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Public Affairs Report

Urban West Revisited – book signing event

Please join Professor Stephanie Witt and Professor Emeritus Jim Weatherby for a book signing of Urban West Revisited on Thursday, April 5th.  Steph Witt

The event is being held at the Center on Main (Alaska Building, 1020 West Main Street) from 5-8 p.m.  Mercantile District Trolley Tours are offering free trolley bus tours of the West Main Street “Mercantile District” at 6:30, 7:00 and 7:30.


Newest Book in Idaho Metropolitan Research Series Looks at City Governance

Urban West Revisited: Governing Cities in Uncertain Times Cover“Urban West Revisited: Governing Cities in Uncertain Times,” is a revision of an acclaimed 1990s study, updated and colorfully illustrated with more than 200 photos and graphics.  The book will be available for purchase at the Center on Main, 1020 W. Main St. in Boise, from 5:30-8 p.m. on First Thursday, April 5. The event, titled “A Celebration of Cities”, will feature a book signing by authors Stephanie Witt, professor of public policy and administration, and James Weatherby, emeritus associate professor of public policy, as well as trolley tours of the Mercantile District led by historian Jacey Brain. Tours depart from the center at 6:30 p.m., 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Participants will receive a book, a tour and a colorful tour brochure in exchange for a $25 donation to the College of Social Sciences and Public Affairs.

“Urban West Revisited” offers a solid primer on challenges faced by elected officials in 10 midsized western cities hit hard by the Great Recession: Boise, Idaho; Eugene and Salem, Ore.; Modesto, Calif.; Pueblo, Colo.; Reno, Nev.; Salt Lake City, Utah; Tacoma and Spokane, Wash.; and Tempe, Ariz. The book explores their common problems and illustrates hard-fought solutions in difficult times.

The Idaho Metropolitan Research Series illustrates a commitment to good scholarship, accessibly written and colorfully presented.

“Our new primer on city governments is especially timely,” said SSPA Dean. “Written for policy makers, students and the general public, it shows how cities have responded to the challenge of lost revenue during our current recession. It offers hope that Boise and its peer communities can learn to think beyond the current crisis, to govern smartly and to cope.”

Topics covered include city governance, influences and trends in city administration, the history of municipalities and government, tax limitations and the impact of policies, among others. Timelines, tables and illustrations combine with text to educate readers about the day-to-day governance that affects so much of their lives.

The softbound volume sells for $29.95.

More about Urban West Revisited in Boise State Update.

Spring Brown Bag Luncheon March 19th

The Please  join the department of Public Policy & Administration for the upcoming MPAA brown bag luncheon with Lauren McLean.  Lauren will be discussing her role in the Foothills Open Space Campaign to preserve Boise’s foothills, city council duties and how her MPA degree helped prepare her for a career in public service.

Monday, March 19th, 2012
12 noon
Jordan Ballroom A, BSU SUB

2013 Best Graduate School Rankings

Boise State’s Public Policy & Administration graduate program ranked an impressive #104 in the recent 2013 U.S. News & World Report of graduate Public Affairs programs across the U.S..  This is a 44 spot jump up from #148 in 2012!  Congratulations to all that play a part in making the program a huge success!

Find out which graduate schools rose and which plummeted in the 2013 rankings in U.S. News & World Report.

Panel Looks at Climate Change and Policy March 5

The Department of Public Policy and Administration presents the second panel event in its Science-Policy Interaction Series. “Connecting Science to Policy: The Issue of Climate Change” is at 6 p.m. Monday, March 5, in the Student Union Bishop Barnwell Room. This event is free and open to the public.

Three Boise State professors will discuss issues of climate change, including why scientists and policymakers have difficulty communicating on the topic, how policy should be formed based on scientific research, and the impacts on designing cities and informing the public. The panel will include Les Alm, professor of public policy and administration; Jen Pierce, associate professor of geosciences, and Venkataramana Sridhar, assistant professor of civil engineering.

The series explores the role of scientific research in public policymaking, as inspired by the Environmental Research Building on campus (pictured above). In May 2011, the departments of Public Policy and Administration, Political Science, Civil Engineering and Geosciences moved into the building, creating an opportunity to explore the interaction and relationship of their respective disciplines.

For more information, contact Lesley Krone at

More about climate change and policy at Update

BSU students work with Community Transportation Association of Idaho (CTAI)

Pengyu  Zhu, Professor in the Public Policy and Administration, led his community data class in the development of an alternatives scoring mechanism for a transit infrastructure report card.  The work is to assist the Community Transportation Association of Idaho (CTAI) and the American Society of Civil Engineers in the development of an overall Infrastructure Report Card for the Boise region.

Cherilyn Blender, master’s in community and regional planning graduate student, was awarded an internship with CTAI after completing Zhu‘s course. As part of the internship, Blender currently is developing the transit report card to be presented to legislators on the Statehouse steps March 15.

More about BSU students and Community Transportation Association of Idaho in Update.

Elite Interviewing: Canada-US Borderlands Speaker Series

Dr. Les Alm, Department of Public Policy & Administration, will speak at the next SSPA’s Speaker Series on Wednesday, February 29, from 12:40 to 1:30 p.m. in ILC 315.

The event is free and open to the public.

US & Canadian FlagThis presentation discusses the process of interviewing from a study on the Canada-U.S. borderlands relationship along the two geographic corridors bounded by Lake Superior: Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario–Sault Ste. Marie,MichiganandThunder Bay,Ontario–Duluth,Minnesota.

Borderland communities—driven by their shared cultural characteristics (ethnicity, language, religion)—are said to challenge the border as a dividing device and undermine the very essence of international borders.

Moreover, borderlands regions are dynamic and overlapping, providing the first point of contact and interaction between nations.

Our results depict inherent differences between these particular border regions, with each illustrating characteristics that both connect and divide.

Despite the passage of time and both countries’ determined efforts to make the passage safe and less demanding, the peoples in these border regions perceive a continuing frustration with crossing the border and connecting to the people on the other side of the border.

Dean Lavitt Named an Idaho Woman of the Year

Melissa Lavitt, dean of the College of Social Sciences and Public Affairs, was honored by the Idaho Business Review as one of 50 Idaho Women of the Year for 2012.

Honorees will be profiled in the Feb. 24 issue of the Idaho Business Review. The 50 women also will be honored at an awards dinner and ceremony. For its second year, the Idaho Business Review will name one of the honorees as the IBR Woman of the Year 2012 at the awards dinner on Feb. 21.

Read the entire story in the Idaho Business

Learn more about Dean Lavitt Being Named an Idaho Woman of the Year in Update.

Beyond the Blue Podcast: Fact, Myth and Emotion of Immigration

Immigration is a super-charged, emotional issue that is not going away. Greg Hill, professor and chair of the Department of Public Policy and Administration at Boise State, discusses what immigration policy is and its place in the American political landscape in a Beyond the Blue podcast, “Immigration: Fact, Myth and Emotion.”

Learn More about Fact, Myth and Emotion of Immigration at Beyond the Blue.

Research published in the journal State and Local Government Review.

Greg Hill, assistant professor and chair of the public policy and administration department, co-authored a paper titled “Managing Undocumented Students: Do Undocumented Students Hinder Student Performance?” that was recently published in the journal State and Local Government Review.

Read about State and Local Government in Update.