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Community Impact Program receives accolades, names partnership manager

Boise State University’s Extended Studies Community Impact Program was recognized by the University Professional Continuing Education Association with the “Outstanding Credit Program” award. The award celebrates the most original and functional approach in a degree-applicable or professional advancement program from universities in western states, including California, Arizona, Oregon and Washington.

“This award recognizes the power of transformational engagement in rural and remote communities,” said Pete Risse, associate dean of extended studies. “With our incredible partners, we are delivering new and impactful educational access to the places that our students want to live, work and raise their families. That benefits the student, community, and university by providing opportunities to grow beyond the traditional boundaries of campus.”

Two students look into a distant sunset.
Community Impact Program brings Boise State education opportunities to rural Idaho. Photo by Adam Eschbach and Cassidy Myers, Boise State Extended Studies.

The Community Impact Program launched in 2019 as part of the Boise State rural education initiative. Students go through an immersive program that is based on challenges in their community and work together to provide a solution to those existing challenges. The curriculum includes topics of community leadership, collaboration, professional communication and entrepreneurial mindset. The 12-credit program results in a certificate and the credits earned can be used to fulfill elective credits should the student choose to go on to a baccalaureate degree.  The program continues to grow, with the largest student cohort this year from the Western Treasure Valley, West Central Mountains and Elmore County.

With the growth of the program, the Division of Extended Studies has named Alicia Griffith as the extended studies community partnership manager. As part of her new role, she will manage the Community Impact Program. “We’re changing the lives of our students and their communities for the better through this program,” she said. “I’m elated to be a part of the work that extended studies and our community partners do to increase access to higher education, with the added benefit that the students’ work improves communities across Idaho.”

In addition to the University Professional Continuing Education Association award, the program was selected as one of three national finalists for the 2022 Phi Kappa Phi “Excellence in Innovation” award. This award recognizes one institution of higher learning for achievement in finding powerful answers to important local, regional, national or global challenges. The Community Impact Program was lauded by the Phi Kappa Phi Society executive director as a program “working to transform their campus community through intentional, systemic, large-scale change.”