Upcoming on Campus


The Ribosome: The Cell’s Protein-making Factory and how Antibiotics Block It
Wednesday, Nov. 18, 6:00 p.m.Venki Ramakrishnan
Rice-Eccles Stadium Tower
Free and open to all
Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from former U professor Venki Ramakrishnan, recipient of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Ramakrishnan was professor of biochemistry at the U of U (1995-1999) and is now director of structural studies, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK. RSVP’s are required. Contact Autumn Thatcher or call (801) 585-2739.

Ramakrishnan will present a seminar for the scientific community earlier that day at 12 noon in the Huntsman Cancer Institute’s 6th floor Eccles Auditorium. All are welcome to attend.


By Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen
Thursday, Nov. 19, 7:00 p.m.
Quinney Law School, Sutherland Moot Courtroom
man behind barsProceeds from this production, performed by Utah’s People Productions, will benefit the Rocky Mountain Innocence Center (RMIC) and its work to correct and prevent wrongful convictions in Utah. Tickets are $12 general admission/$6 for students. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. For more details, contact RMIC or call (801) 355-1888.


Thursday, Nov. 19, 7:00-9:30 p.m.
Utah Museum of Fine Arts Auditorium
immigration stampThe U’s forensics team will focus on the national debate on immigration reform as well as recent developments related to this issue in Utah. In addition to a demonstration debate featuring U of U debaters, the event will feature speakers from the local community including Tony Yapias, former director of the Utah State Office of Hispanic Affairs under Governors Michael Leavitt and Olene Walker; Rep. Mike Noel, (R) District 73, Rep. Chris Herrod, (R) District 62; and Dee Rowland, government liaison and director of the Peace & Justice Commission for the Catholic Diocese of Utah. Additional information is online.


Saturday, Nov. 21, 2:00 p.m.
Rice-Eccles Stadium
Ticket information is online.



Saturday, Nov. 21, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
UMFA volunteerUtah Museum of Fine Arts
Print your own set of cards just in time for the holidays. Study the clothes, poses, and surroundings of some of the UMFA’s most popular European and American portraits to get ideas for your self-portrait holiday cards. For more information, contact Megan Hallett or call (801) 581-7332.



Monday, Nov. 23, 10:45 a.m.
Hinckley Caucus Room, 255 Orson Spencer Hall
Free and open to all. For more information, contact Jayne Nelson or call (801) 581-8501.


Faculty & Staff Night Utah Men’s Basketball Vs Utah State


Men's Basketball banner

Utah Athletics is offering reduced prices to faculty and staff for its men’s basketball game against Utah State on Wednesday, Nov. 18, at 6:00 p.m. in the Huntsman Center. Faculty and staff can purchase lower-bowl tickets for $5 or $10 depending on the location. Just go to the Rice-Eccles ticket office in advance and show your UCard to get the discount. Take advantage of this great opportunity to support the Utes! For more information, call (801) 581-UTIX (8849).


Eccles Health Sciences Library to Close for Renovations December 2009 Through July 2010

December 2009 through July 2010

Eccles Health Sciences LibraryIf you have visited the Eccles Health Sciences Library lately, you probably noticed books, shelving, portraits, and displays being packed up. The library building will close mid-December through July 2010 for renovation of its ceiling, but library staff will be available to serve patrons throughout the project. The renovation includes removing asbestos from ceilings, updating the fire suppression system, installing new, more efficient lighting, and upgrading the wireless network. All printed materials have been moved to the lower level of the library, which is now closed to the public but accessible to staff. “We want everyone to know that our services will continue throughout the renovation project,” says Joan Stoddart, deputy director of the library. “We encourage everyone to continue to count on us for their library needs.” For more information, or to follow the renovation progress, check out the new ceiling project blog or call (801) 581-8771.


