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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
Dec. 10, 2021
Dear Vandals,

Higher education isn’t generally known for its agility. But when Bret Heller recognized the shortage of qualified candidates to fill leadership positions in the West Ada School District, he turned to the U of I — which sprang into action.

Heller is the deputy superintendent for West Ada School District – the largest district in one of the fastest growing areas in the country. He first met with Chandra Zenner Ford, CEO of U of I Boise and southwestern Idaho, and laid out a vision for bolstering the district’s leadership candidate pool. Philip Scruggs, interim dean of College of Education, Health and Human Sciences and Department Chair of Leadership and Counseling Laura Holyoke helped bring the vision to life.

Less than a year later, the West Ada Principal Cohort began meeting at the West Ada School District Training Facility. U of I assistant professors Penny Tenuto and Elizabeth Wargo provide the course content and guidance to school district personnel, who teach the class. The 26 students meet Monday and Wednesday evenings to accommodate their teaching schedules.

The partnership is going smoothly thanks to the hard work and cooperation on both sides.

“Everyone involved has helped to make this work and supported getting the cohort up and running,” said Michelle Weitz, West Ada Cohort coordinator.

The West Ada Cohort is an excellent example of the U of I’s unique ability to innovate and adjust to the demands of markets. Our land-grant mission compels us to serve the needs of our state and improve the lives of our citizens.

Speaking of improving lives, on Saturday we will be honoring 596 U of I graduates at our Winter Commencement Ceremony. These newest Vandal alumni endured a challenging journey over the past several years and deserve celebration.

Congratulations to all our graduates and to those who helped them reach this milestone.

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President

VANDALS IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Student managers map future forest careers: U of I students use three dimensional maps to accurately inventory forests and reduce time spent counting and measuring trees using traditional practices.

U of I offering two free rides per day to students on Moscow campus: Seeking to increase on-demand transportation options for U of I students, the university is partnering with Uber to offer free trips during a trial run through the end of 2021.

Physicists shine light on cell work: Students in U of I professor Andreas Vasdekis’ physics lab helped develop a fluorescent microscope that uses extreme low light to illuminate cell samples.

U of I held its first commencement ceremony in 1894, with four students earning their bachelor’s degrees.

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Dec. 3, 2021
Dear Vandals,

I am constantly impressed by the quality of our people working here at the University of Idaho. Our faculty and staff go above and beyond for our students and our state. As a university, we are striving to go above and beyond to make the U of I a great place to work.

We were encouraged by many of the results of the “Great Colleges to Work For” survey this year. With more than 1,000 employees responding to the survey last spring, we have a gauge for how we’re doing as an employer.

As provost and executive vice president Torrey Lawrence communicated recently via email, U of I employees reported satisfaction with their job fit, autonomy and connection to mission. Faculty and staff wellbeing rated high, as did supervisor/department chair competencies. Our workplace quality and pride were also areas of strength.

The survey also revealed and reinforced some areas that need improvement. Respondents cited resource constraints, performance management and recognition and respect as areas where the university can do better.

These results will be used to guide our planning and decision making in the coming months and years. A steering committee will be setting university-wide goals, and each college and division will identify its own goals and an action plan for advancing toward them. Great organizations embody a culture of continuous improvement and are always evaluating and pushing to improve, even where they are already proficient.

Greatness begins at home and builds upon our foundation – our employees, students, alumni, industry partners and the support of our statewide stakeholders. The Vandal Family will never settle for simply being good, which is why I’m optimistic about our future. There is much to do, but I know as Vandals, we will rise to the challenge.

Our Great Colleges to Work For web page includes detailed results from the survey, as well as a feedback form. We welcome your input and ideas as we strive to make our university not only a great place to work but an outstanding national university known for excellence in all we do.

We are brave, we are bold.

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President

VANDALS IN THE SPOTLIGHT

U of I wins Food Fight with ISU: University of Idaho raised $2,429 and donated 1,441 pounds of food to win the annual Food Fight with Idaho State. Combined, the two schools raised more than 16,000 meals for food insecure Idahoans.

WWAMI student embraces mission to improve rural health care: Maryam Karim, a second-year medical student from Boise, gained valuable experience serving in Plummer’s Marimn Health clinic.

Ag department awards grants to U of I researchers: Several U of I researchers received funding from the Idaho Department of Agriculture for research, promotion activities and other projects designed to benefit specialty crop growers in Idaho.

U of I is one of a handful of universities in the U.S. that has a student fee-funded study abroad scholarship. The International Experience Grant provides $154,000 in study abroad scholarships each year.

