November 19, 2009
Dear Friend of Idaho State University,
There is no doubt that we are in tough economic times. Its reassuring and uplifting to hear that there is plenty we are doing at Idaho State University to offer a great educational environment for students to learn and grow, and for faculty to create new knowledge through cutting-edge research.
The hard work of faculty, staff and students was affirmed recently by an evaluation committee from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). Two reviewers visited the Pocatello campus as part of a five-year interim evaluation of the university. The university receives a full evaluation every 10 years.
The interim evaluation contained three commendations and only one recommendation — a certain improvement from the 2004 full review when ISU received 10 recommendations.
The evaluators praised ISU's Rendezvous Complex, a multi-use facility that offers students a place to live, study, take classes, enjoy meals and socialize. They also commended the University for implementation of the Banner Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, which will facilitate data-driven decision-making and institutional research.
Probably the most exciting commendation was recognition of our efforts to enhance student services and provide financial support for students. At ISU, we are constantly striving to serve our students — they are our most important asset. It was exciting to see that the reviewers notice our efforts, and that we are keeping our students at the forefront in these tough economic times.
This accreditation report is important — the NWCCU is an independent, non-profit membership organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation as the regional authority on educational quality and institutional effectiveness of higher education institutions in our seven-state Northwest region. The official report will be issued in January 2010.
I want to thank all those who were a part of preparing the interim accreditation report and those who came to the forums and gave their candid opinions and experiences to the accreditation committee members.
We have come a long way since the accreditation team sent their report five years ago, and we can continue to do even better. We plan to keep students at the forefront, continuing groundbreaking research and giving students the best educational experience possible.
We also are working collaboratively with other institutions and the outside community to make sure we are offering the best education possible. Take a look at Dr. Richard Hansen, a researcher featured on the cover of our most recent edition of ISU Magazine, and one of many fine professors and researchers at our institution. His archeological research on Mayan civilization in Guatemala and his focus on improving the lives of the Guatemalan people who work on his projects is not only providing great lessons for his students; it is changing the economy of Guatemala and the livelihood of its people. He is one of many members of the ISU family who is making a difference and helping us achieve our goals.
The road is not always an easy one, but our future at Idaho State University is promising.
On an especially positive note, I would like to thank the community for their tremendous support of Idaho State University athletics in recent weeks. Members of the football, volleyball and soccer teams were thrilled to have crowds cheering them on. For those who weren't able to make the games, I'm proud to announce that ISU's football team bested Portland State, 41-34. Our soccer team made it to the Big Sky Championship Game, and our volleyball players will be playing this weekend to try to capture a spot in the Big Sky tournament. Bring your family to the volleyball match Friday, Nov. 20 against Montana State University at 7 p.m. in Reed Gymnasium. Children ages 12 and younger will be admitted free.
Arthur C. Vailas, Ph.D.
President, Idaho State University