The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

Write for Us
Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.
Print Issues
Write for Us
Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.

Ask your administrators!

One of the most well-known, heavily anticipated facts on campus is that the U will be under the direction of a new president during this 2004-05 school year as Michael Young steps in to take the place of Interim President Lorris Betz on Aug. 1.

Betz temporarily filled the vacant seat left by Bernie Machen who is now the president of the University of Florida.

A selection committee weeded out presidential candidates and eventually selected Young, who has some Utah background as a graduate of the Utah institution named for his relative, Brigham Young.

Prior to acquiring this position at the U, Young served as the dean of the law school at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

There are, however, lesser-known and more seldom explored offices within the walls of the Park Building, which houses a bulk of U administrators.

These offices direct a vast array of programs on campus with the aim to integrate students and help them adjust to U life.

Academic Affairs

There are two senior vice presidents who work closely with the U. One is the senior vice president of health sciences, Betz, and the other is senior vice president of academic affairs, David Pershing.

The health sciences position deals with a specific segment and demographic on campus, while academic affairs deals with a much broader array of material.

The academic affairs office oversees students, faculty (hiring and promoting) and financial aspects of 11 colleges of the main campus in addition to the Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Fine Arts, Pioneer Theatre, Kingsbury Hall, budget and planning, Student Affairs and electronic communication.

The goal of academic affairs is to “assure the students receive a good education and that the faculty feels supported in their teaching and researching,” Pershing said.

When conflict does arise, Pershing encourages resolution at the lowest possible level.

Issues are only brought to Pershing after a long communication line of administration and appeals fails.

“Faculty disputes or student issues are appealed to me,” Pershing said.

Pershing says a main theme within academic affairs in dealing with students’ success is the fact that the U is a large campus of 28,400 students, so it is easy for new students to feel lost and alone as they begin their academic endeavors.

The key to familiarizing one’s self with the U is simply to ask for help. “The biggest problems arise when students don’t ask,” Pershing said.

Although the first year of classes at the U can be a somewhat intimidating experience, with large classroom sizes as students complete their general education requirements, classroom sizes tend to decrease over time.

“Most of the majors are actually pretty small and you begin to see some familiar faces as you get into a specific major,” Pershing said. “About half the classes on campus have less than 25 students.”

As a large university, the U offers huge advantages, although they may be hard to sense on the first day, he said.

Once students get involved, they tend to begin to see the wide array of positive resources offered at the U rather than focusing on the initially intimidating size.

Student Affairs

Barbara Snyder is in charge of student affairs, which is another office with wide reach across the U.

Student affairs breaks down into four subdivisions, encompassing a variety of services from academic functions to residence halls and extracurricular activities.

One subgroup of these additional services offered by the U is under the direction of Kari Ellingson, the assistant vice president for student development and assessment, who in turn answers to student affairs and Snyder.

One of the many operations under Ellingson’s watch is the Bennion Community Service Center, which allows students to become active in service.

“In the course of a year, approximately 20 percent of U students perform some sort of service learning,” Snyder said.

Career services is another function under the auspices of student affairs and Ellingson’s segment of focus.

Stan Inman directs this office, located in the Student Services Building, and aims to connect U students to job markets throughout the country that are pertinent to their field of study.

The International Center, Women’s Resource Center, Student Health Services, Orientation and Leadership Development and Center for Disability Services are just a handful of the other programs under Ellingson’s direction.

Kay Harward has responsibilities similar to those of Ellingson. He is in charge of a second segment of programs that answers to student affairs. Harward heads many of the services that virtually every student who attends the U must go through.

Some of these include the admissions office, the registrar’s office, financial aid and scholarships, network support and student recruitment and high school services.

Stayner Landward, the dean of students, heads the third subcategory of student affairs.

Landward’s control focuses on student involvement, campus recreation services, child care, the Associated Students of the University of Utah’s Presenter’s Office and the Union.

Jerry Basford heads the fourth and final subcategory under student affairs.

Many of the functions Basford directs deal with the residence halls, but also include conference and guest services, contract administration and dining services.

Like Pershing, Snyder encourages new students to use the various programs that the administration offers them and to ask questions as they arise.

