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Read President Kustra’s Remarks from State of the University Address

By: Kathleen Tuck   Published 10:51 am / August 18, 2010

Click here for a pdf of the address
Click here for an on-demand streaming video
Click here for the PowerPoint presentation
Click here to view the student produced video

Boise State University
State of the University Address, August 2010
Robert Kustra, President

Good Morning and welcome back to what I’m sure will be another record-breaking year.  As I reviewed our progress this past year preparing for this update, I became more and more excited about your remarkable accomplishments.  I also thought about how we can channel some of the innovative behaviors flowing through our campus toward innovations in teaching and learning.

More on that later, but what better way to kick off an address on a campus where innovation has taken hold, than to highlight a video produced and directed by some very creative and innovative students who have their own take on why Boise State was named — by US News & World Report — one of the up and coming universities across the West.  Please turn your attention to the big screens!

Click here to view the video.

Let’s meet the production team responsible for the video.

  • Zach Ganschow, a junior majoring in Visual Art;
  • Gray Battson, a junior majoring in communications/journalism;
  • Glenn Landberg, a junior majoring in communications; and
  • Steven Cody Gittings, a senior majoring in business and communications.

The actors:

  • Aaron Kiefer, a senior majoring in Theatre Arts/Performance
  • Evan Sesek, a senior majoring in Theatre Arts/Performance and Dramatic Writing.

Please give them a hand.

As you can see, we are on the move and in the mix of universities making a difference across the west.

Welcome New Faculty and Staff

We continue to attract the finest faculty and staff from across the nation and you can see on the screens those who have joined us this year, including:

  • Tim Dunnagan, Dean of the College of Health Sciences, who comes to us from Montana State University;
  • Andrew Finsteun, Director of the Honors College, who came from the same position at Pacific Lutheran University;
  • Eric Smedley, Band Director, who just completed his Doctor of Musical Arts at University of Washington,
  • Max Davis-Johnson, Associate Vice-President for Information Technology, who came from the same position at Arizona State University, and
  • Leon Rice, new Head Coach for the Men’s Basketball team, who comes to us from Gonzaga University.

Please join me in welcoming them to Boise State!

Student Profile

Our student profile also gets more impressive with each passing year.  We have the most rigorous admissions standards in the state, and beginning for Fall of 2011, they will again be increased for freshmen and transfer students to demonstrate our continued emphasis on academic excellence.

On the screens, you can see data showing the changes in the profile of incoming freshman:  Of particular note from our 2009 data:

  • We have more freshman coming straight from high school, now 80.5 percent, a 10 percent increase in the year prior;
  • We are more geographically diverse with 14% coming from out of Idaho in 2009, compared to 9 percent in 2005;
  • Enrollments from underrepresented backgrounds and international students have also grown substantially.

Graduate enrollment has grown by 51 percent over the last four years, making ours the second largest graduate school enrollment in Idaho last year, after Idaho State University.

The academic profile of our students is also on a continual uptick.

  • Over 76 percent of our incoming freshman have a 3.0 GPA or higher and nearly 40% of our incoming freshman have a 3.5 GPA or higher.
  • 35 National Merit Scholars have attended Boise State since 2005, with an additional 10 National Merit Scholars having declared Boise State their school of choice for Fall 2010.  This program is funded by the Langroise Family National Merit Scholar Program, endowed through the sale of the Langroise House.

This year’s class is on target to be more diverse and have an even stronger academic profile.  We are estimating Fall enrollment at 19,682, an increase of 6 percent over last year and the largest student body we have ever seen.

One interesting development that we predicted– with the success of the College of Western Idaho, we will have a 27.2 percent increase in admitted new transfers students.


Thanks to faculty efforts to expand the borders of their disciplines in the creation of new knowledge, we can announce today that we surpassed the $50 million mark in research awards in Fiscal 2010, making Boise State the fastest growing research program in the State.  This is more than a 35 percent increase over last year, the largest percentage increase in awards ever at Boise State.

In reaching this mark, our faculty researchers tripled the number of NIH awards, and increased by 40 percent those from the NSF.  Check out some of those awards on the screen and congratulations to all who garnered these grants through their excellent and hard work, and to Vice-President Mark Rudin and his staff for supporting our researchers in reaching this important milestone.

Destination Distinction

With 11 months left in Boise State University’s first comprehensive campaign, Destination Distinction, we have raised $145 million, or 83 percent of our goal of $175 million.  Given the difficult economic environment this is an impressive achievement and demonstration of commitment by Boise State University donors.

35 percent of all Boise State staff and faculty donated $1.8 million towards the campaign.  We greatly appreciate your financial support.

Due to the hard work of Dean Shannon and Howard Smith and their staffs, we were able to meet the match set forth by the Micron Foundation, earning an extra $5 million for the new Micron Business & Economics Building.  Construction on the $37 million building is set to begin later next month.

Deans and Development Directors are now focusing renewed attention on teaching Support, including endowed faculty positions and compensation.  The Boise State University Foundation has recently allocated $100,000 toward this end for distinguished faculty support.

Core Curriculum

Our core reform task force has re-examined the core curriculum requirements for Boise State University and made recommendations to the faculty for significant changes. Employing best practices in core curriculum reform, we have followed the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ LEAP (Liberal Education and America’s Promise) framework.  This framework of learning outcomes has been adopted by several well-respected universities across the nation, including Brown, University of Nebraska, USC, and University of Virginia.

Faculty groups and individual faculty members have had an opportunity to provide input and the Faculty Senate will take final action this fall.  Thanks to co-chairs Amy Moll and Tony Roark for their leadership, and to Susan Shadle and Sharon McGuire and other who served on this important committee and whose names are up on the screen.

The Campus Landscape

It’s been another busy summer with construction projects under way, near completion or about to get off the ground.

We’ve upgraded the old Science Nursing Building, after the Nursing Department moved to the Norco Building, using $4.8 million from the State’s Permanent Building Fund.  The renovated labs for Biology, Botany and Chemistry, will be open for the start of school with some final work proceeding into the fall.

The University’s first building dedicated to research, the Center for Environmental Science and Economic Development, or CESED, appears nearly complete, although inside and external work will continue through the fall.  This project is on budget, and ahead of schedule — likely to be completed in December, with move-in starting in the spring.

The new Micron Business and Economics building on Capitol Blvd, funded with a very generous lead gift from the Micron Foundation, will be ready to bid later this month with construction set to start this fall. The building will open in 2012.

Over on Park Center, the first tenants of the Ron & Linda Yanke Family Research Park will move in next week.  They are listed on the screens, for your information.

Our new track and field site is underway, with the demolition of East Junior High, paid for with donated funds. The Aquatics Center at the Student Recreation Center is opening next week, and is a beautiful facility, funded entirely from Student Rec Center fees.

The mirror image of the Lincoln Street Parking Deck was bid well under budget and should be completed by next summer, doubling the number of parking spaces across from the SUB. I’m sure you have noticed construction on the new deck and the Transit Center in front of the Student Union Building under way as we speak. Walking, driving and parking in this vicinity is going to be a challenge over the next year, so stay alert as you travel through these areas.  And speaking of the SUB, the first Chick-fil-A in Idaho — the second in the entire northwest — will open in the SUB later this fall.

There are so many great things going on at Boise State – some of which are highlighted on the screens in the interest of time this morning.  The University’s reaccreditation – achieved with high praise, no less – deserves special mention.  Thanks to Sona Andrews and Jim Munger, for their leadership, and to the campus committee who spent over a year preparing the self-study.

For those of you with years invested in Boise State, I’m sure all this good news is tempered by having to hold up in these difficult economic times, without the financial support to adequately reward those who have given their lives and careers to the University.

At times, you must feel as Sisyphus did, forced to roll a huge boulder uphill, and position it at the top only to have it roll back down to the bottom of the hill. I hope I can assure you this morning that yours will not be the fate of Sisyphus and there is much we can do to shape our own destiny.  Within our grasp is the means to emerge from this recent economic setback stronger and more effective in educating our students and preparing them for a 21st century workforce.

It may take a leap of faith to believe that our destiny could be in our hands when the budget challenges we face are due to circumstances and decisions largely beyond our control—namely, significant cutbacks in funding by state government.  With the exception of two or three states, public universities across the land have experienced what we are facing.

While I still haven’t given up on state government’s role in supporting public higher education, with each passing year, I see more clearly that the funding of higher education as we experienced it in the past will not be replicated in future years.

Last month, David Brooks, the New York Times columnist, warned that we are in for a very slow decade with forces that will stall economic vitality.  He called the current economic malaise a “condition,” not a cycle that spins out and back to normal a year after hitting bottom. This one, he thinks, is here to stay for a while.

If he’s right, and economic indicators seem to support that view, it makes no sense to wait around for a return to the halcyon days. Instead, it behooves us to re-examine the business model that has sustained us in the last century and reconstruct it to accommodate the new realities of this century.

The old business model is well-known to all of us.  Everyone in this room educated at a public university benefited from the priority that state governments placed on funding public universities and that allowed tuition to remain low for over a century.  The model worked fine until funding for corrections, Medicaid and elementary and secondary education overwhelmed state governments in recent years and state revenues took a dive.  Add “the Great Recession” to that equation and you experience a fiscal year such as Idaho closed on June 30.

The State ended FY10 nearly 15 percent below revenue forecasts. The University returned over $6 million to the State in holdbacks. The Legislature made those reductions permanent for FY2011 and federal stimulus funds were reduced by over 70 percent from FY2010. When you add the funding reductions from the current and two previous fiscal years, the Boise State budget has suffered $28.9 million reduction.

We reduced our operating budget by over $3 million and increased full-time student tuition by 9 percent. We continue to show enrollment growth that will bring new revenues.  However, these will be partially offset by the cost to hire additional faculty and cover related expenses. We must exercise financial restraint everywhere possible and manage our budgets carefully.

We have been at work for some time in making incremental changes to the business model in an effort to reduce university expenditures, to recover the costs of instruction more accurately than our traditional tuition model allowed, and to improve benefits extended to our campus community.

Tuition and Fee Policies

As the University seeks new funding models and revenue sources, various proposals have surfaced that allow institutions to charge additional fees that can be directed to the programs that deliver the higher cost programs. Last week the State Board of Education reviewed a proposal to establish a differential fee policy that would allow such fees for certain undergraduate programs, and provide additional direct funding for higher cost programs. These proposals must address how the fee revenue will impact the quality of the program and student experience, how access and affordability might be impacted, provide market-based comparison with what peer institutions charge, and estimate earnings potential of graduates, among other considerations.  In addition, the Board will consider proposals on self-support fees that allow institutions to charge fees for academic degree and certificate programs that are entirely self-supporting and that do not receive any appropriated funding.

Last week, I addressed students and faculty at the University of Washington in a master’s degree program that was entirely financed with a self-support model.  I was informed that the University of Washington is considering applying this concept to a number of programs that can no longer rely on appropriations from the State.

We have also been at work determining the feasibility of joining with our fellow universities and colleges in creating a health insurance pool for Idaho public higher education.  Early this summer, Idaho’s public colleges and universities issued an RFQ for proposals to study the feasibility of separate health insurance and other employee benefits, since the state system and its rules are not always a good match for the personnel profile and academic calendar of a university. We have received responses from two well known industry consultants, who are being evaluated as we speak.

We are also evaluating the feasibility of providing reduced tuition for dependents of employees. An assessment of the cost and impact is being completed and a proposal will be brought forward this fall for discussion at the campus level and with the State Board.

Even though it may not appear to be cost savings, our recent legislative victory in seeking statutory authorization to process our own purchasing orders for scientific instrumentation will save our researchers significant time and eliminate the hassle of reporting to two purchasing departments.  This should help us in meeting the terms, conditions and deadlines of the grant.  Thanks to Bruce Newcomb for his success in moving this through the legislature last session.

Of course, the most painful budget decision we make is setting tuition levels for the coming year.  Budget cuts and increased enrollment have required annual tuition increase, as we adjusted tuition levels that have not sufficiently reflected the true cost of providing an education to our students in the past.

Even with our latest tuition increase, I’m pleased we remain a low tuition university when compared to the rest of the West and, certainly, when compared to universities in the eastern half of the nation.  That said, I worry about the affordability of a degree these days and the amount of debt our students accrue.  Thanks to the Boise State Foundation and all of our donors who provide relief from tuition bills our students simply cannot meet.

As we raise tuition over recent years, students expect to access the courses necessary to move them toward their degree in a timely fashion.  We talk often about how many of our students have changed their expectations of time to degree and now defer graduation beyond the four years that was the norm when I attended university.  But we still have plenty of students who do intend to graduate in four years or soon thereafter and we have not always been there with the coursework, classrooms and sections to accommodate their needs.

That is changing at Boise State as our faculty, Academic Affairs and Student Affairs work together to provide more access to classes required for their majors and for the core.  This year, for example, we have added 3,410 seats, 1500 of which have been added with no additional funds, 590 added through our internally funded “Designing for Learning Success Grants” and 1,320 seats added with new tuition dollars that funded lecturer and adjunct positions for high demand courses.

I am confident that our retention and graduation rates will continue to reflect this investment as they have in recent years.  First-year students are returning in greater numbers to the Boise State University campus for their second year, despite a national decline in freshman retention rates.

  • According to an annual survey conducted by ACT, the percentage of freshmen across the nation returning to their first-year colleges dropped from 69 percent in 2006-07 to just 66 percent a year later. Over that same time period, retention rates at Boise State rose from 63 percent to 69 percent!
  • We are also seeing increases in our second and third year retention rates, all of which place Boise State’s retention rate above the national average.

By the way, retention rates are the most accurate measure of how we are doing as a university.  Graduation rates exclude too many of our students who do earn degrees – transfer students, for example, do not get included in our graduation rates.  With CWI, transfer student numbers will only increase, yet any success with have with those students will not be counted in our graduation rates.  And the data is old since you have to wait the six years to see what’s working.  The most recent graduation rate data we have is for 2003, the year I arrived! Combined with a significant adult population returning to school, typical graduation rate measures fall short as a true measure for a metropolitan university.

But no matter how many tools we pull out of our toolbox to fix the budget problem, some argue that public higher education is simply not employing the right tools to get the job done.  Instead of tinkering, they would throw out the toolbox and radically restructure higher education.

If you listen to none other than the President of The Ohio State University — certainly one of the most respected public research universities in the country — it’s not just about advocating for funding or adding more classroom seats.  Gordon Gee told his faculty last year that higher education faces a simple choice: reinvention or extinction.  He said that we must resist the first instinct to hunker down, hide out, take refuge in the foxhole, and wait for the storm to pass.  Universities, he said, must reconfigure themselves, not simply try to restore lost funds.

I cannot disagree with President Gee in one respect.  We must re-examine who we are, how we are structured and, most importantly, how we teach and how our students learn.  However, I’m not sure our condition is quite as bleak nor do I think it wise to give up on the state’s role in funding higher education when so much of our work redounds to the benefit of the taxpayers of Idaho and the state’s economy.  We will continue in our efforts to build confidence in our citizenry that the investment our state government makes in public higher education is worth every dollar.

Michael Crow, the innovative president of Arizona State University, has also spoken out on how this time of retrenchment must be used by public universities not to restore normalcy, but to establish institutional cultures of innovation.  He calls on public universities to reject the status of being no more than agencies of the state and move toward an enterprise model, toward a mindset that is energetic, responsive and adaptive.

Sound familiar?  It should if you have followed our efforts to innovate@boisestate in recent years.  Last spring, as a pilot, a team of undergraduates tackled a week-long test of their creative problem-solving skills in a competition to develop one of five downtown infill properties in a manner that will help Boise become one of the nation’s most “livable” cities.

Or perhaps you’ve followed Nancy Napier’s work with “The Gang”, a group of eight high performing, highly creative leaders, including our own Chris Petersen, who gather to share ideas on innovation, creativity, leadership, culture and ways to improve performance.

This fall, Nancy and some of her colleagues will work with four local firms and create six teams with a COBE faculty member on each team to learn and apply creative problem-solving approaches, called “design thinking,” as developed at Stanford University.

I will share another perspective on what the future holds for public higher education.  James Duderstadt, president Emeritus of the University of Michigan, spoke to the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in June, predicting that higher education could be next in undergoing what he called “massive restructuring,” not unlike the banking industry has seen.  Among the factors precipitating change in the higher ed sector, says Duderstadt, is the accessibility of information and communication technologies.

If there is a theme running through these commentaries on our times, it is change — a concept that higher education, in my view, has been more effective teaching than practicing.  And one of the key drivers of change is innovative behavior.  If change is nothing more than the equivalent of rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic, what have we accomplished?

But if we can learn from the instances of innovative behaviors that have sprung up on our campus and apply such thinking to — how we teach and learn; how we reach students beyond those that find us by conventional means; and how we move students through the university to graduation — then we can call ourselves an innovative university.

With all due respect to our progress in recent years, we still have work to do:

  • We have work to do in assuring that students graduate in a timely fashion;
  • work to do in how we advise students;
  • work to do in creating not only an honors college of students, but an honors faculty and culture that attracts the best and brightest students and retains them until graduation;
  • work to do in creating a more robust summer semester that in effect installs the trimester system and thereby increases our students’ opportunities to complete their coursework in four or even three years;
  • work to do in creating more degree programs by using the self-support model;
  • work to do in ensuring that our infrastructure of student  support and customer service functions keep pace with our growing student body
  • work to do adapting our teaching to the digital natives we now admit as students each year.

