Skip to Main Content

School of Public Service News

New Global Studies Degree Program to Launch in Fall 2017

Photo of students at Taj Mahal

John Ysursa, PhD
Program Director
(208) 426-4631

New Global Studies Degree Program to Launch in Fall 2017

[BOISE] – Boise State students will soon have another opportunity to find their place in a rapidly changing world. Global Studies, a new undergraduate program in the School of Public Service, emphasizes and encourages world language proficiency, global literacy and study abroad. The State Board of Education approved the program at its meeting on Wednesday, February 15. The program will officially launch in Fall 2017.

School of Public Service Dean Corey Cook says that the program fills an important gap. “The mission of the School of Public Service includes a regional, national and international focus, but we’ve been missing the international piece. Developing this program is fulfilling a need we see in our programming, as well as addressing a desire from students to expand their education to a global scale. Classes will span across most of the colleges at Boise State.”

John Ysursa, who directs the program with Adrian Kane and Brian Wampler, is excited about the practical and professional aspects of the degree, stating that program development has been coordinated with the Boise State Career Center to ensure that graduates will possess skills employers want. Ysursa says graduates will have “dozens of career paths, ranging from business, law, government and nonprofits.”

Global Studies students will be able to choose their own world language component, area of regional study focus and area of academic emphasis. Areas of emphasis include world economics, world cultures, sustainable futures and international relations.

Ysursa adds that global literacy is especially important in uncertain times. “Changes are happening rapidly. The challenge is to stop and reflect on where we are going.”

The Global Studies website is:


Boise State University’s School of Public Service is dedicated to excellence in innovative teaching, cutting edge scholarship and meaningful community outreach, serving the State of Idaho, region, nation and global communities. The School is comprised of rich and diverse academic programs, as well as talented affiliated faculty from departments and programs across the university. The mission of the School also is supported by a variety of centers and institutes that facilitate research and public engagement.



School of Public Service Saddened by Passing of Marilyn Shuler

Image of Marilyn ShulerPhoto credit: Boise State Update

Shuler was an advocate of public service and kindred spirit

[BOISE] – The School of Public Service is saddened by the passing of Marilyn Shuler, a longtime advocate of human rights and public service. We are grateful and thankful for the inspiration, humility and empowerment she has imparted on us.

“Marilyn Shuler dedicated her life to advocating on behalf of others, and to helping make our community and our state a better place for all of us,” said Boise State President Bob Kustra. “She exemplified the values that we hold dear at Boise State University. She has our deepest gratitude, and she will continue to be an inspiration. Her sense of humor, selflessness and unwearied spirit will be greatly missed.”

“Our community, and really all of Idaho, is a better place because of Marilyn,” said School of Public Service Dean Corey Cook. “Marilyn empowered us to not shy away from challenges and to realize our individual potential to improve our society through humility and her modest strength of character.”

Shuler earned her master of public administration degree from Boise State in 1978 and was presented with the honorary doctorate in 2014. She served as a member of the School of Public Service Advisory Council supporting the school’s efforts to build opportunities for students to obtain professional opportunities through internships in places like Washington, DC and overseas and advocating the importance of public service.

The memorial service for Shuler will be held at 1 p.m. on Sunday, February 19 at Boise State University in the Jordan Ballroom of the Student Union Building. Free parking will be available in the Lincoln Avenue Garage (1700 W University Drive).

The family has asked tributes in honor of Shuler be made to the following organizations:

The Estella Zamora Scholarship at Boise State University (Fund ID: FS175)
Helps students of Hispanic heritage or with a migrant or farm labor background

Idaho Voices for Children
Advocates for child and family centered public policies in Idaho

The John Shuler Fund at the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare
Provides foster children financial support to participate in sports and other activities
Make checks out to “John Shuler Fund” and mail to:
Idaho Dept. of Health and Welfare
ATTN: Norma Bellecourt, 5th Floor
4050 W. State St.
Boise, Idaho 83702


Bryant Jones
Director, External Affairs

School of Public Service
Boise State University
1910 University Drive
Boise, ID 83725


Boise State University’s School of Public Service is dedicated to excellence in innovative teaching, cutting edge scholarship and meaningful community outreach, serving the State of Idaho, region, nation and global communities. The School is comprised of rich and diverse academic programs, as well as talented affiliated faculty from departments and programs across the university. The mission of the School also is supported by a variety of centers and institutes that facilitate research and public engagement.

