am confused on how CWI is cheaper than BSU. At $120/credit and 16 units a semsester the difference is not much. The real bargain is TVCC at $90/credit.

    I attended a community college the first two years of my college education before transfering to a State University. The education I received allowed me to make a decent income over the years as well as a greater understanding of world issues and problems.

    I am not certain in todays job market employers really care about where the knowledge of the jobs comes from but can the person actually do the job they seek to fill. To that end, we may need to take a look at how post high school education is delivered and what we need to do to make young people competetive in the world economy.

    Too much of higher education is geared to areas that will not result in young people gaining any employable skills. Math, science, engineering and professional credentials and job skills are what is in short supply for our job markets. We import people from other countries to fill jobs our own kids should be trained to fill. A wake up call is needed to keep our country and economy competetive.

  8. Their “goal” of 1700 students wasn’t a number they picked from the clouds. It was the number they “budgeted” for. That means they missed their number by around 30%. And just where do you think the difference (insert sucking sound here) will come from? Also, they did a cute little end run around the voters with the TVCC plan. (Thanks Mr. Kustra) Now factor in the cuts in education we are having to deal with, add the shortfall of CWI, and that sir, is the sucking sound to which I referred! (insert toilet flushing sound here)

  9. Yes! I misinterpreted the word “fledgling.” I admitt the mistake. And, I’m so sorry. I should have complemented Mr. Frazier on his “cutsie” blog post. I misread his words. But, let me correct a couple of things that other posters wrote. The 1700 was a projection, but was not the number needed to break even and CWI is not sucking air because they got 1200. I also know for a fact that many state higher ed schools are sucking air (as you call it) because of economy forces and did not make their projections. It would have been great to get 1700, but 1200 was not a failure. Additionally, Paul must be smoking something. Those per credit fees for BSU and TVCC are NOT correct. This is right off the BSU website: Resident undergraduate per-credit fee = $238 (plus students who take less than 7 hours pay part-time student fees). TVCC is almost exactly the same if you add in their misc fees. Cyclops, please keep an eye out because the students are enrolling now for summer and fall. Lots and lots of students.

    EDITOR NOTE–Cyclops already has an eye out, that’s how he got his name!

  10. I remain perplexed that taxpayer money and government support from Idaho would be going to support an Oregon institution.

    Similarly, I’m perplexed that an Oregon institution would locate in another state.

  11. Keep sucking down the Kool Aid BB!
    Let’s visit this again next fall when the CWI administration states they need more money from us. They are already lobbying for additional (necessary) funding. You see, it doesn’t matter how many students register if the school is not paying it’s way. And this one ain’t!

  12. Mr. Editor,
    Now that was funny. Certainly explains it all.

  13. Cost Minimization
    Mar 18, 2009, 12:08 am


    If Idaho can educate its students cheaper by contracting with an out of state college, it makes sense to do it. Example: Idaho has been outsourcing medical education (WAMI) for years. It is much, much cheaper to do it this way than funding our own medical school.

    Similarly, for an out of state school, if they can cover all of their variable costs, and at least some of their overhead, by running a school, usually the generic lower level courses, in Idaho, that makes sense too.

  14. TVCC has been in the Caldwell area for a number of years and is not supported by Idaho tax dollars to the best of my knowledge. The off campus out of Ontario outreach is totally supported by student fees.

    The structure Caldwell Urban Renewal wants to put up for TVCC is another matter and flies in the face of taxpayers with $8 million in the offing to get a building built. The building does not meet the need for TVCC classroom space but does give the Mayor the cash he needs to build a new city hall nobody has asked for or wants.

    Amazing how elected officials find ways to “cloak” their real agendas.

  15. Cyclops has absolutely no idea about what he/she is talking about. I talked to several legislators today and nobody has lobbied them for one CWI penny. I feel for poor Cyclops, must be bitter because he/she doesn’t have another eye (which would enable him/her to see the bigger picture). Plus, nobody has had a bigger hand out than our 4-year higher ed institutions. Why are you not ripping those people? The people who have actually asked for the money????????? Or, do you just hate all of higher ed? And, Paul. . .AMEM!!!! The mayor wants his palace.

