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The Legacy, Reality and Future of Women’s Leadership in Idaho

Boise and Idaho Capitol
Dean Corey Cook

November, 2017

Idaho is fortunate to have so many outstanding women leaders. From the Legislature to board rooms to our universities, Idaho women are making a positive difference. In this issue of Public Interest, we’re proud to announce the launch of the Marilyn Shuler Human Rights Initiative. Named for the human rights heroine, the Initiative offers educational opportunities on human rights as well as teaching the advocacy skills for advancing them.

We’ll also share scenes from the just-completed Women and Leadership Conference, which combined presentations from national and local women leaders in a variety of fields with skills-based training sessions focused on professional development. Finally, we’ll highlight the work of our highly acclaimed, non-partisan NEW Leadership program, which is designed to inspire young women to become leaders in their communities.

Corey Cook
Dean, School of Public Service
Boise State University


students at state capitolIdaho College Students Build Confidence to Lead

Twenty-one women from eight Idaho colleges and a wide range of majors attended the 2017 NEW Leadership program on the Boise State campus. Students were immersed in six days of skills and networking opportunities, working directly with Boise State professors and 57 speakers from across Idaho, including Idaho Legislators, local office holders, business leaders, non-profit leaders and an active-duty Air Force colonel. Students attended workshops on topics such as effective communication, worked on an action project at the State Capitol and toured the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial and the Basque Block.

After completing the program, students said they are now much more likely to take on public leadership roles, including running for office. One student said, “I feel empowered to make connections within my community and become involved in the process because I know I have the qualifications to do so!” Dr. Lori Hausegger, Director of NEW Leadership Idaho, states that the program is meant to “educate and encourage the next generation of women leaders. We are asking the young women of Idaho to think about a life of leadership and public service and our goal is to provide some of the necessary skills and contacts to help them on their way.”

NEW Leadership Idaho is a nonpartisan program open to all undergraduate women attending two- or four-year colleges in Idaho.

Hear Students Tell About Their New Leadership Experience In Their Own Words on the New Leaderships Website  >


historical photo of Marilyn Shuler with Governor Evans signing a billSchool of Public Service launches Marilyn Shuler Human Rights Initiative

The Marilyn Shuler Human Rights Initiative was born in the spring and summer of 2017 when Idaho’s longtime human rights leader Marilyn Shuler bequeathed a gift to the School of Public Service. Soon, the idea was born to use the gift to establish a campus-based initiative to help foster human rights education, encourage unity, and build effective advocacy skills among students and community members. These were things Marilyn excelled in every day, both vocationally and avocationally. History professor Dr. Jill Gill directs the Initiative.

Launched publicly by Boise State President Bob Kustra in Fall 2017, the Initiative seeks to bridge and partner with others among the large constellation of groups and individuals who currently do this work.

Learn More About the Marilyn Shuler Human Rights Initiative on the Shuler Initiative Website >


a full conference room

Lessons in Leadership – 2017 Women and Leadership Conference

The 2017 Women and Leadership Conference took place on September 27 and 28 in the Jordan Ballroom of Boise State’s Student Union. Participants, which included women and men, enjoyed keynote presentations from national and local leaders, participated in skill-builder workshops and networking events and met notable Idaho women leaders at a networking reception.

Katherine Robb of the Andrus Center said this year’s conference was “amazing.” “We had more attendees than ever (with a growth of 8% in men attending). And hope to have inspired, empowered and sparked growth in every person who walked though our conference doors.”

Learn More About Women and Leadership on The Andrus Center Website >

Stephanie Witt receiving an awardPublic Policy and Administration Professor Wins James B. Weatherby Service Award

Dr. Stephanie Witt of our Public Policy and Administration program was awarded the 2017 Dr. James B. Weatherby Service Award by the Idaho City Clerks, Treasurers and Finance Officers (ICCTFOA.)

The association presents the Dr. James B. Weatherby Award annually to individuals who have served city clerks, treasurers and finance officers. Witt presents frequently to the Association of Idaho Cities and to other local government associations.

Read About Dr. Witt in the Idaho Business Review >