The U in the news

Adobe co-founder to headline U.’s Siciliano Forum
The Deseret News, March 1, 2013

Evacuated university students return home after gas leak fixed
FOX 13, March 1, 2013

University of Utah hangs nest boxes to attract migrating owls: Students prepare for return of Western screech owls with nest boxes and webcams.
By Brett Prettyman, The Salt Lake Tribune, Feb. 28, 2013

U of U students learn how animals can assist therapy
FOX 13, Feb. 24, 2013, by Mark Green

Breakthrough helps University Hospital better treat stroke victims
By Ben Lockhart, Deseret News, Feb. 24, 2013

Public transit key to better air
By Chad Mullins, The Salt Lake Tribune, Feb. 23, 2013



Upcoming on campus

Check the campus events calendar for a listing of all events. 


Spring break is March 10 – 17.



Monday, March 4, Noon-1:15 p.m.
College of Social Work, Room 155B
Contact: Frances Wilby, 801-585-9276
Robert Marc, Distinguished Professor of Ophthalmology and director of research at the Moran Eye Center talks about life after 60 from a personal standpoint. Marc is an eloquent speaker with a great sense of humor.


With Doug Jackson-Smith
Utah State University, Department of Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology
Tuesday, March 5, 4:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.
Aline Skaggs Biology Auditorium
This event is one in a series of lectures presented by the Global Change and Sustainability Center. For more information, contact Laurie Mecham at 801-581-6414 or check the website.


Wednesday, March 6, 7:30 p.m.
Libby Gardner Concert Hall, Free
The annual U Women’s Chorus Festival welcomes nine guest choirs from high schools, colleges, and the community to celebrate the power of women in song. The U Women’s Chorus, directed by Jessica Napoles, will host six high school choirs: Kearns, Maple Mountain, Salem Hills, Wasatch, Murray and Box Elder; as well as the women of the Salt Lake Choral Artists, conducted by Jane Fjeldsted; Utah Valley University, conducted by Cherilyn Worthen; and Utah State University, conducted by Michael Huff. For more information contact Lindsay Kite.


Nature of Science Lecture Series explores: What makes us human?
June Round, assistant professor, Department of Pathology and the Division of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Utah
Thursday, March 7, 7:00 p.m.
Salt Lake City Main Library, 210 East 400 South
Round will discuss how bacteria influence human development and disease processes, and how these organisms may be used to treat various ailments, suggesting people might begin to redefine themselves according to the microscopic creatures that inhabit their bodies.Her lecture is one of three to be presented by the Natural History Museum of Utah, March through April, and will reveal the latest scientific research on what is unique to humanity, how humans came to be, and humanity’s commonalities with other animals. Additional information is on the NHMU website.


Inspiring the patient to live more than their collection of symptoms, presented by Heather Madsen
Thursday, March 7, 7:00 p.m.
Social Work Building, Room 134
Heather Madsen, a writer and speaker with multiple disabilities, relates her struggles and challenges and how she transforms them into deliberate creations of joy, through appreciating the simple beauties of living. Madsen was born with a visible and rare genetic condition called Miller Syndrome, which affects only thirty people worldwide. Her non-visible challenges include a rare genetic lung disease, hearing impairment, ADHD, and autism. For 20 years,  Madsen has addressed first year medical students at the U about how her disabilities affirm the human spirit in medicine. Watch the Youtube video here. For additional information, contact Wendy Anderson or call 801-571-2111.


joanthumbnail-186x126[1]JOAN RIVERS IN CONCERT
Saturday, March 9, 7:30 p.m.
Kingsbury Hall
For tickets, check the Kingsbury Hall website or call 801-581-7100
Joan Rivers is a force of nature and one of the funniest and hardest-working celebrities in the world. An entertainment legend, Rivers continues to add to her impressive resume as comedienne, Emmy-winner, Tony-nominee, author, director, fashion laureate, businesswoman—the list goes on. With her no-holds-barred style and spot-on observations, she may make you blush, but she will definitely make you laugh. Mature content – audience discretion advised. 


