Boise State University was founded by a group of forward-thinking community members who understood the critical partnership between education and well-being, and that great cities have great universities. Today, Boise State can look back on a successful history characterized by a long and strong partnership with the local business community — a partnership propelling us into the future as well.
“Boise’s research university can work hand-in-hand with the business community to grow a vibrant economy into the future.” This was the key message at President Kustra’s State of the University Address to the business community last week, focusing on partnerships that connect Boise State to what matters to business leaders.
Our business community tells us that talent is in demand — they need skilled workers, thinkers, and leaders. President Kustra presented recent highlights with particular meaning to a business community interested and invested in the kind of talent that’s emerging from Boise State.
Boise State students are investing in their own futures, and taking their education seriously. Now, more students are choosing to live on campus — 400 more on-campus residents than last year. The vast majority of students are enrolled full-time. Boise State is a source of “brain gain” for Idaho. Among both in-state and out-of-state students, a majority stay in Idaho after graduation. Approximately 44 percent of students who come to Boise State from out-of-state remain here five years after graduation — as do a full 83 percent of Idaho students.
President Kustra shared several new ways that Boise State is preparing students for work and offering relevant and valuable continued learning after college. For example, Boise State is the first public university to collaborate with Harvard Business School, offering online instruction from Harvard faculty to Boise State students who will earn a credential of readiness from Harvard Business School. We’re also growing our online programs — currently offering 24 degrees and certifications, and in the process of adding 15 more.
The new College of Innovation and Design offers courses to provide basic business knowledge to non-business majors to support the transition between college and career. Programs like Bridge 2 Career and Work U Co-op will help students gain valuable experience to prepare for their future careers. President Kustra described Gen Z — the generation following the Millennials and the next to enter the workforce — a generation determined (and expected) to “show their credentials” and validate what they’ve accomplished as an undergrad. That is, to show what they know as they compete for jobs.
The president praised the new metro-centric location for Boise State’s computer science program now located in the Clearwater building downtown amidst Boise’s active and growing tech companies. The School of Public Service is establishing the Idaho Policy Institute, which will also operate from a new centrally-located hub.
Donors and alumni are incredibly important partners helping to build a vibrant economy — from providing scholarships and supporting programs, to sponsoring and hosting internship and networking opportunities, to hiring our graduates. One way to think about our investment in students preparing to enter the workplace is as an investment in wellbeing — a reinforcement of businesses and organizations striving to serve our communities.
There are many ways to partner with Boise State. From getting help to launch your idea or business, to sponsoring and collaborating on research. This Business and Industry Partnership portal helps guide partners through the types of opportunities that are out there for everyone.
If you were able to attend the State of the University Address this year, thank you for your presence and interest in Boise State.
Laura C. Simic is vice president for advancement at Boise State University.