News and Notes

A Newsletter for Faculty and Staff of Idaho State University

November 14, 2011 — Vol. 27 No. 45

Faculty/Staff Updates

ISU Professor and Director of the School of Engineering, Subbaram Naidu, will visit East China Normal University in Shanghai, China

Idaho State University Professor and Director of the School of Engineering, Subbaram Naidu, will visit East China Normal University (ECNU) in Shanghai, China Dec. 10 through Jan. 1.

Naidu will be visiting the Center for Applied and Multidisciplinary Mathematics and Department of Mathematics at ECNU to conduct research in the area oftime scales for networked control systemsand teach a short course on optimal control systemsbased on his book, "Optimal Control Systems."

This is the third visit (previously in 2007 and 2009) Naidu will be making to ECNU to continue collaborative research, and this time conducting graduate level teaching.

"I believe that this kind of international collaboration enhances our reputation in research and teaching," said Naidu.

This trip is funded by the Department of Mathematics at ECNU and the Chinese National Science Foundation (CNSF).

For more information about East China Normal University visit

News Bites

Update on ISU and the new regional accreditation standards

Idaho State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). This accreditation is for the institution as a whole and is distinct from specialized accreditation that is available for individual programs. Maintaining our accreditation is critical to ensuring our students qualify for financial aid, can transfer credits, and can be admitted to graduate programs. Recently, the commission revised its accreditation standards and procedures. The accreditation process is moving from a ten year cycle to a seven year cycle. It is designed to be a continuous process keyed on mission fulfillment. In a normal seven year cycle, each institution is required to submit four self-evaluations to the NWCCU. The self-evaluations build year by year. So for example, the preparation of the year three self-evaluation is expected to trigger revision in the content of the year one self evaluation.

During the phase-in of the new standards some institutions, such as ISU, are on an accelerated schedule and must complete the seven year cycle in four. This means that we submit a self-evaluation each year for four years. The first of these, pertaining primarily to mission, was submitted last September. The second, focusing on resources, is due next September.

The first year self-evaluation was drafted by the Accreditation Steering Committee. The year two self-evaluation is currently in the hands of eight Standard Two subcommittees. For this evaluation of resources to be inclusive and reflect an institution wide perspective, it is critical for the campus to engage in the process. Any of the Standard Two groups would welcome your participation.

As the year progresses, we plan to update the campus community regularly in News and Notes and through a number of open meetings. We are also working to post information about the process on Academic Affairs' accreditation website.

By Barbara Adamcik and Alan Egger, co-chairs of the Accreditation Steering Committee

ISU's annual GIS Day celebration is set for Nov 16, and this year includes a new track focusing upon cyberinfrastructure and super computers

Idaho State University's annual GIS Day celebration is set for Nov 16, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Rendezvous Complex Suites A, B and C and this year includes a new track focusing upon cyberinfrastructure and super computers.

The event will include food, a raffle, GIS demonstrations and presentations. This event is free and open to the public.

"GIS Day offers everyone a chance to learn more about the fascinating field of Geographic Information Systems and how GIS is part of our everyday lives today," says Keith T. Weber, director of the ISU GIS Training and Research Center.

The GIS Day Chili Cook-off will be back for the seventh year running. Participants can sample the delicious fare and vote for their favorite. Cornbread and drinks will be provided from noon to 1:30 p.m.

Presentation topics include "Supercomputers: A Primer," "Climate Change Impacts on Water Rights," "Using GPS to Analyze Behavior of Domestic Sheep," "Spatial analysis of Tuberculosis Deaths in Washington, D.C., 1898-1901," "GIS Software for Accessing, Visualization and Modeling LiDAR Data" and "Integrating Social Attitudes and GIS: The LineSiter Application."

