Monday, September 22, 2014

Job Announcement: Coordinator of Faculty & Community Partnerships (closes 10/10/14)

Coordinator of Faculty and Community Partnerships
Service-Learning Program, Boise State University
Search #AA-0037-14

Boise State University, powered by creativity and innovation, stands uniquely positioned in the Northwest as a metropolitan research university of distinction. Interested applicants are encouraged to apply for the position of Coordinator of Faculty and Community Partnerships.

Primary Purpose: 
The position provides leadership and coordination for Service-Learning faculty/community partnership programs. The Coordinator works closely with Service-Learning Program staff and other community engagement programs to foster meaningful service-learning and community engagement experiences.

You will have the opportunity to:

  • ·         Facilitate sustainable partnerships between faculty and community organizations and help negotiate mutually beneficial projects. 
  • ·         Develop strategy, trainings, and tools to prepare community organizations to work effectively with service-learning faculty and students.
  • ·         Cultivate and steward relationships with over 100 community organizations.
  • ·         Refine and manage community partnership tracking mechanisms and online database.
  • ·         Gather and analyze data on community partnerships and community impact.
  • ·         Promote key community partnerships with other experiential learning programs across the University.
  • ·         Recruit, hire, train, and supervise student staff to assist with above duties.
At a minimum you should have:
·                     Bachelors degree
·                     Experience developing community service projects or managing volunteer-driven programs
·                     Teaching/training experience, preferably in higher education
·                     2 years of professional experience in a similar position
·                     Service-Learning experience (or comparable )
·                     Supervision experience
·                     A commitment to academic excellence, social justice and service, global awareness and diversity

Preferentially, you will have:
·                     Master's Degree in Education, Community Development, Public Administration or a related area
·                     One year of professional experience in higher education (teaching experience preferred)
·                     One year of professional experience in nonprofit organization (volunteer management preferred)
·                     Knowledge of Treasure Valley nonprofit networks
·                     Bilingual/Multi-lingual

Successful candidates will have the following knowledge, skills, and abilities:
·         Adept at thinking strategically about organizational structure and systems
·         Adept in public relations writing and public speaking both on and off campus
·         Adept at using a variety of software to organize and track information
·         Adept at working collaboratively and under pressure

Salary and benefits:  $40,000-42,000 per year, plus an excellent benefits package is available for eligible employees, for more information visit:

If this sounds like the job for you: Please complete the online form at this link (or cut and paste this URL into your browser As part of this form you will upload a cover letter indicating your interest and qualifications for this position and a resume that includes employment history (including dates of employment) and three professional references with contact information.
Review of documents will begin immediately and will continue until October 10th. Applications received after that date may be considered if qualified applications are not selected from the initial pool.  

Kara Brascia
Director, Service-Learning Program
Boise State University
1910 University Drive
Boise, ID 83725-1006
(208) 426-2380 office
(208) 426-5726 fax

About the University:

About the City of Boise:

Background Investigations – Any offer of employment at Boise State University will be contingent upon the successful completion of a criminal background investigation and may require a credit and/or motor vehicle background investigation depending on the position. To view the University’s full Background Investigations policy, please go to

Drug-Free Workplace – It is the policy of Boise State University to maintain a drug-free workplace and campus. For more information about this policy, please go to

Jeanne Clery Statement - Notice of Availability of Annual Security and Fire Safety Report
The 2013 Security and Fire Safety Report for Boise State University is now available online at:

The 2013 Boise State University Security and Fire Safety Report is provided to students, faculty, staff, and the public as part of the University’s commitment to safety and security on campus, and in compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act. Copies of the report may also be requested through the Campus Security & Police Services located at 2245 University Drive, Boise, Idaho 83706, by calling (208) 426-6911, or sending an email to

The report includes statistics for the previous three years concerning reported crimes that occurred on-campus; in certain off-campus buildings or property owned or controlled by Boise State; and on public property within, or immediately adjacent to and accessible from the campus. It also includes the annual fire safety report and institutional policies concerning campus security, such as policies for sexual assault, drug and alcohol use, and other matters.

Boise State University is a SMOKE FREE campus. For more information please go to


Friday, September 12, 2014

One Small BabyStep, One Giant Leap for a Stronger Family

All parents want the best for their children: the best education, the best opportunities, the best health care, and the very best of ourselves. And though we may have high hopes for our children, we may often lose sight of the practical realities of parenting. Just think about the diapers! No one likes them, but we can spend an upwards of $550 on them in the first year of parenting, or around $46 a month. For those mothers living in poverty, this annoyance quickly becomes a burden that only exacerbates the stresses surrounding parenting.

