Congrats to Natalie Gochnour, winner of the 2021 ATHENA Award!

David Eccles School of Business

Natalie Gochnour, director of the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute and associate dean at the David Eccles School of Business, was honored last week by the Salt Lake Chamber with the 2021 ATHENA Leadership Award.

The award is the Chamber’s highest recognition for women in business, and it is presented to a woman who is an active Chamber member who demonstrates excellence, creativity, and initiative in business. The recipient must devote their time and energy to improving the quality of life for those in the community and support other women on their leadership journey.

Gochnour has served in several other impactful roles, including as an advisor to three Utah governors: Gov. Norm Bangerter, Gov. Mike Leavitt, and Gov. Olene Walker. She also served as an associate administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency and counselor to the secretary of Health and Human Services when President George W. Bush was in office.

She has both an undergraduate and master’s degree in economics, and she specializes in teaching public finance.

I-80 overnight closure

Commuter Services

As part of the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) I-80 & I-215 Renewed project, I-80 will be closed overnight in both directions between 700 East and Foothill Drive in Salt Lake City while crews place beams for the new 1700 East bridge over I-80.

The closure is scheduled to occur overnight on Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. While the full closure begins at 10 p.m., lane closures will begin at 7 p.m. Please note this schedule is weather-dependent.

Drivers accessing eastbound I-80 from I-15 will need to exit at 700 East. As an alternate route, drivers can use I-15 and I-215, as shown in the map below, and should follow posted signage during the closure. Local traffic can use 700 East and 3300 South as an alternate route. In addition, the following will remain open to local traffic:

  • Foothill Drive (Exit 1) from I-215
  • Westbound I-80 from 700 East and 1300 East
  • Eastbound I-80 from southbound Foothill Drive

This necessary closure will result in heavy travel delays. Drivers should plan ahead and use alternate routes. Be sure to check UDOT Traffic for real-time delay updates during the closure.

For more information about the new 1700 East bridge over I-80, visit the project website at or contact the project team at 844-909-3278 or

Campus Store 2021 toy drive

Campus Store

You can brighten the holidays for a patient at Primary Children’s Hospital, and all you have to do is visit the campus store. This year the store has curated a selection of toys, games, and other items requested by the hospital. Pick one out, pay for it, and place it in the donation box and it will be delivered to a child undergoing treatment.

Donations will be taken December 1-24. So, the next time you visit the main Campus Store, grab a gift from the donation section, purchase it, and add it to the bin!

Help improve the visibility of the University of Utah

University of Utah Communications

In the past week you have received an email from the Cicero group asking you to fill out a survey regarding your experience at and perceptions of the University of Utah. It may have looked like spam at first, but we promise you it is not. On behalf of the Office of Marketing and Communications we are asking you to please take the time to answer the questions.

The survey looks at how you view the U in comparison to other universities in the region when it comes to academics, diversity, student opportunities, and social activities. It also asks you to rank the importance of various aspects of university life when it comes to choosing a school. Lastly, it measures campus awareness of local and national informational campaigns about the U and how you would most like to receive information from university entities.

As an incentive for your participation once you have completed the survey you will be entered into a drawing for one of five Amazon gift cards. Really though, the true reward is helping the University improve its prominence and visibility both nationally and globally.

If you have any questions about the survey please contact Brian Rasmussen in the Office of Marketing and Communications.

Wishing campus a happy Hanukkah 2021

Hillel for Utah

Due to its proximity to Christmas, Hanukkah has become one of the most well-known Jewish holidays, despite being a minor holiday in the Jewish calendar.The winter holiday of Hanukkah commemorates the victory of the small band of Jewish Maccabees against the Syrian Greeks and the subsequent rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem in 167 BCE.

The 2021 Hanukkah holiday begins at sundown on Sunday, Nov. 28 and is observed through sundown of Sunday, Dec. 5.

