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CI+D 2021 Annual Report


Letter from the Dean
Areas of Focus
Collaborations & Partnerships
Faculty Spotlight
Student Stories


Games, Interactive Media & Mobile Technology (GIMM)
Harvard Business School Online (HBS)
Human-Environment Systems (HES)
Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge (IEC)
Leadership Certificate Program (LEAD)
Onramp Program (OP)
Society for Ideas (SFI)
User Experience Design (UXD)
User Experience Research (UXR)
Varsity Esports
Venture College (VC)
Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP)
Graduated Programs
New Programs and Initiatives
Investment Opportunities


What do you do when a global pandemic breaks out and amplifies the uncertainty we face? One year ago, we confronted many questions and found few answers related to the impacts of COVID on higher education. How long would this pandemic last? Will we be able to develop a vaccine? What will the future look like for higher education? While the impacts of the past year have transcended all aspects of life, I am particularly grateful for how the College of Innovation + Design (CI+D) faculty, staff, and students rose to the occasion. Modeling resilience, adaptability, and perseverance, we have managed to not only survive the past academic year but also in many areas, thrive. This past year we have shifted our teaching modality from in-person to online, launched new innovative programs, and grown the impact of our existing programs. Allow me to share with you a few specific examples from our past year:

Resilience – CI+D transitioned 90% of our courses from in-person instruction to 100% online or hybrid teaching modalities in order to support student learning and respond to the needs of our community. Our enrollment for 2020-2021 was up 2%, which is a testament to our ability to persevere in serving our students in the midst of disruption.

Adaptability – Realizing that COVID was impacting high school students’ transition to college, CI+D partnered with the College of Arts and Sciences to launch the
new Bronco Gap Year program to support those interested in taking a semester or year off before beginning college. This low-cost, high-impact program offers a purposeful set of learning experiences, designed by Boise State faculty and advisors, with the option of earning
college credit.

Perseverance – CI+D managed to grow our Leadership Certificate (LEAD) to the point where it will be moving out of CI+D sponsorship and into a new home in the School of Public Service at Boise State. This marks our third successful program launched and nurtured that has moved to a new unit across campus and will allow us to increase our capacity for investing in new faculty ideas and models for higher education innovation. So, to what do I attribute our ability to innovate during an unprecedented time of change? For me, I reflect on the concept of locus of control and how CI+D embraces a posture of accepting change. Locus of control is the extent to which one feels in control of the events that influence their life. For example, during times of change or uncertainty do you believe you have agency to effect outcomes in a given situation or do you feel your effort will have no impact It is my view that life is full of uncertainty and setbacks. However, if one commits to clearly identifying problems to be solved, iterating potential solutions, and running experiments, we can increase our probability to make significant progress. Regardless of the circumstances, it is amazing how much a group of willing collaborators can accomplish. I’ve seen it time and again in my 25+ year career. Attitude, effort, and compassion make a big difference and I know it was integral to the substantial progress made by everyone in the College of Innovation + Design. As we look forward to the year ahead, I’m optimistic we will continue to innovate in CI+D and offer up a steady flow of innovative opportunities incubated by our College. What we do is critical to Boise State University. The pace of change is increasing, but so are the opportunities to thrive if we are willing to imagine a future that will look different from our past. If our work resonates with you, please reach out and contact me. I’d love to connect you with one of my talented colleagues and find a place where your time, talent, and resources can help us make Boise State University and the State of Idaho a place where innovation continues to thrive!



Three macro-scale drivers: rising costs, technological change, and rapidly changing workforce needs, are disrupting the traditional model of higher education.

1. Rising Cost

Rising Cost: The rapidly rising cost of a college degree is limiting access and creating massive student debt. This decline in affordability is also challenging the value of a college degree and promoting the development of alternative models of higher education.

2. Technological Change

Emerging technologies (online, A.I., automation, big data, and advances in cognitive sciences) coupled with rising costs, are creating alternative educational opportunities and economic incentives that are attracting competition to and promoting disruption of, the current higher educational system.

3. Rapidly Changing Workforce Needs

The rate of change in the workplace is accelerating and producing dramatic shifts in skills needed to succeed. Digitization, robotics, artificial intelligence, and globalization are dramatically altering the nature of work and the associated skills and training needed.


It is with consideration of these critical issues facing higher education that the College of Innovation + Design selects and invests in experiments that focus on:

  1. Innovation Within the University of Today. We catalyze and launch new programs, pathways, and partnerships that transcend the structural and cultural silos of traditional universities.
  2. Influencing the Shape of the Future University. Designing new models for higher education.


A. Access
Ensure access for all students.

B. Affordability
Lower cost and/or reduce debt associated with attending university.

C. Employability
Improve post-graduation employment prospects.

D. Research Impact
Showcase research efforts that are answering problems of importance to society and/or increasing student capacity to conduct research.

E. University Capacity
Innovate and grow internal systems and capabilities, increasing the operational flexibility of Boise State University.


VC 2013 Venture College: Launching ventures beyond the classroom
IEC 2014 Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge: Statewide startup competition
GIMM 2015 Games, Interactive Media & Mobile Technology: Undergraduate degree program
LEAD 2015 Leadership Certificate Program: Training all students to be leaders
VIP 2015 Vertically Integrated Projects: Research experiences for all students
UXR 2016 User Experience Research: Research skills to informing strategic design decisions
HBS 2017 Harvard Business School Online: Building foundational business skills
HES 2017 Human-Environment Systems: Tackling complex environmental challenges
ESPORTS 2017 Varsity Esports: Varsity, national champion, globally recognized, video gaming sports program
SFI 2019 Society for Ideas: a micro-school for creativity
OP 2019 Onramp Program: Community, Creativity, Coding
UXD 2020 User Experience Design: Introduction to designing impactful user experiences


Dr. Chris “Doc” Haskell

In 2017, when Dr. Chris “Doc” Haskell suggested Boise State create an Esports program, most people laughed or shrugged. In 2021, they aren’t laughing anymore. Under Doc’s leadership, and with the support of CI+D, Boise State’s Varsity Esports Program has become nationally recognized as one of the best, and most innovative, esports programs in the country. In the last 12 months, Dr. Haskell has been named national Coach of the Year (NAECAD) and Director of the Year (NACE), and with over 500 wins has led Boise State to five conferences and three national championships. But, the thing that makes Boise State Esports special is the unparalleled opportunities it provides students. With an incredibly strong community and a best-in-class live production and streaming program, our student-athletes are building the talent and skills to thrive.


CI+D is proud to share the exceptional accomplishments and memorable experiences from four recent graduates of our programs.


Lauren Matthews, a Spring 2021 graduate of the Games, Interactive Media and Mobile 0Technology (GIMM) degree, has many accomplishments and wise words to share. During her time in the GIMM program, Lauren was involved with the DEV team for two years as a Project Manager and iOS Developer where she helped invent, manage and develop an application called ABC Stories. Now available in the Apple App Store®, ABC Stories is an augmented reality app that helps deliver handwriting therapy to children of all ages, and allows teachers to tailor educational experiences for learners. Aside from her work on the DEV team, Lauren also mentions that her time in the GIMM program really helped her prepare because: “GIMM is a major that really focuses on giving back to the community and inspiring positive change.The teachers provide guidance and access to real world projects while our fellow students give us a sense of community and lasting friendships.” There is no doubt that GIMM is a rigorous program, but also one that many find rewarding. Lauren shares this great advice for current and future students, “keep moving, lean on others, ask for help when you need it and remember that rest is important. The biggest lesson I learned in GIMM was how to fail; how to be comfortable with the unknown and embrace ambiguity.” Lauren currently works as a Project Manager at a tech start-up and plans to continue to progress in her professional line of work with the improvement of applications and games.


Angie Bowers created the Grandparent Reading Buddy Program in Fall, 2020 as her capstone project for her Leadership Certificate. Here’s how it happened. Angie noticed the isolation many people have complained of during COVID and realized there is a segment of our society that has been experiencing this form of isolation, and the depression that often accompanies it, long before COVID hit. Her mother is part of that segment of society—she’s a woman in an assisted living facility with a healthy mind but a body that has left her sedentary and unable to enjoy the connections she once had. Angie wondered whether there was a way to bring greater connection to these individuals through technology. At the same time, she reflected on when her children were younger and she volunteered for their school by sitting in the hallway listening to a child who was developing their reading skills by reading out loud. She loved seeing the excitement the “children had on their faces as they worked to pronounce a word and the sense of accomplishment they had when they finished their assigned reading.” These reflections gave her an idea: To connect children with seniors via Zoom, so that children could practice their reading, and seniors could enjoy connecting with kids and encouraging their confidence. She was able to onboard 2nd grade teacher, Deborah Adamson at Ronald Reagan Elementary and Activity Director, Crystal Thresall, at Karcher Estates Assisted Living Facility. Today, her project has grown to three classrooms and over 35 volunteer seniors. One of Angie’s core values is service and she strongly believes that her purpose in life is to use what talents she has to help others. The 2020 Grandparent Reading Buddy Program is a great example of innovative thinking to bring together segments of our community that benefits everyone.


In the Spring of 2021, Kate Carter-Cram earned a User Experience Research (UXR) Certificate and graduated as a Top Ten Scholar with a Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies and minors in Economics and French. Kate’s UXR Capstone project was nominated by Dr. John Ziker for the Undergraduate Research Showcase where she was selected as one of the 16 distinguished “Lightning Talk” speakers. Her research project was titled Diversity in the Writing Center: The Impact of Reflection on Inclusive Practices. Kate shared that several independent research projects and a group poster from an Economics course at Boise State created a strong foundation for her capstone research. Kate’s capstone was mentored by Dr. Kendall House and assisted by Erica Brick, whom Dr. House states is, “one of our great affiliate UX Research faculty.” When asked about the value of the UX Research Certificate, and why she’d recommend it to other students, Kate shared the following: “I’d recommend the UX certificate because of its relevance to every field of study. User research methods are able to be applied to numerous situations across different disciplines and ameliorate the products, services, or policies that are created.” In the 2020-2021 school year, Kate Carter-Cram was also nominated as a Top Ten Scholar at Boise State University, which is one of the highest honors granted to Boise State undergraduate students. When asked about her success as a student she said: “I’d attribute my success to my family, friends, and professors…I was raised to value education; I would easily call it one of my family’s core values. During my entire educational career, even in high school, I was fortunate to have teachers who were willing to go above and beyond to engage with me, my interests, and my needs. I was privileged to never have a shortage of supportive individuals in my life: teachers and mentors have guided me at every step, and my family has supported me in every way possible since day one.” Kate’s future plans include attending graduate school at Cornell University to pursue a Master’s degree in Applied Economics and Management with an emphasis in International Development Economics. Long term, Kate plans to pursue a PhD in Economics and Public Policy and have a career writing economic development policies for an international organization.


I came to Boise State after a long and fulfilling career in the video game industry. During my 16 years as a Game Tester, Designer, Producer, and finally as an Executive; I worked for several studios including Microsoft, Nintendo, and Real Networks. Along the way, I was able to make fun content for companies like Disney, Warner Brothers, The Pokemon Company, and LEGO to name a few. While it was a rich and fulfilling career, I reached a point where I felt the need to “give back” to the next generation of creative minds. In the Fall of 2018, I enrolled in the Bachelor of Applied Science degree and selected the Certificate of Innovation and Design from Society for Ideas (SFI). Being a passionate “maker” with interests in emerging technologies, this program was the perfect Venn Diagram of all the things I loved. When I first read through the class descriptions I was amazed at the curriculum. Coming out of the software industry, I had the tools and techniques for solving problems but it was all self-taught. This worked great but most of what I learned was “tribal knowledge” and only slightly applicable from one employer to the next. The lessons I learned from the Society for Ideas curriculum were the other side of the coin – it was the academic approach to
problem-solving and design using bleeding-edge concepts and technologies. At some point in every single class, I would find myself wishing I had known the content of a specific lesson years ago. Technology isn’t going away anytime soon and employers will always want skilled hires who are adept at Design Thinking and integration of emerging technologies.



— Julia Gillard, Former Prime Minister of Australia


Using a unique apprenticeship and experiential training model, our GIMM major builds skills in hardware, software, and human interaction in alternative reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) across a suite of technology platforms to create transformative training and engagement experiences. The success of the GIMM program is built on strong community partnerships that inform curriculum and bridges graduates to the workplace.



GIMM entered into a partnership with Gear Up Idaho to work with over 200 middle and high school students from across the state on the development of tools for children with learning disabilities. Four different therapy tools were created and will be distributed for free to any and all who need them in the summer of 2021. This partnership is a first step in our commitment to working meaningful with Gear Up to help Idaho students see how technology can be used to help their communities.

• Old Coot and Maggie Foundation
• Area High Schools
• Boise Airport
• Boise State Nursing Program
• City of Boise
• Idaho Fish and Game
• James Castle Museum
• NASA Space Suits Program
• Old Penitentiary Museum and the World Museum


  • Top 16 major at Boise State for new freshmen.
  • Welcomed new faculty member Jack Polifka and new academic advisor Griselda Raymundo.
  • Launched the free app ABC Stories to help kids learn handwriting by combining augmented reality with old-school storytelling.
  • Set up remote access for our labs, which included purchasing 10 additional Alienware Aurora towers for students to avoid purchasing expensive software and computers while learning at a distance.
  • Established an equipment shipping program to provide GIMM equipment (tablets, VR headsets, cameras, microphones) to students during the pandemic.
  • Held virtual Senior Showcases for the graduating classes of 2020 & 2021.
  • Hired 11 student employees as TA’s for faculty and staff, and to assist the 6th cohort as Peer Mentors.

To learn more:
Dr. Anthony Ellertson, Faculty Director


Our partnership with Harvard Business School Online provides access to a world-class immersive learning experience in analytics, economics, and financial accounting, for non-business majors. Online learning with a global community and Boise State coaches leads to a Harvard-issued Credential of Readiness (CORe) that gives students foundational business skills and signals competence to employers.

• Harvard Business School Online
• Graduate College
• Boise State Career Services
• Extended Studies
• Center for Professional Development


Offered individual Harvard Business School Online courses for professionals, including Negotiation Mastery and Management Essentials, in addition to the courses in CORe subjects (Accounting Analytics, and Economics)

Implemented a new social platform to create an online community for remote HBS students Offered an option for businesses, organizations, or communities to host a customized cohort

To learn more:
Mark Woychick, Director of Programs


Using community-based research to find real-world solutions to pressing environmental challenges.

• Ada County Soil and Water Conservation District
• Alberta Prairie Conservation Forum
• American Farmland Trust
• Arizona Game and Fish Department
• Beaver Ecology and Relocation Center
• Bureau of Land Management
• Center for Large Landscape Conservation
• City of Boise
• Colorado Natural Heritage Program
• Community Forests Pemba
• Conservation Science Partners
• Earth Lab
• Elevation Technical Working Group
• Environment Climate Change Canada
• Federal Emergency Management Agency
• Friends of Teton River
• Heart of the Rockies
• Henry’s Fork Foundation
• High Divide Collaborative
• Idaho Army National Guard
• Idaho Coalition of Land Trusts
• Idaho Department of Water Resources
• Idaho Fish and Game
• Idaho Rangeland Resources Commission
• Iinnii Initiative
• InterTribal Buffalo Council
• Land Trust of Treasure Valley
• Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
• National Ecological Observatory Network
• National Science Foundation
• National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center
• National Wildlife Federation
• Natural Hazards Center
• Nepal Tiger Trust
• Northwest Climate Adaptation Science Center
• Okanagan Nation Alliance
• Pacific Northwest National Laboratories
• Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians
• Southwest Climate Adaptation Science Center
• The Nature Conservancy
• The Wilderness Society
• Thunder Basin Grassland Prairie Ecosystem Association (TBGPEA)
• Thunder Basin Research Institute
• Treasure Valley Food Coalition
• United States Department of Agriculture
• United States Forest Service
• United States Department of Energy
• USDA Agricultural Research Service
• USDA Northern Plains Climate Hub
• USGS National Climate Adaptation Science Center
• Wildlife Conservation Society
• World Wildlife Fund


We successfully guided our students through a challenging year.

Our collaborative network grew by 50%.

Our graduate student community grew by 60%.

Recently-launched HES VIP has become one of the most popular on campus.

National audience attended our Diverse Environmental Perspectives Seminar Series.

To learn more:
Dr. Shawn Benner, Faculty Director


The Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge invests in the state’s future economic growth and societal impact by activating our most innovative and entrepreneurial students. During this year’s event, college and university students from across Idaho competed virtually for over $50,000 in cash prizes to advance their startups. In addition to cash prizes, winning teams were awarded free consultations from legal and financial professionals as they set up their businesses. During the competition, teams received feedback from industry professionals and community leaders who served as judges. Judges provide valuable feedback, insight, and mentorship that lasts well beyond the competition. Teams can now launch their ventures with confidence and support.

• Idaho State University
• Brigham Young University, ID
• University of Idaho
• Lewis-Clark State College


24 finalist teams, 137 students applied, 5 Idaho universities and colleges represented

29 majors/areas of study represented across finalists

4 tracks: Lifestyle + Service, Manufactured Goods, Social + Environmental Impact, and Software + Technology

Generous sponsorships came from:, CDI Group of Companies, Alturas, Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission (IGEM), Trolley House Ventures, Stratton & Associates, Hawley Troxell, and Jack’s Urban Meeting Place (JUMP)

To learn more:
Nic Miller, Executive Director


The certificate program offers transformational leadership courses through online and in-person tracks that meet the workplace demand for teamwork, flexibility, interpersonal skills, and problem solving. Accessible to majors across campus, our graduates are primed to be high-integrity change agents in their discipline and in the world.

• College of Education
• Community and Environmental Health
• College of Arts and Sciences
• Student Involvement and Leadership Center
• College of Engineering


In Spring 2021, nearly 350 students were working toward a Leadership Certificate.

All students engage in individual applied leadership projects (see Community Partners).

This program has been adopted into the School of Public Service, beginning July 2021.

To learn more:
Dr. Heidi Reeder, Faculty Director


The Onramp Program works with schools in need (60%+ Free/Reduced Lunch eligibility) to provide educators the tools, training, and resources to create coding experiences for K-12 students. Through the program, educators have integrated challenge-based learning along with Apple’s Everyone Can Code and Everyone Can Create into their classrooms and curriculum.

CI+D’s partners in the Onramp program are College of Western Idaho (CWI), Idaho Digital Learning Alliance (IDLA), and Apple. Boise State’s K-12 Professional Development Program delivers robust coding and creativity training for educators, CWI provides dual-credit, college, and English Language Learner courses, and IDLA provides Swift coding courses for students across the state. Apple provides funding, equipment grants, and hundreds of hours of master-level training and support. Together, we work with school district and public library partners throughout southwest Idaho to deliver coding and creativity experiences for learners.

“We know students of any age can access learning with technology if the content is accessible to students, high expectations are set, and engagement is used to solve real-world problems.”

