C of I Newsletter

2012. 10. 05

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Lights, camera, Jasper: C of I political expert a campus favorite


C of I political economy professor Jasper LiCalzi is in his 20th year of teaching at the College.

The first time Jasper LiCalzi taught a college class during graduate school, a light bulb went off in his head.

“I thought ‘This is alright,’ ” LiCalzi said. “It sure beats working for a living.”

After earning his PhD from Temple University in his native Philadelphia, LiCalzi came west to The College of Idaho. He’s been teaching political economy in Caldwell ever since, this fall beginning his 20th year at the College.

“I still remember the hiring ad,” LiCalzi said. “It was like it had been written just for me. I wanted to go to a small college that focused on teaching, and that’s what we do here. We’re not pumping out a bunch of books and research articles that nobody reads. It’s about teaching our students, and that’s what I like most about working here.”

LiCalzi has become a beloved figure on campus, both for his thoughtful approach to teaching and for his gregarious personality. With his shock of white hair and boisterous East Coast accent, he’s easy to spot – or hear coming – as he heckles students, staff and his fellow faculty members at every opportunity.

“I keep things light,” LiCalzi said. “I try to find the humor in things. But the students know when it comes to doing the readings and doing the class work, there’s no goofing around with that.”

Through the years, LiCalzi has endeared himself to students by participating in many campus activities. He is a longtime staple of “noonball,” a lunchtime pickup basketball game between C of I students, faculty and staff. Along with his partner-in-crime, history professor Steve Maughan, LiCalzi started the annual Senior Banquet (and roast) during commencement weekend and the tradition of “bedtime stories,” raucous readings of children’s books such as Curious George and Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax for students in the residence halls. This fall, he even participated in a “Dancing with the Caldwell Stars” ballroom competition on campus. All the while, LiCalzi somehow has managed to avoid getting pied in the face during annual Pi Day festivities, “stuffing the ballot boxes” to make sure his faculty counterparts in Boone Hall wear the whipped cream on March 14.

Political economy professor Kerry Hunter – who helped hire LiCalzi and has worked alongside him for two decades – says LiCalzi has a knack for forming genuine, lasting bonds with students and alumni.

“I think it says a lot that his students all call him Jasper,” Hunter said. “He maintains a personal relationship with them that goes beyond the strictly professional relationship many teachers have with their students.”

C of I senior Ashley Brewer, a political economy major, has appreciated LiCalzi’s willingness to listen and help her through tough situations, both inside and outside of the classroom.

“He has grown to be my favorite teacher at The College of Idaho,” Brewer said. “I see him at campus events, I see him in the gym, and his office door is always open. The thing I have appreciated most about Jasper is his willingness to discuss his class, other classes and even personal issues without ever making me feel like I’m wasting his time. Dr. LiCalzi has made my political economy major worthwhile, and my time at the C of I even more unforgettable.”

Many students come back and visit LiCalzi in his Strahorn Hall office years after they graduate. Those visits, LiCalzi said, are some of the most rewarding experiences of his job.

“I love it when alumni come back,” LiCalzi said. “It’s gratifying to hear them say how important the College was to them and how well-prepared they felt for their careers or law school. I think they enjoy how little this place changes. They can visit and I’ll be in the same office, Hunter and Maughan will be yelling at each other, we’ll be out in the gym playing noonball…They like seeing no matter how much their world has changed, the College is still the same.”

The autumn months are an especially busy time for LiCalzi, who serves as a political expert for KIVI Channel 6 News and Fox 9 News in the Treasure Valley. He spends many of his nights doing interviews or live, in-studio analysis, and he’s also a popular source for the Idaho Statesman, the Idaho Press-Tribune and other media outlets seeking comment on political and economic issues. On Oct. 24, LiCalzi will host a “Politics in the Pub” alumni event at Beside Bardenay in Downtown Boise.

“Jasper has a real enthusiasm for the topic,” Hunter said. “He’s become a true expert on Idaho politics. When I have questions, I take them to Jasper, and he’s become a go-to source for the media as well.”

With the presidential election quickly approaching, LiCalzi will be a regular on local TV in the weeks ahead. And while he prefers talking about local elections – things that “affect our everyday life” – he’s happy to go on the airwaves if it helps the College.

“TV is fun, I enjoy going on and talking about the elections,” said LiCalzi, who also does a summer radio show called Business, Baseball and Politics with Mike Safford before Boise Hawks games. “But more than anything, it helps get the College’s name out. It’s good exposure for the school, and that’s why I do it.”

