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Law professor steps up to the plate

Randy Dryer elected as the first career-line faculty member to lead the Academic Senate.

Professor Randy Dryer never shies away from stepping up to the plate to lead.

Dryer served a total of 17 years on the University of Utah Board of Trustees, stepping down in 2011 after working through the eras of six different university presidents and serving as chairman. Throughout his tenure at the U, the institution grew into a research powerhouse from the smaller, regional institution it had once been in Dryer’s earlier days on campus as a student in the 1970s.

He has spent years in the classroom, and currently mentors students as a Presidential Honors Professor in the Honors College and as a professor (lecturer) at the S.J. Quinney College of Law. He has filled in as the acting dean of the Honors College and developed innovative new courses across campus.

As a law student at the S.J. Quinney College of Law, he served as student bar association president in 1974.

Those diverse experiences will serve Dryer well as he takes on the position of president-elect of the Academic Senate—a body that allows university faculty to legislate on matters of educational policy—starting May 15, 2019.

Dryer’s election to the position marks the first time in the governing board’s 104-year history that a career-line (non-tenure line) faculty member will serve as president. The opportunity comes after a policy change by the Academic Senate to allow career-line faculty—a group that consists of about 45% of faculty on the campus—to serve in a leadership role that previously had been limited to only tenured faculty members.

Comprised of 101 faculty members elected by their respective colleges, two deans elected by other deans and 18 students from ASUU (Associated Students of the University of Utah), the Academic Senate has taken on policy issues related to safety and surveillance, parental leave and standards for website development. Within the Academic Senate, there are 10 standing committees that take a close look at issues such as diversity, budget and planning, academic policy and others.

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