For more information about GIS Day as well as a full schedule of events, go to

Professor Curt Whitaker of ISU's Department of English will present "Birding with Shakespeare" on Nov. 17, 7 p.m. in the Idaho Museum of Natural History

Professor Curt Whitaker of ISU's Department of English will present "Birding with Shakespeare" on Nov. 17, 7 p.m. in the Idaho Museum of Natural History. Whitaker will discuss the importance of birds in Shakespeare's poems and plays with the Audobon Society.

ISU registered dietitians have some healthy tips to share for the holidays

Idaho State University registered dietitians have some healthy tips to share for the holidays.

"I thought it would be fun to poll my colleagues and gather some advice," said Linda Rankin, assistant dean of the ISU Division of Health Sciences and a registered dietitian. "We wish the community a happy and healthful holiday season, and have some tips to share."

Rankin's tips are:

  1. Substitute evaporated skim milk for evaporated whole milk in pumpkin pie. This will save 200 calories and 28 grams of fat, and the taste is the same.
  2. Use some whole-grain bread instead of white bread in stuffing. This increases the dressing's fiber and nutrient content.
  3. Cook a turkey inside a cooking bag, which keeps the turkey moist without any basting. It also saves up on cleaning. Check out the Reynolds' website for more specifics on cooking with oven bags at

Rankin solicited some tips from Laura Vailas, ISU's first lady, who is a registered dietitian.

"During the holidays, we are offered many 'special occasion' foods and beverages - delicious, tempting delicacies typically reserved for celebrations," Vailas said. "These are usually high-fat or high-sugar foods that can add a colossal number of calories to our intake. So, here are three tips on how I handle a busy social time without facing the New Year with regret."

Vailas's tips are:

  1. When at parties, I focus on enjoying people first, and the food and drink second. Parties are all about visiting and sharing conversation, and are a time where we get together with friends we don't see often enough. So, I focus on catching up with old friends and making new ones, and time flies by without my having eaten more than I should.
  2. At buffets, I fill my plate with lower calorie foods and sample small amounts of the higher calorie items. That way, I don't feel deprived, yet don't go over my calorie budget.
  3. I seldom, if ever, consume high-calorie holiday beverages like eggnog and cider.

Dietetics Assistant Professor Allisha Weeden offered these three tips:

  1. Make your own cranberry sauce using -cup of sugar instead of the full cup. Use orange juice to replace part of the water and reduce the granulated sugar even more.
  2. Serve mashed sweet potatoes seasoned with herbs like sage rather than baked sweet potatoes with brown sugar and marshmallows.
  3. Cut dessert into smaller pieces. Rather than cutting a pie into eight slices, cut it into 12 slices. That way, you still enjoy dessert, but get fewer calories.

Mary Dundas, professor emeritus, offered these three tips:

  1. Never go to a party hungry. Have a low-calorie snack before you go, which will blunt your appetite.
  2. If going out to dinner, eat half of your serving and take the other half home, or share it with a friend.
  3. Drink low-calorie beverages such as water or wine, or use a diet drink as a mixer.

Assistant Professor of dietetics Cynthia Blanton said, "I would recommend keeping one's hand around a beverage during holiday parties. Sipping sparkling water or another low-calorie drink can replace constant nibbling, and it might prevent the host from asking why you are not consuming something."

Clinical Associate Professor and Director of the ISU dietetics program Laura McKnight had these three tips:

  1. When invited to a holiday party where you are to take a dish, take something healthy. Others will appreciate your efforts as well. Ideas would be a vegetable tray with a low-fat dip, substitute plain yogurt and/or low-fat or fat-free cottage cheese for the sour cream or cream cheese. Another idea is fruit kabobs. They are colorful and there are endless combinations of fruits to use.
  2. Instead of making holiday treats such as cookies, candy or cakes for friends and neighbors, give them a homemade healthy food item. Examples might be homemade canned fruit or salsa, homemade whole wheat bread and jam, or dried soup ingredients in a jar. This provides healthier choices and still offers the homemade touch.
  3. If alcohol is in your party plans, remember those calories add up quickly. Watch fat-laden drinks like eggnog or hot buttered rum.