The Friday Letter Archive

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


Collections A-Z

Friday Letter 2016-04-15:
Our University’s Next 10 Years

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 Some images, links, and functionality may be broken or out of date.

April 15, 2016

Dear Friends,
“Make no little plans, they have no magic to stir men's blood." – Daniel Burnham

Several years ago, a friend of mine described the importance of sharing a vision when pursuing an important objective. His analogy was the stone breaker working in a quarry. If one views that job as breaking rocks, it's difficult to imagine being inspired or innovative about the day’s work. It’s hard to see how one would get up in the morning with enthusiasm to go break rocks. But if those rocks are headed for the Parthenon, you are no longer a stone breaker, but a temple builder, anxious to see how the next stone fits into a beautiful structure. This is the attitude that I believe each of us who loves the university must have, whether student, faculty or staff member, alumni or friend. And this is the attitude that can sustain us through difficulty and frustration.

Yesterday we shared our Strategic Plan for 2016-2025 (link) with the State Board of Education. This plan, thanks in large part to the energy and innovation of Provost and Executive Vice President John Wiencek, has been developed with unprecedented collaboration and input. The plan puts forth a shared vision of what the University of Idaho can become if we all work together, as well as metrics for us to measure success.

This plan was not intended as a blueprint, but a conceptual sketch on which we can agree. A sketch in which everyone can see what we do, why we do it and how to contribute. Further detail will be developed at the college and division levels, and we have resolved to a yearly progress assessment and adaptation as the university evolves. But the key piece for our university to tackle its next 10 years with vision and intentionality is in place with this plan.

The strategic plan calls for UI to innovate and engage, to transform and to cultivate. No one could call our goals little. For instance, we plan to become Idaho's only Carnegie Foundation “R1” university for “highest research activity,” joining the very top 100 universities nationwide. Our plan also calls for enrollment growth (link) to 17,000 students, while maintaining the outstanding experience for which UI is known. Enrollment growth is a key driver for resources needed to fuel institutional plan objectives, and it’s also important for meeting Idaho’s Complete College Idaho goals for 60 percent postsecondary attainment.

Over the next nine years, I view our job as building one of the nation’s great public research universities. A university that excels in its broad, land-grant mission of transforming lives through education and scholarship. A university that leads Idaho in building a college-going culture (link) that transforms the lives of individual students, assures the prosperity of families, and strengthens Idaho communities. A university that takes its place among top research universities (link) , not because we seek a particular label, but because we seek excellence and impact for our scholarship. A university that engages deeply with its constituents across the range of university activity. A “Beacon for Mountain and Plain.” (link)

We are not stone breakers. We are Vandals, and we are building something big.

Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben


State Board of Education Tours Moscow Campus

In Moscow for their regular meeting, members of the Idaho State Board of Education toured campus Wednesday (link) , getting a look at new and updated facilities and hearing from university experts. The tour included visits to the Integrated Research and Innovation Center, UI’s home for interdisciplinary research opening in spring 2017. The renovated College of Education was a stop, as board members viewed UI’s completely renovated facility for training the next generation of educators and movement science professionals. The group also visited the recently remodeled library. Board members also heard from student researchers about the UI undergraduate research program. At each stop, UI faculty and administration members explained the functions, need and value of each facility, along with bigger picture understandings of how UI prepares students for the future and how it uses research to address problems and discover new knowledge. “I’m grateful to the board members for taking the time to see the exciting developments on our campus,” said President Chuck Staben. “We’re proud to showcase the investments UI and the state are making in the excellence of Idaho’s leading, national research university.”

UI Receives Grant for Online Fire Protection Training

The University of Idaho, Idaho Falls received a $244,000 grant from the Idaho Department of Labor to fund an online fire protection certificate program (link) starting this fall. Conducted by faculty and instructors in the College of Engineering’s existing Industrial Technology Program, the new courses will provide additional training for regional fire protection specialists and engineers, and the credits can be transferred into the UI fire ecology and management program. “There is currently a great need locally, in the state of Idaho, and nationally for fire protection specialists,” said Lee Ostrom, associate dean in the College of Engineering and director of academic programs at UI Idaho Falls. Accredited by the Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering, the undergraduate program will consist of 18 credit hours, with six required three-credit classes, completed online in as little as three semesters. Topics include fire safety hazards analysis, fire suppression, community planning, fire protection and management, and structural designs for fire and life safety. Industry partners include Idaho Treatment Group, Battelle Energy Alliance, Walsh Engineering and CWI.

Students Selected for Kennedy Center National Theater Festival

Three students from the University of Idaho Theatre Arts Department were selected to participate in the National Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (link) (KCACTF) in Washington, D.C., April 11-15. The trio and more than 55 other UI students represented the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences at the Region 7 festival in Denver in February. Participating in the national KCACTF event are Kadin McGreevy, a senior from Moscow who earned the Outstanding Director of a Play and Distinguished Performance and Production Ensemble honor; AnaSofia Villanueva, a senior from Portland, Oregon, who earned first place in the Society of Directors and Choreographers Directing Initiative; and Emily Melgard, a senior from Boise who earned first place in Stage Management. During the weeklong Region 7 event, UI students joined colleges and universities from Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Northern California and Nevada. They competed for scholarships and awards in performance and design, as well as participated in workshops and seminars in new methods and techniques in theater.
Facebook (link)
Twitter (link)
Website (link)
LinkedIn (link)
Instagram (link)
YouTube (link)
Click here to update your UI email subscription preferences. (link)
Office of the President | 875 Perimeter Drive MS 3151 | Moscow ID 83844-3151

Copyright © 2016 University of Idaho, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because of your affiliation with the University of Idaho.