News and Notes

A Newsletter for Faculty and Staff of Idaho State University

August 20, 2007 — Vol. 23 No. 21

Facilities Services is currently working on two campus projects to upgrade underground steam tunnels. These projects require cutting large holes in sidewalks near the Kegel Liberal Arts Building and the College of Engineering, and along the Dillon Street side of the Idaho Museum of Natural History and the Pond Student Union Building to 8th Street. Large equipment will be present at the work sites. The holes will be fenced and secured, but Facilities Services asks that pedestrians use caution when walking in the areas of the holes and equipment. The holes were expected to be open for several weeks. (ISU Photographic Services)

In this Issue

Curator Akersten to be featured on National Geographic Channel sabertoothed cat program Aug. 19

Dr. William Akersten, Idaho Museum of Natural History curator of vertebrate paleontology who is an expert on the prehistoric sabertoothed cat, will be featured on the television program “Prehistoric Predators: Saber Tooth” airing at 10 p.m. Aug. 19 on the National Geographic Channel. The National Geographic Channel airs on some cable and satellite TV networks. The (read more...)

ISU Week of Welcome events run Aug. 26-30

Idaho State University students will be welcomed with a week of activities sponsored by the ISU Student Activities Board. The Wow Week of Welcome will be held Aug. 26-30. Events include:    • Aug. 26 – Freshman March Through the Arch and barbeque, Hutchinson Quadrangle, 5 p.m.     • Aug. 27 – Welcome back breakfast, Quad, 9-10:30 a.m.; (read more...)

Owens awarded $394,000 grant that promotes ISU’s global reputation

Idaho State University researcher Jack Owens, PhD, professor of history, launched a collaborative, multinational, multidisciplinary research project at a recent European Science Foundation (ESF) meeting at Collegium Budapest, the Hungarian Institute for Advanced Studies. His collaborative research community numbers more than 40 researchers in 16 countries on five continents, and it will soon extend itself into (read more...)

Rendezvous Complex dedication scheduled Aug. 30

The public is invited to attend the dedication ceremony for the Idaho State University Rendezvous Complex at 1 p.m. Aug. 30 in the new structure’s atrium area. A tour will follow the dedication. Other activities are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. as well. The Rendezvous Complex is a $43 million state-of-the-art multi-use facility that will (read more...)

$587,000 NSF grant allows ISU to purchase spectrometers, enhances research capabilities

A $587,410 grant from the National Science Foundation will allow Idaho State University to build a new laboratory equipped with sophisticated measuring instruments. This will allow researchers from many disciplines to complete a myriad of new analyses that before ISU would have had to contract out. "This really puts ISU on the research map and the (read more...)

Faculty/Staff Update

Robert A. Wharton, Ph.D., provost and vice president for academic affairs, recently announced the following administrative changes at ISU:

John Knox, Ph.D., dean of academic programs at ISU–Idaho Falls, has resumed faculty duties in the department of physics. Lyle W. Castle, Ph.D., professor of chemistry, will assume duties at ISU–Idaho Falls as interim director of academic programming. “Please join me in thanking Dr. Knox for his service to ISU in Idaho Falls during a crucial transitional period and in welcoming Dr. Castle to his new assignment,” Wharton said.

Following a concerted effort this past spring and summer to identify and hire a new dean for the College of Arts and Sciences, the search process has not been successful and will begin anew this fall. “Given the vital nature of the role that must be served by the new dean of Arts and Sciences in meeting coming challenges both at the college and institutional levels, it is imperative that we remain committed to finding exactly the right candidate, an experienced and prepared individual who can best meet our specific needs both immediately and over the long term,” Wharton said. In the interim, Arts and Sciences will continue to be led by Maureen Brandon, Ph.D., associate dean and associate professor of biological sciences. “During the interim period, we are fortunate that the College of Arts and Sciences will continue to enjoy the steady hand and vital experience that Dr. Brandon brings to the leadership of the college as our interim dean of Arts and Sciences,” said Wharton.

Cynthia Hill, Ph.D., associate professor of economics, has assumed new duties as the interim director of ISU’s Center for Teaching and Learning. “She brings to this position outstanding accomplishments as a faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Economics and as the director of the University Honors Program for the last two years,” Wharton said.


The ISU community is invited to attend the grand opening of Rendezvous, scheduled from 1 to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 30. President Arthur C. Vailas, Ph.D., and other dignitaries will participate in a ribbon-cutting celebration in Rendezvous’ atrium area. A tour will follow.

Idaho State University President Arthur C. Vailas, Ph.D., on Aug. 9 signed contracts with SunGard Higher Education for new enterprise applications software for ISU. These contracts will provide both software and consulting services for the implementation of a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. This system, which will take three years to fully implement, will coordinate all financial services, human resources/payroll, student information and financial aid for the university. SunGard Higher Education’s Banner system is an industry-leading computer system in use at more than 800 colleges and universities around the country, including the University of Idaho. “By integrating all services into a single system, we will be able to enhance services for students and improve efficiency for university operations,” said David Alexander, ISU’s ERP project manager. “The implementation of the new ERP system represents an exciting and necessary technology change on our campus,” said Jennifer Brown, Associated Students of ISU president. ISU has contracted with Sun Microsystems to provide new hardware for this system. The system will replace the current system, which has been developed over the years by ISU staff. More than 100 university staff will be involved in the implementation effort. For additional information, contact Alexander at x3882 or Additional information also can be found at the ERP project Web site at

The Janet C. Anderson Gender Resource Center has announced a call for submissions for “The Brassiere Bazaar Art Show and Fundraiser” in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October. The public is invited to submit decorated bras for the show. Bras may be made of any material and may be wearable or not. All submissions are donations to the show and are due Oct. 1. Submissions will be on display at the Mind Your Body Studio, 235 S. Main Street, Pocatello, during the Oct. 5 First Friday Art Walk. The Art Walk is free and open to the public. The bras on display will be available for purchase as a fundraiser for breast cancer awareness and prevention programming. Send submissions to The Brassiere Bazaar, Anderson Center, Idaho State University, Stop 8141, Pocatello, ID 83209-8141. For more information, call x2805.

A planning meeting for the celebration of Women’s History Month in March 2008 is scheduled Monday, Sept. 10, at 3:30 p.m. in the Anderson Center Library, Graveley Hall Room 114. All campus and community organizations are encouraged to attend. The Women’s History Month Executive Committee encourages all women-focused organizations in Pocatello to sponsor at least one special event during March in recognition of Women’s History Month. The Executive Committee will incorporate all of these events in one easy-to-use reference calendar. The Executive Committee will be accepting proposals for items to be included on the Women’s History Month calendar for March 2008. All those interested in arranging an event should bring four copies of a one-page proposal that includes a brief description of the proposed event; a list of the sponsoring organization(s) and contact information; a statement of what is requested from the Women’s History Month Executive Committee (for example, inclusion on the calendar, help with booking room, flyers, etc.). The keynote speaker will be Dr. Tonia Modleski, Florence R. Scott Professor of English at the University of Southern California. For more information, contact Rebecca Morrow, Ph.D., at x2805 or

Idaho State University will host the Lemley 2007 Intermountain Conference on the Environment Sept. 18–19 at the Pond Student Union Building. The theme, “Bringing Together Disciplines to Understand the Environment,” is intended to provide a multidisciplinary platform for environmental and energy scientists, engineers, management professionals, practitioners, researchers, consultants, regulators, policy makers, educators and students to discuss the latest developments in environmental issues. To submit an abstract by Aug. 24 or for more information, visit, e-mail or call x3155.

The National Science Foundation has awarded Idaho State University and its regional partners a $586,234 Advanced Technological Education Program Grant to produce a new Energy Systems Instrumentation and Control Engineering Technology curriculum, the College of Technology has announced. The college, the Idaho National Laboratory (supported by the Center for Advanced Energy Studies) and the Blackfoot-based nonprofit group Partners for Prosperity secured the grant. It focuses on improving training and education of individuals aspiring to energy-related careers. The grant compliments the $2 million U.S. Department of Labor Community Based Job Training Grant to develop a standardized energy industry-focused Instrumentation and Control Engineering Technology curriculum, leading to an Associate of Applied Science degree.

The Janet C. Anderson Gender Resource Center has announced the 2007–2008 selections for the Gender Book Club. Meetings, open to all, will start at 5:30 p.m. at Main Street Coffee and News, 234 North Main, Pocatello. Readers are responsible for obtaining their own copy of each book. Prices listed are those advertised on The first meeting is scheduled Sept. 4. The book is “Around the World in 80 Dates,” by Jennifer Cox (384 pages; $11.95). For more information, call x2805; or send an e-mail to

New ISU faculty and students are invited to meet the Office of Research staff and learn what the office has to offer at two open houses this week. The first is scheduled Wednesday, Aug. 22, from 1 to 5 p.m., and the second is scheduled Thursday, Aug. 23, from 8 a.m. to noon. Refreshments will be available. The office is located in Room 205 of the Fine Arts Building. The Office of Research coordinates all research activities at ISU and works to facilitate research opportunities for faculty and students. The office oversees most of the compliance committees and administers several internal grant opportunities for faculty and students. The office supervises the Office of Sponsored Programs, which facilitates the request and acceptance of external funding. Coupled with Sponsored Programs, the Office of Research is the official Technology Transfer Office for ISU. For more information, call x2714.

Theatre/Dance ISU has scheduled a joint audition for fall productions of “The Country Wife,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” and “Lost in Yonkers.” Auditions are scheduled Wednesday, Aug. 29, at 7 p.m. in the Beverly B. Bistline Thrust Theatre. Callbacks, if necessary, are scheduled Thursday, Aug. 30, at 7 p.m. Those who intend to audition are asked to prepare two contrasting selections, one classic and the other contemporary. One minute, plus introduction time, will be allowed for the audition. Credit may be received for production work. Auditions are open to all ISU students, faculty and staff. For more information, contact Sherri Dienstfrey, Ph.D., at x3561 or Jamie Romine and Angeline Underwood at x2907.

In the past, Idaho State University has provided additional compensation to faculty during the academic year for work performed on sponsored projects. Over time, changes occurred in pertinent federal regulations, and through discussion, pronouncement and court cases, the interpretation of these regulations has become more evident, said James A. Fletcher, ISU vice president for finance and administration. Recent federal audits at other institutions have clarified the intent of some of these regulations. As a result, and in an effort to assure compliance with pertinent regulations, ISU is re-evaluating its practices related to additional compensation on sponsored projects. “During the next few months, as we continue to examine this issue, we will develop a detailed work plan that will provide ample opportunity for discussion and input from faculty and staff,” said Fletcher. He said the plan will include presentations and discussions with external resources to corroborate decisions and direction. Implementation of a revised policy is expected to take effect Jan. 1, 2008.