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.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Polar bears are one of the species that’s been hardest hit by climate change. But scientists have long thought the bears might be capable of effectively hibernating in summer, to save energy during a longer open water season. New research from the University of Wyoming disproves that hypothesis though. Merav Ben David is a professor of wildlife ecology and one of the authors of the new study. She told Wyoming Public Radio’s Stephanie Joyce that without hibernation, it’s an increasingly long and hungry summer for the bears.

University of Wyoming

Every year, the University of Wyoming has a presence at Cheyenne Frontier Days. Wyoming Public Media's Anna Rader asked UW's Institutional Communications Specialist Milton Ontiveroz about the university's involvement. 

Anna Rader: How did the University of Wyoming become involved with Cheyenne Frontier Days?

University of Wyoming men’s basketball coach Larry Shyatt has signed a contract extension through the 2019-2020 season. 

Shyatt will make a base salary of $210-thousand dollars this season, increasing to $230-thousand in the last year of the contract. Shyatt will also earn extra money if players meet academic goals and he meets performance incentives. The contract also includes extra money for his coaching staff. 

Shyatt says some friends wondered if he would leave Wyoming after appearing in the NCAA tourney last season.

Wikimedia Commons

For millennia, humans have watched animals soar above us, hunt beside us, and burrow below us. We have them in our homes as pets and on our plates as food. But the line between animals and humans might be about to shift.

Some scientists are studying how the human body can copy extraordinary traits expressed by animals in what is called biomimicry. Hank Harlow is the director of the University of Wyoming National Park Service Research Station, and he studies animals living in stressful environments.

www.uwyo.edu

Future teachers studying at the University of Wyoming’s College of Education will have more help paying for school, thanks to a $1.8 million gift from Ray Kennedy.

Kennedy was a former teacher who retired in Laramie. He died May 1 at age 90. The Raymond D. Kennedy College of Education Scholarship fund represents his life’s savings. 

The College is still determining how exactly the scholarship will be disbursed, but John Stark with the UW Foundation says it will make a big difference for aspiring educators.

University of Wyoming

Incoming freshman students at the University of Wyoming will soon have more access to top professors in their first semester. It’s part of the revamped University Studies Program, a core curriculum for all UW undergraduates.

Program coordinator Meg Flanigan Skinner says it aims to go beyond basic coursework.

UW

It’s been a tough year at the University of Wyoming. Several students there died, including two deaths by suicide in about a week. 

By the time UW students return from summer break, a new plaza will be built, commemorating all students whose lives were cut short while they were enrolled at the University.

The project was approved by the Associated Students of UW two years ago. The group’s vice president, Emily Kath, says it seems even more appropriate now, following this year’s tragedies.

A legislative task force is looking at how to keep the emails of University of Wyoming students private.

Currently most of UW student’s emails are legally the same as those sent by UW employees and other state workers. Those emails can be released to anyone who wants to take a look at them under Wyoming’s Public Records Act.

Mark Elbroch

A researcher studying the social behaviors of mountain lions will present his findings on Thursday, June 18, in the first of a series of summer talks co-sponsored by the University of Wyoming and the National Parks.

Mark Elbroch is a wildlife biologist with Panthera, a conservation group studying big cats and their habitats. He says new technology like GPS collars and remote video cameras have given him unprecedented access to the lives of mountain lions.

University of Wyoming

A University of Wyoming Board of Trustees initiative to boost the College of Education into national prominence in teacher preparation took a step forward Monday.

Trustees accepted a $500,000 dollar grant from The Daniels Fund, a Denver-based private foundation, which will be used to plan the first phase of the effort.

Angus Thuermer / WyoFile

The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees approved a process and timeline Monday for recruiting and hiring UW’s next president.

That process will include hiring a search firm, forming two 14-member committees to select candidates and appointing a recruiter to oversee the entire process.

American Heritage Center

The American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming is looking for submissions to its newest archive: “Out West in the Rockies,” which is chronicling the experiences of lesbian, gay bisexual, and transgendered people in the American West.

Rick Ewig is the Associate Director at the American Heritage Center. He says there are other archival institutions with a focus on LGBT people in other parts of the country.

University of Wyoming

For the last several years the University of Wyoming has been working on issues of recruiting and retaining students. UW President Dick McGinity says the University is averaging over three thousand new students in the fall and roughly half of them are freshman. 

