Spring 2009 Newsletter
Message from the Dean
There are many factors (e.g., interactions with university personnel, economic environment, motivation) that enter into an individual’s decision to become a graduate student at Idaho State University. Do our efforts work? While we cannot know for certain what degree of influence our promotion and recruitment efforts have on such a decision, we do know that according to the 10th day enrollment count for the Spring 2009 semester there was an increase of 114 Master’s students (8.9% increase) and 31 Doctoral students (8.0%) for a total percentage increase of 8.7% for these two student categories over the Spring 2008 semester. This level of increase is truly encouraging. Thank you to everyone (faculty, staff, students, others) who has helped the Graduate School in our promotion and recruitment efforts these past semesters.
Promote & Recruit...Building Relationships
Graduate education creates and increases options and opportunities for our students, our citizens, and our society. Because we not only believe in these ideals, but are committed to them, we’re working to support and build the graduate enterprise at Idaho State University. The following highlights our efforts in terms of promotion and recruitment initiatives launched by the Graduate School.
Our fundamental strategy has been, and remains grounded in an understanding of who and where we are now, in terms of our student demographics and graduate programs, and who and where we want to be tomorrow. From that foundation, our energy and efforts have focused on identifying and building relationships with students and institutions that are highly compatible with our graduate programs. From across the State of Idaho (ISU, BSU, BYU-I, College of Idaho, INL and Northwest Nazarene), to the California Diversity Forum, to Utah Valley and Weber State Universities in Utah, to nine Northwest Conference colleges and universities in Oregon (George Fox, Linfield, Lewis and Clark, Pacific, and Willamette) and Washington (Pacific Lutheran, University of Puget Sound, Whitman and Whitworth), and across the ocean to Nepal (Pokhara and Tribhuvan Universities), our strategy involves in-person contacts with college/university provosts, deans, and faculty to build top-down support and collegial connections for recruiting their students.
A shining example of these efforts is the nine Northwest Conference colleges/universities. These private, highly selective and rigorously academic institutions, in the tradition of the Liberal Arts, have consistently produced exceptional students who are well-prepared for success in graduate education. After a week-long Northwest road trip and visit last November, the Graduate School has kept in touch through mailings of informational materials and personal well-wishes. Building on these introductory efforts, Idaho State University department chairs and graduate program directors have already, or will soon receive packets of information about their faculty counterparts from the conference colleges, thereby facilitating discipline specific faculty-to-faculty contact and communication. As further follow-up, Steve Bezdeka (Coordinator of Graduate Promotion and Recruitment) will attend the 20th Annual First Avenue Graduate Fair at the University of Portland, sponsored by the Oregon Liberal Arts Placement Consortium (April 2, 2009).
On the international front, Steve has initiated communication with and through ISU students from Nepal, and corresponded with their parents; leading to enthusiastic and voluntary support to promote Idaho State University graduate programs to Nepalese students. These efforts have precipitated the pursuit of a Memorandum of Understanding between Tribhuvan University, the largest university system in Nepal, and Idaho State University. With support for that process from our administration, steps are being initiated toward this official and beneficial relationship.
Graduate Student Research
Over the course of her Doctor of Arts program of study, Ms. Sandhya Baviskar, graduate student in the Department of Biological Sciences, conducted a study to examine Teaching Assistants' (TA) attitudes towards teaching and education, as well as their perceptions of the effectiveness of Idaho State University's teaching assistant system. One hundred fifty-seven students replied to the online survey (response rate: 51.9%). Data analysis revealed that graduate TAs viewed their TA experience as academically and professionally valuable, but reported concerns that they did not get enough training and support from the course supervisor/ faculty when they became a TA for the first time. Based on the findings, recommendations have been made for strengthening TA training at ISU.
Sandhya graduates this spring and anticipates launching her career in higher education, teaching biology.
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In fall 2006, Mr. Shane Griggs joined the ISU graduate program in sociology. He worked on a research project with Dr. Gesine Hearn. The project explored the role of expectations, beliefs and socio-cultural components in the experience and treatment of pain and injury among a group with a particular exposure to pain and injury – college football players. Shane presented a paper based on the project data at the 2008 annual meeting of the Pacific Sociological Association (PSA). Shane looked at the experience of concussion among college football players. The athletes in the study did not experience concussion as they experienced other injuries: they did not recall concussions in a detailed manner, and viewed concussions mostly as minor injuries. The attitude of mental toughness in the football culture could explain why players minimized the concussion experience. Shane’s research will expand the knowledge in sociology and across disciplines. His research also has the potential of broad impact. Shane is currently editing the paper for publication in a sociological journal, and he is working on his Master’s thesis.
According to Dr. Hearn, "Shane has an impressive ability for creative thought, a dedication to learning, and strong leadership skills."
"Creating a Community of Connection"
Message from the GSA President
The Graduate Student Association (GSA) is an ASISU club which supports the Graduate School and graduate education at ISU. Our primary purpose is to recruit, welcome, mentor, and serve as role models for graduate students at ISU. The GSA meets every second Friday of the month throughout the semester at a social gathering called 2nd Friday where we connect, share, and air graduate student issues and concerns while enjoying refreshments. Students across disciplines and colleges are invited to attend.
On February 6,2009, Mr. Don Colby, Vice President for Development was our featured guest. There was a lively discussion providing information about ongoing efforts to increase graduate student financial support options. On March 13, we are hosting a recreation and networking opportunity. Graduate students are invited to meet at the PSUB Bowling Alley to play and socialize. Finally, on April 10, we will be celebrating the semester, by sharing and showcasing graduate student research and creative excellence. Please join us with your friends!
Graduate Student Association2nd Fridays
Creating a community ofconnection! Idaho State University graduate students are invited to attend the Graduate Student Association 2nd Fridays. These “get-togethers” take place from 4:00-5:30 pm. Light refreshments are provided. The spring meeting schedule & programming is as follows:
Student Support Services
New at ISU
The PhD in English will be officially launched beginning Fall 2009!Check out their website for more information.
ISU is "Breaking New Ground" in the Caribbean
We currently have 411 international students from over 64 countries. This number includes over 200 graduate and post doctoral students; the majority of these are coming from India, Nepal, and China. The International Programs Office (IPO) is involved,at present, in an aggressive initiative aimed at recruiting more students from these regions while actively building new relationships with high schools and universities in the Caribbean and Latin America. The IPO director with the assistance of the student affairs team went to Trinidad in February to talk to principals, deans, and students about available opportunities for tertiary education at Idaho State University.
The response in Trinidad has been extremely positive.This appears to be rich soil for student recruitment.