We want Dr. Blatt at BSU!
We, the students of Boise State University, wish to express our grievances and petition to the Deans of the College of Arts and Sciences and the faculty of the Department of Anthropology in support of retaining Dr. Samantha Blatt (Visiting Assistant Professor) in the Department of Anthropology. Attached is the letter of petition and a link to the petition where students have signed to support her. We care deeply about our education at Boise State and believe the impending loss of a great teacher, mentor, and friend will impact that education. We petition to retain Dr. Samantha Blatt at Boise State University in her current position or similar position and implore Boise State University to hear our student voices.
We are hope that you will sign the petition and forward our concerns to other students that have had positive and meaningful contact with Dr. Blatt in order to both try to retain her here at BSU and to let her know that she is appreciated.The Department of Anthropology has put out an ad to hire an outside lecturer. Due to the time sensitivity of this, please sign the petition before April 15th
Below is our full petition text:
To Whom It May Concern,
We are writing this petition to support the renewal of a contract for Visiting Assistant Professor, Dr. Samantha Blatt, for the 2017-2018 academic year. Dr. Blatt has been at Boise State University since Fall, 2013 and has contributed in numerous invaluable ways to the Department of Anthropology, Boise State University, its students, and the community. After four years of dedicated service to the department and the community, her contract will not be renewed due to budget cuts in the College of Arts and Sciences, but will be replaced with a new outside, temporary hire. We, the students of Boise State University, wish our voices on this matter to be heard in an attempt to save a great asset to our education and explain our grievances in this matter.
Dr. Blatt is the singular biological anthropologist on campus and THE forensic anthropologist in the region. When the University turns her away, it is also turning a blind eye to the importance of biological anthropology to the study of human evolution, human variation, and the medical and environmental relevance of the field to the students of Idaho. As a leading home of education in Idaho, Boise State University, should be more supportive of expanding educational breadth, where it is already pigeon-holed. And, we the students, are saddened by this oversight.
Anyone who has taken a class with Dr. Blatt cannot deny her integrity of character, depth of knowledge, and the endless energy and imagination that she has for making her courses enjoyable, challenging, and eye-opening. She has an extraordinary ability to connect with students on a personal level, which students flock to and are inspired by. She is always accessible and always finding new ways to allow us to interact with her and with her research. She is also an up-and-coming scholar in her field. She publishes in high-impact journals and presents at conferences every year. What’s more, she has always had students involved in her research, in the lab, writing reports, presenting posters, and even publishing. Since her four years here in Idaho, she has:
- secured working-relationships with the Ada County Coroner’s Office for student internships and to bring in new specimens for research
- secured working-relationships with the State Historic Preservation Office and State Archaeologist, to analyze roughly two forensic cases a year and three archaeological cases a year. Both of which involve students in the analysis, write-up, and presentation components of that research.
- graduated two M.A. students in biological anthropology. One works as an adjunct now at BSU and CWI, while the other is now on her way, fully-funded, to a PhD program and UNM. She helped both fund their M.A. research.
- brought 8 students to professional conferences, co-authored 5 posters and one professional conference presentation with students, and co-authored three manuscripts with students.
- developed the Anthropology 101 Lab course and wrote the course lab manual. The lab course has grown from three partially-full sections to 5 overflowing sections in two year.
- coordinated anthropology’s involvement in STEM Day and eGirls workshops and engaged and inspired students in volunteering.
- has worked tirelessly to have new equipment and specimens donated to the teaching lab to enhance courses.
- used her own equipment and specimens from her connections and background outside of Idaho for the benefit and student research experience.
To lose Dr. Blatt, and replace her with a new one-year lecturer, would also mean not maintaining those relationships that she has with the community and surrounding professional offices, which have been so beneficial and inspirational to students. It would mean obscuring the paths that many students within the Department of Anthropology and related departments wish to take toward studying in and pursuing graduate degrees in the field which Dr. Blatt is an expert. It means losing a dedicated mentor and advisor who believes in her students abilities and has opened worlds to them. It means a Boise State that is worse off with her loss. It means a Boise State that does not acknowledge the influence and power of teaching and the role of the student voice.
More personally, Dr. Blatt would be losing her job at a time of year when getting another academic job for the coming year is extraordinarily difficult. This would leave her without benefits suddenly as well. It is truly unconscionable to dismiss such an amazing educator and scholar in such a situation. She was hired to teach classes. She has done much more than that and very successfully. Even faced with this peril, Dr. Blatt has continued build opportunities for Boise State students and will be bringing several of us to work with her in the field this summer, without any support from Boise State. It is a testament to her devotion to education at Boise State University and
We hope that the student voice on this matter will be heard and acknowledged. More than that, we hope to not lose a beloved educator and mentor. We submit this petition and its signatures in support of a renewed position for Dr. Samantha Blatt at Boise State University without hesitation.