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From the President

In Troubled Times, Look to Education

Education is the best investment we can make right now.

It is during times of economic hardship that individuals and organizations most hopefully turn to the nation's colleges and universities to give them the competitive advantage. Many of our nation's schools were established with a specific intent to boost economic development.

Education is the great equalizer. It levels the playing field for job seekers, and it creates greater opportunity for employers to find the workforce they need. Increased credentials and sharpened skill sets can make the difference when candidates seek a position in a tight job market. The abilities and knowledge that are a part of higher education catapult us into global markets and connect us with colleagues and partners throughout the world.

Incubating entrepreneurship, transferring technological developments and partnering with the local business, health care and engineering industries are at the heart of our economic development contributions. We also collaborate with local school districts and government entities to identify and meet the needs of citizens and industry throughout the region and even the world.

Leaders with vision see how the work done at institutions of higher learning can profit the people and organizations associated with them. Access to the expertise and research at a university prove priceless when they need the knowledge to propel them over current obstacles.

Education is the best preventative medicine there is. If we expect to resolve issues of health care, science and technology, civil understanding and cultural appreciation, our best hope is to pursue answers through our colleges and universities. If we understand the physical, economic, political and social environments in which we live, we close the gap between the problems before us and the goals ahead of us.

Our efforts to share and cooperate with one another begin by identifying our common goals and taking inventory of the human and physical resources we can apply toward those ends. The partnerships that result can address shortterm concerns, but are most effective when focused on long-term objectives.

Despite these troubled times, take heart. There is hope for the future. Our economy and our society will be stronger in the long run if we learn the lessons that lean times can offer. Now is the time to take stock of what we truly value, and what holds the greatest promise for prosperity.

Arthur C. Vailas, Ph.D.
President, Idaho State University