Getting to know Jack Newell

Jack Newell

Jack Newell (photo: Anna Ruth Hansen)

L. Jackson Newell teaches a class of first-year Early Assurance Scholars in the Honors College. The 28 students have full-ride scholarships and “assurance” that they can attend almost any of the U’s graduate or professional schools if they graduate with at least a 3.8 GPA. Last year, the inaugural year for the program, Newell was invited to initiate a course for the students in that charter group.

FYI News: What does the course cover?

Jack Newell: For half of the course, I use elements of an Honors course I have taught for years called “What Matters Most?” My aim is to push each student to think hard about what she or he wishes to take away from the course—and larger engagement in the university and community—and apply it to how they wish to live.

FYI: Did you notice any common themes from the students?

Newell: Almost all of my students truly search for ways to live with integrity, to serve the larger good and to act with courage and compassion. The more diverse the students’ backgrounds, the more educational the experience is for everyone. Teaching continues to be my protest against the absurdities and excesses of our contemporary world. I am at war with cynicism, especially where we can afford it least, among the rising generation.

FYI: And the other half of the course?

Newell: I take my students around campus for two-hour sessions with about 10 distinguished faculty members—those who have become the best in their fields. We meet them in their laboratories, studios, or department conference rooms so the students can see them in their own venues. My task is to get the professors talking about what they do and why it means so much to them to be doing it. 

FYI: What do you want to accomplish with your students?

Newell: My aim is to help the students to understand the range of possibilities that awaits them when they choose their majors and careers, and for them to sense both the passion and the exertion that must underpin excellence in any field. I also want them to see the intrinsic rewards that come from pursuing your dreams as far as they can take you, which is evident in the professors involved in this course. Imagine what a treat it is for students to get a sense of what makes them tick.

Joy in their work and in living is the common denominator among these splendid faculty members, and it can’t help but rub off on the students—and on me. If students can see healthy and diverse adult models like these all around them, they can’t help but make better choices about their own studies, careers, and lives. I just wish every student at the U could have these same opportunities. 

FYI: What surprises you most about college students?

Newell: Whether they are my Honors E.A. Scholars or my low-income adult students in the Venture Course in the Humanities downtown, what surprises me is their amazing drive to learn and their joy in discovering new things—about themselves and about their world. So many people believe college students are lazy or frivolous or hedonistic or unprincipled, but my experience convinces me to the contrary. And it makes me all the more committed to give them everything I’ve got, and back them in every way I can.

Growing up, my own parents told me: “Choose the thing you love to do most and find a way to earn your living doing that. If you do, you will become the best at what you do, and you’ll make a decent living too, while being the happiest person around.” This is what I urge my students to do every year. Find your genius, and practice it with passion. The money will take care of itself if you are the best at what you do. 

Jack Newell served as dean of liberal education at the U from 1974-90, then returned full time to his department (Educational Leadership & Policy) for five “enormously rewarding” years, before going to Deep Springs College where he served as president from 1995-2004. Returning to the U as professor emeritus, he’s been teaching in the Honors College and ELP (occasionally) ever since. Newell was the State of Utah’s Professor of the Year in 1991 and was awarded that same year the special rank of University Professor.

125 House in Park City completed

Jörg Rügemer, a professor in the College of Architecture + Planning, has built what he hopes is Utah’s most energy-efficient and cost-effective home. The project is a personal research experiment to prove it is possible to build affordable, energy-efficient homes for northern Utah’s climate.

Jorg Rugemer

The 2,400-square-foot, single-family residence has three bedrooms, one studio, 2.5 baths, and garage. Rügemer will monitor the home for energy savings, and the results will serve as a model for consumers, architects and builders wishing to construct energy-efficient buildings. Tour the home with the architect. View it here.


Take the sustainability pledge!


      • Turn off the lights when I leave any unoccupied room.
      • Bring my own reusable bags whenever I shop.
      • Avoid idling my car as much as possible, if I drive.
      • Turn off the tap while brushing my teeth.

