Announcements


It’s retiree open enrollment

Human Resources

If you are contemplating retirement in the coming year, you may want to “attend” one of the virtual meetings during the week of November 2nd.  We will have one presentation on Medicare Basics, and then three presentations about the Medicare Advantage Plans available through the University.

See the Retiree Open Enrollment web page at https://www.hr.utah.edu/benefits/retirees_OE.php for links and information.

Developing technology for the public good

Rebecca Walsh

How can technology be applied to improve the lives of underserved populations? And which entrepreneurs, researchers, teachers and clinicians are generating public benefits in their work?

The University of Utah Informatics Initiative (UI2) is hosting a virtual symposium to highlight Public Interest Technology (PIT) and make those connections.

“Public interest technology is one of the most exciting new opportunities for advancing the public good using data-driven science, engineering research and educational innovation,” said Mike Kirby, UI2 director. “We want to celebrate the creative work in public interest technology already being done on campus and identify opportunities for new collaborations.”

The symposium, which runs from 1 to 5 p.m. on Oct. 28, is targeted at faculty and industry partners who are helping to educate undergraduate and graduate students so they can assess the ethical, political and societal implications of new technology and design technologies that will serve the public good. The Zoom gathering will feature two keynote speakers: Eric Meyer, dean of the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Information; and Clint Betts, chief executive officer of Silicon Slopes.

In its second year, the Informatics Initiative was established by Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dan Reed to build on the university’s existing education, research and workforce development strengths in data science. The initiative is funded using annual performance-based funding from the Utah Legislature.

Registration for the symposium is open until Oct. 26. For more information about UI2, visit informatics.utah.edu, or contact Mike Kirby, executive director and professor Mike Kirby at mike.kirby@utah.edu.

Kronos upgrade will remove Adobe Flash Player dependency

University Information Technology

On Monday, October 26, 2020, from 1:00 a.m. – 7:20 p.m., University Information Technology (UIT) and Information Technology Services (ITS) will upgrade the Kronos time, attendance, and staff scheduling system in order to remove the current dependency on Adobe Flash Player, which will no longer be supported by major web browsers after December 31, 2020.

Kronos and Kronos Acuity+ may be unavailable during part or all of the upgrade downtime.

During the downtime, Kronos users will not be able to enter any timecard information or schedule shifts for staff through the web application. Time clocks, however, will still record punches, which will be transmitted to Kronos once server connections are reestablished.

The upgrade is necessary to continue using Kronos after Adobe and major web browsers discontinue Flash Player support at the end of the year. Currently, when users log in to Kronos, they are prompted to run Adobe Flash to open the application. After the upgrade, the pop-up message will no longer appear.

In conjunction with the upgrade, human resources staff will update the Kronos training in the U’s Bridge application and University of Utah Health’s Learning Management System (LMS). Depending on their roles and organizations, Kronos users may need to refer to these materials before using the new version.

Payroll reporters will distribute additional information as it becomes available. For more information about the upgrade, please visit this UIT Knowledge Base article.

Fellows fighting cancer at Huntsman Cancer Institute

Huntsman Cancer Institute

5 For The Fight, a global movement inviting everyone to give $5 for the fight against cancer, today announced the inaugural recipients of the 5 For The Fight Cancer Research Fellowship in partnership with Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah (U of U).

The nine fellows were chosen through a highly competitive process to find promising researchers who are early in their careers. These individuals are investing in new, innovative research directions that are poised to make major impacts in the fight against cancer. Adding to an established team in Ireland, this Fellowship brings the total number of 5 For The Fight researchers hired to 12.

To date, 5 For The Fight has raised more than $25 million. Those funds have fueled several efforts including 13 premier cancer research centers globally. The cause was started by Qualtrics and has spread across the world with donors and corporations in more than 50 countries and every US state. Funding for the fellowship program comes at a time when securing cancer laboratory grants is more challenging than ever and is thanks to thousands of donors who have participated in 5 For The Fight campaigns. Fellowships of this nature are rare, particularly for cancer researchers early in their careers.

“We started 5 For The Fight with a dream to change the game for cancer research,” said Ryan Smith, founder of Qualtrics and co-founder of 5 For The Fight. “With $5 donations from all around the world—and some larger gifts from partner institutions and generous donors—we have been able to work with Huntsman Cancer Institute to launch this fellowship program to invest in top talent in the field of cancer research. We are so excited to see the amazing discoveries these researchers will make—both during their fellowship and in the many years ahead of them.”

The nine 5 For The Fight Cancer Research Fellowship recipients:

  • Katie Basham, PhD is fighting adrenal cancer with less toxic treatment options. She is an assistant professor of oncological sciences. While completing her scientific training at the University of Michigan, she received a Postdoctoral Fellowship Award from the American Cancer Society.
  • Sam Cheshier, MD, PhD, is fighting brain tumors in kids. He is an associate professor of neurosurgery. He completed his clinical and laboratory training in pediatric neurosurgery at Stanford University, and a clinical pediatric cancer fellowship at Sweden’s Lund University.
  • Adriana Coletta, PhD, MS, RD, is fighting for better cancer outcomes through diet and exercise. She is an assistant professor of health and kinesiology. Her training includes graduate work in kinesiology at Texas A&M University, and postdoctoral training in behavioral science and exercise oncology at the MD Anderson Cancer Center. She previously worked as a pediatric dietitian at Johns Hopkins University Children’s Center.
  • Sheetal Hardikar, PhD, is fighting colorectal cancer and its connection to chronic disease. She is an assistant professor of population health sciences and an epidemiologist with a Master of Public Health in Biostatistics from The Ohio State University.
  • Siwen Hu-Lieskovan, MD, PhD, is fighting cancer with immunotherapy. She is an assistant professor of internal medicine who specializes in caring for people with skin cancers. She completed her clinical training at the University of California, Los Angeles. She develops clinical trials to test new approaches to using immunotherapy to improve outcomes for patients diagnosed with melanoma and other solid cancers.
  • Robert Judson-Torres, PhD, is fighting melanoma with a focus on cancer in people of color. He is an assistant professor of dermatology. He completed his graduate work in biomedical sciences at the University of California, San Francisco. He studies a rare type of melanoma that has higher rates in people of color and is associated with poor outcomes. He works to identify new ways to target this disease.
  • Ben Myers, PhD, is fighting for the next generation of drug treatments for cancer. Heis an assistant professor of oncological sciences. He completed his PhD training at the University of California, San Francisco, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University. He studies how cells communicate with each other and how cancer cells develop drug resistance.
  • Sonam Puri, MD, is fighting lung cancer bench to bedside. She is an assistant professor of internal medicine and a medical oncologist who specializes in caring for patients with lung cancers. She completed a clinical fellowship at the Moffitt Cancer Center.
  • Charles Rogers, PhD, MPH, is fighting to prevent cancer for medically underserved populations. He is an assistant professor of family and preventive medicine. Rogers completed his PhD in health education and behavior at Texas A&M University, followed by postdoctoral training in cancer-related health disparities and community-based participatory research at the University of Minnesota Medical School. His research focus is on colorectal cancer awareness and prevention among Black men.

“I am so thrilled that 5 For The Fight and Huntsman Cancer Institute are partnering on this innovative fellowship, helping to increase the pipeline and opportunities for cancer researchers who are early in their careers,” said Mary Beckerle, PhD, CEO of Huntsman Cancer Institute. “This diverse group of scientists at HCI are eager and committed to making a major impact in cancer. We are grateful to 5 For The Fight, Qualtrics, and the thousands and thousands of donors who make groundbreaking research possible.”

COVID-19 testing available at Rice-Eccles Stadium

University of Utah Health

Outdoor COVID-19 testing is available to the public at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The collaborative effort between University of Utah Health and University of Utah brings testing to residents on the east side of the Salt Lake Valley. The Rice-Eccles testing site will also serve University campus needs by testing symptomatic faculty, staff, and students.

The Rice-Eccles COVID-19 testing site will be open Monday–Friday, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, and Saturday and Sunday, 8:00 am to noon. Appointments are required for COVID-19 testing at Rice-Eccles Stadium. U of U Health is testing patients through self-collected saliva. Patients can access the COVID-19 testing site on the south side of Rice-Eccles Stadium at 500 South.

COVID-19 tests can be scheduled in the following ways:

  • A current patient can schedule an appointment through MyChart or the MyChart app.
  • A patient who does not have MyChart can schedule an appointment online.
  • Patients can call U of U Health’s coronavirus hotline; however, because of high volumes at the call center, patients may experience longer wait times, so we encourage patients to schedule online whenever possible.