“There are programs and services in place that are designed to help students be successful at the U,” she said. “We’ve dealt with almost every problem a student can have, from health to financial aid to adjusting to the U.”

Snyder also encourages students to use programs in order to pursue their education both inside and outside of the classroom.

“Students who take advantages of the programs in place tend to have a richer experience, stay at the U and be more successful,” Snyder said.

The U is a large campus, as Pershing pointed out, but Snyder offered a piece of advice for students searching for a way to make their educational experience more positive.

“Find a way to break it down to a manageable component,” she said. “Explore and try new things so you stretch yourself physically, mentally and emotionally.”

While Snyder encourages students to develop a sense of individuality and connect to the U, she warned that students should maintain the good things in their lives.

“We don’t want students to throw away all of who they are,” she said.


The Office of the Associate Vice President for Diversity functions to integrate traditionally underrepresented groups into the U community.

By diversifying the U’s student, faculty and staff populations, the office hopes everyone’s experiences at the U will flourish.

Karen Dace is the administrator in charge of overseeing campus diversity from an office that acts as an umbrella, covering the three essential areas of student support services, academic programs and research.

There are many offices on campus that fall under the category of student support services.

The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center provides educational and social programs, support services and resources in order to raise awareness of that demographic on campus.

The Center for Ethnic Student Affairs represents five main ethnicities: American Indian, African American, Asian American, Latina/o and Pacific Islanders.

It exists to ensure that ethnic minority students have an opportunity to enjoy the benefits of a successful university education.

The center provides different paths in order to assure this goal is realized, including academic planning, scheduling and counseling, among others.

In addition to the LGBT Resource Center and the CESA, the office of diversity oversees student support services such as the Math, Engineering and Science Achievement, American Indian Resource Center and the American Indian Teacher Training Program.

The two academic programs under the office of diversity are the Ethnic Studies Program and the Gender Studies Program.

The Ethnic Studies Program focuses on social, political, cultural, linguistic and historical experiences of ethnic minorities in the United States.

The focus of the Gender Studies Program is directed toward exploring the interaction of gender with race, class, sexual orientation and nationality.

The office of diversity also heads two scholarships, assists with two others and heads a teacher training program.

The Utah Opportunity Scholarship Program has received a lot of attention statewide.

Each year, $5,000 is awarded to 20 new freshmen recipients from greater Salt Lake area high schools.

Former President Bernie Machen, in coordination with Mayor Rocky Anderson, established the scholarship program in 2001 by using money donated by William Boyden Oddie and Louise Paddock Oddie.

The overall retention rate through the three years of the scholarship’s existence has been about 92 percent, according to Kristi Ryujin, director of the Utah Opportunity Program.

There are currently 80 students attending the U under this scholarship.

Two will graduate early after Summer Semester and another has been accepted to pharmacy school. In addition, many are currently preparing for graduate school, according to Ryujin.

“The success rate is phenomenal,” said Leo Leckie, executive assistant for the diversity office. “Compared to the U’s retention rate as a whole at 75 percent, it’s pretty amazing, and students with this scholarship have maintained a GPA 0.4 [points] higher than the student average.”

The American Indian Teacher Training Program has received national recognition and $3 million from the federal government in its three years of existence.

This program brings American Indian students to the campus in order to provide them with teaching certifications from various fields. The hope is that these students will then take that knowledge back to the reservations and increase the level of education there.

“These programs we offer enrich the U overall by providing a diverse student body,” Leckie said.

[email protected]

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

The Daily Utah Chronicle welcomes comments from our community. However, the Daily Utah Chronicle reserves the right to accept or deny user comments. A comment may be denied or removed if any of its content meets one or more of the following criteria: obscenity, profanity, racism, sexism, or hateful content; threats or encouragement of violent or illegal behavior; excessively long, off-topic or repetitive content; the use of threatening language or personal attacks against Chronicle members; posts violating copyright or trademark law; and advertisement or promotion of products, services, entities or individuals. Users who habitually post comments that must be removed may be blocked from commenting. In the case of duplicate or near-identical comments by the same user, only the first submission will be accepted. This includes comments posted across multiple articles. You can read more about our comment policy here.
All The Daily Utah Chronicle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *