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The Friday Letter

The Friday Letter is U of I’s long-running, weekly message straight from the president to members of the Vandal family. Each week during the academic year, and with breaks for holidays, the president offers an update on Vandal teaching and learning, research and scholarship, and notable initiatives and priorities. Alumni and friends are welcome to join students, faculty and staff in receiving the newsletter.

Letter from the President
Office of the President |
May 19, 2023

Dear Vandals,

For nearly 135 years, the University of Idaho has provided opportunities for citizens to elevate themselves and their communities through education.

On Thursday, the U of I Board of Regents approved a plan to expand those opportunities. The regents moved forward a request to create a nonprofit entity that will acquire the University of Phoenix

The request will now go before the accrediting agencies of both universities as well as other regulatory agencies for approvals. The details of this transaction and its implications are not finalized, but the intention is for the University of Phoenix to become a not-for-profit institution that operates separately from the U of I with its president reporting to a non-profit board under the Board of Regents.

The leadership team at the University of Phoenix shares our belief in higher education. They mirror our ideals when it comes to student support and success. And, they’ve created an online infrastructure that reaches across the globe to thousands of online students. They’ve innovated in the online space for decades, creating a home-grown platform that is simple and user-friendly. Their online student support system is robust. We can learn from each other to improve the online learning experience for students.

The higher education landscape is changing. Nationwide, college enrollment declined 8% between 2019 and 2022. Projections show an enrollment cliff in 2025, when the traditional college-age population in the U.S. declines by as much as 15%.

The U of I’s enrollment is healthy, but there is growing demand for programs for adult learners. The University of Phoenix has long served these adult learners, the majority of whom are first-generation, just like so many of our Vandals. This affiliation allows the U of I to serve these students as well as place-bound students in Idaho, whom we’re compelled to serve by our land-grant mission. Bringing education to rural areas benefits the state as employees round out their skillsets and provide value back to the employers.

The transaction will also provide financial benefits for the U of I. Conservative estimates put the return at $10 million per year to start. These funds are important for the U of I at a time when state funding does not always cover our operational costs and often doesn’t allow us to invest in our priorities.

We've published an FAQ regarding the transaction and we know there will be many more questions in the coming weeks and months. But we’re excited by the opportunity and the increased value it could provide for our students and our state.

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green


Goebel digs into anthracology research

Peter Goebel, a senior in U of I’s College of Natural Resources, collected charcoal specimens in Nevada and his analysis took him to Nice, France, in an effort to understand how early humans used wood and fire for daily tasks. The research is a mix of archaeology, anthropology and ecology. Learn more.

Cisneros collaborates to create compelling story

Joey Cisneros, who graduated with a degree in virtual technology and design, teamed up with peers in the Lionel Hampton School of Music to create “Luma’s Journey.” The video follows a child who falls out of a boat and finds himself in an underwater world. It was presented with live orchestra music earlier this year. Learn more.

Professor discusses ag educators’ career decisions

The latest Vandal Theory podcast features Kattlyn Wolf, the interim head of the Department of Agricultural Education, Leadership and Communications at the U of I. She discusses agricultural educators' motivation and why they might leave the field. Learn more.

The University of Idaho Boise Center originated in 1910 when an agricultural extension program was established in Ada County.

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