November 2013

Blast from the Past, Gala to Support Student Scholarships

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Idaho State University is bringing back the Roaring Twenties this New Year's Eve.

Local people have the chance to wine, dine and enjoy first rate entertainment from the era of "The Great Gatsby," at the 2013-14 New Year's Eve Gala. And it's all to benefit students at Idaho State University.

The event is being put on by the College of Arts & Letters and is an opportunity for the community to show their support and appreciation for the talents of the students and faculty of ISU. All proceeds will go to scholarships for the Visual and Performing Arts students.

The Gala will be held at the Stephens Performing Arts Center. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. The festivities will begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 31, and will go through the New Year. Formal dress is required. Guests may also wear period clothing from the '20s if they choose to do so.

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The College of Arts & Letters is the largest college at ISU and is home to the only school of performing arts in the state. The magnificent Stephens Performing Arts Center houses several venues tailor-made for showcasing those arts: the Jensen Grand Concert Hall, the Bistline Thrust Theatre, the Rogers Black Box Theatre and the Marshall Rotunda.

A string quartet will set the mood in the rotunda. Afterward, welcoming concert music will be showcased in the Jensen Grand Concert Hall. Varied musical groups will be performing throughout the evening.

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In the Rogers Black Box Theatre, art and photography students will be showcasing some of their original work and fans of the stage should not miss the theatre department's vignette presentations in the Bistline Theatre. Closer to midnight, swing-dancers from the ISU dance department will show off some moves to big band music provided by the headlining ISU jazz band, directed by Pat Brooks.

To top it off, there will even be valet parking as guests arrive at the Stephens Performing Arts Center, and champagne at midnight as everyone joins in singing "Auld Lang Syne."

Flowers by LD will decorate the event with fabrics and floral arrangements, completing the 1920s setting.

Chartwell's will provide food and non-alcoholic drinks, while wine and champagne will be provided by Hayden Beverage.

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Tickets are $150 per person. Those interested can purchase tickets by contacting Gretchen Jensen at (208) 282-3207. Those needing more information can go to




Article by Communication, Media, and Persuasion student Curtis Christensen; promotional material created by Communication, Media, and Persuasion student Rachel Popovich

Wong, Psychology, Receives Large NIH Grant

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Maria Wong, Professor of Psychology, as principal investigator, has received a five-year, $1.62 million grant from the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism and National Institute of General Medical Sciences. The title of the grant is "Sleep physiology and risk for alcohol problems in children of alcoholics."

The ISU Vice President for Research and Economic Development, Howard Grimes, said that these large NIH grants are among the most competitive and prestigious in the United States. "The fact that one of our younger scientists has achieved this level of scientific recognition is fantastic for her research program and her colleagues at ISU," Grimes said. "It verifies our upward trajectory in building our research programs."

This project builds on previous studies led by Wong and collaborators at the University of Michigan. In several studies, they have documented the link between sleep problems in adolescents as a top risk factor for substance abuse and other high-risk behaviors such as suicide and aggression.

The new study, which will recruit about 200 study participants in southeastern Idaho, will examine the sleep patterns and habits of rural children of alcohol-dependent parents (COA) through multiple measures of sleep, including self-reporting by participants, parental ratings, and direct observation in clinical settings.

Researchers will attempt to understand the effects of sleep disturbances on neurocognitive functions, behavioral problems, and the risk for early alcohol use and abuse among children of alcohol-dependent parents and a control group. They will also try to understand how gender, physical development, and perceived stress may change the relationship between sleep problems and alcohol use and abuse among study participants.

Wong's team includes three researchers from the University of Michigan: Kirk Brower, M.D, principal investigator of Michigan consortium; Deirdre Conroy, co-investigator; and Robert Zucker, consultant. Timothy Roehrs, from the Henry Ford Hospital, is also a consultant on the project.

Wong said that little is known about children of alcohol-dependent parents in rural areas. Substance use disorders among youth in rural areas in the United States are comparable to rates in urban areas. However, in Idaho, the prevalence of alcohol use disorders (as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) among individuals age 12 or older in 2006 was 8 percent, exceeding the national average of 7.6 percent. The rates of alcohol-induced deaths from 2002-04 in Idaho also exceeded the national average; Idaho had 9.4 deaths per 100,000 compared with 7 per 100,000 nationally.

"In addition to the alarming statistics on substance abuse, Idaho ranked No. 2 in terms of per capita rates of adolescent suicide deaths and the rate of suicide in Idaho is 45 percent higher than the national average," Wong said.

Health care access is also limited in Idaho's rural areas, making understanding risk factors and developing prevention programs important.

A new wrinkle to Wong's research in this study is to take an objective measure of what constitutes good sleep and bad sleep by measuring the quality of their sleep in a controlled setting. "The results of this study should lead to practical information between sleep problems and alcohol use disorders, which have strong implications for prevention and early intervention," Wong said.