BabySteps is a local community outreach program that aims to help limited-income mothers and families with these problems as a program of Family Advocates and a ministry of Saint Michael’s Episcopal Cathedral. They offer courses and a program shop for any mother and family in need, regardless of denomination or background. I had the pleasure of attending their service-learning orientation, learning more about the work they do for my community and for Boise State students.

Allison Demarest, the director of BabySteps, walked me through the goals of the program, chief among them the creation of a safe and inviting place for families. I sat on a cozy couch, looking across the different toys and books spread across a floor that told me kids were in play not too long ago, just as the classrooms felt inviting and lived in. The classes, taught by a small army of volunteers, range from baby sign language to nutrition, introducing kids to pets and taking the time out of the day to pamper mom. This multidisciplinary approach doesn't aim to teach any one method of parenting as right or wrong; instead, BabySteps hopes to give mothers the information they need to make the choices they want to in and for their new families. There's also a father's group on Thursdays open to any dad, with the program or not, looking to meet other fathers and unwind.

These classes aren't without incentive as I was shown the points system. Mothers receive points for attending these classes, and extra points for attending with support. Points can also be earned by staying drug free, going to a dental appointment, breastfeeding, and even getting a library card. These points aim to keep mothers both engaged in the program and their community while encouraging healthy choices for their children. These points can then be spent in a store carrying ever-popular and needed diapers, clothing, wipes, strollers, and more. I was amazed to learn that the store is stocked entirely through community donations!

Our service-learning students can work with BabySteps through two classes: KINES140, Personal Health; and PSYC271, Human Relationships. Students help the daily operations of the program by stocking the store, reviewing points, and interacting with mothers. Demarest joked that students would often be holding babies as mothers took a brief respite while shopping for supplies. She also said that, for many students, BabySteps helped show them the variety of things they could do with their degrees while introducing them to the diversity of their community.

BabySteps is always looking for volunteers, not just service-learning students, as well as donations. If you’d like to pitch in, you can contact Allison Demarest by phone at (208) 432-5601, or by email at

- Daniel Hock, Boise State University Service-Learning Ambassador

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

IdahoWatch: Research in the Sagebrush Steppe, a Teacher-Researcher Partnership

Dr. Jennifer Forbey trialed a new STEM Service-Learning model this spring, called IdahoWatch: Research in the Sagebrush Steppe Teacher-Researcher Partnership. IdahoWatch is a unique Service-Learning model to Boise State University. The IdahoWatch: Teacher-Researcher Partnership provided six 5th  - 12th grade teachers the opportunity to experience an authentic field research experience focused on a local issue of concern, and provided Boise State University undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to help develop, and guide, the Teacher-Researcher experience.
2014 IdahoWatch: Research in the Sagebrush Steppe
One teacher participant explained, “It was non-stop learning!  There were in depth conversations in the vehicles traveling to our site, through amazing sagebrush country, until we reached our destination at Castle Rock State Park.  We learned how to identify different species of sagebrush by visual, chemical, and physical characteristics and how herbivores, like sage grouse and pygmy rabbits, can differentiate the quality of nutrition and cover.  Instructors demonstrated how to assess and manage for quality habitats of pygmy rabbits, a species of concern. We were trained by Marcella Femgren (grad student researching sagebrush and sagegrouse) on vegetation surveys using line transects and Daubenmire plots…I can now design and implement my own research from the activities learned from the workshop into my classroom.”

Collecting pygmy rabbit data.
The experience has helped 5th – 12th grade teachers gain the confidence needed to take the next step in implementing field research with their own students, while forging professional relationships between university STEM research faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, and K-12 teachers.

In a blind at the sage grouse lek site.
Participant teachers received a field tool kit for participation in IdahoWatch, and will receive continued access to STEM resources and support. The teachers left the experience excited to implement what they had learned in their classrooms. One teacher explained, “Next Monday, students are going to do a sagebrush chemistry lab using samples I collected during the field experience and samples I have collected since.  The following week, they are going to do a concealment activity using hands-on tools and concealments photos from the thumb drive that we were given.”
Using telemetry.
The joint work of Dr. Forbey, Boise State University, University of California – Davis, University of Idaho, and Washington State University is contributing to conservation efforts for several sagebrush steppe species of concern, including the pygmy rabbit and greater sage-grouse. Dr. Forbey has received several NSF grants to help fund her research and outreach programs.
Running line transects.
In the Fall, Dr. Ken Cornell will launch another IdahoWatch: Teacher-Researcher Partnership, focused on the issue of antibiotic resistances. To find out more about implementing the IdahoWatch model, contact Kara Brascia, Director Service-Learning, .

 - Jill K. Hettinger, Boise State University Service-Learning

Friday, April 18, 2014

Work Study Jobs For Fall 2014

The Community Work-Study Program

The Federal Community Work Study Program provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with a financial aid award*.  

The program encourages community service work and work related to your course of study. Students are paid by the hour, and the rate is at least the federal minimum wage. The maximum number of hours you can work at Boise State during school sessions is 30 hours per week and you are paid every other week. Community Work Study hours are typically scheduled around your classes, depending on the employer.   

Our positions offer high-level and high-impact professional development so students can build their network and resume, as well as get the experience they need to secure professional work post graduation. Be a part of our program and start growing your professional career today. 

For more information contact or apply for positions directly by visiting BroncoJobs.

Current Openings:
Volunteer Coordinator (SL2), Agency for New Americans, Boys & Girls Club, International Rescue Mission, and Boise Urban Garden School – NOW HIRING!
The SL2 Acts as a liaison between a community organization, Boise State faculty, the Service-Learning Program and service-learners. They support service-learners and traditional community volunteers.

Program Assistant, Foothills Learning Center – NOW HIRING!
The Program Assistant at Foothills Learning Center supports the Environmental Education Program staff in office operations, class scheduling, and preparation. Some additional duties of facilitating classes may be involved as well!

Visitor Services Specialist, Discovery Center of Idaho – NOW HIRING!
The Visitor Services Specialist provides on-the-job training for the education and floor volunteer staff. The also facilitate visitor-learning and enhance customer service, as well as support day-to-day operations of Discovery Center of Idaho.

Bronco Tutor, Garfield Elementary AND Jefferson Elementary – NOW HIRING
Work one-on-one and in small groups with elementary students in order to assess reading and writing skills using assessments given to them by teachers.

Filled Positions:
Food Drive Assistant, The Idaho Foodbank
The Food Drive Assistant assists in the management and coordination of The Idaho Foodbank food drives.  This is a high-level, demanding position that requires advanced project management and stakeholder management soft skills.

Recreation Leader, Boise Parks and Recreation
The Recreation Leader supervises elementary aged youth during an after-school recreation program. This position is also responsible for organizing and maintaining recreational and educational equipment and materials

Adaptive Recreation Leader, Boise Parks and Recreation
The Adaptive Recreation Leader supervises and supports individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities during recreation program activities. This position is also responsible for organizing and maintaining recreational and educational equipment and materials

Program Assistant, MK Nature Center
The Program Assistant assists with many aspects of the nature center’s operations and maintenance. This may include design and construction of exhibits and displays, as well as research for educational projects and tours.

Medical Case Manager, Agency for New Americans
The Medical Case Manager provides transitional services to newly arriving refugees that promotes early self-sufficiency and social adjustment, especially related to taking care of their medical issues on their own.
Youth Development Professional, Boys and Girls Club

The Youth Development Professional provides support to all program areas including Nutrition, Technology, Transportation and Clubhouse Operations.

*To qualify for Federal Work Study you must select the option on your FAFSA and be awarded it through the Financial Aid Department on Campus.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Boise State — Instilling a Spirit of Service

A new report, released a few weeks ago by the United States Department of Labor, indicates that volunteering declined in 2013, to its lowest level since data was first collected ten years ago. Nearly 62.2 million Americans volunteered at least once between September 2012 and September 2013, falling 1.1% since the year before. The report provides no indication as to the forces driving the decline, and it is unclear whether the decline represents a temporary blip or an unwelcome trend.

When measured by age, adults 18-24 exhibited the lowest levels of volunteer participation, running a great deal below teens and those over 30. Although this number is disheartening, it is likely that the time-consuming nature of college, which can act as a barrier to potential student volunteers, is one culprit. Understanding and reducing this barrier could provide a great opportunity for universities to become a gateway to volunteerism.