  16. A couple comments from someone who works at TVCC.

    First, the original post is generally unkind to a man, Dennis Griffin, who’s given significant effort to educating students throughout the Treasure Valley for many years. When he was appointed to the presidency of CWI at the time of its creation, he was clear then that he was only interested in the position for two years, and he’s been consistent since then. To pillory him for keeping his word is to criticize someone for acting honorably. My understanding is that the blog author, and many who comment, want good government and good stewards of public funds. You can disagree with how CWI was established, or whether it was needed, but lobbing brickbats at a responsible administrator who’s successfully managed a startup of this magnitude makes you look mean, and uninformed.

    Second, there continues to be confusion about the role of TVCC in the Treasure Valley educational scene. TVCC receives no funding from the Idaho state government, or from any taxing district in Idaho. As Paul correctly states, TVCC has been operating a branch center in Caldwell for almost six years. This operation is funded completely by the student tuition and fees – because it’s located in Idaho, it also cannot be funded by Oregon taxpayer funds. This makes for an operation with a business model that looks actually more like a private college (U of Phoenix or College of Idaho) than a traditionally funded, taxpayer-supported community college.

    Because Idaho colleges like BSU and CWI operate on a semester system (where classes are typically 15 weeks long), and Oregon colleges operate on a quarter system (where classes are 11 weeks long), it always makes comparing the cost per credit hard. At its simplest, a quarter credit equates to two-thirds of a semester credit.

    As such, you need to multiply TVCC’s credit cost by 1.3 to get a true equivalent cost. As a result, if you compare cost per credit at TVCC’s Caldwell Center ($97) to the number that Bronco Bob cites for BSU ($238), then the true comparison is $122.32 to $238. Bronco Bob is in error about additional fees – TVCC incorporates all fees into a single Universal fee that is charged per-credit. Of the $97 figure I cite above, $12 of that is our universal fee.

    An astute reader will note, then, that TVCC’s per-credit cost when converted to its semester equivalent ($122.30) is higher than CWI’s $119. This is, in essence, the difference that taxpayer funding makes. TVCC in Caldwell runs with a very lean, very efficient staffing model because we have to – we’re tuition-funded. James Bond asks why TVCC would be interested in doing so, and the answer is because education is our mission, and because six years ago, partners in the Caldwell area approached us about filling a need. It made financial sense then, and it continues to do so now. TVCC has been consistent in our statement that CWI is a needed addition to the Treasure Valley. And, frankly, having gone through our own startup phase during the last six years, we can attest that what CWI has accomplished is no small feat – they’re building the plane at the same time as they’re flying it, and so is TVCC.

    To come back to the original point. You can certainly question political decisions, and you can make your own judgments about the affordability of providing quality education in the Treasure Valley today, but to beat up on someone who’s served his community and now chooses a retirement he’s earned – at best, that’s uninformed, and at worst, distasteful enough that you’ll find yourself ignored.

    EDITOR–Poster, you are simply wrong. I talked to Griffin, we joked about the “honorary associate degree,” and we took him at his word that he was in for 2 yrs. and time is up in August. From the outset the GUARDIAN has never been against the CWI. We posted “both sides” of the start up debate long before the mainstream would even touch it. We strongly support the fact it was approved by the “people.”
    We tried to stimulate interest in attracting candidates for the board seats –joked about getting a “free weapon permit” since ANY elected official in Idaho can carry.

    We have NEVER questioned the integrity of Griffin. We HAVE been critical of some institution missteps, but there were only missteps, nothing more. Use the GUARDIAN archive and search for CWI, education, etc. and see we have been all over the board on the new school.

    Here are a few posts over the years, including one from another TVCC guy:

  17. Bill, you must not be talking to the right legislators! The upside of losing an eye is that there is an acute increase in peripheral vision. It allows you to see the “outer boundaries” of an issue.
    The mainstream higher education entities certainly are not guiltless here. They surely do have their greedy little hands out on an ongoing basis. With regard to higher education overall, it serves to increase the employability of society and that is good. Unfortunately, many university level professors spend so much time preaching to their students how much their earning potential will be, that when they finally graduate and enter the work force they are shocked to find that their degree just gets them in the door and not a private secretary with a corner office.
    It doesn’t matter if it is a two year, four year, or graduate institution. If it misleads the public in order to get some “pie in the sky funding” it deserves no support! Oh! And for you to intimate that CWI is not currently lobbying for additional monies is either purposely misleading or increadibly naive.

  18. Personally, I would describe Cyclops as being mono-myopic in his point of view.

  19. Cyclops, once again you are wrong. CWI is just trying to ensure they get the same state funding as all of other state community colleges. If they get it, maybe a tax increase won’t be needed. Or, minimize the tax impact.

    Don’t mislead people that CWI is out there with greedy little hands asking for anything up and beyond what is needed and can be afforded during these tough times. My sister is a leading legislator in this state and she says you are full of it and are misleading people about CWI lobbying. She also said she has not had one lobbyist approach her and would know if this was happening because of her position on a committee. I think you don’t understand what is being ask in terms of funding and how funding works for community colleges in this state. It’s not fair to make CWI sound sinister. I think you are just so anti-tax, that your view is NARROW and one-sighted!

    Great post by TVCC employee. I think TVCC’s success and CWI’s great start shows that there is a great need for affordable higher education in the Treasure Valley. I’m not a big fan of Idaho money leaving the state right now, but can probably live with it because it gives people another option. Competition is never a bad thing. I do think that Caldwell would only serve itself best if it equally embraced both schools versus appearing to favor TVCC over CWI. If both thrive, Caldwell will benefit.

  20. Let’s see Bill. First post you said no one from CWI was lobbying. Now you state that they are just “trying to ensure they get the same state funding as all of the other state community colleges” Gee, I wonder how they would do that? Maybe by “lobbying” the legislature?
    If your sister is one of the leading legislators in the state, by process of elimination, that would be Kate. If so, do you really believe she is in on all matters of the majority? It never ceases to amaze me how “important” certain state legislators think they are! This is not limited to republicans or democrats. It is simply a comment about the huge egos some have in seeking office!

  21. I'm siding with Cyclops
    Mar 20, 2009, 8:25 am

    It is always humorous to see people claim their pet industry does not lobby the legislature for funding. I have friends from Pocatello and Moscow that I don’t see most of the year, but make regular use of my guest room here in Boise during the “session”. They are not lobbyists. They are simply providing information to our representatives. They are educating them.

    But, then again, that is what lobbyists say they are doing.

  22. Cyclops is a bunch of hot air
    Mar 21, 2009, 12:12 am

    Wow, I just saw this:
    College of Western Idaho students won’t have to pay more to go to school next year.

    CWI trustees said it was not the appropriate time to raise tuition because of the recession.

    College of Western Idaho fees will stay at $119 per credit hour and $1,428 per semester for 12 to 18 credits.

    Boise State University has proposed a 5 percent increase in tuition for next year for a total of $2,432.per semester. The State Board of Education must still approve Boise State’s request. The board does not oversee community college tuitions.

    And, for the record, CWI DOES NOT have a lobbyest. Bill is right that there is no lobbying. BECAUSE THEY DO NOT HAVE A LOBBYEST.

    EDITOR NOTE–A personal attack was deleted from the rest of this comment. We try to edit comments of a personal nature. Lively debate is fine, but the GUARDIAN does not want comments like those found on lesser blogs.

  23. Some of you are absolutely nuts!
    Fees and tuition have NOTHING to do with lobbying! Geeze, no wonder we elect so many idiots to office. It is obvious some of the people voting for them are just as naive.
    Do you want to see lobbying in it’s purest form?? Drop by Moon’s someday for breakfast or lunch. Stop by Chandlers, or one of three or four other watering holes downtown and watch the mighty state legislators conduct the people’s business. “There is no lobbying because there is no lobbyist” Are you kidding? That is justy about the silliest thing I have ever read here! I stand corrected! That comment was not silly, it was downright STUPID!
    There is no talking head, therefore there is no attempt to influence policy. My God! You can’t really feel that way!

  24. Cyclops go for it. I for one don’t trust anyone that claims the educational system isn’t some where some how trying to con more money out of the Tax payers.

  25. Cyclops is a bunch of hot air
    Mar 21, 2009, 3:26 pm

    That is not what I meant. Because the rest of my post was deleted, there is no context to my post. Also, I do not see the difference between my post and Cyclops calling my post stupid. It was all in the same vein.

    EDITOR NOTE–Kids! Play nice. You DON’T me to stop the car and come back there. You are correct about Cyclops. I have had to put him in time out in the past for being a potty mouth. Can’t justify that his comments were heated and while obviously aimed at you he was wrong to add stupid. I cannot do any more refereeing on this, so COMMENTS CLOSED!

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