Introducing Urban Studies at Boise State: January 2017

New header

January 2017

Dear Reader, Photo of Dean Corey Cook

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,

Corey Cook
Dean, School of Public Service
Boise State University


Image of public lands
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

photo of downtown boise with zions bank
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

photo of seven devils
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

photo of Boise B and 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
Idaho Statesman

Otter acknowledges uncertainty; says education must be priority
Otter calls for building initiative for Idaho universities
Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise

composite image of media logos


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.



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.


Image of Vanessa Fry


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.


| About the School of Public Service |

Boise State University’s School of Public Service is dedicated to excellence in innovative teaching, cutting edge scholarship and meaningful community outreach, serving the State of Idaho, region, nation and global communities. The school is comprised of rich and diverse academic programs, as well as talented affiliated faculty from departments and programs across the university. The mission of the school is also supported by a variety of centers and institutes that facilitate research and public engagement.


Criminal Justice  •  Military Science  •  Political Science  •  Public Policy and Administration  • Scholarships   • Urban Studies and Community Development


Andrus Center for Public Policy  •  Center for Dispute Resolution  •  Center for Idaho History and Politics  •  Energy Policy Institute  •  Frank Church Institute  •  Idaho Policy Institute  • New Leadership Idaho  •  The Blue Review  •  Public Policy Research Center


Learn more about our publications.


Learn more about our faculty and staff.

Boise State University  |
1910 University Drive, Boise, ID 83725 |

IPI Assistant Director Vanessa Fry presents poster at 2016 EPSCOR meeting

Photo of Vanessa Fry with posterVanessa Fry, Idaho Policy Institute Assistant Director and Assistant Research Professor in the School of Public Service, presented a poster at the 2016 Idaho NSF EPSCoR Annual Meeting in Coeur d’Alene, ID.  The poster, Community Engagement, advocacy and the application of science in the Boise River Basin, detailed research on how science is used to influence water use and management in Idaho’s Boise River Basin.

The EPSCoR Annual Meeting provides an opportunity for participants and collaborators in Idaho’s National Science Foundation (NSF) EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Collaborate Research) project to connect, communicate, and coordinate research and education activities related to Idaho’s program on Managing Idaho’s Landscapes for Ecosystem Services (MILES).

Source: Boise State UPDATE, 11/1/2016

New Idaho Policy Institute Opens Downtown

Photo of Corey Cook at Zions Bank Building

Photo by Allison Corona

On a balcony overlooking downtown Boise on Tuesday, Oct. 4, a crowd including President Bob Kustra, School of Public Service Dean Corey Cook, local politicians and university faculty members assembled to celebrate the grand opening of the Idaho Policy Institute, located on the 6th floor of the Zions Bank Building downtown.

The Idaho Policy Institute, created by the School of Public Service, aims to bring faculty experts, well trained and energetic students, and community partners together with objective research and analysis to address problems of public concern.

“We recognize that state and local governments are often strained when it comes to resource allocation to research, so we created the institute to help bridge that gap,” explained institute director Greg Hill.

Although the institute just opened its doors, Boise State researchers already are busy on a number of projects related to its mission. In September, they completed a Treasure Valley Public Policy Survey that queried 1,000 residents of Ada, Canyon and Owyhee counties on their policy preferences and attitudes. Researchers are also working on a downtown revitalization project with the City of Jerome and examining recidivism rates in Idaho drug courts.

“Our intention is to be responsive to the community,” Hill said. “We want all levels of government and nonprofit organizations to come to us with projects and ideas that can be beneficial to them, and we can help design and execute research project to meet those needs.”

Original Source for New Idaho Policy Institute Opens Downtown: Boise State Update. By Cienna Madrid

Developing Leadership Skills and Cultural Competencies While Serving Abroad

Cadet Grace Matlock of Boise State’s Army ROTC writes about her time Romania with the ROTC’s Cultural Understanding & Language Proficiency (CULP) Program. 

