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Villachica retires after 15 years on faculty, three decades industry experience

For 15 years, Steve Villachica, associate professor of organizational performance and workplace learning, brought his nearly three decades of business, government, and nonprofit experience to the classroom training the next generation of workplace leaders.

Steve Villachica, OPWL, headshot

Villachica joined the Department of Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning in the College of Engineering at Boise State University in 2007. He taught courses in instructional design, needs assessment, and workplace performance improvement.

“I’ve been able to work with brilliant and passionate students, graduates, faculty, staff, clients, and our strategic nonprofit partners for almost 15 years,” Villachica said. “Working with the people you love doing the things you love in ways that benefit others is an honor and a privilege.” 

Prior to joining Boise State, Villachica collaborated with colleagues and clients at DLS Group, Inc. Here he helped create large-scale performance support systems, e-learning, instructor-led training, job aids, and a host of award-winning performance improvement solutions.

Villachica helped create a job/internship portal called Get Your Work Experience Here for organizations seeking to remotely hire an organizational performance and workplace learning student or graduate. This precursor led to the creation and leading of the Process Management Lab. His expertise provided invaluable learning experiences to students, with several department alumni returning to join the lab for continuous learning and professional development.

His experience with pharmaceutical companies, law enforcement agencies, security companies and regulators, and more helped drive research efforts into investigating aspects of student readiness for the workplace.

“Steve has been instrumental in his 15 years of service at Boise State providing service-learning type, client-based projects to students,” Yonnie Chyung, professor and department chair of organizational performance and workplace learning said. “He has mentored countless students through research and scholarship providing invaluable guidance and consistent support for other faculty members, positively influencing our entire program.”

Villachica wrapped up his final semester of teaching this spring. With his retirement begins the next chapter of his life. While he will no longer be teaching classes, he will remain involved with the program by scouting potential projects for courses, internships, and work experience opportunities for students and graduates.

Villachica is known amongst faculty, staff, students, and alumni for his coined phrase, “OPWL Rocks! OPWL Students Rock!”

The phrase has become a mantra of sorts for Villachica and students alike that is repeated not only in person but across social media.

As he looks back on his time at Boise State, Villachica said he still remembers the feeling of pride and humility of watching his first students and graduates begin channeling phrases he said or wrote in different courses.

“I’ve been here a long time now, and seeing my words in others’ writing and conversations still touches my heart,” Villachica said. “It’s an ongoing reminder of the importance of our teaching mission –to prepare and enrich the professionals we work with and who will someday replace us.”

-by Jamie Fink