For more information contact Maria Wong, Professor/Director of Experimental Training, ISU Department of Psychology, 208-282-2752 or

Opera Week and Metropolitan Opera National Council District Auditions

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On Thursday, November 14, Season of Note will host Opera Idaho's production of Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro in Jensen Grand Concert Hall, within the Stephens Performing Arts Center. This is the first time a full-length opera has been presented in Jensen Hall. Figaro will be sung in Italian with English supertitles. Other events surrounding Opera Idaho's visit includes a residency with the lead performers at each high school in Pocatello, and a pre-opera discussion at 6:30 in the Marshall Rotunda with Mark Junkert, Executive Director for Opera Idaho. Tickets for the opera are: lower balcony $25(adults), $15(children 4-17); and upper balcony $21(adults), $11(children 4-17).

On Saturday, November 16, at 1:00 p.m., ISU will once again host the Metropolitan Opera National Council District Auditions. Our judges for this prestigious competition will be Grammy-nominated opera conductor Sara Jobin, internationally-renowned soprano Sally Wolf, and collaborative artist Thomas Muraco from the Manhattan School of Music. The National Council Auditions program is designed to discover promising young opera singers and assist in the development of their careers. The auditions are held annually in fourteen regions of the United States and Canada. There are 42 districts within these regions of which ISU is part of the Eastern Washington, Idaho, and Montana district.

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Four ISU students are expected to participate: Emma Doupé, Jerrica Matthews, John Punt, and Lakota Terrace, all four students study with Diana Livingston Friedley. Audience members will have the opportunity to vote on their favorite performer after all the contestants have sung. Tickets for the competition on Saturday are: $8 (adults), $6 (faculty and staff), $4 (pre-college students), and ISU students are admitted free of charge. Opera Week will finish (on Sunday, November 17) with a masterclass featuring ISU music majors working with Thomas Muraco in the Marshall Rotunda beginning at 10:00 am. The masterclass with Thomas Muraco is open to the public free of charge!

ISU's participants will present their programs at Pocatello's own First Friday Artwalk on November 1st at Trinity Episcopal Church on the corner of Arthur and Lander at 5:30 p.m. The public is invited to a preview of these fine students free of charge! Opera Week at ISU is being sponsored by generous donations from the Bistline Foundation and Anne Voilleque and Louise Nelson.

Update on 2011 ISU Competitors

Teaira Burge was a district winner at the the 2011 auditions. This former ISU student of Professor Kathleen Lane, spent a year in Portland, Oregon, studying with Ruth Dobson. Burge's coach was Rodney Menn. During that time, Burge auditioned for graduate schools and was accepted to three. In 2012, she won honorable mention in her division at the National Association of Teachers Singing (NATS) competition in Oregon. In the summer of 2013, she participated in the Astoria Music Festival where she sang "Nella" in Puccini's Gianni Schicchi. With a generous scholarship, she decided to accept a place at Chicago College of Performing Arts (CCPA) at Roosevelt University. She is studying with Judith Haddon, in addition to working with Scott Gilmore, Dr. Dana Brown, Allan Glassman, and Cynthia Clarey. Currently, she is preparing the role of Girl in Michael Torke's opera Strawberry Fields as part of CCPA's annual OperaFest showcase. Teaira loves Chicago and believes that Roosevelt is 100% the perfect place for her. This summer she will be participating in the OperaWorks program in Los Angeles.

Since the 2011 auditions at ISU, Jared Michael Johnson, former student of Dr. Scott Anderson, moved to University of Missouri, Kansas City (UMKC), and is currently pursuing a Master of Music in Vocal Performance at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance. While at UMKC, Jared has performed the roles of Cascada from Lehar's The Merry Widow, Demetrius from Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream, and is preparing Pandolfe from Massenet's Cendrillon and Frank Murrant from Weill's Street Scene. While at UMKC, Jared has had the pleasure of working with renowned film and opera composer John Corigliano in preparation for a concert presentation of selected scenes from his The Ghost of Versailles. This past summer, Jared participated in Opera in the Ozarks where he performed the role of Major General Stanley from Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance.

Ballam, Theatre and Dance, Performs Major Roles in Utah Festival

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This past summer, incredible art was happening in Logan, Utah. More than 250 performers, musicians, and crew members collaborated, including Vanessa Ballam the newest member of the faculty in the ISU Theatre and Dance program. This year's lineup featured musicals Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Fiddler on the Roof and operas The Flying Dutchman and Otello. Vanessa found herself flexing her acting and vocal muscles in both of the musicals, playing the Narrator in Joseph and Tzeitel the eldest of Tevye's daughter's in Fiddler on the Roof. For five weeks, artists rehearsed and prepared for opening night. Performing from July to August in the beautiful 1100-seat Ellen Eccles Theatre to sold-out houses was a significant feat. Vanessa found it thrilling to be able to perform Andrew Lloyd Webber in the afternoon and turn around to do Harnick and Bock in the evening as these particular shows have such different requirements vocally and dramatically.

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In its 21st season, Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theater (UFOMT) produced not only the four main stage productions but numerous other classes, special concerts, tours, breakfasts and literary seminars, bringing the total number of festival events to 129 within the span of 32 days. In addition to her ISU responsibilities, Vanessa also currently serves as the Education director for UFOMT and oversees all things educational throughout the year and the summer season. This summer that included 45 individual adult education classes as a part of the Festival Academy as well as a weeklong intensive musical theatre workshop for youth ages 8-19. One of the highlights of the Festival Academy was having Sheldon Harnick, the Tony Award- and Pulitizer Prize-winning lyricist best known for writing the songs for the Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof, speak about his life and creative experiences. Ballam stated it was a really fabulous way to spend a summer!

