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Making a Difference in Idaho and Beyond

Boise Skyline
Photo of Dean Corey Cook

November, 2018

The vision of the School of Public Service includes “empowering students to become innovative and responsive public service leaders within local, state, national, and global communities.” We do this through outstanding classroom instruction and experiential learning. And as we exit another divisive national election, one thing is clear: there is a great and growing need for responsive leaders who work in the public interest.

In this issue of Public Interest, we’ll show you how we are educating a new generation of leaders through our NEW Leadership program. We’ll also shine a spotlight on an alumna of both our Political Science and MPA programs who is putting her School of Public Service education to work in exciting – and possibly surprising – ways. We’ll show you how the work done by one of our faculty to address chronic homelessness is attracting national attention. And finally, we’ll show you how we welcomed the first endowed chairs to the School of Public Service.

Thanks for listening,

Corey Cook
Dean, School of Public Service
Boise State University

Amanda Hoffman

Alumna Spotlight: Amanda Hoffman

For someone who considers herself a bureaucrat, Amanda Hoffman’s career has had a lot of excitement. “I wish I’d kept a list,” she said. Her “once-in-a-lifetime experiences” include fire monitoring in a Black Hawk helicopter, cave swallow netting in the Carlsbad Caverns, fish tagging, working with bald eagles and other educational raptors, presenting to delegates from Uganda, hiking to The Wave and horseback riding to remote areas of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

But what she loves most about public service is the opportunity to improve people’s quality of life by providing services important to public health and to the environment.

In fact, Hoffman started thinking about public service at an early age. “I decided I wanted to be a Federal employee when I was 8 years old,” she said. “I was part of a children’s choir that performed in Washington D.C. and I decided it was where important things happened.”

Read About Amanda Hoffman on Our Website >

Let’s Do This!

School of Public Service Dean Corey Cook has identified experiential learning opportunities as one of the top priorities for the school. Learning that is considered “experiential” contains the following elements: reflection, critical analysis and synthesis, opportunities for students to take initiative, make decisions and be accountable for the results. It provides opportunities for students to engage intellectually, creatively, emotionally, socially, or physically. When students are engaged in learning experiences that they see the relevance of, and the product has more significance than a grade, they have increased motivation to learn and produce a more thoughtful product.

Each quarter, we will share details about an existing SPS experiential learning program and a related student success story. If you have an idea for a great student experiential learning opportunity or just want to get involved, contact Jeff Benton at to learn how you can make a difference.

NEW Leadership

NEW Leadership

National Education for Women’s Leadership Idaho (NEW) is an exciting hands-on leadership program designed to inspire young women to become leaders in their communities.

College women from across Idaho are invited to spend a week in Boise learning about the important role that politics plays in their lives, studying leadership skills applicable in both public and private sector positions, addressing diversity matters and mingling with other students dedicated to making a difference in their communities. Students have the unique opportunity to interact with and learn from many of Idaho’s local and state elected officials, as well as a wide variety of community and private sector leaders.

NEW Leadership is a national bi-partisan program developed by the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP). The program was designed to address the under-representation of women in American politics. Participants represent a wide range of socioeconomic, ethnic, racial and educational backgrounds, and academic majors.

Watch a Video About a New Leadership Success Story >

steven feldstein and john freemuth

School of Public Service Celebrates Two New Endowed Chairs

For centuries, endowed chairs have been regarded as the hallmark of academic excellence and the ultimate recognition of faculty achievement. They are the most significant way to provide valuable support for the work of faculty members of the highest distinction. At Boise State, endowed chairs contribute to strategic initiatives, are powerful tools for recruitment and retention, and are important markers of the university’s prestige.

The School of Public Service is celebrating the installation of Steven Feldstein as the Frank and Bethine Church Endowed Chair of Public Affairs and Distinguished Professor John Freemuth as the Cecil D. Andrus Endowed Chair for Environment and Public Lands.

See More Photos from The Installation Ceremony on Our Facebook Page >

Biden Challenge

Vanessa Crossgrove Fry, Research Director of our Idaho Policy Institute and Assistant Research Professor in the School of Public Service, recently presented her work on the Pay for Success model to the Biden Challenge Conference at the University of Delaware. Fry’s presentation, Pay for Success: A Policy Innovation for Social and Economic Stability, was part of the Budget Priorities plenary.

Pay for Success is a financing model that uses private sector and/or philanthropic capital to pay for preventive social services. Fry has written and presented extensively on the Pay for Success model as a tool for addressing chronic homelessness in Boise.

The Biden Institute and the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration organized the Sept. 28 conference as a way to generate ideas for revitalizing the middle class, seeking answers to the question, “What policy solutions do you propose to ensure America a growing and thriving middle class, that they continue to be relevant?”

Read About Vanessa Fry and The Biden Challenge in The Boise State Update >