The Friday Letter Archive

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


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Friday Letter 2016-02-05:
North Idaho Is Vandal Country

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February 5, 2016

Dear Friends,
The University of Idaho is unique among colleges and universities in our state in that our teaching, research and outreach touch every corner of Idaho. From Priest Lake to Bear Lake, from Preston to Ponderay, and from Idaho Falls to Boise and beyond, Idaho is our campus. North Idaho, especially, is Vandal country. Our Coeur d’Alene center (link) offers opportunities for students, outreach that meets community needs, and workforce development that trains citizens for the jobs of today — and tomorrow.

The Coeur d’Alene center, located on the banks of the Spokane River not far from downtown, is a growing hub for outstanding educational experiences, including a complement of certificate options and bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. Many offerings, such as our Executive MBA program, are ideal for adults seeking to continue their educations while working. The physical landscape of higher education in Coeur d’Alene is changing to meet new growth, as a new joint-use building in collaboration with NIC and LCSC will bolster support services and help students get the most from their experiences.

The Coeur d’Alene center actively develops entrepreneurship and innovation. At our Post Falls Research Park (link) , an emerging business incubator, we connect great ideas with the resources they need to accomplish big goals. North Idaho is embracing industries of the future, including cybersecurity. UI-CDA recently won a two-year state workforce training grant and has added private-sector support to launch the Cybersecurity Training and Operations Center (link) . The Post Falls center will train the next generation of in-demand employees to succeed in a risk-filled online world, helping them secure a bright future in a thriving sector of our economy. Cybersecurity is an emerging area of excellence at UI, and this center leverages that expertise for the entire community.

The Coeur d’Alene center also promotes tech savvy through the “Dign’IT” program, which includes coding camps for young people, a summer technology internship program for high school students, and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) labs for all age levels. UI-CDA houses the Idaho Regional Math Center, focusing on teacher professional development; a nonprofit leadership program; and a Community Water Resource Center that partners with experts and community members on water quality, research and education. The sponsorship of a community makerspace, Gizmo-CDA, rounds out our multi-faceted commitment to supporting the interests and needs of the community.

We’re lucky to have Charles Buck, associate vice president at the center, coordinating how we serve North Idaho from the center and from Moscow. He has built valuable relationships in the community, including taking a leadership role with CDA 2030, a collaborative project that helps groups and organizations work toward a common vision for a flourishing city. That work is a great example of the imaginative engagement our centers can bring to a community.

As in areas throughout the state, UI research and outreach and Extension are exploring solutions to complex problems and helping meet community needs. Research on water and natural resources continues to be important. In each of our Extension offices across the region, 4-H and other youth development programs continue to help young people grow as leaders and thinkers.

North Idaho is beautiful country. It’s also an area bustling with promise and opportunity. In the heart of Vandal country, UI is helping shape a bright future.

Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben


College of Education Dean Makes Gift to Building Project

Cori Mantle-Bromley (’86 M.Ed, ’90 Ph.D), dean of the College of Education, and her husband, Keith Bromley, have pledged $15,000 toward the $19 million remodel of the College of Education building. Since beginning her tenure as dean in July 2010, Mantle-Bromley has experienced firsthand the power of private support by meeting with hundreds of donors. “I am humbled and inspired by the generosity and care of the most wonderful alumni and friends imaginable,” she said. As a Vandal and the academic leader of the college, Mantle-Bromley also felt strongly that she should make a personal investment. Her husband Keith, a retired educator, strongly supported the idea of a multi-year commitment toward the project which will offer a state-of-the-art facility to house expanded programs and offer UI’s students the best education possible. Mantle-Bromley will retire in June 2016. For more information on supporting the building renovation or the College of Education, contact Marta McClintock at (208) 885-7476 or (link) .

UI Named Top College by The Princeton Review

The University of Idaho is the only Idaho higher education institution (link) on The Princeton Review’s new list of the nation’s 200 “Top Colleges that Pay You Back.” The list is based on academic excellence, affordability and career prospects after graduation. Among public colleges and universities in the Northwest, only the University of Washington also made the list. The Princeton Review’s methodology includes the use of institutional and student surveys combined with PayScale’s alumni earnings data. Financial aid is an important component of the analysis — UI awarded more than $24 million in financial aid to students in fall 2015. According to The Princeton Review (link) , “Students who attend these schools don't have to mortgage their futures to pay for their degrees—and we believe they will graduate with great career prospects.” The rankings also reflect student opinions of teaching quality and the accessibility of professors. The Princeton Review concludes, “We strongly recommend and salute the colleges we present here for all that they do to help their students with need afford to attend them while delivering an amazing college experience that's worth every penny.”

UI Researchers Help Address Wildfire Research

The United States must make preparing for and adapting to wildfire a top national priority, says a team of University of Idaho researchers and their international partners in a new paper in the journal BioScience (link) . The researchers issued a call for academia, government agencies, industries and communities to work together to address wildfire because it is a “wicked problem” — one so complex that a one-size-fits-all solution does not exist. “We need to help communities understand how to coexist with wildfire,” said lead author Alistair Smith, fire ecology and management program lead and director of research and graduate studies for the UI College of Natural Resources. “The partnerships have to cover agencies and universities and industries. We can’t fix this alone. We have to do this together.” U.S. wildfires burned more than 10.1 million acres in 2015 — a new record, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced last month. Those fires destroyed 4,500 homes and structures and killed 13 firefighters. Wildfire suppression costs the United States, on average, $2.9 billion a year. The cascading consequences — such as health problems from poor air quality, post-fire landslides or loss of tourism — add up to staggering additional costs, Smith said. READ MORE (link)

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