ISU President Arthur C. Vailas shares successes at annual State of the University address

POCATELLO – At his annual State of the University address Aug. 31, Idaho State University President Arthur C. Vailas said campus improvements, breakthroughs in research and increased recruitment efforts are just a few of the successes ISU has seen this year.

ISU President Arthur C. Vailas delivering the State of the University address. Photo by Eric Gordon

Last year, the Gale Life Sciences building received a $1.08 million upgrade, including a new state-of-the-art anatomage table, which allows students to learn using virtual dissection.

In Idaho Falls, workers recently completed a 10,153 square foot renovation to create new offices for resident faculty and new classrooms with distance-learning capabilities. The renovation will expand opportunities for students, Vailas said. Currently, there are 30 undergraduate and graduate programs are offered in Idaho Falls.

Recruiting new students continues to be a top priority for the University, Vailas said. ISU’s Student Success Center’s Bengal Bridge summer program, designed to prepare high school students for college, increased enrollment by 231 percent this year.

Programs like Bengal STEM day, hosted by the College of Science and Engineering, bring high school and middle school students to campus to learn more about possible careers and fields of study in the sciences. Last year, nearly 700 middle and high school students came to ISU and participated in interactive learning experiences and received college preparation information. Liberal Arts High, a program sponsored by the College of Arts and Letters, brings faculty members into high school classrooms to teach workshops in different fields of study.

Vailas also touted several of the University’s new programs, which are designed to align with growing needs in the workforce. The College of Technology recently received more than $900,000 in line-item funding grow programs in high-demand fields. Two new programs– the pharmacy technician program and the occupational therapy assistant program are also in high demand.

This year was very successful in many fields of research, Vailas said. ISU submitted grant-funding applications for more than $97 million, an increase of approximately 7 percent from the previous year. Of those requests, ISU received more than $36 million in awards from externally funded grants and contracts, an increase of approximately 27 percent over the previous year.

“What’s important is that this is ongoing. Our students, our faculty and the community all benefit from this,” Vailas said.

The University is also taking a key role in medical education in Idaho, Vailas said. The Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine, a private medical school, is set to accept its first students in fall 2018 on the ISU-Meridian campus. The University and medical school will both benefit from the partnership, Vailas said. The Kasiska Division of Health Sciences will also be expanding its physical therapy program in Meridian, and its pharmacy program in Alaska.

In order to focus on the University’s strategic goals, as well as growing partnerships with entities such as the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine, Vailas also announced the appointment of Provost Laura Woodworth-Ney to the position of executive vice president. In the role, Woodworth-Ney will handle day-to-day operations at the university, and continue to serve as the senior academic advisor to the president.