Fortunately, for Boise State students, Boise State University has embraced this opportunity. Boise State University has become a gateway to volunteerism, offering a plethora of opportunities to get involved and volunteer within the community. Idaho is a tremendously volunteer-friendly state; in 2012, its volunteer rate put it at third in the nation. In other words, volunteer opportunities abound, and many exist just outside the steps of our beautiful campus. 

To assist students in connecting with community organizations seeking volunteers, Boise State University Service-Learning has created the Community Engagement portal in OrgSync. This helpful and continually updated page provides a friendly list of volunteer options around the Treasure Valley. There are one-time events, as well as options for those seeking an ongoing volunteer experience.

In addition to the Community Engagement portal, students are encouraged to participate in Service Saturday, a monthly event orchestrated by the Student Involvement and Leadership Center. Service Saturday provides all Boise State students the opportunity to spend a few hours positively impacting the community. As students who have participated in the past can attest, Service Saturday is a fun and meaningful way to spend a Saturday morning. Plus, everyone involved gets a free breakfast. Any college student would be hard pressed to say no to that

In many ways, this country depends on the efforts of volunteers, which is why the Department of Labor’s report is a somewhat gloomy one. While the sheer number of volunteers (62.2 million) is undeniably praiseworthy, the decrease in the volunteer rate represents a lot of valuable work that isn’t getting accomplished. Just how much do volunteers contribute? The question is difficult to answer, because volunteers provide a host of intangible benefits.A coalition of 600 nonprofit organizations has attempted to calculate the dollar value of total volunteer work in the country. The number they found is staggering. In 2011, volunteers gave 7.9 billion hours of volunteer service worth $171 billion. That’s quite the breathtaking figure, and there’s no doubt it fails to capture—and thereby understates—the positive impact volunteering has on our communities.

Volunteering is good for the volunteer, too. As it turns out, volunteering is good for your health. A review of the research, which you can read here, shows that those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression. Along similar lines, a study published in Social Science and Medicine found that volunteers report higher levels of well-being. In other words, volunteering makes you happy! 

The benefits of volunteering, to everyone involved, are clear and the importance cannot be overstated. There’s only one question that remains—what will you do to serve your community?

- Samuel Wonacott, Boise State University Service-Learning

Monday, March 10, 2014

Using Art to Build Community

In collaboration with Wingtip Press and the Idaho Historical Museum, students in Jill Fitterer’s, fall semester ART 309-409 Studio in Printmaking course, worked on the Dia de los Muertos Steamroller Event. This event created an opportunity for students, artists, and community members to come together collaboratively though artistic expression. Through their work, students developed a deeper appreciation for community involvement and authentic learning experiences. Boise State University student, Kylee Koenig explained, “This was not just an educational experience that I could have obtained by sitting in a classroom, this Service Learning course created new relationships with community members and educational providers, opening future possibilities for me as a student and a local artist”.

As a part of their collaboration, students from ART 309-409 worked with students from area high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools, as well as artists from the community, to create a total of 55 printing blocks.  Blocks were carved with traditional hand tools and electric carving tools. The blocks were then rolled with paint and printed on large sheets of fabric, using a steamroller press. An ART 309-409 student shared, “One of the things I cease to realize from time to time is the way young view the world with such excitement. During the Steamroller event, everything from the blocks, to the ink, and even the prints, were the most brilliant inventions…for that moment - through the eyes of youth.”

The prints were carried in the Dia de los Muertos procession held on November 2nd, and exhibited around Boise to further showcase the community works. Students were challenged to connect their academic instruction to their experience, “In the process of performing my project responsibilities, creating my work, and participating in class discussions, I was challenged to think critically about the Mexican culture, and find ideas that I could identify with and apply to my own artwork.”

What did the ART 309-409 students learn from this experience? One of the ART 309-409 students explained, “We learned to work together to bring art to the community to make something greater from the sum of its parts”. Students shared their experience through the Service Learning Student Exhibition. Click on the following links to see two examples of ART 309-409 poster submissions