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Nov. 19, 2021
Dear Vandals,

Growing up in poverty on the Warm Springs Reservation in Oregon, college was not a top priority for Angel Williams. She had a faint dream of becoming a surgeon but little direction on how to pursue that dream.

College came into focus when Butch David, Native American Community Liaison at Madras High School, brought her and several classmates to Moscow to visit the U of I campus in 2019 for a recruitment event held by the Native American Student Center, sponsored by a grant from the Nez Perce Tribe.

“I met good mentors, a good support system and learned about the scholarships that they offered,” she said. “One of the things that really influenced me to come here is the community. I realized there are more people like me here. I have people that I can talk to, and I won’t feel alone.”

The close-knit Native American community is a treasure for the U of I. The Moscow campus resides on the homelands of the Nimiipuu people and memorandums of understanding with 11 tribes in the region solidify and guide our relationships. Students are supported through the Native American Student Center, which offers tutoring, networking, financial and academic advising, leadership and professional opportunities and mentoring.

Angel, a first generation student, ventured to the U of I in the fall of 2020 and like most first-year students, she battled uncertainty and apprehension, especially amidst the challenges of the pandemic. But as part of the Tribal Excellence and Vandal Generations Scholarship programs, she received not only scholarship support but also culturally relevant support services designed to foster success at U of I.

“It was my first time away from home with no family around, and I was pretty doubtful,” Angel said. “I thought I wanted to go back home.”

“It is scary for a lot of our kids to go to college because they’re first-timers,” Butch said. “They don’t know what to expect and like a lot of students, Angel didn’t know what she was doing at first, but the U of I liaisons got ahold of her and told her she could do it.”

The academic and cultural support from the staff at the Native American Student Center helped Angel find comfort and confidence. She now serves as a mentor for first-year Native American students and her Criminology 101 class also sparked a passion, redirecting her career path toward law enforcement.

“Last summer I worked under a probation officer in Warm Springs and next year when I’m a junior I’m going to try to get into the Moscow Citizen’s Police Academy (Sociology 415),” Angel said. “I want to go back to Warm Springs and help my community.”

Angel’s journey shows the value of mentors and the importance of community in helping students reach their goals.

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President

VANDALS IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Lynch studying how Tasmanian Devils influence ecosystem: U of I assistant professor Laurel Lynch is part of a team of international researchers working on a National Science Foundation-funded project that will reveal links between keystone scavengers and ecosystem resiliency.

Internship opens up career path for Proett: Senior Makayla Proett took advantage of the U of I Career Fair to land internships on large feedlots, where she gained a wide variety of knowledge and skills.

Seed Potato Germplasm Laboratory provides big lift for potato industry: The $5.5 million facility on the west side of Moscow’s campus maintains the germplasm industry uses to produce about 90% of the potatoes grown in the state and 60% of the potatoes grown in the U.S.

Sophomore Emily Mack was named Western Athletic Conference Diver of the Week after winning the 3-meter and the 1-meter dives in a dual meet against Grand Canyon last week in Moscow.

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Nov. 12, 2021
Dear Vandals,

Military veterans are one of the great legacies of the University of Idaho. They’re celebrated around campus, from Memorial Gym to the Memorial Grove and plaque in the old arboretum. We honored our veterans yesterday with a wreath laying ceremony and the display of 318 flags on the Administration Lawn to commemorate each of the Vandals who have fallen in battle.

Dan Francis joined the U of I legacy this fall while extending his family’s legacy. Both of his parents served in the Army, and he enlisted after graduating from American University. After returning from a deployment to Afghanistan in 2019, Francis began searching for a master’s program in psychology, and found the U of I’s Human Factors program to be a perfect fit.

“I had experience working in a clinical facility, and that was not a great experience, so I started looking for other alternatives,” Francis said. “I’ve always been interested in technology. I found Idaho’s program and it was one of the few that focused on that – how technology can make things easier for people and how we can make technology easier for people to use.”

After spending most of his life on the east coast of the U.S., Idaho’s been a welcome change. The General Amos Veteran’s Center helped Francis explore resources and get his financial aid documents in order. The Army’s Green to Gold Active Duty program is helping him earn his master’s in two years while completing the ROTC program.

“The Veteran’s Center has helped me a lot, making sure I stayed on top of everything school related as I got ready to move across the country,” Francis said.

Already a Staff Sergeant, Francis will graduate and be commissioned as an officer in two years. He plans on a career in the Army, and will no doubt make his family, and his Vandal family, proud.

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President

VANDALS IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Native American Heritage Month Speaker Series next week: U of I Native American Student Center, the Office of Tribal Relations, and the TRIO Inspire McNair Program are hosting the Nation Building Speaker Series Nov. 15-18 online.

