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Arthur C. Vailas was born January 9, 1951. He is the 12th president of Idaho State University.

Early life

The son of Greek immigrants, Vailas was born in Manchester, New Hampshire. He attended the University of New Hampshire on a football scholarship and graduated in 1973 with a B.S. magna cum laude. He received his Ph.D. in Physical Education from the University of Iowa in 1979, with emphasis on exercise and connective tissue physiology. After completing a three-year postdoctoral fellowship in orthopedic surgery and biochemistry at the University of Iowa College of Medicine, he joined the faculty of the University of California-Los Angeles. [1]

Academic Career

As an assistant professor in the Department of Physiological Science at UCLA, his research focused on connective tissue physiology among other topics. Vailas was promoted to associate professor in 1988. He relocated to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he was director of the Biomechanics Laboratory. He was granted joint appointments as professor of surgery at the UW-Madison College of Medicine and in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He served as chair of the Department of Physical Education and later served as Associate Dean for Research and Development of the College of Education. In 1992 and 1995, he received Outstanding Science Achievement Awards from NASA for his work on the U.S.-Russian Space Program.

In 1996, Vailas became vice- provost for graduate studies, and professor and distinguished chair in biology and biochemistry at the University of Houston with a joint appointment as professor of mechanical engineering. He later became vice president for research and vice chancellor for research and intellectual property management. Under his tenure, annual external research funding at UH increased from $27 million to $92 million. He helped establish the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America and developed UH’s first formal affiliation with the Texas Medical Center. Vailas is an author of numerous peer-reviewed scientific publications. [2]

Idaho State University

Vailas became president of Idaho State University July 1, 2006. [3] He worked to establish the Center for Advanced Energy Studies, a collaboration with the Idaho National Laboratories and other Idaho universities, in 2007.[4] In 2009, Idaho State University opened a new campus in Meridian, Idaho, which serves health professional programs.

To enhance teaching and research while improving operational efficiencies, Vailas led the university through a major reorganization in 2010-2011. In 2011, the Carnegie Foundation categorized Idaho State University as a Research-High university. [5]


Vailas has served on scientific panels and boards for NASA and the National Institutes of Health. He was appointed to the Texas Council on Environmental Technology and received a congressional appointment to the Board of the Mickey Leland Air Toxics Center. He served as a Commissioner for Idaho in the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, and serves on the Idaho Governor’s Council on Science and Technology. Vailas has been a consultant to numerous national health care-related businesses and institutions. [6]


In February 2011, the Idaho State University faculty voted no confidence in Vailas by a margin of nearly 4:1. The Faculty Senate Chair called for his resignation.[7] Vailas presented a speech to the State Board of Education the following week (February 17, 2011) in which he requested the Faculty Senate be disbanded. In a move that shocked the state and the academic community, the Idaho State Board of Education agreed and disbanded the I.S.U. faculty senate.[8] This led to a series of condemnations by The Idaho Federation of Teachers[9], Bannock County Democrats[10], and the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) [11], who promised an investigation which may accompany sanctions or censuring. Students also protested on campus and in student government meetings,[12] and the Idaho State Journal was filled with editorials decrying the disbandment of the Faculty Senate and indicting the administration for violating free speech rights.[13][14][15]

The AAUP issued its report on May 31, 2011. [16]

The report states that:

"As is the case at most medium to large colleges and universities, at Idaho State University ... the faculty senate ... was the primary means of ensuring that the faculty performed its essential role in academic governance. When the state board, following the president’s recommendation, suspended the senate from operation, it effectively obliterated that role."

The AAUP report concludes that "in severely restricting the faculty’s decision-making role in academic governance over the last several years, in suppressing faculty dissent, and, finally, in abolishing the faculty senate and with it the last vestiges of shared governance on the ISU campus, the administration of Idaho State University and the Idaho State Board of Education acted in direct violation of widely accepted principles and standards of shared governance, as set forth in the Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities."

AAUP sanctioned Idaho State University in June, 2011, and Valias' request to suspend the faculty senate was criticized.[17]


^ ISU Magazine (Idaho State University) 37 (2): 12-13. 2006.
^ "Curriculum Vitae of Arthur Vailas".
^ "http://www.isu.edu/president/bio.shtml".
^ "Idaho Falls groundbreaking celebration Feb. 20 touted as start of new era in nation’s energy future". Retrieved February 21, 2007.
^ "Idaho State University receives Carnegie Foundation Research University-High academic designation". Retrieved January 18, 2011.
^ "Curriculum Vitae of Arthur Vailas".
^ "Majority votes "no confidence" in Vailas, Cole calls on ISU president to resign". Idaho State Journal. 12 February 2011. Retrieved 22 February 2011.
^ Hancock, Jimmy (2011-02-17). "State Board of Education suspends ISU's Faculty Senate". Retrieved 2011-02-27.
^ http://journalnet.com/news/local/article_0c0b313c-3dd9-11e0-b8ca-001cc4c002e0.html
^ http://journalnet.com/news/local/article_7e01910e-3ec0-11e0-badb-001cc4c002e0.html
^ http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/journalnet.com/content/tncms/assets/editorial/0/ed/584/0ed584ac-3f01-11e0-8195-001cc4c03286-revisions/4d6485b5b0244.pdf.pdf
^ http://journalnet.com/news/local/article_a8c39734-3fe7-11e0-90a7-001cc4c002e0.html
^ http://www.pocatelloshops.com/new_blogs/politics/?p=7574
^ http://www.pocatelloshops.com/new_blogs/politics/?p=7538
^ http://www.pocatelloshops.com/new_blogs/politics/?p=7569
^ "College and University Governance: Idaho State University". Retrieved 31 May 2011.
^ "ISU sanctioned for ‘poor faculty governance’". Associated Press. ktvb.com. Retrieved 5 July 2011.


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