May 6, 2008
Dear Friend of Idaho State University:
The shared commitment among Idaho's congressional delegation and state lawmakers to advancing higher education produced important investments this year in Idaho State University.
Congress, the Idaho Legislature, and such key federal agencies as the departments of Energy, Defense, NASA, and Health and Human Services committed millions of dollars to furthering the work of our faculty, staff and students.
Some examples of what Idaho State University will be able to accomplish thanks to support at the federal level include the following:
- Provide 40 Idaho State University graduate students with paid stipends, tuition and fees while they help to develop compact systems to detect and reduce chemical, biological and nuclear threats. The students are conducting this important research at the Idaho Accelerator Center, with mentoring from ISU's anthropology, biology, chemistry, engineering and physics faculty.
- Acquire sophisticated human-patient simulators. These technologically advanced simulated patients will provide realistic training for undergraduate and graduate students in our School of Nursing.
- Idaho State University's Geographic Information System (GIS) Training and Research Center will continue to work with scientists at other institutions and agencies in studying the impacts that land-management decisions are having on comparable rangelands in Idaho, Spain and Mongolia.
Legislation passed by the Idaho Legislature and signed into law by Gov. C. L. "Butch" Otter underscored their support for Idaho State University. When the session ended in March, their accomplishments included:
- House Bill 610, the appropriation for colleges and universities. It includes $1.6 million for the private-public partnership – including Idaho State University – at the Center for Advanced Energy Studies in Idaho Falls. Of that amount, $700,000 will go toward salaries and support of Idaho State University research faculty at CAES. The bill also included $2.1 million primarily for computer-equipment replacement and upgrades.
- Senate Concurrent Resolution 135, authorizing an interim committee to study medical-education needs in Idaho.
- Senate Bill 1498. It provides almost $5.2 million to remodel the building in Meridian that will soon house Idaho State University's health-professions programs for the Treasure Valley.
- Senate Bill 1429. It includes $100,000 in annually recurring funding to help pay the operating costs of the University's multipurpose Rendezvous Complex. The University also is eligible for an additional $300,000 in fiscal year 2010.
- House Concurrent Resolution 49. It provides a 3 percent increase in salary funding and $1,575 per employee for employer benefit-cost increases.
- Senate Bill 1476. It added $10 million to the Opportunity Scholarship Endowment Fund, and $1.9 million for student scholarships in fiscal year 2009. The endowment provides "last dollars" to help Idaho students go on to post-secondary education after they've applied for all available federal financial aid, and private and family support.
As the 2007-2008 academic year comes to a close, Idaho State University is poised to meet the growing demand for programs that are current, scholarship that is relevant, and students who are prepared. Our work certainly is not finished, and I suppose that, like learning, it never will be.
Arthur C. Vailas, Ph.D.
President, Idaho State University