January Newsletter 2024

January Newsletter 2024

Provost Vaught's Thoughts 

Dear faculty,


Happy New Year, and welcome back to campus for a new semester! Hopefully, you received and read my back-to-campus message on January 3. I wanted to reiterate some things from that email.


Firstly, we are addressing the impact of AI on higher education through a university AI Task Force. Throughout the semester, there will be training and discussions to ensure adequate integration of AI in our academic landscape.


We are also seeking clarification on the USHE statement related to free speech. It’s essential to understand that this doesn’t impede faculty from teaching controversial content or engaging in intellectual challenges.


The 2024 legislative session looks busy, with numerous proposed bills affecting higher education. If you wish to voice concerns to representatives, remember to do so as a private citizen.


Lastly, let's prioritize checking in with each other as we navigate the semester. If issues arise, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Office of Academic Affairs.


Warmest regards,

Provost Vaught




 Information on the Legislative Session of 2024

·         UVU Updates

·         Utah State Legislature

·         Legislative Session Weekly Schedule


Important Dates

January 26

General Education Town Hall 11:00am-12:00pm

Click here to join the meeting

January 29

Last day to drop classes without W grade 

February 1

General Education Town Hall 2:00-3:00pm

 Click here to join the meeting

March 7

Faculty Town Hall 2:00-3:00pm

 Click here to join the meeting




January Student Snapshot 

Many people set goals for the new year and students can feel fresh motivation to improve their performance this semesterIt’s important that students find what motivates them without setting unrealistic goals that can affect their physical and mental healthFor help with goal setting and planning, students can visit Trula Campus, a FREE peer coaching program that connects college students looking for support and guidance with trained and qualified peer coaches. 

It is important that students take care of their physical health in the winter when it’s harder to be active outside and there is an increase in illnesses being spreadEncourage students to visit the Student Life and Wellness Center for classes, programs, and information on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

Students have had a long winter break and may have a variety of feelings about returning to campus. Some may be excited for a new start while others may have feelings of homesickness and unease. Encourage students to find or connect with their community through UVU Clubs. 

A Quick Reminder for Faculty

This year, “Reading Day” has been renamed “Interim Day” and takes place on April 24, 2024. Finals begin on Thursday, April 25.


As a reminder, Policy 635, Faculty Rights and Professional Responsibilities, Section, states, “Faculty members shall not require students to attend class or submit any assignments or assessments on a scheduled reading day. Faculty members shall adhere to UVU Policy 601 Classroom Instruction and Management when holding final exams or other assessments.”


If faculty are unsure whether they have scheduled classes or assignments on Interim Day, they should review their courses and adjust their meetings and due dates if necessary. 



AI Faculty Resources


 UVU Pluralsight Channel offers training focused on learning AI. (If you’re not logged in, use this link to access Pluralsight.)

·         Fulton Library’s Guide offers an introduction to the advantages, limitations, and potential applications of AI. With tips on writing AI prompts, citing AI-generated content, and finding additional articles, the guide helps you use AI text-generators and understand their impact on higher education. 

·         UVU Resources provides information about AI generative tools and pedagogical practices.




UVU Thrive: TimelyCare  

Happy New Year and New Semester!  This month we encourage you to familiarize yourself with Timelycare. Utah Valley University has FREE, 24/7 access to Timely Care’s remote mental health and self-care services. TimelyCare is a virtual health and well-being platform designed for college students and offers health coaching, scheduled counseling, chatline support, and more. Our students mental health is crucial to their success in and out of the classroom, and with TimelyCare, they can access care on a flexible schedule that fits their needs. 

TimelyCare is completely free, and students do not need insurance to access services. To request access for a student, email [email protected] with the student's name and UVID number. Students may also email and request access for themselves.  



