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Experiential Learning

From Interim Dean Andrew Giacomazzi

Experiential Learning

Service. It’s an active word. To serve often means to do something. In the School of Public Service, we bring public service to life through unique experiences in which our students learn how to serve the public through active, experiential learning.

In this issue of Public Interest, we’ll share some of the projects our faculty and students are working on right now that go beyond the traditional classroom. We’ll introduce you to a couple of our exciting Field Schools, we’ll tell you about the Boise State Tree Census (Happy Arbor Day, by the way!), we’ll introduce you to service-minded Boise State students who have been awarded Andrus Scholarships, and we’ll share a program which recently brought former members of Congress to Boise State.

Experiential learning can be messy, challenging and uncomfortable. But we believe that it is an important way to learn, especially when learning about the vexing problems that our students will be working to solve.

To learn more about Experiential Learning in the School of Public Service, check out the Experiential Learning pages on our website.  And if you are so inclined donate to our Experience Fund, which provides resources to allow students to participate in experiential learning opportunities, check out our website.

Thanks for joining us as we serve the public. Working, as always, in the public interest.

Thanks for reading,

Andrew Giacomazzi
Interim Dean, School of Public Service
Boise State University

School of Public Service students help make City of Trees even greener

SPS students inventory campus trees

Boise, or as it is lovingly known by residents, “The City of Trees” just got even greener. Thanks to enormous efforts by Boise State students and faculty, the university is now a designated ‘Tree Campus Higher Education Institution’ by the Arbor Day Foundation.

This designation is in recognition of work completed by Lecturer Mari Rice and 30 students in her 300-level Environmental Studies course during the Fall 2021 semester. The project was a collaborative effort between the students, Campus Landscape Services, the Service Learning office, Campus Sustainability, and the Idaho Department of Lands who trained the class and gave them access to the tree inventory software. With this support, Rice and the students surveyed and documented every tree on campus, developed a Tree Management plan, and published a comprehensive online story map of Boise State’s current trees.

“The tree inventory will help guide tree care on campus, provide sustainability data about  the ecosystem services provided by trees on campus, and serves as a tool for the campus community to learn more about the social and ecological benefits of trees,” Rice said.

Photo by Lainey Rehkemper

Read more in Boise State News

Academics Talking Academics in Elevators

In another exciting episode of Academics Talking Academics in (virtual) Elevators, School of Public Service Interim Dean Andy Giacomazzi and Mari Rice discuss:

  • The Boise State campus tree inventory
  • Experiential learning through internships in the School of Public Service
  • The new Environmental Studies environmental education certificate
Watch the video on our YouTube channel

Army ROTC takes learning to the field

Army ROTC cadets have multiple opportunities for hands-on learning. In this photo, Cadet Spencer Kacijancic explains the maneuver and tactics he wants to employ to several team leaders detailing the field strategy he will apply to his operational situation. The training took place at Gowen Army Airfield during the afternoon of a February 24th practical lab.

The Boise State University ROTC offers experiential learning through leadership courses designed to connect theories and knowledge learned in the classroom to real-world situations. These are opportunities of practical application during a weekly hands-on lab which is steeped from the classroom lecture. Cadets demonstrate critical and cognitive reasoning with employment of skill sets to lead, empower and complete a myriad of simultaneous operations. The Boise State University ROTC program offers a minor in Military Science Leadership through the School of Public Service. Students-cadets have the ability to stay local, work in health service industries, aviation or to be part of the national active Army team. ROTC accepts all academic disciplines and majors.

Photo Credit: US Army Cadet Command/Colton Cook

Read More about Army ROTC at Boise State on the ROTC website
Five new scholars for 2022-2023

Andrus Scholars Announced

The Andrus Center has announced five Andrus Scholars for the 2022-2023 academic year: Parker Aiello of California, Brooke Davis of Kuna, Idaho, Garrett Hays of California, Lauren Noeker of Boise and Dallas Smith of Driggs, Idaho.

Andrus Scholars participate in a 10-week, 30-40/hours a week, 6-Credit hours Summer Internship. They receive $6,000 in Scholar funds to help pay for internship credit hours, provide the equivalent to a living wage for hours worked, and any internship-related travel and expenses.

Meet the 22-23 Andrus Scholars on the Andrus Career Prep website

Celebration of the life of Dr. John C. Freemuth

On April 16th, family, friends, and Boise State colleagues celebrated the life of former School of Public Service faculty member, Distinguished Professor, and Cecil D. Andrus Endowed Chair for Environment and Public Lands, John Freemuth.

