The James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research at the University of Idaho is named for an iconic United States Senator and his esteemed wife who, together, championed the causes of Idaho, from Moscow to Boise to Washington, DC, for four decades. Senator James McClure earned the respect of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle for his engagement in thoughtful, civil dialogue and bi-partisan collaboration and for his long commitment to national energy issues.
VISION AND MISSION
The McClure Center examines and promotes research on various public policy issues and public affairs that affect the state, the region and the nation. At the core of the Center’s mission, befitting of Senator McClure’s vital concerns, is the promotion of broader public knowledge and understanding of the Constitution and the promotion of civic education, civic engagement and political civility.
While the issues and topics of investigation and study will vary across time, as public interests, needs and demands wax and wane, the Center’s initial focus will encompass programs to enhance the citizenry’s understanding of constitutional principles and republican governance, with an aim to promote civic education, civic engagement and political civility. In addition, the Center will pursue the development of a coherent energy policy, economic development and programs and policies to improve the quality of life of American citizens.
GOALS AND INITIATIVES 2011-1014
In the initial three-year period, the Center aims to achieve the following goals:
Pursue collaborative opportunities with public and private entities to promote clean energy programs
• Create public awareness of the Center
• Capture positive media attention
• Establish the Center as a statewide entity, recognized for public policy and affairs expertise
• Enhance public understanding of the Constitution through conferences and lectures
• Undertake research on the Constitution, civic education and engagement, and political civility
• Engage in collaborative research with U of I scholars and external organizations on energy policy, constitutional governance, civic engagement and economic development
• Establish the Center as a source of polling expertise on matters of public policy and affairs
• Conduct four workshops and seminars each year on the Constitution and civic education for public school teachers in Idaho.
• Sponsor several McClure Lectures each year in prominent cities in northern, southern and southeastern Idaho
• Convene one annual conference on energy issues
• Generate enthusiastic private and public support for the Center’s operations and programs
The McClure Center is uniquely positioned in the State of Idaho to examine and promote matters of public affairs that affect the state, the region and the nation. The Center is an integral part of the University of Idaho—the leading research university in the state—and enjoys unlimited access to the resources, talents and expertise of its faculty, including many who have national and international reputations as eminent scholars in their fields, as well as celebrated scholars from other organizations and universities who will be appointed as McClure Fellows. The Center’s status within the University reflects the academic integrity of its work, programs and initiatives. Its nonpartisan orientation, moreover, protects it from concerns about party affiliations, partisan causes and ideological motives.
1. The Center has engaged in intense efforts to promote its visibility and prominence through the Director’s appearances on television and radio talk shows across Idaho, and through dozens of media interviews conducted by newspaper, television and radio reporters representing local, state and national organizations.
2. The effort to promote the Center as a leader and vital source of expertise on the Constitution and civic education, has been initiated through its sponsorship of an inaugural two-day, 20-hour conference for Idaho’s public school teachers. Fifty teachers from throughout Idaho engaged in an intense seminar, the first of four planned conferences across the state in the next year. The impact of the seminar is inestimable, but it is clear that 50 teachers will be sharing the fruits of their constitutional knowledge with thousands of Idaho’s students over the next few decades.
3. The Center will continue to collaborate with institutions and organizations across Idaho and America, as a means of pursuing its goals and missions. The Center has received some $30,000 in funding from the Center for Civic Education, a national program that receives annual funding from Congress to promote public understanding of the Constitution. The Center’s early initiatives in promotion of the Constitution and civic education have been generously supported as well by the Idaho Humanities Council. Additional efforts to promote these goals will be undertaken by the Director, who will continue to lecture on the Constitution, both nationally and internationally, to civic and professional organizations, and university audiences.
4. The Center has entered the formative stages of a partnership with the Idaho National Laboratory, and other organizations, to examine and promote energy policy. In collaboration with INL, the Center is planning to host a conference on nuclear energy, which will include a McClure Lecture on nuclear energy in Idaho Falls. In addition, the Center is engaged in discussion with INL to conduct a statewide survey of Idahoans’ views on nuclear energy.
5. The Center will continue its collaboration with both Horizons and the Idaho Community Foundation to increase its influence and visibility in communities throughout Idaho. The Center has provided funding to support Horizon’s various public policy studies that examine the Hispanic Community. The Center, moreover, is partnering with the Idaho Community Foundation to survey attitudes of Idahoans on the chief needs confronting their communities. Once these principal concerns are identified, the Center will engage in the development of policy proposals to meet these needs. The Center’s collaborative initiatives with both Horizon and the Idaho Community Foundation will establish its “street presence,” that is, its central role in identifying policy solutions to the pressing needs and challenges confronting Idahoans in their local communities.
6. The Center will sponsor several “McClure Lectures” in 2011. The first, scheduled for March 1, will feature a lecture delivered by Mark Trahant on the use of the Federal Indian Health Care Act as a model for the United States. The second, scheduled for April 7, will feature a lecture on Theodore Roosevelt, delivered by the acclaimed biographer, Douglas Brinkley, who recently published a biography of Roosevelt, Wilderness Warrior. Both lectures will be held at the University of Idaho. A third Lecture, which will be held in August in Idaho Falls, will focus on nuclear energy. Date to be determined. A fourth lecture, featuring a pultizer-prize winning historian will be held in Boise in October. The fact that these lectures will be held in various locations reflects the statewide mission of the McClure Center.
7. The goals of the McClure Center will be facilitated through the growth of the Center’s organizational structure and appointment of various men and women to positions on both the Honorary Board and the Advisory Board. The McClure Center has appointed five University of Idaho students as inaugural McClure Interns. Each student will earn three credits and receive a stipend each semester. The Center will increase the number of interns and will search for means to establish an internship program in the Idaho Legislature. In addition, the Center is in the process of appointing McClure Fellows, drawn from the ranks of the U of I Faculty and prominent scholars from other universities and organizations. In time, the Center will seek funding to offer graduate fellowships, with the aim of attracting PHD candidates who focus on public policy and public affairs issues and concerns.
8. The Center is engaged in initial collaboration with the University’s newly created “Rangeland Center,” with which it shares several concurrent interests.
CURRENT FUNDING SOURCES
The Center has been the recipient of generous assistance from private donors. In addition, it has received funding from the Center for Civic Education and the Idaho Humanities Council. The Center will draw funds from the Idaho Community Foundation for the purpose of conducting surveys, and from the Idaho National Laboratory to conduct polling to ascertain Idahoans’ views on nuclear energy. The Center will continue to seek funds from individuals, foundations and corporations.
See "SUPPORT" for naming opportunities.