Johnson named Root Sports Player of the Week: Junior Roshaun Johnson scored a school-record six touchdowns to lead the Vandals to a 42-24 victory over Southern Utah last week, earning Root Sports Big Sky Football Offensive Player of the Week honors.

College of Law students to assist with eviction cases: U of I is partnering with a Boise nonprofit organization to help landlords and tenants with legal, social, and financial support to prevent evictions in the Treasure Valley.

Thirteen faculty and staff have been awarded the Dr. Arthur Maxwell Taylor Excellence in Diversity Award since 2014. Nominations are open now.

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Nov. 5, 2021
Dear Vandals,

Across the country, university fan bases refer to themselves as communities or nations. At the U of I we call it the Vandal Family.

We’ll welcome several hundred new members to the Vandal Family this weekend for Parents and Family Weekend. For some it will be their first time at the U of I and their first chance to see what their students are experiencing in Moscow.

Cailyn Black is the Parent and Family Weekend chair for the Student Alumni Relations Board (SARB). The senior from Twin Falls didn’t always feel like a part of the Vandal Family, but a visit from her mother when she was a freshman helped change that.

“My mom came to town and really helped me find things to do,” Cailyn said. “As a freshman, it’s sometimes hard to get out of your dorm and explore. I saw parts of Moscow that I didn’t know existed before.”

Cailyn’s exploration led to campus involvement, research opportunities and a great network of friends. She’s now an ambassador for the College of Science, and she’s a part of the Asian American Pacific Islander Association in addition to her duties with SARB. Cailyn is on track to graduate with a degree in molecular biology and biotechnology in the spring and is eyeing medical school.

This weekend, students and their families have a variety of events and activities to choose from, starting with a beer tasting and then the Third Eye Blind concert Friday night. On Saturday there is a Parents & Projects activity at Moscow Building Supply, where participants can build a birdhouse. There is also a cornhole tournament during the Vandal Tailgate, leading up to Vandal football at 1 p.m. and then a Game Day Dinner at ICCU Arena Saturday evening. The events are designed for fun and bonding but also to showcase the community.

“The weekend shows what exactly everyone is investing in – emotionally and financially,” said Marie Duncan, director of alumni programs and operations. “We know that students who come to the U of I are bettering not just themselves but their whole families. This weekend also shows them that we want the college experience to be a family affair. We don’t call ourselves a nation, we call ourselves the Vandal family.”

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President

VANDALS IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Arman carves out unique path at U of I: After getting a jumpstart to her college career through the dual credit program, recent graduate is now working with UI Extension.

U of I to honor veterans at events Nov. 11: Capt. Price Lockard is the featured speaker for the Veteran’s Day Wreath Ceremony, while Sgt. Maj. William B. Hartley will deliver the keynote at the Veterans Appreciation Dinner.

Dairy farm internship affirms career direction for Easterday: Buhl native studying animal and veterinary science spends summer at Threemile Canyon Farms in Oregon.

Junior women’s basketball player Beyonce Bea was named the Big Sky Conference Preseason Most Valuable Player, as voted on by Big Sky head coaches, sports information directors and select media.

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Oct. 29, 2021
Dear Vandals,

Michael Haney chooses his words carefully when he talks about his work, to avoid sparking panic. But his passion for his job stems from the vulnerability of our communities to cyber-attacks.

“We’re in a cyber war, and it’s getting serious,” Haney says. “There is community training that needs to happen, and we’re trying to develop the best curriculum and find the best way to distribute it widely. We need to do more to train Idahoans in how to respond and how to be aware of cyber-attacks.”

It’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month, meaning it’s a good time for each of us to review our online activity, update passwords and educate ourselves. But for Haney and his colleagues at U of I, cybersecurity is a constant battle.

The President’s Leadership Council (PLC) – a group of eight leaders from Idaho’s colleges and universities tackling issues of statewide importance – is taking on cybersecurity as a priority. Plans are underway for a PhD program at the U of I to accompany the bachelor’s and master’s programs. Haney is also leading a group of faculty and staff from Idaho universities and community colleges that is working to develop tracks for students to gain cybersecurity education in a coordinated, efficient manner.

“There has been a tradition of competition between the Idaho schools, but I think we’re developing a good model for cooperative education across all our campuses,” said Haney, who is based at the Center for Advanced Energy Studies in Idaho Falls. “We’re sharing resources and collaborating. Faculty members are going after grants that they wouldn’t have a few years ago. It’s new, and we’re shaking out the kinks, but everyone sees the benefit of working together.”

Partnerships between Idaho’s higher ed institutions, private industry and government are also bearing fruit. Idaho National Laboratory (INL) is sharing its new supercomputer and other cyber space with faculty and students. Researchers and students benefit from the machine’s substantial capabilities to tackle complex problems, and INL benefits by developing a strong workforce.