John passed away suddenly on May 2, 2020; and due to ongoing Public Health concerns, we delayed gathering to recognize John’s life and many accomplishments. As time has passed, plans have also been made to continue John’s legacy through a number of new efforts.

As a way to honor John, you are invited to make a gift online
Young Women and Leadership hosted by Andrus Center

Gabby Lemieux speaks to Young Women and Leadership Conference

Each year, Young Women and Leadership brings together 9th-12th grade students to hear from inspirational leaders, to grow in their developmental journey, and to network with current and future leaders.

Modeled on the popular Women and Leadership Conference, The 4th annual Young Women and leadership event was hosted Tuesday, March 15, 2022. This year’s keynote speaker was Gabby Lemieux. Ms. Lemieux is a member of the Shoshone Paiute tribe of Duck Valley Indian Reservation and is the first female Native American professional golfer.

Learn more about the 4th Annual Young Women and Leadership Event

Congress to Campus

Former Members of Congress Brian Baird (D-WA) and Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) recently visited the Boise State campus. Hosted by the Frank Church Institute and sponsored by the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress, Congress to Campus brings former members of Congress to college campuses to meet with students.

The Association of Former Members of Congress is a bipartisan, nonprofit, voluntary alliance of former United States Senators and Representatives, standing for America’s Constitutional system. For more than 40 years, Congress to Campus has provided college students with a unique civic education by engaging them in honest dialogue with bipartisan teams of Former Members of Congress, Congressional staff, and American diplomats.

Read more about Congress to Campus on the Frank Church Institute website
MPA Capstone Showcase

Experiential Learning through Idaho Policy Institute

Student engagement with Idaho Policy Institute is built on a foundation of experiential learning for all students. Idaho Policy Institute’s research and dedicated courses provide experiential learning opportunities to students across disciplines and at all levels (undergraduate to Ph.D.) at the university. They may be interns, WorkU students, work study students, undergrad or graduate research assistants, or with us in a class.

Our students serve in pivotal research roles in order to gain direct experience to take with them into the workforce. A great example of this in practice is the Master of Public Administration Capstone course. This semester there were 17 students divided into eight project teams. The teams engaged with community partners from the private, public, and nonprofit sectors including Boise State University Sustainability Governance Council, CATCH, COMPASS, deChase Miksis/Treasure Valley YMCA, Downtown Boise Association, Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, Idaho Walk Bike Alliance, and Whitewater for Well Water.

In April the Capstone students gave presentations to their community partners at the MPA Capstone Showcase.

School of Public Service Experience Fund

The Boise State School of Public Service Experience Fund provides resources for students to participate in opportunities that go above and beyond the traditional classroom experience. Skills gained from these experiences allow students to apply what they have learned, explore careers, network, and build their resumés by gaining marketable skills. Examples of School of Public Service student experiences include: Model UN, NEW Leadership, Urban Studies Field School, Working Lands Field School, Living & Learning Program, Marilyn Shuler Initiative, Global Scholars, Andrus Scholars and Frank Church Scholars.

Please join us in supporting this game-changing initiative that provides Boise State students with relevant experiences which prepare them to be responsible citizens and leaders in our community, in Idaho and beyond.

Working Lands Field School

The five-day Working Lands Field School includes three days on-site at Cascade Lake. Students conduct soil sampling, tour ranches, and discuss forest ecology, logging and land management with ranchers. Students gain knowledge about potential career and report that in-person sights, smells and observations are crucial to their development as thinkers.

Urban Studies Field School

The Urban Field School closely studies the history and use of a particular site or defined area. Students first research the site to help place it in context, and then visit the site. For instance, they may do readings on industry within cities, and then go visit the site of a former factory. Professors use the field as a humanities “lab” to ask questions about a particular place, and help students understand how it came to be the way that it is today.

In 2019, students traveled to the companion city – Seattle – to conduct research in public transportation, infrastructure and utilities. Each semester these “emerging urban analysts” conclude with a public findings presentation.

Support the School of Public Service Experience Fund

School of Public Service announces Annual “Commitment” Awards honorees

The SPS Annual “Commitment” Awards honorees announced at a reception in May.  The following SPS faculty and staff were this year’s awardees:

  • Commitment to Service:  Dr. Mari Rice
  • Commitment to Teaching:  Dr. Jillian Moroney
  • Commitment to Research:  Dr. Saleh Ahmed
  • Commitment to Support:  Hayley Johnson
  • Commitment to Leadership:  Dr. Nisha Bellinger