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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
Jan. 15, 2021
Dear Vandals,
An immense amount of effort went into building the pandemic response ecosystem that protected University of Idaho students and employees last fall.

The in-house COVID-19 testing lab, our partnership with Gritman Medical Center, efforts to examine wastewater and classroom technology improvements all contributed to our ability to hold in-person classes on the Moscow campus.

Fall semester operations were a success because of the logistics put into testing students, isolating positive COVID-19 cases and proactively approaching challenges related to the pandemic.

We saw which tactics worked and identified where improvements could be made. To that end, Spring 2021 is beginning to look a lot like fall. We are off to a great start. More than 5,100 people have already received the COVID-19 tests required to enter a classroom or live in U of I residence halls, and we have experienced a low positivity rate, much lower than the statewide average.

We expect that instances of COVID-19 will rise as the Vandal Family comes together for spring and our asymptomatic community is tested and retested. We are prepared to respond quickly and thoughtfully to this dynamic environment. As was the case last fall, students who test positive will be cared for and supported in our isolation facilities.

I am excited to see our students return to campus. There’s an encouraging feeling that comes from seeing Vandals start a new semester in Moscow and around the state. 2020 was a year we are all glad is behind us, but there’s also a sense of pride for what we have accomplished as a university, and a knowledge that 2021 will continue to challenge us. Spring is a busy time as many Vandals make the final push to complete capstone projects and the final credits toward a university degree. Student-athletes are working to achieve their highest potential during an eventful and unprecedented spring sports season. Achieving these milestones while in person and keeping COVID-19 in check requires vigilance.

Living by the Healthy Vandal Pledge is a critical piece of the ecosystem we have created to keep our community safe. I appreciate how our community has responded thus far and am optimistic we will soon be on the other side of this historically challenging time, well-positioned, stronger and ready to achieve the objectives we have set.

We have many opportunities to thrive this spring with your support.

Keep Calm and Vandal On!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

New U of I Degree Program Works to Fill Demand for Cybersecurity Professionals

The cybersecurity landscape is rapidly evolving and the next generation of professionals from U of I is ready to lead the way. (From Spokane Public Radio) Listen to the story >

U of I Study: Grizzly Bears Use Cooling Baths to Avoid Heat Stress 

Taking a bath to relieve stress isn’t unique to humans. Bears do it too, U of I researchers have found. Although the bears appear to enjoy taking a dip, it likely helps them cool down. Read more >

Idaho Beef Council Invests in $250,000 Research Endowment

The Idaho Beef Council is investing state beef checkoff dollars in an endowment that will support graduate students conducting research in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Read more >
Did you know?
We Have the Rankings to Back up Vandal Pride: Find the outside validation about the University of Idaho’s value, academic excellence, research and social opportunities, all in one place. See the list >

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Jan. 8, 2021
Dear Vandals,
I hope you had a healthy and joyous holiday season. Here at the University of Idaho, we are again gearing up for a semester of productive, in-person classes.

Students are returning in advance of classes next Wednesday and, therefore, free COVID-19 testing began this week to ensure a safe return to live instruction. Our innovative and proactive approach in Fall 2020 allowed the Moscow campus to remain open with a COVID-19 positivity rate well below the local, state and regional averages. As we look to replicate that goal this spring, we know it will take all of us working together to ensure the health and safety of the Vandal Family.

With the help of everyone living the Healthy Vandal Pledge, we’re confident we can manage the pandemic while providing access to the in-person learning experience our students want and expect. Our efforts proved successful in Fall 2020 as no coronavirus cases were traced back to classrooms. Just like last semester, students must clear COVID-19 protocols before being allowed to attend classes in person. Face coverings and social distancing will remain part of our daily life for some time.

Still, COVID-19 will challenge us again this spring until a vaccine is more widely available. As I communicated earlier this week to our students, staff and faculty, we must stay mindful and not let COVID-19 beat us. We have many opportunities to thrive this spring if we stay vigilant and committed to each other.

Vandals make great things happen when we set our minds to it. We will tackle the obstacles presented and embrace the opportunities in front of us to succeed as only Vandals can.

Happy New Year, Keep Calm and Vandal On!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

Teamwork Shines as Engineering, WWAMI Students Build Assistive CPR Device

Idaho WWAMI student Meagan Boll is working with College of Engineering students to overcome a spinal cord injury and realize her goal of becoming a CPR-certified doctor. Read more and watch a video about the project >

Lionel Hampton Honored With GRAMMY Award

Jazz great and U of I School of Music namesake Lionel Hampton will be honored posthumously with a Lifetime Achievement Award during the 63rd annual GRAMMY Awards. Read more >

Doctoral Student a Leader in Nuclear Field

Nuclear engineering doctoral student Leigh Ann Emerson earned her master’s degree on a bus traveling to and from her job as an experiment manager at the Idaho National Laboratory in Idaho Falls. Read more >
Pride points
Vandal Student-Athletes Post Record GPA: U of I student-athletes recorded a cumulative GPA of 3.37 in Fall 2020, the highest in department history during a semester that did not include pass/fail classes. Read more >

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Dec. 18, 2020
Dear Vandals,
This has been a unique year, and one few of us will ever forget.

We can take pride in the way our community came together to support one another. 2020 wasn’t without its challenges, but it also opened up opportunities. The University of Idaho community stepped up, pivoted to put the institution on a strong financial footing, invested and worked hard to ensure everyone had the chance to participate and grow together. We couldn’t have done it without your partnership and support.

Have a wonderful holiday season.

Keep Calm and Vandal On!

C. Scott Green
President

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Dec. 11, 2020
Dear Vandals,
We are nearing one of the most special days of the academic year: Winter Commencement. This year has been unlike any other, so Saturday’s virtual celebration is particularly important in order to honor each of our 600 graduates for their achievement.

I don’t believe anyone can argue that this class is a very special group. Not only did they meet all the requirements to earn a University of Idaho degree, but they earned it in an unprecedented environment. These Vandals have kept up their studies, finished their research, completed their projects – all while upholding a commitment to the health and safety of each other and the community.

