Rankings: Movin’ on up

The U advances in two separate academic rankings

In the latest issue of U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges, the David Eccles School of Business moved up 12 spots to number 55 in the nation among undergraduate programs.

“The U.S. News undergrad rankings are widely used by students when trying to decide on college after high school. We’ve been working to improve our programs and get the word out to the better students we hope to attract,” says Taylor Randall, dean of the David Eccles School of Business. “We realize these rankings aren’t perfect, but this is an indicator of the work we’ve been doing over the past few years.”

In a second ranking—the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU), by the Center for World-Class Universities of Shanghai Jiao Tong University—the U climbed up one spot to No. 79. Considered one of the more statistically sound rankings of academic institutions, ARWU considers universities that have, among other criteria, Nobel laureates, Fields medalists, and highly cited researchers or papers published in the journals Nature or Science.

Read the complete news release, including links to the methodologies used by each organization, here.

Announcements of interest

Save the date! Museum test drive: Reserve tickets starting Oct. 10

Don’t miss this exclusive opportunity to take a test drive of the new Natural History Museum of Utah, the Rio Tinto Center, on Saturday, Oct. 22, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Reserve up to four free timed tickets starting Oct. 10. This will mark the first time the general public will see the new building and exhibition galleries. More details are here

Campus power outages highlight need for $99 million utility fix

Last week, 80 campus buildings lost electrical power, the latest in an ongoing series of outages at the U, which disrupt classes, imperil research, and stress administrators as they struggle to keep an aging network of corroded pipes and brittle wires intact with temporary but costly fixes. A recent article by Brian Maffly in The Salt Lake Tribune includes a video produced by KUED to explain the infrastructure problems to Utah lawmnakers who will be asked to approve funding for upgrades during the 2012 legislatuve session. Link to the article and access the informative video here.

New concierge services including Guest House reservations now available at University Hospital

Have you ever been at the hospital with a family member and had to find overnight lodging? Or tried to find a restaurant, bank, or drycleaner? Now, through new concierge services at the University Hospital customer service desk, you can! Make a reservation at the University Guest House, check in, get a room key, and have your luggage delivered to your hotel room—all from the hospital’s customer service desk. The staff will provide information on attractions in the Foothill Cultural District, recommend a great local restaurant, or a place to take the kids swimming. With the hospital’s expansion, the need for more onsite services has grown. The next time you are in the hospital, stop by the customer service desk and check out these new services, or call the customer service desk at 801-587-3811. 

The Graying Presidency: Major universities face imminent problems of succession planning

By Jack Stripling, from the Chronicle of Higher Ed
The average age of a college leader is 60, so it’s no surprise that a wave of retirements in higher education’s top jobs is imminent, and significant turnover is fast approaching at the nation’s elite research institutions. Read the article here

SHRED-IT  comes to Rice-Eccles Stadium

Thursday, Oct. 13, 4-6 p.m.


  • All media (DVDs, CDs, hard drives, but no towers or peripherals)
  • Paper
  • Hanging folders  

Do NOT bring:

  • Food waste (especially NO used pizza boxes)
  • Batteries
  • Large metal objects

For more information, visit UUSC’s web page here. Like us on Facebook, and win prizes! 

Study participants wanted

Daily walking program

Researchers in the Department of Anesthesiologyat h are seeking individuals interested in participating in a clinical study to evaluate a daily step counting (walking) program for people with sedentary lifestyles. If you are between the age of 18 – 65, able to walk without pain or assistance, do not exercise regularly (less than 30 minutes a week) you may be eligible for this study. This program includes five consecutive weekly visits to evaluate and monitor your weekly step count progress. More information is here.  



New chiller plant to open

Ribbon cutting is Tuesday, Oct. 4 at 10 a.m.

A new chiller plant located near the north end of Wasatch Drive will provide chilled water for air conditioning and laboratory-process cooling for 10 existing campus buildings and several future ones, including the new Sorenson USTAR building currently being built. Construction on the $18 million facility began in May 2010 and was completed April 1, 2011. Chevron Energy Solutions designed and constructed the building.

The plant includes two chillers (there will be four at full build out), pumps for circulating the chilled water throughout campus, a 3.2 million gallon storage tank, and support equipment. Chilled water from the storage tank provides cooling during the day, permitting the chillers to operate only at night when electricity rates are lower. The storage tank also allows chillers and cooling towers to work at their most efficient levels, further extending the savings of energy and water costs. An energy-saving feature called water-side economizing allows the plant to generate chilled water during cooler times of the year without operating the chillers, resulting in significant energy savings. Today, the plant can provide up to 33.6 million BTUs per hour of cooling and can distribute 40°F chilled water to the campus at a maximum rate of 7,000 gallons per minute through two miles of underground piping. Future expansion will allow the plant to provide 96 million BTUs per hour of cooling.

