Higher Education

Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter has created a Task Force on Higher Education that he hopes will increase the amount of workers who have post-high school education.

The Idaho Statesman reported Sunday that the task force is a reaction to short progress made toward the state's goal to ensure 60 percent of its workforce between the ages of 25 to 34 have post-high school education by 2020. The rate has risen from 38 to 42 percent since the goal was established.

AP Photo

Speaking at an Associated Press legislative preview Friday, Idaho Governor Butch Otter hinted at some of his priorities for the 2017 session.

Otter traditionally unveils his budget and policy plans in his State of the State speech, which he gives on the first day of the session, which is Monday. But he did give a sneak peek Friday morning when he said his main focus will be education.

He’ll ask lawmakers for $58 million for the teacher pay raise program known as the Career Ladder. The five-year plan is in its third year and Otter says the goals are straightforward.

Northwest Nazarene University

Northwest Nazarene University (NNU) in Nampa welcomes its thirteenth president Thursday. The university is holding an inauguration of Joel Pearsall, who follows in his father’s footsteps. Pearsall's father was president of the Christian college from 1973 to 1983.

According to a press release, the new leader received his undergraduate degree from the school in 1980, and then went on to law school in Oregon.

Boise State University, campus
Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Treasure Valley students and residents this fall will have an opportunity to take classes from Harvard Business School without leaving Idaho. Boise State University and the famed Ivy League school announced a new partnership Thursday.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Boise State University and Concordia Law School have created an arrangement aimed at undergrads who want to go to law school. Students can start at Concordia after three years at Boise State. For students in the “three plus three” program, the first year at Concordia will also count as the fourth year at Boise State. So students could get a bachelor's and a law degree in six years, rather than seven.

Concordia Law dean Cathy Silak says the program will help students minimize debt and get to the workforce quicker. She says it was a natural partnership.

Lacey Daley / Boise State Public Radio

Two Idaho Universities have exemptions from a federal law that bans discrimination against transgender students.

Raja Sambasivan / Flickr Creative Commons

The Idaho State Board of Education is considering linking funding for higher education to student success.

The Idaho Statesman reports that the board is drafting a proposal for next year's Legislature that would weight college's needs based on educational outcomes instead of growth in enrollment or credit hours taught.

Courtesy Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine

Since we learned recently that a for-profit medical school will be built in Meridian, we’ve also heard criticism that it won't help solve Idaho’s doctor shortage. Much of that criticism is about the lack of residency positions in Idaho. Critics argue doctors don’t practice where they go to medical school, but where they do their residency. Idaho only has 41 spots for residents and competition is already stiff.

Kyle Green / Idaho Statesman

Partnerships between public universities and private companies – called technology transfers – have the potential to solve some of the world's most difficult problems. The idea is to have researchers at universities do their work, and then the institution will help them obtain a patent. At that point, the product can be sold to a private company for distribution. Think of the iconic Gatorade story at the University of Florida. 

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.

Chris Butler / Idaho Statesman

Students at Concordia Law School in Boise could soon find out whether they'll be able to graduate and take the state bar exam. The American Bar Association (ABA) is meeting in Minneapolis today and tomorrow – and Concordia's provisional approval is on the agenda.

NNU Facebook page

This week's resignation of Northwest Nazarene University (NNU) President David Alexander has largely been blamed on backlash for firing a particular professor. When tenured theology professor Thomas Oord was fired, administrators said it was part of a budgetary shift at the private, religious university in Nampa. Another faculty member and four staff members were also laid off.

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.

The College of Western Idaho has purchased a 10-acre lot of land at $8.8 million, twice the value assigned to it for tax purposes, but officials say they did not overpay.

The Idaho Statesman reports that the community college's board chairwoman Mary Niland said Thursday that she if she could go back she would have looked at the tax assessment and asked for an appraisal.

Board vice president Guy Hurlbutt described the lot's location as "superb" and did not think an assessment would have made much difference.

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.

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