By Chris Nelson, communications director, University of Utah Communications
In October 2017, the University of Utah experienced the tragic death of one of its international graduate students in the Department of Physics & Astronomy. In response to the loss and as part of its strong commitment to improving processes for helping students in crisis, the university appointed Zhu Julie Lee and the law firm of Foley & Lardner to review all issues and concerns related to the experience of graduate students on our campus.
The review collected information and evaluated whether there were any violations of laws, university policies or rules relating to the rights of students. It also provided recommendations regarding efforts to help the U’s international graduate students successfully adjust to the special challenges they may face in adapting to and meeting the requirements of their programs.
The review has been completed, and findings identified several concerns within the Department of Physics & Astronomy, as well as opportunities for other offices, such as the Graduate School and International Student and Scholar Services, to build in redundancies to ensure no students’ needs are overlooked. The full review is available via this link. The review has also been translated into Mandarin and is available via this link.
“The University of Utah is committed to providing a supportive environment for its graduate students, and we want to do everything possible to ensure they are able to complete their degrees in a timely manner,” according to Amy Wildermuth, associate vice president for faculty at the University of Utah. “As a learning institution, we constantly evaluate our ability to keep these promises. If a program is unable to fulfill these commitments, we make necessary adjustments — always with our students’ best interests in mind. The outside review’s recommended changes will better support current students and foster a professional learning environment — important outcomes that we all share at the University of Utah.”
Wildermuth says the university is moving to implement the recommendations in the review. As part of this process, Peter Trapa, a seasoned administrator and professor in the university’s Mathematics Department will assume leadership as chair of the Physics & Astronomy Department. He will be assisted by two faculty members from within the Physics & Astronomy Department, Ben Bromley and Christoph Boehme. Together, the three faculty members will serve as an executive committee to move forward with actions of change outlined in the report. To assist the department in improving its processes and to support its current graduate students, new graduate student admissions to the department will be deferred at least one year.
Both the U’s Graduate School and International Student and Scholar Services Office will review their policies and procedures to identify possible areas where additional support and assistance with respect to immigration status may be provided.
RESULTS OF PHYSICS&ASTRONOMY DEPATMENT REVIEW RELEASE 2017 年10月，犹他大学遭遇了悲惨事件：物理与天文系的一名国际研究生不幸去世。为了积极应对这起事件，并表明校方坚决致力于改进帮助学生应对危机的方法，犹他大学聘请了Zhu Julie Lee和Foley & Lardner律师事务所，负责调查与我们学校研究生经历的这次事件有关的所有问题。
Wildermuth透露，犹他大学正在着手落实调查报告建议的措施。作为这项工作的一部分，犹他大学资深的管理人员兼数学系教授Peter Trapa将担任物理学与天文学系主任这一领导职务。来自物理与天文学系的两名教员Ben Bromley和Christoph Boehme将负责协助。这三位教师将共同组建成执行委员会，以推进报告中概述的整改工作。为了协助物理与天文学系改进工作方法，并支持现有的研究生，该系研究生的招新工作将被推迟至少一年。