Their final year of college was unlike any of us expected. But I hope our graduates look back on this experience as the time when they were tested and succeeded before charting their own unique paths as proud Vandal alumni.

The education these graduates receive can never be taken away. They have earned their right to compete, and I have no doubt they will make their mark in the world. Vandals continue to enjoy the highest average starting salary of any public college or university graduate in Idaho.

But they are not taking this journey alone. I am confident the network of 110,000 Brave and Bold Vandal alumni will welcome these newest graduates into the family, offering advice, fostering connections and providing encouragement via the Vandal Mentor Network – an online platform for alumni to mentor one another and current students. Some will hire our graduates, adding that quintessential Vandal resilience to their teams.

It’s our past graduates who are most invested in seeing the university and today’s students succeed. In fact, I wouldn’t be at the University of Idaho today if it weren’t for the Vandal Network that brought me back home.

My request of Vandals everywhere: Stay engaged. Maintain and nurture the lifelong connections you made here at the University of Idaho. Remember the obstacles you overcame and those who helped you overcome them. Find a way to pay it forward. The Vandal Network is here for support along the way.

Congratulations to our graduates!

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

Student Engineering Team Traveling to Chile

A College of Engineering student research team is working with NASA and the National Science Foundation to better detect eclipse-induced atmospheric gravity waves that help with weather prediction. Read more >

Lawrence Named Provost, Executive VP

After a national search, Torrey Lawrence has been named the provost and executive vice president at the University of Idaho. He has served in this role on an interim basis since April. Read more >

U of I Student’s 1918 Journal Relevant Today: (From KTVB-TV) While researching a story, journalism student Riley Haun found a diary that belonged to a young U of I student who lived through the 1918 pandemic.

Download a Campus Winter Zoom Background: Add a blanket of snow and a dash of Vandal pride to your next virtual class or meeting with the latest Zoom backgrounds featuring Moscow wintery scenes.

Finding Common Ground at a Central Idaho Research Ranch: (From the Idaho State Journal) Rinker Rock Creek Ranch in Idaho’s Wood River Valley is a place where cattlemen, conservationists and agency officials collaborate.

Pride points
Unconditional Support Helps Idaho Students Succeed: The Vandal Promise Scholarship is a large-scale program U of I has strategically applied to need-based Idaho students. Learn more about the program >

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Dec. 4, 2020
Dear Vandals,
I’m continually inspired by the resilience shown by our entire Vandal Family as we’ve pivoted to deliver on our mission of providing a world-class education amid the pandemic. We’ve adjusted classes, shifted events and worked to make an in-person learning experience possible.

It’s a level of perseverance that is especially evident in our 300-plus student-athletes, who have continued to show up – ready to work hard – over the past eight months despite being keenly aware that they were unable to compete.

They’ve kept up their practices, their studies and followed strict COVID-19 protocols to keep the entire community as healthy and safe as possible. Vandal Athletics has continued a legacy of molding the finest student-athletes – highly educated women and men who excel in their sports and in pursuit of a college education.

That’s not to say there haven’t been challenges. Like our greater population, student-athletes have suffered setbacks – rolling with the punches that came their way. That passion for their craft has shone through this fall even without their ability to take to the field.

Perseverance and passion are two of the six attributes spelled out on the new Values Wall installed recently in the ASUI-Kibbie Activity Center. The others are excellence, inclusivity, integrity and respect. These are the values that describe the Vandal Family. They encourage us all to raise the bar, to push for higher standards as we represent our university.

Watch a video on how the Values Wall came together, created by student-athlete Savannah Foster, a junior on the Women’s Soccer Team, as part of a Journalism and Mass Media internship.
Director of Athletics Terry Gawlik and I signed the wall last month as part of a pledge to live by these core values. One by one, each of our student-athletes and coaches has done the same. The wall will stand as a symbol for generations of Vandals, encouraging that same work ethic and standard of excellence we have seen for 130 years.

Sports may not have been played on the field, court or in the pool over much of the past eight months, but Vandal student-athletes have shown they can compete just the same when it comes to our athletic values. Away from the spotlight, this program even posted its 13th straight semester with a combined GPA over 3.0 last spring. 

Games, competitions and tournaments are returning to Moscow this winter, ever so slowly. The Vandal Swim and Dive Team has already shown its tenacity through that return. Basketball is just around the corner, and rare spring football, soccer and volleyball seasons are a few short months away.

While our games are beginning without spectators due to pandemic restrictions, we can still celebrate them just the same. I know I am excited to cheer on the Vandals and am glad we have the opportunity to do so with all games streamed live on the PlutoTV App Channel 1060 or Pluto.TV/live-tv.

These Vandal student-athletes have shown integrity and respect for the game that’s continued to stand out no matter the venue. Whether in the Kibbie Dome, Memorial Gym, Dan O’Brien Track and Field Complex, golf course, tennis court, pool – and eventually the mass-timber landmark ICCU Arena – our shared values will continue to be on proud display.

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

Cybersecurity Focus of ‘The Vandal Theory’

The next wave of cybersecurity experts could come from Idaho. Assistant Professor Michael Haney discusses the Idaho Cybersecurity Education Initiative on U of I’s research podcast. Listen to the podcast >

Winter Commencement Goes Virtual Dec. 12

Winter 2020 graduates will be honored with two Virtual Commencement Ceremonies that will go live at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 12, and include speeches and individual student recognition. Learn more >

Three Music Students Take Top Honors at Statewide Competition: Avery Pierce-Garnett of Moscow and Kaho Suda of Japan placed first in their categories at the Idaho Music Teachers National Association competition. Austin Baduria of Tacoma, Washington, was chosen as the alternate in the state for woodwinds.

Law Graduate Finds Passion Providing Equal Access to Justice: A transformational education, professional discipline and appreciation for public service work led Jim Cook ’92, ’95 to his passion: providing low-income Idahoans with equal access to legal services.