The need for qualified cybersecurity professionals is growing rapidly. Earlier this year Cyber Seek reported the U.S. had nearly 500,000 unfilled cybersecurity positions, and the field continues to grow.

The U of I is up to the challenge. The burgeoning partnerships and programs are great foundations for what has become the top priority for the President’s Leadership Council.

“The PLC’s vision is for the state of Idaho to become the premier educator in cybersecurity,” Haney said. “Last year was our crawl year, this year is our walk year, and next year is our run year.”

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President

VANDALS IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Long explores tuskless elephant phenomenon: Along with colleagues from Africa and Princeton, U of I assistant professor discovers elephants are evolving due in part to black market poaching.

Chobani, Swipe Out Hunger partner to help food-insecure college students: U of I one of five schools in Idaho to benefit from Chobani’s commitment to address student hunger.

Flores a part of team studying water dynamics in the West: U of I assistant professor using data from mountainous watersheds for forecasting models.

The Theophilus Tower Trick-or-Treat started in 1978 and is Housing and Residence Life’s oldest community service tradition. This year’s event will be held on Halloween from 4-6 p.m.

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Oct. 22, 2021
Dear Vandals,

For college administrators, the end of the seventh week of the fall semester is a little like report card day. The fall enrollment report helps us gauge how we’re delivering on our mission and how our message is resonating with incoming students.

And I’m happy to report the University of Idaho graded out quite well in 2021. We welcomed 1,656 new students – our largest freshman class in five years and an increase of 16% over 2020. Our enrollment overall is up 4.7 percent to 11,303, enrollment of first-year students from Idaho is up 5.2%, and we see positive numbers nearly across the board when it comes to incoming students.

This growth is vital for the health of our university, and we appreciate the staff, faculty, alumni and community members that played a role in bringing these students to the U of I. Sustained growth is key for our state as we provide the future workforce Idaho needs and industry expects.

Provost and executive vice president Torrey Lawrence and his team shape the vision for our student population based on many factors. We aim to bring in students who are prepared to succeed academically and we continue to invest in support systems to help them on their college journey. We strive to grow enrollment sustainably so our faculty, staff and facilities can best support our students.

While there is much to celebrate in our enrollment numbers, one of the few disappointing numbers is our retention rate. Our number of continuing students was down slightly, and our freshman retention rate fell from 76.8% to 74.57%.

The pandemic is certainly a factor in our retention numbers. But we must do a better job of keeping students engaged, removing barriers to success and supporting them through the critical early years of their college careers. We’re working across departments and colleges to do this, offering targeted scholarships, innovative orientation programs and enhanced academic support.

Thank you for doing your part to expand our Vandal family. Please continue to spread the word and share your U of I pride.

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President

VANDALS IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Hohenlohe featured on ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’: Associate professor discusses how he uses the power of modern genomic tools to address basic questions on evolution, conservation and cancer.

Vandal soccer stuns UNC with comeback: Sophomore Jadyn Hanks scores two second-half goals to help Idaho hand the Bears their first loss in Big Sky Conference play.

Idaho students work with Avista, Fish, Wildlife and Parks to keep fisheries safe: Denis Scarnecchia’s students assist in sampling fish populations in Montana to help inform consumption advisories and other health and safety reports.

Idaho and Montana will meet on the football field Saturday for the 87th time. The Vandals won the first meeting back in 1903, and lead the all-time series 55-31.

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Oct. 15, 2021
Dear Vandals,

Talking with colleagues this week, everyone agreed that last weekend won’t be forgotten any time soon. I believe in a few years we’ll look back on the inaugural Vandal Fest as one of the most important weekends in the history of our state.

We knew that Homecoming and the opening of ICCU Arena would leave Vandals everywhere beaming with pride. The weather cooperated, and our campus was stunning in full fall colors. The football team came through with a Big Sky victory on Saturday. The serpentine and the fireworks Friday night were spectacular. And we also unveiled Brave. Bold. A promise to Idaho’s students. Our commitment to students is evident in the focus and drive behind this campaign – one that puts students and their access to a bright future at the forefront.

Check out the Vandal Fest highlight video.

As always at the U of I, our students come first. We’re focused on student access, student experiences and students finding meaningful careers. This means removing barriers, connecting the classroom with hands-on training and linking with industry partners to deliver internships and other experiential learning opportunities.

Our campaign cabinet held its first meeting last week. We were stirred with emotion as each of us shared stories of how our lives, careers and families were forged and forever changed during our time at the U of I. We all long for students across Idaho to have those same opportunities to transform their lives. Our remarkable partners across a variety of fields and industries are excited to kick this campaign into high gear.

