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

The Friday Letter

September 7, 2012

Dear Friends,

Normally in the Friday Letter, I share recent highlights from your university. However, today I’d like to share with you something more direct without a great deal of interpretation. You’ve heard me say many times that our faculty members are world-class.  However, when you can’t meet these individuals it can be difficult to decide for yourself. Therefore, I wanted to share some recent success stories to help you evaluate for yourself. These are just a few of the positive developments I shared with the faculty at our general faculty meeting earlier this week.

One example is Anne Kern, assistant professor of science education, who successfully competed for a National Science Foundation grant that has allowed her to work with Native American elementary students on the Coeur d’Alene and Spokane reservations. The “Back to the Earth” program provides hands-on projects based in their communities. It will also produce a “virtual watershed” in a web-based site that includes an interactive map with geospatial locations of social, cultural, and scientific significance. 

In Boise, Kevin Van Den Wymelenberg, assistant professor and director of the Integrated Design Lab there, has led efforts to complete over $1 million in externally funded research last year making the IDL one of the two largest, university energy-efficiency research lab in the Northwest. Since 2004, IDL has consulted on over 13 million square feet of energy efficient construction. This work saves Idaho businesses over $1.2 million a year, and more savings are coming. 

In the midst of a brutal fire season, you should also know that the University of Idaho leads the nation in fire science research and education. The College of Natural Resources offers more fire science courses than any other university in the country. In 2012 alone, the college’s fire programs have brought two million research dollars into the state to investigate the numerous issues surrounding fire and its impacts on Idaho, the nation, and the world.

Of course, we our faculty also lead in the arts. For example, English faculty member Kim Barnes’ novel – “In the Kingdom of Men” -- earned positive national reviews.  This is her ninth book, and it's been well received, as have her earlier works. For example, she was nominated for Pulitzer Prize for her earlier book, “In the Wilderness”. She has also earned two Pushcart Award nominations. You can see her here in a recent video.  

Speaking of the English Department, I’m proud to share with you that your continues to publish the Hemingway Review, the preeminent journal in the world for scholarship involving Ernest Hemingway.

These are just a few of the many faculty success stories in recent weeks, and I know there’s more to come. One of the things that I plan to do is share more of these with you as time and space allow.

We’re a globally competitive research institution that pumps nearly $1 billion into Idaho’s economy, but thanks to our faculty we do even more. We reach students in engaging and meaningful ways. Unlike many of our national peers, these same world-class faculty members interact directly with students. This gives our students world-class opportunities.

Our faculty members are truly inspiring futures!


M. Duane Nellis


Accreditation Advances Landscape Architecture Degree Programs. The Landscape Architecture Accrediting Board of the American Society of Landscape Architects has awarded initial accreditation status to the College of Art and Architecture’s Master of Landscape Architecture professional degree. This is a positive step for the university’s revolutionary seamless BSLA/MLA program -- the second in the nation – and for students after graduation. “Accreditation is significant to the recruitment of qualified students, domestic and international, because it directly relates to our graduates ability to become licensed landscape architects,” said Stephen Drown, professor and chair of landscape architecture. “LAAB accreditation applies to both the seamless Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture for new and transfer students and the MLA program for students with a baccalaureate degree in a discipline other than landscape architecture.” (The BSLA as a standalone degree is not accredited.) The Landscape Architecture Program has been in existence at the university for over 40 years with an accredited undergraduate BLA degree in place from 1975 - 2011. The decision to move the accredited degree to the graduate level was based on the faculty’s desire to have students take more coursework in the Art and Design Core of the College or Art and Architecture, integrate emerging technologies more effectively in the professional curriculum, increase students exposure to the natural sciences, and engage students more fully in the scholarship of landscape architecture and allied disciplines.

University Welcomes New Faculty -- Engineering. The university welcomed 47 new faculty members this week.  Each week this section will introduce you to a new faculty member. One of the new faculty members is Fatih Aydogan, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering (B.S., 2000, Hacettepe University, Turkey; M.S., 2004, Hacettepe University, Turkey; Ph.D., 2008, Pennsylvania State University). Aydogan comes to the University of Idaho from the Westinghouse Electric Company. Since 2008 he has been developing Westinghouse Small Modular Reactor Design, Computational Thermal Hydraulics Codes and Methodologies as well as analyzing existing and passive safe reactors. His research areas are mainly computational thermal hydraulics, two-phase flow, nuclear safety, nuclear system design and analysis, uncertainty and best-estimate methodologies, sub-channel analysis and small modular reactors.  He will be joining the Center for Advanced Energy Studies at the Idaho Falls Center.

Annual And Estate Philanthropy Is A Win-Win! Avid golfers, football fans and travel enthusiasts, Raymond ’69 and Bonnie Turner are taking full advantage of their retirement, enjoying Vandal events throughout the nation. In addition to their attendance, the Turners have also chosen to support the University of Idaho through their estate, creating the Raymond and Bonnie Turner Faculty Excellence Endowment. This endowment will provide the dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences flexibility to distribute this award to tenured faculty who have made notable achievements. “As traditional funding sources continue to decrease, it becomes increasingly important to seek private dollars to keep salaries competitive and better fulfill our mission as a land-grant university,” said John Hammel, dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. “The Turners’ generosity allows us to do just that and we are very grateful for their support.” The Turners also met a need in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology by establishing an annual $1,000 scholarship to a student pursuing a degree in agribusiness or agricultural economics. By giving both an annual and estate gift, the Turners were able to link their philanthropic goals with the priorities and needs of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. For more information on giving to the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, contact Kim O’Neill at (425) 359-2411 or