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.

Bohl Era Is Set To Start

Aug 29, 2014

The much anticipated Craig Bohl coaching era begins Saturday (today) as the Wyoming Cowboys football team hosts Montana.

The Grizzlies are led by Senior Quarterback Jordan Johnson and Bohl says they will be difficult to stop. 

The University of Wyoming Family Medicine Residency programs in Casper and Cheyenne have received an important new federal designation that will help both the programs and patients. 

UW Health Sciences Dean Joe Steiner says it will mean enhanced Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements and better recruitment and retention of doctors—and will allow the programs to serve more patients.                

UW

The University of Wyoming is looking to upgrade its science programs in an effort to become a top-tier research University.

Last week Governor Matt Mead appointed a task force to look into steps the University of Wyoming can take to raise the caliber of its science programs.

University of Wyoming Athletics, the American Cancer Society, Wyoming Community Foundation, and Cameco resources kicked off the Cameco Teams for Dreams partnership that is attempting to fight cancer through prevention.   

When the Wyoming Cowboys football team plays Saturday, the Pokes will have a new starting quarterback. While Colby Kirkegaard has played in several games…it will be a new experience for him to be start the season as the number one quarterback.   

Coaches say that Kirkegaard has played with a lot of poise during fall camp and they hope that continues. While he is excited about being the starter, Kirkegaard says he doesn’t feel any pressure, because it will be a team effort.

Bob Beck

The Wyoming Cowboys football season fell apart last year. The Cowboys finished with five wins and seven losses, but lost five of their last six games. After the season ended the Cowboys also lost their Coach, and watched their starting quarterback AND his backup leave the team. New Coach Craig Bohl had a lot of success coaching at North Dakota State where he won three National Championships in a division below Wyoming. The question is whether he and his coaching staff can turn things around in Laramie. 

With a little over a week to go before the start of the University of Wyoming football season, Cowboys Head Coach Craig Bohl  likes what he sees. 

Bohl says the offensive line continues to be a work in progress, but he says that unit has improved—and believes they’ll continue to get better.            

“I think we are on task.  You see developments during fall camp as far as guys understanding our system, certainly all the nuances on offensive and defense and certainly the kicking game has taken a positive step since spring ball.”

Aaron Schrank

As Wyoming teachers gear up for another school year, there’s more emphasis than ever on improving so-called STEM education in the state. STEM is an acronym that stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. As Wyoming Public Radio’s Aaron Schrank reports, the number of jobs in these fields is rapidly rising in Wyoming, and the state’s education leaders are working together to prepare.

commons.wikimedia.org

Historic sandstone buildings, granite boulders, giant spruce trees: step onto the University of Wyoming campus, and you know where you are. As new construction projects begin, the University wants to make sure the designs adhere to its iconic image. To that end, the University is working with a team of architectural consultants to come up with guidelines for how to preserve its historic character. 

University of Wyoming

Every year, nearly half a million Chinese students travel abroad to attend college. The U.S. is the most popular destination for these students—whose parents spend around $165,000 for an American education. Many of these students come to study Western classical music. And for the last decade or so, Chinese musicians have taken center stage in the world of classical music.

Wyoming_Jackrabbit via Flickr Creative Commons

The University of Wyoming is working to update its preservation plan for historic buildings on campus. The current preservation plan was written in 1999 and is now out of date since many buildings now qualify as historic that once did not.

With lots of construction and renovation taking place on campus, UW's Interim Director of Facilities Planning Larry Blake says new guidelines are necessary.

Aaron Schrank

University of Wyoming trustees and the state’s top lawmakers are sitting around a table in Casper. On today’s agenda: the relationship between the Legislature and UW. Get-togethers like this mid-July meeting don’t happen often.

"This is the first time, and I’ve been around politics quite a while," says Senator Eli Bebout, who has spent more than 20 years in the Legislature. "Where we got with the Board of Trustees, the President and members of the leadership and other key legislators to talk about these things. It’s the way it should be."

A Wyoming author is among this year’s winners of the prestigious PEN Literary Awards, announced this morning in New York.

Nina McConigley is a lecturer in the University of Wyoming’s English Department. Her collection of short stories, ‘Cowboys and East Indians,’ is one of two winners of the PEN Open Book Award. The $5,000 award is for a book-length work by an author of color. McConigley’s father is Irish; her mother is from India. 'Cowboys and East Indians' draws on her multicultural upbringing in Wyoming.

A bacteria found naturally in the soil around uranium deposits may become a powerful tool in cleaning up old mine sites. A group of University of Wyoming scientists are collaborating with Cameco, a uranium mining company in Converse County. They’re experimenting with the bacteria’s ability to convert soluble uranium that can contaminate groundwater into less harmful solid form.

MDV via Flickr Creative Commons

The University of Wyoming’s College of Education is taking issue with complaints made about the quality of its graduates.

Last week, at a UW Trustees’ meeting, Governor Mead’s education policy adviser Mary Kay Hill said that the most qualified K-12 teachers in the state “are not coming from UW.”

She pointed to a 2011 report that shows nearly 70 percent of new school district hires in Wyoming came from institutions outside of the state. That’s up from 50 percent in 2000.

H.L. Hix: The Seasons, In Verse

Jul 22, 2014

H. L. Hix teaches in the Philosophy Department at the University of Wyoming.  His most recent poetry collection is As Much As, If Not More Than (Etruscan Press, 2014); the poems recorded here are from his book First Fire, Then Birds (Etruscan Press, 2010). Hix has been recognized with an NEA Fellowship, the Grolier Prize, the T. S. Eliot Prize, and the Peregrine Smith Award. His poems have been translated into Spanish, Russian, Urdu, and other languages.

