Adequate funding, or the lack thereof, has been a topic of conversation at the Legislature in recent weeks. The fact is that state funding for higher education has not been a priority in recent years, having decreased from where it was just ten years ago while funding for many other state entities has significantly increased over the same time.
A case in point is Boise State, where state support accounts for just 18 percent of the university’s current budget, compared with 33 percent 10 years ago. In addition, Enrollment Workload Adjustment (EWA) – a state formula to support enrollment growth – has not been consistently funded from year to year. Because Boise State leads the state in increased enrollments over recent years, our students do not receive the same level of financial support that students at other Idaho schools do. In fact, our students are dead last in per student funding when compared to our sister institutions even when adjusted for the differences in research and graduate programming. Unfunded growth from 2008 to the present totals $10.3 million for Boise State alone, and presents a major challenge to us as the university serves the most populated region in Idaho with a growing tech economy dependent on more programming and more graduates.
I do hope the State of Idaho recognizes and rewards the enormous contribution Boise State makes to the state and regional economy. One thing is for sure – Boise State can make a very strong case for the equity funding it has thus far been denied. Our academic growth since 2001 is impressive. The number of doctoral programs offered has quadrupled, the number of master’s degree programs has more than doubled, and digital learning has expanded to encompass 13 fully online programs. We have increased our graduate production by 47 percent since 2006, with 3,441 total graduates last year. Boise State now awards 41 percent of all degrees granted annually by Idaho public higher education institutions.
The students we educate today will provide the next generation of leadership for Idaho’s economy and its communities. The success of Boise State and its students is not in doubt, but distributing resources fairly among Idaho’s students and schools would make a big difference in ensuring that we continue to serve our region and produce more graduates prepared for a fiercely competitive global economy.
As usual, thank you for all that you do for Boise State University. Go Broncos!
Here are a few recent and upcoming events at Boise State University:
Registration is now open for the 2013 Beat Coach Pete Scholarship Run and Walk scheduled for Saturday, April 13. Racers are challenged to beat Boise State University head football coach Chris Petersen to the finish line while benefiting student scholarships. The family-friendly event begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Boise State Recreation Center. The three-mile race winds through campus, along the Boise City Greenbelt and finishes at Bronco Stadium. Registration through April 7 is $15 for Boise State students and children 10 and under, and $25 general. A family of five may register for $60. Register online at www.imathlete.com/events/beatpetefunrunwalk.
Boise State selected “The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw: One Woman’s Fight to Save the World’s Most Beautiful Bird” by Bruce Barcott, as the 2012-13 Campus Read book. The book was named one of the best books of 2008 by Library Journal. Part nature writing, part travelogue, part biography, it is a true story that chronicles one woman’s crusade to stop a multinational corporation from exterminating the last scarlet macaws of Belize. Her dramatic struggle brings alive the worldwide battle over globalization, demand for energy, environmental destruction, the fate of the planet’s species, and the realities of economic survival in a tiny Third World country. Barcott will give a free lecture at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 5, in the Student Union Simplot Ballroom.
Boise State Auction 2013’s winter online auction runs through Feb. 26. Sponsored by the Boise State Alumni Association and Bronco Athletic Association, auction events benefit academic and athletic scholarships at Boise State. Available for bid at boisestateauction.com are many Bronco-themed items and memorabilia, as well as tickets to athletic events, including the opportunity to watch the Colorado State basketball game from Arena Club seats and attend the pre-game “Chalk Talk” with the coaches. Additionally, there will be gift certificates for Treasure Valley restaurants and hotels, tickets to the Boise Philharmonic, massages, health and fitness memberships, and much more.
Some of the nation’s most prominent presidential scholars will convene on the Boise State campus on Thursday, Feb. 28, to participate in a daylong conference on “The State of the American Presidency.” Sponsored by the Andrus Center for Public Policy, conference participants will deliver lectures, engage in panel discussions and share views with audience members through vigorous question-and-answer sessions. The conference begins at 8:30 a.m. and concludes with an evening lecture beginning at 7 p.m. Admission price for the full day includes lunch. There is a $10 fee for interested students and a $25 fee for the general public; teachers can attend the entire event for free. Register at andruscenter.org or by calling Suzan Raney at 426-3784 or David Adler at 426-3777. Deadline for registration is 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26.
The Meridian School District is naming one of its elementary schools for Boise State Distinguished Educator in Residence and former astronaut Barbara Morgan. Linder Elementary will become the Barbara Morgan STEM Academy next fall, when it becomes a school of choice for students interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Morgan was NASA’s first Teacher in Space and in August 2007 logged more than 300 hours in space aboard the shuttle Endeavour on a mission to the International Space Station. Today she champions STEM education both in Idaho and nationally. In addition to current students, the school will serve students in north Meridian. Morgan will help develop the STEM program for the school, which will receive updated science classroom facilities.