Saturday, March 16, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
The Leonardo, 290 East 500 South
Free and open to the public 
Eighty neuroscientists from the U will educate the community about the brain and brain health at Brain Awareness Day. Children and families will have the chance to touch a real human brain and move an object with their thoughts, among other hands-on activities. The event takes place during Brain Awareness week, March 11-17, when volunteers from Utah colleges and universities will bring the program to schools, reaching about 2,500 children statewide. Utah Brain Awareness Week is produced by graduate students in the U’s neurosciences program, and is sponsored by The Brain Institute, The Eskuche Foundation, the Castle Foundation, the Society for Neuroscience, and the Dana Alliance for Brain initiatives. Additional information may be found here. 


Multidisciplinary solutions for surgical care

Thursday, March 28 and Friday, March 29
Rice-Eccles Stadium Tower
The Center for Global Surgery’s 2013 Extreme Affordability Conference addresses multidisciplinary solutions for surgical care. This conference is for professionals and students interested in improving costs and access to surgical care, revolutionizing surgical ecosystems, and innovative medical technologies. Presenters represent the international, national and University of Utah community. Register online by March 14. Volunteers can attend the conference on the day(s) that they volunteer for free! Additional information is available online.

2012-13 Distinguished Professors

President Pershing announces the approval and affirmative recommendation by the Distinguished Professor selection committee that the following individuals be appointed Distinguished Professor at the University of Utah:

  • Robert Adler, Distinguished Professor of Law
  • Michael Hardman, Distinguished Professor of Special Education
  • Kathleen Mooney, Distinguished Professor of Nursing.
  • Erik Jorgensen, Distinguished Professor of Biology

The Distinguished Professor selection committee met on Feb. 11, 2013 to consider nominations received. The four nominees were selected by a majority vote from an outstanding pool of candidates. Congratulations to all!



Robert Adler, Distinguished Professor of Law

Michael Hardman, Distinguished Professor of Special Education

Michael Hardman, Distinguished Professor of Special Education

Kathleen Mooney, Distinguished Professor of Nursing

Kathleen Mooney, Distinguished Professor of Nursing


Erik Jorgensen, Distinguished Professor of Biology

Two parking structures to go up this summer


Looking for parking on campus. Photo credit: Brent Uberty, Daily Utah Chronicle

As the struggle to find a parking spot on campus seems never-ending, students and employees might see a bright spot as Commuter Services plans to build parking structures on top of two surface parking lots. But that means one year with two existing parking lots unavailable and under construction.

While nearly 8,500 people use public transit to get to the U each day, the campus population as a whole is about 43,000, according to Alma Allred, director of Commuter Services. “There’s a certain sector of the campus population that can’t take transit,” Allred said. “It just doesn’t serve their needs. We do have to provide a certain number of parking places.”

More than a year ago, Commuter Services determined that the parking issue was at a critical stage. An architectural firm was hired to identify efficient places to build a parking garage, and about nine months later, came back with recommendations to build two structures: one in the parking lot west of the Sutton Building, and another in the lot in the business loop near the Huntsman Center and Milton Bennion Hall. Several variables go into planning. For example, a parking structure cannot be built over an underground aqueduct or high-pressure waterlines.There are currently 331 parking places total in those two lots. When the garages are finished, about 1,200 parking spaces will be available. Allred says construction will likely begin in mid-July and will take from 12-16 months to complete.

From an article by Anne Plummer in the Daily Utah Chronicle published Feb. 26, 2013. Read the complete article here.

Water conservation garden for Red Butte


Red Butte Garden has announced plans to build a new water conservation garden to open in fall 2014 or spring 2015. “It’s going to be our most iconic garden,” says Greg Lee, executive director at Red Butte.

The three-acre garden will be developed on a hillside between the fragrance garden on the northwest and the children’s garden to the southwest. With the help of the entire community, Red Butte Garden met the Alternative Vision Fund’s $3 million Water Conservation Garden capital campaign challenge grant that will help fund the project. They need to raise an additional $500,000 to fully fund the project, which will include special environmental and educational features. Read more on the Red Butte Garden website.


MeganWilliams300dpiNeuroscientist Megan Williams receives Sloan Fellowship

Megan Williams, assistant professor of neurobiology and anatomy, has won a Sloan Research Fellowship and will receive $50,000 to further her research. Williams is among 126 young researchers in the United States and Canada to win a 2013 fellowship from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which began making the annual awards in 1955.

“The Sloan Research Fellows are the best of the best among young scientists,” says Paul L. Joskow, president of the Sloan Foundation. “If you want to know where the next big scientific breakthrough will come from, look to these extraordinary men and women. The foundation is proud to support them during this pivotal stage of their careers.”

Williams studies synapses—the connections through which signals are transmitted among nerve cells—and aims to identify the genes and molecules guiding how different kinds of synapses are constructed. This is important because defects in different kinds of synapses are believed to underlie different neurological disorders, including epilepsy and autism.

Based in New York City, the Sloan Foundation is a nonprofit, grant-making philanthropy established in 1934 by Alfred Pritchard Sloan Jr., then-president and chief executive officer of the General Motors Corp.

Cynthia Berg named interim dean for CSBS

Cindy Berg

Cindy Berg

Cynthia Berg, professor of psychology, has been selected as interim dean for the College of Social and Behavioral Science effective July 1, pending approval by the Board of Trustees. Berg has a distinguished record as a department and college leader, and clearly enjoys the respect of her colleagues and students as a researcher and teacher. She received her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Washington and her master’s and Ph.D. in psychology from Yale University. Berg joined the U faculty in 1986 and has served as chair and director of graduate studies in the Department of Psychology. In her administrative roles she has developed initiatives related to improving graduate student mentorship, faculty development (including tenure-track faculty mentoring and facilitating grant support), and undergraduate instruction.

Berg’s research is at the intersection of developmental and health psychology, examining how individuals cope with chronic illness, such as diabetes and cancer, within close relationships and family systems. She brings together a highly collaborative and interdisciplinary research teamfrom psychology, pediatrics, medicine, and Huntsman Cancer Instituteto approach these challenges. She has published over 100 articles and book chapters in top outlets in her field; serves on the editorial boards of several journals; and has received numerous awards for her research and mentoring.

Announcements of interest

The U’s emergency operations plan identifies a significant role for amateur radio communications. If you hold a current license and are interested in supporting emergency operations on campus, please contact Marty Shaub.



With the success of the “Commuter of the Month” contest during each semester, Commuter Services sponsored a contest to award the “Commuter of the Day” on Jan. 17, in connection with the visit of the Reverend Jesse Jackson. Robert Tiney, an employee with the purchasing department, and Emily LaBonte, a student, both received new iPads. Three additional 2nd place winners also were selected. Jessica Kennedy, Mike Biggs, and Devin Jackman all received a $50 gift card from the Campus Store. Eligibility: Contestants must be a current faculty member, staff, or student; and must tap on and off with a UCard at any UTA service stops during that day.



The University of Colorado at Boulder is adding a conservative-in-residence to its liberal-leaning faculty in an attempt to broaden intellectual diversity on the state’s flagship campus. The new position, the “visiting scholar in conservative thought and policy,” is being paid for entirely with private money. A total of close to $1-million will finance the job, set to begin in the fall and to be housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, for at least three years. Read more here.

From an article by Sydni Dunn in the Feb. 26, 2013, Chronicle of Higher Ed. 


Deadline for applications is March 15.

The Student Media Council has an opening for an at-large faculty position starting in May 2013. The term of the position is for three years. The Council oversees a student fee dedicated for the support of the Daily Utah Chronicle, K-UTE Student Radio, Absolute Communication, and the University Media Sales Group. Help shape the future of student media on campus. Contact Jake Sorensen or call 801-581-7540 for an application.  


Want to know more? Watch a short video highlighting Judy Vu, a third-year medical student, as she discusses her experience with the ACCESS Program for Women in Science and Math. And learn more here.


Is your deparment or college offering summer classes for kids? If so, send information to FYI News and we’ll include it in our April 15 issue.





poison header[1]
National Poison Prevention Week is March 17-23.
The Utah Poison Control Center (UPCC), a program of the U’s College of Pharmacy, was established in 1954, and since that time has responded to more than one million calls for assistance. In 2012, it responded to more than 46,000 calls. Of the potential poisonings, 61 percent involved children less than 6 years of age and 5 percent involved adults 60 years of age and older. UPCC specialists were able to safely and effectively manage 76 percent of the poison exposures at home with telephone follow-up. What can you do to help?