– Nicole Vigil 1st grade teacher, Sherman Elementary, Nampa, Idaho


1,100+ students engaged in coding and creativity experiences (48% female, 33% underrepresented minority/refugee)

30 Onramp educators delivered coding and creativity experiences across 7 school districts and 4 public libraries while earning 207 professional development credits

3 new courses launched: CWI course designed and launched for English Language Learners; IDLA online Swift coding course launched in two locations; Boise State Leadership Track course forschool administrators

• College of Education
• Extended Studies
• College of Western Idaho (CWI)
• Idaho Digital Learning Alliance (IDLA)
• Apple
• Boise School District
• Caldwell School District
• Marsing School District
• Nampa School District
• Notus School District
• Payette School Distric

To learn more:
Mark Woychick, Director of Programs


Society for Ideas (SFI) is a micro-school that allows students and professionals to augment their degrees and work experience for a digital-first world and grow their creative, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication skills.

Society for Ideas offers three certificates:
1. Certificate in Innovation and Design
2. Certificate in Content Production
3. Certificate in Creative Influence

• Google
• Facebook
• Airtable
• Front
• Squarespace
• Canva
• Figma
• Oculus
• Albertsons Library Makerlab


1,000+ students across 13 countries, making SFI one of the fastest growing programs at Boise State

Launched 6 new courses and added 2 new certificates

Two SFI instructors recognized for their student focus with ASBSU Golden Apple Awards

To learn more:

Jennie Myers, Director

Brad Weigle, Director


The UXD Certificate provides students from any discipline the opportunity to build foundational skills in the high-demand field of user experience design. Key program methods include design thinking, user research, idea creation, human-computer interaction, prototyping, iterative processes, accessibility and sustainability, and interface design.

In this unique four course program, students also earn industry-recognized skill certifications allowing them to build the credentials and digital presence essential for success in the competitive modern-day career market.

• BUX: Boise UX Design & Research Community
• Interaction Design Foundation
• UX Research Program
• Venture College
• Center for Teaching and Learning


Issued first completed certificates during launch year; program participants span 20 different majors

Successful integration of third-party online curriculum, leading to industry certifications

Venture College collaboration leads to a first-place win for UXD student in Social Impact Pitch Competition

To learn more:

Lana Grover, Director of Programs


We teach students to adapt traditional anthropological research methods to develop insights into customer needs and behavior, delivering insights that inform design decisions. Our curriculum is transdisciplinary, experiential, and impact-oriented, culminating in an individualized capstone project. Offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels as well as to working professionals through UX-PRO. Projects are hosted by private and public organizations.


29 Remote capstone projects were completed during the pandemic, for a total of 58 alumni and counting. Over 40 declared students.

National and international reach: students from Idaho, Florida, California, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, New York, Texas, and Washington, as well as Canada and Barbados.

New affiliate faculty: Marc Hebert, City of San Francisco; Erica Brick, Google; and Norman Stolzoff, Ethnographic Insight.

Kendall House and Marc Hebert received $3500 Visiting Fellow Award from the Consortium of Practicing and Applied Anthropology Programs (COPAA) to support collaboration to develop open educational resources (OER) for the User Experience Research (UXR) focused on how to improve public services through the application of UXR.

UX Research Lab’s Vertically Integrated Project (VIP) renamed Designing Healthier Communities, begins its third year this fall.

First graduates of new Minor in: User Experience Research

To learn more:

Dr. John Ziker, Faculty Director
Dr. Kendall House, Lead Faculty


The College of Innovation + Design is collaborating with the College of Education to support the rapidly growing Varsity Esports program at Boise State. Led by Dr. Chris Haskell, Boise State Esports is widely considered one of the top programs in the nation in just four years. Student athletes now compete both regionally and nationally, developing teamwork and representing Boise State on the virtual blue from their sophisticated training and broadcast center.

• College of Education
• Athletics Department
• Communications Department

• League of Legends
• Rocket League
• Overwatch
• Valorant
• Madden

• Idaho Central Credit Union
• Idaho Army National Guard
• Black Box VR
• Kount
• Crucial/Balistix
• HP, Inc.
• ESTV (Global Broadcasting)
• Esports Tower
• Stay Plugged In


2 National Championships in Madden (NACE & PlayVS) with Wacey Williams

National Championship in Overwatch (PlayVS) and two conference championships (Mountain West and NECC)

Top 10 rankings in 2 games

With 500+ victories, “Doc” Haskell is now the winningest coach in collegiate esports history and won NACE Director of the Year and NAECAD Coach of the Year

Boise State maintains a state-of-the-art esports arena, training, and broadcast facility

Esports broadcasting produces over 2,000 hours of live content per year with millions of viewers

To learn more:

Dr. Chris Haskell, Head Coach


The Venture College cultivates and supports student entrepreneurship at Boise State to economically empower our students. Our programs build skills and instill an entrepreneurial mindset to pursue new ideas and launch ventures. We provide students across campus with training, venture incubation support, and unique startup experiences to help them find their entrepreneurial passion.

• J.A. & Kathryn Albertson Foundation
• Mission43
• Franklin Building Supply
• Weyerhaeuser, Trus Joist
• Trolley House Ventures
• Trailhead


Supported the creation of 78 new student ventures in the past year.

Launched Hacking for Homebuilding, a reverse pitch competition where 15 teams, composed of 40 students from 3 universities in Idaho, participated in a week-long competition to solve some of the top challenges facing the homebuilding industry.

Hosted 24 Survive to Thrive sessions in partnership with Trailhead to help startups in response to the pandemic. This series has over 2,000 views, reaching more than 12,500 people on YouTube and 7,000 on Facebook

To learn more:

Nic Miller, Executive Director


Vertically Integrated Projects provide a curricular structure to facilitate students engaging in authentic research alongside faculty. Faculty are encouraged to set up VIP courses related to their scholarly work and then students can enroll in these courses repeatedly from sophomore year through graduate school. This enables the students to grow – both in the research work and in the habits of mind that enable future success; while also enabling the faculty to have a team to collaborate with on their research projects.

• College of Arts and Sciences
• College of Education
• College of Engineering
• College of Health Sciences
• School of Public Service
• Service-Learning
• Whittier Elementary
• World Center for Birds of Prey


Added 8 new projects with 9 faculty from the College Arts & Sciences, College of Innovation + Design, College of Engineering, and College of Business and Economics.

Hosted a successful, virtual VIP showcase for students to share their work with the campus community.

Our entry with Georgia Tech about VIP won an honorable mention in the National Academies’ Idea Competition for the Symposium on Imagining the Future of Undergraduate STEM Education.

To learn more:

Dr. Donna Llewellyn, Director of VIP


The College of Innovation + Design has a distinctive mission to be a place of incubation and growth for innovative ideas and programs not currently in existence at Boise State.

Now completing our sixth academic year since founding, CI+D is both germinating new ideas and graduating those mature and successful programs to other parts of the University for continued growth. We are excited to announce that two programs, the Leadership Certificate Program (LEAD) and Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) will graduate this year. We celebrate their success and look forward to watching them continue to contribute value and impact in their new homes!


The LEAD program, led by Dr. Heidi Reeder was an inaugural program in CI+D, joining the college upon its inception in 2015. Over that time, Dr. Reeder has grown her vision into one of the most popular and high impact certificate programs at Boise State. With the successful launch of online modalities and the addition of an Assistant Director, the LEAD program has been warmly welcomed to join the School of Public Service where there are already plans to further expand the value LEAD brings to our students and community.

“We are excited to welcome LEAD to the SPS family, where it will provide students with both theoretical and practical applications of leadership at a time where these skills are of utmost importance in the public, private and non-profit sectors.”

-Andy Giacomazzi, Dean, School of Public Service


The VIP program was launched in 2015 by Dr. Donna Llewellyn and former CI+D Associate Dean, Dr. Will Hughes. This program expands access for students from any academic discipline to participate in faculty-led, funded research that can grow their learning and inspire creativity and impact for decades. VIP has rapidly expanded, offering 33 VIP courses across Boise State’s Colleges and Schools over the last three years, and more are being developed every semester. With the creation of Boise State’s Institute for Inclusive and Transformative Scholarship (IFITS), and with generous support from the offices of the Provost and Vice President for Research, VIP will graduate to IFITS to continue nurturing this program’s upward trajectory


1. Bachelor of Arts degree in Digital Innovation and Design

A new undergraduate degree in Digital Innovation and Design will launch in Spring 2022. This new degree will allow students to select from and complete certificates that match their individualized goals while emphasizing the use of new and emerging technologies to meet the needs of an evolving digital workplace. This innovative approach further allows CI+D to build upon and expand the portfolio of complementary certificate offerings both within CI+D and from partners across campus. CI+D is currently awaiting State Board of Education approval for the degree.

2. Proposals for Innovative Academic Programs

In Spring 2021, CI+D initiated what will become an annual call for proposals for new degrees, certificates, and courses. We have reached out to all Boise State faculty across campus seeking the best ideas for compelling, interdisciplinary academic programs
for the benefit of students, the university, and the communities we serve. We will be developing the proposals we receive during the coming academic year. In next year’s annual report, we look forward to sharing the results of this process and the innovative, distinctive, and student-focused programs that can be delivered by Boise State in collaboration with CI+D.


The College of Innovation + Design is a catalyst for the University, a place where experimental ideas and opportunities can become distinguishing strengths and initiatives. CI+D is highly engaged with the larger community, enabling the University to meet emerging trends and workforce needs.


Interested in funding the next big idea in CI+D? Join visionary philanthropists Ray and Candy Smelek in funding a legacy of innovative, risk-taking new majors, certificates, and educational experiences for Boise State students. Their forward thinking, endowed gift has allowed CI+D to enhance many of our existing programs and create new, future focused programs– like the ID:EA and UX Design certificates.

Gifts of $500,000 – $1MM to our New Innovation Pathways Fund will help us back new faculty with innovative and gamechanging experiences that accelerate Boise State further into the Top 50 Most Innovative Universities.

Contact CI+D’s Oce of Development to learn more about how your gift can help expand our impact.

Did you see a program in CI+D that you would like to help accelerate and grow?

Gifts of any amount can make a huge difference. We are grateful for the generous contributions to specific programs, like ICCU who is helping take our Esports program to the next level; or the Old Coot and Maggie Foundation funding community projects with our GIMM program. Which program is right for you? Contact us to explore how you can help realize the full potential of a program.

Ways your contribution can also help to support specific initiatives:

Games, Interactive Media, & Mobile Technology (GIMM) Major

Contribute to our Positive Social Change fund which develops literacy for deaf children, increases speech and occupational therapy in Idaho schools, and helps families suffering with Alzheimer’s and Dementia, here in Idaho.

User Experience Research Certificate

Fund student research to address social innovation in rural and metropolitan Idaho.

User Experience Design

Open the door of opportunity for our students by subsidizing the cost of industry-recognized, third-party professional certifications.

Vertically Integrated Projects

Provide travel funds to present at research conferences, project supplies, equipment, and stipends for faculty development.

Human-Environment Systems

Host the Social-Ecological Future of the American West Conference or support the Human-Environment Systems speaker series.

Society for Ideas

Help put our students at the forefront of creativity and technology by supporting us with the latest tools and applications for the classroom.


The Esports program seeks financial support to create additional scholarships for our varsity players and for program experiences

Venture College Grant Program

The Venture College Grant Program provides seed funding for student entrepreneurs who have completed the Venture College Incubator to launch their ventures.

Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge

Help Idaho’s next generation of entrepreneurs get started through this statewide competition for all Idaho higher education institutions.

To learn more, or if you have any questions about investment opportunities, please contact:


Contact Info

Albertsons Library, 2nd Floor
1910 University Drive, MS 1070
Boise, ID 83725-1070