 - Jill K. Hettinger, Boise State University Service-Learning

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Taking the Next Step

Tyler Johnson’s Kinesiology 305—Adapted Physical Education uses Service-Learning to provide education majors a hands-on and authentic experience working with adults with disabilities. Through the application of best practices in a least restrictive environment, students worked with disabled individuals on a range of activities, from food preparation and nutrition, to adaptive physical education. Community partners included local high schools, Trailhead ABC, and the adaptive programs offered through Boise Parks and Recreation. 
The value of the experience is best captured by the poignant reflection of one student, who remarked,
Our hope is that others will realize the many ways that individuals can give back to the community and those with specific needs. We were surprised to find that volunteering one hour a week, we could positively touch someone’s life and gain a sense of personal satisfaction.
Kinesiology 305 not only introduced students to the theories and best practices associated with adaptive education, it also instilled in them the significance, value, and importance of volunteering one’s time in the community. For James Reneau, John Cassels, and Billal Sultani, three students who took the class last fall, Kinesiology brought to light the obstacles facing both physical educators and adults with disabilities in Idaho, and inspired them to take the next step and see what they could do to make a difference. 

James, John, and Billal decided to establish the Boise Community Adapted Education Club after consulting with Dr. Johnson, who now serves as the club’s faculty advisor. Unlike most student clubs, which primarily serve students, the focus of the Adapted Education Club is to serve the community through students. The club’s mission is to enrich the lives of people with disabilities through any and all forms of traditional education. To accomplish that goal, the club partners with organizations working with adults with disabilities. Currently, the club collaborates with the Boise Independent School District’s STEP program, which works with adults 18-21 years of age.

For James, the club provides a “pathway to volunteering.” Getting people out into the community, he says, is “what it’s all about.” The success of the club, he notes, is intricately tied to increasing the number of student volunteers. While the club is always looking to expand the number of organizations with which it partners, the impact of the club hinges on the number of dedicated students willing to devote a few hours a week to serving in the community. However, James acknowledges that it can be difficult to motivate students. For various reasons, students are often reluctant to volunteer, but James points out that even one hour of volunteering a week can have a tremendous impact on the community.

The club is seeking students in all majors, not just those studying education. Physical education is only one part of a larger goal to assist disabled individuals in learning life skills and general knowledge. The STEP program, for example, is looking for students to come in and give 15-30 minute presentations on everything from personal finances to animal care, and everything in between. 

To learn more about the Boise Community Adapted Education Club and find ways to get involved, please contact James Reneau at

- Sam Wonacott, Boise State University Service-Learning


Monday, February 10, 2014

Microgravity students make STEM Service-Learning a Priority

Boise State University students make a difference in our community and will represent Boise State University on the national stage.

Dr. Elisa Barney Smith, Barbara Morgan, and Dr. Julia Oxford are guiding ENGR 475 Microgravity University students on a yearlong journey, as students propose, design, fabricate, fly, and evaluate a reduced gravity experiment for NASA’s Reduced Gravity Educational Flight Program. Their chosen topic must align with NASA’s priorities for future research, outlined in NASA’s Strategic Knowledge Gap (SKG) and Critical Technology Developments (CTD) documents. Like research proposals for the National Science Foundation, an important aspect of their research proposal is their outreach plan.

In December, the team learned that they had been chosen by NASA to conduct their research on “Gravitational Effects of Cerebrospinal Fluid Pressure and Flow in an Anatomically Representative Model,” at Johnson Space Center. Their flight day is set for June, so there is much to do. This spring semester the students will not only get their experiment ready, complete supporting documentation, and fabricate the physical model used in their experiment; they will be out in the community conducting service-learning. Students in ENGR 475 have developed STEM service-learning opportunities with several community partners throughout the Treasure Valley. Their first service-learning event involved area elementary teachers in a workshop focused on connecting science and engineering to the Common Core State Standards.

In their most recent outreach event, they participated in the STEM Exploration Day at Boise State University. This opportunity engaged these undergraduates in educating the public about their microgravity research and providing opportunities for children and adults to engage with Toys in Space microgravity experiments, and in constructing and launching Stomp Rockets. Additional upcoming outreach activities include: a STEM day with the Girl Scouts, a Mini-Microgravity University Competition at a local elementary school, and a STEM day with young mothers and toddlers at Marian Pritchett School.

This semester is going to be busy as these students carry full academic loads, in addition to their reduced gravity research project. The students are enjoying engaging with the community and have found their experience rewarding on many levels. They will represent Boise State University as one of only 18 university teams selected to participate in NASA’s Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program. These students from Boise State University will conduct research alongside NASA researchers and students from Purdue University, Stanford University, and Texas A & M University, to name a few.

To learn more about these students' academic journey, please visit the Boise State University Microgravity Research Team's website at

- Jill K. Hettinger, Boise State University Service-Learning