Idaho WWAMI Medical Education Building Honored: The new building used to train Idaho’s future doctors was recently recognized for pushing the boundaries of space and light by the International Interior Design Association Northern Pacific Chapter.

Pride points
Holiday Recipes: Food and nutrition students in the Margaret Ritchie School of Family and Consumer Sciences developed recipes centered on warmth and simplicity for their annual holiday recipe challenge. See the recipes >

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Nov. 20, 2020
Dear Vandals,
The accomplishments of the past eight months should not be lost on our Vandal Family. It’s through a heartfelt and dedicated effort of our entire community that University of Idaho students had access to our transformational, in-person learning experience this fall.

Reaching this milestone wasn’t business as usual. It was an incredible challenge – and it comes as no surprise that our faculty, staff and students responded in the Brave and Bold way only Vandals are able. It is a testament to the unshakeable spirit that we head into the well-deserved fall holiday feeling good that we have delivered on the quality instruction expected by an institution ranked among the top 6% of all public colleges and universities in the nation.  

Our U of I team built a COVID-19 testing lab in partnership with Gritman Medical Center over the summer that has been instrumental in managing the pandemic both on campus and in the Moscow community – a lab that has become a model for others across the state. Every Vandal who has attended classes in person passed our COVID-19 testing requirement at least twice. Staff and faculty also contributed to our surveillance testing effort. We have maintained isolation spaces to care for students who tested positive as well as made difficult decisions with residence hall advisors and Greek leaders to quarantine on-campus living groups as needed.

Our IT teams deployed new technology throughout the University of Idaho system, tripling the number of Zoom-capable spaces across the state. Classrooms were moved to event halls and larger spaces as academic teams facilitated social distancing and managed the complexities of hybrid and reduced-occupancy classes. Walk-through thermal scanners at our two primary dining areas and wastewater testing supported our efforts to keep our community safe.

Our goal of in-person learning faced many challenges over the spring and summer. Some even said very publicly that it was impossible or beyond our reach.

The results have been better than many expected. After completing more than 20,500 tests since August, we had 2.54% results returned as positive. We have even used excess capacity in the lab to process tests for long-term care facilities, Lewis-Clark State College nursing students and the greater Palouse community. Despite challenges this fall, not one case has been traced to a classroom at the University of Idaho. We have proven we can live and learn together in person.

After a much-deserved break next week, we will transition as planned to online/remote course delivery for the final three weeks of the semester. That doesn’t mean we should let our guard down. I suspect the hardest challenges are yet to come, with COVID-19 cases surging throughout the state and the nation, requiring us all to be more vigilant in our interactions over the holidays. Even though we will test every student before they return to a classroom in January, we will remain vigilant throughout the spring if we are to remain open and delivering the quality of experience to which we are committed.

To everyone who has had a part in keeping the University of Idaho open this fall – thank you. No one has ever impressed me more – not any of my previous teams in the public or private sectors – than the Vandal Family that accomplished what few others were able to this fall. The past eight months have shown that this team can compete with anyone, anytime, anywhere.

Each of you has contributed to a university on the rise, one that creates a transformational learning experience for the students who attend. You are creating a bright future for our university and the entire Gem State. We all have much for which we can be proud.

I wish each of you a healthy, joyous and restful Thanksgiving.

Keep Calm and Vandal On.

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

Read the Latest Here We Have Idaho

Idaho helps Idaho: The university helps the state thrive, and has done so for more than 130 years, just as Idaho supports our land-grant mission with a focus on the Gem State’s future. Read the stories >

Honk If You’re a Vandal

We are excited for the spring launch of a new shuttle service to and from classroom locations at U of I in Boise for College of Law students, faculty and staff. Learn more >

Pride Gold in Newdale

The skyline is looking a little bolder in Fremont County. Nominate a grain bin, elevator or barn around the state for its own Vandal graphics. Learn about the program >

Tickets on Sale for ‘A Christmas Carol’: Adapted for the stage by MFA candidate Kendra Phillips and directed by Craig A. Miller, the play is a fresh retelling of Ebenezer Scrooge’s self-reflective journey from miserly wretchedness to merry redemption. 

Partners Receive $2M in Nuclear Research Funding: The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded more than $2 million in nuclear research funding to three projects in partnership with College of Engineering faculty.

Study Looks at Healthy Soil, Healthy Agriculture: A new U of I study will try to better define and understand how the natural processes that are central to organic farming actually work.

Pride points
Vandals Share New Looks in Football, Basketball: Idaho Athletics will debut brand new, white and pride gold uniforms during winter and spring seasons. See the uniforms >

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Nov. 13, 2020
Dear Vandals,
Military service has long been integral to the University of Idaho.

E.R. Chrisman was our first professor of Military Science and Tactics beginning in 1894 and motivated generations of young soldiers over four decades at the institution. Chrisman even recruited 39 of his cadets to join the Spanish-American War effort when conflict broke out in 1898. Two of his students did not return from that campaign, and a memorial commemorating their service stands on the Administration Building Lawn.

Chrisman was called to assist his country many times in the ensuing decades, but always found his way back to the Moscow campus. He ultimately retired in 1932 as a brigadier general after 22 years of service, and was later recognized by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as an emeritus commandant of the university’s ROTC program. Chrisman died in 1939.

U of I’s Army ROTC battalion is named in Chrisman’s honor and his legacy of loyalty to this institution continues today.

It’s an honor to serve as president of a university that has such a rich heritage of supporting our members of the military and their families. U of I is ranked among the “Best Colleges for Veterans” by U.S. News and World Report, and about 340 current students have served in the military. Veterans have traditionally made up between 2% and 3% of our Vandal Family.

Such service is worthy of recognition. I was honored to speak Wednesday during a Veterans Day wreath-laying ceremony on the Admin Lawn, where 315 American flags are on display to pay tribute to Vandal alumni who have been lost to war.

