Western CUNA Management School, one of four regional CUNA management schools and the only one that is fully accredited, is designed to prepare our current and next generation credit union leaders for the latest challenges and to provide them with the tools and knowledge necessary to run an efficient and effective credit union. Western CUNA Management School or WCMS, as it is more commonly known, is an honorable institution steeped in tradition.
Western CUNA Management School is a two-week long, three-consecutive-year, accredited education program. The program consists of classes, lectures and events. At the end of each year there is an in depth examination and in between the first and second year there are significant projects which require a close examination of every aspect of the students' credit union.
Last year the reputation of WCMS looked to be tarnished and its future in question as the result of policies perhaps too liberal and a lack of personal responsibility by some of the students. It was last year that a student died in an alcohol-related, freak accident that focused a negative spotlight of attention and criticism on Western CUNA Management School, its leadership, policies and students.
Because of that tragic accident, a number of changes were implemented at WCMS. These changes include the elimination of the first-year students'-run bar that has been replaced by one that is only available at the events and which is staffed by professional bar tenders. Strict curfews and noise controls have been enacted, as have restrictions regarding after-hour student gatherings (on campus) and public intoxication. In addition, inappropriate behaviors are no longer tolerated.
The question came up as to whether these changes would make a difference or if they would even be enforced. Some people thought the changes were put into place simply to appease those critical of the school. This year the failure of a second-year student to accept and follow the new restrictions resulted in that student's expulsion from WCMS.
WCMS is a lot of hard work and it is a major commitment, but it is also a lot of fun and is an excellent, world-class educational and networking experience. By the time a student is finished with WCMS they have a good understanding of how every aspect of a credit union operates, what challenges lie ahead and what resources are available to them.
The changes made to Western CUNA Management School have only reinforced the fact that the institution is committed to a high- quality educational experience for its attendees, that it cares about its students and about the quality of the credit union leaders it is helping to develop. The end result of the tragedy last year and the changes implemented this year is a stronger Western CUNA Management School that is reinforcing its values of head and heart and is again living up to the reputation it has so rightly earned as a quality educational institution.
Lester Warby III
Vice President, CIO
Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union