University of Wyoming

The Wyoming House and Senate approved their versions of the state budget on Friday and will now work on reaching a compromise to send to the Governor.  One of the entities that received a lot of attention was the University of Wyoming.  Senate Appropriations Chairman Eli Bebout said that UW was treated well.

“We made some cuts, that’s what we do.  But we gave some endowment money, we are moving ahead on a tier 1 Engineering College, we did the double-A, looking at the Corbett pools, we did that endowed chair for petroleum engineering.”

The Wyoming House and Senate withdrew an amendment that stirred up segments of the University of Wyoming community Wednesday. The Amendment would have been added to the budget bill. 

It required UW deans to meet with a special legislative committee to discuss areas of mutual concern and ways to enhance the educational missions of their departments.

A study by UW scientists finds that bedrock plays as big of a role as climate in determining how much vegetation grows in an area.

Bedrock is the layer of rock beneath the soil.

Lead author Jesse Hahm says he did the research because he was puzzled by the patchiness of forest cover.

The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees has formalized a public art policy that's been informally in effect since 2012. The policy creates the President’s Public Art Committee, which is made up of five members from art and non-art departments on campus. The Committee is responsible for reviewing art works proposed for installation on and around campus, and providing recommendations. The UW President, in consultation with the President of the Trustees makes the final call.

Grammy-award winning jazz group, the Yellowjackets, will perform with the University of Wyoming Jazz Ensemble Thursday night. The Yellowjackets will also conduct workshops with UW musicians.  UW Jazz Ensemble director Scott Turpen says the Yellowjackets’ visit is part of the music department’s Eminent Artist-in-Residence program.

Micah Schweizer

The University of Wyoming Art Museum’s spring exhibitions are now open to the public. Current displays feature everything from visiting artist Bently Spang’s burnt tree rubbings to student and faculty work to American Gothic landscapes. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here’s a look at what goes into putting all that art on the wall.

Debra Fine

On Thursday acclaimed author and speaker Debra Fine will appear at the University of Wyoming Ballroom at 4:30  discussing the art of a conversation.  Fine is a former engineer and the founder of the company called The Fine Art of Small Talk.

VanHouten Photography

Maestro Gerard Schwarz raises his baton at the University of Wyoming. The former Seattle Symphony Orchestra director has 13 Grammy nominations and two Emmy wins to his credit, among numerous other awards. Tonight (Feb. 6), he’ll conduct three university ensembles in a public performance at the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts at 7:30 PM. UW music department chair Theresa Bogard says Schwarz is honing the student groups’ sound.

As part of the UW request to the Wyoming legislature, WPM requested $2.5 million in the 2014 legislative session for critical infrastructure upgrades and replacements. WPM operates sites throughout the state.  Many of them are operating on equipment far past its useful time.  The most critical sites serve Laramie/Cheyenne and Rock Springs. 

“Wyoming Public Radio” is a state treasure.  Every Wyomingite should be able to access on ratio the public programming it provides, as well as critical emergency broadcasts,” says Christina Kuzmych, WPM General Manager.

A research lab dedicated to finding new ways to collect and use carbon dioxide is a step closer to becoming a reality. 

The Legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee has recommended that $15 million be set aside for the project, which would be located at one of Wyoming’s coal-fired power plants.  The project would be a collaboration between the state, the University of Wyoming, and a power company.

Former University of Wyoming rodeo coach Pete Burns died at his home in Laramie on January 25.  He was 85 years old.  Pete Burns served as the university’s rodeo coach from 1982 until 1996. 

His oldest son, Hal Burns, says his father leaves behind a well-regarded legacy for the UW rodeo team. “Fourteen years, he coached the University of Wyoming rodeo team,” Hal says.  “During his tenure, the Wyoming women won eight regional championships and three national championships, which is pretty amazing.  He was very, very top coach in the college rodeo.  Had lots of success.”

A former Wyoming Olympian and University of Wyoming Graduate will be serving as a U.S. Representative for the February Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.  Sarah Konrad graduated from U.W. with a PhD in Glaciology in 2001 and went on to qualify in cross country skiing and the Biathlon at the 2006 games in Torino, Italy.  Konrad currently works at U.W. as the Associate Director of Wyoming’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research.

For forty years the U-S has banned the export of most all crude oil. Matt Laslo reports a new debate is raging in Washington over whether to end the ban.

