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Friday Letter Archive

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
Sept. 6, 2019
Dear Vandals,
In joining the University of Idaho, I’ve emphasized a new approach to administration, relying on issue-specific working groups to garner input, examine issues and offer recommendations. The university has challenges and opportunities – our budget not least among them – and I’ve wanted to make sure we’re getting a holistic understanding of those strategic areas of focus, hearing from people inside and outside the university.
 
Two months in, I can report that we’ve hit the ground running. Chandra Zenner Ford, special assistant for strategic initiatives, herself a Vandal graduate and formerly with the Boise mayor’s office and U of I before that for 25 years, is shepherding our efforts with the working groups. Our most immediate area of focus is creating a sustainable financial model. Provost John Wiencek and Vice President Brian Foisy will co-chair this group, with the valued participation of external representatives as well as U of I faculty, staff and students.
 
We have a number of other areas to tackle. We’re either forming or have formed working groups for a sustainable athletics model (new Athletic Director Terry Gawlik has graciously agreed to chair), enrollment management, the student experience, online education, and special projects such as ICCU Arena and the Idaho Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment. Each group will have diverse internal and external representation.
 
We’ve engaged a facilitator to guide our work. We’ll communicate during those processes, and, once recommendations have been arrived at, we’ll share those with key groups such as the administrative cabinet, our Faculty Senate and our Staff Council. That input will help as we finalize recommendations and create roadmaps for their implementation. I expect the conversation to be open, robust and productive.

I appreciate that these conversations are not easy, especially for those of us who work at the university. We will face difficult choices. But in my engagement with our faculty and staff so far, I’ve been struck by an eagerness to put aside concerns and focus on what’s best for the university over the long term. To succeed in our mission to support students, conduct research and scholarship, and serve our state, we have to work collaboratively but efficiently, and with the big-picture goals at the center of our target.  
 
This can be difficult work. But we’re Idaho’s brave and bold university. I know our Vandal Family is up to the challenge.
Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

NSF Grant Supports Native American STEM Doctoral Students

Twelve Native American students will receive funding to participate in STEM-based doctoral degree programs at the University of Idaho as part of a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (NSF-LSAMP) Bridge to Doctorate fellowship program. Program funding will cover the first two years of the students’ doctoral programs. Assistantships and other fellowships will cover any remaining funding. Participating students and their program leaders will be encouraged to integrate traditional ecological knowledge, an indigenous way of seeing science and the environment, into their studies. U of I’s College of Graduate Studies will administer the grant and recruit participating students for fall 2020 through a partnership with the All-Nations LSAMP program, which involves 25 tribal and higher educational institutions. Eleven Northwest tribes, signatories to a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with U of I and members of the president’s Native American Advisory Council, will also help with referrals and recruitment.
Snapshots

student success

The student chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, a student organization in the School of Journalism and Mass Media, was named the "Outstanding Campus Chapter" and the "Campus Program of the Year" for Region 10, which includes Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. As the regional winner, the chapter is a finalist for the national award.

Jamie Waters, a marketing and marketing analytics student in the College of Business and Economics, is one of two people selected for Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) awards to Cambodia. ETAs help teach English while serving as cultural ambassadors for the U.S. Prior to this award, Waters also received a Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship and a Freeman ASIA Award.

Brian Pugliese, a Ph.D. candidate in experimental psychology in the Department of Psychology and Communication Studies, was named a 2019-20 student fellow by the Society for Public Health Education and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. The fellowship supports the training of public health researchers and behavorial science practitioners.

Did you know?
For all the latest news, tips, events, services and funding opportunities that help advance and expand our growing research enterprise, sign up for Scholars and Researchers, the Office of Research and Economic Development’s monthly online newsletter for faculty, students and staff. 

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Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Aug. 30, 2019
Dear Vandals,
What a fun week! We kicked the fall semester off with our annual Vandal Walk. Classes have started. Fall sports have arrived. I’m inspired by the hustle and bustle of our Vandals finding their way on a once-in-a-lifetime academic and personal experience. They have an exciting journey ahead!
 
