I hope that the new year is off to a good start for you. If you’re anything like me, you’re wondering how January managed to go by so quickly and why you ever thought it was a good idea to resolve to eat less chocolate in 2018. (Perhaps you managed to last longer on that resolution than I did.)
The brisk march of time ushers in new activities for COAS faculty and students. We take pride in offering cultural and learning opportunities that are of interest and relevance not only to our students, but also to our fellow community members.
Please enjoy the features in this month’s newsletter, and I hope to see you on campus soon.
Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
Boise State University
Boise State Exceeds State’s ’60 Percent’ Goal Benchmarks for 8th Straight Year
Boise State University once again has exceeded its benchmark number for yearly bachelor’s degree graduates set when the state adopted the goal to ensure that 60 percent of Idahoans between 25 and 34 had a degree or certificate by 2020.
Boise State has exceeded the state’s yearly benchmark every year since it was set by the Idaho State Board of Education nearly a decade ago.
The goal was set to better prepare Idaho’s workforce for the economy of the future. It is expected to be highly technology-driven with rapidly changing demands for both the specific skills and competencies delivered by college majors and disciplines, as well as the critical thinking, teamwork and communications skills imparted during the college experience.
Boise State Chemistry Duo Introduces STEM to 36,000 Kids, Adults
Twenty years ago, before his tenure at Boise State University, Henry Charlier brought a pickle back to life to the fascination and awe of his local church group. On that day, the quirky chemistry character Dr. Picklestein was born.
When Charlier joined Boise State as an associate professor of chemistry in 2000, with his department’s blessing, he continued his evening and weekend routine as Dr. Picklestein. For years, he wowed these audiences – from K-12 students to college students, parents and even families at homeless shelters – with his playful demeanor, colorful uniform and clever chemistry tricks. These tricks included demonstrating the energy released when you ignite liquid oxygen in a Cheeto, making cornstarch dance on a speaker, and many experiments involving liquid nitrogen.
Visiting Artists Will Collaborate to Create an On-Site Installation at Boise State
The Visual Arts Center and the Department of Art’s Visiting Artist and Scholar Program will host the exhibition New Residue, a collaboration by artists Michael McFalls and Jon Swindler. The exhibition will open Jan. 26 and continue through March 16 in Gallery One of the Visual Arts Center.
The artists will give a free public lecture at 6 p.m. Jan. 25 in the Bishop Barnwell Room in the Student Union Building. An opening reception will take place from 5-8 p.m. on Jan. 26 in Gallery One of the Visual Arts Center.
The artists create their work through a collaborative interdisciplinary approach that blurs the lines between printmaking and sculptural installation. McFalls and Swindler started working together in early 2015, and since then they have collaborated on numerous exhibits. In many of these exhibitions, remnants from the previous shows are combined with elements from each artist’s individual studio practice. These combinations often reveal themselves as massive, composed piles of art material that serve as both repository and resource for an installation. Previous manifestations of these piles have consisted of printed matter created by McFalls and Swindler, cast-off materials from their respective studio practices, as well as found discarded materials from art-making facilities.
College of Arts and Sciences Honors Faculty Awards Winners
College of Arts and Sciences Dean Tony Roark recognized four deserving faculty members during the spring college meeting as winners of the 2017 faculty honors and awards.
The college honors and awards committee, comprised of 16 members from 16 COAS departments, reviewed over 15 entries and selected the following four faculty members.
Faculty Excellence Award: Julie Heath, Biology; Owen McDougal, Chemistry; Richard Young, Art
Adjunct Teaching Award: Karen Wadley, World Languages
Department of Communication Opens ‘Stop-Gap’ Food Pantry for Students
Plans for a university-wide food pantry are in the works. But until that happens, students and faculty in the Department of Communication have come up with their own solution, a small pantry called the Snack Shack in the department’s faculty lounge.
The Snack Shack opened just before Thanksgiving. It consists of two large bookshelves filled with donated food. Students can pick up cans of soup, granola bars, jars of spaghetti sauce and more, no questions asked. The only requirement is filling out a short anonymous survey so organizers can get a sense of who is using the service. More than 15 students have visited so far, said Jana Hockersmith, a senior majoring in communication.
Hockersmith co-founded the Snack Shack with Rebecca Robideaux Tiedge, a lecturer in the department, after Hockersmith conducted a survey that found eight out of 10 students worried about being able to afford food on a monthly basis. A study this year by the Idaho Policy Institute found more than 40 percent of Boise State students have experienced some form of food insecurity, or not knowing where their next meal will come from, during their time on campus.
First Friday Astronomy Lecture and Stargazing in Newly Reopened Observatory
February’s First Friday Astronomy Lecture and Stargazing event, which will take place from 7:30-9:30 p.m. on Feb. 2, will offer a couple attractions.
First, guest lecturer Christy Tremonit, assistant professor of astronomy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will present a talk, “Cosmic Chemistry: New Insights from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey IV.” Tremonti will discuss her research on the chemical evolution of galaxies as they gather gas, turn gas into stars, then explode as supernovae. Then, weather permitting, stargazing will follow on the roof of the Education Building in the newly-refurbished Boise State Observatory.
“Orion’s nebula should be visible by then and will be particularly relevant to the February talk since it’s a star-forming region,” said Brian Jackson, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics.
Research Shows Treasure Valley Farmland Halved in 80 Years if Development Trends Continue
When most people think of land preservation, they envision forests, not farmlands. However, many farmers in the Treasure Valley are concerned about the recent rapid loss of farmland to development, as this area has about 365,600 acres of the most productive agricultural land in the nation. Boise State faculty and students have been busy researching how urban growth and farmland loss will change the face of the Treasure Valley if these development trends continue.
Graduate student Jenna Narducci was invited to present research titled “Projecting Urban Expansion in the Treasure Valley to 2100” at the Idaho-Eastern Oregon Seed Association (IEOSA) winter convention. Narducci is studying geosciences and human-environment systems at Boise State.
The research Narducci presented at the convention shows remarkably high rates of farmland loss in the future. For example, if patterns of future urban development follow those from 2001-2011, the Treasure Valley will lose farmland at a rate of 2,000 acres per year, which equates to about 20,000 acres per decade, and about 190,000 acres (more than half of the current farmland) by the year 2100.
French Language Film Festival is Coming to Boise State
Thanks to a cultural grant from the French government, the Department of World Languages and the Idaho Film Collection will host the Tournees Film Festival on campus in January and February.
Free screenings of six French films will take place at 6 p.m. in Room 105 in Riverfront Hall. Faculty members across a range of disciplines will present each film. Films are subtitled in English.
The screenings are “Avril et le Monde Truque” on Jan. 18 presented by Greg Hampikian, professor of biological sciences and director of the Idaho Innocence Project; “La Coeur de Babel” on Jan. 19 with Gail Shuck, associate professor of English and coordinator of English Language Support Programs; “A Peine J’ouvre les Yeux” on Jan. 25 with Jim Jirak, associate professor of music education; “Hippocrate” on Jan. 26 presented by Uwe Reischl, professor in community and environmental health; “La Noire de …” on Feb. 1 presented by Mariah Devereux Herbeck, professor of French and “Qu’Allah Benisse la France” on Feb. 2 with Jason Herbeck, professor of French.
All showing are free and open to the public.
SEND A BRONCO GIFT FOR VALENTINE’S DAY!
Offering single bottle purchases for a limited time.
(A $7 packaging fee and shipping is included if an order consists of less than three bottles.)
COAS IN ACTION
Department of Communication
A study co-authored by Seth Ashley entitled ‘News Media Literacy and Conspiracy Theory Endorsement,’ recently published in Communication and the Public was featured in the prestigious Columbia Journalism Review.
In it, Ashley’s co-author, Stephanie Craft (University of Illinois) says the study “points to the power of greater news media knowledge in combating misinformation and disinformation such as fake news.”
Gallery Director/LecturerDepartment of Art
Kirsten Furlong, a lecturer in the Department of Art and Visual Art Center director, is one of 26 featured alumni in ReConnect Alumni Exhibition at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
Furlong received both her BFA (1995) and an MFA (2000) from Boise State.
Department of English
The Sewanee Review, the longest-running literary quarterly in the U.S., has published Jacky O’Connor’s essay, “The Literary Factory of Tennessee Williams.”
In her essay, O’Connor discusses Williams’s writing and revision process. She became interested in the topic while researching her 2016 book, Law and Sexuality in Tennessee Williams’s America.
O’Connor’s work in the archives at the Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas and at Columbia University provided her access to thousands of pages of Williams’s manuscripts drafted over his 50-year writing career.