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2017 List of Accomplishments


For the College, 2017 was a year for the record books. Our faculty, staff, students and alumni had many accomplishments, and we are proud to call them ours. Below is a selection of the many things we accomplished in 2017, and we look forward to many more in 2018.

  • We saw great rewards from our three go-on initiatives, including an 11.7% enrollment increase in the fall 2017 semester.
  • New in-state student enrollment for those declaring majors in Arts & Letters increased from 215 in fall 2016 to 378 in fall 2017, a 75.8% increase.
  • We saw substantial growth in Bannock, Bingham and Bonneville counties, the three we focused our Liberal Arts High and Road Scholars programs on. Bannock increased 44.3%, Bingham increased 90% and Bonneville county increased 122.6% for an overall increase of 64.8% in these counties.
  • We saw a 171% increase in undecided majors, those who chose to declare interest in our College.
  • The College received approval for Blackfoot and Fort Hall high school students to use the commuter bus to travel to campus and participate in our on-campus dual-enrollment program.
  • Twenty Arts & Letters faculty members published the book Narrative, Identity, and Academic Community in Higher Education that focused on narrative and the power of storytelling.
  • The student-run International Affairs Council hosted the 46th annual Frank Church Symposium around the theme “The Post-Colonial State.”
  • The College received approval to offer the Master of Social Work program starting in fall 2018. It will be the only public Master of Social Work program in Eastern Idaho.
  • The College held six summer camps for students interested in music, dance, theatre, art and communication.
  • The College hosted the inaugural Fiddle Competition on May 20. The event featured concerts, camping, food trucks, scholarships and over $5,000 in prize money.
  • The ISU Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program received accreditation from the American Psychological Association Commission on Accreditation (APA-CoA) for seven additional years, and remains the only accredited clinical psychology Ph.D. program in the state.
  • The College hosted a week-long event raising awareness about sexual assault and domestic violence titled “Surviving Voices.” The event included documentary screenings, dance performances and a keynote address by Elizabeth Smart.
  • The School of Performing Arts had over 3,300 students on campus during their annual one-act competition and various matinee performances of their current shows.
  • The Department of English and Philosophy announced Service Learning and Literary Studies in English edited by Laurie Grobman (Penn State University) and Roberta Rosenberg (Christopher Newport University) as the winner of the 2017 Teaching Literature Book Award.
  • The Department of Art and Pocatello High School co-hosted the Idaho Art Education Association (IAEA) Conference October 5-7 on ISU’s campus. The conference drew over 100 attendees from across Idaho who used ISU’s studios to learn about art theory and different art methods.
  • The Department of Music hosted the International Choral Festival, the Idaho Music Educators Conference, the Metropolitan Opera Auditions, Jazz Fest, the Marching Band Invitational, Day of Percussion, and various group, student, and faculty concerts. The School of Performing Arts presented six theatre and dance performances throughout the year.
  • The Department of Music established a recording studio for students to receive a more well-rounded music education. The recording studio will help students produce their own music in a professional space, as well as learn how to produce music for other musicians.
  • The College’s theatre program was ranked second on’s “The Top 10 Most Underrated College Theatre Programs for 2017 – North West Region.”
  • The College established a scholarship endowment in honor of emeritus history professor Ron Hatzenbuehler. He taught at ISU from 1972 to 2013, wrote three books about the nation’s early history and received numerous awards for teaching including ISU’s Distinguished Teacher of the Year.
  • The College welcomed two new staff members to the dean’s office staff: Matthew Stucki, Director of Development, and Holly Stucki, Director of Outreach and Retention.
  • Terry Ownby, professor of photography, was accepted into the Atomic Photographers Guild (APG), an international collective of over 30 artists dedicated to making visible all facets of the nuclear age.
  • Joshua Swift and the Department of Psychology received a $50,871 grant from Brigham Young University to study psychotherapy with the integration of spirituality in treatment.
  • Elizabeth Brunner, a professor in the Department of Communication, Media and Persuasion, received a $3,500 grant from the Idaho Humanities Council to fund her travel to China to conduct research for her next book.
  • Global Studies and Languages professor Malliga Och received the Deborah Gerner Grant from the International Studies Association. The grant funds any professional development needs by the winning candidate.
  • Department of Global Studies and Languages professor Cathleen Tarp was a co-project lead on a $50,000 grant from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) alongside nursing professor Mary A. Nies.
