September 23, 2009
Dear Friend of Idaho State University,
The most important part of a university is its students.
While it's imperative that we continue to be leaders in research and partners in the community, it's also vital we never lose sight of our first mission — to teach students to be leaders in their chosen fields and communities.
That's why I was thrilled to learn recently that once again, Idaho State University's enrollment is up for fall semester. As of the 10th day of class, enrollment was nearly 13,500 students, more than 800 more than at the same time last year.
It's exciting to see that more students are learning about the opportunities here at ISU, from state-of-the-art facilities like the recently opened Idaho State University-Meridian Health Science Center to professors involving their students in cutting-edge research.
The enrollment numbers are promising, but they don't include some of our newest students. Our Early College Program students register later in the semester, and are not counted in 10th-day figures. Given recent trends, enrollment will rise even further when these students are counted.
The Early College Program offers qualified high school students the opportunity to take college courses for credit while still in high school. In some instances, students are taught in their regular school by high school teachers hired as ISU adjuncts. Others take courses on campus or online. All Early College students must perform to the standards of other university students.
Classes range from foreign language to math to technical courses not regularly offered in high school, and the program gives promising students a head-start on the college education. Fees are reduced for Early College students, giving them the opportunity to complete some general coursework at a lower cost.
It also allows Idaho's best students to see the options available at Idaho State University so that when they are choosing a path after high school, they consider us among their choices.
It's encouraging to see more students enroll at our campuses outside Pocatello. In Idaho Falls, enrollment is up as people look for education to help them find new career opportunities. At Idaho State University-Meridian Health Science Center, more than 500 students are enrolled in pharmacy, nursing and other undergraduate and graduate health care degree programs. More than 200 additional students are expected to enroll in the Early College program in the Treasure Valley.
Students in the Treasure Valley now have the opportunity to study in a new facility, which houses human patient simulation laboratories and state-of-the-art clinics. I had the opportunity to attend the ISU-Meridian Health Science Center's grand opening celebration last week, and was pleased to see the excitement of the faculty, students and the public.
There's excitement across all of our campuses, and our future is bright. Let's continue to help others see Idaho State University for what it is — a great choice for learning and a great start to a promising future.
Arthur C. Vailas, Ph.D.
President, Idaho State University