The Friday Letter Archive

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


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Friday Letter 2017-08-25:
Strategic Goals for 2017-2018

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August 25, 2017
Letter from the President
Dear Friends,
Another great year is underway at the University of Idaho. Our state’s national research university is poised to deliver on the ambitious Strategic Plan goals we laid out last year. A united effort from students, faculty and staff, as well as our alumni and friends, is the key to achieving progress.
Our first goal is to “Innovate” — to conduct research, scholarship and creative activity that makes an impact on Idaho and beyond. Among other performance measures, we are ramping up our research expenditures, invention disclosures, and student participation in research and sponsored projects. You may have seen physics professor’s Marty Ytreberg’s recent $6 million grant from the National Science Foundation to study amino acids, and you may have heard that we have surpassed $102 million in annual research expenditures. We will keep building on our land-grant strengths and focusing on emerging areas of excellence.
The University of Idaho also seeks to “Engage” with outreach that inspires innovation and improves Idaho. Our impact on Idaho's go-on rate is a key performance measure — how many more students are we bringing in to the life-changing experience of a Vandal education? We gained ground on that goal last year, thanks to programs such as Direct Admissions, and we continue to award more than $25 million annually in financial aid — the most in the state — to help students make college a reality. This fall we’ve focused our VIP grant project on the “Engage” goal, with innovative projects that connect with communities and promote college-going. By thinking outside the box in policies and practices, we have positioned UI to grow. Every member of our staff, each student, and our loyal alumni can all serve as ambassadors in our effort to improve Idaho’s educational attainment. 
We want to bring more students to UI because we believe in our capacity to “Transform” their lives through a unique educational experience. We don’t just want students to attend UI, we want them to graduate and to take their places as engaged, successful citizens. This year our new Student Success Initiative provides a comprehensive approach to academic advising, student support and Career Services. I am confident we will build on our enrollment, as well as our retention and graduation rates, which already lead among public institutions in Idaho.
Finally, UI must continue to “Cultivate” a diverse and valued community. Multicultural and international students, faculty and staff are part of the history and bright future of this global-facing institution. That emphasis benefits our statewide campus — and our state. We also need to ensure that this institution is a great place to build a career. We’ve implemented a rigorous program prioritization effort to make sure we’re allocating resources to support strategic goals. It’s a challenging process, but increased wages and more support for our teaching assistants are outcomes that will strengthen UI for the long haul.
Alumni and friends have a critical role in the success I’ve described. I ask you to stay informed, stay engaged, and stay motivated to help this institution be its best.
Chuck Staben
Go Vandals!

Chuck Staben
P.S.: Join thousands of students, faculty, staff and community members as we cheer on our Vandal Soccer squad against BSU this evening in the Kibbie Dome. Be part of the first-ever indoor NCAA women's soccer game. Free tickets to the Aug. 31 football game available at tonight’s Fan Zone to employees and community members!

St. Luke's Health System Pledges Support to Idaho WWAMI Program

St. Luke’s Health System has pledged $250,000 in support of the Idaho WWAMI Medical Education Program’s building renovation project. Today’s medical teaching methods call for flexible, small-group learning spaces wired for current technology requirements. The WWAMI building renovation seamlessly combines the latest technologies in medical learning and discovery with additional space essential for academic and clinical faculty. These critical updates emphasize current educational trends and enhanced patient care techniques. “We are glad to collaborate with the Idaho WWAMI program because it is very important to the care of the residents of our region and the education of great physicians to care for those residents,” said Dr. David Pate, St. Luke’s president and CEO. “St. Luke’s, our staff and our patients have a true stake in retaining physicians with direct experience in Idaho who will go on to practice in vital and needed areas, including primary and rural care.” For more information on supporting the Idaho WWAMI Medical Education Program and partnering with UI, contact Chloe Rambo in Corporate and Foundation Relations at 208-885-7060 or

UI College of Law Welcomes Inaugural First-Year Class in Boise

The University of Idaho College of Law welcomed its first class of first-year law students to its Boise location this week. “We are so excited to welcome the Class of 2020 to our Boise location,” said Mark Adams, dean of the College of Law. “Offering first-year law classes completes our vision of bringing a complete Juris Doctor degree to Boise. The College of Law could not be more proud to be the statewide leader in legal education in Idaho.” Previously, all students completed their first-year in Moscow and then could transition to Boise, if desired, for their second and third year. The addition of first-year classes in Boise makes a Juris Doctor degree fully available at either location. Classes in Boise are held in the Idaho Law and Justice Learning Center (ILJLC), in the renovated historic Ada County Courthouse in the heart of downtown Boise. The ILJLC also houses the Idaho State Law Library and the Idaho Supreme Court’s judicial education offices. It is adjacent to the Idaho Supreme Court, Idaho State Bar and the Capitol Building.

UI Recognized by The Princeton Review

The University of Idaho has again been recognized by The Princeton Review, as one of the country’s “Best 382 Colleges,” based on the excellence of academic programs. UI is the only public institution in the state included on the list. The University of Idaho was also included in The Princeton Review’s “Colleges That Pay You Back” for outstanding academics, affordability based on sticker price and/or financial aid, and for strong career prospects for graduates. UI was one of only 200 institutions on the list, schools recognized by The Princeton Review as “truly the most exceptional in the nation at delivering great academics, affordable cost, and great career foundations.”