President Vailas highlights ISU achievements at JFAC presentation and endorses Gov. Otter’s higher education budget recommendations for the next fiscal year

BOISE, Idaho—Idaho State University President Arthur C. Vailas told legislative budget writers Jan. 25 that ISU is committed to leading the state in health science education and creating new opportunities for student success, research and economic development.
Speaking before the Joint Finance Appropriations Committee at the State Capitol in Boise, Vailas endorsed Gov. Otter’s budget recommendations for the upcoming fiscal year, including a $1.74 expansion of health science programs at the ISU-Meridian Health Science Center. The university would use $1.16 million of the appropriation to expand the Doctor of Physical Therapy—currently offered on the Pocatello campus—to Meridian.

Dr. Vailas also reaffirmed support of Otter’s proposed “tuition lock” program which would guarantee undergraduates at Idaho’s public colleges and universities the same tuition for four years as long as they keep their grades up.
The president told lawmakers ISU has made great strides in meeting the goals of Complete College Idaho, the State Board of Education plan that calls for 60 percent of Idahoans ages 25 to 34 have a degree or certificate by 2020.
He cited the ISU Bengal Bridge and Honors programs, designed to ensure academic success through tutoring, academic coaching, advanced curriculum and enhanced research opportunities for students. For example, enrollment in ISU’s Honors Program has increased 87 percent since 2013, and the number of honors students engaging in undergraduate research has increased 66 percent.
Vailas emphasized ISU’s reach extends beyond the main campus in Pocatello to educational centers in Meridian—which opened state-of-the art anatomy, physiology and virtual laboratories this fall —Twin Falls and Idaho Falls.
The president also applauded ISU faculty, staff and students for their commitment to research, innovation and community service. Through the University’s Intellectual Property Foundation, researchers and regional business leaders are working together to bring the latest technology to the marketplace. The Foundation, focused on entrepreneurship and job creation, has created three new technology licenses in the past six months to local start-up companies and multi-national businesses.
As the state-designated leader in health science education, ISU continues to offer more health professions degrees than any other Idaho university. In 2015, 12 of the top 15 health professions careers in highest demand across the country (according to Forbes magazine) were available at ISU. Those programs include dental hygiene, occupational and physical therapies, speech language pathology, pharmacy and physician assistant studies.
Vailas noted that ISU’s 13 clinics logged more than 60,000 patient visits in fiscal year 2015, providing low-cost, quality care to Idahoans and invaluable clinical training for health science students.