UW Highlights

As Wyoming’s only university, the University of Wyoming 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.

Tennessee Watson

When the University of Wyoming trustees met last week, the campus was abuzz with concern about proposed changes to the authority of the board. What the administration is calling a routine update to university regulations was seen by some as a power grab that would give trustees the ability to more easily eliminate academic programs and ax faculty.

Tom Koerner, USFWS

Early one spring evening, I meet University of Wyoming Biodiversity Institute’s Zoe Nelson at a rest area between Gillette and Buffalo. Shadows grow long on red bluffs and green sagebrush prairie. It’s that time of night when all the birds are going bonkers. We’re out here as part of a program to get regular folks like me and my husband, Ken—he’s tonight’s driver—to help keep track of short-eared owls. The program is called WAFLS or Western Asio Flammeus Landscape Study.

Wyoming State Geological Survey

On a bright, cloudless day in southwest Wyoming, Rick Hebdon, a commercial fossil collector, drove over a steep dirt road to one of his quarries within the Green River Formation. He’s been uncovering fossils for most of his life, but it still holds a thrill for him.

Despite warnings from President Laurie Nichols and her staff last June the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees voted to transfer close to $140 million in cash into reserve accounts. The cash was pulled from individual campus units like colleges and departments.

Wyoming Community Colleges/ENDOW/University of Wyoming

Less than half of adults in Wyoming have completed education beyond high school, but Governor Matt Mead says for the sake of Wyoming’s economy that must change. In fact, his first executive order of 2018 called for 67 percent of Wyomingites to have advanced degrees by 2025. To address achievement gaps and to encourage underserved populations like first-generation college students and adult learners to pursue higher education, the governor's economic diversification committee ENDOW recommends the creation of a need-based state financial aid program

Sam Eagan

The Official NCAA wrestling season is over, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t still wrestling going on. University of Wyoming’s freshman are still preparing to compete in this month’s U.S. Open.

Native Wellness Institute

Native American students, faculty, and staff at the University of Wyoming in Laramie recently participated in a wellness training. The idea was to explore how to process trauma left behind by a dark history. 

Dennis and Judy Shepard
Bob Beck

20 years ago this fall, an openly gay University of Wyoming student was robbed, tied to a fence, brutally beaten, and left for dead on the outskirts of Laramie. He died a few days later. The murder of Matthew Shepard was called a hate crime by local law enforcement officers and it lead to worldwide attention on the topic of LGBTQ rights. His parents Dennis and Judy Shepard remain residents of Wyoming and have dedicated themselves to fight discrimination in the name of their son. Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck talked to them about a number of topics including what it was like to return to Laramie.

Jewlicious

At the Matthew Shepard Symposium hosted last week at the University of Wyoming, protesters gathered outside with signs denouncing the LGBTQ community. The group was from the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, and nearly 20 years ago, they also picketed Matthew Shepard’s funeral.

But inside the symposium, a former Westboro Church member was preparing to speak. Megan Phelps-Roper was there to explain that when she started engaging in civil dialogue over Twitter, her entire worldview changed.

University of Wyoming NO MORE

The #metoo movement might have given the impression that disclosures of sexual violence are more out in the open. But Matt Gray, a clinical psychology professor, says in actuality very few survivors officially report what they’ve experienced, and that’s true at the University of Wyoming as well. Tennessee Watson spoke with Professor Gray, who recently completed a campus climate survey looking at the prevalence of sexual misconduct on campus.

Johnathan Despain, Wyoming 4-h

Fewer than one in five adults from rural communities have college degrees, according to 2017 data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But Wyoming 4-H wants to foster a culture that encourages young people to attend college.

Maggie Mullen

The University of Wyoming is the latest college to launch a new app aimed at preventing sexual assault. 

Tourists crowd downtown Jackson last summer.
Bob Beck


The University of Wyoming will be launching an Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Management degree this fall. It’s been a three-year effort, but those in the industry have wanted the degree for almost 20 years.

Cooper McKim/Wyoming Public Radio

Sustainability has a become a buzzword when it comes to facing environmental challenges. But one researcher believes resilience is a better answer. 

Jimmy Emerson via Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Mountain West states like Montana, Colorado and Utah are seeing unprecedented population growth right now. In fact, Idaho is the fastest growing state in the nation. But that’s not the case in Wyoming where the population is shrinking. 

 

University of Wyoming

Until recently, Wyoming was one of only two states without a chapter of the National Black Law Students Association. UW law student Debra Bullock started a chapter this winter, in part to be able to participate in the organization’s Nelson Mandela International Negotiations Competition. 

