University of Idaho Partnership with Coeur d'Alene Tribe and Communities Named Finalist for National Engagement Award

Friday, May 7 2010

MOSCOW, Idaho – The University of Idaho is a finalist for the national C. Peter Magrath University/Community Engagement Award. The university was selected for its partnership with the Coeur d'Alene Tribe and its communities, and is one of just five universities to be selected as a finalist.

The university/community partnership also received the Outreach Scholarship/W.K. Kellogg Foundation Engagement Award for the western U.S. region. The award, which included a $9,500 prize, honors the partnerships of a single university that has redesigned its teaching, research and outreach functions to become more involved with communities.

"This national recognition affirms our state partnerships, our commitment to student access and our commitment to serving all of our state’s citizens as the land-grant institution of the 21st century," said Duane Nellis, University of Idaho president. "We appreciate the opportunity to be fully immersed in deep partnerships with our communities to advance and transform our state and our society."

"The University of Idaho is transforming itself to better serve communities, helping them achieve lasting prosperity," said Priscilla Salant, University of Idaho coordinator of outreach and engagement. "This national recognition is clear evidence that the University of Idaho helps to develop local leaders who can address their communities’ most challenging problems, at the same time we provide a rich learning environment for our students."

The University of Idaho and the Coeur d'Alene Reservation communities began a large-scale partnership in fall 2006. The four small towns on the Coeur d'Alene Reservation – Plummer, Worley, Tensed and Desmet – created a community-wide vision and took action to overcome a legacy of underinvestment and poverty.

"This honor reflects the hard work of many people in the community and their commitment to making our reservation a better place," said Chief Allan, chairman of the Coeur d'Alene Tribe. "Being able to make decisions at the local level is critical to the success of One Sky North Idaho. I couldn’t be happier with the program."

The Idaho Horizons program, run by University of Idaho Extension, is part of a seven-state initiative funded by the Northwest Area Foundation to reduce rural and reservation poverty. Led by a local Horizons steering committee and guided by an Idaho Extension faculty member, members of the four communities participated in conversations about poverty, learned new leadership skills, created a long-term vision and took action to achieve prosperity. Decision making and responsibility were shared between the university and the steering committee.

As a result of Horizons, “local residents found their voice, setting priorities and being clear about what they could do for themselves and where they needed help," said Laura Laumatia, University of Idaho Extension faculty member.

The university's Building Sustainable Communities Initiative – along with the Department of Landscape Architecture – then brought students, faculty and local residents together to work on projects that would help the reservation communities achieve sustainable design. The BSCI, a collaborative program involving multiple colleges and University of Idaho Extension, includes both a graduate program in Bioregional Planning and Community Design. Local residents created their own vision and action priorities, giving clear direction to students and faculty on what specific assistance was needed.

Fifteen bioregional planning graduate students participated in service-learning and internships in the communities. They created a bioregional atlas, updated zoning ordinances, designed site plans for a 10-unit affordable housing development and created pre-design plans for a tribal education institute.

A new non-profit organization, One Sky North Idaho, was created to develop a thriving community based on the creative economy – a priority strategy identified in Horizons.

The four-year partnership continues to yield tremendous impact. Based on the students’ work, the tribe has received two major HUD grants totaling $2.5 million for wastewater treatment and affordable housing. The infrastructure project is now complete, and the tribe broke ground for the new housing development earlier this year.

The Magrath award winner will be announced in November at the annual meeting of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities in Dallas, Texas.

For more information about the C. Peter Magrath University/Community Engagement Award or the Outreach Scholarship/W.K. Kellogg Foundation Engagement Award, visit
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About the University of Idaho
Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s flagship higher-education institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year; the University of Idaho is the only institution in the state to earn the prestigious Carnegie Foundation ranking for high research activity. The university’s student population includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars. Offering more than 130 degree options in 10 colleges, the university combines the strengths of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. The university is home to the Vandals, the 2009 Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl champions. For information, visit

About the Coeur d'Alene Indian Tribe
The Coeur d'Alene Indian Tribe has a current enrollment of some 2,200 members. The tribe has sovereign authority on a reservation covering 345,000 acres of mountains, lakes, timber and farmland, spanning the western edge of the northern Rocky Mountains and the abundant Palouse country. The Coeur d'Alene Tribe and all federally recognized tribes in the United States are sovereign in their own lands. The name, "Coeur d'Alene" was given to the tribe in the late 18th or early 19th century by French traders and trappers. In French, it means "Heart of the Awl," referring to the sharpness of the trading skills exhibited by tribal members in their dealings with visitors. In the ancient tribal language, members call themselves, "Schitsu'umsh," meaning "The Discovered People" or "Those Who Are Found Here." The Coeur d'Alene Tribe employs about 1,000 people in 16 departments of government or in tribal enterprises. For more information, visit

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit