Each year, the University of Utah’s Office of Undergraduate Studies and the Office of Student Affairs recognizes people, programs and projects committed to creating a transformative, undergraduate educational experience.

The six Transforming U: Beacons of Excellence awards celebrate “best practices” found across campus, including labs, student clubs, individuals, centers and more. Since the award was created in 2012, hundreds of nominations have been submitted by students, faculty, staff and community members.

Nominations are currently being accepted and are due by Monday, April 20, at 5 p.m.

Recipients of the 2015 awards will be honored throughout the year in print and other media outlets on campus and in the community.

More information about the award and past honorees is available online.


Utah is one of the fastest growing states in the nation and by 2050 its population will double. Make sure your voice is heard in shaping the future of education, recreation, public land use and more in the Your Utah Your Future survey.

Envision Utah launched the survey last week and will donate $1 to ASUU for every University of Utah student, faculty, staff member or community member who takes the survey. The maximum donation amount is $20,000 and is available on a first come, first served basis. The school with the most survey respondents will receive an additional $1 per respondent up to $5,000.

The survey will be available at until May 31.

The survey results will determine Utah’s vision for the next 40 years of growth for policymakers, local governments, businesses and developers, in every aspect from transportation to agriculture. Please take the time to thoughtfully respond to the survey in creating and sustaining beautiful, prosperous and healthy neighborhoods.

Go here to cast your vote today.


Three University of Utah faculty members were recently added to the ranks of “distinguished professor,” an honor reserved for selected individuals whose achievements exemplify the highest goals of scholarship a high dedication to teaching.



Dana Carroll, professor of the biochemistry, joined the U in 1975. He served as co-chair and then chair of the Department of Biochemistry. His research focuses on genome organization, DNA repair and genetic recombination. He is a pioneer in the development and application of genome engineering with programmable nucleases. He received the Novitski Prize from the Genetics Society of America in 2012, was elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2013 and was awarded the H.A. Sober Lectureship by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2014. Carroll received a doctorate in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley.

Polly Wiessner, professor of anthropology, has conducted fieldwork among the !Kung Bushmen of southern Africa for 40 years and the Enga of Papua New Guinea for 30 years. Among the !Kung, her research focuses on social security networks to reduce risk, style and social information in artifacts and !Kung day and night conversations. Her research in Enga deals with exchange, ritual and warfare with an emphasis on cooperation, competition and conflict. She is currently initiating a program to get cultural education woven into the Enga school curriculum in the face of rapid loss of traditional culture. Prior to coming to the U, she worked at the Max Planck Institute for Human Ethology.

Denise Dearing, professor and chair of the Department of Biology, studies the nutritional ecology of herbivorous vertebrates and the factors driving pathogen prevalence in small mammals. She has authored more than 100 scientific papers, and her work has been profiled in a variety of venues, including “Science Now,” David Attenborough’s “Life of Mammals” and 3-2-1 Contact, a science program for children. She has been recognized for her teaching efforts with a Distinguished Teaching Award and an ASUU Student’s Choice Award. In 2014, she received the C. Hart Merriam Award from the American Society of Mammalogists and the Distinguished Scholarly and Creative Research Award from the University of Utah.



Water Policy TeamFor the second year in a row, a team of University of Utah students has won the national Policy Solutions Challenge USA competition in Washington D.C.

U students Christopher Collard, Gavin Noyes, Tyler Murdock and Liz Larsen earned top honors on Saturday for their multi-pronged approach to creating policy solutions designed to mitigate the potential for a water crisis in the U.S. The team proposed to increase collaborative regional planning, including the establishment of water markets; to improve investment in watershed programs and to expand urban efficiency and conservation policies.

The team beat out several schools from around the country at the national competition between teams of students studying public policy, public affairs and public administration. The Policy Solutions Challenge culminates after teams work together for several months to research solutions and draft proposals on a specific public policy problem in the U.S. Students present their ideas at regional competitions, where a panel of judges evaluate the solutions based off of students’ research papers and a live 15-minute presentation from the teams. Winners of the regional competitions advance to nationals.

For more on their project, click here.


If you are interested in participating as an Emergency Assembly Point volunteer for ShakeOut 2015 on April 16, please contact Jen Stones for details at 801-585-3751 or email

The U would love to have you help “Drop, Cover, Hold On and Evacuate.”