The Friday Letter Archive

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

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Friday Letter 2017-04-14:
Public Investments in Excellence this Legislative Season

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April 14, 2017
Letter from the President
Dear Friends,
As the state’s leading public research university, the University of Idaho benefits from robust investment by our state. This spring we are pleased with the investments Gov. Otter and the Idaho Legislature have made in the excellence of our programs and facilities. A number of projects bear special mention:
 
  • Fourth-year computer science degree in Coeur d’Alene. As described in a recent Friday Letter, this partnership with North Idaho College allows students to complete all four years of a computer science degree in Coeur d’Alene. This is an investment in students who want to find a place in the increasingly technology-focused economy of North Idaho.
  • UI Library investment: The legislature supported significant new funding for the University of Idaho Library. This will allow us to add two full-time positions and make other needed technology improvements. Our Library is a hub for student academic work and for research and scholarship, and for the development of new ideas and solutions that benefit society. Expanding our Library’s capacity means enhancing a valuable resource for our university community and our state.
  • Change in Employee Compensation. A 3 percent compensation increase approved by the legislature means the university will keep pace in our ability to recruit and retain talented faculty and staff. We must remain competitive in order to serve students and the state with our best teaching, research and scholarship, and outreach.
 
Two investments from the Permanent Building Fund also stand out:
  • The Center for Agrculture, Food and the Environment (CAFE). A $10 million appropriation will help the University of Idaho create a new center for research and education connected to food production and processing. We will have project details soon. This is an exciting project that supports the growth and increased sustainability of key Idaho industries, such as dairy and processing.
  • Idaho WWAMI building renovation. The Idaho WWAMI program our state’s medical education partnership with the top-ranked University of Washington School of Medicine has doubled in student size over the past five years. Permanent Building Fund support will allow us to renovate the Idaho WWAMI building on our Moscow campus and add clinical and anatomy laboratory space.
 
Several other budgetary items also are important: continued support of the Agricultural Research and Extension System; our Idaho Geological Survey and Forest Utilization Research programs; and maintenance and operations costs for facilities. The Idaho WWAMI program will also see important funding to continue preparing the highly skilled medical practitioners of the future physicians and other professionals who will serve communities right here in Idaho.
 
We appreciate the support of the governor and the legislature this session. Investment in the state’s land-grant research university pays off in a better-prepared, more prosperous Idaho for us all.
 
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
President
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