College of Idaho sets records for enrollment, campus diversity

International Students

The College of Idaho has 1,059 students enrolled for the 2012-2013 school year, an increase of just under 2 percent from last year’s enrollment, according to the official tenth-day figures released by the institutional research department Sept. 26. This year’s enrollment is the highest in the history of the College, topping the previous high of 1,055 students in 2010-2011.

C of I, which enrolled 1,041 students in fall 2011, also continues to post strong numbers in ACT/SAT scores and high school GPA for incoming students. President Marv Henberg says those trends indicate high school students are attracted to the College’s distinctive educational experience.

“The College’s PEAK curriculum enables our students to earn a major and three minors in four years, our faculty are nationally recognized for being outstanding teachers, and our close community is the perfect environment for students to explore their passions and grow,” Henberg said. “The College of Idaho prepares students who will thrive throughout their entire lives, and we are pleased to see more students who want that experience.”

The College of Idaho also set a new enrollment record for international students this fall, with 107 students representing 53 countries. That gives the C of I one of the highest proportions of international students among Northwest colleges.

“The diversity of The College of Idaho’s campus community contributes tremendously to the overall learning experience of our students,” said Brian Bava, dean of enrollment management. “With one in ten students coming from another country, C of I students are constantly interacting with people from other cultures. That understanding of other peoples and perspectives is a crucial in a global economy.”

Another 20 percent of the College’s students are members of minority American ethnic groups or multiethnic.

Approximately 70 percent of the College’s student body are Idaho residents, and 22 other states also are represented on campus.

C of I professor publishes new book on nature, language


Scott Knickerbocker, a professor of English and environmental studies at The College of Idaho, has released a new book titled Ecopoetics: The Language of Nature, the Nature of Language. The book explores how poets not usually considered nature poets express humanity’s relationship with nature. Published by University of Massachusetts Press, the book is available for $26.95 on the UMass website.

Ecopoetics is a book about the complex relationships between word and world,” Knickerbocker said. “I’ve always been attracted to words and the world of which they’re a part. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been both outdoorsy and bookish, so you could say this book is a culmination of that.”

Over the years, ecocritics and other literary scholars interested in the environment have tended to examine writings that pertain directly to nature and to focus on subject matter more than expression. In this book, Knickerbocker argues that it is time for the next step in ecocriticism: exploration of the figurative and aural capacity of language to evoke the natural world in powerful ways.

Ecopoetics probes the complex relationship between artifice and the natural world in the work of modern American poets—in particular Wallace Stevens, Elizabeth Bishop, Richard Wilbur and Sylvia Plath. These poets relate to nature as a deep wellspring of meaning, although they all avoid using language the way most nature writers do, merely to reflect or refer directly to the world. Each of these poets, in his or her distinct way, employs instead what Knickerbocker terms “sensuous poesis,” the process of rematerializing language through sound effects and other formal devices as a sophisticated response to nonhuman nature.

Rather than attempt to erase the artifice of their own poems, to make them seem more natural and thus supposedly closer to nature, the poets in this book unapologetically embrace artifice—not for its own sake but in order to perform and enact the natural world. Indeed, for them, artifice is natural. In examining their work, Knickerbocker charts a new direction for ecocriticism.

As part of his commitment to experiential, interdisciplinary education, Knickerbocker leads two off-campus programs for College of Idaho students: the Winter Wilderness Experience (environmental studies, literature, cultural geography, ecology, and backcountry skiing in the Sawtooth Mountains near Stanley, Idaho) and a study abroad trip to Scotland and the Lake District of England (literature, art, music). He also plays banjo for the Hokum Hi-Flyers, an old-time string band in Boise.


Fall 2012

College Events Calendar

Every Friday

Orma J. Smith Museum of Natural History hosts public open house, 1-5 p.m., Boone Hall basement. Click for more information.

October 5

The College of Idaho's Langroise Trio in concert, 7:30 p.m., Esther Simplot Performing Arts Academy (Boise). Click for more info.

October 6

Orma J. Smith Museum volunteer workday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Boone Hall basement. Lunch seminar: 'The College of Idaho Development/Grants Program,' by Tim Otter.

October 6

The College of Idaho's Langroise Trio in concert, 7:30 p.m., Langroise Recital Hall. Click for more info.

October 10

Caldwell Fine Arts presents Cantus men's vocal ensemble, 7:30 p.m., Jewett Auditorium. FREE admission for all C of I students. Click for tickets and info.

October 12

Caldwell Fine Arts presents The Barrel Jumpers, featuring C of I graduates Jeremy Johnson and Rachel Johnson, and the Hokum Hi-Flyers, featuring C of I professor Scott Knickerbocker, in concert, 7:30 p.m., Jewett Auditorium. FREE admission for all C of I students. Click for tickets and info.

