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Public Interest February 2023

From Dean Angela Bos

Dean's Letter

Welcome to another edition of Public Interest, where we will share how the School of Public Service (SPS) has been busy working to make a positive difference in Idaho and beyond.

We are very excited to share the results of the Idaho Policy Institute’s 8th annual Statewide Public Policy Survey. The survey documents the views of Idahoans on today’s pressing issues and serves as a recognized and trusted resource for policymakers.

Experiential learning is at the heart of a student’s SPS education. We’ll share news about our alumnus-funded internship program for rural Idaho students, how learner-learner interactions transform the student experience in our conflict management program, and how we’re relaunching our in-person NEW Leadership program that addresses women’s underrepresentation in politics.

We’ll also share news about our award-winning faculty and their important research and public outreach, including a recap of Prof. Stephanie Witt’s recent participation in the City Club of Boise’s popular Pundit’s Forum.

And, finally, we’ll share how you can be a part of supporting SPS initiatives through Bronco Giving Day that is coming up on March 2-3.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read about how we are working hard to educate a new generation of public service leaders. SPS is working, as always, in the public interest.

Angie Bos
Dean of the School of Public Service

8th Annual Statewide Survey Released

Idaho Public Policy Survey shows increased pessimism about direction of state, economy

Idahoans continue to grow more pessimistic about the direction of the state and the economy, in general. That’s according to the Eighth Annual Idaho Public Policy Survey, released by researchers with Boise State University’s Idaho Policy Institute.

The gap between the number of Idahoans who believe the state is heading in the right direction (44%) versus those who believe it is off on the wrong track (41%) fell within the margin of error for the first time in this survey’s eight-year history. This pessimism extends to the economy, as most Idahoans expect the state’s economic condition to either worsen (37%) over the next two years or stay the same (36%). Additionally, 43% of Idahoans worry about paying their bills “always” or “frequently.”

The Eighth Annual Idaho Public Policy Survey was conducted November 10-17, 2022, and surveyed 1,000 adults who currently live in Idaho. The sample is representative of the state’s population, both geographically and demographically, with a margin of error of +/- 3.1%. The survey covered a wide variety of topics, including the economy, state budgeting, taxes, education, growth, housing, the environment, and crime.

Read the 8th Annual Statewide Survey on the School of Public Service website
Save the date!

Bronco Giving Day March 2-3!

Bronco Giving Day is a day to show your Bronco pride and to support student success. Gifts during this 36-hour online campaign will help support research projects, student scholarships, campus initiatives, academic programs, faculty and more at Boise State.

Look for the School of Public Service challenges, including the dean/associate dean challenge for the Experience Fund and Dean Bos’ NEW Leadership Idaho challenge!

Learn more at on the Bronco Gives website
Samantha Mulvihill Student Spotlight

A Bronco at West Point

This past November, Political Science Senior Samantha Mulvihill was nominated to represent Boise State University at the United States Military Academy’s 73rd annual Student Conference on U.S. Affairs. The conference, also known as SCUSA, consisted of four days of discussion between cadets, student delegates, scholars, and practitioners in an attempt to discover strategies and solutions for complex foreign policy issues. This year’s overall conference theme was “American Foreign Policy in an Era of Polarized Politics and Revisionist Powers.”

Read “A Bronco at West Point” on our website

Broncos in Africa!

Photo: Vanessa Fry and Michael Jacobs of the Mitchells Plain United Residents Association look out over Mitchell’s Plain, a district created when communities of color were relocated from central Cape Town as part of the apartheid-era Group Areas Act. The district is now home to over one million people, and community leaders like Michael are working to address issues including economic development, crime, and transportation access.

Krista Paulsen, program lead for Urban Studies and Community Development, and Vanessa Fry, director of the Idaho Policy Institute, visited South Africa this past September on behalf of Boise State. Their trip was a step towards creating connections between Boise, Boise State and the and non-government organizations, community groups, academics and students in Cape Town and surrounding regions.

Paulsen and Fry spent most of their time in the large and diverse city of Cape Town and surrounding areas. They also traveled to Knysna, a small city in the Western Cape where Boise State’s community partner Development Action Group has projects.

Much of their time was spent learning about the housing context of Cape Town through tours and meeting with community partners. They saw first hand single family home neighborhoods where “backyarding” (the construction of additional units) is creating density, informal settlements where residents have created structures on public or private lands, an informal settlement created by squatters in a decommissioned hospital, and new multi-family housing constructed that replace housing destroyed as communities were displaced during apartheid. They also presented at the University of Cape Town’s African Center for Cities, and to community groups, on the housing crisis in Boise and the challenges shared by Boise and Cape Town.

While in Cape Town, they held a session of Boise State’s VIP (Vertically Integrated Project) course “Housing Opportunities for All” that included Development Action Group staff and University of Cape Town Students, as well as Boise State students participating via Zoom.

It is hoped that this trip will foster connections leading to student exchanges or international internship opportunities.

Research in the School of Public Service

Research Corner

Our researchers are hard at work tackling the most important and vexing issues of the day. Here is a sample of some of our recent publications.

FacultyProgramRead More
Michael A. AllenPolitical ScienceBeyond the Wire: US Military Deployments and Host Country Public Opinion
Michael A. AllenPolitical ScienceUS Military Deployments and the Risk of Coup detat
Michael A. AllenPolitical ScienceNational Defense Strategy 2022
Michael A. AllenPolitical ScienceAllen quoted in Grid and Politifact
Andrew GiacomazziSchool of Public ServiceJustice Administration: Police, Courts, & Corrections Management, 10th Edition
Julie VanDusky-Allen and Nisha BellingerGlobal Studies, Political SciencePolitical parties and initial COVID-19 policies: subnational trends in India
Brian WamplerPolitical ScienceParticipation, Development, and Accountability: A Survey Experiment on Democratic Decision-Making in Kenya
Sam Martin, PhDFrank Church InstituteHistory As It Happens: Church committees, past and present
Saleh AhmedEnvironmental Studies, Global Studies, Urban StudiesEthnic Difference at the Center of Land Struggles in the Americas: A Complex History of Marginalization and Multidimensional Challenges among the Garifuna in the Northern Honduras

NEW Leadership relaunches!

NEW Leadership will relaunch with an in-person session this May 22-26. NEW Leadership is a national bi-partisan program developed by the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) to address the under-representation of women in American politics.

Students from colleges 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.

For more information, visit the NEW Leadership website.

Stephanie Witt on City Club Pundit’s Forum panel

The 2023 Idaho legislative session promises plenty of fireworks. With a record number of new legislators, a new Speaker of the House and a large budget surplus, there was a lot to talk about. The 28th annual Pundit’s Forum featured the School of Public Service’s own Professor and Director of Training Dr. Stephanie Witt for a lively conversation about what to expect this session. 

Internships helping rural Idaho cities

This semester several Boise State students are working in internships created through a partnership between Clearwater Financials and the Association of Idaho Cities. The students are helping small Idaho cities pursue federal grant monies that they might not otherwise have capacity to apply for.  

The project consists of a comprehensive survey of Idaho cities to identify their needs as well as help in identifying grants that match the cities’ needs and assisting with grant applications. 

The internships are created and funded by School of Public Service alumnus Dr. Cameron Arial.

Learner-learner interaction at the heart of online Conflict Management courses

Ashley Nichols, director of the Conflict Management program in the School of Public Service, was recently recognized for her work developing highly interactive and engaging online courses.  Although in-person conflict management courses are extremely hands-on and focus on developing practical skills, when developing courses for the online conflict management program, Nichols kept the following principles in mind:

  • Don’t lose the direct skills practice of these courses.
  • Allow students to connect around topics to create a shared experience and normalize conflict in their lives.
  • Try new things that push me and my students out of our comfort zones.

The reviews from conflict management students indicate that she succeeded!

Read more on the website of the Boise State eCampus Center