Campus news items: Enrollment numbers, soil research and program expansion

Fall enrollment reports are starting to trickle in.

Here are the numbers from two Treasure Valley private colleges:

The College of Idaho. Enrollment reached 1,145 — just eclipsing the old record of 1,144, set in 2014.

One reason for the record: a freshman class of 296 students, the second-largest first-year class in college history. In all, the college added 338 new students, between first-year and transfer students.

Nearly 60 percent of the C of I’s students come from Idaho. But nearly 20 percent of the college’s students come from abroad — a percentage that ranks 10th among all national liberal arts colleges, according to U.S. News and World Report.

International students come from 92 countries.

“The impact these students have in the classroom, across campus extra-curricularly, in the residence halls, and throughout the greater Caldwell community is truly amazing,” said Brian Bava, the college’s vice president of enrollment.

Northwest Nazarene University. Fall enrollment came in at 1,906.

That represents a 3 percent decrease from 2020, but just a 1 percent decrease from pre-pandemic, fall 2019 numbers.

“We are thrilled for each and every student who has chosen to be part of our NNU community this fall,” said Stacey Berggren, NNU’s chief admissions officer. “With all that is going on in our world, these strong enrollment numbers are an affirmation of the continued excellence in education that NNU is able to provide.”

All told, 1,183 undergraduate students and 723 graduate students are attending NNU.

Other enrollment numbers will come out later this month.

Public four-year schools will report their fall numbers to the State Board of Education in mid-October.

Brigham Young University-Idaho expects to release enrollment figures in a couple of weeks, spokesman Brett Crandall said Friday.

(Click here to read Idaho Education News’ in-depth series on higher education enrollment during the pandemic.)

U of I receives $18.9 million deep soil research grant

The University of Idaho will use a $18.9 million National Science Foundation grant to dig deep into the soil.

The U of I will house the Deep Soil Ecotron, which will allow scientists to study columns of soil up to 10 feet underground. They hope to learn how soil systems change, based on environmental conditions and farming practices, and how well soil systems sequester carbon.

Drilling columns into the soil will allow scientists to see underground conditions, without the disruption that comes with typical digging.

“Deep soils are probably one of the last research frontiers,” said Michael Strickland, a U of I associate professor of microbial ecology and the project’s lead principal investigator. “Soils are inherently important to life on the planet from supporting plants to driving processes like carbon and nutrient cycling, but a lot of research has been focused on the surface. This facility would enable us to better understand those processes at depth.”

The U of I-based project will also incorporate researchers from the University of Colorado, the University of Delaware, the University of Hawaii, North Dakota State University, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the University of Wyoming.

Lewis-Clark plans to expand diesel, collision repair and welding programs

Lewis-Clark State College will use a $1.3 million state grant to expand its popular diesel and collision repair programs.

The Idaho Workforce Development Council money will allow Lewis-Clark to renovate its Wittman Complex and Mechanical Technical Building.

The Wittman Complex can accommodate 26 diesel program students and 10 collision repair students, and both programs have waiting lists. The Mechanical-Technical Building houses Lewis-Clark’s welding program, and grant dollars will allow the college to expand that program as well.

“We are incredibly appreciative of this support and know the state-of-the art upgrades to facilities and equipment these funds will make possible, will allow us to serve not only more students, but serve them and our industry partners better,” Lewis-Clark President Cynthia Pemberton said.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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