This month’s newsletter underscores the incredible diversity of expertise, cultures, geographic connections, and partnerships that drive the efforts of students, faculty, and staff in the College of Arts and Sciences.
I hope you enjoy catching up on these exciting developments. Thank you for your interest and support.
Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
Boise State University
Boise State Celebrates 100th Commencement, First on ‘The Blue’
Boise State’s spring Commencement ceremony — the university’s 100th — honored graduates on “The Blue” Saturday, May 6, in Albertsons Stadium. More than 1,750 students participated.
In total, 2,369 students received 2,682 degrees and certificates. Of those, 617 were eligible for honors: 369 cum laude, 207 magna cum laude and 41 summa cum laude. A record 23 doctoral degrees were also awarded, bringing the total number of Boise State graduates to more than 4,000 this academic year.
“You are graduates of a university that has climbed to new heights — recently reclassified by the Carnegie Foundation as a Doctoral Research University,” said President Bob Kustra. “Every graduate receiving a degree from Boise State today benefits from this new distinction as a doctoral-research university. It not only enhances the reputation and quality of our graduate work, but it also increases the value of the Boise State degree for all graduates.”
Graduate Student Earns Prestigious Fellowship to Study Leopards in Africa
Boise State graduate biology student Tara Easter has been awarded a prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship to continue her work studying the preservation of leopard populations in Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park.
NSF awards only 2,000 of the grants nationally per year; Easter was the only Boise State student to be selected for the grant, which provides three years of financial support, including a $34,000 yearly stipend and a $12,000 cost of education allowance to Boise State.
“I’m very proud of Tara’s accomplishment – it’s a high honor,” said Neil Carter, an assistant professor with Boise State’s Human-Environment Systems Research Center and Easter’s mentor.
Construction on Center for Fine Arts Gets Under Way
Boise State University has begun construction on the new Center for Fine Arts, a $42 million project on the west end of campus along Capitol Boulevard.
“The arts and humanities are vital and crucial to the success of our city, state and region now more than ever before,” said Boise State President Bob Kustra. “With Boise State’s STEM focus and the Center for Fine Arts, we will position our students to meet at this intersection of the arts and technology where anything is possible.”
Kustra led a groundbreaking ceremony today to mark the start of construction of the 90,000- square-feet, five-story building. The Center for Fine Arts will bring all Boise State art programs under one roof, including the Visual Arts Center and the Arts and Humanities Institute.
Department of World Languages Wins Video Competition
The Department of World Languages has been named the winner of the Center for Global Education’s “#Youarewelcomehere” video competition.
The #YouAreWelcomeHere website describes the campaign as “a welcome message from U.S. higher education to international students around the world. It is a campaign designed to affirm that our institutions are diverse, friendly, safe and committed to student development. Participating institutions and organizations are communicating the message in statements, photos, videos, events and other creative expressions that feature students, faculty and staff.”
Student employees under the supervision of Amber Hoye, director of the World Languages Resource Center, created the winning 3-minute video with students, faculty and staff. Featuring 10 of the languages presently taught in the World Languages Department, the video showcases welcoming phrases from around the globe. When asked why they were driven to create the video, Blake Simony said, “I thought it was important to participate in this campaign because I enjoy making media and thought it was a great cause to promote. To promote an interconnected world, it is is essential that we travel and learn from each other’s cultures and lifestyles.”
Boise State Researchers Embark on 1,500-Mile Journey to Study Ice
On May 1, a team of five researchers from Boise State University and Dartmouth departed for a nine-week snowmobile and science trip across Greenland, during which they will traverse a major ice sheet to measure snowfall and melt rates. The collaborative effort is being funded by the National Science Foundation.
Over the next two months, the Greenland Traverse for Accumulation and Climate Studies (GreenTRACS) project will cover nearly 1,500 miles by snowmobile, drilling cores into the ice sheet and linking those cores with ground-penetrating radar profiles.
The team includes Dartmouth graduate students Karina Graeter and Gabe Lewis, mountaineer Forrest McCarthy, Boise State geophysics graduate student Tate Meehan and geosciences associate professor Hans-Peter Marshall. The collaborative research project also includes Dartmouth professor Erich Osterberg, who led the first year of the traverse and is the lead principal investigator of the project, and Boise State geosciences professor John Bradford.
Boise State Student Wins Competitive Teaching Assistantship
Sandy Walker, an English/Linguistics Major with a minor in German, has been selected for a highly competitive one-year position as an English Teaching Assistant in Reutte, Austria through Fulbright Austria.
Reutte is a historical town in the western Austrian state of Tyrol, near the border to Southern Germany. Ms. Walker looks forward to expanding her current competencies in German by learning more of the particular aspects of Austrian German. She is the sixth winner of this unique program from Boise State since 2005.
Seven Arrows Powwow Honors Art Student, Professor, and Other Supporters
Six individuals were recognized at the 2017 Seven Arrows Powwow for their work supporting Native American students, academics, community, activism and culture.
The powwow showcases the customs of Native Americans in full regalia, and visitors can try authentic Native American food and browse booths set up by regional vendors selling handmade items such as instruments, beaded jewelry, art and hand drums. In addition, dancers of all ages compete for thousands of dollars in prizes.
Boise State Students Learn Marble Carving from World-Renowned Master
In the on-campus studio of Benjamin Victor, a dozen Boise State art students, faculty and staff stand before blocks of Italian marble, envisioning how to carve the stone into replicas of famous works by Michelangelo and Bernini. This is where world-renowned sculptor Jason Arkles comes in – for two weeks, the visiting Florence-based artist will guide these students through the ancient process of turning stone into works of art using ancient techniques like a pointing machine.
“It’s not really a machine, it’s a centuries old device,” explained Arkles. “The technique and science behind it is millennia old. It’s how Renaissance artists, Greeks, Romans even the Egyptians carved. Instead of just getting a rock, hammer, chisel and going for it, you first make a rough draft using the pointing machine.”.
Professor Creating Artwork in Iceland
Art professor Richard Young currently is in his second month of the NES artist residency in Skagastrond, Iceland, where he is producing new work. The residency is part of his sabbatical research.
Young’s new body of work explores imagery based on geological aspects of Iceland, including the mid-Atlantic ridge, and draws a parallel to the process of grief and recovery. He also traveled to other sites in northern Iceland including Myvatn and Jokulsarglufur (Vatnajokull) National Park in Asbyrgi to document the subglacial eruptive ridge.
Boise State Service Learning Programs Showcase a Variety of Successful Classes
Boise State’s Service-Learning Program connects classrooms with the community through capacity-building partnerships in order to enhance student learning, address critical community issues, and encourage students to be active citizens in their local, national and global communities. Below are a few service learning classes from spring semester:
Service-Learning Students Share Natural Hazard Resources in Oregon
Geosciences assistant professor Brittany Brand integrates research, teaching and service to raise public awareness of natural hazards. This semester, Brand focused an Honors class, HONORS 392 Natural Hazard, Vulnerability and Risk, on emergency preparedness, then studied the impact of the class on both student learning and public awareness of natural hazards.
This work connects to Brand’s long-term consulting and research objectives on promoting community resilience to natural hazards and risk. Preliminary results about the impact on student learning are promising, and likely will lead to a publication.
Service-Learning Biology Class Experiences Local Ecosystems
Biological Sciences Lecturer Jessie Sherburne collaborated with local public land management agencies to provide her BIOL 100 students with hands-on experiences in the local ecosystem learning how people can change or modify it. Sherburne facilitated a service-learning project in partnership with Sam Roberts of the City of Boise’s Ridge to Rivers Trail Restoration Program. On April 1, her students repaired a section of the Dry Creek Trail.
Student responses to the experience have been very positive. One student remarked, “I developed a profound respect on those who come out here and donate time to take care of these trails.” Another student said, “This opportunity has made me extremely interested in doing trail work and it has me thinking of possible career paths.”
Service-Learning English Student Collaborate with Local Nonprofits
English Department Lecturer Michael Markley and his ENGL 519 students collaborated with the Treasure Valley United Way and the Coalition of Volunteers (COV) to develop a technical publication management feasible plan to promote the new Idaho Volunteers initiative. Idaho Volunteers is a similar campaign to Idaho Gives and aims to inspire Idahoans to become lifelong volunteers. The students’ documents provided scope, strategy, tactics, resource needs and a schedule to manage the campaign’s communication.
This partnership is one of a series of projects Markley has facilitated with the Idaho Nonprofit Center and affiliated nonprofit leadership groups. He creates unique, hands-on learning opportunities for his students by integrating nonprofit service-learning projects into his courses. The COV nonprofit managers who are leading the campaign said the students’ documents will shape their marketing efforts. Two ENGL 519 students recently joined the COV committee to help implement the plans.
Boise State Podcast Explores Research Month With COAS Associate Dean, Geosciences Professor and Faculty Partners
Mark Rudin, Boise State’s Vice President for Research and Economic Development; Leslie Durham, associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences; Shawn Benner, associate professor from the Department of Geosciences; Cienna Madrid and Brady Moore from the Office of Communications and Marketing discuss Research Month, the future of research at Boise State and how Boise State is moving beyond the stereotype of researchers sitting alone in a lab to include arts, humanities and interdisciplinary work across campus.
Listen to the podcast below and check out other Boise State Podcast episodes and more at: soundcloud.com/boise-state-university
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.