We live in a world where issues are complex and proposed solutions are charged with emotion. Yet with consequences so critical, it is more important than ever that we reach decisions and formulate public policies about our food supply, natural resources, energy, and sustainable communities on fact and thoughtful analysis.
It is the need for facts, critical analysis, and public debate that makes this the time for the University of Idaho to enhance its role in public policy, which originated in 1959 with the creation of the Bureau of Public Affairs Research. In 2007 the Idaho State Board of Education approved the renaming of this Bureau to the James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research.
Now we stand poised to meet future challenges with a new interdisciplinary center and new areas of focus, while utilizing new technologies. Our history of academic excellence, world class research and scholarly activity, and commitment to outreach and engagement rooted in our land grant mission makes us uniquely qualified to assume this mantel. Four-term Idaho Governor and former Secretary of the Interior Cecil D. Andrus said, “I can’t think of an academic center that has produced more talent nor had a greater impact on public policy in Idaho.”
The College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences will provide the foundation for the James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research, but the issues facing our state, region and the nation are too complex for one college alone and the depth and breadth of research and knowledge in other colleges at the University of Idaho is too vast to leave out. Therefore the strength of the McClure Center will be the collaborative and interdisciplinary approach with:
- College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
- College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences
- College of Law
- College of Natural Resources
- Center for Advanced Energy Studies - CAES
- Office of Research
- University Government Affairs, Office of the President
- Extension system
- Native American tribal representation
The development of the McClure Center could not come at a better time as the University of Idaho introduces an integrated research and graduate education model focused on water, energy, environmental sustainability, biological sciences, and sustainable regional development, all of great importance to our state rich in human and natural resources. Additionally, the McClure Center will enjoy a strong working partnership with the University’s Extension system with presence in 42 of Idaho’s 44 counties, and the Department of Governmental Affairs, housed in the President’s office.