Skip to Main Content
Mobile Menu

Background and Reflection

In 2005 Boise State University declared its vision to become a Metropolitan Research University of Distinction.  In working toward this vision, a team of faculty and staff from across the university developed a strategic plan titled “Charting the Course: A Strategic Vision for Boise State University.” The bold new plan was published in April 2006 and outlined ten broadly defined goals focusing on four key areas: academic excellence, exceptional research, public engagement, and vibrant culture.

Since Charting the Course was published, Boise State University has made excellent progress toward reaching its vision.  Highlights of the University’s progress and surrounding events include:

  • The 2008 opening of the Treasure Valley’s first public community college, The College of Western Idaho, has increased access to post-secondary education in the region, released Boise State University from its charge to provide vocational training, and allowed the university to focus its academic mission
  • An increase in the university’s admission requirements, resulting in 40 percent of the entering freshmen for Fall 2011 earning a high school GPA exceeding 3.5 and SAT scores in critical reading and math that are substantially higher than the national averages
  • A complete overhaul of the undergraduate core curriculum, structured around clearly articulated learning outcomes that provide a connected, multi-disciplinary framework of learning from freshman to senior years
  • Increased retention and a flattening of the undergraduate enrollment profile from one that was historically over-represented by lower division students
  • An expansion of graduate programming, with new Master degrees in anthropology, business administration, chemistry, community and regional planning, educational leadership, hydrologic sciences, mathematics, nursing, and STEM education; and new doctoral degrees in educational technology, electrical and computer engineering, geosciences, biomolecular sciences, and materials science and engineering
  • A near-doubling of space for student activities (690,000 ft2 total)
  • An increase of 390,000 ft2 for academic and research activity, including a new
    84,000 ft2 research facility that opened in fall 2011 and a 120,000 ft2 business building scheduled to open in fall 2012
  • A 55% increase in graduate degrees conferred (652 in FY 2011)
  • A 68% increase in sponsored project expenditures ($35M in FY 2011)
  • A 63% increase in publications by Boise State University authors (1079 in calendar years 2006-2010)
  • A 326% increase in citations of Boise State University publications (3874 in calendar years 2006-2010)


These achievements have occurred despite a 23% reduction in state funding over the past three years.  In place of state support for new programs, funding has come from increases in enrollment, tuition and grant support, internal reallocations, university reserves, and bond issuance.  The university also completed a comprehensive campaign in 2010 that generated over $100M for academic programs and facilities.

Boise State University has made impressive strides toward becoming a Metropolitan Research University of Distinction, and we envision even greater advances in the years ahead.  The process of developing a strategic plan for the next five years began in May 2011 with focused one-on-one conversations between campus leadership and 40 members of the faculty and staff. The rich information gleaned from those conversations was used to create a campus-wide survey that generated over 500 responses.  The resulting data was used to create a set of core themes that describe the key aspects of the university’s mission and inform the strategic planning process.