The exact dates of the Hanukkah celebration always changes from year to year due to the differences between the Hebrew (lunar) and the Gregorian calendars. The Gregorian calendar year is based on the 365 days it takes the earth to orbit the sun, while the Hebrew calendar year is based on the 354 days it takes for the moon to go through 12 complete cycles of roughly 29.5 days each.  Like all Jewish holidays, Hanukkah begins at sundown the evening before the first day listed on the calendar.

As the Hanukkah story goes, there was enough oil in the lamp to reconsecrate the Temple for one night. The miracle is that the oil lasted for eight nights. Traditionally during the holiday, Jews make and eat foods fried in oil, such as potato latkes and sufganiyot, or jelly doughnuts,  to commemorate the miracle.

The eight-day festival is a joyous occasion, seen in part as an authentically Jewish way to embrace the December holiday season and its traditions of kindling lights and giving gifts. Themes of Hanukkah include lessons in hope, light, dedication, and religious freedom.

For more information about Hanukkah or any Jewish holiday, go to

University-wide Microsoft Teams migration

University Information Technology

This month, University Information Technology (UIT) will begin the university-wide migration of Skype for Business chat and collaboration and voice/telephone accounts to Microsoft Teams. The upgrade is part of the effort to modernize the U’s communication technology and better meet the needs of those working, learning, and teaching on and off campus.

Additionally, UIT intends to retire Skype for Business, a step necessitated by Microsoft’s plans to end support for the application.

The tentative migration schedule:

  • Friday, November 19, 2021: Inactive chat and collaboration accounts will be migrated from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams.
  • Starting Monday, December 6, 2021: UIT Account Executives will begin contacting departments with Skype for Business voice accounts to schedule their migration to Microsoft Teams.
  • Friday, December 10, 2021: Active chat and collaboration accounts will be migrated from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams.
  • Starting late January 2022: Individuals with Skype for Business voice accounts will gradually be migrated to Microsoft Teams. 

Note: University of Utah and University of Utah Health users will receive an email 24-48 hours prior to the migration of their accounts.

UIT encourages Skype for Business chat and collaboration users who have not already migrated to Microsoft Teams to do so as soon as possible. Please refer to this IT Knowledge Base article for instructions. After the upgrade, Skype for Business will prompt users to use Microsoft Teams for chat and collaboration.

UIT’s Account Executives will work directly with departments that depend on Skype for Business for voice services and conference rooms to migrate those systems to Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Teams features a number of collaboration tools, including instant messaging, video conferencing, file sharing, and voice calling. For more information about Microsoft Teams and the migration, as well as training videos, please refer to this IT Knowledge Base article.

For additional details or support, your local IT support staff may be able to assist, or you may contact your respective help desk:

  • Main Campus UIT Help Desk: Call 801-581-4000, option 1, or submit a ticket to

How you answer your phone matters

University Information Technology

Under the Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence (TRACED) Act, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was granted the power to implement new tools to fight unwanted, and often illegal, robocalls and text messages, providing consumers more protection against criminals.

In response, the FCC mandated the STIR/SHAKEN caller identification framework, which requires phone companies to verify that the caller ID information transmitted with a call matches the caller’s real phone number. Due to the new framework, however, legitimate organizations such as the University of Utah and University of Utah Health may be incorrectly blocked or labeled as a scam or spam.

To prevent any disruption in service, UIT has registered all university-owned telephone numbers with businesses that provide call verification services. This should prevent U phone numbers from being blocked or labeled as fraud.

Verification service companies may call university phone numbers at random to confirm their affiliation with the university. All university-owned numbers must indicate their U affiliation to prevent being blocked or labeled as spam or scams. Going forward, when answering calls to your university phone number, please identify your affiliation with the University of Utah or University of Utah Health. Similarly, when recording voicemail greetings, please identify your U affiliation in the message.

If you believe your university-owned phone number has been blocked or mislabeled, please contact the UIT Help Desk at 801-581-4000, option 2. For more information about the TRACED Act, FCC regulations, or call verification process, please visit this IT Knowledge Base article.