Course Evaluations by Students Get an Upgrade

students at desksThe first phase of improvements to the U’s student course evaluations process is under way and includes the following:

  • The name has changed from Student Course Evaluations to Student Course Feedback—which more accurately defines the process as feedback rather than formal evaluations of teaching.
  • Access to course feedback reports has been improved by adding a new feedback column to the class schedule with a link to the most current report when the course and instructor match. Since implementing the feedback column, more than 38,000 reports have been viewed compared to 2,000 during the same period last fall.
  • The use of graphics makes it easier to read the reports and allows students to visually compare results for that subject with results for the entire University.

Future improvements will include direct access to reports for instructors through the Campus Information System (CIS), and faculty pages where resources may be posted including publications lists, research, and course information.

Student course feedback is managed by the Center for Teaching & Learning Excellence (CTLE) which provides programs and services for departments and instructors to enhance their online and classroom teaching. Additional information on student course feedback is online.


Faculty: Plan Ahead for Being Absent

man sneezingAcademic Senate President Jim Anderson is encouraging faculty in all departments to have pandemic planning in place, including a plan for their own absenteeism. He suggests a buddy system where two teachers agree to be on call for each other to cover their classes in case they are out sick. It takes one week for flu symptoms to subside and another week to recover, so a two-week absence is possible.


U Graduate Center in St. George

St. George“The University of Utah Graduate Center at St. George” gives students in Washington County and the surrounding region an opportunity to earn graduate degrees from the University of Utah. Washington County is one of the fastest growing regions in the state, but the closest available universities are located in Cedar City and Las Vegas. In 2006, the Utah State Legislature provided $1 million in ongoing base budget funding to the University of Utah for the purpose of establishing an institutional partnership with Dixie State College. This partnership is designed to provide graduate degrees for students in the region without expanding the educational mission of the college. The University is leasing a building from the Dixie State College Foundation located adjacent to the Dixie campus which provides physical classrooms for the program. While the Graduate School administers the institutional partnership, the U’s Continuing Education unit, with its existing expertise in operating off-campus facilities, manages the staffing and maintenance of the physical infrastructure in St. George. All costs of creating and managing the Center are paid from the $1 million in ongoing base budget funding originally appropriated by the Legislature.


Call for Nominations: the Rosenblatt Prize for Excellence Deadline: Friday, Feb. 19, 2010

Deadline: Friday, Feb. 19, 2010

Nathan & Tillie Rosenblatt
Nathan and Tillie Rosenblatt

Established in 1983 by the family of Nathan and Tillie Rosenblatt to honor their parents, the Rosenblatt Prize for Excellence honors excellence in teaching, research and administrative efforts collectively or individually, in behalf of the University. The $40,000 prize is announced and presented annually at Commencement. It is particularly suited for faculty who are nationally recognized scholars with demonstrated excellence in teaching, research, service and/or administration. The generosity of the donors makes this prize one of the most remarkable in higher education.

Previous Rosenblatt Prize recipients are: Sterling McMurrin (philosophy/history, 1984), John Dixon (surgery, 1985), Milton Wadsworth (metallurgical engineering, 1986), David Grant (chemistry) and John Flynn (law), 1987, Irwin Altman (psychology, 1988) Harold Wolf (pharmacology and toxicology, 1989), John Roth (biology, 1990), Edwin Firmage (law, 1991), J.D. Williams (political science, 1992), Ray White (human genetics, 1993), Karen Lawrence (English, 1994), Peter Stang (chemistry, 1995), Anne Osborn (radiology, 1996), David Pershing (engineering, 1997), Mario Capecchi (human genetics, 1998), Dale Poulter (chemistry, 1999), Margaret Battin (philosophy) and Leslie Francis (law/philosophy), 2000, Francis Brown (geology & geophysics, 2001), Kristen Hawkes (anthropology, 2002), Sung Wan Kim (pharmaceutics, 2003), Gerald Stringfellow, (engineering, 2004), Jack Simons (chemistry, 2005), David Chapman (geology and geophysics, 2006), Mary Beckerle (biology, 2007), Robert Goldberg (history, 2008), and Zeev ‘Valy’ Vardeny (physics, 2009).

