Boise State University President Bob Kustra challenged the faculty and staff of Idaho’s largest university Wednesday to tackle the challenges facing higher education with a “ceaseless focus on our students and their success.”
In his annual State of the University Address, Kustra detailed plans to pursue a new facility for the School of Public Service, which will join the Micron Business and Economics Building and the Center for Fine Arts on the west entrance to campus.
He revealed the creation of the new School of the Arts, designed to bridge disciplines and create new opportunities in fine arts, music, theater and creative writing.
And he announced the creation of the Marilyn Shuler Human Rights Initiative, inspired and generously funded by the longtime human rights leader, who died in February. Led by history professor Jill Gill, the initiative will host its first event this October, featuring two of the activists who battled North Idaho white supremacists for two decades.
“At this moment in our history, it is critical that we distinguish our campus as a place that embraces diversity and inclusion and that works hard to foster civility, civic engagement and open dialogue on important issues,” Kustra said.
Kustra’s address, the 15th time he has delivered the annual speech to faculty and staff, highlighted key milestones:
- Research grants and contracts topped $50 million — a 21 percent increase since FY2016.
- Total number of graduates set a record last year for the ninth straight year.
- A scholarship campaign raised more than $52 million, double the goal. It was supported by 17,819 donors.
- This year, more students will live on campus than ever before.
Finally, Kustra committed Boise State to continuing to offer new pathways of learning, hands-on experience and high-demand skills and competencies to all students, whether they choose to major in the arts, humanities, sciences or technology.
These efforts to assure students have opportunities “beyond the major” are designed to give Boise State students the knowledge and experiences they need to be successful when they graduate.
Some recent examples include certificates in leadership and in design ethnography, which trains students to better evaluate business and marketing decisions by utilizing the ethnography and data science skills anthropologists use to understand cultures around the world. A unique collaboration with Harvard Business School offers Boise State students access to the Harvard HBX Core business certificate while they earn credit toward their graduation here.
“We all know that many students will end up in jobs outside of their majors,” Kustra said. “With parents and students re-examining traditional majors, it’s also a perfect time to reframe the idea of ‘electives’ directing students toward coursework that will serve them beyond their major.”