Among the other speakers at Wednesday’s ceremony was Don Burnett, who has stepped up multiple times to serve our great university. A longtime professor and dean in our College of Law, as well as a past interim president at U of I, Don’s career started in the Idaho National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve in 1969.

An attorney, he served as reserve deputy commandant and academic director of The Judge Advocate General’s School before coming to the University of Idaho. Don retired from the military in the year 2000 at the rank of colonel and continues to be an advocate for all veterans.

We’re grateful to all the Vandal veterans who have returned to the institution. That’s particularly true for the commanders of our Army ROTC and Navy ROTC departments this year, alumni Lt. Col. Thomas “Ross” Warren and Capt. Price J. Lockard, who are training Vandals as they prepare for military careers.

In a normal year, the City of Moscow, Moscow Chamber of Commerce, local businesses and the university would organize a dinner this week to show our appreciation for those who serve. I am disappointed that we’re not able to hold that dinner this year because of the pandemic, but we will continue the tradition and honor our veterans as health and safety guidelines permit.

We at the University of Idaho deeply appreciate those who have chosen a life of service to our country. A grateful university thanks you for that service.

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

Alumnus Finds Extinct Dog Species in New Guinea Highlands

James “Mac” McIntyre ’76, ’80 recently succeeded in his search for reclusive New Guinea singing dogs, once believed to be extinct in the wild. Read the story >

Josh Bailey Discusses the Perfect Running Gait on ‘The Vandal Theory’

When we get fatigued, it is easy to make mistakes. Runners are no different. Josh Bailey studies how fatigue influences a runner’s gait. Listen to the podcast >
Snapshots

Success Across the University

U of I Receives Full Animal Care Accreditation: (From the Idaho Press) U of I has joined an elite list of land-grant institutions with full accreditation from an international organization that recognizes commitment to quality animal care and science.

‘Exercises in Passivity’ on Display at the Prichard: The work of Seattle, Washington-based artist James Coupe is on display through Thursday, Dec. 31, at the Prichard Art Gallery in Moscow.

WWAMI Awarded Grant to Research Type 2 Diabetes: Faculty in the Idaho WWAMI Medical Education Program were awarded a one-year, $99,000 National Institute of Health grant to explore the underlying causes of insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes.

Researchers Introduce Arctic Animal Database: Faculty, a student and a former U of I researcher are among the authors of an Arctic animal research paper that introduces a first-of-its-kind database. It was published this week in the journal Science.

Did you know?
Distance MFA Program Allows Theatre Study Around the Globe: The combination of traditional and professional students in the distance Master of Fine Arts program creates a learning environment unique to U of I. Read the story >

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Nov. 6, 2020
Dear Vandals,
The University of Idaho has looked to our steam plant and related utilities to power the Moscow campus for nearly a century. Its reliability will now be the driver of student access and research initiatives across our statewide system for the next 50 years.

The State Board of Education approved a partnership earlier this week with Sacyr Plenary Utility Partners Idaho LLC to lease the steam plant and utility system in a public-private partnership (P3) agreement. The agreement, which includes a long-term lease of the steam plant and associated utilities, will generate about $6 million over each of the next 50 years. We will use those funds to support strategic priorities that, in turn, generate new funds that can be invested into the institution and the future of Idaho.

A solid source of energy from wood chip biomass, the plant and our utility system provide an economical and efficient delivery of steam, chilled water and compressed air to meet the energy needs of a small city. That long-term stability is one reason why Sacyr Plenary wants to invest in the system, as well as make enhancements that will benefit the university and the overall power grid.

We’re not alone in using a P3 agreement to invest in our future. The framework we are using has been proven by The Ohio State University and University of Iowa, which have both entered into similar utility system agreements to fund their priorities.

At the U of I, net proceeds from an up-front, $225 million payment will be invested with the University of Idaho Foundation, will be managed to last the term of the lease and be drawn from to fund student success, research and efforts to tell our story to recruit students.

In the first year, we plan to invest $3 million in graduate student success and research, including graduate student and post-doctoral positions. We intend to expand graduate student scholarships and stipends and increase the number of post-doctoral researchers, including those that support partnerships with Idaho National Laboratory and others. We will also invest in expanding grant and contract writing capacity to help attract the most coveted research projects that align with our support of Idaho industry.

Approximately $2 million will go to student success initiatives, including scholarships to help bridge the $5,000 funding gap many of our students experience. Additional scholarship support will improve the go-on rate in Idaho. We will also use this money to invest in distance learning to meet students where they are, particularly in rural communities. Improving access has been one of our priorities, and this funding will ensure more students have the ability to gain entry into the classroom.

About $1 million will be invested in telling our story to recruit new students by extolling the beauty and experience of our Moscow campus, the quality of the No. 1 Best Value public university in the West, the success of our alumni and the lifelong benefits of joining the Vandal Family.

This utility partnership provides an incredible opportunity for the university to invest in itself – and our collective future. It turns a cost center into a source of revenue that:

  • Enables more students to attend the University of Idaho,
  • Provides needed investment in research that is aligned with Idaho industry,
  • Delivers needed funding to our marketing and student recruiting engines,
  • Establishes a 50-year capital plan to address utility plant deferred maintenance,
  • Benefits taxpayers by relieving Idaho’s Permanent Building Fund of investment in the plant and
  • Creates a career path for our utility employees that the university is unable to provide.
In short, this partnership is a wise business decision that benefits our many stakeholders. It is the latest of several efforts we have taken to improve the financial position of the institution. It’s yet another reason why I believe our university is on the rise. There is a bright future for our University of Idaho.
Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

Parent and Family Weekend Starts Today

Virtual events begin today and continue through Sunday as part of Fall Parent and Family Weekend, organized by the Student Alumni Relations Board. See the schedule and participate >

Veterans Day Wreath Ceremony Is Nov. 11 at U of I: The community is invited to a wreath-laying ceremony to honor military members and veterans at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11, on the northwest lawn of the Administration Building in Moscow.