Over the past two months it’s been a joy and a privilege to get to know our institution, to learn about our Vandal excellence and to tell the story of our success. Here’s where that listening and learning tour has taken me:
  • I’ve been meeting with our teaching faculty and our researchers. Whether in the forests of northern Idaho, at our Hagerman aquaculture facilities, or at our Rinker Rock Creek Ranch grazing and conservation research center, I’ve been deeply impressed by the quality of our research and the way it makes a difference for our world. We’re stewarding our natural resources, we’re leading in the development of fish nutrition, we’re on the forefront of rangeland research. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
  • I’ve been connecting with industry leaders. As the land-grant institution, we have a special charge to facilitate economic development and prepare the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs. I’ve met with leadership from organizations such as Idaho National Laboratory, Agropur, Chobani, Blue Cross of Idaho and more. We have so much potential in Idaho and in our region – I’m excited for the important role U of I plays in that success.
  • We have so much passion to tap into among our alumni. I’ve met with our Vandal Family in McCall, Boise, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho Falls and elsewhere. Many of us even shared a raft on the beautiful Salmon River. Our alumni can help build on our strengths and tackle some of our challenges. If you’re a Vandal grad, and you haven’t been involved, we need your passion and your expertise. Be a part of this success story.
As one of our nation’s great land-grant institutions, U of I is proud to serve our entire state. Idaho is our classroom, it is our research site, it is our workplace. It’s our home. You’ll see my Vandal truck in Moscow and statewide – all across Vandal Country – as I connect to hear our story firsthand and then share it with everyone who will listen.
Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

Pride points
As recently highlighted by the Idaho Falls Post Register, three University of Idaho Vandals recently received a prestigious Idaho National Laboratory Graduate Fellowship: Kevin Joe Terrill, a mechanical engineering major from Idaho Falls; James Derrill Richards, studying nuclear engineering; and Amey Shigrekar, studying nuclear engineering, are among the 12 recipients chosen from universities nationwide. Benefits of a fellowship include coverage of the first one to three years of graduate school tuition and fees and an annual salary paid by INL in the final phases of their doctoral research. In addition, fellows receive laboratory research experience, the opportunity to publish research and mentorship from INL professionals.
Snapshots

student success

CNR doctoral student Andrew Maguire was one of 120 students nationwide awarded the $90,000, two-year Future Investigators in NASA Earth and Space Science and Technology fellowship. The fellowship supports Maguire’s dissertation research in the Arctic, studying how efficiently trees use light for fixing atmospheric carbon dioxide at the forest-tundra ecotone.

Nicolas Schofield, a history and international studies student from Boise, was among 15 students nationwide named to the 2019 Class of the Cultural Vistas Fellowship, offering fully funded, eight-week internships, as well as seminars and a service project to share his learning. Schofield will complete his internship in Berlin, Germany.

University Honors Program student Abigail Childress, from Dalton Gardens, received a 2019-20 $5,000 undergraduate scholarship from the national Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society. Phi Eta Sigma’s mission is to encourage and reward freshmen academic excellence and assist students with future goals. Childress is pursuing biochemistry, microbiology and Spanish majors while in the pre-health professional program.

U of I Partners with Air Force on New Biofuel Research

The University of Idaho Advanced Biofuels Lab is partnering with the U.S. Air Force on a student-led research project to commercialize a biofuel that doesn't freeze at high altitudes and has the potential to be carbon negative. U of I recently received a U.S. Air Force Small Business Technology Transfer (AFWERX) grant of $25,000 to engage entrepreneurs in Air Force operations. The lab was one of 33 nonprofit awardees among thousands of applicants. The award allows U of I to explore solutions researched in the lab to find potential market opportunities in the defense and commercial sectors. "The Air Force is the largest single consumer of jet fuel in the world," said U of I College of Engineering Master of Biological Engineering graduate Brian Hanson '19, the principal investigator on the project. "We've identified a potential solution to a problem for the 600,000 that work for the Air Force, and we want to bring this technology to other potential markets."
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Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Aug. 23, 2019
Dear Vandals,
Welcome to the beginning of a great year in Vandal Country. It has been so exciting to be back in Idaho, touring the state, getting to know this university. Now I have the honor of welcoming new and returning students across our statewide campus to fall semester.
 
