Idaho State University Idaho Falls plans to greatly expand the number of faculty and courses at its Idaho Falls campus in coming years, offering more degree programs and graduate-level classes centered around science and engineering. ISU envisions transforming the Idaho Falls campus with a polytechnic initiative that has research ties to neighboring Idaho National Laboratory. The Idaho Legislature provided $1.8 million to jump-start the institute during the 2017 session.
Idaho State University began the process of creating a polytechnic initiative with the creation of a Polytechnic steering committee established by the Vice Provost of Academic Strategy and Institutional Effectiveness. The steering committee is composed of deans from the College of Science and Engineering, Business, and Arts and Letters, as well as members of the Idaho Fall’s campus and representatives from the University of Idaho, Brigham Young University-Idaho, and the College of Eastern Idaho. The steering committee completed an analysis of polytechnic initiative’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, a vision statement, and a mission statement. These documents will guide ISU in the development of future programs and curriculum, a hiring and support plan, and in identifying future opportunities to support Idaho students, industry, and businesses.
The goal is to hire 10 new full-time faculty. The search process is underway for two Nuclear Engineering faculty. Sufficient space for more faculty was created, following an overhaul of the university's Tingey Administration Building last year. The remodel opened up 20 faculty offices, four classrooms, a conference room and lounge space. Apart from hiring more science and engineering faculty, there would be an interdisciplinary approach to building a polytechnic institute. For example, ISU might hire a political science professor who specializes in environmental or energy policy, or an English professor who is an expert in communicating science to the general public.
The long term vision includes adding classroom and research facilities on the Idaho Falls campus years from now. He sees the polytechnic initiative as being very complimentary to the new College of Eastern Idaho.