It’s the time of year when we make a special effort to reflect on the things in our life for which we are thankful, and those of us who work at Boise State enjoy an embarrassment of riches. Universities are inherently human-driven organizations, and the personal bonds that develop among faculty, students, staff, and community partners certainly count as some of the most valuable rewards life has to offer.
Those relationships also produce tremendous societal good, which infuses them with a spirit of purpose that strengthens the bond and draws others in to join the cause. That phenomenon of human-connectedness-for-the-human-good is extraordinarily potent and something that we’re proud to deliver, over and above the disciplinary-specific education we provide in the class room, laboratory, studio, and field.
May you also find joy in your relationships and good causes in this season of thanks.
Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
Boise State University
Boise State Record Enrollment Growth Continues Across Campus
Boise State University’s official enrollment for the fall 2017 semester is 24,154 — the highest in university history.
Boise State served a total of more than 30,000 students over the course of the scholastic year last year, but the fall snapshot is the official enrollment for state and federal reporting purposes.
The record fall semester headcount shows that Boise State is educating more degree-seeking undergraduates than last year, as well as:
- more degree-seeking master’s and doctoral degree students,
- more Hispanic and Latino students,
- more Honors College students,
- more online undergraduate and graduate students,
- more transfer students,
- and more Idaho resident and out-of-state newcomers in the largest first-year class in Boise State history (for the second year in a row).
In nearly all of these categories, this fall’s enrollment has set university records. The university also set a new record for graduates this past year, with 4,172 people earning a degree or certificate in the past academic year.
Boise State MFA Program in Creative Writing Presents Author Chris Offutt
The MFA in Creative Writing at Boise State University will present acclaimed author Chris Offutt at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1, in the Morrison Center Recital Hall. This reading is free and open to the public. Doors open at 7 p.m. No tickets are required.
Offutt is the author of one novel, two short story collections, and two memoirs, including his most recent book, “My Father, the Pornographer.” His works of fiction include “Out of the Woods,” “The Good Brother,” and “Kentucky Straight.” Honors for his work include Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, as well as a Whiting Award. Offutt is also a screenwriter, and has worked on the HBO drama “True Blood” and the Showtime Series “Weeds.” His writing has appeared in The Best American Essays, The Best American Short Stories, and many other anthologies.
Boise State Researcher Awarded NSF Grant to Demystify Metabolic Processes in Cells
Lisa Warner, an assistant research professor with Boise State’s Biomolecular Research Center, is fascinated by the metabolic pathways found in living systems. These complex networks of chemical reactions convert small molecules – metabolites – into fundamental energy and chemical building blocks, such as proteins, lipids and nucleic acids. However, many of the processes by which cells execute these conversions remain mysterious to researchers.
Warner recently was awarded a two-year, $193,997 grant administered by the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program, which will allow her to partner with Colorado’s National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) and continue her work researching and demystifying the metabolic process in cells.
“Our goal is to better understand the chemical metabolism that happens in the cell,” Warner explained. “The cells eat the sugars and it’s converted into different products – but it’s like a black box, a sugar goes in and lactic acids come out. How it exactly happens is what we’re trying to find out.”
Talkin’ Broncos Earn Top Awards at Spokane Tournament
The Pi Kappa Delta National Championship Boise State Speech and Debate team continued their 2017-18 season with a strong performance at the McPherson Classic in Spokane, Washington, Oct. 21-22. Competing against teams from Oregon State University, Azusa Pacific University, Carroll College, Pacific University and University of Idaho, the Talkin’ Broncos won first place in Overall Sweepstakes.
“Whitworth University is hosting the 2018 IPDA Debate National Championship in March so it was wonderful to come up and get familiar with the campus and the local judging pool,” said Manda Hicks, director of forensics. “This is a relatively young northwest tournament – only in its third year – so we got to enjoy competition with some new schools.”
Boise State Faculty Install Avalanche Detection Systems in Little Cottonwood Canyon
Associate professors H.P. Marshall and Jeff Johnson in the Department of Geosciences, along with Sin Ming Loo, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, recently installed several low-frequency microphones for avalanche detection in Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah.
Their research project is funded by a consortium of Department of Transportation (DOT) avalanche forecasting offices across the Western U.S., and is focused on development and testing of real-time avalanche detection for the mountain highway outside Salt Lake City, which provides access to the popular ski resorts of Alta and Snowbird. The DOT currently employs two avalanche detection systems, however, these systems are nearly 10 years old and their technology is no longer being supported or sold by the company that built them. The DOT is looking for ways to upgrade and expand their avalanche monitoring capabilities. During ski season more than 10,000 vehicles per day navigate this corridor, which must often be closed in response to avalanche hazards.
Eric Hayden Awarded NSF Grant to Study How Microbes Influence the Gut of Herbivores
Microbes are the invisible inhabitants of Earth. Yet despite their small size, these organisms can have significant impacts on their environment, including their animal and human hosts. For instance, we now know that specific microbes are important for human health, and are passed from mother to child at birth. Several human diseases have shown a different community of microbes between healthy and sick people.
