Boise State University

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

A local astronomer has made his crowdfunding goal and Boise will soon have an observatory again.

Elizabeth Haslam / Flickr

Sunday night will offer a chance to see the last total lunar eclipse until 2018.

This eclipse is special, says Brian Jackson, an astronomer who teaches at Boise State. That’s because it will also be what’s known as a “Blood Moon.”

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

On top of the tallest academic building on the Boise State campus sits a large metal dome. It is an observatory that has been at the school for more than 35 years. At one point, the dome was a hive of activity, giving students and the public a chance to peer deep into our solar system. Now it sits mostly empty and unused, after years of neglect.

Marcel Pacatte

A year after announcing major changes in the structure and thinking at the university and nearly seven months to the day of President Barack Obama’s visit to campus to highlight the innovation occurring in classrooms and research labs, what’s left to say?

If you’re Boise State President Bob Kustra, and you’re giving your 13th State of the University address to faculty and staff, plenty.

All four of Idaho's four-year public universities and colleges have eliminated degree programs, dissolved academic departments or reduced staff over the past year as part of a statewide effort to cut costs and prioritize college programs.

Boise State University restructured several of its academic departments, resulting in the removal of its College of Social Sciences and Public Affairs. Meanwhile, the University of Idaho discontinued 19 degree options. This included bachelor degrees in American Studies, Art Education and Medical Technology.

Mark Coyle is leaving Boise State for Syracuse.

The Iowa native who moved to Boise after stints and Minnesota and Kentucky, will be formally announced in his new role in New York Monday. 

Coyle took over the top athletic position at Boise State in late 2011. He replaced Gene Bleymaier, who was fired following compliance infractions that landed the university on NCAA probation. Syracuse is facing five years' probation. 

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

A new rangeland fire management plan is the result of cross-state and federal collaboration that isn't often seen in resource policy. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell visited Idaho earlier this week to present the plan alongside state officials

A Boise State University student is suing school officials in federal court because he contends they discriminated against him by refusing to give him a meningitis vaccine designed for younger adults.

Christopher Burdge doesn't list his age in the lawsuit but states that he is older than 55. Burdge contends that he tried to take part in a free campus vaccination event held last year, but that BSU medical staffers refused to give him the meningitis vaccine because it was designed for people under age 55.

Mark Ramsay / Flickr Creative Commons

It’s college graduation season and some of Idaho’s four-year state schools will soon hand out a record number of degrees.

Among Idaho’s four-year public colleges and universities, 7,209 students will graduate over the next two weeks. 

Idaho State University has the most grads this spring with 2,561 statewide. That’s up more than 100 from last year and a record for the school. Commencement is Saturday in Pocatello with a ceremony for the 253 grads of the Meridian campus Monday.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

In the Olympics, it’s called beach volleyball.  In college athletics, it’s sand volleyball.  No matter its name, the sport has seen unprecedented growth in the last decade. So much so,  it's now spread to places not known for their beaches. Places like Boise.

Sand volleyball's popularity has spiked ever since August 2004. The Olympics were in Athens and a young, athletic duo from California dominated their beach-volleyball competition.

Two Boise State University professors have received a $15,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to study the relationship between three western universities and their local arts scenes.

Shital Dhakal is a grad student at Boise State, and he's lived in Idaho for the last year-and-a-half. When he heard news of the earthquake in Nepal that has killed more than 4,000 people, he immediately tried to reach out to his family – but their cell service was down.

Joe Jaszewski / Idaho Statesman

Later this week, the Boise State football team will play its annual spring scrimmage. The Broncos are three months removed from their third win in the Fiesta Bowl. Immediately after that game, university President Bob Kustra told a KTVB-TV reporter the victory would have a positive impact on the school.

Leslie Durham, Amanda Ashley / Boise State University

A study released this week shows Boise has a vibrant cultural scene, but points to gaps in artistic opportunities, especially among emerging artists.

The comprehensive study from Boise State University professors surveyed more than 500 artists from a variety of disciplines. Visual artists, designers, musicians, dancers, writers, filmmakers and theater artists were all included.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Boise State this weekend hosts the national championship tournament for one particular style of debate. It's the first time the International Public Debate Association has held the competition west of the Mississippi. 

Max Corbet / Boise State University

The Boise State men’s basketball team is headed back to the NCAA tournament. The Broncos will play Wednesday night in Dayton, Ohio against the host Dayton Flyers.

Jeffrey Johnson / Boise State University

Jeffrey Johnson got quite a wakeup call this week. The assistant professor of geosciences at Boise State University is working in Pucon, Chile on a Fulbright grant to study volcanoes. He was just ten miles away when the Villarrica volcano had a large eruption Tuesday morning.

Johnson's work includes listening to low frequency sounds that volcanoes make. Here’s the low-frequency sound his sensors recorded during this week's eruption; the sound is normally too low for us to hear, so it's been sped up:

Travis Smith / Boise State Public Radio

Instructors at the University of Idaho and Boise State University and colleges around the country are protesting pay and working conditions for part-time faculty. National Adjunct Walk Out Day is meant to highlight the trend in higher education of relying on lower-paid, adjunct instructors who work from semester to semester.

A petition being circulated online and on Boise State’s campus Wednesday reads:

Kyle Green
Courtesy Idaho Statesman

Boise State University football coach Bryan Harsin has a new contract that pays him $6.25 million over five years.

The Idaho State Board or Education on Thursday approved the deal for Harsin who in his first season last year guided the Broncos to a 12-2 record and a Fiesta Bowl win.

The new deal replaces a previous contract that awarded Harsin a one-year extension for winning nine or more games.

The new agreement awards a one-year extension for eight or more wins.

Courtesy Gordon Jones

In August, Boise State University announced plans to create a new College of Innovation and Design.   Administrators said it was an answer to what nationally has become an aging academic model that’s producing college graduates with skill sets that don’t always align with what companies need.