Expectations for a University president

The presidential search continues


Robert Johnson

What is the point of a University of Utah education? What curricular disciplines are missing or unnecessary? What should be the balance between liberal arts and learning for life versus education in the professions?


Sydney Green

These are some of the questions posed in a recent op/ed in The Salt Lake Tribune by Sidney J. Green, U research professor of engineering and Robert R. Johnson, emeritus chair of computer science at the U, who encourage all Utahns to reflect on their expectations for a new University of Utah president and participate in the process. “This is a position that affects all Utah citizens, who pay about one-third of the university’s total operating budget [through taxes],” they write. “The new president will be the intellectual, philosophical, and ethical leader for the University of Utah community. The objectives established for the new president by the Utah State Board of Regents should be public knowledge for all to understand and support. The goals should be lofty and more than just generalities.”

Read what they feel is important to consider in choosing a new U president here.
And visit the U’s presidential search website here.

Finding justice for the innocent

Thoughts from Jensie Anderson, lead attorney for the recently exonerated Harry Miller 

Jensie Anderson

Louisiana native Harry Miller spent three-and-a-half years at the Utah State Prison for a robbery he did not commit. Charged with stealing a woman’s purse at knifepoint on Dec. 8, 2000, he was convicted in 2003—based solely on eyewitness testimony—of first-degree felony aggravated robbery. In his defense, he claimed that at the time of the crime he was in Louisiana recovering from a stroke that left him partially paralyzed and unable to speak. Evidence to prove his alibi was not fully developed at his trial and Miller was convicted and ordered to serve five years to life in prison. In 2007, after his appellate attorneys gathered evidence that supported his alibi, his case was remanded for a new trial and the State chose to dismiss the charges against him “in the interests of justice.”  He was released from prison, but it took until Sept. 12, 2011 for him to be declared factually innocent by a Third District Court judge in Salt Lake City. Because Miller was officially exonerated, he will receive approximately $120,000 in assistance payments and plans to move back to Louisiana to be near his family.  

Jensie Anderson, a clinical professor of law at the S.J. Quinney College of Law and president and legal director of the Rocky Mountain Innocence Center (RMIC), is also director of the Innocence Clinic at the law school. As lead attorney for Miller, she supervised students who assisted in the investigation through the Innocence Clinic. FYI News recently had an opportunity to ask her a few questions about the experience. 

FYI News: How and when did RMIC become involved in the Harry Miller case?
Jensie Anderson
: In 2008, after Miller’s initial petition for a declaration of factual innocence was dismissed by the trial court, RMIC assisted in the appeal of that dismissal and ultimately gathered the evidence that allowed the State to agree to finally correct this wrongful conviction.  

FYI: How did you become involved in his case and what was your role?
As president and legal director of RMIC, I am personally involved in all of the cases that RMIC investigates and litigates. In this instance, I took the lead attorney role, supervised students who assisted in the investigation through the Innocence Clinic at the law school, and stood at Mr. Miller’s side when he was declared factually innocent last week. It was truly an honor.  

FYI: What specifically did you do?
: As we examined, investigated, and ultimately litigated this case, it was absolutely clear that Mr. Miller could not have been involved. He simply could not have been in Utah on Dec. 8, 2000, because he was at home in Louisiana recovering from a stroke. Not only did we gather documents and evidence in the case, but we sent a student investigator to Louisiana to interview friends and family who saw Harry during his rehabilitation, and we hired an eyewitness identification expert who could determine what was wrong with the original eyewitness testimony. Further, we put together all of our findings in an extensive report which we provided to the State in hopes that they would agree to an exoneration.  

FYI: From your point of view, what is the take away from this case? Anderson: This is a classic case of mistaken eyewitness identification—a case where reliance on eyewitness identification results in a conviction despite other evidence that contradicts the eyewitness’ memory of events. Eyewitness misidentification is the single greatest cause of wrongful convictions nationwide, playing a role in more than 75 percent of convictions overturned through DNA testing. This case will hopefully allow RMIC to continue to advocate for improved eyewitness identification procedures throughout the criminal justice process. 

