UW Highlights

As Wyoming’s only university, UW is committed to explore, create, and share knowledge. Wyoming Public Media captures the work of scholars, learners, and leaders who are committed to serving the state of Wyoming and contributing to national and international intellectual growth. You can hear some of our stories and features on these pages. They reflect the work of hundreds of individuals dedicated to the University of Wyoming vision to imagine the future and to create it.

Caroline Ballard

Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard sat down with Phil Roberts, a history professor at the University of Wyoming, to understand more about the history of booms and busts in Wyoming. He says it's a cycle the state has gone through many times before.

Last month’s visit to Wyoming by former world chess champion Garry Kasparov wasn’t just about global politics (listen to his interview here)—it was also about chess.

Stefan Heinz and his 13-year-old son Jakob had a chance to chat with Kasparov during his visit. “It was really extraordinary to meet him,” says Jakob. “He’s probably the smartest person I’ve ever met. Actually, definitely [the smartest].” (Did Kasparov show him how to win a game in three moves? Unfortunately, “no.”)

Caroline Ballard

Protesters filled Simpson Plaza in front of the University of Wyoming last Thursday. They were calling for an end to police brutality and racism, following grand jury decisions to not indict police officers in the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York. Protesters and observers had a variety of viewpoints:

Caroline Ballard

 

A protest organized by University of Wyoming Students called for an end to police brutality, following grand jury decisions to not indict police officers in the deaths of Mike Brown and Eric Garner.

Protesters chanted slogans like “hands up, don’t shoot”, “no justice no peace” and “I can’t breathe.” Black armbands dotted the arms of attendees and neon and cardboard signs were dispersed throughout the crowd.

Every four years, the University of Wyoming stages the classic holiday ballet, The Nutcracker. It’s a major undertaking involving the Department of Theatre and Dance, the UW Symphony Orchestra, and the Lab School Treble Choir, as well as numerous community members. In all, it takes 200 people to put on the show. Director Marsha Knight says the production is set at the Ivinson Mansion, in Old West Laramie, as it has been since 2006.

USDA photo by Scott Bauer

A great deal of research is happening right now on why mule deer populations are declining so fast in the state… and now the University of Wyoming and Wyoming Game and Fish are offering a week-long Tweet Event to let the public participate in the capture and collaring of mule deer. 

Bob Beck / WPM

Governor Matt Mead has proposed a new athletic training center for the University of Wyoming. The facility would cost forty million dollars and would be funded equally by the legislature and private donors.

Tom Burman is the Director of Athletics at U-W and says the facility would serve athletes from all U-W sports-teams. He also says it could attract business from Olympic-level athletes.

phideltatheta.org

When the renovations to the double A are complete, the main feature of the grand entrance will be a monument to one of Wyoming’s most prominent athletes.

Angus Thuermer / WyoFile

Last week, the Board of Trustees at the University of Wyoming approved a 5 percent tuition hike for the next academic year—and 4 percent increases for each year after that. Most of that extra revenue will be used to fund employee salary increases.

Some employees and students question the move.

Faculty Senate Chair Ed Janak says the raises are much-needed, but he isn’t sure tuition hikes are the right idea.

Former World Chess Champion and Russian political activist Garry Kasparov was in Cheyenne and Laramie last Friday to discuss global politics and American leadership. Kasparov says under President Vladimir Putin, Russia presents the greatest threat to global security.

“It seems that he believes, and his cronies keep repeating it, that Putin is Russia and Russia is Putin, which means his personal failure he may consider as a signal to bring the entire country down with him.”

Prior to election night the University of Wyoming conducted a survey of state residents about their views on candidates and their attitudes about some key issues. University of Wyoming Professor Jim King joins Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck to discuss what they found.

In 1994 University of Wyoming Botany Professor Dennis Knight wrote a book about Wyoming’s landscapes and some of the challenges they may be facing. Now 20 years later, Knight is joined by other authors to provide an update. The book is called Mountains and Plain: The Ecology of Wyoming Landscapes. We spoke with Knight when he wrote his first book and today he admits to Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck that some of the challenges the state faces today were not on his radar.

University of Wyoming

Last year, the University of Wyoming saw many of its top-performing faculty leave the school to take jobs elsewhere. Gregory Nickerson is the government and policy reporter for WyoFile.com. He wrote a story recently looking at this faculty exodus, its potential causes, its impacts—and what efforts UW is making to keep faculty around. Nickerson spoke with Wyoming Public Radio’s Aaron Schrank.

Grade inflation is a problem at teacher training programs around the country, but not so much at the University of Wyoming’s College of Education.

That’s according to a report by the National Council on Teacher Quality—a think tank that pushes for tougher evaluations of classroom teachers—called “Easy A’s And What’s Behind Them.”

The report looked at more than 500 institutions across the country and found that teacher candidates are much more likely to earn high grades and receive honors than the broad student population.

University of Wyoming

The University Of Wyoming Board Of Trustees is considering a variety of proposed tuition raises in order to retain faculty members. On Friday the board is expected to vote on two proposals. The first would increase tuition by five percent for academic year 2016. The second would allow the board to increase tuition by four percent every year for four years.

UW’s Vice President for Administration Bill Mai says the university has lost key members of its faculty in recent years due to financial concerns and has had to move money from other areas to retain current faculty.

Bob Beck

Last week, Governor Matt Mead attended a cable cutting for a new biogas-fueled data center in Cheyenne. It’s a zero emissions demonstration project built in collaboration with Microsoft, the governor’s office, the University of Wyoming and the utilities industry. Cheyenne LEADS is an economic development group that helped coordinate the project.

The group’s CEO Randy Bruns says many solid waste plants around the U.S. create biofuel to control the methane build-up they produce and to power their facilities. But no one has ever tried powering a data center with this kind of energy.

UW Photo

The University of Wyoming’s newly renovated planetarium re-opens this week following an extensive renovation.

Almost all of the planetarium’s 1960’s technology has been replaced with state-of-the-art digital equipment. UW astronomer Danny Dale says the old set-up was limited to a two-dimensional view of the stars from Earth.

Courtesy UW athletics

The University of Wyoming women’s soccer team will play for the Mountain West Conference Championship Saturday night.

The Cowgirls will travel to face San Diego State, a team that beat them 5 to 2 last month.  Wyoming enters the contest with 9 wins and 3 losses in the Mountain West conference this season.  The Cowgirls advanced to the title game after defeating New Mexico in the semifinals of the conference tournament. 

Wyoming has never won a conference title in soccer.  The game begins at Saturday night at 8 p.m. in San Diego.

www.uwyo.edu

On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall was opened, paving the way for the reunification of East and West Germany. The University of Wyoming continues its commemoration of the event with a faculty recital on Sunday, November 9, the 25th anniversary of the fall of the wall. Wyoming Public Radio’s Micah Schweizer spoke with violinist John Fadial.

Angus Thuermer / WyoFile

Voters roundly defeated a proposed Constitutional Amendment that would have allowed non-residents to serve on the University of Wyoming’s Board of Trustees.

The Wyoming Constitution specifies that anyone serving on the Board of Trustees should be eligible to vote in the state. The amendment would have allowed the Governor to appoint up to two non-residents to the 13-person Board. 

A University of Wyoming student is dead after being injured in a fight at a Laramie Halloween party Saturday morning. 21 year old Joseph McGowan from Lander was struck when he attempted to break up a fight between Dalton Williams, a student from Casper, and an unidentified participant.

McGowan was airlifted to a Colorado hospital with difficulty breathing where he was later pronounced dead. 20 year old Williams has been charged with second-degree murder and is facing up to 20 years in prison. 

Wyoming Public Media

This weekend the Powder River Basin Resource Council will hold its 42nd meeting at 4 p.m.at the Sheridan Holiday Inn. The Keynote speaker is Dr. Jeffrey Lockwood, professor of Natural Sciences and Humanities at the University of Wyoming, who discuss the topic “Living Behind the Carbon Curtain: Wyoming, Energy and Censorship.”  

The U.S. Energy Secretary has appointed a University of Wyoming professor to serve on the National Coal Council.

Dr. Maohong Fan is a UW School of Energy Resources professor who focuses his research on coal conversion. The National Coal Council advises the Department of Energy on coal issues.

uwyo.edu

The University of Wyoming Symphony Orchestra performs its second concert of the season this week. Music Director Michael Griffith says the concert challenges some common assumptions about classical music. “We’re starting the concert with a Mozart Concerto for Flute and Harp, which is really unusual. You don’t think of harp as a soloist and you certainly don’t think of harp and a flute together as dual soloists.”

Jordan Giese

October 24th is the grand opening of the University of Wyoming’s new Gateway Center, which will serve as a "front door" to the university for new students and families. 

The thirty-five million dollar facility will house UW’s admissions office, career services, alumni association and the UW Foundation, which secures private donations for the school. The Foundation’s President Ben Blalock says the building has had significant help from many prominent UW alum and other Wyomingites. Blalock says the private funding was crucial. 

Flickr Creative Commons

The University of Wyoming has seen a rise in the use of social media for stalking purposes. That includes things like using Facebook and Twitter to gather personal information, and track someone’s real life whereabouts.

UW Police Chief Mike Samp says the university has seen around four reported incidents of stalking where victims were threatened or harassed by their online perpetrators since the beginning of September. There were 10 reported stalking incidents during all of last academic year.

Dan Boyce

For Colorado School of Mines petroleum engineering professor Carrie McClelland, teaching a  seminar of 45 students seems like a bit of relief. Normally her class sizes are closer to 80 or 90.

“It makes it difficult to make sure that they’re still getting a great education,” she said.

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