Early alerts are now open! 1.SUbmit an early alert through Civitas Inspire 2. Students receives an email from student retention office 3. student receives a text from a success specialist 4. Reources and support are provided 5.Outcome of early alert logged Inspire



SCOT Program

The Student Collaborators on Teaching  (SCOT) program enhances student learning by providing instructors feedback from an informed student perspective. They can observe your class, do a focus group with your students, or review your Canvas course to give you feedback from a student perspective. You can find out more information and request a SCOT from the SCOT homepage

POET Program

Peer Observation for the Enhancement of Teaching (POET) is a program to engage and reflect on your teaching by engaging with other faculty from across the campus. The goal of the program is to reflect on your teaching by observing and interacting with other faculty. It is a great way to meet faculty from outside your department. If you want to participate, you can register here. The introduction meeting is Monday, September 25 from 1-2pm on Teams, and I’ll record that meeting for those who can’t make that time. 


Learning Circles:

Learning Circles are small communities of faculty and staff who meet on a regular basis during a single semester. Each community reads a particular book or set of articles on learning and teaching and discusses the book during their sessions.  View more information about available Learning Circles this spring on this webpage.

Early Alert Information

Early Alert for the Spring 2024 Semester are now open! 


Submit an Early Alert for students who have stopped attending class, are missing assignments, seem disconnected, or are just in need of support. We can help! 


Once you submit an Early Alert through Civitas Inspire, (How to submit an Early Alert) a Student Success Specialist will reach out to the student through text, email, and phone, identifying opportunities and resources that will help the student get back on track and be successful. 


Early Alerts received before the dates below allow us to contact students and provide support before the drop deadline.

  • First Block, Jan 18
  • Full Semester, Jan 29
  • Second Block, Mar 11



New BIWOCA Group

The Office of Inclusion and Diversity would like to invite you to join the Black, Indigenous, and Women of Color Academics and Staff (BIWOCA) Group. Our employee affinity group provides a forum for employees to meet and support each other and build a sense of belonging. BIWOCA is a space for facilitating social mentorship, social support, and inclusion among faculty and staff, and to create awareness of such needs within the broader university.

If you are interested, please join the group here (link to Teams channel) or contact Dr. Sertler at [email protected] for more details.

Our upcoming monthly lunch meeting is on Wednesday, January 24, from 12-1 pm, location (TBA).

Thank you!



Celebrate Your Students!

Dear esteemed faculty,

We invite you to nominate your outstanding students whose academic achievements deserve recognition and celebration. Celebrate student success with us! Share recent awards or accomplishments using this form. Your input increases the likelihood of their recognition by the administration. Let's spotlight our students' achievements together! 


Qualtrics Survey | Qualtrics Experience Management


Teaching and Learning Symposium Submission Deadline

The deadline to submit your proposal for the 2nd Annual Symposium of Teaching and Learning is February 12th. The symposium, hosted by Utah Valley University’s Faculty Senate Advancement of Teaching Committee and Office of Teaching and Learning, will be on March 28th and 29th from 9 am to noon. It will showcase innovative teaching practices that support learning at UVU. During this two-day conference, participants will have the opportunity to hear from award-winning instructors and those who have engaged in research around their teaching. For information on this year's themes and proposal submission, visit our website. Submissions can be discipline-focused, interdisciplinary or multi-disciplinary in nature. For questions, contact Jessi Hill ([email protected]) and Aicha Rochdi ([email protected]).




Share Your Research & Scholarship at the 2024–2025 Speaker Series

Are you eager to share your research or gain scholarly experience that strengthens your tenure
portfolio? Consider speaking at the Roots of Knowledge Speaker Series. Set against a striking
backdrop of stained-glass windows, the Speaker Series features UVU faculty as they share their
scholarly and creative endeavors in connection to the ideas and developments portrayed in Roots of

The Speaker Series fosters intellectual growth, cultivates an interconnected community, and adds a
significant accomplishment to speakers’ CVs. Fulton Library invites you to present your work and
contribute to this intellectually vibrant seeing, extending your impact to the UVU community. If
you’re interested in participating in the 2024–2025 Speaker Series, contact Roots of Knowledge
Curator Kindia du Plessis at [email protected] or 801-863-8267.

In the meantime, join us for the spring 2024 Speaker Series, which continues with eight lectures
from UVU scholars. These presentations offer a diverse view into the scholarship of UVU’s
community, with topics ranging from literacy and resilience to history and leadership. Mark your
calendars, and join us in the Bingham Gallery to be edified, inspired, and uplifted.


Spring 2024 Speaker Series Schedule

Thursdays at 1:00 pm in the Bingham Gallery

Jan. 18 – Dr. Ben Moulton, “Apportionment, the First Presidential Veto, and an Investigation Into
Party Systems and the Presidential Elections of 1796 and 1800.”

Feb. 1 – Dr. LaShawn C. Williams, “Our Roots and Our Resilience: Holding On to Hope.”

Feb. 15 – Dr. Wioleta Fedeczko, “’She Must Be a Rare One’: The Rhetoric of an Invisible Woman.”

Feb. 22 – R.E.C.CLAIM UTAH, “Reclaiming Our Journey Through the Outdoors.”

March 7 – Dr. Kelly Hall, “Roots of Leadership: Exploring Leader Character and Women Leaders
Throughout History.”

March 21 – Dr. Heather Wilson-Ashworth, “The Power of Human Connection to Lift the Individual,
Community and Society.”

April 4 – Alex Nibley, “Beyond Measure.”

April 11 – Dr. Chitralekha Dutagupta, “Literacy Roots: Writing, Reading and the Tree of Knowledge.”

Distinguished Service-Learning Faculty


We are pleased to announce Dr. Weihong Wang as the January Service-Learning Superstar!


Service-Learning Superstar: Weihong Wang Associate professor, Geography


Dr. Weihong Wang is an Associate Professor and Department Chair of Earth Science at Utah Valley University. She teaches courses on topics such as Wetland Studies, Energy Use on Earth, and Introductory and Advanced Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Passionate about engaged learning, Dr. Wang incorporates service-learning projects to enrich students’ educational experience and bridge classroom concepts with real-world applications.


In her Wetland Studies course, Dr. Wang partners with federal and state agencies to involve students directly with the challenges facing Utah Lake. Students collaborated with the Utah Reclamation Mitigation & Conservation Commission and the Utah Lake State Park to examine threats to the lake. They visited the Provo Delta Restoration site to learn about native wetland species and weed removal efforts, gaining firsthand experience with ecosystem restoration and conservation. In collaboration with the Utah Lake State Park, student teams created educational posters addressing issues like invasive species, population growth impacts, geological hazards, wetland loss, and land use and land cover changes around the lake. These posters will be displayed at the park's visitor center where students can interact with visitors and share their research findings. By learning through doing, students applied their knowledge to address real issues while engaging community members on pressing environmental topics.


Beyond the classroom, Dr. Wang serves as Co-Principal Investigator on an NSF-funded project, “Undergraduate Preparation through Multidisciplinary Service Learning at Utah Lake.” She feels strongly that education is crucial for conveying scientific information and protecting Utah Lake for future generations. Over the past three summers, her research groups have worked with various state and federal agencies to examine water quality in Utah Lake using methods from in-situ sampling to GIS visualization of correlations between nutrient pollution and harmful algal blooms. Through these collaborative summer service-learning programs, students gained a sense of stewardship and found their voice to speak to the economic, cultural, and ecological importance of preserving Utah Lake.


Please join us in congratulating Weihong for her incredible service-learning efforts!

Dr. Jonathan Westover

Academic Director, Center for Social Impact

Dr. Ezgi Sertler

Associate Academic Director, Center for Social Impact

Help us highlight you and your students! Share your story using the CSI Success Stories form.

We welcome nominations for future Service-Learning Superstars on a rolling basis, and self-nominations are encouraged. To nominate, please send an email to Dr. Jon Westover ([email protected]) and Dr. Ezgi Sertler ([email protected]) with a 250-word description of the nominee, department affiliation, and service-learning course activities.