FYI: What is important for people to understand about the work of the RMIC?
Given the room for error in our justice system, hundreds of other innocent people are likely in prison in Utah, Nevada and Wyoming in profound violation of their constitutional rights. These individuals have been robbed not only of their liberty but also of their home, work, family, and future. They have no assets, no representation, no access to the courts, and, without the services provided by RMIC, no hope of ever righting the wrong committed against them. RMIC provides critical legal services—and hope—to these individuals by helping them find a way to prove their wrongful imprisonment in court and thereby win restoration of their rights, freedom and life.  Further, RMIC, through public education and policy advocacy, brings the fissures in our criminal justice system to the forefront and thus hopes to ultimately improve the system so that other innocent individuals are protected from wrongful conviction. 

FYI: How is RMIC connected to the U?
RMIC is an independent 501(c)(3) that is supported by private individuals and independent foundations, and recently received a federal grant that allowed it to hire a staff attorney and case manager. The Innocence Clinic at the law school is an externship program where law students learn to investigate and litigate cases of actual innocence by working with RMIC and its staff.


National Medal of Science for U chemist

President Obama to honor Peter Stang at White House 


Peter Stang

Congratulations to University of Utah organic chemist Peter J. Stang, who has won a National Medal of Science—the highest U.S. honor for a scientist or engineer—and is tentatively scheduled to be honored by President Barack Obama at the White House later this year. “I am very humbled, honored, and pleased,” says Stang, 69, a distinguished professor of chemistry and former dean of the College of Science. “To date, I have had approximately 100 postdoctoral students and Ph.D. students whom I mentored, and this recognizes their work too.”

Stang, whose family fled the 1956 Soviet invasion of Hungary when he was a teen, was among seven scientists newly honored with the Medal of Science and five inventors honored with a National Medal in Technology and Innovation. The medals were announced Sept. 27 by the White House. Stang was cited “for his creative contributions to the development of organic supramolecular chemistry and for his outstanding and unique record of public service.”

President Obama said: “Each of these extraordinary scientists, engineers, and inventors is guided by a passion for innovation, a fearlessness even as they explore the very frontiers of human knowledge, and a desire to make the world a better place. Their ingenuity inspires us all to reach higher and try harder, no matter how difficult the challenges we face.”

Read more here 

Cancer researcher honored by Salt Lake City YWCA

Anita Y. Kinney is recognized for her accomplishments in the field of cancer research and women’s health.

Anita Kinney

Anita Y. Kinney, a professor of epidemiology in the Department of Medicine, was among five local women who were honored at the Annual YWCA Salt Lake City LeaderLuncheon on Sept. 23. Kinney received the Outstanding Achievement Award in Medicine/Health for her work in cancer research. She is developing and testing interventions for communicating genetic risk to individuals and families who are at increased risk for familial cancers, such as colorectal, breast, and ovarian cancer.

“I am absolutely delighted to be a recipient of this award,” says Kinney, a population scientist, holder of a Jon and Karen Huntsman Presidential Professorship in Cancer Research, and director of the Cancer Control and Population Sciences Research Program at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. “This honor is very meaningful because I deeply value the work of the YWCA as it helps so many women and children every day.” Kinney’s research focuses on cancer prevention and treatment in underserved and disadvantaged populations, many of whom are women. Read more here.

Field Notes: Humanities Education Center

By Sylvia Torti, associate director, Rio Mesa Center

In spring 2011 the College of Humanities joined a unique partnership with the International Center for Earth Concerns for the purpose of enlivening environmental study through the humanities and interdisciplinary study. The Environmental Humanities Education Center (EHEC) is housed in the restored ghost town of Lakeview in Montana’s Centennial Valley, rated as one of the most significant natural landscapes in Montana because of its intact ecological systems, expansive wetlands, diverse native fauna, and unique concentrations of rare species. The Red Rock Lake National Wildlife Refuge in the heart of the valley is home to the trumpeter swan and more than 23 bird species, and is the largest wetlands complex in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The east-west running Centennial Mountains provide a critical migration corridor for wolves, grizzlies, wolverines, and many other mammals. This location, six hours by car from Salt Lake City, is a breathtaking wilderness area for unparalleled opportunities to explore, study, and create.

The EHEC welcomes academic institutions, nonprofit organizations, corporate entities, and individuals.

Writer Terry Tempest Williams conducts the Ecology of Residence course at the center for ten days each summer. Beyond this flagship seminar, U faculty, alumni, and students are invited to propose workshops, retreats, seminars, and research projects during the center’s season which runs from July to mid-October. Find out more about the EHEC here, or contact its director, Mary Tull.

