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President Kustra Gives State of the University, Announces New College

By: Sherry Squires   Published 2:56 pm / August 20, 2014

D_1408_031_083-2An unprecedented effort at Boise State University will help redefine and revolutionize teaching and learning, community partnerships and research endeavors, President Bob Kustra announced at his annual State of the University Address Wednesday.

The university’s proposed College of Innovation and Design will leverage the speed, collaboration and risk-taking of a start-up, and serve as a university-wide hub to inspire and support faculty, students and community members as they work together to anticipate the demands and opportunities of an ever-changing world and workplace.

These diverse teams will create pioneering degrees, badges and certificates, as well as design new and innovative approaches to research, community engagement efforts and other initiatives that transcend conventional university boundaries, structures or disciplines.

“Clearly, we are in an era of redesign in higher education where we need to test new approaches to learning and teaching, find new applications for our degree offerings and research, and foster a culture that will marshal our creativity and innovation,” Kustra said.

Boise State leaders plan to take the proposal to the university’s trustees on the State Board of Education this fall.

“One of the greatest limitations of the traditional college structure is that each discipline is organized in its own department, an academic framework sometimes difficult to overcome for both students and faculty,” Kustra said. “But the College of Innovation and Design will be set up to help break and blur those barriers — to create truly transdisciplinary programs, research projects and more.”

“Science, engineering and art are just facets of the same thing,” said materials science and engineering professor Will Hughes. “If you can engage your research from the eye of an artist, the eye of a scientist, the eye of an engineer, it may allow you to access a broader population with the education or with the ideas that you’re moving forward.”

Students Ivana Mullner, linguistics, and Sarah Rehn, chemistry, share their student experiences.

Students Ivana Mullner, linguistics, and Sarah Rehn, chemistry, share their student experiences.

The college already has begun its work with an initial request for proposals from Provost Marty Schimpf for undergraduate degree programs, certificates, minors or badges. Faculty teams put forward 24 proposals and it is anticipated that several new programs will be developed as a result.

Andrew Finstuen, the dean of Boise State’s Honors College, will lead the development of the new college on an interim basis while a national search is conducted.

Kustra also announced the upcoming closure of the College of Social Sciences and Public Affairs and the creation of the School of Public Service, as well as changes to the College of Health Sciences.

School of Public Service

The School of Public Service will comprise Community and Regional Planning, Criminal Justice, Military Science, Political Science, Public Policy & Administration, and Environmental Studies. The school also will support the mission of a number of centers and institutes that facilitate research and public engagement, including the Andrus Center, Center for Idaho History & Politics, Energy Policy Institute, Environmental Finance Center, Frank Church Institute, and Public Policy Research Center. Faculty leaders from various departments have led a discussion for two years that culminated in these initiatives.

The School of Public Service will serve many purposes. It will prepare students for careers in government and related fields, bridge disciplines across the university and serve as a centralized resource for policymakers to assist them in making informed decisions. It also will facilitate research and serve communities searching for innovative solutions to challenges facing our communities, our landscape and our economies.

College of Health Sciences

Boise isn’t just the heart of Idaho politics and government. It also is a regional health care center that provides health care to an area far beyond our city’s borders. Boise State has become a partner with local health industry leaders in producing the health care workers of tomorrow’s hospitals, clinics and communities. The College of Health Sciences will include the School of Nursing, the School of Social Work, a newly created School of Allied Health and Prevention, and Student Health Services. College of Health Sciences Dean Tim Dunnagan led this effort.

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College of Innovation and Design

School of Public Service

College of Health Sciences