IN BRIEF

A summary of University of Utah news, updates, recognitions and achievements

HEADLINES


OCTOBER - DECEMBER 2019

The U invited to join the Association of American Universities

In November 2019, the U accepted an invitation to join the prestigious Association of American Universities, which for more than 100 years has recognized the most outstanding academic institutions in the nation. Alongside the University of California, Santa Cruz and Dartmouth College, the U’s acceptance brings the number of AAU institutions to 65. These were the first invitations since 2012. Members are leading research institutions marked by excellence in academic expertise and research impact, student success and securing resources in support of core missions.

8 stories published in the United States
Reach: 3.6 million

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$150 million commitment from Huntsman family will establish mental health institute

The Huntsman family committed $150 million to establish the Huntsman Mental Health Institute at the University of Utah. The institute is expected to become a nationally recognized leader in research, care, education and community outreach—a model for other states to follow. The gift will provide financial support to the U’s Department of Psychiatry and full-service psychiatric hospital, to support mental health services and screenings for the university’s 32,000 students, as well as in rural areas across the state. Additionally, it will support university research aimed at identifying genetic risks and other factors that cause or contribute to mental illness.

242 stories published in the United States
Reach: 614 million

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U to host 2020 vice presidential debate

The Commission on Presidential Debates selected the University of Utah to host the 2020 vice presidential debate at Kingsbury Hall in the Nancy Peery Marriott Auditorium on Oct. 7, 2020. This will be the first time a national debate will be hosted in Utah, and Utah was the only western state selected for one of three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate.

29 stories published in 6 countries
Reach: 11 million

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MORE HEADLINES


INVESTING IN EARLY CHILDHOOD TEACHER EDUCATION

October 2019

The U’s College of Education and Department of Family & Consumer Studies is collaborating with Salt Lake Community College to reinstate and revive the Early Childhood Education Teaching Program aimed at graduating more teachers specialized in Pre-K to third grade.

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Cultivating joy through mindfulness

October 2019

College of Social Work researcher Eric Garland published a study showing that his integrative mind-body therapy increases the brain’s response to natural, healthy rewards while also decreasing the brain’s response to opioid-related cues.

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New ‘For Utah Scholarship’

November 2019

This new scholarship provides a fully funded path to a degree at the U by combining federal, state and university funds for academically qualified, Pell Grant-eligible first-time freshmen who are Utah residents.

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PREDATORY LENDING

November 2019

Law professor Christopher L. Peterson’s research laid the foundation for newly proposed federal legislation designed to better protect Americans from predatory lenders.

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STEM BARBIE

November 2019

Scientist Nalini Nadkarni worked with National Geographic, Mattel and other prominent women scientists to develop a line of dolls centered around exploration, science, conservation and research.

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ANT EXPERT FINDS NEW SPECIES IN HIS BACKYARD

November 2019

After traveling the world documenting and discovering new ant species, global ant expert Jack Longino found a new species in his own backyard.

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FUTURE OF JOURNALISM

December 2019

With student growth skyrocketing 133% over the last five years, the journalism program updated its curriculum to build on the foundation in history, law and ethics to ensure graduates also develop strong skills with digital and social media.

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SEEKING BLACK MARKET MEDICATIONS

December 2019

U of U Health researchers used surveys to understand why individuals look beyond pharmacies and medical equipment companies to meet essential needs and found that altruism and lack of access and affordability were among the reasons.

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HUMANS OF THE U


“We’re here to try to be better people in our society. Remember that just because someone doesn’t agree with you doesn’t mean they’re bad and just because someone doesn’t like the things that you like, maybe look and see what they like; you may find something new.”

PAUL WHITE, associate professor, Department of Psychology

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“Art, in all its mediums, engages and relaxes my mind in ways nothing else does. When I’m in the zone and the muses are ‘speaking to me,’ I get completely swept up and immersed in whatever painting, ceramics
or sculpture project I’m working on. One thing I’ve learned from my time at the U, as both a student and an employee, is that if you have a talent for something, you need to follow your dream. If you do, you’ll be happy.”

ANN PENMAN, BFA '96, safety and security supervisor for the UMFA Division of Protection Services and 2004 Presidential Staff Award recipient

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“A previous president of the University of Utah Beekeeper’s Association came to talk to our class.
I started volunteering and was fascinated by the hives. We have six hives with more than 300,000 honeybees. A few years ago, I had a crazy idea to get a pollinator garden installed on campus, and with a SCIF grant and by collaborating with students from other majors, we did it.”

QUAID HARDING, senior majoring in biology, president of the U Beekeeper’s Association

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RANKINGS


since the U opened its Asia Campus in Incheon, South Korea, in 2014

Best Overall Program, Moran Eye Center
Ophthalmology Times, 2019

David Eccles School of Business for undergraduate entrepreneurship
U.S. News & World Report, 2020

anniversary of the internet, 2019
The U was one of four original "nodes" that led to the internet as we know it today

AWARDS


In October 2019, MIKE L. GOOD, senior vice president for U Health Sciences, was elected to a three-year term on the Board of Directors of the Association of Academic Health Centers.

Football head coach KYLE WHITTINGHAM was named as Pac-12 Coach of the Year, senior running back ZACK MOSS was recognized as Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year, volleyball head coach BETH LAUNIERE, who celebrated her 30th season in October, was named Region Coach of the Year, and DANI DREWS was named Region Player of the Year.

In October 2019, two pharmacy students, ERICA VANDER MAUSE and JULIAN TU, were among just 40 individuals awarded the $10,000 American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education Pre-Doctoral Fellowship for the 2019-20 academic year.

The UNIVERSITY OF UTAH, along with the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition and more than 10 campus and community partners received a $300,000 grant in November from the Office on Violence Against Women to develop better coordination of services and comprehensive prevention strategies.

In November 2019, Executive Director of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts GRETCHEN DIETRICH was invited to join the inaugural board of directors for Art Bridges, a new foundation dedicated to expanding access to American art across the country.

In December, the Modern Language Association announced that DARIUS BOST, assistant professor of ethnic studies, would receive its 18th annual William Sanders Scarborough Prize.

HAPPENING ON CAMPUS


 

  • In August, the U announced its membership with COMMON APP, a nonprofit organization that aids prospective students and their supporters in the college selection process.

 

  • The U launched the first issue of The Journal of Dark Sky Studies in August—the only academic publication in the world dedicated to understanding and protecting the night skies.

 

  • The U kicked off Homecoming Week with the annual Legacy of Lowell Service Project and concluded with a win against Washington State.

 

  • The Department of Philosophy established a new interdisciplinary philosophy of science major in fall 2019 to provide students studying a scientific discipline with knowledge in ethical, analytical and logical reasoning.

 

  • The U Farmers Market, managed by the Sustainability Office, celebrated its 12th season this fall.

 

  • The U’s newest housing project will be the largest building project in campus history, providing housing for nearly 1,000 residents. Thanks to generous support from three women philanthropists, the complex will be named Kahlert Village and will be home to the Gail Miller Community Engagement Tower, the Patricia W. Child Health and Wellness Tower and the Heather Kahlert STEM Tower.

 

  • On Sept. 5, the U celebrated the grand opening of its new Black Cultural Center, a transformative space for research, community building and support services for black members of the U community.

OF NOTE


U professor in film and media arts, gender studies and communication SARAH PROJANSKY accepted an offer to serve as associate vice president for faculty effective in August.

Professor MIKE KIRBY, who holds multiple appointments at the U, was named the inaugural executive director of the Utah Informatics Initiative in September.

JASON RAMIREZ began his role as dean of students on Sept. 23.

COREY ROACH, who has served as interim chief information security officer since July, was named permanent CISO in September.

In September, BRYAN HUBAIN was named associate vice president for student development and inclusion.

GETTING THE WORD OUT


SHOUT OUT FROM MARK HAMILL

After the U developed a way for the “LUKE arm” (named after the robotic hand that Luke Skywalker got in “The Empire Strikes Back”) to mimic the way a human hand feels objects by sending the appropriate signals to the brain, actor Mark Hamill (who played Luke Skywalker) gave the development a shout-out on Twitter.

The U’s “Star Wars”-inspired prosthetic arm story resulted in 403 news stories in 16 countries with a potential reach of more than 1 billion people

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