The COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot, including where and how we learn. The University of Utah has long been working to expand its UOnline program and find innovative ways to engage with the broader Utah community. In May 2020, mid-pandemic, Deborah Keyek-Franssen joined the U to lead these efforts as the inaugural associate vice president and dean of Continuing and Online Education.
“My role entails bringing together two really strong teams, UOnline and Continuing Education and Community Engagement to serve Utah in a way we haven’t been able to before,” said Keyek-Franssen. “We like to say we have a learner population that stretches all the way from Kindergarten through “seasoned adults” and we provide learning opportunities for both credit and non-credit bearing learning opportunities.”
In addition to expanding the huge array of programming offered to Utahns, Keyek-Franssen is particularly interested in reaching out to underserved populations who may not have seen a path to the U before. They have the technology, data and tools to help Utahans succeed, particularly in this increasingly virtual world.
“We are adding to the number of online programs we have whether they are credit-bearing that end in degrees or that are for workforce and skills development,” said Keyek-Franssen. “These opportunities can help those who are unemployed, underemployed and furloughed get back into the marketplace and start to push for this economic recovery in the state.”
Watch the full video interview with Keyek-Franssen below.