President Vailas delivers State of University Address, highlights opportunities, accomplishments
October 30, 2014
Idaho State University President Arthur C. Vailas touted the variety, quality and depth of the University’s programs and the tremendous opportunities they provide during his annual State of the University Address on Wednesday, Oct. 29.
“It is an honor to be president of this transforming university because it has made, and will continue to make, a very significant impact in the country,” Vailas said to the audience gathered at the Stephens Performing Art Center’s Bistline Theatre. “We have expanded into areas where we have been challenging the traditional thinking of higher education and we have the performance to prove it.”
He addressed the University’s four core themes of “learning and discovery,” “access and opportunity,” “social impact” and “leadership in the health professions.”
With regard to the latter theme, Vailas pointed out that one-third of the degrees awarded at ISU are in the health professions and that ISU is recognized as the state leader in health professions. It also offers eight of the 11 most nationally needed health care degrees. These health care programs have high graduation and job placement rates.
Beyond its health mission, ISU is a comprehensive university offering the broadest array of academic and technical programs in the state.
“We offer an incredible breadth of academic programs – ISU has it all,” Vailas said, listing the types programs available from certificates and associate degrees, to master’s degrees, residencies, doctorates and post-doctoral degrees.
“We manage this in a way that makes sense to provide a workforce that is well educated at all levels,” Vailas said. “We cannot afford to focus in one area, we have to be able to provide a very talented workforce able to think, innovate and execute on those things that are important and drive our economy.”
He provided an overview of ISU’s enrollment and all the services available to students committed to helping them succeed, from additional advising programs to the Career Path Internship program that gives scores of students real-world, paid experience while still in school. He noted that ISU’s Early College Enrollment program now has 2,100 prep students enrolled, an increase of 10 percent over last year. Retention rates are also improving at ISU.
Vailas noted ISU’s professional-technical education continues to meet needs for students and employer and that 86 percent of 2012 College of Technology graduates were employed within six months of graduation.
ISU is also expanding its research efforts, much of it focusing on energy, bioscience and health care delivery.
“We have fantastic undergraduate and graduate research opportunities and we encourage students to engage in the process of innovation and creativity,” Vailas said. “We continue to bring in big grants. Now we’re bringing in the million-dollar grants and contracts and have far more industry interest than in the past with regard to our research potential.”
ISU’s research is also having a direct impact on the people of Idaho. For example, the University’s 15 regional health clinics provided more than 50,000 patient visits in the last fiscal year.
Throughout his address, Vailas presented his vision for the future of Idaho State University focusing on strategic increases in enrollment, campus-wide commitment to student success, and research and economic development. He also thanked those who support the university.
“We have a great university before you and its greatness only comes from the people who are in it and the people who are supporting it,” Vailas said, “…it’s all about the partnerships, relationships and innovative thinking. It’s about the process of discovery, and, definitely, all about opportunity.”