News and Notes

A Newsletter for Faculty and Staff of Idaho State University

May 12, 2008 — Vol. 24 No. 17

The Idaho Museum of Natural History at Idaho State University will host “A Sabertooth Celebration” with Mark Hallett, paleoartist, sculptor and author, on Wednesday, May 14, from 5 to 7 p.m. Hallett helped create the dinosaurs for the Steven Spielberg film “Jurassic Park.” His artwork is currently featured in the museum’s newest exhibit, “The Art of Paleontology.” Guests will have a rare chance to watch a master artist in action. Hallett will demonstrate how he uses a cast of the skull of a sabertooth cat as the basis for sculpting and reconstructing the extinct animal. Refreshments will be served. Tickets, available at the museum and the PSUB Information Center, are $15 for museum members, $20 for the general public, $10 for students. Call x2603 for more information. (Image by Mark Hallett)

In this Issue

ISU to host Predator-Prey and Saber-toothed Mammal Symposiums

Scientific experts from around the world will gather at Idaho State University to participate in the Predator-Prey Symposium May 12-14 and the 2008 International Symposium on Saber-toothed Mammals May 14-17. The Predator-Prey Symposium is sponsored jointly by the Idaho State University Department of Biological Sciences and the University of Idaho Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. (read more...)

Swetnam becomes first to receive all three Distinguished Faculty Awards

Susan Swetnam, Ph.D., Idaho State University professor of English, has become the first University faculty member to be awarded all three of ISU’s highest faculty honors – Distinguished Teacher, Public Servant and Researcher. “Dr. Swetnam represents the type of excellence that truly enhances the recognition of Idaho State University and brings significant benefit to our students,” (read more...)

Idaho State University will confer 1,765 degrees and certificates at 2008 Commencement

A total of 1,670 graduates will receive 1,765 degrees and certificates during Idaho State University’s spring commencement ceremonies, which will begin at 10 a.m. May 10 in Holt Arena. Eighty-nine students will receive multiple certificates and/or degrees. In addition to the presentation of these degrees and certificates, three distinguished faculty members will be acknowledged, nine alumni will (read more...)

Three honored as Idaho State University Distinguished Faculty

Three Idaho State University faculty members will be honored as ISU’s 2007-08 Distinguished Faculty during Commencement ceremonies May 10. They are Bethany Schultz Hurst, M.F.A., instructor, English and philosophy, Distinguished Teacher; Willis McAleese, Ph.D., chair and professor health and nutrition sciences, Distinguished Public Service Award; and Susan Swetnam, Ph.D., professor, English and philosophy, Distinguished Researcher. ISU (read more...)

ISU international studies-Spanish double major earns Fulbright post in Andorra

Idaho State University graduating senior Autumn Gomez has earned a Fulbright award to work as an English Teaching Assistant in Andorra, a small country located between Spain and France.     A double-major in international studies and Spanish, the 29-year-old will begin her Fulbright duties in September. “It’s almost too good to be true,” Gomez said. “But one (read more...)

Faculty/Staff Update

Susan Swetnam, Ph.D., Idaho State University professor of English, is the first University faculty member to be awarded all three of ISU’s highest faculty honors – Distinguished Teacher, Distinguished Public Servant and Distinguished Researcher. “Dr. Swetnam represents the type of excellence that truly enhances the recognition of Idaho State University and brings significant benefit to our students,” said University President Arthur C. Vailas, Ph.D. Swetnam was honored at the May 10 commencement ceremony as the 2008 Distinguished Researcher. She was honored as Distinguished Teacher in 1988, and Distinguished Public Servant in 1996.

Mark Neiwirth, pianist and adjunct faculty member in the music department, has been accepted to the roster of International Steinway Artists. The Steinway Piano Company maintains an active roster of professional pianists who have earned national or international acclaim and who consent to perform exclusively on Steinway pianos in public appearances. Neiwirth accepted the award in a ceremony prior to his performance of Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor by Sergei Rachmaninoff on April 25 with the Magic Valley Symphony in Twin Falls.

Richard Foster, Ph.D., Idaho State University political science professor, is retiring after 35 years at the University, including 22 years as chair of his department. He helped establish ISU’s Master of Public Administration program as well as many of the department's other offerings. Among his other duties, Foster, who was honored as the ISU Distinguished Teacher in 1987, has been director of the Idaho State University Interdisciplinary Program in International Affairs since it was established in 1988. He also has been the faculty advisor every year except one since 1974 for the student-run International Affairs Council, which annually sponsors the Frank Church Symposium.

Corey D. Schou, Ph.D., associate dean of the ISU College of Business, professor of information systems and director of the National Information Assurance and Education Center at ISU, is scheduled to present a paper titled “Improving The International Computer Security Research Agenda Using Standards.” He is to present it to the annual conference of the Australian Computer Emergency Response Team on May 21 at Royal Pines Resort, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.

The Nuclear Engineering Division of the 110,000-member American Society of Mechanical Engineers is led this year by Jay Kunze, Ph.D., retired dean of engineering. He has served actively in that division for 20 years. As chair of the division this year, he has overall responsibility for the 16th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering, scheduled May 11-15 in Orlando, Fla. The conference focuses on nuclear power operations and applications. Kunze also is an associate editor of the Journal of Gas Turbines and Power. During the last three years, top-level management of the society has been assisted by Richard Jacobsen, Ph.D., dean of engineering.


All group insurance plans have been renewed with existing carriers for FY2009. The PPO and Traditional medical plans will continue with existing benefits and increased premium rates. A third, high-deductible medical plan will be implemented.
The new high-deductible medical plan provides a lower level of benefits than the PPO and Traditional plans, but at the same premium rate as the FY2008 PPO plan.
Vision benefits will be automatic for all members enrolled for medical coverage and no separate dependent premium will be charged. Dental premiums will increase and one benefit modification will be made. The benefit for preventive and diagnostic services provided by a Delta Dental PPO participating dentist will decrease from 85 percent to 80 percent.
This year's open enrollment period will be May 12-28. During open enrollment, employees can change from one medical plan to another, add dependent dental coverage, change their medical/dental premium withholdings from pre-tax to post-tax, (Premium Only Plan), and enroll or re-enroll in the Flexible Spending Account (FSA) plan.
Employees can download Open Enrollment Choice Cards, Premium Only Plan election forms and FSA enrollment forms during open enrollment. Printed forms are available from Human Resources.
For those who wish to make changes, hard-copy open enrollment forms must be submitted to Human Resources no later then 4 p.m. on May 28. Forms received after that date cannot be accepted.
If you do not wish to change your medical plan type, add dependent dental coverage, change the Premium Only Plan (POP) elections from pre-tax to post-tax, or participate in the FY2009 FSA plan, no action is required on your part during open enrollment. For details, contact Human Resources at x2517.

Several members of the TIGERi implementation teams attended the SunGard Summit 2008 conference in Anaheim, Calif., April 13-16. The SunGard Summit conference is held yearly to bring SunGard Higher Education (SunGardHE) users from colleges and universities together. SunGardHE developed the technology that is being implemented for the TIGERi system. They are the industry-leading computer system in use at more than 800 colleges and universities around the country. Participants learned how other institutions implemented ERP systems in their organizations while making key contacts with professionals at other schools. More than 900 sessions were available on all aspects of ERP implementations. Approximately 8,500 people attended the conference, representing a cross-section of schools from around the world. To learn more about TIGERi, contact Cali Bell, communications coordinator, at x4446.