In his recent State of the State address, Governor Otter spoke of how education helps provide a framework for the people of Idaho to “pursue their dreams and freely express their civic virtue.” This concept of civic virtue has been discussed and debated since at least the days of Plato and Aristotle and it is vital for any healthy society. And it’s a virtue that the School of Public Service works to instill in our students every day.
With this in mind, I’m excited to announce the launch of our Urban Studies and Community Development program. The state Board of Education formally approved this innovative interdisciplinary degree program at their December meeting. This program combines experiential learning, sustainable community partnerships, undergraduate research, and interdisciplinary collaboration with traditional classroom instruction. In the coming years, graduates of this program will apply their knowledge about how cities, communities, and regions function to helping to solve public programs throughout the mountain west.
Our service to Idaho goes beyond the classroom. In this issue of Public Interest, we’ll show you how our professors are speaking to the community in person through a TEDx Talk, offering insightful commentary on the legislative session on the radio, and appearing in print media from coast to coast. Finally, our 2017 Public Policy Survey offers insights to policymakers about the issues most important to Idahoans.
Happy New Year,
Dean, School of Public Service
Boise State University
ANDRUS CENTER HOSTS “WHY PUBLIC LANDS MATTER” CONFERENCE
The events surrounding the occupation of the Malheur Refuge and renewed calls to transfer or ostensibly claim our federally managed public lands have alarmed people, not just in the west but throughout the country. Public lands — how they are managed and how they are used — matter. Public Lands are critical to the conservation of fish and wildlife habitat, watersheds, and antiquities. They’re a critical source of outdoor recreation such as hiking, fishing, and hunting. And, they’re an important economic engine driving tourism and the dollars it brings to the states in which these lands reside. This full day conference is designed to look at current federal management practices, the various voices in support and dissent, and potential stakeholder collaboration toward forward-looking best practices designed to manage, protect, and preserve our public lands for the generations to follow. The event will take place on March 28 in the Jordan Ballroom in the Boise State Student Union. Read more about the conference on the Andrus Center website
BOISE STATE LAUNCHES URBAN STUDIES AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
The new 120-credit degree in Urban Studies and Community Development uses the booming mid-sized city of Boise to illustrate metropolitan trends. Students receive a strong set of course skills and then tailor their major by selecting from a menu of coursework in the social science, humanities, business, and community health. Workshops hone skills and extend the classroom. Internships connect students with employers, grounding the study of cities in the geography of a physical place.
PUBLIC POLICY SURVEY SHOWS EDUCATION REMAINS TOP ISSUE
The Second Annual Idaho Public Policy Survey finds Idahoans growing more content and optimistic about the state’s future. Public concern is increasing, however, on the issues of health care and transportation. As in last year’s survey, Idahoans felt education to be the most important issue facing the state, followed by economic matters, health care, the environment and public lands.
The annual survey is conducted by the School of Public Service at Boise State University and asks a statistically significant sample of Idaho adults about public policy issues of interest to researchers, the media and the public.
Topics surveyed include education, the economy, general satisfaction, the environment, immigration and transportation.
HIGHER EDUCATION TAKES CENTER STAGE AT STATEHOUSE
The 2017 Idaho legislative session is in full swing, and Governor Otter identified higher education as a top priority in his State of the State address. Otter also announced the formation of a higher education task force to study ways to increase enrollment and cited the importance of education to the “steady framework of opportunity that the people of Idaho need in order to confidently pursue their dreams and freely express their civic virtue.”
While the governor’s proposed budget includes a modest 2.16% increase in state general funds for higher education (as part of an overall 5.87% increase in general fund spending), he has requested an additional $35 million for major construction projects on university campuses including Boise State. Other proposals include an economic and workforce development initiative at Boise State.
Read more about higher education and the opening of the 2017 Idaho legislative session:
State of the State focuses on education, tax relief
Ruth Brown, Idaho Press-Tribune
Idaho’s Gov. Otter creates Higher Education Task Force
SCHOOL OF PUBLIC SERVICE IN THE NEWS
The School of Public Service continually works to be relevant and engaged in the community. And our work is increasingly being noticed by media outlets across the state and the nation.
For example, this Idaho Statesman article on Treasure Valley trailer parks quoted School of Public Service professor Dr. Todd Shallat. It also references Mobile Home Living in Boise, a Boise State study he oversaw.
SCHOOL OF PUBLIC SERVICE PROFESSOR APPEARING WEEKLY ON BOISE STATE PUBLIC RADIO
Dr. Gary Moncrief of the School of Public Service’s Political Science Department is offering weekly insight on Boise State Public Radio throughout the 2017 legislative session. Moncrief joins Samantha Wright to keep listeners up-to-date at what’s happening at the Statehouse.
SCHOOL OF PUBLIC SERVICE PROFESSOR GIVES TEDXTALK IN SUN VALLEY
Vanessa Fry, Assistant Director of the Idaho Policy Institute, spoke at TedXSunValley on Wednesday, November 30 on her research into homelessness. Tedx are smaller versions of the popular Ted Talks. The presentation received significant media attention.
Fry had a busy 2016. In addition to TedXSunValley, she also attended a White House summit on homelessness, participated in the launch of the Idaho Policy Institute. Fry was nominated for a Woman of the Year award by Idaho Business Review.