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Along with participating in UFOMT, Ballam and her father, world renowned opera star Michael Ballam, presented a benefit concert on Friday September 13, in the Jensen Grand Concert Hall. This concert was a fundraiser for Theatre with all proceeds going directly towards scholarship and production costs for Theatre ISU productions. It was an exceptional evening of song and history as only Michael Ballam can present. Dr. Ballam took the audience on a journey through the history of musical theatre singing the most beloved and greatest songs throughout time. Vanessa joined her father onstage in the first half to sing the hits of Broadway's leading ladies. The concert brought in just over $7,500.

Endowed Student Scholarships

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O.W. "Yogi" Gilliland Scholarship Fund

The College of Arts & Letters would like to extend a warm thanks to a very special and generous anonymous donor for establishing a scholarship endowment in order to directly benefit ISU students. The O.W. "Yogi" Gilliland Scholarship Fund will be awarded to students in the College of Arts & Letters who are in their junior year and have a demonstrated need for support. Additionally, the students must have a 3.0 grade point average and have contributed to their community through meaningful service.

O.W. "Yogi" Gilliland (1958 - 2013) loved Idaho State University and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1984. His commitment to higher education, nature, and biology was demonstrated throughout his career, marriage, family, and community relationships. Yogi inspired so many people with his passion for education and nature. He wanted people to move forward with their dreams and careers!

Our wonderful donor and the College of Arts & Letters would like to ask you to join us in a lasting gift to build the endowment. In doing so, you will immediately and directly benefit students as they move forward with their educational experiences and passions!

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Dr. Teri Hall Memorial Endowment in Anthropology

Richard Hall, a very special father, World War II Veteran, leader, and hero, and his late wife Melba established the Dr. Teri Hall Memorial Endowment in Anthropology to honor their daughter. Dr. Teri Hall was a beloved department chair, teacher, and mentor to many students and colleagues and was the recipient of the distinguished faculty teaching award in 1995.

Education and supporting others continue to be a primary family focus! Richard had beautiful stories to share this summer regarding the commitment Teri had to higher education. Teri learned much from her mother, Melba, a dental hygienist; and from her father, Richard, an esteemed World War II Veteran.

Richard led and trained the first canine unit (first line of defense), during World War II. He was the first instructor and mentor to guide new trainers for their units. Today, you can find Richard in Austin, Minnesota, working on hand training signals with a canine visitor! (The photo of Richard and his first military German Shepard "Tony" was taken during a military training exercise.)

The Teri Hall Memorial Endowment provides scholarships for students majoring in anthropology with a 2.0 grade point average. Richard and the College invite you to help support the growth of this important endowment!

To donate to one of these, or any other endowment, contact Heidi J. Jarvis-Grimes, Director of Development, The College of Arts & Letters, 921 South 8th Avenue, Stop 8087, Pocatello, Idaho 83209-8087, Office: (208) 282-5362, Cell: (509) 595-0805.

Your gift will truly make a difference and directly benefit our students!

New General Education Requirements

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This fall the University embarked on its first major revision to its General Education Requirements in more than 25 years. Previously, students met a set of up to a dozen general education goals by completing coursework primarily from the College of Arts & Letters (nine of the twelve goals required courses from our College). Satisfying all of the goals required a minimum of 44 credits, although many students needed more credits in order to satisfy the prerequisites for the goal courses in English and mathematics.

The new program sets forth nine core objectives that require a minimum of 36 credits to complete. In addition to lowering the total number of required credits, this streamlined set of objectives will allow greater flexibility for students in choosing general education courses. Also, because there is now no difference between B.A. and B.S. degrees regarding the General Education Requirements, students will be able to change majors without encountering new challenges. These new objectives primarily will affect entering freshmen, since students can choose to graduate under the catalog requirements that are in effect when they begin their studies at ISU or choose their major.

The basic skills requirements of written English, speech communication, and mathematics (Goals 1, 2, 3) have been retained as Objectives 1, 2, 3; and the cultural diversity requirement (Goal 10A) has been retained in a modified form as Objective 9. All of the goals for humanities, fine arts, and foreign languages have been combined into a single objective, with students choosing courses from two of the three areas. Similarly, all of the goals in behavioral and social sciences have been combined into a single objective, with students choosing two courses. These two objectives now require a total of four courses, where the previous goals required a total of eight courses. Within the College of Science and Engineering, the requirements for two science courses remain, although these courses are now listed under a single objective, and students will only have to complete one laboratory science. Two new objectives have been created: one for critical thinking and one for information literacy.

Other colleges have been encouraged to develop courses that meet the General Education Objectives, and all of the other colleges-plus the library-will now offer at least one course that will satisfy a General Education Requirement. However, the vast majority of general education courses will continue to be offered by the College of Arts & Letters.

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