CULP’s immersion into foreign cultures exposes Cadets to the realities that other countries have vastly different lifestyles, economic standing and world perspective. CULP slots are awarded on a competitive basis and take into account several factors, such as GPA, physical fitness, language ability, and other pertinent selection criteria.

One Team, One Fight

Photo of American soldier with Romanian sailor

On a Romanian training ship

During my trip to Romania for CULP 2016, I was able to take away many valuable cultural competencies for my future leadership endeavors. Three main experiences that have helped shape my view of Romanian culture were the classes we shared with the navel cadets discussing our personal lives and our futures in the military, a dinner we shared with various teachers and directors at serval different maritime schools across Eastern Europe, and having the opportunity to be on board the training ship of the Romanian Naval Academy.

The classes we shared with the navel cadets helped me develop many of my leadership abilities such as flexibility, patience, and understanding. I gained flexibility with planning due to us having to switch the cadets we were teaching every week. For example, during the first week, the cadets did not ask many questions and were very quiet. However, the cadets from the second and third week were much more willing to engage in discussion with us. This made my team and I have to gage each week differently and be flexible to work our lesson plans to their needs. I gained patience and understanding by persevering through conversations with those who spoke very little English. This helped shape my conversation and I grew very considerate to others in the process.

photo of soldiers with cadets

In the class room discussing culture with the 1st week of cadets

The dinner we shared with various teachers and directors at serval different maritime schools across Eastern Europe gave my team and I an insight into how all of the navel academies are working together to achieve a standardized academic plan for their students. The directors led us in conversation dealing with how students and teachers are often not on the same page in the classroom and how they want to change that. It also gave us insight into the culture of a normal dinner in Romanian. In the United States we are always in a hurry and expect instant gratification. During this dinner we were able to see that they are very relaxed and not rushed people by the dinner taking many hours.

photo of american cadets with romanian sailors

Final class photo

By having the opportunity to be on board the training ship of the Naval Academy, I was able to gain insight into how the Romanian Naval ships work and learn more about their navy’s interactions. This helped due to the fact that I have never been shown this type of work before and always wanted to learn more about the ships. The cadets on board discussed how their two months of training on board during their second year helped prepare them for graduation. This further helped us understand how the process of becoming officers in the Romanian Navy works.

Through all of these different opportunities I was able to build my confidence in working with not only a different branch of the military, but also a different culture. During the entire mission, one main saying that kept coming to mind was “One team, One fight.” This is due to me realizing that even though the United States Army is a functional unit of the military, it is only one unit. We have to have multiple units working as a cohesive team to complete any joint operation. This experience helped shed light on that fact and showed in many different ways how ones culture can influence ones work. I am very thankful for this opportunity and hope to return to Romania in the future!

Photo of Grace Matlock with Romanian flag

Loving Romania!

– Cadet Grace Matlock

Constitution Day


Why Save Farmland


Schedule: Minidoka Civil Liberties Symposium

Back to Minidoka Civil Liberties Home Page

Oct. 15, Saturday

8:00 – Registration

8:30 – Welcome: BSU, FoM, NPS, ACLU

9:00 – Tom Ikeda–Executive Director, Densho: Japanese American Legacy Project, Minidoka prison context

10:00 – Break, Bookstore open

10:30 -David Adler–President, Alturas Institute, author of American Constitutional Law: “When the Bill of Rights Failed Japanese Americans”

11:30 – Michael Santos–former federal inmate and now prison consultant, author of Inside: Life Behind Bars in America

12:30 – Lunch: Cheryl Oestreicher–Professor and Head of Special Collections, Boise State Library; Andrew Dunn–graduate student, Idaho State University, research project on Minidoka, and other student presentations

2:00 – Federal Panel: Judge Mark Bennett–U.S. District Court Judge in the Northern District of Iowa, outspoken against mandatory drug sentencing; Dick Rubin–Executive Director, Federal Defender Services of Idaho; Wendy Olson–U.S. Attorney for the District of Idaho; and Michael Santos–prison consultant and former federal inmate

3:30 – Break, Bookstore open

4:00 – Recap by Moderator Paul Watanabe–Professor and Director, Asian American Studies Institute, University of Massachusetts at Boston

4:30 – Boise Art Museum Information Session

5:00 – Break, Dinner on own

7:00 – Reception at the Boise Art Museum


Oct 16, Sunday

8:00 – Registration

8:30 – Satsuki Ina, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus, School of Education, California State University, Sacramento, psychotherapist and filmmaker (Children of the Camps and From A Silk Cocoon). “Family Prisons Then & Now: The WWII Japanese American Concentration Camps and Immigrant Family Detention Today”.

9:30 – Rajini Srikanth – Professor of English, Asian American Studies, and Human Rights, University of Massachusetts-Boston: “From the WWII Japanese American Incarceration to Guantanamo Bay”

10:30 – Break, Bookstore open

11:00 – Karen Korematsu: “Black Lives Matters and the WWII incarceration” (daughter of Fred Korematsu in “Korematsu vs the United States”)

12:00 – Lunch: Andrew Dunn–graduate student, Idaho State University, research project on Minidoka, and other student presentations

1:30 – Idaho Panel: Kevin Kempf–Director, Idaho Department of Correction; Amber Beierle–education specialist, Old Idaho Penitentiary, author of Images of America: Old Idaho Penitentiary; Gary Raney–former Sheriff, Ada County

3:00 – Break, Bookstore open

3:30 – Holly Yasui–Director, Minoru Yasui Tribute Project, Minidoka prison context

4:30 – Recap by Moderator Paul Watanabe–Professor and Director, Asian American Studies Institute, University of Massachusetts at Boston

4:45 – Symposium closes

New Directions in Inmate Visitation

Photo of Dr. Laura King

Dr. Laura King

Boise State Criminal Justice Researchers Evaluate Ada County Jail’s Video Visitation System

Inmate visitation has long been recognized as a key tool for maintaining important relationships with the family and friends of the incarcerated. These relationships have been shown to improve inmate behavior while incarcerated and upon their release back into our community.

Inmate visitations have traditionally taken place in-person at correctional facilities, but new technology has made video visitation, including remote video visitation, a reality. While inmates frequently express a preference for in-person visits, the video visitation platform offers several potential strengths including increased opportunities for visitation, decreased travel costs for families, and improved institutional security.

Ada County Sheriff’s Office has been recognized as a pioneer in the use of remote video visitation, implementing the first such program in North America in 2010. A recent study by Criminal Justice researchers Dr. Danielle Murdoch, Dr. Laura King, and Caitlyn O’Very, a graduate student in the Boise State School of Public Service, utilized interviews, surveys, and secondary data to examine Ada County Jail’s Remote Video Visitation System. The findings build upon a limited body of academic research which has typically examined in-person video visitation in prison settings.

The Ada County Sheriff’s Office welcomed the study. Public Information Officer Patrick Orr states, “when Boise State approached us in 2015 to study the inmate video visitation system at the Ada County Jail, we were excited to have an independent public service agency check out what we were doing. We knew the “Skype for the jail” concept we adopted in 2010 created a positive benefit for the public, the inmates, and our agency.”

The researchers noted several program strengths in their evaluation, including a perceived improvement in institutional security, better access to family and friends who are hindered by distance from visiting, and avoidance of desensitizing children to the jail environment. There were also some weaknesses identified including technological issues and the elimination of in-person, glass partition visits.

The Ada County Sheriff’s Office is focusing on the positive. “Our inmates now have more access to their family and friends than ever before — no matter where those people live. The data shows inmates have more visits now than they did before 2010,” adds Orr. “Kids are no longer filling our lobby and getting used to being in jail. Inmates interviewed by Boise State say their kids are more attentive during the video visits. Our facility is more secure and our staff doesn’t have to spend a ton of time every day moving inmates and the public around our facility.”

The report offered several recommendations for the remote video visitation system at Ada County Jail. Read about Ada County Jail’s Video Visitation System.