University Librarian Joyce Ogburn

These are just some of the options you can choose from when you take the new 2011-2012 Sustainability Pledge. Last year, more than 3,000 pledges were received. This year’s goal is to receive more than 4,000. If this is your first time taking the pledge, welcome and thank you. If you took the pledge last year, that’s great!  Please help out by taking it again—either renew your previous commitments or pick new ones—since we set the counter back to zero for this year. 

Take the pledge before Dec. 12 and your name will be entered into a drawing to win prizes including Black Diamond packs, gift cards to the Campus Store, tickets to U of U sporting events, and lift tickets to Snowbird, just to name a few.  

Take the pledge here. Then help spread the word and raise awareness by inviting others to pledge.

For more information, contact Will Becker or call 801-581-7506.



Holiday gift ideas from campus

Give the Gift of Health
Looking for that perfect gift this holiday season? How about a gift certificate from Campus Recreation Services? Certificates may be purchased for any amount, never expire, and can be redeemed for memberships, personal training, outdoor gear rental, or fitness classes. Certificates may be purchased at either the Field House or HPER Complex. For more information, call 801-581-3706.

University Guest House offers special holiday rates
If family members are traveling to Utah for the holidays, employees can give the gift of comfort by purchasing a night at the University Guest House. From now to Jan. 1, the Guest House is offering a special employee holiday rate of $78. Reservations are required. Call 801-587-1000 for more information or visit here.  

Print & Mail Services offers custom cards and gifts
University Print & Mail Services is your source for custom holiday cards and gifts. In addition to U-themed holiday cards, we offer fun gift itemspersonalized by you: canvas gallery wraps, buttons, notecards, calendars, t-shirts, and much more. For more information, check out our storefront here, call 801-581-6171, or stop by our shop at 135 VRTUSB (just west of the Jon Huntsman Center).

Red Butte Garden Holiday Open House
Saturday, Dec. 3 and Sunday, Dec. 4, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
300 Wakara Way in Research Park
This free annual tradition features work by local artists, warm cocoa or cider, and an activity for kids. Gifts for the most avid gardener can be found all season long in the garden gift shop.  

Natural History Museum of Utah in the new Rio Tinto Center
Open daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and until 9 p.m. on Wednesdays
301 Wakara Way in Research Park
The stunning new museum includes an exciting gift shop filled with merchandise inspired by the natural wonders of Utah, including jewelry, books, note cards, and other treasures. 

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA)
Wednesday, Dec. 7, 4-7:30 p.m.
410 Campus Center Drive in the Marcia and John Price Museum Building

UMFA will host the Art of Contemporary Craft Holiday Market, a free event featuring art-inspired gifts created by top local artisans. Wearable works of art, books, and children’s gifts are also available The Museum Store is open from Tuesday to Sunday.

Art by students in the Department of Art and Art History
Dec. 6, 7, and 8; 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Alvin Gittins Gallery in the Fine Arts Building
Objets d’art may be found at this special holiday sale. Support student groups in the Department of Art and Art History by purchasing ceramics, prints, drawings, paintings, books and photographs.

Fort Douglas Museum Gift Shop
Tuesdays through Saturdays, 12 noon-5 p.m.
32 Potter Street
Military history buffs will find replicas, books, and other memorabilia for children and adults as well as unique gifts infused with Utah’s military heritage. For additional information call 801-581-1251.

For gifts that keep on giving, consider an annual membership to Red Butte Garden, the Natural History Museum of Utah, or the Utah Museum of Fine Arts.





Going green: W-2 form options

Receive your Form W-2 electronically and view W-2s back to 1999

U employees may elect to receive the W-2 Wage and Tax Statement electronically. This choice has several advantages:

           Employees can access their Form W-2 a few days earlier because they will not wait for it to be delivered by mail.

           Sensitive personal information will not be sent through the mail.

