Boise State grabs Apple’s attention

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Apple has taken interest in Boise State after learning about the successes in the College of Innovation and Design and College of Education. President Bob Kustra announced a meeting between himself, his colleagues and Apple in a mass email Oct. 23. A meeting between Boise State and Apple representatives took place on Nov. 9, according to Greg Hahn, the associate vice president of Communications and Marketing.

Hahn said Kustra’s meeting with Apple is “an early introductory moment,” and the Dean of the College of Innovation and Design Gordon Jones contributed to this definition, stating the meeting is developing an “exploratory conversation.”

“Gordon Jones met a guy from Apple,” Hahn said. “They started talking about the stuff going on at the College of Innovation and Design and other places (on campus) and thought it wouldn’t hurt to at least let (Apple) know what we are doing and even begin to start thinking about whether there are opportunities.”

In addition to Kustra and Jones’ attendance, other Boise State faculty also attended the Apple meeting regarding the innovative groundwork in their departments. These included Anthony Ellertson, the head of the Games, Interactive Media and Mobile Technology program (GIMM), Chris Haskell, Boise State’s eSport coordinator and professor in education technology and Lana Grover, Mobile Learning Specialist.

Graphic by Olivia Tocher

Boise State’s College of Education has one of the largest education and technology departments in the country, according to Hahn. Hahn stated the communication between and within departments—such as the College of Innovation and Design and the College of Education—has led to big leaps in the name of innovation.

“Things don’t happen in vacuums here.It’s a collaborative space across disciplinary boundaries, and that’s a bit unique among universities,” Hahn said. “So you could have somebody develop memory chips in material science, and that can coordinate people testing out the newest way to play with augmented reality in an industrial setting that can translate right into the classroom.”

One of many Boise State departments developing new technology, GIMM has created technology to help train nurses to obtain muscle memory in the act of intubation, according to Hahn. Intubation is the process of inserting a tube into the trachea for ventilation.

“Instead of making games for playing, they’ll use that same technology to help nurses train to do certain movements,” Hahn said. “If you have to intubate a patient, you can easily break someone’s teeth out; by setting up a game, you can do it as many times as you like before doing it in real life so muscle memory builds up.”

Only in its third year, the College of Innovation and Design, according to both Jones and Hahn, is organized in a way to cut across disciplines by launching new majors and certificates to enhance opportunities for post graduates in the innovation community. By making the creation of new majors, minors and certificates simpler, students can be competitive in career opportunities.

One of Boise State’s recognized achievements came from the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU)—the main organization for all big research universities across the country. Boise State was acknowledged as one of five universities with the highest percentage of students returning to school after the first year. Kustra also attended the APLU annual meeting on Sunday, Nov. 12.

“We’re one of five universities the APLU has recognized for innovative ways of looking at graduation rates and first year retention,” Hahn said. “We’ve increased our first year retention from 63 percent to 80 percent over the past 15 to 20 years.”


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