Some legislators believe that if UW’s enrollment increases, it will generate more internal dollars for the University. McGinity says there is some truth to that, but they need to determine if they have enough faculty to fulfill the needs of more students.

University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming school year recently came to a close and we asked UW President Dick McGinity to stop by and tell us about the state of the University. McGinity discusses stability, hiring, tuition, and enrollment in a wide-ranging interview with Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck.  

Antoine Cully/UPMC.

 A University of Wyoming professor is part of a research team that has come with a groundbreaking way for damaged robots to adapt and continue to function.

The study was published Thursday in the science journal Nature—and is titled ‘Robots That Can Adapt Like Animals.’

University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees voted Thursday keep the search for the next UW President open.  

The trustees voted to release the names of the finalists and also voted to bring them to campus and possibly other places in the state sometime before March. The goal is to have them meet members of the campus community and the public. 

Wikimedia Commons

With oil's recent downturn, the industry is looking for new ways to get more oil out of the ground for less money and is financing research that could help it do that. Monday, the oil field services company Baker Hughes announced a one million dollar grant for the University of Wyoming.

Researchers will use the money to study how to get more oil and gas out of unconventional reservoirs.

Mark Northam is the director of UW’s School of Energy Resources. He says it will hopefully also bring down the costs of extraction.

Wyoming State Historical Society

  

In July, Wyoming will celebrate its 125th birthday. Next month a major conference will look at the state’s top historical moments. Called Our Place In The West And Beyond: Wyoming at 125, a number of historians, experts, and citizens will come to the University of Wyoming on June 11th. Tamsen Hert is President of the State Historical Society. She says it will be a jam-packed conference.  

Friends of Nepal at the University of Wyoming

Last month’s earthquake in Nepal dealt a devastating blow to the small country. Almost 8,000 people were killed and hundreds of thousands of homes were destroyed. Nepal is thousands of miles away from Wyoming, but emotional aftershocks are being felt in towns like Laramie and Jackson.

University of Wyoming

The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees is gathering public input this week into its process to find a successor to President Dick McGinity.

McGinity announced he’ll step down when his contract expires next year—but only if the presidential search is successful.

The search is to be an open process—unlike the controversial closed search that produced President Robert Sternberg in a few years ago. Trustee Mel Baldwin of Afton is optimistic that this approach will be more successful.   

Four scientists and four artists walk into a bar. It sounds like the setup to a joke. And as Wyoming Public Radio’s Micah Schweizer found out, the punch line is that scientists and artists actually can team up to create new and unexpected work.

University of Wyoming

  

The University Of Wyoming Board Of Trustees has formed a committee that will figure out how to conduct the search for the next UW president.  

The decision comes less than two weeks after current President Dick McGinity announced he will be resigning in June of 2016. The board was criticized for holding a closed search when it hired Bob Sternberg who resigned after just a few months on the job.  Laramie Trustee Mike Massie will serve on the committee. He says they want input on how a search should be conducted, and what kind of candidates the board should target.

Science and environment writer Emma Marris will give a seminar tonight on the University of Wyoming campus.

Emma Marris is the author of Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World. In the book she says, through climate change and other factors, humans have impacted every spot on the globe, so we may need to rethink what wilderness and nature mean.  

She says her latest project is thinking about whether wolves can still be considered wild.

Courtesy University of Wyoming Institutional Communications

Dr. Ray Reutzel has been named dean of the College of Education at the University of Wyoming.

Reutzel is a professor of elementary and early childhood education at Utah State University. He will begin leading UW’s College of Education in July.

Reutzel takes the reigns amid increased attention on the College of Education. Last year, the University Board of Trustees launched an initiative to elevate the school to national prominence. Lawmakers on the education committee have made that their top interim priority.

University of Wyoming

  

A University of Wyoming Faculty Senate Survey says the school has pressing systemic problems with leadership and hiring practices.

Edward Janak is the chair of the UW faculty Senate. He says more faculty need to step up to voice concerns and faculty input into university decisions need to be taken more seriously by administrators.

He also says the upcoming presidential search is a key concern.

Aaron Schrank

One week after the most recent death at UW, Animal Science Professor Dan Rule is in the Student Union with 20 others discussing symptoms of depression and warning signs for suicidal thinking. Rule says he’s here because he cares about his students.

“I don’t care if they’re an 18 or 19-year-old, or if they’re a 40-year-old non-traditional student or even if they’re a veteran,” says Rule. “They’re my kids when they’re in my room.”

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