If you have any questions or concerns about the new regulations or verification process, please contact the UIT Help Desk at 801-581-4000, option 2.

Academic Advisor of the Month: Emily Platt

Stephanie Begaye
Academic Advising Center

Advisor of the Month is a peer nominated award in which staff on campus who have academic advising roles can give their advising peers recognition for their ability to go above and beyond in their roles and in the support they provide to students.

The current Advisor of the Month is Emily Platt, an Academic Advisor in the College of Science.

The beginning of a new academic year is always a little hectic. For our advisor of the month, they were tackling these new semester issues, not only for one department but for two!

Though Emily had transitioned to a new role, this did not keep her from training a new advisor in her former department, supporting students and staff through managing permission codes and reports, and continuing to meet with students throughout new student orientation – both in her new department and old. Nominators shared how important it was to Emily to ensure that her former students were cared for and that she worked hard to make sure there was a warm handoff and smooth transition for everyone.

As the semester started, Emily balanced learning new curriculum within her new department, and teaching a seminar course in her old department – guiding the new advisor on how to teach the course in the future. She served on two hiring committees for her former department and took the lead in training these new advisors. One nominator shared, “Emily has been the real MVP in our college in September”. Folks shared how she is a phenomenal and positive mentor to new advisors, staff in their college, and students, too.

Emily shared the following about her role as an advisor:

“I love advising and having the opportunity to work with students.  Making connections with students and watching them overcome challenges and difficulties to achieve and fulfill their academic goals is the most rewarding experience as an advisor.”

Congratulations Emily!

Do you need to meet with an advisor to help create a meaningful plan, navigate the university, and graduate on time? See our advisors across campus on our website and schedule an appointment!

Meligha Garfield named a 20 in their 20s honoree

Morgan Aguilar
communications specialist, University of Utah Communications

Headshot of Meligha Garfield with a red filter. Words around his photo read "Utah Business," Meligha Garfield," and "20 in their 20s"Congratulations to Meligha Garfield, director of the University of Utah’s Black Cultural Center, for being named a 2021 20 in their 20s honoree by Utah Business. The list celebrates up-and-coming talent and leaders around the state who are “starting their own businesses, rising through the ranks of existing ones and recreating the world.”

Find the full list here and watch Garfield’s video interview here.

Same office, new branding

Elena Gardner
U Alumni

In an effort to be more inclusive of all alumni, the Office of Alumni Relations coined the phrase “U Alumni” as the brand name for what has traditionally been called the University of Utah Alumni Association.

U Alumni is both a branded program and an association of alumni that falls under the auspices of the Office of Alumni Relations.

This change was made primarily because we are no longer a dues-based organization. However, for legal purposes and official pronouncements, we can still use the full name—the “University of Utah Alumni Association” or the “Alumni Association”—in memos of understanding, official governance communication and legal documents.

For the past couple of years, in terms of branding the program, we have gradually introduced the name “U Alumni” (two words, both in initial caps) in marketing, communications and generally written references. In contrast, if we are referencing a specific person or the number of people who attended the U, then the appropriate usage is the lowercase “a” in U alum, U alumnus, U alumna, U alumnae and U alumni.

One can be part of the U Alumni community without being a degreed alum. People who meet the definition of “alumni,” which is a degree-holder or at least 60 matriculated credit hours or four semesters (a.k.a., “non-grads”), or who were grandfathered in as Life members or Honorary Alumni, can all be called “members of U Alumni,” or “part of the U Alumni community.”

Feel free to use “U Alumni” and the U Alumni logo in place of the “Office of Alumni Relations,” when its use does not cause confusion.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to our office! We are so excited for what lies ahead for our office and for our alumni and look forward to continuing to strengthen and preserve lifelong relationships in our community and across campus.

‘Behind the Scenes: Plagues and Pestilence’

Natural History Museum of Utah

This post originally appeared on the Natural History Museum of Utah’s blog.

This year, the Natural History Museum of Utah’s (NHMU) annual “Behind the Scenes” offers museum-goers not one, but four opportunities to go behind the scenes with NHMU’s scientists. The weekly events kicked off on Friday, Oct. 29 at 2 p.m. with an appropriately spooky theme: plagues and pestilence.

The crowd-pleasing “Behind the Scenes” features exclusive access to rarely seen collections objects. But this year, it includes the opportunity to interact with four NHMU collections and research scientists about their particular area of study and hear and ask questions about their ongoing research.

“We know that NHMU’s ‘Behind the Scenes’ is one of our most popular programs, and we’re committed to continuing the tradition of bringing our collections, and the stories they hold, to our visitors,” said Jason Cryan, executive director of the Natural History Museum of Utah. “This year, we’re offering both depth and breadth, and in a way that ensures the health and safety of our visitors. On Fridays in November, the public will have new opportunities to go ‘Behind the Scenes’ and the ability to engage directly with scientific experts who will bring collections objects—as well as the theme of Plagues and Pestilence—to life. So, there is one more reason to visit the museum this fall, especially on a Friday afternoon!”

“Behind the Scenes: Plagues and Pestilence” will take place on Friday afternoons from 2-4 p.m. in the Level 3 or Level 4 Learning Labs, making it a great after-school treat for students. The events are free to museum members and included in the price of museum admission.


Nov. 5

Level 3, Dry Caves Lab

Mammalogist Katrina Derieg will explore how natural history collections may be the key to predicting and preventing the next outbreak of a novel disease. See the mammals and their parasites that carry and spread diseases and the types of samples we take to study pathogens. 

Nov. 12

Level 4, Naturalist Lab

Paleontologists Dr. Randy Irmis and Carrie Levitt-Bussian will be explaining paleopathologies. Come see the fossilized bones we have that show infections, diseases and re-healed breaks. Also, see some of our fossilized insects underneath a microscope.

Nov. 19

Level 3, Dry Caves Lab

We all have a new familiarity with masks in the midst of the pandemic. Join anthropologist Dr. Alex Greenwald to learn about masks created by Native peoples of North America, which were used for much different reasons than our current surgical style masks.

“This year’s ‘Behind the Scenes’ format hopes to create an engaging and fun afternoon that further enhances a visit to the museum,” said Randy Irmis, chief curator and curator of paleontology. “My colleagues and I are excited to give our guests an inside look at collections objects that tell stories of ‘Plagues and Pestilence’ from a natural history perspective. Specifically, we’ll be sharing how mammoths and mastodons may have died; the role of mammals in carrying disease; and how bones can provide a history of infections, diseases and violence. We’ll also offer guests the chance to learn about masks created by Native peoples of North America, which were used for much different reasons than our current surgical style masks. With these distinct opportunities, we have striven to create a setting for fascinating and meaningful interactions for the public.”

For additional information and details on the event, click here.

Nominations for Black Faculty and Staff Awards now open

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Black square graphic reads, " A U of U Black Cultural Center Production, Black Faculty and Staff Awards, Saturday February 26th 2022.The nomination process for the Black Faculty and Staff Awards is now open. In collaboration with the Black Faculty and Staff Association, the Black Cultural Center honors Black faculty and staff for their work on campus and in the community with the Black Faculty and Staff Awards each Black History Month (February).

For 2022, the Black Cultural Center has included a new category to recognize student workers at the University of Utah.

Help identify and award examples of excellence by December 31, 2021 here.

Submit a Native American Heritage Month event

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

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Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion wants to know what you are planning in November for Native American Heritage Month at the University of Utah.

If your school, college or department has an event in the works, submit your information here. We will compile these events into one calendar and assist with cohesive outreach efforts across the entire U system.

Please keep in mind that programming should not be limited to these dates—you are encouraged to honor, celebrate and engage our Indigenous community throughout the year.

For any questions, please contact Franci Taylor or Bryan Hubain.

