Arthur C. Vailas - Idaho State University's 12th President
Arthur C. Vailas became the 12th president of Idaho State University on July 1, 2006. He has placed ISU on a trajectory to become a major research institution that provides the highest quality education to its students. Under his direction, ISU engages in teaching, research and service designed to respond to local, national and global societal needs, especially in the fields of energy, health care and the environment.
Since arriving, President Vailas has increased substantially the university's financial reserves, while at the same time purchasing and implementing a university wide, comprehensive information and enterprise system. In 2010, he led a collaborative effort to reorganize the university to enhance student program offerings and increase administrative efficiency. In January 2011, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching announced that ISU's classification had been elevated to "Research UniversityHigh" status, placing ISU in a category enjoyed by less than 5 percent of all higher academic institutions.
Under his leadership, enrollment has increased substantially. The Early College program, which allows high school students to take university courses at reduced cost, has expanded. Between 2012 and 2013, the program increased 15 percent. Online offerings have also increased - in 2013, nearly 37 percent of students were taking an online course at Idaho State University. The number of students in graduate programs has increased 18 percent since 2007. The number of degrees awarded at Idaho State University increased more than 9 percent between 2010 and 2013.
President Vailas has maintained high academic and research standards at Idaho State University throughout his tenure. In 2013, Idaho State University athletics was ranked in the top 11 programs academically in the nation, and 183 student-athletes earned Academic All-Conference honors.
To assist students with both educational and career opportunities, President Vailas created the Career Path Internship program, which allows students to gain paid work experience in their future career fields. In 2013, 652 students were in the program. To attract and assist returning military personnel seeking educations, the university operates the Veterans' Sanctuary and was recognized as a military-friendly school in 2011, 2012 and 2013 by G.I. Jobs magazine. Also, there were expansions of the recreation center, substantial housing renovations and a complete remodeling of the student union building.
Fundraising successes and partnerships have resulted in the construction of new facilities for teaching and research. The 200,000 square- foot ISU Meridian Health Science Center, which opened in 2009, houses all of ISU's Treasure Valley health professions programs and represents a partnership with the Meridian School System and the City of Meridian. Its L.S. Skaggs pharmacy facility is the result of a $6 million gift from the ALSAM Foundation. A recent gift from Delta Dental supports the ISU dental residency clinic in Meridian.
In Pocatello, the Energy Systems and Technology Education Center is a partnership with the Idaho National Laboratory and Partners for Prosperity and enjoys equipment made possible by Qwest. The rise complex is a world-class research facility where scientists are making breakthroughs in nuclear science and engineering, materials, environmental, energy and biotechnology.
In Idaho Falls, a new 55,000 square-foot building for the Center for Advanced Energy Studies was formed through partnerships with the other Idaho universities, the U.S. Department of Energy and private entities. There, researchers are working on the latest in energy technology.
Athletics has benefitted from a gift to name the Papenberg Softball Field, and has received gifts from Idaho Central Credit Union and Idaho State University Credit Union for a new basketball court and football field. An endowment for the performing arts has been established to attract and support visiting artists and artistsin-residence. A generous gift from the Wheatley family has resulted in hundreds of new trees planted around campus and other beautification efforts. President Vailas was also instrumental in bringing together the community and university in support of student efforts and local citizen programs. Each year ISU and the community celebrate Communiversity and Welcome Back Orange and Black.
Prior to joining ISU, President Vailas was vice president for research and intellectual property management for the University of Houston, and vice chancellor for research for the University of Houston System, where he also was an advisor to the Texas governor on energy, helped establish the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America, and developed a formal affiliation between UH and the Texas Medical Center. He served on the NASA national advisory council and was on the executive board of the Southeastern Universities Research Association. Earlier, he held faculty and leadership positions at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of California-Los Angeles.
An accomplished biomedical researcher, President Vailas is the author of numerous peer-reviewed scientific publications, national grants and honors and has held leadership positions on national boards and scientific committees. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Iowa, where he also completed a three-year NIH postdoctoral fellowship in biochemistry and a research fellowship in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery of the University of Iowa College of Medicine.