Eric Hayden, an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, hopes to add to the rapidly growing field of metagenomics – the modern analysis of complex populations of diverse microorganisms. This approach side-steps the need to grow microbes separately in the lab, and instead studies their DNA taken directly from the environment. Hayden is the recipient of a two-year, $130,772 grant administered by the National Science Foundation’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program.
Department of English Linguistics Program Held on Campus
The linguistics program in Boise State’s English department hosted a joint session of two conferences, the Western Conference on Linguistics (WECOL) and the Friends of Uto-Aztecan Conference (FUAC) in October.
The conferences drew nearly 100 linguists from throughout the United States, Mexico, the Basque Country, Japan and Germany. A special session on language and displacement highlighted linguistics work that Boise State faculty and students collaborate on with area tribes, as well as with those resettled in Boise as refugees. Two plenary speakers spoke to this timely topic; Christine Sims from the University of New Mexico and Linguistics Institute for Native Americans spoke about cultural literacy in oral-based traditions in indigenous communities and the connection of language and place and Martha Bigelow from the University of Minnesota provided insights on language learning among adolescent refugees with limited formal education.
PonyUp Campaign Launches Food Cupboards
18% of Boise State students have experienced high levels of food insecurity, and 23% of students have experienced a very high level of food insecurity.
This year, the Associated Students of Boise State University (ASBSU), hopes to change this statistic by partnering with campus-wide departments and colleges to host food cupboards for Broncos experiencing food insecurity. Every food cupboard is to be fully stocked with nutritious meal options and grab-n-go snacks informed by our on-campus dietician, Marlee Harris! Furthermore, each cupboard will be home to basic school supplies (such as pens, pencils, binders, and notebooks) because no student should ever have to choose between having enough food, and having the right materials to succeed in the classroom.
Statistics show that, “in general students who suffer from food insecurity are nearly 15 times more likely to have failed courses, and 6 times more likely to have withdrawn or failed to recognize to register for more courses” and we know that students who are involved outside of the classroom, perform better in the classroom, but without enough to eat in a day, students don’t have the nutrients or energy to carry them through their day.
College of Arts and Sciences Welcome Emeriti Faculty and Staff During Homecoming
With nearly 40 College of Arts and Sciences emeriti faculty and staff members and their guests in attendance, Dean Tony Roark welcomed the emeriti group back to campus on Homecoming Saturday. The Dean’s office hosted the annual event during Homecoming week honoring and recognizing their work and service for the university and college.
This year’s emeriti group represented 12 of 16 College of Arts and Sciences departments and comprised of both faculty and staff. Provost Martin Schimpf was also in attendance.
Boise State Alumni Fill Boise City Council Seats Including Three COAS Alums
After the recent local elections, all six Boise City Council seats are filled by Boise State alumni.
They include Lisa Sanchez (BA, communication, ’07), Holli Woodings (BA, English ’07), TJ Thomson (BS, political science, ’00), Elaine Clegg (BA, art, ’97), Lauren McLean (MPA, ’02) and Scot Ludwig (BBA, quantitative management, ’82).
“To learn that all six Boise City Council members are Boise State University Alumni makes us very proud,” said Lisa M. Gardner, executive director of alumni relations at Boise State. “We have always believed that our graduates are among the best in our communities and it appears the voters agree. Congratulations Lisa Sanchez and Holli Woodings for joining TJ Thompson, Elaine Clegg, Lauren McLean and Scot Ludwig. We look forward to following your career and future successes.”
COAS IN ACTION
Department of Mathematics
Grady Wright was one of the four invited plenary speakers in the 1st Biennial Meeting of Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics Pacific Northwest Section (SIAMPNW) 2017, held Oct. 27-29, in Corvallis, Oregon. Wright’s plenary lecture was titled “Computing with functions in spherical and polar geometries.”
Spherical and polar geometries are ubiquitous in computational science and engineering, arising in, for example, weather and climate forecasting, geophysics and astrophysics.
Department of Geosciences
Karen Viskupic recently was elected the second vice president of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers. The association welcomed its newest elected officers at the its annual meeting, Oct. 22-25, in Seattle Washington. The new officers will serve in their positions for one year.
Department of Physics
Daniel Fologea published the article “Lysenin channels as single-molecule sensors, controlled nano-valves, and memory elements” in the most recent issue of Research Features magazine.
The article examines the way cells interact with their environment by selective transportation of ions and molecules through the cell membrane in order to understand how diseases occur, and how to use them for biosensing, early diagnosis and to cure diseases like cancer.
- Nov. 30: Annual University Tree Lighting-5:30 p.m.
- Dec. 8: Annual Family Concert-7:30 p.m.
- Dec. 16: Winter Commencement
ABOUT THE COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
The College of Arts and Sciences enhances the scientific, ethical, and cultural foundation of our society through education, research, creative activity, and community engagement, thereby improving individual and collective quality of life. Our faculty, staff, and students discover and share knowledge, understand and appreciate diversity, create and analyze art, and engage and enrich our local and global communities. The College of Arts and Sciences is made up of sixteen departments, five interdisciplinary programs and six research units.