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Blue Sky Institute Working to Drive Influential Change

Animated photo of Downtown boise in Blue and Orange with words written "Boise State University Blue Sky Institute"

The Boise State University Blue Sky Institute (BSI) has been formalizing their leadership team, fellows, and dedicated areas of impact, known as pillars, to drive influential change in the Treasure Valley and the university.

BSI is a collaborative institute between the College of Business and Economics (COBE), the College of Health Sciences (COHS), and the School of Public Service (SPS) that harnesses the skills and resources at Boise State to create cross-disciplinary and cross-sector partnerships between Boise State and the community to positively impact the community’s most entrenched social issues.

In order to achieve these goals, BSI has taken the necessary steps by formalizing a leadership team to include the deans of COBE, COHS, and SPS, as well as Tony Roark, interim provost, Leslie Webb, vice president and Jeremiah Shinn, associate vice president of student affairs. With a robust leadership team and a newly hired program manager, BSI will focus efforts and programming towards the following pillars: Diversity and Inclusion, Population Health, and Impact Measurement. Each pillar has identified a local community leader to serve as a Fellow. Fellow’s have subject matter expertise and are responsible for providing strategic leadership within their pillar.

Through the Diversity and Inclusion pillar, BSI is leading efforts to improve strategies and practices within the business community to achieve better diversity and inclusion outcomes in the Treasure Valley. Efforts include hosting an annual diversity and inclusion summit, highlighting best practices and supporting local events in their bi-monthly newsletter, and hosting roundtables and workshops for leaders and diversity and inclusion practitioners to expand their knowledge and bring practices to their organizations. Shannon Rush-Call, director of Global Organizational Effectiveness for Micron Technology serves as the Diversity and Inclusion Fellow.

The Population Health pillar historically focused on areas of mental health and homelessness. It recently added health innovation where support has gone towards exploring telemedicine and air quality in rural Kenya, as well as exploring solutions towards performance-based healthcare payment models. Mark Lung, a local entrepreneur, and CEO and Founder of Eco2Librium serves as the Fellow for this pillar.

Group of students and fellow that created the last sustainability report.
Group of students and fellow that created the last sustainability report.

The third pillar, Impact Measurement, works to report social, environmental, and economic impacts the university has on BSI stakeholders and works towards continuous improvement of these impacts through stakeholder engagement. This is achieved through the student-led and produced annual sustainability report by the COBE, COHS and SPS. Outcomes of these efforts have included the establishment of a dean’s student advisory council at Boise State starting Fall 2019, that will provide input and guidance to college leadership. This pillar is led by long-time Fellow, John Bernardo, who is the Sustainability Strategist at Idaho Power.

“The progress that BSI has achieved through formalizing pillars and a leadership team is already creating an impact on our campus and in the community,” said Tim Dunnagan, dean of the College of Health Sciences. “I am excited to see the growth of our university and the Treasure Valley through the numerous efforts of BSI.”

Learn more about BSI and their current initiatives.