Research Institute at the Women’s Success Center


RI@WSC Scholarship Spotlight: Dr. Mykin R. Higbee


Various energy drinks

While working as a nurse in critical care settings, Mykin R. Higbee, assistant professor of nursing, discovered a concerning pattern of energy drink consumption among nurses and healthcare professionals. Dr. Higbee undertook a series of studies, spanning multiple years and engaging both practicing nurses and nursing students. Her research sheds light on the potential consequences of consuming energy drinks in healthcare settings.

Driven by her observations while working in critical care, Dr. Higbee studied the relationship between energy drink consumption and sleep and stress among nurses during her dissertation research. She found that nurses who consume energy drinks are more likely to report increased levels of perceived stress, fewer sleep hours, and poorer sleep quality than nurses who do not consume energy drinks. These findings were published in the Western Journal of Nursing Research in 2020. In a subsequent study, Dr. Higbee expanded her research to include nursing students from Utah Valley University and the University of Texas at Tyler. Published in Nurse Educator in 2022, the study echoed the earlier findings, indicating that nursing students who consume energy drinks reported similar harmful effects as nurses who consume energy drinks.

This past year, Dr. Higbee mentored nursing students as they completed a qualitative research project utilizing focus groups to learn why some nursing students consume energy drinks over other types of beverages. The students presented research findings at the Spring 2023 SCULPT showcase and won first prize in their division for the project and presentation. Results from the focus groups helped us to understand that nursing students 1) love the taste of energy drinks compared to other caffeinated beverages, 2) feel overwhelmed with schedules and schoolwork and consume energy drinks to help them feel more capable of accomplishing their responsibilities, and 3) have limited awareness of the health effects of consuming energy drinks. The findings from this study were presented at The National Consortium of Building Healthy Academic Communities (BHAC) in North Carolina in April 2023, and a manuscript of the study is currently under review and will be published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Dr. Higbee’s commitment to role modeling intellectual curiosity for students and engaging them in research demonstrates her dedication to shaping the next

generation of critical thinkers. Dr. Higbee has been a guest presenter for several health and wellness classes in the community and at UVU to discuss her findings and help educate students about the possible effects of consuming energy drinks.

We are delighted to celebrate Mykin’s accomplishments and look forward to the continued impact of her work!

The Research Institute is always looking to amplify the faculty work being done by, for, and about women at UVU. Please use this form to tell us about your or your colleagues’ impactful work!

Policy Update

In December, several policies were approved to enter Stage 2. Any comments must be submitted to your Faculty Senate senator or PACE representative before March 1, 2024:

· Policy 111 Academic Calendar (Deletion)

· Policy 135 Use of Copyrighted Materials (Deletion)

· Policy 503 Add/Drop/Withdraw,

· Policy 510 Graduate Admission and Continuation,

· Policy 522 Undergraduate Credit and Transcripts,

· Policy 523 Grading,

· Policy 524 Graduate Program Credit and Graduation Requirements,

· Policy 526 Student Record Adjustment,

· Policy 647 Faculty Grievance (Deletion), and

· Policy 658 Establishment and Administration of Graduate Programs.

At their January 11 meeting, the President’s Council approved two policies to enter Stage 2. Any comments must be submitted to your Faculty Senate senator or PACE representative before March 7, 2024:

· Policy 367 Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), and

· Policy 371 Corrective Actions and Termination for Staff Employees.

One policy was approved to enter Stage 3, which ends on January 19, 2024:

· Policy 376 Reduction in Force.

The Board of Trustees also approved the following policies to be deleted from the Policy Manual:

· Policy 157 Alcoholic Beverages, Unlawful Drugs, and Other Illegal Substances, and

· Policy 211 Employee Appreciation and Recognition (Gifts and Rewards).

Finally, Policy 113 University Awards has been renewed, which means that this temporary policy will be extended until June 11, 2024. The regular policy, which is currently being drafted, will replace it by that date.