Idaho Law Students Stepped Up As Election 2020 Poll Workers: (From Boise State Public Radio) University of Idaho law students Danielle Strollo and Jeannette Moody were among about 80 law students who stepped up to fill critical poll worker roles amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fish and Wildlife Film Festival Connects People, Nature: Join the first virtual Fish and Wildlife Film Fest 6-8 p.m. today, Nov. 6, and Friday, Nov. 13. Both nights will feature a different set of short wildlife films. 

Peace Corps Stint Leads To Decades-Long Aquaculture Career: (From the Capital Press) Aquaculture has not just been a job for Gary Fornshell, a longtime Extension educator with the University of Idaho; it’s been a passion.

Pride points
New Eclectic Album Released by Hampton School Director: Saxophonist Vanessa Sielert, director of the Lionel Hampton School of Music, and Catherine Anderson, a Northwest-based collaborative pianist and former U of I professor, have released their first album, “duality.” Learn more >

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Oct. 30, 2020
Dear Vandals,
Leveraging all the talent available to us is critical as we tackle the challenges we face and build upon our strong foundation at the University of Idaho. That is the basic premise of the working group model we’ve been using for the past 18 months.

The model brings university alumni and friends with specific skillsets and interests together with our talented faculty and staff to help develop major initiatives. The importance of the working group deliberations cannot be overstated. Their conclusions and recommendations are informing some of the most important strategic decisions and setting the stage for the University of Idaho’s future.

The Sustainable Financial Model Working Group was the first such collaboration. The group delivered its white paper last spring, and discussions about the metrics for a new financial model are now taking place – with the goal of launching the new budget model in FY22. This planning will align our colleges and operating units to university and State Board of Education objectives, and ensure the university is better prepared for financial challenges in the future.

Our Research Working Group recently delivered its white paper, providing the university with a roadmap to reach R-1 status as defined by Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. We already do enough research to be an R-1 institution – $113 million last year. Our roadmap prescribes how we increase the number of postdocs and graduate more Ph.D. students, requirements for R-1 status. Reaching R-1 status would help us recruit faculty and attract more research dollars into the university and the state.   

The pandemic has shaped the way we think about remote learning and prompted a fast-track of the Online Education Working Group. We will continue to be a destination campus and remain focused on providing that experience, but this new environment has changed expectations and opportunities around the demand for online education. This working group has looked at every aspect of remote delivery, from improving our online student services, strengthening our marketing of online offerings, the infrastructure and technology required for expansion, plus an analysis of the investment needed for faculty support and course development.  

The Online Education Working Group is finishing its work and among its recommendations is a call for investments in broadband and converging the digital space with the traditional in-person experience so we can better meet students where they are.   

A staggered approach to these various initiatives means multiple groups are, at times, operating simultaneously. The process allows the University of Idaho to take on multiple projects aimed at advancing our priorities of student success, research and telling our story.

We need continued focus on our immediate budget challenges and on the myriad challenges around operating and keeping our university open during this pandemic. Once we have more bandwidth, we expect to engage new working groups around other key initiatives.

The working groups help us think through complex issues and develop roadmaps that will improve our ability to compete in the future. And, our future looks bright thanks to the significant time, brainpower and hard work invested by these cross-functional teams.

Vandals get it done, and it is this work – together with other recognitions – that confirms the University of Idaho is an institution on the rise. The positive impact of the working groups will benefit generations of Vandals to come.     

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

Governor, SBOE President Tour U of I COVID-19 Testing Lab, WWAMI Facilities

Robust asymptomatic testing has been critical to keeping the University of Idaho community healthy. Gov. Brad Little and Idaho State Board of Education President Debbie Critchfield recently had the opportunity to see how Vandals are leading the way and helping add testing capacity to the community. Learn more >

Michael Haney Talks Nuclear Reactor Research, Cybersecurity

With research expertise from the University of Idaho and Idaho National Laboratory, significant strides have been made to develop the most advanced nuclear plant designs in the world, including small modular reactors. Read more >

Researchers Explore Source of E. coli in Pocatello’s Mink Creek

Thousands of recreational enthusiasts descend upon Mink Creek every summer. The U.S. Forest Service Caribou-Targhee National Forest — aided by U of I researchers — are trying to find out who or what is contaminating the water. Read more >
Pride points
ASUI, U of I Encourage Voter Participation: ASUI President Lauren Carlsen and I are asking Vandals to get involved and cast their ballots in this year's election. Watch the video >

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Oct. 23, 2020
Dear Vandals,
We can all be proud of the progress being made at the University of Idaho.

Despite the challenges of the past year, the university community has stepped up in a big way to reverse our budget deficits and keep enrollment stable amid a once-in-a-generation pandemic.

After back-to-back years of losing about $20 million, the university’s audited financial results show a small operating surplus of approximately $900,000 for the fiscal year that ended June 30. This result is particularly impressive given the challenges created by COVID-19 for university operations.

Outperformance against budget came from many different units and geographic locations throughout the state. It’s another example of how Vandals just get it done. Together, we stopped the financial bleeding and created capacity to respond to the many challenges presented by COVID-19.

That hard work is also reflected in the efforts to maintain an in-person learning environment for our students. We’ve been able to keep that destination campus experience by testing our students and isolating those who tested positive. Over the past nine weeks, the number of active positive cases has fluctuated daily, but has stayed low at an average 1-1.5% of the total faculty, staff and student population.

It appears that many students are sitting out a year because of the pandemic. Fall 2020 enrollment is 10,791, with a 3% decline in full-time students and overall decline of 9.5%. Much of the overall decline is in the dual-credit student (high school students who earn college credit) and non-degree-seeking student categories. These students don’t pay the full tuition rate, so while there is a decrease, it will not result in a substantial hit to our budget.

A decline in the number of Vandals is somewhat disappointing given that our applications were up 16% and our acceptances up 14%, which in a normal year would lead to enrollment gains, but there are bright spots throughout the system.

The number of WUE students – applicants from other Western states who receive a tuition discount – is up significantly, about 21%. New graduate student enrollment is up 4.2% in a continued trend from 2019. The College of Law saw a notable increase, in large part due to the 110 transfer students accepted from the now-defunct Concordia Law School in Boise. Twenty-two National Merit Scholars joined the university this fall, part of a 56-member cohort who receive the distinguished scholarship.

And, thankfully, even though our enrollment is down, the budget impact is limited. Higher-margin WUE enrollments, together with the issuance of fewer tuition waivers than expected, have offset declines in non-degree-seeking and dual-credit students whose tuition dollars don’t contribute much to our bottom line.

Advising efforts have also paid dividends. First- to second-year retention held steady at 77% this fall. It is worth noting that the Spring 2020 graduating class was the largest in the past six years – requiring us to bring in even more first-time students to fill the gap created by a successful class of graduates.

We are in a much better place than a year ago, even in the wake of a pandemic. We can now turn our efforts to recruiting the Fall 2021 class, touting our place as a top 6% public university in the nation and recognition as the No. 1 Best Value public university in the West by U.S. News and World Report.

I’m sharing this message with our university’s many advisory boards during their fall meetings this weekend. From solid financial ground, we can now look toward the future. The budget will continue to be a focus this year, but we will also continue our efforts on the university’s priorities of student success, research and telling our story.

We are a university on the rise. Thanks to the solid foundation built by our entire Vandal Family over the past year, we are positioned to come out of this pandemic even stronger.

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

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Vandal Mentor Network Links Alumni, Students on Professional Development

Online mentoring through the Vandal Mentor Network provides a way for alumni to connect with fellow Vandal graduates and current students as both work to accomplish employment and career goals. Join the network >

Christensens Inspire Lifetime Vandal Connections

Bill '76 and Vicki Christensen '77 weren't "traditional" U of I students, but they developed a deep loyalty and desire to make a difference for students from all backgrounds. Read more >

'Vandal Theory' Features COVID-19 Breastmilk Transmission Research

Shelley McGuire discusses her research on human breastmilk, including the microbes that live in milk and whether mothers can pass COVID-19 to babies. Listen to the podcast >
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Confluence Lab Works to Understand Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness: Members of the Confluence Lab — Teresa Cohn, Ruby Fulton and the icarus Quartet — are working across disciplines to gauge how the need for wilderness differs for each of us. Watch the video >

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Oct. 16, 2020
Dear Vandals,
A vital piece of Idaho’s agricultural engine is the pest and pathogen research conducted by University of Idaho faculty at the Parma Research and Extension Center.

Researchers at Parma are able to identify airborne plant pathogens and notify local farmers so they can respond before they see damage to their crops. That benefit is crucial in a state where agriculture is fundamental, contributing $16 billion to the economy.

The Parma Research and Extension Center is also a critical location for research in breeding, production, storage and related problems of vegetables, fruit, cereals and seed plants, along with other specialty crops.

The work of the six faculty members in Parma and their students pays dividends. A 2018 study found that $1.41 is generated for every dollar spent at Parma – a contribution that supports the hops, cereals, potatoes and fruits grown in the surrounding fields and throughout the Northwest.

Work at the Canyon County site has been aimed at ensuring the continued growth and success of the agricultural industry in Idaho for 70 years, and facilities are starting to show their age. Labs are housed in spaces cobbled together in structures from the 1950s and '60s, as well as modular buildings. Some of the microscopes are older than our faculty researchers. None of the labs were designed to support the needs of modern molecular science.

Supporting research on the state’s top commodities is one reason why our College of Agricultural and Life Sciences has been working with the state’s agriculture industry on an upgrade. The proposed 12,000-square-foot Idaho Center for Plant and Soil Health is a $7 million project funded largely with private donations. Eight of the state’s commodity groups, private growers and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences have together contributed about $4 million to the center. I recently went before the state's Permanent Building Fund Advisory Council in further support of the project.

The new center is among the University of Idaho’s top priorities because it will better equip our scientists to address pests, production methods and other issues affecting Idaho agriculture. A contract for design will be finalized shortly, keeping the university on track to open an expanded and refurbished building in 2023.

Partnership is pivotal in helping Idaho farmers statewide become even more competitive in their industry. As the state’s land-grant institution, the University of Idaho has an essential stake in our collective success – whether that’s preparing our students to fill needed jobs or conducting research that helps our industries and communities thrive.

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
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The New Sound of Idaho Marches Onward

COVID-19 changed marching bands all over the nation. The Sound of Idaho found a way to march on through percussion and a unique arrangement of "Go Vandals, Go." The changes took the band in a fresh and exciting direction. Learn more and watch the video >

Researchers Study Water Quality Across Idaho, Around the World

Payette Lake near McCall is a slice of heaven for Heather Crawford, a master’s student studying the lake's health. Crawford hopes to stay in McCall after graduation and use her knowledge to protect the region’s waterways. Learn more >

Artist Teaches Painting Using Smartphones, Instagram as a Guide

Some professors ask students to put down their phones in class. Aaron Johnson, assistant professor in the College of Art and Architecture’s Art + Design program, encouraged his students to pick them up. Watch the video >
Did you know?
University of Idaho Earns $30K from Dairy West to Support Sports Nutrition: U of I is one of six organizations Dairy West is partnering with to educate athletes about the importance of fueling for performance and highlight dairy foods as an optimal fueling choice. Learn more >

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Oct. 9, 2020
Dear Vandals,
Preserving and celebrating the University of Idaho’s traditions are what SArbies are all about.

SArb – the Student Alumni Relations Board – is one of the first organizations new students encounter on campus in Moscow. The group organizes the Vandal Walk that freshmen take to start their U of I career. SArb enthusiasm is infectious, setting a tone for the Brave and Bold Vandal Pride we carry with us throughout our time here – and in the decades that follow.

2020 marks the 50th anniversary of SArb. Former Alumni Director Dick Johnston created the group in 1970 to bring more Vandal spirit to campus and foster connection between current students and alumni – many of whom are employers eager to hire hard-working graduates.