Aaron Schrank

It’s before 8 o’ clock in the morning, and there’s a surprising amount of noise coming from a basement classroom in UW’s library.

Inside is a group of about 25 sitting in a circle, playing instruments or humming along. For most of the year, these people are music educators teaching in schools all over Wyoming. But in the summer, they’re students themselves—in a UW summer master’s program. Today, they’re learning a melody by ear.

Wyoming_Jackrabbit via Flickr Creative Commons

Wyoming state legislators want more communication and coordination with the University of Wyoming.

The UW Board of Trustees met with several House and Senate members in Casper this week to discuss the relationship between the Legislature and the school. Senate President Tony Ross says the meeting was a good first step, but lawmakers need to play a bigger role in the future.

Courtesy UW

University of Wyoming Computer Science Professor Jeff Clune saw his research published this week showing that robots’ problem-solving skills can be improved by encouraging ‘creative thinking’ in artificial intelligence.

The research was accepted in ‘Proceedings of the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference,’ a peer-reviewed publication.

The robots Clune and his team experimented with were rewarded when they ‘had ideas’ they never had before—basically when their simulated neurons displayed new patterns.

Two Poems By Kate Northrop

Jul 2, 2014

Kate Northrop teaches in the Department of English at the University of Wyoming. She earned a BA in English from the University of Pennsylvania and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Iowa. Kate recently received the 2014 Jeannette Haien Ballard Writers Award. Her most recent collections of poems, Clean, was published in 2011 by Persea Books.

University of Wyoming

Assistant Professor Jay Gatlin has won the first Pew Scholar award for the campus.

Gatlin was awarded the highly competitive research grant—which comes with 200 and 40 thousand dollars of research funding—based on his promising work in biomedical sciences.

“I study the cellular machinery,” Gatlin explained, “that’s responsible for separating the copies of DNA during cell division.”

This machinery is important, says Gatlin, because it might hold keys to new treatments for cancer—a disease marked by very rapid cell division.

Melodie Edwards

In 1986, a large mammoth rib bone was found jutting out of the bank of a creek a few miles from Douglas.  The state archaeologist, Dr. George Frison, did a hasty 4-day excavation at the time.  But a thorough excavation has never been done because the land owners weren’t interested in hosting an archaeology dig on their property.  That left archaeologists with a big question--was LaPrele Creek a mammoth kill site?  But recently the land sold and archaeologists have finally been allowed to dig. 

MDV via Flickr Creative Commons

A University of Wyoming report says that UW brings $130 million dollars in external funding into the state each year, spurs $129 million in other economic activity, and is responsible for creating more than 2,200 jobs.

The report sought to quantify economic impacts that would not occur in Wyoming if the University wasn’t in the state, including spending by non-resident students and visitors, and startup businesses stemming from UW research.

For the first time, Laramie’s Snowy Range Summer Theatre is doing a touring show. ‘Swingtime Canteen’ is in Laramie June 19-21 and 26-28 (opening night is free to the public). In between, the show will travel to Riverton on June 22, Rock Springs on June 23, Lander on June 24, and Dubois on June 25. Wyoming Public Radio’s Micah Schweizer spoke with the director, Leigh Selting.

Jimmy Emerson, DVM via Flickr Creative Commons

The University of Wyoming’s undergraduate elementary education program has work to do to meet standards for effective teacher training. That’s according to a report released Tuesday by the National Council on Teacher Quality—a think tank that pushes for tougher evaluations of classroom teachers. 

The report includes a ranking of U.S. teaching colleges, and found that the vast majority of programs failed to prepare teachers for the classroom.

Aaron Schrank

Robert Sheetz spent five years in the U.S. Navy, working on a flight deck, fixing fighter jets. When he got out, the Colorado native came to Wyoming—to put his GI Bill benefit toward an anthropology degree.     

“I was a 23-year-old freshman coming into the University of Wyoming, coming from an area where I had a huge structure system around me from being in the military,” Sheetz said.  “So I had to kind of learn to build that system for myself and figure out how to be a college student after not being in school for five years.”

Rebecca Golden

The Laramie Mural Project will celebrate its tenth public artwork with an outdoor party on Friday, June 13. The Mural Project is collaboration between artists, the University of Wyoming Art Museum and the Laramie Main Street Alliance. Since 2011, it has decorated the sides of downtown buildings with images ranging from migrant farm workers to prairie dogs. 

Wyoming_Jackrabbit via Flickr Creative Commons

Higher education institutions from around Wyoming are working together to develop strategies to better serve military veterans on their campuses.

The first-of-its-kind, three-day conference features representatives from colleges and vocational schools statewide.  They say veterans returning to civilian life face challenges and have special needs—and entering into a higher education setting adds to that.

Conference organizer Marty Martinez is project coordinator at UW’s Veterans Services Center.  He says becoming a veteran-friendly school is easier said than done. 

Aaron Schrank/WPR

Hess Corporation President Greg Hill joined Gov. Matt Mead at The University of Wyoming Thursday to announce the company’s plan to donate $4.3 million more to help build UW’s new energy and engineering research complex.

Hess has now committed a total of $10 million to the university, $8.7 million of which will be matched by state funds.

The gifts support the High Bay Research Facility, which will be used for large-scale experiments and research aimed at tapping ‘unconventional reservoirs.’

The newly discovered abundance of domestic oil and gas is creating a shortage of something else: the petroleum engineers who regulate drilling activities. Government petroleum engineers approve companies’ drilling plans and inspect wells after they’re completed to make sure they’re not at risk of contaminating water or blowing out, but as Wyoming Public Radio’s Stephanie Joyce reports, there just aren’t enough petroleum engineers to go around.  

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