Nominations should include: a letter of nomination with supporting discussion indicating the candidate’s accomplishments; a current curriculum vitae; a minimum of five but no more than 10 letters of reference, a majority from referees external to the University; and a brief description of the referees’ qualifications and relationship to the nominee. For 2010, previous nominations made during and since 2007 will be carried forward. Also invited are re-nominations with additional information about the nominee. Send nominations and letters of support to:

Chuck Wight
2010 Rosenblatt Prize Committee
The Graduate School
201 Presidents Circle, Rm 302


12 Questions for Barbara Snyder, Vice President for Student Affairs

Barbara SnyderFYI: What book should every person read and why?
BARBARA SNYDER: To Kill a Mockingbird. If you’ve already read it, read it again. It’s an amazing story of humanity and hope.

FYI: What’s your favorite building or place on campus?
SNYDER: It would have to be the Union patio on a beautiful day when there are lots of people outside. I love the feel of a vibrant campus and community that I get there.

FYI: If you could meet any notable person, who would it be?
SNYDER: Queen Elizabeth I. She was an amazing, larger-than-life person and a true visionary. I’d like to learn where she got her inner strength.

FYI: Name a favorite local place to eat.
SNYDER: For Italian, Lugano and for Mexican, the Red Iguana. Both places have terrific food and their own special character.

FYI: What do you think is the most important thing today’s students need to know?
SNYDER: Our students need to learn fiscal responsibility now so that they can carry it through their lives.

FYI: Name two favorite Web sites.
SNYDER: The ones I go to most are CNN.com and vrbo.com. I’m an absolute news junkie and try to stay on top of what’s going on right now. The latter site is a great place to find vacation rentals and I love to travel.

FYI: What do you like best about your job?
SNYDER: I get to work with so many incredible students and try to help them be successful. There’s not much that gets any better than that.

FYI: What reading material is on your bedside table?
SNYDER: Four copies of The Week magazine. I love the features and perspectives drawn in this unknown publication.

FYI: If politicians had to pass an exam before they were allowed to serve in public office, what question would you add to the test?
SNYDER: How will you gauge whether you are putting your constituents’ best interests above your own?

FYI: What is one thing you would like to ask people to do to change the world for the better?
SNYDER: Take time every day to learn something from someone who is really different from you. It’s amazing how we can educate each other.

FYI: What social issues do you think will never be resolved?
SNYDER: Sadly, I don’t believe that people will ever stop using religion as a reason to hurt, discriminate, and kill. Think of all the conflict in the world that is a result of religious beliefs.

FYI: What’s the best advice you ever got?
SNYDER: Success means nothing if you don’t share it with others.


From the Vp for Research

research notebookHeads Up: NSF proposals for postdoc support require a separate mentoring plan.
If you are submitting a new National Science Foundation (NSF) proposal and requesting funding for a postdoctoral researcher, NSF now requires a specific plan for mentoring the postdoc. The January 2009 requirement was to include this plan in the project description. This was revised in April 2009 to include that plan as a 1-page Supplemental Document.

The revised NSF Grant Preparation Guide says: Postdoctoral Researcher Mentoring Plan: Each proposal that requests funding to support postdoctoral researchers must include, as a supplementary document, a description of the mentoring activities that will be provided for such individuals. In no more than one page, the mentoring plan must describe the mentoring that will be provided to all postdoctoral researchers supported by the project, irrespective of whether they reside at the submitting organization, any subawardee organization, or at any organization participating in a simultaneously submitted collaborative project.

For suggestions on best practices in postdoctoral mentoring, search for NSF postdoc mentoring online.


Last Call: Campus Holiday Gift & Service Listing

gift box wrapped with red ribbonThe annual holiday gift and service listing will be included in the Dec. 2 FYI News. If your college, department, or center will be inviting food or clothing donations, offering holiday gifts or other items for sale, or have holiday specials, please send information to FYI News by Friday, Nov. 20.


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