Coeur d'Alene Newsletter
From the desk of Charles Buck
It has been a very unusual and challenging spring semester. We plan to return to face-to-face instruction in the fall but will continue to practice social distancing. Of course, the health and safety of our staff and students is paramount. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to throw us curveballs, we are watching the situation closely and ready to further adapt as needed.
Is there anything but COVID-19 to talk about? YES! The University of Idaho Coeur d’Alene team is busy recruiting and advising students while also supporting community and economic development. Our efforts here have recently been spotlighted in a national publication, Higher Ed’s Role in Rural Innovation Ecosystems, from the Center on Rural Innovation (CORI). The introduction of a robotics track in our U of I Coeur d’Alene Computer Science department and our unique adult app development training program, Inspire Idaho, are highlighted in this report.
In response to calls from regional industry to prepare a more qualified workforce, U of I Coeur d’Alene program specialists Sheri Bullock and Christina Cox obtained a grant from the Idaho Workforce Development Council to create a new professional development opportunity for local teachers. During the Integrating Education and Careers program, local teachers spend two days visiting regional manufacturing and technology companies to learn about current workforce needs and requirements. Teachers will incorporate this experience and knowledge into their curriculum, connecting classroom content to local career opportunities.
Our faculty demonstrated amazing resilience in adapting to the requirements of the COVID-19 pandemic. Courses were converted to online and synchronous video formats in one short week. Students responded with determination to master course material even when they were unable to meet with each other or their professors. Special congratulations go out to our 2020 graduates!
Finally, our hearty thanks go out to U of I Coeur d’Alene faculty and staff retiring in 2020. Congratulations and best wishes to Steve Meier (Psychology), Kathy Canfield Davis (Educational Leadership), Paul Gathercoal (Curriculum and Instruction) and Mary Lee Ryba (Engineering Development). Thank you for your many years of excellent work for U of I!
We wish you all good health. Please join us in following social distance recommendations, washing hands frequently and wearing face coverings.
Read on for more Coeur d’Alene center news and highlights.
Julie Amador Lands $2.7 Million Grant
Coeur d’Alene faculty member Julie Amador will lead a new multimillion-dollar math research project with U of I and University of Rochester. The $2.7 million grant from the National Science Foundation will be used to establish online professional development for math coaches in rural school districts. This grant marks a new phase for the Idaho and New York teams who spent the last four years researching how to provide effective distance support for middle school teachers in rural areas.
Coeur d’Alene Highlights from the College of Engineering
For the second year in a row, U of I Computer Science students from Coeur d’Alene earned "Best of Show" at the university-wide Engineering Design EXPO. Seniors Joel Berain, Zane Goodrick, Tyrel Parker and Nikolai Tiong built a garage parking system they call Park-It-CDA, with advising from Professor Rick Sheldon. Read about the project, including obstacles the team tackled through quarantine.
Computer Science graduate student Amanda Ward joined Vandal engineers across the state in working to meet the local demands for personal protective equipment. From the university’s robotics lab in downtown Coeur d’Alene, Ward 3D printed visors to hold face shields. The effort was supported through a $750 grant from the Idaho STEM Action Center. Coeur d’Alene center staff and faculty member Julie Beeston also contributed to the effort for Heritage Health.
Engineering adds two more bachelor’s degree options in Coeur d’Alene this fall, building on the success of the local Computer Science program. Cybersecurity is a brand new degree for U of I and the first of its kind statewide. Industrial Technology — bridging science and business — has been available at the Idaho Falls center for some time and now expands to Coeur d’Alene. Fall enrollment for both programs is open now!
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