The Friday Letter Archive

A collection of the president's weekly messages to the Vandal family


Collections A-Z

Friday Letter 2015-02-27

Please note: this is an archived email message and may not display as originally intended. Some images, links, and functionality may be broken or out of date.

Dear Friends,
One full year into my presidency at the University of Idaho, I have been thinking about our mission of reaching students with a transformative education. How do we prepare graduates not just for careers, but for meaningful, engaged lives as employees, as community members and as citizens?
We know that, on average, college graduates experience greater lifetime earnings than non-college graduates. However, those are relatively easy outcomes to measure. What they don’t provide us is a well-rounded look at how postsecondary education contributes to someone’s life. A report by the Gallup organization, together with Purdue University, sheds new light on what matters to graduates in their careers and overall lives. The results might also illuminate why Vandal students and alumni are so passionate about their experience at UI.
Gallup confirms that, primarily, students look to college as preparation for a good job. So what is a “good” job? The old adage is true: Money isn’t everything. Gallup’s holistic measurement of well-being finds that a good job is one where employees feel engaged. Engagement at work is the lynchpin for five different kinds of well-being: purpose well-being, social well-being, financial well-being, community well-being and physical well-being. The report finds that, “If college graduates are engaged at work, the odds are nearly five times higher that they will be thriving in all five elements of well-being. The odds of thriving in all areas of well-being more than double for college graduates when they feel their college prepared them well for life outside of it.”
A person’s experience in higher education makes a profound difference in their relationship to their future job and career. A number of factors experienced in college contribute to landing a good job and arriving at a thriving well-being: a caring professor who made learning come alive; rewarding internships or jobs; active participation in extracurricular activities and organizations; and a chance to work on challenging, semester-long projects.

UI excels in these areas. For instance, most undergraduates at UI have chances to participate in firsthand research, scholarly work and creative activity, often right at the side of talented professors. Our university’s Career Center places students in internships and jobs that help them apply their knowledge and emerging skills. More than 200 student organizations, a robust intramural activities program, and a thriving Greek system mean abundant opportunities for relationship-building and personal growth.
Can we do more? Absolutely. A priority before the legislature right now is funding for a Student Employee Readiness program that will improve how we connect students with internships, research opportunities and job placement. We invested in an undergraduate research office this year. Beyond those initiatives, we need to listen to students, continue to improve the experiences we offer inside and outside of the classroom, and do a better job of connecting to our graduates to understand their success.
As the state’s leading national research university, we should be doing everything we can to position our students for success in a career and in life. One engaged graduate at a time, we’ll contribute to a thriving well-being for our state and our world.

Chuck Staben portrait

Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
down arrow
Here's the Latest News from the University of Idaho

Generous Gift Supports Award-winning JAMM Program
When Chuck Christopher ’84 graduated with a bachelor’s degree in advertising from the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences, he was prepared for success in his career. As a participant on the University of Idaho’s award-winning advertising team in the School of Journalism and Mass Media (JAMM), Chuck developed the skills and experience needed to become president of Advantage Advertising in Lewiston, Idaho, in 1987. “Being on the ad team gave me the precise experience to take into my career,” said Chuck. “The ad team prepares the best talent for success in the industry.” Chuck and his wife, Mindy, recently gave to the Advertising Team Endowment so that current Idaho students can prepare for their own future successes. The ad team, advised by JAMM faculty member Justin Barnes, has won the five-state regional competition for two years in a row. For information on supporting the ad team or the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences, contact Peter Mundt, director of development, at 208-885-5013 or
UI English Department to Celebrate Hemingway Fest
The University of Idaho Creative Writing Program’s Sixth Annual Hemingway Festival will honor the legacy of Ernest Hemingway and his connection to Idaho with a series of readings, a film and the Hemingway Feast from March 3-5. On Wednesday, March 4, University of Idaho Distinguished Visiting Writer Alison Hawthorne Deming will give a reading at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Center in Moscow. The festival culminates on Thursday, March 5, with a reading by NoViolet Bulawayo, winner of the 2014 Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for her novel “We Need New Names.” All events are free and open to the public except for the Hemingway Feast, which is a fundraising event for the Hemingway Fellowship, awarded every year to a third-year fiction student in UI’s MFA Creative Writing Program. Tickets for the Hemingway Feast can be purchased online.
Pulitzer Prize-winning Writer to Keynote Ethics Symposium
Jacqui Banaszynski, a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and internationally recognized writing coach, is the 2015 Oppenheimer Ethics Symposium keynote speaker. Banaszynski will present on the ethics of intimate, narrative storytelling at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, March 5, in the courtroom of the Menard Law Building. Her free presentation is open to the public. Banaszynski holds the Knight Chair at the Missouri School of Journalism. A veteran newspaper reporter and editor, she traveled to all seven continents, including three trips to Antarctica. She has covered corruption and crime, beauty pageants and popes, AIDS and the Olympics, dogsled expeditions and refugee camps, labor strikes and political strife, traffic fatalities and family tragedies. She won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for an intimate series on a gay farm couple dying of AIDS during the first years of the epidemic in America, and was a finalist for the 1986 Pulitzer Prize in international reporting for her eyewitness account of the famine and refugee crisis in sub-Saharan Africa.

This email was sent to *|EMAIL|*
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences