2010. 09. 10
NSF Awards The College of Idaho $1.3 Million for Boone Hall Renovation
The National Science Foundation has awarded The College of Idaho a grant worth $1,320,939 for completion of the first phase of a major renovation of Boone Science Hall. The NSF grant will be used to provide state-of-the-art research capabilities to C of I students and faculty.
“The College of Idaho is known for its strong, undergraduate science education that prepares students for highly-competitive doctorate and medical programs,” College of Idaho President Marv Henberg said. “The NSF grant will help give us a first-rate, research training facility that is worthy of the proud tradition of sciences at the College.”
Henberg noted that Idaho Congressman Walt Minnick’s office was instrumental in helping the grant award through the final stages of the approval process.
“This is a critically important project which allows The College of Idaho to expand and meet the growing needs of Idaho students who must compete in a global economy,” Minnick said. “This newly renovated and equipped science building ensures that the College continues its tradition of producing excellent scientists and health care professionals.”
The $1.3 million NSF grant, funded as part of the Academic Research Infrastructure Program: Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARI-R2) of 2009, completes a $6.5 million “first phase” renovation of the 1968 building that replaces all major systems, updates research laboratories, improves public and classroom spaces, and brings it into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. A second phase of fundraising is planned to update all teaching laboratories in Boone Hall.
Dr. Sara Heggland, chair of the biology department at C of I, served as the Principal Investigator and lead scientist on the NSF proposal. With the NSF funds, College of Idaho faculty and students will expand both individual and collaborative research on problems that are indigenous to the region. The College has plans to explore human impacts on the ecosystem health of the Intermountain West. The funds also enhance the school’s overall research capacity so that more students can be trained in research.
“This project gives me everything I need to conduct research with students in my field,” Heggland said. “The College has really come a long way in terms of the research opportunities it can offer students.”
Student-faculty research is on the rise at C of I, thanks largely to the school’s involvement in the Idaho NIH-INBRE Program. NIH-INBRE (National Institutes of Health IDeA Network for Biomedical Research Excellence) is a $16.5 million program directed by Dr. Carolyn Bohach and designed to increase Idaho’s competitiveness for federal research grants. Boone Hall is where C of I conducts its NIH-INBRE research.
C of I kicks off school year; freshman class bonds in McCall
The College of Idaho welcomed 333 new students to campus as the 2010-2011 school year kicked off Thursday, the first day of classes. C of I enrolled 48 transfer students, 14 part-time students and 271 freshmen who comprise the Class of 2014.
“We are very pleased with the numbers, especially given the economic environment right now,” said Paul Bennion, vice president for student affairs at C of I. “I think that says something about the value students and families place on a College of Idaho education.”
The Class of 2014 will be the first to participate in The College of Idaho’s new PEAK curriculum program from start to finish. C of I also welcomed 16 new international students, continuing a growing tradition of diversity on campus. Students from Tanzania, South Korea, China, India, Nepal, Northern Ireland and the Congo increase the College’s international enrollment to 91 students from 43 countries.
The freshman class spent Monday and Tuesday in McCall on the annual “First-Year Experience” trip. Students, faculty and staff – including President Marv Henberg – took seven buses to Camp Ida-Haven and spent two days building friendships through mentor groups, hikes, sports and games, canoeing and other team-building activities.
“We put the Class of 2014 together overnight and the only resources they have are each other,” said Ron Bonneau, longtime director of the “First-Year Experience” program. “They come to recognize that they aren’t the only ones starting something completely new – there are 280 people here who are all going through and feeling the same things.”
Getting to know classmates before school started was an important experience for many freshmen, including Manmeet Singh, who came to The College of Idaho from Nepal.
“I am alone here, so I needed to make friends,” Singh said. “I interacted with many people, learned many things and made many new friends on this trip, so it was a great experience for me. The interaction was very good because there are many things about other cultures that we don’t know and so we all learn from each other.”
C of I teams with Italian university to create dual degree program
An exciting new academic program at The College of Idaho will allow students to earn a dual degree in environmental architecture while spending two years studying abroad. The program, which launches this semester, gives students the opportunity to study at C of I for three years, followed by two years at St. John International University in Torino, Italy. Students will graduate with two bachelor’s degrees, one from each institution.
St. John International University is an Italian school with American accreditation. Students will be taught in English, and classes are taught inside a 13th century castle situated in one of the most historic architectural regions in the world. Mark Smith, vice president for academic affairs at C of I, traveled to Italy to finalize the agreement earlier this year.
“I am pleased to provide this extraordinary opportunity to our students,” Smith said. “The prospect of studying liberal arts and sciences at The College of Idaho, combined with the opportunity to undertake professional training in Italy, is unparalleled. I wish I could participate in this program.”
Applicants to the St. John program must take the necessary prerequisite courses at C of I and achieve a grade point average of at least 3.0 with no grades below a C. The agreement also includes the possibility of student, faculty and staff exchange between the schools. Students will study aspects of sustainable living and architecture during their two years in Italy.
“We are delighted to welcome future students and visiting faculty from The College of Idaho,” said Paolo Bernardini, President of Saint John International University. “SJIU is at the forefront of sustainability studies, and well-placed within an Italian and European region where those studies are most practiced and applied.”
President Marv Henberg delivers State of the College address
College of Idaho President Marv Henberg delivered his first “State of the College” address on Thursday to an audience of faculty, staff, trustees and a smattering of students who arrived on campus early for the Fall 2010 term. President Henberg reviewed the College’s achievements over his first year as president and outlined three key future initiatives for the College—completion of a new strategic plan, membership in the Northwest Athletic Conference, and a reinvigorated capital campaign for the College.
Among the achievements of the past last year, Henberg noted the considerable progress the College had made toward reducing operating expenses, even in a tight budget year. He said the recent accreditation report for the College noted no new recommendations for the College’s fiscal health. He cautioned that more work remained to reduce the College’s annual endowment draw to a fiscally prudent level of 4.5 percent. However, with the caveat that final admission figures were still not in, he told the audience he planned to go forward with proposed raises for faculty and staff in 2011.
Regarding the College’s new PEAK curriculum, Henberg said, “This College has been bold where others have been complacent,” explaining that PEAK responds to an underlying anxiety college students today have regarding possible job losses and career changes. PEAK addresses this anxiety by educating students with multiple skills, giving them the resilience and self-confidence to adapt, Henberg said. He encouraged all members of the campus community to tout the benefits of PEAK to current and prospective students. “They will experience PEAK nowhere else,” he said.
On the subject of values, Henberg noted the progress the College has made over the past year to improve its environmental stewardship with significant future energy savings thanks to a renovation of Boone Science Hall. Aside from cost savings of $124,000 per year, he noted the reduction in CO2 emissions from the building will be the “equivalent of taking 192 automobiles off the road.”
Regarding future plans, Henberg noted a refreshed strategic plan for the college is needed that includes comprehensive capital, marketing and business plans. A green paper, issued in the spring of 2010, has already received substantial comment. Henberg announced plans to now turn the responses to the green paper over to the Executive Council for final recommendations by the end of the fall semester.
Henberg said apart from the PEAK curriculum, he considered membership in the Northwest Conference, “the single greatest legacy I could leave the College in my tenure” because it would put The College of Idaho in association with its academic peers in the Pacific Northwest. He noted the Board of Trustees had approved pursuit of membership in June, but that acceptance is not guaranteed.
In closing, Henberg announced a plan to revitalize the existing capital campaign for The College of Idaho which has so far raised $105 million toward a $175 million goal. Henberg said the College would re-launch the campaign on February 25, 2011, in conjunction with the College’s biennial gala.
Residence Life staff adopts a highway
The College of Idaho’s residence life department seeks to make life on campus better for students through activities, leadership and life skills development, and creating opportunities for independence and fun.
Now, the residence life staff is looking to make life better away from campus, too. The staff adopted a mile-long stretch of U.S. Highway 20/26 (Chinden Boulevard) in April and cleaned the roadside for the second time last week before classes began. The staff plans to continue cleaning once each spring and once during resident assistant training in August.
“Cleaning the road is a fun, community-building activity,” said Jen Nelson, director of residence life. “Our stretch of road is mostly agricultural, and we are continuously reminded of why we love Idaho as we look out at the fields, mountains and farms while we work.”
The residence life department consists of Nelson and area coordinators Justin Waldron and Matthew Gier, as well as 23 resident assistants, 9 first year mentors and an apartment manager. The group plans to involve as many students as possible – about 20 students participated in the most recent cleaning – and has already established a tradition of who can find the strangest thing on the side of the highway. This fall’s award went to Mitch Ruddy and Morgan Bowe, who discovered a child’s cowboy hat and a toy car, respectively.
Nelson says the highway adoption has been a positive experience and urges others in the C of I campus community to get involved in the outside communities of Caldwell and the Treasure Valley.
“It is important for us to give back to the community,” Nelson said. “Adopting a highway allowed us to do so, and we would encourage other offices on campus to do the same!”
The Idaho Statesman ran this nice article on The College of Idaho's new dual degree program with St. John International University in Italy.
College of Idaho professor Alan Minskoff and his recently published book, Idaho Wine Country, were featured by Boise Weekly in this article.
College of Idaho alumnus Martin Fujishin, '00, has been hired as a full-time viticulture instructor at Treasure Valley Community College. Read more about his hiring in this article by the Argus Observer: