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Public Interest – Research

From Dean Angela Bos

Research in the School of Public Service

Creating research that benefits the public good is at the center of our work in the School of Public Service (SPS). This issue of Public Interest highlights how our faculty, students, centers and institutes conduct collaborative, cutting-edge, and transdisciplinary research that makes SPS a trusted resource for policymakers and public service leaders. As you will see, through our research efforts, SPS is at the center of tackling our world’s pressing public problems.

In this issue, we’ll introduce you to Dr. Brian Wampler, an SPS faculty member who was recently appointed President’s Professor of Public Scholarship and Engagement. We’ll present some of the important work that Assistant Professor Saleh Ahmed has coauthored with SPS students on Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. We’ll share exciting news about how undergraduates in SPS are being recognized for their research through public symposia and national awards. And, finally, we highlight findings from the Frank Church Institute’s survey of citizens in the Mountain West that raise questions about the health of American democracy.

At the School of Public Service, our research seeks to transform the public sphere. It is so exciting to see in these examples how well we are doing that – and how we are engaging our students in this important work.

Angie Bos
Dean of the School of Public Service

Ahmed and Global Studies students publish on gender-based violence against Rohingya women

Saleh Ahmed, an assistant professor in the School of Public Service, published an article in the March 3 edition of the journal Ethnicities. Gender-based violence in a complex humanitarian context: Unpacking the human sufferings among stateless Rohingya women. Boise State Global Studies students Grace Priddy, Zoe Doman and Emily Berry were co-authors.

Ahmed and the students analyzed various multidimensional aspects of gender-based violence against stateless Rohingya women in Myanmar and in Bangladesh. In addition to providing the landscape of gender-based violence, the authors provided possible solutions to improve the situation.

Though this article has a geographical and population focus, it also provides a broader understanding and perspectives of gender-based violence and possible strategies for remedy in various humanitarian contexts.

Read about Dr. Ahmed’s research in Boise State Update
With Research Director Brian Wampler

Academics in Elevators

In another exciting episode of “Academics Talking Academics in Elevators,” Associate Dean Andy Giacomazzi and SPS Research Director Brian Wampler discuss:

  • How SPS research benefits the people of Idaho
  • Research our faculty is engaged in that people might find surprising
  • What kind of problems SPS faculty are trying to solve
  • How School of Public Service students engaged in research

Frank Church Institute survey indicates concern about the health of American democracy

A large bi-partisan majority of Americans in a five-state swath of the Mountain West are on edge about the health of democracy in the U.S. (85%) and yet two-thirds of them believe politicians should find common ground rather than just stand their ground. Those are the headline findings from groundbreaking new research recently released by the Frank Church Institute at Boise State.

Other themes from current events that emerged from the polling data include:

  • A serious lack of trust in the federal government, much less so for local and state government
  • An overwhelming concern about misinformation and its spread on social media, a subject of increased scrutiny in Congress
  • A strong sense that Americans in rural communities feel left out of policy that affects them in their everyday life
  • Who to blame for violent protests that laid siege to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021
  • Though a majority back the ballot rather than violence, a concerning 1 in 5 believe that violence can be justified

Working with Boise State University’s Idaho Policy Institute, the Frank Church Institute commissioned a leading Washington, D.C.-based research firm, Morning Consult, to gather public opinions of approximately 1,900 adults in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming in the fall of 2021.

Read nore about the survey of the Mountain West

Claire Vaage Speaks at Undergraduate Research Showcase

Boise State Top 10 Scholar and May School of Public Service Environmental Studies graduate Clair Vaage presented her research at the Undergraduate Research Showcase. Vaage spoke on “Mapping the Oases of the High Desert.”

The 2022 Undergraduate Research Showcase featured virtual poster and lightning talk presentations from nearly 300 undergraduate researchers and their collaborators.

Urban Studies Students win award for Housing Opportunity Research 

Urban Studies students won the 2022 American Planning Association Idaho Chapter award for their Adaptive Reuse Scorecard. Alexa Roitman (graduated spring 2022) and Nathaniel Campbell created the scorecard in their Housing Opportunities For All Vertically Integrated Project. Rather than write a report on the adaptive reuse of commercial, institutional, or industrial buildings for housing, Campbell and Roitman wanted to create a tool that would be useful to planners and community members in evaluating properties and projects. After researching adaptive reuse, they created a shareable Google Sheet scorecard through which various dimensions of a building or site can be reviewed and evaluated.

Vertically Integrated Projects are courses that facilitate faculty-supervised research on a specific topic or theme. Modeled after research labs in the physical sciences, they allow students to work with faculty for multiple semesters to develop research skills as they explore compelling problems. The Housing Opportunities for All Vertically Integrated Project was developed by Drs. Vanessa Fry and Krista Paulsen to serve as a research resource for organizations and agencies grappling with the Treasure Valley’s ongoing housing crisis.

In fall 2021 and spring 2022, Housing Opportunities for All partnered with the Regional Transpiration Advisory Committee (RTAC) of COMPASS (the Treasure Valley’s metropolitan planning organization) to examine various dimensions of affordable housing provision.

Check out our new giving page for an easier way to support students

Support Student Success!

At the School of Public Service, we are always looking for ways to increase financial support for our students in the form of undergraduate and graduate scholarships. Their success – throughout their lifetimes – is the single most important measure of Boise State’s commitment to students as a university. Scholarship support helps provide access to an affordable education for talented and committed students who are interested in public service.

To support provide resources for our students, please go to our new giving page to make a tax deductible gift.

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Blue Review launches new series on the results of public policy survey

The Blue Review has launched a new series of  policy briefs that explore findings from the School of Public Service’s 7th Annual Idaho Public Policy Survey and places those results within their broader policy context.

The first article in the series, “Property tax in Idaho” by Dr. Stephanie Witt, looks at the property tax in Idaho and why it matters so much. Dr. Witt explores public opinion and voter unrest, potential for property tax reform, and why Idaho is currently in a perfect storm when it comes to property taxes.

The second article, “Idahoans’ expectations of police performance on solving crime” uses data from the Idaho Public Policy Survey to look at the expectations that Idahoans have for for police when it comes to solving crimes.

Read the School of Public Service’s 7th Annual Idaho Public Policy Survey