INTERVIEW: New ISU president discusses vision for university

Kevin Satterlee | Image courtesy Idaho State University

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — Idaho State University is shifting how it interacts with staff and faculty as it’s new president Kevin Satterlee works to push the school forward.

University board members recently appointed Satterlee to replace outgoing president, Arthur Vailas, and Satterlee has wasted no time in repairing damaged relationships and perceptions about ISU’s administration.

“It’s about acknowledging that there have been some issues in the past and showing some empathy for where we are as a campus and for what the faculty and staff have experienced and then setting an expectation that the university is going to move forward in an atmosphere of trust,” Kevin Satterlee told KID NewsRadio. “We have to trust that we are working together.”

Rebuilding that trust will take time, Satterlee said, but he wants to staff and faculty to know administration is taking steps to improve the atmosphere at the university. During a recent address to staff, Satterlee apologized for past challenges under the previous administration, according to the Idaho State Journal.

Listen to KID NewsRadio’s full interview with ISU President Kevin Satterlee

“Some of the problems with the budget and other have created some tough times for them and I want to realign that relationship between the administration, the faculty and the staff to show we are moving all together in an environment where we start to build that trust,” Satterlee said. “So, that’s I think the key to setting the right tone to move forward.”

Satterlee also said the university is hoping to help the public see what truly makes them unique as an education institution on a state and national level. Of the 3,000 four-year universities in the United States, 334 are Carnegie research universities and ISU is on that list.

“Only a 185 universities in the country have a medical school and starting this fall, we have a medical school on our campus in Meridian,” Satterlee said. “There are only 17 national research laboratories in the entire United States and we share facilities with one of them on our campus in Idaho Falls…We’re also a leader in business and accounting, energy studies, science and engineering, and these are parts of the university that I think some people don’t realize.

As part of moving forward as a university, Satterlee said ISU will change how it tells it’s story.

“My vision is to take those strengths, start building on them and moving forward, removing the barriers that are holding us back and really tell our story to our state and our region,” Satterlee said. “I think that’s what you’ll start to see, that tone coming out of the university.”