Sunday, November 27, 2022

MY TURN: Time for something different at NIC

by ROGER WISE/Guest Opinion
| November 2, 2022 1:00 AM

NIC needs some major changes. The governance of the college needs to change. Idaho Code needs to change. The board of trustees, a political nightmare, needs to be abolished. As evident by the taxpayers of Kootenai County, their choices have done nothing but take the college down. If you think things will get better come election time, I have some oceanfront property in Arizona to sell you.

In the 1960s, the president of the University of Idaho, through legislative session, authorized the faculty, the president and the regents to manage the governance of the college. The same could be for NIC. NIC is obligated to follow guidelines through the State Board of Education and NWCC governance. This political volunteer board is not needed. I have more faith in the more than 100 faculty members at NIC, the president, his cabinet and Senate to run the college.

We have many fine groups in the area to keep NIC moving in the right direction. Business, medical and other groups keep NIC informed of their needs. A 3 to 2 vote on issues is ridiculous. I have zoomed in on the board of trustees meetings for the last two years. During that time — no policy or any business passed could have been done better and in a more efficient manner by the college itself. Any business that lost over $6 million would have fired the people responsible. We allow them to continue; they have shown little remorse for their actions. The actions of the three previous board members was not the wish of the county, evident by the letters, and support for the former president. That board will go down in NIC history as the worst ever.

Another option for NIC is to join forces with the University of Idaho and Lewis-Clark State College. Dismiss the board of trustees. The schools combined would make for great educational opportunities in this part of the state. The U of I and Lewis-Clark have wonderful programs and are continuing to expand.

Community colleges across the nation are suffering, like big business, the schools need to work together. For NIC to compete, they need to chart a different course. The governor and the State Board of Education need to take charge. NIC has done a great job for the area since 1933, but it is time for a different path, time for new leadership to take charge. The NIC board needs to go. NIC needs sound educational professionals, not five from the general population who most of the time do not have the expertise or knowledge to move NIC forward.

If you maintain this type of governance you have now, give the president the faculty staff, president's cabinet and Senate votes in policies. The faculty has proven their worth, the board of trustees has not.

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Roger Wise is a Coeur d’Alene resident.

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