Thank you to our students, staff and faculty who went above and beyond to make Vandal Fest an unforgettable experience.

I know I’m not alone in feeling it’s a special time to be a Vandal. I hope you can find a way to plug in to this team effort, because we need everyone. You can have a lasting impact on our students and our state.

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President

VANDALS IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Gov. Little praises ICCU Arena at ribbon cutting: Idaho’s governor referred to the state-of-the-art arena as “bait” for new students.

U of I’s CAMP featured on Boise TV: The College Assistance Migrant Program assists Hispanic and Latinx students through advising and holistic support.

Libraries collaborate to offer expanded services: The Network of Idaho Academic Libraries will share expertise and resources to better serve higher ed students and Idaho citizens.

The ASUI-Kibbie Activity Center was the subject of an in-depth feature story, “An ode to the Kibbie Dome, college football’s weirdest stadium,” last week on ESPN.com.

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Oct. 8, 2021
Dear Vandals,

Homecoming week is a celebration of our alumni, our traditions and our students.

It’s also a chance to envision our potential. It’s big, it’s brave, and it’s bold.

This afternoon as we celebrate Homecoming and officially unveil the ICCU Arena, we’ll also embark on our campaign – Brave. Bold. A promise to Idaho’s students.

Our aim is to boost and inspire Idaho students to earn a degree at the University of Idaho, regardless of their financial situation.

Morgan McCall started her Vandal journey in the fall of 2019 thanks to scholarship support. The pandemic made the last two years a bumpy road, but now in her third year at U of I, Morgan is on track to earn her degree in Finance. Donor-funded scholarships paved the way for her success.

“The scholarships I’ve gotten have allowed me to focus on school versus worrying about paying for school and housing – that’s a lot when you first leave home,” Morgan says. “That stress was taken away, so I could study, and then I could earn more scholarships.”

When students like Morgan can engage in campus activities, know their professors and immerse themselves in the U of I experience, they graduate ready to take on meaningful jobs. And they are prepared to contribute to their communities.

Scholarships can mean the difference between working an off-campus job to help pay tuition and being able to join a study group or spend extra time in the lab.

The first year of our campaign focuses on student success. As we prepare for the launch of our campaign this evening, many Vandals have already stepped up with generous donations.

We are thankful for the quality of the education we received. Let’s start a new tradition this Homecoming – invest in a program at the U of I that resonates with you. Join me, and pay it forward for your alma mater.

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President

VANDALS IN THE SPOTLIGHT

U of I Research team lands NSF grant to support sustainable building techniques: Michael Maughan is leading a team developing technology to turn Idaho wood waste into one of the most sustainable building construction materials on the market.

Borah Symposium addresses community and global health: “Pandemics: Looking back, facing forward,” is the theme for this year’s Borah Symposium, scheduled for Monday through Wednesday, Oct. 11-13, at U of I and online.

Coach Monson to lead Homecoming Parade: U of I will celebrate a Century of Vandals this Homecoming weekend. Don Monson, the winningest coach in Vandal basketball history, will serve as Grand Marshal for the Homecoming Parade tomorrow, Oct. 9.


The Vandal License Plate program provides more than $50,000 per year in scholarships to Idaho residents enrolled at U of I.

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Oct. 1, 2021
Dear Vandals,

Talk with Kathy Barnard about the University of Idaho for a few minutes, and her passion, dedication and pride are bound to shine through. You could say she’s brave and bold.

Next week, Kathy will celebrate Vandal Fest and Homecoming with thousands of other Vandals. The excitement will be bittersweet, though as this is her final Homecoming as executive director of our Alumni Association before her well-earned retirement at the end of the year.

Kathy’s been an invaluable colleague. She’s served the Alumni Association for the past five years, but she’s been the ultimate team player. Kathy filled in as interim executive director for communications and marketing and provided remarkable leadership in a tough time for higher education.

Meanwhile, the Alumni Association is thriving. Kathy created new ways for Vandals to get involved with their university – the Vandal Book Club, the Vandals Uncorked Wine Club and the Vandal Voyagers travel groups. She helped teachers across the country Vandalize their classrooms, and started the Cup of Joe series of talks to help Vandals stay connected through the pandemic.

She’s also helped double our number of alumni chapters – we now have 30 chapters around the country for Vandals to plug into.

“Our Office of Alumni Relations team and our board of directors – I couldn’t ask for greater partners in this work,” said Kathy, who graduated in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. “I’ve just been a relentless cheerleader for the whole university and tried to remind alumni that we have a lot to be proud of.”

