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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 | president@uidaho.edu
March 27, 2020
Dear Vandals,
You never really know how strong a family is until it’s tested. I can tell you after this week, the Vandal Family is strong, and I have never been more proud to be a Vandal.

On Wednesday, our governor ordered all non-essential personnel to stay at home for the next 21 days. The order caps a tumultuous three weeks where our university community prepared to deliver distance learning, prepared the campus for the eventual arrival of the COVID-19 virus and prepared ourselves and our families for the fight. Our faculty, staff, students and alumni responded and delivered.

Our faculty members are delivering every course online. Our essential staff members are providing food and shelter and otherwise taking care of those students who had nowhere else to go. Other staff have been preparing to deliver their services to our community from home. Our students have worked through the changes and adjusted to the new normal, and our alumni have been incredibly supportive of university decisions and are helping our students during this uncertain period. It is a testimony to our commitment to each other and to the institution.

Despite all of the upheaval, the Moscow campus is quiet – we experienced a 63% drop in campus-based Wi-Fi usage compared to a normal week. Our virtual space, however, is bustling. More than 170 classes and meetings were taking place at any given time using the university’s videoconferencing software – six times our average. Some of those are one-on-one discussions, and others are 100-level lecture hall classes that allow 100 or more participants to engage.

Classes are being taught on schedule, just in a new way. Meetings are taking place. Video conferencing, video lectures, conference calls, even email and snail mail, are all tools we are using to deliver on our mission.

I am also proud that Vandals are at the forefront of helping the state of Idaho battle COVID-19. Project ECHO, our telehealth education program, hosted a successful virtual session this week for over 700 medical professionals throughout the state. Participants learned details about the virus, its transmission and how to respond to an outbreak in their community. University Distinguished Professor Holly Wichman, director of our Institute for Modeling Collaboration and Innovation, is coordinating a team of modelers from across Idaho to help the state predict the spread of the virus so resources can be deployed proactively and strategically.

Our staff also brought a decommissioned, stand-alone dorm on the edge of campus – the old Targhee Hall – back to life, providing 32 beds for use by our local hospital should they need it.

For those looking for a way to help our fellow Vandals who may be suffering from this emergency, we’ve launched a fundraising drive to support our Vandal Food Pantry, Project ECHO and the Bruce and Kathy Pitman Fund for Student Emergencies. We have a long history of Vandals helping Vandals in times of need.

These next few weeks will be among the most difficult we have faced, but I am confident we are up to the challenge. If you are worried about someone, please file a VandalCARE report so they can get the help they need. Let’s continue to be kind and supportive, and work together. In the interim,

Keep Calm and Vandal On.

C. Scott Green
President
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Deans Announced for College of Natural Resources, College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences: Dennis Becker has been named dean of the University of Idaho’s College of Natural Resources, while Sean Quinlan has been named dean of the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences.

Endowed Professorship in Potato Research Created at U of I: Efforts to improve potato storage technology will benefit from a $1 million investment to create an endowed research professorship made possible by alumni Wayne and Peggy Thiessen and the Idaho Potato Commission.

Idaho Clean Snowmobile Team Placed Fourth in National Challenge: The College of Engineering's Idaho Clean Snowmobile Team earned fourth place overall in the gasoline spark-ignited class at the 2020 Society of Automotive Engineers Clean Snowmobile Challenge, March 9-14. 

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Researchers in the Mind and Movement Lab in the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences found when older adults thought about posture as effortful, they had worse balance than when they stood in a relaxed way. Learn more >

Contact Us

Physical Address:
Administration Building
Room 105
Moscow, ID
83844-3151

208-885-6365
president@uidaho.edu

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive
MS 3151
Moscow, ID
83844-3151

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