Big changes—some more controversial than others—have come to Boise State University in the past year, but in his Aug. 17 State of the University address, Boise State President Bob Kustra said the university is focused on the future.
"If there's a theme that keeps driving us, it's innovation," he said.
Kustra led his comments with Boise State's identity as "A Metropolitan Doctoral Research University of Distinction"—a riff on the university's new designation from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education
, which indicates it is a doctorate-conferring institution with "moderate research activity."
"We want to make our students the best citizens in the world—and employable," he said.
On the horizon for Boise State is a new business school partnership with Harvard called HBX
, increased enrollment in its new College of Innovation and Design
, moving the university's entire computer science department to new facilities in downtown Boise, a strengthened relationship with NASA and a $25 million gift from Micron for a new materials sciences facility.
Many of the university's advances are coming in areas like science, technology, engineering and math research; business; and other high-demand areas of study for graduates. Currently, 15 percent of Boise State students are in STEM areas of study and approximately 40 percent of them are in pre-professional programs, according to Kustra.
"It's time to think seriously about how we prepare our students," he said.
While bolstering its commitment to STEM education, the institution has previously made reductions in some areas of the humanities and liberal arts. In 2015, Boise State cut the Department of History's budget for adjunct professors
and that same year pulled the plug
on its Community and Regional Planning program.
In his comments, Kustra outlined a program of strengthening the liberal arts at Boise State.
"Our job has to be to augment the liberal arts degree," he said.
At the forefront of that effort will be a new Center for Fine Arts
to house its arts department, as well as a World Museum.
"It's going to be a symbol of what Boise State stands for when it comes to the arts and liberal arts," Kustra said.