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College of Business and Economics News and Events

Service-learning Gets Down to Business

Boise State student, Professor Kathy Hurley and a tax return client

Boise State student, Professor Kathy Hurley and a tax return client

The Service-Learning program connects classrooms with the community to enhance student learning, address critical community issues and encourage students to be active citizens in their local, national and global communities. In the 2016-17 school year, 251 students participated in 10 service learning classes working on projects such as helping with tax returns, creating marketing campaigns to raise money for Interfaith Sanctuary and organizing an open house gala for Meridian Canine Rescue.

Instructor Kathy Hurley and accounting students have helped to prepare tax returns for low-income individuals and households in the community. This is the fifth year the accounting department has offered the program which integrates service-learning methodology. Throughout tax season, students firm up their basic knowledge of federal tax rules and regulations, learn to interview taxpayers to obtain critical information, and practice using tax preparation software.  Students develop professional skills through client interaction and practice ethical behavior.

“Students also gain leadership and logistical skills as they have an active role in weekly site setup, operations management and planning for continuous improvement,” Hurley said. “By working with a culturally and economically diverse population, students become aware of the benefits and rewards of civic engagement, and providing valuable services to their community.”

Associate Professor Brian McNatt utilized service-learning as the key element of the Leadership and Personal Development management course. Management students worked on teams on a variety of projects.

One team made eight short video clips for the Women’s & Children’s Alliance to raise awareness and educate regarding safe dating and healthy relationships. Student work included script writing, casting, location scouting, filming and editing.

girl with dog Several teams did projects for the Meridian Canine Rescue, a no-kill organization that recently moved to a larger location. Students sought organizational sponsorships and other donations and aided with the organization, set-up, and staffing of the open house gala for the rescue’s new location.

Boise Bicycle Project benefited from students helping with renovations at their site, conducting a donation drive for used bicycles and contacting companies to encourage them to become official bicycle friendly workplaces.

Another team organized and conducted a tour of Boise State University for elementary school students whose primary language isn’t English. The tour included presentations from and interactions with Boise State international students, hands-on activities and lunch. These elementary school students are part of a demographic with low college attendance rates. The team’s aim was to target kids at a young age, create excitement and encourage them to pursue college.

“Service-learning is a major win-win,” said McNatt. “The students are able to practice the concepts learned in class and expand their skill. The students are beaming during their presentations at the end of the semester as they explain the awesome things they did for someone else, and as they realize how much they grew in the process.”

Allison Miller presenting marketing planStudents in the Marketing Communications course split into teams and created marketing plans to increase recurring donations for Interfaith Sanctuary. The instructor, Leslie Koppenhafer commented on the project.

“I do service-learning in my class because it is important for students to understand that there are many ways to give back to the communities they live in and that they have an obligation to try to make the communities they live in better places. Interfaith Sanctuary is doing incredibly important work serving some of the most marginalized people in our community. IFS had to make an incredibly tough decision to forgo federal funding in order to stay true to their organizational mission. I was fully confident that my students had the capacity and talent to design and deliver a creative marketing campaign for them focused on increasing their number of recurring donors. It was a pleasure to work with such a mission-driven organization run by passionate people,” Koppenhafer said.

Marketing students reported they learned to utilize education to improve the quality of life of others and to keep in mind someone’s business is on the line. Students agreed it is nice to work with a real organization that truly cares about your thoughts and ideas.

One marketing student summed it up this way, “I figured out that it was not just a good grade I was after. I learned how to think differently. My learning style changed, my writing changed, my research methods became more thorough, and the way I approached ideas and problems changed. The way I take on a project has changed and been enhanced because of this service-learning.”



Faculty Michail Fragkias and Samia Islam Authored Paper with Undergraduate Student, Christian Sprague

Michail Fragkias

Michail Fragkias

Samia Islam

Samia Islam

Michail Fragkias and Samia Islam, associate professors in the Department of Economics, co-authored a paper titled Modeling Teleconnected Urban Social–ecological Systems: Opportunities and Challenges for Resilience Research. The paper has been published in the International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development. A third co-author of the paper is Christian Sprague who was an undergraduate research assistant for the duration of the research project and is currently in the master of science in economics program.

This collaborative paper explores the topic of resilience in cities. In particular, it examines the responsiveness of networks of cities to shocks that occur to their resource bases (geographically close and far). The authors review past and current literature on urban systems, teleconnections and resilience and study the resilience of urban systems through stylized scenarios and a novel dynamic mathematical model.

The full paper can be found here:

Napier’s Blog — The Goodness of Our Own Backyard

Nancy Napier, Distinguished Professor, retiredIn her latest blog, Nancy Napier talks about bringing the world to Boise. For 13,000 refugees and immigrants from 53 countries, Idaho and Boise have become a refuge.

“In Boise, we try to do things well. Being a welcoming city is one of those things,” said Napier.

Read “Dorothy had it right: Your own backyard is pretty special” here.

Rick Navarro Honored as COBE Outstanding Alumni

Rick Navarro, chief administrative officer for Albertsons, LLC (retired), was selected as an Outstanding Alumnus of the College of Business and Economics (COBE).

COBE Outstanding Alumni are an elite few. Only when COBE feels alumnus is particularly deserving is an award made. Alumni are nominated by COBE faculty and staff and selected by the executive committee. Navarro was chosen for his admirable career at Albertsons and his extensive service to Boise State University and the community.

Rick Navarro with COBE outstanding graduates

Rick Navarro (center) with COBE 2017 Outstanding Graduates

At a luncheon honoring Navarro and outstanding 2017 COBE graduates, Navarro gave some words of wisdom to the graduates. He emphasized the importance of a business’s culture and advised students to consider it when looking for employment. It was because of the culture at Albertsons that he stayed so long.

He touched on the value and reputation of the COBE, citing that COBE students who have been recently hired by Albertsons are all “stars.” It makes him even prouder to be a graduate of the College of Business and Economics. In closing, he encouraged the graduates to remember their experience at Boise State and give back to COBE whether it’s with time or treasure.

Read Rick Navarro's bio here.

Rick NavarroRick grew up in Meridian, Idaho, and graduated from Meridian High School. He attended Boise State University, graduating in 1975 with a bachelor of business administration degree in accounting. He began a career at Albertsons immediately after college and worked in the accounting, finance and tax areas for 40 years before retiring in 2015 as chief administrative officer. His career at Albertsons was truly exciting for him, and the knowledge he learned at Boise State provided an outstanding foundation to continually advance in the organization. Albertsons currently operates 2,300 supermarkets across the United States that generate annual sales of $60 billion and employ 285,000 associates.

Rick graduated from the Executive Financial Management Program at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. He became a Certified Public Accountant in 1976. He served on various professional and charitable boards throughout his career, including TitleOne Corp., and Home Federal Bancorp. He currently serves on the Idacorp (Idaho Power Company) board.
Rick has stayed continuously involved with Boise State, serving on the Department of Accountancy advisory board, the Boise State Foundation board, is a lifetime member of the Alumni Association, the President’s Club and the Chaffee Guild. He has held season football tickets since 1973 and is a member of the Bronco Athletic Association. He was honored as a Distinguished Alumni by the Alumni Association in 2000.

Rick’s wife Bobbi also grew up in Boise. They have two children and four grandchildren and enjoy spending time with them. Since retirement, they spend time in Sun Valley where they enjoy skiing and golfing.

COBE Accountancy Student Chosen as University Top Ten Scholar

Junlin Huang,Junlin Huang, winter 2016 accountancy graduate, has been selected as a Boise State University Top Ten Scholar.

Top Ten Scholars are nominated by their academic deans and subject to rigorous review by a selection committee. To qualify for consideration, a student must have a 3.8 or higher grade point average. Nominees are then reviewed based on academic breadth of coursework, research, creative works and publications, presentations at professional meetings or conferences, and extracurricular community and campus service.

Huang has immersed herself in the College of Business and Economics, serving as an undergraduate learning assistant for the Department of Accountancy, the CFO of Beta Alpha Psi, a mentor of junior accounting students and a tax intern at a local CPA firm.

“Throughout her years of study in our program, Junlin has been an outstanding accounting student,” said accountancy Chair Troy Hyatt. “Every one of her accounting professors has told me what a pleasure it is to have her in class and about the excellent work she does. I am thrilled Junlin is receiving this well-deserved honor.”

Huang is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society, Boise Young Professionals and the American Institute of CPAs. These experiences have provided opportunities for her to give back to Boise State and the Boise community through teaching, networking, mentoring and volunteer services.

In addition to her co-curricular activities, Huang has excelled academically. She was a recipient of the College of Business and Economics Scholarship and Clisby Edlefsen Business School Scholarship and has been on the Dean’s High Honor List each semester. Huang has been recognized as a Signature Student and Outstanding Graduate in the College of Business and Economics.

“I’m very pleased that Junlin has been chosen for this honor.” said Mark Cowan, Huang’s honored faculty. “She tenaciously pursues knowledge unlike any student I’ve known. She studies hard, asks tough, thoughtful questions, and is not satisfied until she finds the answers.”

Huang is currently pursuing a master of science in accountancy-taxation from Boise State. Starting this fall, she will be a graduate assistant for the College of Business and Economics.

In five of the last six years an accountancy graduate has selected as a Top Ten Scholar for the university.

Napier’s Blog: Slot Canyon Provides Perspective on Perspectives

Nancy Napier, Distinguished Professor, retiredNancy Napier, Boise State Distinguished Professor, wrote a piece in the Idaho Statesman’s Business Columns & Blogs. Napier visited Snow Canyon Slot in St. George, Utah, and was struck by the narrow view looking straight up. If given a choice, who would choose this perspective?

Read how Nancy suggests you expand your perspectives.

Michail Fragkias, Department of Economics, Published in Environmental Sustainability Journal

Michail FragkiasMichail Fragkias, associate professor in the Department of Economics, has published a paper: “Modern Political Economy, Global Environmental Change and Urban Sustainability Transitions”  in the Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability journal. The paper was co-authored by Christopher Boone, professor and dean at the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University. The work is part of a Special Issue on Urban Transitions to Sustainability that Fragkias also co-edited.

The authors explore how modern political economy can frame (and be framed by) urban transitions to sustainability in an era of global environmental change. In particular, the authors emphasize the role of the choice of institutions and institutional change, the maintenance of institutions and institutional robustness as well as good urban governance.

Link to Fragkias’ paper here.