           For employees eligible to file a tax return electronically with the IRS, no paper copy of the W-2 is required so natural resources are conserved.

           In these times of tight budgets, this will have a positive impact on the University’s budget.

Here’s how to sign up to take advantage of this opportunity:

1.         Sign on to CIS and click the Employee tab (if it is not your default tab).

2.         Under My Human Resources/Payroll, click on Payroll, Taxes and Salary.

3.         Click Paperless W2 to access the option to receive your Form W-2 electronically.

In addition, you now have the ability to access your W-2 forms back to 1999. Here’s how:

1.         Sign on to the CIS and click the Employee tab (if it is not your default tab).

2.         Click W-2 Form Reprint to access your W-2 forms back to 1999.

For additional information, contact Tax Services & Payroll Accounting, call 801-581-3428, or visit Electronic W-2.

News from Staff Council


Staff Council is partnering with the Salt Lake Education Foundation to collect new coats, hoodies, and other warm clothing to distribute to children throughout the Salt Lake Valley.  Gently used clothing will also be accepted and distributed to children and families in need. Last year, nearly 500 coats and over $2,000 were collected.

This year, with the need greater than ever, the goal is to gather 700 coats and increase cash donations as well. The Salt Lake Education Foundation is able to extend the value of funds raised through partnering with a number of merchant supporters. For more information, including collection sites, contact Marcia Cook or check the Staff Council website.


Recipients of staff scholarships are recognized, with special thanks to BlueCross BlueShield of Utah whose donation once again allowed Staff Council to award a third scholarship. Also find out about a new Staff Council Facebook page, a great way to learn more about upcoming events and deadlines for scholarhsip applications. See it here.


Attention faculty! Deadlines coming soon


The following grants and awards have application deadlines coming soon.  

1. University Teaching Grants

2. John R. Park Teaching Fellowships

3. The Calvin S. and JeNeal N. Hatch Prize in Teaching

4. Early Career Teaching Awards

5. Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Scholar Distinguished Mentor Award

1. University Teaching Grants: Awards are made to faculty to undertake projects that will enhance their teaching or the curriculum in which they teach. Tenured, tenure-track, and auxiliary faculty are eligible to propose individual and group grants. Preference will be given to applicants whose primary professional affiliation is as faculty at the U. Awards are made for amounts up to $3,500 for individuals and $7,000 for groups for items such as equipment, supplies, or travel where appropriate. Visit here for detailed instructions. Deadlines are Jan. 11 and Mar. 14, 2012.   

2. John R. Park Teaching Fellowships are awarded to faculty who will undertake one semester activity during the 2011-2012 academic year to study at a site outside the state of Utah with the purpose of enriching and enlarging the individual’s teaching role. Tenured, tenure-track, and auxiliary faculty are eligible. Preference will be given to applicants whose primary affiliation is as faculty at the U. Each award is for $5,000 with the possibility of an additional $5,000 to the faculty member’s department to help defray costs for released time. The deadline for applications is Jan.11, 2012. These awards will be announced in February 2012. Find additional information here.

3. The Calvin S. and JeNeal N. Hatch Prize in Teaching recognizes an outstanding and longstanding service by a teacher from tenured or tenure-track faculty ranks. The prize is $5,000, and the nominations are due Dec. 7, 2011. The award will be announced in March 2012. Find additional information here.

4. Early Career Teaching Awards recognize up to four outstanding tenured or tenure-track faculty at an early stage in their careers at the U. To be eligible, a faculty member must have completed at least three full years but fewer than eight years of service at the U. The prize is $2,500 and nominations are due Dec. 7, 2011. The awards will be announced in March 2012. Find more information here.

5. Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Scholar Distinguished Mentor Awards, established in 2006 by The Graduate School, recognize faculty from any discipline who effectively guide graduate students and postdoctoral scholars throughout their professional training in a continuing, multifaceted partnership sustained by mutual respect and concern. The nomination deadline is Friday, Jan. 13, 2012. Nomination packets can be quite time consuming to produce so plan ahead and pick yours up early. Find more information here.

