Message From the Dean - 2011

The College of Science & Health at UVU continues to increase in both size and quality. Our science and health majors now number in the 3000s. We will graduate a total of 496 students this year, our biggest graduating class ever and 17% more than last year. Recognizing that students are the priority and focus of the College, we are committed to providing high quality learning experiences in an enriching environment, in which students can actively participate in learning, raise questions, and develop a scholarly approach to science and health professions. This student focus requires us to have world-class laboratories and classroom space for our students to learn and our faculty to teach. Our new Science Building, currently under construction and due to be completed in spring of 2012, will provide that space to serve our growing programs. In addition to the new Science Building, we are renovating and expanding the Health Professions Building on the UVU West Campus.

This past year we have made major strides in several scholarly areas. The College of Science & Health has some of the most accomplished faculty members and students on the UVU campus. Recently, two of our faculty members received the highest awards given on campus: Dr. Stephen Emerman received the President’s award for Engagement and Dr. Jim Harris received the Board of Trustees Award of Excellence. Last year Dr. Steve Wasserbaech completed a prestigious sabbatical at the CERN particle accelerator facility in Switzerland, working with the Large Hadron Collider. Our faculty integrates teaching and research through involvement of students in research projects. Many of our faculty members publish in prestigious scientific journals and present their research at important scientific conferences, often with students as co-authors.

Our students continue to compete in top science competitions and present at regional and national conferences, including at meetings in their disciplines, at the Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research (UCUR), and at the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research (NCUR).Some of more significant student accomplishments include the following:

  • Over 20 students presenting at both UCUR and NCUR this year.
  • Our students presented more than 50 papers at national and regional disciplinary conferences.
  • This past year students traveled with faculty to Guatemala, Peru, Costa Rica, Mali, Ukraine, Nepal, Mexico, and Samoa to collaborate with non-profits, local communities, and local institutions, providing service and advancing research in their particular disciplines.
  • The College of Science & Health Scholarly Activities Committee granted over $120,000 to 18 faculty members and about 50 students to conduct research in their respective disciplines.
  • Among the most prestigious outside grants awarded to us this past year was a grant of $863,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Sixteen students received this grant from the NSF’s Robert Noyce Teaching Scholarship Program, which provides scholarships for students pursuing degrees in math and science education.
  • We also received an NSF STEP grant of $1 M for our biotechnology program to conduct outreach with local high schools. This funding helped us build a new “InnovaBio” laboratory on campus this past year.

My upmost appreciation and gratitude go out to each of our students, faculty, and staff who make our college such a rich and rewarding place to teach and learn.

Sam Rushforth
Dean of the College of Science & Health