December 23, 2008
Dear Friend of Idaho State University:
As we celebrate the holiday season and enter a New Year of positive potential, I want to focus on the creative and industrious nature of Idaho State University.
The nation faces many challenges related to health care, energy production, the environment and the economy. Higher education is finding the solutions to many of these problems.
In recent weeks, I have found two strong examples of how our University has expanded its role and strengths, while facing adversity: the first relates to our state-mandated mission for health professions, and the second relates to our growing strength in energy-related research.
This fall, the Kasiska College of Health Professions School of Nursing received a $711,104 grant to create a four-month rural nurse residency program that will be used to prepare nurses in a five-state region, including Idaho, Montana, Washington, Wyoming and Alaska.
The program will employ rural experts to teach new nurses advanced skills that rural generalists need to care for patients. Nursing is critical to the overall quality of medical care, and turnover among rural nurses is high for those who aren't adequately prepared to work in less populated areas.
Through a variety of distance learning technologies, this creative program will be delivered to where the nurses are currently working. This cuts costs and significantly increases the convenience for nurses, new and experienced, seeking this training. It's a win-win situation for all involved, demonstrating how Idaho State delivers education where it is most needed by those most qualified to provide it.
In other news, the Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA) has announced that Idaho State University has been accepted as an affiliate member. This is a notable step forward for ISU's growth in nuclear science research and education.
Idaho State is the first such university outside the southeastern region, besides MIT, to be granted this status since new membership categories were expanded and established this spring.
Universities and businesses affiliating with SURA enrich the research capabilities of the 27-year old coalition comprised of 64 universities, primarily from 16 southeastern states.
ISU's interest and participation includes fundamental nuclear physics research and education to be conducted at Jefferson Lab, detector development and construction to be done at ISU, and accelerator physics research and education at ISU as well. Further, Jefferson Laboratory is funding an accelerator physicist faculty position at ISU to further increase collaborative research and education.
Idaho State's role in important energy-related research of national stature is growing, and it gives us confidence in similar ventures in the future.
Idaho State University continues to fulfill its educational and service missions for all of our stakeholders, from students to the community at large. I have confidence that our faculty, staff, students and friends will respond positively to the challenges at hand, including our own short-term fiscal problems and to those larger challenges our state and region face.
From my family to yours, I wish you a happy holiday season and the best in 2009.
Arthur C. Vailas, Ph.D.
President, Idaho State University