Martha Bradley Evans, senior associate vice president for Academic Affairs and dean of the Office of Undergraduate Studies, will retire from administrative duties at the end of the 2020-21 academic year.
After nearly two decades in leadership at the university, Bradley Evans will return to the classroom following a yearlong sabbatical. Her retirement will kick off a nationwide search for a replacement, said Dan Reed, senior vice president for Academic Affairs.
“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to professor Bradley,” Reed said. “There are few parts of the undergraduate experience here at the University of Utah that haven’t been transformed by her tireless dedication to our students and their success. I am so appreciative of all that my friend and colleague, Marti has done for the U!”
Bradley Evans oversaw the growth of the university’s Honors Program into the Honors College, raising nearly $7 million in the process, increasing student participation from 900 to more than 2,500, and laying the foundation for the Marriott Residential Housing Community for honors students. She led the creation of numerous programs dedicated to boosting student success and degree completion, including the LEAP program, BlockU, the Dream Center and the Transfer Pathways project.
Ann Darling, assistant vice president for the Office of Undergraduate Studies, said Bradley Evans’ commitment to the undergraduate experience was a point of pride for the office. “We knew we were responsible for the education and well-being of all undergraduate students,” Darling said. “She has always been focused on the humanness, the common humanity, of our students as well as the courses they take, the requirements they fulfill and the benchmarks they meet.”
Many of Bradley Evans’ initiatives are credited with increasing the university’s graduation rate, which is now 70%.
“Marti transformed the way the U interacts with students to help them succeed,” said President Ruth Watkins. “The exceptional educational experience we offer students is a direct reflection of Marti’s vision and leadership. She is universally respected and beloved by our campus community and we are delighted that she’ll continue to share her passion for learning in the classroom.”
Bradley Evans studied art history at the university, graduating in 1974, before receiving her master’s degree and a doctorate in American history. She first joined the U faculty as a visiting assistant professor in the School of Architecture in 1994.
“We talk a lot about how the university can transform lives,” Bradley Evans said, “and I know that to be so, because it has certainly transformed my own life—first as a student, then as a faculty member and finally as an administrator.”
Bradley Evans is a noted scholar of Mormon history, preservationist, professor of architecture and decorated teacher of more than 10,000 students over her career. She received numerous teaching awards, culminating in the 2020 Rosenblatt Prize for Excellence, the university’s highest recognition for a faculty member.
“I’m really committed to engaging students in that first year and getting them a really great start,” she said. “All the rest of it just falls into place.
Bradley Evans will return to teaching during the 2022 academic year.
“It’s always been my plan to spend my last years at the U in the classroom,” she said. “I’m very happy at the prospect.”