—Fourth in a series on the U’s field stations and research projects

New to the U


Catherine Soehner joins the Marriott Library 

Catherine Soehner

Catherine Soehner has joined the J. Willard Marriott Library as associate dean for research and learning services. Soehner comes to the U from the University of Michigan, where she served as director of the art, architecture, science, and engineering libraries. Prior to her position at the University of Michigan, she served as head of the Science and Engineering Library at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and also held professional positions at the National Library of Medicine. Soehner holds a B.S. degree in nursing from the College of Mount St. Joseph and received her master’s degree in library science from Indiana University.

Mary Parker to lead student enrollment strategy  

Mary Parker

Mary Parker has been appointed associate vice president for enrollment management. She assumed the position Sept. 1. Parker joins the U from Louisiana State University where she was executive director of undergraduate admissions and student aid. Prior to her seven years at LSU, she served as director of financial aid at Reinhardt College in Atlanta and as a senior consultant with the Higher Education Division of KPMG, where she focused her efforts on enrollment management in higher ed. “We would go into universities and assess their enrollment services operations and then make suggestions to the president as to what changes needed to be made to meet their enrollment goals,” says Parker. In her new role at the U, she has broad responsibility for student recruitment and retention efforts, including communication and marketing, and developing and managing a strategic enrollment plan.

Lorie Richards is new chair for occupational therapy 

Lorie Gage Richards has been named new chair of the Division of Occupational Therapy in the College of Health. Richards comes to the U from the University of Kansas Medical Center where she was a member of the occupational therapy faculty. She also has degrees in experimental psychology with an emphasis in cognitive neuropsychology. Most recently, she was on the faculty at the University of Florida and Research Health Scientist at the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center’s Brain Rehabilitation Research Center of Excellence. Prior to that, she was at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Her research interests include developing evidence for stroke rehabilitation, particularly in testing interventions for the arm and hand; neurorehabilitation and cognitive rehabilitation. Richards has received more than 20 grants totaling more than $14 million, has been published in 45 peer-reviewed journals, and will be a keynote speaker for the 2012 International Occupational Therapy Conference in Hong Kong. Richards and her husband, Tom, have two children, Alia and Ian. She enjoys hiking, camping and traveling to learn about other cultures and languages, and is an avid consumer of fantasy fiction.  




FYI Mystery Photo Contest

Where is this on campus? Send your answer (be specific) to FYI News by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 28, for a chance to win a sandwich for you and a friend courtesy of TwoCreek Coffee House located inside the Sutton Building (home of geology and geophysics, located north of the Browning Building). The winner will be selected randomly from the pool of those submitting the correct answer and will be listed in the Oct. 5, 2011 FYI News.

Thanks to TwoCreek Coffee House for providing the prize!

Note: This contest is open to U of U faculty and staff only. We encourage everyone to enter, but please note that the same person can be awarded the prize just once in a 12-month period.


Last issue’s FYI Mystery Photo Contest answer:

Sterling W. Sill Center

The Sept. 7, FYI Mystery Photo shows the Sterling W. Sill Center, located east of the Olpin Union.

Congratulations to winner Irene Ota, whose name was randomly selected from the pool of 54 contestants who sent in the correct answer. Irene works in the College of Social Work as a development officer and diversity coordinator and instructor. She teaches diversity courses, advises and coordinates the student group, Voices of Diversity (VOD), and helps in the college’s development efforts. “I’m a University of Utah ‘lifer,’” says Ota. “I’ve been here a long time, plan to retire from the U, and enjoy the stimulating environment and opportunities offered here on campus.”

Irene wins lunch for two at the Crimson View, located on the fourth floor of the Olpin Union. A big thanks to Chartwells for providing the prize. And thanks to everyone who participated in the contest.

FYI Poll

Take our FYI News poll

It’s live until Oct. 4, when the next issue of FYI News is published. All responses are anonymous.

September 21, 2011 Poll:

Do you think we are in a double-dip recession?  

Show Results


Last FYI poll results based on 298 responses:


How will you commemorate the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11?

I will attend a formal commemoration event. 12 votes (4%)

I will commemorate informally with family and/or friends. 20 votes (6%)

I will think about the events in private. 187 votes (62%)

I do not plan to do anything to commemorate the anniversary. 78 votes (26%)

Other. 1 vote (0%)


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