Mindful work/life balance workshop

Mindfulness Center

“Mindful Work/Life Balance” is a 4-week workshop is offered by zoom meeting (invitation provided after registration) for U faculty, staff, and graduate students. The workshop is designed to introduce participants to mindful strategies for balancing work-life stress. Come learn effective coping tools for navigating the responsibilities of different life roles as well as techniques for managing stress and anxiety. Workshop is free. All participants must register online to attend.  See our Mindful Work/Life balance flyer  for more information.

New series begin Friday, October 23, 2020 and runs until November 20 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM. All participants must register online .  The modules cover the following learning goals:

Session 1: Introduction to Mindfulness

  •  Introduce mindfulness principles: present, aware, non-judgment
  • Connect mindfulness to better work-life integration
  • Practice breath awareness

Session 2: Mindful Communication & Mindfulness at Work

  • Discuss elements of mindful communication
  • Relate mindful communication to different life roles
  • Explore the use of mindfulness in work environments
  • Practice body awareness

Session 3: Values & Congruent Living

  •  Define values and how they are relevant to life roles
  • Engage in a value-based decision making activity
  • Practice thought awareness

Session 4: Strategies for Successful Work-Life Integration

  •  Engage in a life roles
  •  Discuss work-life Integration coping activities
  •  Debunk the “Work-life balance” myth
  • Practice lovingkindness meditation

Please check out the Mindfulness Center’s website for more workshops and programming.

Next Academic Senate virtual town hall on Oct. 26

Academic Senate

Do endowment fund investments at the University of Utah balance the institution’s economic, ethical, community and environmental concerns?

The Academic Senate ad hoc Committee for Divestment and Reinvestment Investigation is holding a series of Town Hall meetings (via Zoom) during Fall 2020. This committee is charged with making recommendations to the Academic Senate regarding the balance of endowment fund investments on matters of economic, ethical, community and environmental concerns. The committee hopes that our recommendations will be based on both sound research and feedback from the U community.

The next session will be Monday, Oct. 26, 2020, from 12-1 p.m. Join us to learn more about the ad hoc committee’s charge, the process for Town Hall feedback meetings and to weigh in on the question above.

Use this Zoom link to join: utah.zoom.us/j/97127708532

Written comments by U faculty, staff and students can also be submitted here.

More information about the ad hoc committee and a recording of the Sept. 21 information session can be found here.

Compassion + connection: A night for first year students with the change coalition

Mindfulness Center

“Compassion + Connection: A Night for First Year Students” is a two-night workshop hosted by the Change Coalition. It is offered by Zoom meeting (invitation provided after registration) for U first-year students. The workshop is designed to introduce participants to mindful strategies for enhancing self-care and community care practices. Come learn effective tools for navigating the unique pressures of being a first-year student and the challenges of developing communities exclusively online. The workshop is free. All participants must register here to attend. Go to the Mindfulness Center website for more information.

The two-part workshop is offered on Oct. 21 and Oct. 28 from 6-7:30 p.m. All participants must register here. The modules cover the following learning goals:

Module One: Compassion

  • Building self-compassion
  • Developing self-care practices
  • Navigating self-compassion with marginalized identities
  • Cultivating circles of connection

Module Two: Connection

  • Building community connections
  • Connecting in an online world
  • Practicing self and community care, while seeking campus involvement
  • Navigating activism and burnout

Election Day flexibility and support

University of Utah Communications

The University of Utah is supportive of faculty and student efforts to increase participation in the voting process by members of its campus community.

In support of the academic senate resolution passed on Sept. 28, 2020, the university’s administration encourages faculty, instructors, coaches and supervisors to be flexible and supportive of students who want to engage in political activities on Election Day (Nov. 3).

Where practical, faculty should avoid assigning due dates or scheduling quizzes/tests on Nov. 3 and 4. Information about paid time off for employees who wish to vote in person on election day is available on the Human Resources website. Information about university holidays is also available online.

Student-athletes will not practice or compete on Election Day, per legislation proposed and passed by the NCAA’s Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee earlier this year. Click here for more information on the NCAA decision.

Helping international students navigate U.S. election season

Office for Global Engagement

The Office for International Student & Scholar Services is hosting a free weekly webinar series during October aimed at expanding students’ understanding of the U.S. political system.

Attendees will expand their understanding of the following:

  • The basics of the U.S. political system
  • International student rights and responsibilities when engaging in political activism
  • U.S. media and consumerism
  • International student advocacy

“This is an important election. Many of our students have reached out hoping to get involved in the political process, but they also feel scared about potential impacts to their immigration status,” said ISSS Director Chelsea Wells.

Wells noted that while most universities are offering election-related programming, there remains a need to highlight the unique interests and concerns of international students as they relate to U.S. politics. While these students cannot register to vote, there remains much they can do to advocate for their positions and interests. “We’d like to provide them with tools so they can engage safely,” said Wells.

This series is hosted in collaboration with faculty and staff from the Department of Political Science, the S.J. Quinney College of Law, he Office of the Dean of Students and other campus and community partners.

All events are hosted on Zoom. The webinar sessions will be recorded for those unable to attend live. The series is free and open to the public.

Learn more here.

Basic overview of the U.S. political system and U.S. elections

Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020

4-5 p.m. MT (time zone converter

Registration will be done through Zoom. Click here to register.

Panelists will provide an overview of the unique system of government in the United States, the philosophy behind the system and the basics of how U.S. elections work.

International student rights and responsibilities in political demonstrations

Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020

4-5 p.m. MT (time zone converter

Registration will be done through Zoom. Click here to register.

This webinar will focus on the rights and responsibilities of international students, including how to safely engage in political demonstrations and protests, as well as other types of political activism. Our panel will discuss a myriad of topics, including: how international students can be involved in the U.S. political process, student rights when interacting with U.S. law enforcement and ICE, and reminders about what international students can and cannot do during the U.S. Election.

Understanding U.S. media and consumerism 

Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020

4-5 p.m. MT (time zone converter)

Registration will be done through Zoom. Click here to reigster.

Designed for international students who may not be as familiar with rhetoric used in U.S. media, particularly during U.S. Presidential Election season, our panelists will discuss how to interpret U.S. media, how to determine if information is accurate or inaccurate, how to best research the issues reported, as well as how cultural background may impact the interpretation of information. We will also discuss techniques and tactics regarding how to respectfully engage with peers and other individuals on sensitive political topics.

International student advocacy

Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020

4-5 p.m. MT (time zone converter)

Registration will be done through Zoom. Click here to register.

Our panelists will discuss how international students can participate and advocate for changes at both the local and federal level in the United States. We will provide advocacy group resources, review how international students can get involved in campus groups and local organizations, how international students can become involved with local immigrant communities to advocate for change, and also discuss campus and local resources for students who may be experiencing issues coping and dealing with stress during and after the U.S. Election.

Join the university-wide challenge

Wellness and Integrative Health

graphic includes blue circle with figure meditating in the center. Words read, "mindful movement"Mark your calendars and join the Mindful Movement Challenge. This six-week challenge runs Oct. 19-Nov. 29. Participants will focus on different areas of health including physical activity, sleep and emotional health.

Signing up for the challenge is easy. Visit the new Employee Wellness site and click on the “Sign on to Walker Tracker (SSO)” box. This will take you to a site where you will sign up for the challenge, answer a few questions, find instructions to sync devices, create new challenges and much more!

Each day, you’ll log your activities to receive points.

  • 15 points/day for physical activity
  • 5 points/day for logging your mood
  • 5 points/day for sleep
  • 4 points/day for reflection
    • 3 points for a photo entry
    • 1 point for a journal entry
  • 20 points for correctly answering questions biweekly

All participants will earn wellness program credit for participation in this challenge. Registration opens Friday, Oct. 2.

If you have questions about the quarterly challenge, email the wellness team at wellness@utah.edu.

Faculty grants available for UMFA, Marriott Library research

Jessica Breiman
art and archives metadata librarian, J. Willard Marriott Library

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA) and the J. Willard Marriott Library are pleased to announce the Collections Engagement Grants for 2021. The Collections Engagement Grants provide university faculty at any level of their career with funding for innovative, interdisciplinary scholarship and creative projects using primary source materials from the UMFA and the Marriott Library’s Special Collections, following the theme of “Landscape, Land Art, and the American West.” These grants are enabled through funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation supporting the UMFA and the Marriott Library.

  • Proposals may request a maximum of $5,000 for projects conducted between Jan. 11-May 5, 2021.
  • Proposals must expand upon, enlarge and/or innovatively interpret the theme of “Landscape, Land Art, and the American West.”
  • Strongest consideration will be given to projects that demonstrate a commitment to equity, access and inclusion through the diverse composition of teams and selection of projects that address themes of inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility.

Applications will be accepted through Oct. 23, 2020. Details can be found here or email jessica.breiman@utah.edu or alana.wolf@utah.edu for more information.

Law professor featured in Wall Street Journal

Libby Mitchell

The following is an excerpt from an opinion piece authored by Paul Cassell that appeared on Sept.16.  

Cities across the country suffered dramatic increases in homicides this summer. The spikes were remarkable, suddenly appearing and widespread, although often concentrated in disadvantaged neighborhoods. This year is on track to be the deadliest year for gun-related homicides since at least 1999.

The homicide spikes began in late May. Before May 28, Chicago had almost the same number of homicides as in 2019. Then, on May 31, 18 people were murdered in Chicago—the city’s most violent day in six decades. Violence continued through the summer. July was Chicago’s most violent month in 28 years. As of Sept. 1, murder is up 52% for the year, according to Chicago Police Department data.

Chicago’s shooting spike reflects what is happening in many major cities across the country. Researchers have identified a “structural break” in homicide numbers, beginning in the last week of May. Trends for most other major crime categories have remained generally stable or moved slightly downward.

You can read the full piece here and you can read Cassell’s underlying research paper here.

Five University of Utah faculty recognized for exceptional teaching

Rebecca Walsh
communications manager, senior vice president for Academic Affairs

The University of Utah has recognized five exceptional teachers who increased learning, developed new methods and innovated curriculum this year.

The 2020 Early Career Teaching Awards recognize younger faculty who are changing higher education as they advance in their careers. The Calvin & JeNeal Hatch Prize in Teaching is given each year to an experienced professor who has been recognized for their years of extraordinary instruction and mentorship of students.

“Each of these recipients is undeniably deserving of this honor,” said Dan Reed, senior vice president for Academic Affairs. “The way that they teach and mentor their students leaves an indelible mark on the future attorneys, geologists, writers and business executives we are preparing for the changing world around us.”

This year’s recipients include faculty from the College of Mines, College of Humanities, Honors College and David Eccles School of Business. The Early Career winners are:

Cathy Hwang, an associate professor in the College of Law. Hwang was noted for her personal touch, including collecting bios on each of her students early in the semester, threading her courses with interactive projects and using novel teaching methods such as simulated client letters.

Peter Lippert, an assistant professor in the Department of Geology & Geophysics. Lippert’s nominators noted his efforts to modernize and update every one of his courses. He designed a new undergraduate degree, Philosophy of Science with a Geoscience emphasis, developed an augmented reality “sandbox,” and expanded his college’s architecture rock slab collection.

Christopher Mead, an assistant professor and lecturer in the Honors College. In five years at the university, Mead has revamped the college’s seminal Intellectual Traditions Course, helped to launch the University of Utah Prison Education Program, developed the college’s student library and founded the Honors Beekeeping Club. He also has received the L. Jackson Newell Liberal Education Advancement Award and the Sweet Candy Distinguished Honors Professor award.

Christie Toth, an assistant professor in the Department of Writing & Rhetoric Studies. Toth was recognized for her advocacy of marginalized and minority students, including creating infrastructure to support many transfer students through the university’s partnership with Salt Lake Community College. Toth raised $200,000 in private funding from community foundations and individual donors to support scholarships, fellowships and teaching assistance positions for her students.

The Calvin & JeNeal Hatch Prize

Don Wardell, professor in the Department of Operations and Information Systems, received the Hatch Prize. Over more than 25 years of teaching in the School of Business, Wardell has collected multiple teaching awards—nine in all, including the Brady Superior Teaching Award, the Masters Teaching Excellence Award (twice) and the university’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2007.

As one of his PhD student nominators wrote:

I consider myself so lucky to have had the opportunity to take courses from Professor Wardell. His teaching has inspired me and significantly shaped who I am today. I often think back to when I was his student and I think about what he did in the classroom that helped me to learn. I try my best to emulate for my students what I believe are his core values…I continue to be inspired by him today and he remains the person I can always rely on for teaching advice.”

The Early Career and Hatch teaching award recipients were honored at the 2020 Commencement. Nominations for the 2021 teaching awards are due December 4.