Yesterday we celebrated our University Convocation, marking the official start to the year for new Vandals. I have a simple message to our incoming students: Welcome to the Vandal Family. You made the right choice.
  • The University of Idaho is an outstanding choice for an academic experience that elevates students on their way to exciting careers. Students learn from faculty members who are mentors, who are leaders in their fields, and who are members of a caring community. Our student organizations, as well as our fraternities and sororities, are an important part of the diverse, inclusive environment that helps all students succeed. You’ll thrive here. You’ll fit in, and you’ll stand out.
  • U of I is a land-grant, national research university – that means we’re uniquely charged to lead in discovery and innovation that makes a difference for Idaho and the planet. Students are a part of that mission – two-thirds of undergraduates participate in research projects. You can help shape the future.
  • U of I is a launching pad for student success. Vandal graduates go on to rewarding careers and salaries that provide a sound financial footing. More importantly, Vandals grow as leaders, thinkers and citizens. Who do you want to be? Where do you want to go?
Convocation provides a window into an exciting future for our new Vandals. I want to thank our Convocation speaker, Richard Rock, for bringing our students his own example of Vandal success and an inspiring message: “Now is the perfect time for all of you to make a commitment to yourself that you're going to be a lifelong learner. That's a skill that will never go out of style. It will never go obsolete.” I couldn’t agree more.
 
As president, I have the privilege of championing this university. If you don’t already, follow my Facebook page to see updates. I also invite you to share your Vandal pride. Welcoming a new future Vandal into the world? Celebrating an anniversary with someone you met at U of I? Marking an important milestone or taking your Vandal attire on a trip? Show off your Vandal pride, and I’ll share it in an upcoming Friday Letter. Help me tell the U of I story!
Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

I'm personally leasing this "Vandalized" truck to use as I drive around Idaho. I want people to know that U of I is in town! Share your Vandal pride - send pictures to president@uidaho.edu. Go Vandals!
Pride points
U of I was recently named one The Princeton Review’s “Best 385 Colleges” for 2020! The selection was based on affordability, academic quality and faculty excellence, among other factors. The report notes U of I "is truly a school that invests in its students.”
Snapshots

research that makes a difference

Rebuilding After Wildfire is Not Enough to Curb Future Disasters
Wildfires in the West are becoming inevitable, and communities that rethink what it means to live with them will likely fare better than those that simply rebuild after they burn, concludes a paper in the journal Nature Sustainability and authored by a group of scientists, including U of I’s Crystal Kolden.
 
Back-to-Back Low Snow Years Will Become More Common, U of I-Led Study Projects
Consecutive low snow years may become six times more common across the Western United States over the latter half of this century, according to a University of Idaho-led study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, leading to ecological and economic challenges such as expanded fire seasons and poor snow conditions at ski resorts.
 
U of I Study: Thyroid Hormone Can Alter Color Vision in Zebrafish, Potentially in Humans
Exposure to thyroid hormone can alter eye function in zebrafish, a result with implications for curing color blindness and retinal degeneration in humans, according to a University of Idaho study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Zebrafish and humans have similar genetics when it comes to color vision. The findings could lead to new therapies for visual disorders.
 
U of I Professor Named Idaho EPSCoR Director
University of Idaho Professor Andrew Kliskey, a leader in researching how communities adapt with changing environments, will serve as the next Idaho Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) director. The collaborative statewide program, led by U of I, aims to stimulate Gem State research and involves many of Idaho’s higher education institutions.

Did you know?
The generosity of our alumni, family, friends and partner organizations fuels breakthroughs across the University of Idaho. In fiscal year 2019, donors made it possible for 29 Vandal Promise and four Chobani Scholars to start their college journey, funded over 40 student-led projects and programs through crowdfunding, enabled us to break ground on the ICCU Arena and open the renovated Idaho WWAMI Medical Education building, and supported dozens of research projects and initiatives. Thank you for being a champion for the University of Idaho.

To learn how you can support what matters to you, visit uidaho.edu/giving
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