Higher Education

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.

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:

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.

boisestate.edu/planning

Boise State University says it's eliminating its Community and Regional Planning Department, a move that still requires approval by the state Board of Education.

The university says budget constraints made the decision necessary, and the graduate program’s small size made it a logical place to cut. The planning department has about 20 students according to an article on the university’s website.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Five of Idaho's universities and community colleges say they've spent more than $1.5 million for additional security since lawmakers approved a law allowing concealed guns on campus.

The Idaho Statesman reports the schools sought $1.55 million this winter plus another $2.17 million for the rest of the budget year to help with expenses.

But Boise State University, Idaho State University, the University of Idaho, the College of Western Idaho and North Idaho College will likely have to absorb the costs.

Boise State University

The head of Boise State University says state support has lagged behind the surge in enrollment in recent years.

BSU President Bob Kustra Wednesday told lawmakers the school needs to add at least 63 new faculty positions -- especially if Idaho is going to meet its goal to graduate more people from college.

Kustra says the student-to-faculty ratio is above average for a school of Boise State's size. And, he says, students sometimes experience course “bottlenecks.”

Clark Gilbert
Courtesy BYU-Idaho

Deseret News CEO Clark Gilbert has been named the new president of Brigham Young University-Idaho.

The selection of Gilbert was announced Tuesday during a devotional at BYU-Idaho's campus in Rexburg, Idaho. Gilbert becomes the 16th president of the Mormon-owned school, and will take over for Kim B. Clark in April.

University of Idaho

The president of the University of Idaho says the school will freeze undergraduate resident tuition rates next year if lawmakers fully fund a 3 percent salary increase for faculty and staff.

President Chuck Staben made the suggestion Monday to lawmakers on the Legislature's budget committee.

Officials say the cost would be $1.6 million.

Staben says reducing tuition will increase access to education.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

President Barack Obama got an up-close look this week at some of the technology and business partnerships being created in Boise. During his speech at Boise State, Obama said the university's New Product Development Lab is putting the Treasure Valley on the "cutting edge of innovation" and is helping to build Idaho's economy. 

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

President Barack Obama spoke for just over 30 minutes Wednesday at Boise State University, touting the proposals from his Tuesday State of the Union address aimed at helping the middle class.

During his stop at Boise State University Wednesday, President Barack Obama will visit a lab that helps local entrepreneurs and industries build prototypes of their products to help get them into the marketplace.

Obama will visit the College of Engineering’s New Product Development Lab. It’s managed and run by the College of Business and Economics. 

Idaho Gets D- For State Support Of Higher Education

Jan 12, 2015
Young Invincibles

A national group working to engage young people on issues like education and health care gives Idaho a D- when it comes to state support for higher education.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Boise State University has more students this fall than it did fall 2013, but Idaho State University and the University of Idaho have fewer. All three of Idaho’s public universities saw substantial growth during the height of the Great Recession. But for the last few years the trend has been declining enrollment.

Boise State

Total enrollment – 22,259

Idaho’s largest public university grew by a little more than 1 percent after two years of declining enrollment.

University of Idaho

Total enrollment – 11,534

A new report shows Washington State University is ready for a full-fledged medical school in Spokane. It would be one of the biggest educational ventures the school has seen in decades.

Consultants from MGT of America, contracted by WSU, gave this report to the school’s board of regents: WSU is well positioned to develop an accredited medical school in the near future. The group says WSU could seek accreditation in Fall 2015, and have its charter class in 2017.

Northwest News Network File Photo

Police in Pocatello are investigating how an Idaho State University professor accidentally shot himself in the foot during class. The Idaho State Journal reports the chemistry professor's gun discharged in his pocket.

The injury was non-life threatening and no one else was harmed. But critics of guns-on-campus laws are pointing to the incident is a cautionary tale.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

It has been a tense few weeks at Boise's Concordia School of Law. Faculty and students had hoped to hear earlier this month if the American Bar Association (ABA) would grant it provisional accreditation. Instead, the ABA decided it needed more time to consider and would send someone to Boise for a closer look at Concordia.

But the ABA didn’t tell school administrators why it wanted closer scrutiny or give a timeline for when things might move forward. But now Concordia dean Cathy Silak says the ABA told her Tuesday it will send a fact-finder in September. 

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Fifty new first year students will start classes next week at Boise’s Concordia Law School. That’s the largest incoming class since the school opened in the fall of 2012. Concordia’s third year class is almost as large but many of them won’t be taking classes this fall.

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