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Kustra addressed university reorganization and innovation

President Bob Kustra’s State of the University Address on Aug. 20 set sights high for student and university success in both the near and distant future.

Kustra addressed university reorganization and innovation by discussing changes to better prepare students for the job market. Relevant education experiences and the introduction of a new college were announced.

These academic announcements revolve around Kustra’s common thread of the address, that “a modern university must work across lines and divisions and disciplines to stay relevant, to deliver quality in today’s world.”

“The challenge in today’s world is whether we’re providing all the tools necessary for the long-term success of our graduates,” Kustra said.

Kustra began his speech in the Morrison Center with positive statistics about student body growth and graduation numbers. Kustra said Boise State saw more than 70 percent growth in the number of graduates in less than 15 years. To better serve this growing number of students, the university must undergo academic changes.

These changes will come in different areas and will be a strong focus for the upcoming academic year. 

The School of Public Service and the College of Health Sciences will experience changes with the intention of better preparing students for the workforce. 

Toward the end of his speech, Kustra also announced the plan for the College of Innovation and Design to better facilitate transdisciplinary efforts.

“It is all about getting rid of the walls to better innovate and serve students, the marketplace and our varied partners,” Kustra said to close his address. “Let this spirit and now reality of Innovation and Design become the hallmark of Boise State University.”

The College of Innovation and Design is planned to be presented to the State Board of Education this fall and is intended to foster a structure for these transdisciplinary courses, research, and programs. Kustra described it as a “natural progression of trends in higher education” and the marketplace.

Another change the university will see involves the College of Health Sciences now having three schools: the School of Nursing, the School of Social Work and the School of Allied Health and Prevention. Dean Tim Dunnagan led these efforts. The College of Health Sciences will also have a section of University Health Services. 

This reorganization, along with continuing partnerships with health care community partners such as Saint Alphonsus and Saint Luke’s, will hopefully help students have a diverse range of knowledge to give better care in their respective professions.

On the topic of health, Kustra also made a big announcement concerning “the largest grant in Boise State history.” 

Julia Oxford, biological sciences professor, and her team secured a $10 million federal grant to build a Center for Biomedical Research. The center will boost cell research concerning heart disease and strokes, increase understanding of ligament damage and more, according to Kustra.