Let’s focus on this issue of the role technology can play in our students’ learning.  I agree with President Duderstadt — the accessibility of information and communication technologies creates an imperative for higher education to transform teaching and learning.

Just as computers have transformed our homes and workplaces, so too have the computer, the iPad, the Smartphone and other technologies opened up new possibilities for learning opportunities. How can we use the emerging wealth of technology at our disposal to create alternative learning opportunities for students whose interests or work or family schedules simply do not allow for our more regimented approach to learning?

How can we maximize our Students’ learning potential when they come to us more and more affected by their early and regular use of new technologies such as video games and the internet?  Professor Allan Collins of Northwestern University and Richard Halverson of the University of Wisconsin address these issues in their book, “Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology.” Halverson is co-founder of Games, Learning and Society, an internationally known group that investigates how cutting-edge learning technologies can reshape learning in and out of schools.

They raise interesting questions that strike me as food for thought as Boise State maps out its agenda for innovation.

  • At what point, to what extent and how do we in higher education respond to the growing number of learning venues rapidly increasing outside of school settings?
  • How do we develop hybrid-learning experiences that may begin in the classroom, but move into other contexts?
  • Should the social networks now employed in large part to “keep in touch and be hip” be used to advise students and provide a more structured learning agenda through cyberspace?
  • Can we develop games to teach History and if so, might that actually lead students back to more conventional school content, as research indicates is happening in K-12 settings?

If Collins and Halverson are right — that people are taking their education out of school and into homes, libraries, cafes and workplaces and learning is leaving schooling behind — then what role should we in public higher education play to offer our students opportunities to learn outside the college classroom, but within the academic framework of a university.

Fortunately, we are not sitting idly by in the development of new learning technologies.  Digital pioneers and teaching and learning advocates such as Lisa Dawley and her colleagues in the Department of Educational Technology and Susan Shadle, Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, her staff and faculty participants and other faculty across campus are already exploring and offering alternative learning strategies in collaborations across campus.

Ben Hambelton, our Director of Academic Technologies, reports that some departments are using software simulations; a number of business and social science departments employ gaming strategies; and interactive visual representations of data and information such as 2D and 3D are used by engineering, math, the lab sciences and several quantitative disciplines.

Touch screen mobile devices such as the iPad will offer many applications that will provide short, discipline-specific games, simulations and educational visualizations.  We have the iPad in the hands of a few faculty and staff exploring how it might used in teaching and learning, including how our students might download e-textbooks that give greater breadth of material and at more reasonable costs.

Last year, over 8,000 students enrolled in at least one course online offered by 214 faculty members, accounting for 10 percent of the credits produced.  We also have entire programs offered online, including our Master’s in Educational Technology, Instructional and Performance Technology and undergraduate degree completion programs in Nursing and Respiratory Care, among others.

But we must do more and we must have a strategic plan for the entire university on how such learning technologies fit into our mission and role.  How can we better serve our current students and how can we reach out to prospective students so we play a larger role in the national challenge of graduating more students from college?

Two weeks ago, President Obama challenged us all as he reported that the US has fallen to 12th in the world in the number of college graduates, behind Canada, Russia and South Korea.  Then just last week, the State Board of Education adopted a plan to have 60 percent of Idaho’s high school students enrolled in some form of postsecondary education by 2020, more than double Idaho’s current numbers.  We cannot reach these goals if we continue on our present course with our dependence on traditional delivery systems.

Perhaps the best account I have read of the potential to create entirely new learning venues in the new world of open software and open learning comes from Curtis J. Bonk, professor of Instructional Systems Technology at Indiana University and author of, “The World is Open: How Web Technology is Revolutionizing Education.” Even though it is a Jossey-Bass hardcover publication and therefore pricier than I would like, I have asked the bookstore to order copies of the book for those who might want to purchase it.  Perhaps we will see a discount by the time it hits our shelves. It is also available on the Kindle where it is half the hardcover price of $29.95.  And I have asked Dean Marilyn Moody to place a few copies on reserve in the library.

Bonk identifies ten key technology trends that can directly affect our ability to learn and which offer hope for educating citizens across the planet.  He helps us understand how game theory, simulation, or Second Life communities offer new learning strategies, giving examples that come from the halls of the most venerable academic institutions.

