Skip to Main Content
Mobile Menu

2017 March Newsletter

College of Arts and Sciences Monthly Update

Dear Friend,

Dean Tony RoarkThe onset of rising spring temperatures is certainly a welcome change in the Treasure Valley, but faculty and students in the College of Arts and Sciences have been running hot all winter!

In this month’s newsletter you’ll read about impressive accomplishments and accolades, as well as several upcoming events to pique your interest.

I hope to see you on campus.


Tony Roark
Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
Boise State University

Boise State Artists Take Home Top Awards at BAM Triennial Exhibition

Hanging Artwork by Lily LeeHanging Artwork by Lily Lee. Boise Art Museum currently is celebrating the talents of 24 artists living and working in Idaho with the 2017 Idaho Triennial, on display now through July 16. Of the 180 Idaho artists who applied, only 24 artists were selected to participate in the Triennial, and 18 have ties to Boise State.

This year’s guest juror, John D. Spiak, the director and chief curator of California State University’s Fullerton’s Grand Central Art Center (GCAC) in Santa Ana, selected three juror’s awards, all of whom went to artists with Boise State connections. In addition, six artists were selected for the Artist Lab Award – five of whom had ties to the university. Congratulations to the following artists:


Susan Shadle Receives Boise State Distinguished Professor Honor

Susan ShadleSusan Shadle has been named a Boise State Distinguished Professor. This title constitutes one of the highest honors that may be given to a faculty member at Boise State University and is reserved for a small number of faculty who have made major contributions to their academic disciplines.

​Shadle is the director of the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) and professor of chemistry and biochemistry. She arrived at Boise State in 1996 with an undergraduate degree from Colgate University, a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from Stanford University, and a National Institute of Health (NIH) postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University.

In the classroom, Shadle repeatedly has been recognized for her outstanding performance earning awards and honors, including the College of Arts and Sciences Foundation Award for Teaching in 2000 and 2004, Iota Sigma Pi Teaching Award in 2003, Associated Students of Boise State University Teaching Award nominee in 1999 and 2004, Carnegie Foundation U.S. Professor of the Year nominee in 2005 winner in 2015, and Boise State Honors College Professor of the Year in 2005.


COAS 2017 Faculty Awards Announced

COAS 2017 Faculty Awards were recently announced by Dean Tony Roark. The three Excellence Awards recognize faculty members who demonstrate excellence in all three of the professional arenas of the professoriate and celebrate them as colleagues who model an effective, holistic approach to teaching, scholarship, and service. Additionally, one adjunct faculty member is recognized for outstanding service and commitment. Each awardee received a plaque, $1,000, and have their photograph and Awards Committee remarks featured in the display case outside the COAS Dean’s Office.

COAS faculty and staff gathered in the Lookout room at the Student Union Building last Friday where Dean Roark presented each winner with his or her plaque. The event was attended by colleagues, family and noted special guests, President Kustra and Provost Schimpf.


Acclaimed Fiction Writer Joy Williams Joins MFA Program

Joy WilliamsJoy Williams, widely regarded as one of America’s greatest living fiction writers, is the MFA in creative writing program’s 2017 Visiting Distinguished Writer. Williams is teaching a fiction workshop spring semester, as well as serving on MFA thesis committees.
In addition, she will be giving an on-campus reading at 7:30 p.m. March 30 in the Lookout Room of the Student Union Building. This event is free, open to the public and co-sponsored by the Hemingway Literary Center.
“Joy has been my literary pole star since I first read ‘Taking Care’ in 1987,” said Mitch Wieland, director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing. “She’s fierce and brilliant and utterly unique, both on the page and off. We are thrilled and profoundly honored to have her teaching in our program.”


Three Boise State Faculty (Two from COAS) Named 2017 Foundation Scholars

Don Warner, Lisa Brady and Rick Ubic

Don Warner, Lisa Brady and Rick Ubic have been selected as 2017 Boise State University Foundation Scholars. They will be recognized at the Foundation’s annual board meeting on April 26.
The prestigious Foundation Scholar Awards honor Boise State faculty who have demonstrated ongoing commitment, expertise and accomplishments in teaching, research and creative activity, or professionally related service.
The award includes a $3,000 honorarium from the Foundation for each scholar. In addition, their names will be added to the display showing all recipients of the Foundation Scholar Awards since 1992. The display is located on the first floor of the Student Union Building near the main staircase.


Biomolecular Sciences Ph.D. Candidates Receive White Coats

studentaccepting white coat from facultySheenah Bryant receives her white coat from physics professor Daniel Fologea at the 2017 White Coat Ceremony. At the event, 13 Boise State biomolecular sciences Ph.D. students were recognized for their successful completion of qualifying exams and admission as Ph.D. candidates with a celebratory white coat and a reception on Feb. 22. The event showcased the distinct position and importance of Ph.D. students for advancements in basic biomolecular sciences and biomedical research. The event, led by College of Arts and Sciences Dean Tony Roark and Denise Wingett, director of the biomolecular sciences graduate programs, marked the first annual coating ceremony to honor the burgeoning scientists.


Art Exhibit Focuses on Stories, Portraits of Basque Immigrant Women

portrait from Basque Women exhibitOn March 8, the Student Union Building Fine Arts Gallery will present the new exhibit Inner Strength: Portraits of Basque Immigrant Women, featuring the photographic work of Peter Oberlindacher and the ethnographic research of Begoña Pecharroman.

A free, public reception celebrating the opening is scheduled for 5-7 p.m. on March 8. Light refreshments will be served. The exhibit will run through April 7.
This exhibit combines the artistry of black and white environmental photographs with excerpts of stories by women of various ages who have emigrated to the west from the Basque Country.


Boise State Prof Offers Insight on this Summer’s Solar Eclipse

Brian Jackson stands next to telescopeOn Boise State’s first episode of Update Live, the podcast, physics professor Brian Jackson discusses this summer’s hottest event – the Aug. 21 solar eclipse, which is slated to cast the moon’s shadow across the belly of Idaho for the first time in 38 years.

In the half-hour podcast, Jackson discusses the best places to see the eclipse, how to safely view it – “Do not use a telescope. do not use binoculars … doctors show you will not go completely blind but you will damage your eyes severely” – and then answers audience questions about the history of eclipses, who “eclipse chasers” are, why eclipses aren’t named like hurricanes and more.


English Department Reimagines Computer Labs as Active Learning Spaces

students in new active learning lab spaceThere is a format to most computer labs: a podium, projector and white board at the front of the room, facing rows of long desks lined with 25 or so desktop computers. While this layout is entirely functional, last year the technology committee in the Department of English wondered if there wasn’t room to experiment with how students and professors engage with each other and the spaces in which they learn.

From that simple idea sparked a classroom revolution: instead of simply updating computer labs with all new desktops – especially given that many instructors noticed that students were bringing their own devices to class – the department invested some of its budget in transforming one of its three computer labs – Language Arts Building, Room 206 – into an active-learning center for students, equipped with communal tables arranged in clusters, screens affixed to walls around the room and Solstice technology that allows students to connect to the same wifi platform, stream content and collaborate on assignments. The new learning lab launched in August.


Boise State Distinguished Lecture Series Presents Author Sarah Lewis

Sarah LewisThe Honors College Distinguished Lecture Series at Boise State University will present Sarah Lewis, bestselling author of “The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery.” She will speak at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 17, in the Student Union Jordan Ballroom.

Lewis will discuss “Vision and Justice: How Artists Continue to Reshape Our World.” The lecture is free and open to the public. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. No tickets are required. Parking is available for no charge in the Lincoln Garage.

“The Rise” is about creative human endeavor, and how innovation, mastery, and new concepts are found in unlikely places. Lewis also guest-edited the “Vision and Justice” issue of Aperture magazine — a landmark collection that addresses race, photography and social justice. The book is a bestseller that has been hailed by a who’s who of creative thinkers. Lewis Hyde calls it a “welcome departure from standard accounts of artistry and innovation.” The New York Times calls it “strikingly original.


COAS Upcoming Events

Featured Speaker: Dr. Carolyn MillerMFA Reading Series: Kazim Ali

Hemingway Literary Center: All the World's a StageInterdisciplinary Explorations: The Idea of Nature

COAS in Action

Jeffery Westover

Jeff Westover

Associate Professor, Department of English

Jeff Westover recently published a teaching article titled “Cummings, Abbott and Costello: How ‘Who’s On First?’ Can Help Students Understand ‘anyone lived in a pretty how town’” in Teaching American Literature: A Journal of Theory and Practice 8.3 (Fall 2016): 54-70.

Kristen FurlongKirsten Furlong
Lecturer and Gallery Director, Department of Art

Kirsten Furlong was interviewed by Boise Weekly about a new exhibition in the Visual Arts Center titled “Crafting Resistance.” Furlong conceived the exhibition during the election, while issues like the resistance to the Dakota Access pipeline, Black Lives Matter and Donald Trump’s treatment of women were hot topics. She said she focused on hand-made items to mirror the fact that most signs and banners connected with protests are made by hand. Read interview about Crafting Resistance exhibit.

Roberto Refinetti

Roberto Refinetti

Professor and Department Chair, Department of Psychological Sciences

Roberto Refinetti, in conjunction with former student Tristan Enright, has published research in the international peer-reviewed journal Chronobiology on how time of day can potentially affect student outcomes.

The report, titled “Chronotype, class times, and academic achievement of university students,” describes the study in which the academic performance of Boise State students was evaluated in reference to their “chronotypes” – in other words, “morning types or larks” as opposed to “evening types or owls.”

Upcoming Events

  • Jan. 26-March 28: “Crafting Resistance” Exhibition
  • Mar. 8-Apr 7: Exhibit, Stories, and Portraits of Basque Immigrant Women
  • Mar. 28: Approaches to Researching and Teaching Genres Workshop – Carolyn Miller
  • Mar. 28 & Mar 30: Visiting Writer, Scholar, and Artist Richard Noyce
  • Mar. 31: Guest Ensemble Recital – “Sounds of Late”
  • Mar. 31: Faculty Artists Series Artists- Brian Hodges & Betsy Hodges
  • Mar. 31: MFA Reading Series – Kazim Ali
  • Apr. 2: Boise State Symphonic Winds Concert
  • Apr. 5-7: 20th Annual Gene Harris Jazz Festival
  • Apr. 9: Boise State Symphony Orchestra and Choirs in concert
  • Apr. 18: Graduate Scholarship String Quartet Recital
  • Apr. 20: Boise State All-Campus Band Concert

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, six interdisciplinary programs and six research units.