October 17

Whittenberger Planetarium public show, 'Mercury and Mars,' 7 p.m., Boone Hall. Reservations required, please call Kinga Britschgi at (208) 459-5211. Click for more info.

October 18

On-campus reading by Idaho writer-in-residence Brady Udall, 7 p.m., McCain Theatre.

October 19

C of I Chorale and Chamber Singers in concert, 7:30 p.m., Jewett Auditorium.

October 19-20

C of I Howlin' Yotes host Coyote Classic Speech and Debate Tournament on campus. Students and faculty who would like to participate or volunteer should contact Tabitha Miller at [email protected]

Through October 19

Art exhibition 'The Hero's Journey: Sculptures by Joseph Castle,' inside the Rosenthal Gallery of Art (Blatchley Hall). Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays. For evening or weekend appointments, contact Garth Claassen at 459-5321 or [email protected]

October 26

Caldwell Fine Arts presents the Meridian Symphony Orchestra Halloween Spooktacular with conductor Jim Ogle, 7:30 p.m., Jewett Auditorium. Costumes encouraged for this family-friendly event. FREE admission for all C of I students. Click for tickets and info.

Through November 2

C of I art professor Garth Claassen has work on display at the Stewart Gallery's annual 'Works on Paper' exhibition in Downtown Boise. Click for more info.


“We’ll Be Calling!” The Fall 2012 Coyote Caller Phonathon has begun! During the months of October and November, current students known as Coyote Callers will be contacting alumni and friends of the College. The Phonathon is a chance for those who are contacted to ask questions about the C of I, offer suggestions, update their contact information, get information about College news and events, and make an annual pledge of support to the Boone Fund. For more information, contact Katie Miller at [email protected] or 459-5016

College of Idaho alumna and former softball/soccer player Amy (Rhoades) Mansell ’10 was featured in the Oct. 3 pink, breast cancer awareness edition of the Idaho Statesman. Amy, who survived a battle with breast cancer in 2007 and returned to finish her highly successful athletic career with the Coyotes, gave cancer awareness and survival advice to readers.

The College of Idaho recently hosted the first lecture of the Carter-Chalker Lectureship on Faith and Contemporary Issues, "Through Many Windows: A Colloquium on Religion." Panelists included C of I professors Dr. Jasper LiCalzi and Dr. Mee-Ae Kim.

The Idaho Press-Tribune was on hand for C of I President Marv Henberg's annual "State of the College" address. The coverage included a news article, photos and video of the address in its entirety.

C of I founding President William Judson Boone made the "Idaho 100" list in a new book about the most influential people in Gem State history. The list also included C of I alumni Joe Albertson, Gov. Robert Smylie and Merle Wells along with former faculty member Gov. Frank Steunenberg and several others with ties to the College. The full list was published as part of a recent article in the Idaho Statesman.

C of I business professor Dr. Marilyn Melchiorre will be a guest contributor for the Better Business Bureau show Business at its Best this week. The program will air at 6:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday on KTVB’s 24/7. Dr. Melchiorre will discuss online reviews and utilizing social media searches to learn what customers are saying about your business. Once aired, the show will be archived on the BBB's YouTube channel.

C of I student Caitlin Skufca recently competed in the Xterra USA Championship Triathlon in Ogden, Utah. Skufca completed the 1.5 kilometer swim, 28K mountain bike and 10K trail run in 3 hours, 54 minutes and 17 seconds, finishing second in the female 20-24 age group.

The C of I women's cross country team recently was named the Cascade Conference Adidas "Team of the Week" after dominating the Runners' Soul Erik Anderson Invitational at Plantes Ferry Park in Spokane, Wash. Hillary Holt won the overall title and five runners placed in the top 15 for the No. 4-ranked Coyotes.

C of I political economy professor Jasper LiCalzi will speak to the Treasure Valley Association of Health Underwriters at their membership association meeting at 7:30 a.m. Oct. 11. LiCalzi will talk about Health Care Reform and how the upcoming elections may affect reform.

The eighth annual Bon Appétit Eat Local Challenge received some nice coverage in the Idaho Press-Tribune. This year's challenge focused on local fish.

The College of Idaho's record numbers for total enrollment and international students received coverage in several local media outlets, including the Boise Weekly.

C of I student Marisol Cervantes recently had a chance to meet Vice President Joe Biden at the White House LGBTQ Policy Roundtable in Washington, D.C. Read more in this Pride Foundation blog post.