BOISE – A course offered through the College of Western Idaho technology program moved students to a second year of study without adequately preparing them, the president of the school says.
“We had a program that didn’t rise to the occasion,” Bert Glandon told the Idaho Statesman in a story published Friday. “We had a program that moved students to a second year that didn’t adequately prepare them to the level they needed. Let me reassure you this will not occur again.”
He said the school is considering various options, including refunds. The two-year program can cost from $6,500 to $8,700 for full-time student tuition.
The college said 12 of the 30 students who enrolled in the Internetworking and communications technology program have complained. In September, nine of them signed a letter to administrators saying the course fell short of preparing them for the next level.
“It is painfully obvious that we cannot continue the second-year curriculum as scheduled because the foundation of knowledge and training needed to proceed was not adequately provided last year,” the students wrote. “The consensus among us is that the first year of this program was a waste of our time and money.”
David Wood, who instructed the first-year students and is the department chairman, declined to comment.
Will Fanning, the school’s dean of professional technical education, defended the faculty.
“The student would say they weren’t taught,” he said. “I think the faculty would say either they didn’t understand or didn’t apply themselves, or they didn’t choose to absorb that information.”
But he also said he plans to meet with all 12 students individually to work out a plan, and keep labs open during winter break to let students catch up. School officials plan to take recommendations on what to do to the College of Western Idaho board on Dec. 10.
Mike Brown, 35, was one of the students who complained. He said the program was supposed to meet five days a week but met for only three, and that classes that were supposed to be four hours lasted only two.
“The first five weeks was such a joke,” said Brown, who borrowed $12,000 to help pay for his education and called Fanning’s suggestion that students didn’t apply themselves insulting.
“I don’t know how much more work I could have put in,” said Brown, a drummer who enrolled in 2011 to help get a job that doesn’t require traveling with a band.
Scott Wheelock, 44, said he discovered gaps from his first year of school during his second year when it came to securing routers against outside threats.
“It just became more and more apparent that we had basic holes in our education that wouldn’t allow us to successfully complete the security program,” he said.
Fanning said the school didn’t find out about the concerns students had until this year.
“The sad reality is the students didn’t communicate with us last year,” Fanning said, defending the program. “It produces good results. It produces them consistently.”