Melodie Edwards

In the early 20th century, tribal members of the Osage Nation in Oklahoma became extremely wealthy after discovering oil underneath their reservation. Then, dozens of Osage members started turning up murdered in a vast conspiracy meant to redirect their wealth into the hands of white men.

In the recent book Killers of the Flower Moon, author David Grann explores this chapter in American history. Grann visited the University of Wyoming as a guest lecturer, and Wyoming Public Radio's Caroline Ballard spoke with him about how he first became interested in the Osage Indian Murders and their legacy. 

Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources Facebook page

The ENDOW initiative is Wyoming’s latest attempt to diversify its economy. For author Samuel Western shaping the state's future, requires an examination of how Wyoming imagines its past. Western will explore this idea and lead a discussion at the University of Wyoming on April 5. 

Courtesy UW News Service

The University of Wyoming played host to Keio University Professor Dr. Toshi Nakayama on Wednesday. He is a noted author and columnist on international relations and he spoke about how Japan is adapting to Trump’s America on the world stage. He joins Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck.

Screen shot from March 21-23, 2018 UW Board of Trustees' Report

A new effort at the University of Wyoming is designed to turn academic research into businesses. The creation of the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship got a vote of approval from the UW board of trustees last week.

Screen shot from March 21-23, 2018 UW Board of Trustees' Report

The University of Wyoming board of trustees has increased tuition by 4 percent again this year. In 2014, the board passed a policy to increase tuition every year unless they voted not to. This year the administration and the student government recommended against charging students more.

Screen shot from March 21-23 UW Board of Trustees materials altered by Tennessee Watson

The University of Wyoming’s Salary Policy Task Force presented findings to the Board of Trustees Thursday confirming that staff are paid below average when compared to peer institutions and relevant industries. The task force was appointed by President Laurie Nichols last August after staff raised concerns about salary distribution.

 

Beekeepers
CC0 Creative Commons

Beekeepers will have an opportunity to hone their craft at a conference this weekend in Cheyenne.

Q. Quallen rock climbing
Q. Quallen

On a Sunday evening, Q. Quallen worked off some stress at the University of Wyoming rock climbing gym. The senior, double majoring in wildlife and natural resources, has had a rough past year.

“When I’m climbing, it’s like a puzzle that I have to solve,” said Quallen. “It’s the only thing that actually distracts me enough right now.”

Quallen focused on moving up the vertical wall one tiny, fake rock at a time; just his fingertips and toes making contact.

istockphoto.com

Representatives from the University of Wyoming and the state’s community colleges testified before the Senate Education Committee Friday asking lawmakers to approve a bill that would create a common transcript.

 

Currently, UW and the community colleges use separate systems for awarding course credits. Casper Senator Bill Landen said that means students end up losing credits and having to retake classes. He said his own daughter brought this issue to his attention.

 

A school classroom with desks and a chalkboard
CC0 Creative Commons

When school shootings occur, the country collectively asks: what needs to happen to keep students safe? What does it take to identify students who are struggling and get them support? Wyoming Public Radio’s education reporter Tennessee Watson sat down with University of Wyoming Professor of Counseling's Mary Alice Bruce and graduate student Ken Hilton to talk about how school counselors fit into the conversation about safe schools.

DACA Symposium At UW

Feb 22, 2018
Dreamers at UW: A DACA Symposium's Facebook page

On Saturday, the University of Wyoming will host a symposium on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. The event comes as the date March 5th looms over the immigration debate—that’s the deadline President Donald Trump gave Congress to find a solution for the almost 700,000 undocumented immigrants covered by the program.  

 

 

Cqfx at English Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Jennet Nedirmammedova a senior at the University of Wyoming invited me into her apartment, a couple of blocks from campus. It, is cozy – a couple of rooms with paintings on every wall. She cooks was cooking pasta, and offers me some as we sit down at a wooden table edging her kitchen and the stairway. Nedirmammedova came to Wyoming from Turkmenistan to study environmental science, and she has since added a second major in religious studies, plus two minors. She also works two jobs.

University of Wyoming

The football season may be over, but the conversation around concussions marches on. The day before the Superbowl, the NFL gave three winning companies $50,000 each to help them develop superior athletic technology.

Comparison of North Atlantic and global marine-margin temperature reconstructions with our pollen-inferred mean annual temperature reconstruction for North America and Europe.
Jeremiah Marsicek/University of Wyoming / Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature

A paper published by a former University of Wyoming graduate student shows recent temperatures across Europe and North America are at unprecedented highs. The report, titled "Reconciling Divergent Trends and Millennial Variations in Holocene Temperatures” looked at climate patterns over the past 11,000 years.

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