Administrative leave for COVID-19 vaccines

Human Resources

Main campus and UUHA employees (does not apply to UUHC employees) are eligible for up to 2 hours of paid administrative leave in order for the employee to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.  Additionally, pending FDA emergency use authorization for the COVID-19 vaccination for eligible dependent children, employees will be eligible for up to 2 hours of paid administrative leave for any eligible dependent children to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.  While the University will provide up to 2 hours of paid administrative leave per child, we encourage employees to consolidate appointments for their children, wherever possible.

General eligibility requirements: Applies to main campus and UUHA employees in paid positions, including work study employees regardless of whether the employee is eligible for benefits. The University will provide two hours of paid administrative leave total for initial vaccination as well as additional booster per eligible individual.

The exception to the administrative leave for the employee to receive the COVID-19 vaccination is health care workers and support staff in Health Academics, who were previously offered the vaccine through the Work Wellness Center before it became available to the community. The exception to the administrative leave for any dependent children to receive the COVID-19 vaccination is credentialed providers and other employees involved in patient care or the direct support of clinical operations.

Employees that load to Kronos: For Both Exempt and Hourly/Non-Exempt Staff:  Department to add appropriate hours of ALP (Paid Admin Leave) in Kronos on the day the vaccination takes place.

Work Study employees: Department to report REG (Regular) time on the days eligible vaccinations occur.

Employees who do not load to Kronos but track time manually through department: (Administration, Faculty, Post-Docs, Research Associates, Housestaff) Department to track ALP manually.

University Teaching Committee deadlines 2021-2022

University Teaching Committee

The University Teaching Committee would like to ask your help in sharing information about department nomination and application deadlines for the 2021-22 academic year.

Distinguished Teaching Awards

Deadline: September 20, 2021

University Teaching Grants

Deadlines: September 28, 2021 / January 21, 2022 / March 4, 2022

Calvin S. and JeNeal N. Hatch Prize in Teaching

Deadline: October 15, 2021

John R. Park Teaching Fellowships

Deadline: November 1, 2021

Community Engaged Teaching and Scholarship Award

Deadline: November 1, 2021

Early Career Teaching Awards

Deadline: December 10, 2021

Presidential interns for 2021-22 announced

Brooke Adams

The Office of the President has selected 10 students to participate in the Presidential Internship in Higher Education program for 2021-2022 academic year.

The students, hometowns and their majors are:

  • Sabah Sial (co-leader), Sandy, Utah, Honors finance
  • Preston Hadley (co-leader), Ogden, Utah, quantitative analysis of markets and organizations
  • Brianna Skaggs, Colorado Springs, Colo., double majors in modern dance and Family, Community and Human Development, with a certificate in social justice advocacy
  • Nichols Taylor, Orem, Utah, double majors in computer engineering and applied math
  • Jaina Lee, Salt Lake City, Utah, double majors in anthropology and health, society and policy
  • Joe Nelson, Reno, Nev., finance with a minor in political science
  • Sanila Math, South Jordan, Utah, anthropology with minors in integrative human biology and ethnic studies
  • Jens Nilson, Providence, Utah, Honors in health, society and policy with minors in Korean studies and chemistry
  • Nahum Tadesse, Syracuse, Utah, double majors in political science and international studies
  • Luis Ramirez, West Valley City, Utah, Honors in Accounting and Information Systems with a Lassonde + X certificate

The program provides undergraduate students from diverse fields and backgrounds with the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with the president and other senior administrators, giving them an insider’s look into the nuances and complexities of higher education. Presidential interns participate in regular seminars, work on strategic projects and act as student representatives at various university functions and events. Senior leaders at the U benefit from student insight, perspective and collaboration in helping shape the university’s exceptional educational experience.

Since its inception in 1992, more than 150 students have participated in the program. For many, the experience was a catalyst to a career in higher education. Others have gone on to leadership and career opportunities in public administration, nonprofit organizations, business, civic and public service.