President's Office

Administration Building
Room 105
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3151
Moscow, ID 83844-3151
Phone: (208) 885-6365

Friday Letter Office of the President

November 30, 2012

Dear Friends,

“Gentlemen, we have run out of money. It is time to start thinking.”

This quote from Nobel Laureate Ernest Rutherford begins a report on the causes behind declining innovation in the United States and the problems they pose for our future.

America continues to slip behind other industrialized nations in innovation. The central causes include a more complex environment working against conditions conducive to research and some perception of declines in educational quality. The result is loss of jobs, profits and competitiveness.

Sadly, we’ve seen this in the state of Idaho. The state now ranks 47th nationally for having the fewest high school grads who enroll in college. The State Board of Education and the University of Idaho, through our efforts with Vision 2020, are working hard to change this dynamic.

Fortunately, there are many who are partnering with us to make a difference. For example, with the help of Micron and other benefactors we’ve completed some extensive studies of what the state needs to improve science, technology, engineering, and math studies across the educational spectrum -- but with a particular emphasis on helping K-12 students.

Now, we’ve been recognized as a central player in understanding and promoting the innovative use of technology in classroom learning thanks to the J. A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation, which this week awarded millions of dollars in grants to establish two Doceõ Centers for Innovation and Learning -- one at the University of Idaho and one at Northwest Nazarene University.

Ours will be hosted on our Moscow campus’ College of Education. Thanks to an approximately $3 million grant over three years, our university will create and outfit its center with the latest learning technologies.

Northwest Nazarene University received about $4.3 million in matching funds to complete a new building on its campus. Both Doceõ Centers will focus on developing new teaching methods that incorporate technology in the classroom, a technique known as blended learning.

Our facility will help prepare all University of Idaho teacher candidates to skillfully and purposefully integrate technology into their teaching and for those candidates so inclined to complete advanced coursework, enabling them to serve as technology integration leaders for schools that eventually employ them. It will also be available to help current classroom teachers across our state.

As a national research university, we also expect to impact the nation as we research the best way to blend traditional teaching and learning styles with emerging technologies. This will come through the application of results that will be available to all through a library of tested and reviewed technology tools as well as tested and reviewed software programs for all interested parties to explore: teachers, administrators, researchers and parents. This new knowledge will fill a massive information gap for a nation searching for answers on how best to use educational tools. We expect to help educators, parents and leaders make better-informed decisions as they seek to improve our educational system.

We’re thankful for the Albertson’s Foundation partnership. This partnership between the Albertson’s Foundation and the University of Idaho will provide positive learning results for generations to come.


M. Duane Nellis

U-Idaho Transportation Institute Receives $3.4 Million in Further Research Funding. The extension of a federal grant will allow U-Idaho researchers to continue their work to improve the nation’s transportation system for people and the environment. The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the University of Idaho’s National Institute for Advanced Transportation Technology, a total of $3.4 million to run a Tier 1 University Transportation Center for a second year. There are only 10 Tier 1 centers in the country. NIATT Director Karen DenBraven said the center’s goal is to reduce both fuel consumption and pollution emissions by finding ways to better manage and operate the transportation system and improve education for drivers. Two of NIATT’s major research areas are engine design and traffic-control technology. Improved engines can reduce pollution, but so can transportation control systems that reduce traffic congestion and encourage fuel-efficient driving habits, or “eco-driving.”

U-Idaho Entomologist Nilsa Bosque-Pérez Honored by Top U.S. Science Association. Entomologist Nilsa Bosque-Pérez of the University of Idaho has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an honor bestowed upon association members by their peers. The association’s section on agriculture, food, and renewable resources recognized her “for international leadership in entomology related to plant health management, for fundamental discoveries in plant-virus-vector interactions and for distinguished contributions to interdisciplinary graduate education. Bosque-Pérez is a professor of entomology and 16-year member of the University of Idaho College of Agricultural and Life Sciences faculty. She directs the $3.2 million National Science Foundation-funded Interdisciplinary Graduate Education and Research Traineeship program that funds 23 doctoral students in Idaho and Costa Rica. The program has created a unique team-based interdisciplinary graduate educational model that has received recognition across the country. Her research focuses on insect-borne viruses that damage crops worldwide.

U-Idaho Welcomes New Faculty -- Law. The university welcomed 47 new faculty members this year. Three joined the College of Law. Diana Gleason (B.S., 1985; J.D., 1994, University of Oregon; M.L.I.S., 1997, University of Washington) joined as an assistant professor of law. Previously, she served as the Public Services Librarian at Valparaiso University, School of Law in Indiana. Sarah Haan (B.A., 1995, Yale College; J.D., 2000, Columbia Law School) joins as an assistant professor. Most recently she taught legal research and writing at the Pace University School of Law. Kristin Running (B.A., 2004, College of Idaho; J.D., 2008, University of Idaho) joins the college as an instructor having previously practiced civil litigation in Boise.

Author, Forester, Executive And Leader Paves The Way For Future Leaders. Jay Gruenfeld, author of “Purple Hearts and Ancient Trees: A Forester’s Life Adventures in Business, Wilderness, and War,” and the recently published “Commissioned in Battle: A Combat Infantryman in the Pacific, WWII,” understands the value of leaders and strong leadership. Whether as vice president for Potlatch Corp., a three-time Purple Heart recipient, or as a staff sergeant in the Pacific Theater in WWII, this former Fulbright Scholar at Oxford has been a leader for most of his life. It is not surprising then that Jay and his late wife Jan created two endowments to honor the impact higher education on their lives and to provide support for tomorrow’s leaders. The Jay and Jan Gruenfeld Endowment for Communication and Leadership Excellence in the College of Natural Resources and Endowment for Teaching Excellence in the College of Education were designed to retain educators as leaders and to train undergraduate students as future leaders. Jay’s willingness to lead does not end there. He recently served as the keynote speaker of the College of Natural Resources Student Leadership Retreat, giving future leaders an opportunity to hear first-hand his passion for his basic elements of good leadership – emotion and communication. For more information on being a leader and supporting the College of Natural Resources, contact Steven Hacker at (208) 885-7400 or

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