  • Department of English and Philosophy professors Brian and Jennifer Attebery received Distinguished Alumni Awards from the College of Idaho, each being recognized individually for their accomplishments.
  • Music professor and associate director of bands Thomas Kloss was awarded the Idaho State University 2017 Distinguished Service Award.
  • Psychology professor Erin Rasmussen was awarded Idaho State University’s 2017 Distinguished Researcher Award.
  • Global Studies professor Yolonda Youngs received a $118,402 award in support of her research by the U.S. Department of the Interior - National Park Service. Her research project is titled "Adventure Outdoor Recreation History and Management in Grand Teton National Park."
  • Psychology professor Shannon Lunch was appointed by the Board of Advancement of Psychology in the Public Interest to serve on the Committee on Women in Psychology.
  • Sociology, Social Work & Criminology professor DJ Williams presented his research on serial murder and leisure at the North London Forensic Service 12th International Conference.
  • Staci Jensen-Hart and the Department of Sociology, Social Work & Criminology received a $137,217 grant from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to recruit and retain social work students who are interested in child welfare.
  • Psychology professors Shannon Lynch and Rob Rieske were co-principal investigators on a grant from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (IDHW) for $287,174.
  • Tera Letzring, professor of psychology, received a grant to support graduate research assistant Doug Cruthirds. Cruthirds is working with Jeffrey Joe, a Human Factors Scientist at the Idaho National Lab, to develop a study to examine how cognitive processes and performance are affected by the way in which information is presented.
  • Faculty members Vanessa Ballam, Theatre, and Zack Heern, History, received the Idaho State Business Journal’s 20 Under 40 Award. The prestigious award is given every year to members of the community under the age of 40 whose contributions and accomplishments have been a step above the rest.
  • Donna Lybecker, chair and professor in the Department of Political Science, and Thom Hasenpflug, chair and professor in the Department of Music, were nominated and honored at the Idaho State Journal’s 18th annual Business and Professional Achievement Awards.
  • Psychology professor Xiaomeng (Mona) Xu and clinical doctoral student Ariana Tart-Zelvin, had their article “What Goes On in Our Brains When We Are in Love?” published online at Scientific American. The article focuses on what changes in the brain when you fall deeply in love.
  • Associate dean Randy Earles assumed the Gate City Rotary Club’s president position. Earles has volunteered with the Rotary for 15 years and will serve a one-year term as president.
  • History professors Erika Kuhlman and Kevin Marsh created a refugee scholarship for prospective ISU students.
  • Michele Brumley, professor and chair of psychology, was named the editor-in-chief of the peer reviewed journal Developmental Psychobiology.
  • Professor of English, Jessica Winston’s book Lawyers at Play: Literature, Law, and Politics at the Modern Inns of Court, 1558-1581 was awarded the Joseph L. Andrews Legal Literature Award from the American Association of Law Libraries.
  • Emeritus professor Susan Swetnam was honored by the Idaho Humanities Council with an Outstanding Achievement in the Humanities award.
  • Joy Lee, a clinical doctoral student in the Department of Psychology was awarded a $10,000 research grant from the Sidney W. and Janet R. Bijou Grant from the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis.
  • Two students in the Department of Art received national recognition for their innovative work in fiber and surface design. Rachael Mayer, a Master of Fine Arts student, and Ali Boriboun, a Bachelor of Fine Arts student, were awarded the Surface Design Association’s Creative Promise Award for Student Excellence.
  • Ten theatre students traveled to Denver to participate in the Region VII Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF).
  • Theatre graduate Venus Gulbranson was selected for a full mentorship in the USITT Gateway Program and traveled to the 57th annual conference in St. Louis.
  • Experimental Psychology Ph.D. student Aimee Bozeman was awarded first place in the student poster competition for non-human subjects research at the 50th annual meeting for the International Society for Developmental Psychobiology.
  • Trombone music student Conor O’Farrell won the grand prize at the Idaho Federation of Music Clubs Collegiate Scholarship Awards competition. He received a perfect score out of 30 possible points and won $1,300.
  • Clinical psychology doctoral student Chris Decou was awarded the 2017 Distinguished Student Research Award in Clinical Psychology by the Education and Training Committee of the Society of Clinical Psychology, American Psychology Association.
  • Experimental psychology doctoral student Douglas Colman was one of 77 students admitted to the Society for Personality and Social Psychology’s 2017 Summer Institute in Social and Personality Psychology.


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