For example, Harvard, Stanford and MIT are among the first to bring Second Life to their campuses.  Four years ago, Harvard Law School offered CyberOne: Law in the Court of Public Opinion.  The general public was invited to enroll as extension students in Second Life where a replica of Harvard’s famous Ames Courtroom was created in Second Life.

But you don’t have to go to the Ivy League to see how Second Life offers students new learning strategies.  Professor Kelley Connor in our Department of Nursing is using Second Life, in partnership with faculty from the University of Auckland in New Zealand – you can see photos on the screens — to create and run a virtual simulation about the nursing care involved in recognizing and treating postpartum hemorrhage.

Professor Connor tells us that the technology not only enhances the learning opportunity for students, but also increases the opportunity for students to gain perspectives from professionals across the globe who they would not otherwise encounter.

One of America’s most prestigious foundations, the MacArthur Foundation, has a $50M, five-year effort called the Digital Media and Learning Initiative devoted to new media for learning, including funding for serious games.  Duke University, Indiana University, University of Wisconsin and MIT are some of the early beneficiaries of MacArthur’s generosity and vision.

When I shared with one of our colleagues that I would address the transformation of learning taking place across the globe and my concern that we not lag behind, he told me some of our colleagues would “freak out.”  I suppose he was referring to faculty who might not see themselves entering this brave new world in quite the same ambitious fashion as some already have. I hope I can put those who feel trepidation about this journey at ease – please know that my purpose today is not to mandate a course of action or force new learning technologies.

But something has to give at some point.  We may have a few years to wait it out and see who’s right, but the private and proprietary sectors of higher education are not standing still and their use of new learning technologies both to reach new students and to teach existing students more cost-effectively suggests to me that life in public higher education will get more competitive and, as it does, age-old traditions that have governed the workplace will slowly but surely change.

At the very least, we owe it to ourselves and especially those on our faculty and staff who have most of their productive years ahead of them to scan the changing landscape in higher education, see what we can learn from those who are blazing new trails, consider how Boise State expands on the innovative behaviors that are flourishing on our campus and others and apply that thinking to teaching and learning, and seek out funding and research grants for designing and testing virtual environments and games, and to use our 3D Visualization Theater in the Interactive Learning Center, to keep Boise State on the cutting edge of this genre of instructional technology.

I do think it wise for each department and college to have a productive and continuing conversation about it. Spend some time getting up to speed on the literature and learn how public universities in similar circumstances as Boise State are creating new learning opportunities for students.

I plan to bring some folks around the table to discuss how we might take the next steps at the university level.  I have also discussed with Owen McDougal and Anne Gregory, President and Vice-President of the Faculty Senate, the role technology plays in teaching and learning and other issues including the need for a self-support policy to allow expansion of academic programs now on hold because of our budget situation.  What impresses me about our discussions is how the goals of faculty and administration converge, both interested in continuing to improve learning opportunities for our students in a manner that respects and upholds the tradition of shared governance.

In the meantime, we will do everything we can to support our faculty’s good work across the campus.  In that vein, I am pleased to announce two efforts, both of which celebrate the outstanding teaching and research underway on our campus.  Thanks to the leadership of our Provost, Sona Andrews and the Faculty Senate, the title “Boise State University Distinguished Professor” will be conferred on select members of the faculty to recognize and reward distinguished achievement in teaching, research and public service.  Details regarding nomination will be announced shortly.

Vice President of Research Mark Rudin has also asked me to announce the inaugural class of Arts and Humanities Research Fellows for 2010-2011.  They are:

  • Larry McNeil, Department of Art
  • Barton Barbour, Department of History
  • Cheryl Hindricks, English

Congratulations to Larry, Barton and Cheryl for leading the way with this new recognition and thanks to Mark Rudin for his leadership in creating the Arts and Humanities Research Fellow program.

The mind can absorb only what the seat can withstand!  Time to call this intimate gathering to a close and invite you all to our annual lunch in honor of faculty and staff, a small way to say thank you and kick off the new academic year.  The lunch will be held on the quad, from 11:30 to 1:30.

In closing, let me say once again how strongly I feel about the privilege of working with you and representing Boise State University.  In one sense, I have this immense sense of pride in knowing that we have arrived as a distinguished university across the West, but I also understand that Boise State’s best days are ahead of us. Bobby Kennedy’s famous quote comes to mind when I look at this economic condition in which we find ourselves and the need to write a new playbook for how we are to sustain ourselves in future years, “There are those who look at things the way they are and ask why … I dream of things that never were and ask why not?”

Have another great year and thanks for all you do for Boise State.