The Vandal Pride that SArb members bring to the table has remained just as passionate throughout the past half century. I know. I spent time as a member of SArb as a student, and later interacted with the group as a member of the Alumni Association Board.

The direct student-alumni interaction also reassures alumni that today’s Vandals continue to raise the bar for our university as they prepare for their chosen field. Regardless of major, the No. 1 request the University of Idaho gets from alumni is for more information about what students are up to.

Planning the various events such as spring and fall Parent and Family Weekends, the annual Easter Egg Hunt and the Grad Fair program takes a tremendous amount of work for SArb members, led this year by President Jake Milleson. It’s a job that provides meaningful leadership opportunities and good life skills that SArbies utilize long after they graduate. The group reinforces what’s possible from a positive and full university experience.

Many SArbies are also members of the Homecoming Committee, which has been working day and night to plan this week’s "Stay-at-Homecoming" virtual activities. Despite the cancellation of many in-person activities this fall, the traditions that connect all members of the Vandal Family will continue. The 2020 Homecoming Royalty will be crowned tonight as usual, on Facebook Live. Be sure to watch the Idaho Central Credit Union Fireworks Extravaganza beginning at 9:30 p.m. Pacific time Saturday.

A SArb 50th anniversary celebration planned as part of the 2020 Homecoming festivities has been pushed to 2021 amid the pandemic. Until then, I’m looking forward to celebrating our Homecoming traditions in a new way this weekend. Thank you to all of the SArbie alumni out there who gave their time to the university while on campus. Current SArbies continue to deliver on our traditions with their trademark enthusiasm. We can all be proud of them.

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
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Submit Your Vandal Family Pictures

University of Idaho alumni are asked to contribute favorite photos from their time as a student to an ever-growing Vandal Family Photo Album assembled by the library in conjunction with the Office of Alumni Relations. Learn more about the project >

Learning Minerals Through Minecraft

To reach learning goals and teach a field course from home, two faculty from the Department of Geography and Geological Sciences built worlds in Minecraft, a video game focused on exploration and construction. Read more >

Cybersecurity Students See Opportunities

When most people think cybersecurity, they often envision a hacker with green text in a dark room. But that’s a stereotype, said Computer Science major Sydney Petrehn, who wants to change the way the field is viewed. Read more >

Virtual Conversation with Common Read Author Is Oct. 20: Cristina Henriquez, author of "The Book of Unknown Americans," will speak at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20, as part of the Fall 2020 Common Read. 

Theatre Arts Presents Virtual Reading of 'Happy Mess':  A free reading of "Happy Mess" by Master of Fine Arts playwriting candidate Ian Paul Messersmith takes place tonight through Sunday.

Law Students Step Up as Poll Workers: (From the Moscow-Pullman Daily News) U of I Law students in Moscow will work the polls on Election Day to help solve a poll-worker shortage and fulfill their civic duties.

U of I, WSU Team Up for Community Campaign: Vandals and Cougs share both the Palouse and a love for our communities. Look for Joe and Butch's Pullman Highway billboard to reinforce face coverings and social distancing.

Pride points
Autumn Is an Amazing Time in the University of Idaho Arboretum: Spokane's KXLY-TV recently took viewers on an aerial tour of the beautiful fall foliage on display this time of year. Watch the video >

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Oct. 2, 2020
Dear Vandals,
Recruiting new Vandals is a year-round endeavor that every faculty, staff member and alumnus can help with, but autumn is a particularly critical time in the recruitment process.

October is “Next Steps Month” in Idaho, a time when the state’s high school seniors are encouraged to think about their options and take that next step toward a college education and a successful career. Idaho students can apply to any of 10 colleges and universities in the state with a single application, including the University of Idaho. The State Board of Education even held a virtual college fair this week to encourage students to evaluate their options.

“Next Steps Month” is also time for all of us to encourage the prospective students we know to think about their futures. Some will go directly to college next year; others will not. Some recent graduates have deferred a year because of uncertainty caused by the pandemic, and others are evaluating whether a college education is worth the cost.

Our collective job is to explain and promote the value of going on to higher ed. You’ve heard me say it, and the studies back it up: A college education makes us healthier, wealthier and wiser.

Statistics show students who go on to higher education earn $1.2 million more on average over their lifetimes if they earn a degree. College graduates also tend to live nine years longer on average and are more likely to be more involved in their communities.

There are many, many ways to deliver that message.

I took that idea to Teton High School last week in Driggs. Many schools are closed to in-person visits because of the pandemic, so a big thank you to Superintendent Monte Woolstenhulme for allowing me – using appropriate health and safety precautions – to talk to your students.

Last week’s visit was part of the University of Idaho’s Enroll Idaho program. The tour program provides financial aid information, advising and other resources to school assemblies so students understand how to apply, finance and get excited about going on to the college or university of their choice. Enroll Idaho has been on hiatus since March, so it is nice to once again bring this message to future Vandals.

College recruitment looks a little different during a pandemic, which is why programs like our Virtual Campus Tour, Virtual Vandal Viewbook and other online resources have been so useful.

As a destination campus, it is still important to bring high school seniors to the University of Idaho as they make decisions about their next steps. Saturday’s in-person Envision event will be the first in a series of on-campus recruitment programs this fall aimed at marketing our campus experience. Our alma mater has always been ranked in the top 6% of all public colleges and universities in the country, but this year was also selected by U.S. News and World Report as the No. 1 Best Value of all public universities in the West.

Alumni play a pivotal role in student recruitment as well. Last year, members of the Vandal Family wrote thousands of congratulatory cards to admitted students sharing their stories of the benefit of a University of Idaho education. This fall, we are working with alums to participate virtually in recruitment event panels.

Alumnus and architect Mark Engberg '84 took a unique approach to helping recruit new Vandals. Working with his next-door neighbor, who happens to be an award-winning videographer, he traded house designs for a beautiful video spot highlighting Idaho and our university as a great place to get an education. We’ll be using it on social channels and elsewhere. Thank you, Mark!

