2020 Outstanding Educators

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These are the outstanding educators for each college, based on votes from the Class of 2020.

Tyler Standifird
Tiffany Yoast
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Tyler Standifird

Assistant Professor
College of Science

On one hand, Tyler Standifird hasn’t gone very far in his life. He was born and raised in and still lives in Highland, Utah. On the other hand, he is an accomplished scholar and educator. An assistant professor in the College of Science, he was the Outstanding Educator for the College of Science in 2017, was the honors advisor of the year in 2018, and earned the Dean’s Award of Excellence in Scholarship in 2019. He earned his undergraduate degree in exercise physiology from the University of Utah, a master’s degree in exercise physiology from Brigham Young University, and a Ph.D. in biomechanics from the University of Tennessee. He has been an assistant professor at UVU for five years and has been a biomechanics consultant. The best aspect of working at UVU is “hands down our students,” he says. “They are extraordinary. They are bright, capable, talented, hard-working and kind. I love my students at UVU. They make my job fun and rewarding every day. They are so far ahead of where I was as an undergraduate student. The world is theirs for the taking and I love that UVU lets me focus on helping them to be successful.”

Tiffany Yoast

Professional in residence
University College

Tiffany Yoast is the Outstanding Educator for UVU’s University College. A Provo resident, she earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Utah Valley University and a master’s degree in Education from Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. She says she is passionate about character strengths, positive leadership, and the scientific study of well-being (positive psychology). She teaches student success, stress management, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, strengths-based leader/coach, and the leadership capstone course. She helped develop the new leadership certificate, leadership of personal and social Impact, and co-wrote a new course, strengths-based leader/coach. “I have a favorite quote that states ‘Ask not what the world needs, ask what makes you come alive, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.’ In short, UVU makes me come alive! There is an energy, a vibrance, an ‘aliveness’ to this campus that is unmatched. I feel so lucky to have a job I love, working with students who inspire me, in an environment that encourages and sustains my growth.”

Sue Smith Jackson

Associate professor, Department of Public and Community Health
College of Health and Public Service

A Lehi resident, Sue Smith Jackson has an associate degree from then-Utah Valley State College, a bachelor of science in community health and a master of public health from Brigham Young University, and a Ph.D. in health promotion and education from the University of Utah. She has been at UVU for 12 years, primarily teaching courses in epidemiology, biostatistics, and body image and weight management. She has conducted research projects and written articles on body image, weight management, and diabetes. For eight years, she has been a volunteer with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, recruiting 60-80 students annually to volunteer at the Provo JDRF Walk, and has been chair of the event the last three years. Jackson has received the Faculty Senate Faculty Excellence Award and Dean’s Excellence Award for service. “UVU has the greatest students,” she says. “They are eager to learn and work hard. I love watching students grow and progress throughout a semester. In a course like biostatistics, they often start with apprehension and concern, and it is especially fulfilling to watch them be successful throughout the course.”

Michael F Harper

Associate professor of interaction and design
College of Engineering and Technology

Michael F Harper has been at UVU for nearly 20 years. When he was at Utah State University, he earned a bachelor of science in geography education: secondary education and multimedia development and a master of science in geography education: interactive media development. Harper has been a consultant and interactive media specialist and speaker, content manager and interactive media director, creative media director. He was instructional design/technologist for the Tempe Union High School District, lecturer and graduate committee member at Utah State University, and is currently an associate professor of digital media — interaction and design. “UVU is an amazing place to work,” he says. “I have found few organizations, even companies for that matter, that allow for such free thinking to solve creative and technical challenges in my field of study. The students are tops for me. All rolled together, UVU represents a place for me to explore new ideas, support amazing student-lead projects, and realize unique solutions to challenging media-focused opportunities. I love it.”

Gareth Fry

Assistant professor, Art and Design
School of the Arts

Gareth Fry is the Outstanding Educator in the School of the Arts. He is originally from Epsom, Surrey, England, and currently lives in Orem. He earned his BA with Honours from The Surrey Institute of Art & Design in Epsom, and a Master of Fine Arts in graphic design from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. He was an adjunct faculty member at Brigham Young University in 2014, and has been an adjunct instructor, lecturer and assistant professor at UVU since 2011. With industry experience as an art director, senior designer, and graphic designer, he has received numerous awards — statewide, nationally and internationally. He is a member of the American Institute of Graphic Arts. The best part of being at UVU is “definitely the students,” he says. “They are talented, eager, hardworking, and inspiring to be around. I feel fortunate to be able to work with such wonderful people every day.”

Patrick Milligan

Professional in Residence
Woodbury School of Business

Patrick Milligan is the Outstanding Educator for the Woodbury School of Business. He was born in Buffalo, New York, but calls Utah home. He earned an Associate Degree in Business from then-Utah Valley State College, a Bachelor’s in Marketing Management from the University of Utah and a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University. He has been a Senior Vice President at GameStop, a Vice President with Mondelez International, Kraft Foods Global, and Nabisco, Inc. He has also served as a Major in the United States Army. He was chosen as Educator of the Year in 2016, and earned the UVU Pinnacle Award in 2013. He received honors from Mondelez and Kraft and numerous military honors. “Working with students with extraordinary grit” has been the best part of being at UVU, he says. “The honor of teaching these trailblazing, mature, ambitious, hardworking students is the honor of my life. I have loved every job I’ve had in my professional life, but all of my experiences pale in comparison to teaching at UVU.”

Maria Blevins

Assistant professor
Colleges of Humanities and Social Sciences

The Outstanding Educator for the College of Health and Social Sciences, Maria Blevins is from Phoenix and is currently living in Salt Lake City. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in recreation management from the University of Maine at Machias, a Master’s Degree in communication studies and a graduate certificate in Natural Resources Alternative Dispute Resolution from the University of Montana, and a Ph.D. in communication studies from the University of Utah. She has been a whitewater rafting guide, the Madison River Manager for the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department, a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Utah and is currently an assistant professor at UVU. She has earned the Faculty Excellence Award in 2019, Presidential Award for Community Engaged Faculty, spring 2018; Most Valuable Professor, UVU Basketball Team, also in spring 2018; and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Dean’s Award for Faculty Teaching in spring, 2017. “I enjoy that UVU is a growing school so there is a spirit of building something new and special that permeates the culture,” she says. “I love the students, and how they are at UVU to build a better life. The highlight of every school year is teaching an environmental communication class at the Capitol Reef Field Station.”

Mike Patch

Associate Professor
School of Education

The School of Education has named Mike Patch as its Outstanding Educator. Patch, an Orem native, earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Brigham Young University, and a doctorate degree from the University of Nevada, Reno. He has been a high school teacher and administrator, and taught English as a Foreign Language internationally. He is the former department chair of the Elementary Education Department in the School of Education. Other UVU recognitions include the Faculty Excellence Award and the Graduate Mentor Award. “The greatest aspect of working at UVU is the genuine student-centered emphasis,” he says. “The students are great and want to learn, and my colleagues are supportive of each other.” Patch also appreciates the ability to contribute to UVU and the education programs: “With administrative support, I have been able to create educational excursions and student teaching opportunities in Tonga and New Zealand.” He is married with four sons and enjoys outdoor activities, especially ice fishing and motorcycles. Patch is especially looking forward to this year’s Olympics in Tokyo where one of his sons will represent the USA in volleyball.