  • Set up a display
  • Give poison prevention presentations to local school children or community groups
  • Distribute poison prevention pamphlets
  • Hand out telephone stickers and magnets
  • Make sure that every phone at your office has a poison center telephone sticker on it.

If you would like materials to help publicize National Poison Prevention Week, visit the Utah Poison Control website or call 801-587-0607.

John Warnock to headline Siciliano Forum

March 4-12: Forum programs focus on the future of higher education.


final-warnock-email-682x102Keynote by John Warnock
Tuesday, March 5, 12:30 p.m.
Marriott Library, Gould Auditorium

At a time when tuition costs are skyrocketing, for-profit universities are gaining traction, and approximately one third of U.S. students have already taken an online course, the future of higher education is unclear. In recognition of this changing landscape, the Rocco C. and Marion S. Siciliano Forum will examine “The Future of Higher Education.”


John Warnock

The forum will include a variety of events from March 4-12, with several RadioWest shows broadcast live on KUER, a documentary sneak peak, and  keynote address on Tuesday, March 5, by John Warnock, co-founder of Adobe Systems and a U alum. The Siciliano Forum is sponsored by the Hinckley Institute of Politics, with co-sponsors the Honors College and the College of Engineering. Other sponsors include RadioWest, the Department of Education, and the Electronic Arts and Engineering Program. All events are free and open to the public. A list of all Siciliano Forum events is available here.

U is founding partner in SLC’s Year of the Bike

Year-of-the-Bike_-U-of-U-LogoInclement weather did not prevent a crowd from gathering at the City/County Building on Feb. 22 to celebrate with Salt Lake City in its designation of 2013 as the Year of the Bike. The U joined other founding partners–Utah Transit Authority, Salt Lake County, Utah Department of Transportation, and Wasatch Front Regional Council–in support of the new initiative. The designation recognizes and promotes bicycle transportation programs and infrastructure, increases awareness and participation, and engages partners in promoting the many programs and projects happening across the region.

The vision for bicycling, as expressed in Salt Lake City’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, which also addresses walking, is “to enhance use of the bicycle for transportation and recreation, and walking for pleasure and mobility, to foster community respect for bicycling and walking, and to promote bicycling and walking as ways to enhance personal health and improve the community environment.”


Mayor Ralph Becker with UDOT’s Carlos Braceras; WFRC’s Louenda Downs, the U’s Heidi Goedhart, SL City Councilman Stan Penfold, and UTA’s Mike Allegra.

Partnering organizations will work to increase public awareness and community engagement in order to maximize bicycle use through a multitude of bicycle-related projects and outreach efforts throughout the year, including educating residents on safe, responsible cycling habits; celebrating new additions to bicycle infrastructure; and promoting bicycling as a healthy and environmentally friendly commuting option.

Heidi Goedhart, the U’s bicycle coordinator, represented the University at the press event. “Many of our students, faculty and staff trickle into campus from all over the valley, so through a partnership with the city and other relevant agencies we can help improve the cycling connections to and from campus,” says Goedhart. “By embracing the cycling community and helping to promote bicycling we can essentially have a positive impact on our surrounding community by reducing dependency on other transportation modes.”

Dozens of events have been added to the Year of the Bike event calendar, including:

  • GREENbike, SLC Bike Share program debut, April
  • Utah Bike Summit, April
  • Open Streets Salt Lake City, May 
  • UTA Bike Bonanza, May
  • Road Respect Bicycle Tour, June
  • New bikeway openings, June/July
  • Salt Lake County Bicycle Ambassador program 

“This is an unprecedented collaboration among municipal, regional, and state entities to enhance and highlight bicycling in our communities,” says Mayor Becker. “I look forward to a year dedicated to outreach and education while we move forward together on many exciting new projects and efforts.”

Stay current on events and activities at the Year of the Bike website. See the University of Utah’s Bicycle Master Plan online.

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