An outstanding point of pride will be unveiled next Friday. The Idaho Alumni Club inside ICCU Arena will welcome Vandals for many years to come thanks to the efforts of our Alumni Association. The association is a key donor in the iconic building – which is now complete and ready to host events and games.

We’re celebrating the 100-year anniversary of our Vandal mascot this year with a full week of Homecoming activities, beginning Sunday. Vandal Fest kicks off on Friday, when we’ll officially open the doors of ICCU Arena and kick off our Brave. Bold. campaign. And, of course, the Homecoming parade and football game on Saturday are can’t-miss traditions. Now is a great time to consider joining the U of I Alumni Association, or the Student Alumni Relations Board. They are great ways to show your Vandal pride and have a lot of fun supporting your university.

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President

VANDALS IN THE SPOTLIGHT

U of I awarded $18.9M NSF Grant for Deep Soil Research Facility: The Deep Soil Ecotron facility will enable scientists to study soil at depths greater than anywhere else in the world.

ICCU Arena draws rave reviews on Media Day: The long-awaited basketball and events center seats 4,000, and is a showcase for Idaho’s timber industry with its 854 mass timber beams.

Second cohort of U of I’s Science and Technology Policy Fellows Named: Jared Talley and Samantha Werth were appointed to the program that places scientists and engineers in state agencies to develop and implement solutions to some of Idaho’s greatest challenges.

Idaho WWAMI student coordinates QPR training to save lives: Third-year medical student Mike Reynolds is introducing suicide prevention training to the Jerome School District.

U of I’s first Homecoming weekend took place in 1909. Washington State was the traditional homecoming football game opponent in the early years, but now it varies each year. The Vandals take on Portland State in this year’s homecoming game.

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Sept. 24, 2021
Dear Vandals,

The numbers won’t be finalized for a few more weeks, but we anticipate an excellent report regarding our enrollment this fall. And believe it or not, we are set to begin actively recruiting our 2022 class of first-year Vandals. We need you and your Vandal experience to help us.

I’m pleased to be able to join our strategic enrollment management team at several high schools around the state in the coming weeks. Our message to high school students centers on the value of a college education. Over a lifetime, a college graduate earns $1.2 million more, on average, than individuals who do not attend college. College graduates also live longer, healthier lives – nine years longer on average. They also contribute more to their communities – a testament to the land-grant mission.

In Idaho, we need more young people to hear this message. Idaho’s go-on rate (the number of high school seniors that started college in the fall after graduation) was just 38 percent in 2020. Part of that low number is related to the pandemic, but it continues a four-year trend of decreases in Idaho’s go-on rate. And in 2019, Idaho’s go-on rate of 45 percent was well below the national rate of 66 percent.

Please join me in encouraging high school students to explore higher education and to check out the University of Idaho.

  • We are ranked the No. 1 Best Value in the West for Public Universities by U.S. News and World Report.
  • We provide more than $30 million in scholarships and waivers annually, more than any other Idaho institution.
  • More than 200 employers recruit U of I students through on-campus career fairs each year.
  • U of I grads have the highest average starting and mid-career salaries of any public school in the state, according to Payscale.

If you know a high school student, share your experience at the U of I. Tell them to connect with an admissions counselor or plan a campus visit. And encourage them to explore all of their options for college. It may be a life-changing conversation.

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

St. Luke’s Scholarship Endowment Supports WWAMI Students

St. Luke’s Health System pledged $500,000 to the University of Idaho Foundation to support Idaho WWAMI students interested in caring for underserved and rural populations. Read more.

Grant Funding Expands UI 4-H Programs Throughout the State

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s Idaho Community Program granted 4-H a total of $7 million to boost innovative programs for thousands of young people. Read more.

Idaho alum Mueller to join Idaho Technology Council Hall of Fame

Tom Mueller, a renowned rocket engine designer and the first employee of Elon Musk’s SpaceX, hopes his Hall of Fame honor will inspire future Idaho rocket scientists. Read more.

This week is National Postdoctoral Appreciation Week. We appreciate each of our 77 postdocs around the state for their invaluable contributions to the research and teaching of the U of I.

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Sept. 17, 2021
Dear Vandals,

The results are in, and U of I came out on top! That’s right. For the second year in a row our university is ranked the Best Public School Value in the West in the annual rankings released by U.S. News and World Report. Not only are we Best in the West, we are ranked the No. 2 best value of ALL public universities in the nation.

This makes me proud – and it should make you proud, as well. A Vandal education is accessible, high quality and has amazing outcomes. That is No. 1 value.

I talk a lot about telling our story and this is a great story to tell. This is a story of investment in students and driving great outcomes. This fall we will engage you, our alumni, friends and stakeholders, in ways never seen before to drive student success. Breaking down financial barriers, guiding students to find their affinity groups and building a solid foundation gives students what they need for a great start to a successful career.

That investment is part of my story – like so many of you, a donor believed in me as an undergraduate, and that scholarship helped set my path to success. So let’s get out there, tell our stories and share the recognition of the great value that is our University of Idaho.

We are the Tribe from the North, brave and bold – and No. 1.

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

Dancing With Robots

The first law of robotics, according to science fiction, is that robots may never harm a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. The first “rule” of robotics in John Shovic’s classes at the University of Idaho, meanwhile, is much less ominous. “Robots are dumb,” said Shovic, a professor in robotics and artificial intelligence. “Robots can’t do anything without software controlling them.” Read more.

An Inspired Design

Sonya Fernandes grew up surrounded by art and design.

With a mother and sister who are both designers, it was no surprise when the Post Falls native decided to pursue a career in interior architecture at the University of Idaho. Read more.

Knitting Collaboration

As seen at Palousafest and coming soon to a Vandal football game near you: Knit your own 4 ½-foot scarf in five minutes! See how these Engineering and CALS students partnered to design and construct a circular knitting machine. Read more.



Joe Vandal turned 65 this year.Read more.

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Sept. 10, 2021
Dear Vandals,

Some of life’s more teachable moments come in the face of tragedy. That was indeed the case last week when wind swept a barn fire on Moscow Mountain into a 116-acre inferno threatening houses – burning one to the ground – and causing evacuation of dozens more.

After the smoke cleared, fire science senior instructor Heather Heward and two of her students witnessed the results of ongoing thinning work they did for landowners over the past three years. Much of the mountainside showed scorched trees where the fire crowned. In places they had cut small diameter trees and cleared the trees to grow 15 to 20 feet apart, the fire had not torched the trees.

That is hands-on learning.

Our Fire Science and Ecology program is the oldest one of its kind in the country. For generations, we have trained fire managers to best understand the complex nature of wildfire.

For junior James Shook, it is about putting into practice what he learns in the classroom. As part of the Student Association for Fire Ecology, the student chapter of the professional organization, he and his classmates go to Moscow Mountain once a week to cut trees, clear brush and help make the private lands more resistant to wildfire. The Firefighter for Hire project trades hands-on fire prevention work for donations. The Moscow Mountain project involved more than 35 students. The money supports the club and its students in their education – including an annual trip to the Southeast during Spring Break. There, the students engage in prescribed burning projects – a practice common in that area and a necessary skill to land that permanent job after graduation.

Preparing the next generation of professionals is what we do so well at the University of Idaho. We use the entire state as our classroom – from our 10,000-acre experimental forest just minutes from our Moscow campus to Rinker Rock Creek Ranch in southeast Idaho. Fire research and education touches all of Idaho and beyond.

Vandals directly mitigate the impact from the ever-growing number of wildfires on our state. Vandals make a difference. Every day.

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

Engineering Summer Experience

Over the summer, Vandal engineers have access to paid internship and fellowship programs, and many accept positions with our world-class research centers and industry partners. Read more.

Seeking Experience

A love of animals and learning prompted Sarah Peterson to seek opportunities to expand her knowledge beyond the classroom. As an animal and veterinary science student in the University of Idaho’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, she has discovered plenty of ways to get involved. Peterson has participated in four undergraduate research projects to push her studies further. Read more.

Tracking Logging Impact on Non-Fish Bearing Streams

Clayton Christensen wants a job that will allow him to sleep under the stars.

In his four years at the University of Idaho, Christensen has often slept with the Milky Way as a twinkling blanket overhead while pursuing an environmental studies degree. Read more.

35% of school superintendents in Idaho are Vandals.

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Sept. 3, 2021
Dear Vandal,

Nothing compares to a campus full of students. The wonder and excitement in the faces of our freshmen reminds me why it so important to be in-person this fall. I remember that day – beginning my collegiate journey. Of course, I was already familiar with the university, having spent time with my grandfather in the hallways of Memorial Gym, but it was different. This was the beginning of my story.

Each student brings their own story to the University of Idaho. But it is when that student’s story converges into our university that great things happen. That begins with the embrace of the Vandal Family.

Last week’s “Week of Welcome” helped students find their place in our family. Hours of work and dedication by our Student Involvement team resulted in welcome events with meaning. Megan Kingsley, a freshman from Nampa, hit campus knowing no one. But, she took a chance on a video gaming event hosted by the Office of Student Engagement — who put incredible thought into how to engage students amidst a pandemic. By the end of the night, she found a cohort that she engaged. The next night, this new group of friends walked together to the Screen on the Green movie and continued to hang out together – fast friends and forever touched by the Vandal Family.

The horticulture and urban agriculture major chose U of I after visiting her brother – a 2019 alumnus – on campus. She liked what she saw and liked the price. With the help of some academic scholarships, Megan started classes ready to write her own Vandal story.

Her story is already growing in a greenhouse near her residence hall. In week two of classes, her plant science class sowed seeds – hers were sugarbeets and carrots – and they will watch them grow and use them for their work this semester. Her Vandal roots are already secure in Moscow soil.

I have no doubt there are hundreds of Megans on campus and across the state this fall, eager to write their stories. It is incumbent on us – all of us – to add to the blank pages. From instructors in the classrooms to alumni and donors supporting from afar, we each have a chapter in the stories of our newest Vandals – and what amazing stories they will be.

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

Arguing About Algebra 

A math teaching program developed by University of Idaho researchers that enhances understanding of math in eighth-graders could increase performance on math assessments. Read more.

Students Build Smartphone Apps to Solve Student Problems

Building apps isn't something students think about learning in college, and Hayden Zywina and Michael Vanderpool are no exception. Read more.
Snapshots

Vandals in the spotlight

Chobani and University of Idaho Announce Third Class of Chobani Scholars: The University of Idaho College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) has selected four students as its next class of Chobani Scholars. These high school graduates receive $20,000 each from Chobani to support their four-year degree.


U of I launched a new master’s degree in cybersecurity this fall. It complements the bachelor’s program started in 2020.

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Aug. 27, 2021
Dear Vandals,

Our campus is buzzing. Students are back – walking the same paths many of us walked over the decades. There is nothing quite like the first week of classes – watching Vandals come together inside the classroom, where great ideas begin, to remind us why we are here. The growth of knowledge, expansion of experiences and personal development introduce this new class to what is possible. This, coupled with the friendships built from a shared experience, makes us Vandals of today and tomorrow.

We are, of course, watching the movement of the Delta variant of the coronavirus as it moves swiftly around the world. We remain committed to our community and know Vandals will do what is right for their fellow Vandals. Vaccination is the only way to finally move our university back into a more normal life. I look forward to a day without masks, and I am sure our students and employees do, as well.

But most events and activities on our campus will look more normal this fall. Football kicks off Saturday, Sept. 4 against Simon Fraser. Join us for the return of fall football. Then mark your calendars for Oct. 7-9. You won’t want to miss Vandal Fest – celebrating our students and their paths to success.

A new Community Concert Series sponsored by ICCU brings big names to the stage for students and the community this fall including Kip Moore, AJR and Third Eye Blind. Being able to bring events like this to spur tourism and economic recovery for our local businesses is an important benefit the new ICCU Arena provides our community.

Within our buildings, research continues as students engage with faculty to make the next big discovery. Students are trading stocks, intercepting cyberattacks and learning how to provide healthcare in our rural communities. Vandals make a difference every day.

Times are certainly uncertain, but the possibilities are endless. We know that as Vandals we will succeed – not only at getting past the pandemic, but far beyond. We will do it together – as only the Vandal Family can.

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

Creating Community-Focused Medical Professionals

Alumna Delaney Wagers ’20 from Boise knew before coming to University of Idaho that she would become a physician’s assistant or follow a pre-med undergraduate track. Read more.

Living With Fire

In the summer of 2019, a house in the Boise foothills burned down. The fire’s origin was internal, but it destroyed the entire property and threatened neighboring homes. Read more.

Collaboration of the Arts 

Great things happen when Virtual Technology and Design students partner with the Lionel Hampton School of Music. Watch video.
Snapshots

Vandals in the spotlight

Vandals Announce 2021-22 Schedule: Idaho men's basketball has announced its full schedule for the 2021-22 season. The 117th Battle of the Palouse and the SoCal Challenge highlight the early season for the Vandals.

After Two Decades, U of I’s INBRE Program Has Attracted $170M for Student Research: Over the past two decades, more than $170 million has been generated for biomedical research in Idaho’s state and private colleges and universities thanks to a network administered by the University of Idaho called INBRE.

U of I Researcher Leads Effort to Define Sheep Genomes’ Effects on Breeds’ Qualities: A University of Idaho-led project will define how different genomes determine unique qualities of popular domestic sheep breeds and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep.

New Idaho Landslide Inventory Database to Assist with Hazard Mitigation: The Idaho Geological Survey (IGS) has released a new statewide inventory of landslides that will assist emergency managers and planners with hazard mitigation and identification of problematic hot spots.


U of I launched a new master’s degree in cybersecurity this fall. It complements the bachelor’s program started in 2020.

Letter from the President