FYI Poll

Did you participate in Black Friday?

Show Results

FYI Mystery Photo Contest

Where is this on campus? Send your answer (be specific) to FYI News by 5 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 5, for a chance to win tickets for two to 100 Years of Broadway on Thursday, Jan. 19, courtesy of Kingsbury Hall. The production features Broadway classics as well as thrilling numbers from Broadway’s newest hit shows. The winner will be selected randomly from the pool of those submitting the correct answer and will be listed in the Jan. 11, 2012 FYI News. A big thanks to Kingsbury Hall for donating the prize!

Note: This contest is open to U of U faculty and staff only.  

Last issue’s FYI Mystery Photo Contest answer:

The Nov. 16 FYI Mystery Photo shows the George S. Eccles Legacy Bridge spanning Mario Capecchi Drive. Congratulations to Erica Adamson, winner of the Nov. 16 FYI Mystery Photo contest. Erica’s name was selected randomly from the 75 contestants who had the correct answer. Erica began working at the U in 2004 and, since 2007, has worked at the Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute (SCI) where she is the senior accountant. “My duties include supervising SCI accounting procedures, assisting in grants and contracts proposals, performing administrative functions related to grants and contracts, helping with budget preparation and planning, and analyzing financial information.” Erica received a $25 gift certificate courtesy of Outdoor Recreation Services. A big thanks to Outdoor Rec for providing the prize!

Updates from the Office of the V.P. for Research

1.      The Utah Environmental Public Health Tracking Network

2.      Upcoming Research Grant Opportunities

3.      Upcoming Classes in the Research Administration Training Series (RATS)


1.     The Utah Environmental Public Health Tracking Network

Currently, there are 23 state and local health departments that are part of the National Tracking Network. The mission of tracking is to provide information that can be used to plan, apply, and evaluate actions to prevent and control environmentally related diseases.  Understanding how these and other environmental factors are linked to chronic disease is essential to disease prevention—and to protecting the health of our communities. 

The site has public data, secure data and metadata. See it here.

The Environmental Public Health Tracking Network has five goals:

1. Build sustainable National and State Tracking Networks.

2. Build Tracking workforce and infrastructure.

3. Provide data to help health policy, practices, and other actions.

4. Advance environmental public health science and research.

5. Help collaboration among health and environmental groups.


2.     Upcoming Research Grant Opportunities 

Limited Submission Opportunities (apply through CIS in the Limited Submission Application link)

Major Research Instrumentation Program
Internal submission deadline: Dec. 8

NIH Director’s Early Independence Award
Internal submission deadline: Dec. 8

Edward Mallinckrodt, Jr. Foundation Grant
Internal submission deadline: Dec. 15

Sustainable Energy Pathways (SEP)
Internal submission deadline: Dec. 15

Cancer Research Grant Program
Internal submission deadline: Dec. 15 

Nuclear Energy University Programs – General Scientific Infrastructure
Internal submission deadline: Dec. 21 

Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award
Internal submission deadline: Dec. 21 

Partnerships for Innovation (PFI)
Internal submission deadline: Dec. 21

NP/PA Clinical Hepatology Fellowship Program
Internal submission deadline: Dec. 29 

2012 NIDA Translational Avant-Garde Award for Medication
Internal submission deadline: Dec. 29 

3.     Upcoming Classes in the Research Administration Training Series (RATS)

For questions concerning RATS, contact Tony Onofrietti, call 801-585-3492, or visit here. 

Getting Published: Responsible Authorship and Peer Review
Thursday, Dec. 1
2:00-4:00 p.m.
HSEB Rm. 1750

Introduction to Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) & Radiological Health
Tuesday, Dec. 6
2:00-4:00 p.m.
HSEB Rm. 2120

Laboratory Leadership and Staffing
Wednesday, Dec. 7
2:00-4:00 p.m.
HSEB Rm. 1730


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