The University of Idaho offers $30 million in scholarships and waivers to help students break down the financial barrier of higher education. Even so, it is up to all of us to encourage our state’s young people to see the value of a college degree to their future career.

“Next Steps Month” activities are an example of how we can help the state’s students elevate themselves by going on, and I challenge each of you to help your alma mater by encouraging this year’s high school graduates to visit our campus.

If every member of the Vandal Family helps recruit three prospects, that would normally result in at least one new student. Recently, a State Board of Education member commented on how committed and proud our alumni are. Let’s reinforce that distinction by ensuring the Gem State’s high school seniors take their next step toward becoming a Vandal.  

Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

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Homecoming Marches on Amid COVID-19

The 112th homecoming at the University of Idaho may feel more like a "stay-at-homecoming," but there are several activities planned to make the celebration meaningful and fun. Read more >

Students Research Across the World

Research at the University of Idaho often takes place outside of the lab, with student experiments occurring all across the Gem State and beyond our borders. Check out some recent projects >

U of I Celebrates Idaho Agriculture Oct. 9

A top U.S. Department of Agriculture leader will explore the promise of new technologies and innovative practices for the nation’s agricultural production and its future capability during the University of Idaho Celebrating Idaho Agriculture event Friday, Oct. 9. Learn more >
Pride points
Chemistry Professor Earns Fulbright to Research, Teach in England: Kristopher Waynant, whose work includes building calcium sensors for NASA, recently earned a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award to teach and do research at Great Britain’s University of Exeter. Learn more >

Letter from the President
Office of the President | president@uidaho.edu
Sept. 25, 2020
Dear Vandals,
Water covers 880 square miles of Idaho and makes up 1% of our state.

Meeting the needs of agriculture, industry, human consumption and recreation without compromising the health of that water is important to our future – and a task we’re willing to tackle at the University of Idaho.

Few things could be more critical to human health and progress than clean water. Since my return, I have been impressed by how much work the university is doing to study this resource. 

The list of University of Idaho water-related research is long, but here are a few recent and notable examples:

  • Ensuring sustainability of the water that irrigates Idaho agriculture and grows our food supply is a complicated but important task. Extension faculty track snowpack, water consumption, crop yields and plant growth across the state to get a complete picture of water quality and availability. From water quality monitoring to hydrology and irrigation management, work is being conducted across the state to support this critical element of Idaho’s agriculture industry.
  • Master’s student Heather Crawford in the College of Natural Resources is studying Payette Lake and how waves and boat wakes impact the shoreline. The Big Payette Lake Water Quality Council organized funding for Heather to investigate how these disturbances influence shoreline erosion. The work will help policymakers across the Northwest gauge water quality issues and protect our lakes while also maintaining the ability to recreate. 
  • Toxic algae blooms erupt in roughly 20 to 25 Gem State lakes each summer. These blooms harm animals and humans and reduce recreation opportunities. On Fernan Lake in Kootenai County, Professor Frank Wilhelm investigated their cause. His team has found that 81% of the phosphorus entering the lake never leaves, allowing the element to build up year after year. Their findings will help lake managers develop mitigation plans to ensure the safety of its users.
  • College of Agricultural and Life Sciences researchers Greg Moller, Dan Strawn and Martin Baker partnered with food processing companies in the Magic Valley and others to improve water quality using their Clean Water Machine. The machine recovers excess phosphorus and nitrogen from wastewater and has municipal and agricultural applications throughout the state. The project has garnered regional and national attention and continues to receive accolades. Just last week, the team secured a $1 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help continue that research on algae-impacted waters.
  • Researchers at our Center for Ecohydraulics Research in Boise are using innovative laboratory experiments with invisible simulated sediment to “see” through riverbeds and study water quality, cost-effective sensors to quantify water movement between rivers and aquifers, as well as acoustic river “noise” measurements to continuously monitor river stability. Funded with both state and federal National Science Foundation grants, their work has broad implications for river management and restoration in the state.
  • In Bonneville County, our Extension educators promote xeriscaping – a form of landscaping with low-water plants to conserve resources – through a demonstration garden and events including the annual Greater Idaho Falls Area Water Festival. Their message about the supply and demand for water helps educate fifth and sixth graders across East Idaho.
  • The university’s Water Sustainability Initiative – a series of five research projects funded with micro grants from my office – will allow teams to collaborate on water and sustainability issues that will attract government, academic and industry partners. The projects focus on everything from water access at the Taylor Wilderness Research Station to crop sensors and satellite mapping.
Sustainability of our water resources is paramount across the Gem State and the world. University of Idaho researchers are addressing the issue on multiple fronts as they look for solutions to water-related challenges. We intend to be global leaders in sustainability and remain the go-to university for water-related research. 
Go Vandals!

C. Scott Green
President
Latest News

from U of I

Homecoming 2020: 'Sweet Home U of I'

Take part in a mix of in-person and virtual Homecoming events the week of Oct. 4-10, including the 112th annual Homecoming Stationary Parade and Idaho Central Credit Union Fireworks Extravaganza. See the schedule >

Physician Shortage Spurs Support for U of I Medical Students: Idaho WWAMI is critical to the Gem State's physician pipeline. John Huckabay writes about the importance of this 48-year-old doctor training program.

Student Investigates Yellowstone's Impact on Local Landforms: Chloë Weeks' research took her to untouched places throughout Montana’s Gallatin Valley and Yellowstone National Park to study the region’s geology.

Kevin Chang Featured on WalletHub's 2020 City Driving List: College of Engineering Associate Professor Kevin Chang was featured in WalletHub’s "2020 Best and Worst Cities to Drive In." 

Grant to Research Indigenous-Based STEM Education: The Cultivating Indigenous Research Communities for Leadership in Education and STEM Alliance grant builds on existing partnerships with tribal communities and tribal colleges in six Western states.