MATT LASLO: The U-S banned crude oil exports after the Arab oil embargo of 1973. It’s been in place since, which has negatively impacted global oil prices. Wyoming Republican Senator John Barrasso says he’s ready to lift the ban.

Willow Belden

When energy development happens on public lands, companies have to reclaim the land. That means restoring the landscape after it’s been disturbed. But exactly what’s required varies from one part of the state to another. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports that agencies are making those rules more consistent, in hopes of helping keep sage grouse off the endangered species list.

UW News Service

Last summer Paula Lutz from Montana State University was hired to replace longtime University of Wyoming Arts and Sciences Dean Oliver Walter.  She joins us today on Open Spaces to share her vision for the College.  She speaks with Bob Beck.

Gov. Matt Mead says he thinks Dick McGinity will be a good president for the University of Wyoming.

McGinity had been serving as interim president, after Bob Sternberg resigned last year. Last week, the UW Board of Trustees decided to appoint him as the new president, without conducting a search.

Speaking to the Wyoming Press Association on Friday, Mead said McGinity is a good pick.

“He and I served together on the Wyoming Business Council,” Mead said. "I think he is a stellar guy. … He is humble; he is smart; he is going to provide great direction to UW.”

University of Wyoming

For many years, Wyoming lawmakers have been reluctant to impose new regulations on industry.  At the national level, the congressional delegation has been highly critical anytime the Environmental Protection Agency proposes new regulations on energy production, saying that it costs jobs. 

State leaders have echoed those statements, and over the years many legislators have even expressed concern about adding staff to the Department of Environmental Quality, fearing that it could lead to over regulation. 

An all ages weekly concert series in Laramie started as a training ground for students. Now, Studio WYO brings a steady flow of local and regional bands to the University of Wyoming on Thursday nights… and has become a hub for music lovers.

Tonight's act is Hectic Hobo, a gypsy rock band from Salt Lake City. Sort of like an updated version of old west saloon music. UW Student Miles Griffith booked the band.

Thursday the University of Wyoming trustees are scheduled to discuss the position of UW President.  Many on the UW faculty list serve have expressed concern that Interim President, Dick McGinity, will be appointed to the position permanently without a search. Faculty Senate Chair Colin Keeney warns against leaping to conclusions.

Micah Schweizer

Teffany Fegler coordinates the University of Wyoming’s  Student Educational Opportunity Center in Ethete, WY. The daughter of two educators, she continues her family's legacy by helping students achieve the dream of going to college.

Chelsea Biondolillo

Chelsea Biondolillo is a prose writer living in Wyoming. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Shenandoah, River Teeth, Passages North, Hayden’s Ferry Review and others. She has a master’s degree from the University of Wyoming in creative writing and environmental studies, and is currently working on a book about vultures.

These essays were originally published in The Fiddleback.

Jeff Lockwood interviewed on Science Friday

Jan 3, 2014
Erin O'Doherty

Jeffrey Lockwood, University of Wyoming professor, entomologist and author of The Infested Mind: Why Humans Fear, Love, and Loathe Insects, was interviewed on Science Friday via one of Wyoming Public Radio's studios.

The Interim President of the University of Wyoming says he favors academic freedom and research into a variety of topics, even if it upsets some industries or politicians in the state. Dick McGinity says that latitude is important.

“There’s probably research in any number of areas that may not be pleasing to one group of people compared to another," he says. "But I think academics should be free to pursue those.”

The University of Wyoming may look at reducing the number of degree offerings.  Interim President Dick McGinity says the goal is to not eliminate jobs, but to make sure that faculty are not being asked to do too much.   He notes that there are much bigger institutions that offer the same number of degrees as the University of Wyoming.  McGinity is not sure that is realistic.

We’re joined now by Mark Jenkins of Laramie. He recently went to a remote area in Asia for a story for National Geographic.  He speaks with Willow Belden. 

The geology museum at the University of Wyoming recently re-opened after a long remodel. One of the features unveiled is a new fossil preparation lab. This lab offers U-W students, museum visitors, and the community a variety of opportunities to learn more about fossil prep. Wyoming Public Radio’s Chelsea Biondolillo has more.

Wyoming has the fifth lowest average debt in the nation for students who graduated from college in 2012. That’s according to a recently published study by the Institute for College Access and Success. In Wyoming the average debt was just over $21,000.

Director of Student Financial Aid at the University of Wyoming, Joanna Carter, says there are several things that keep borrowing relatively low at UW.

UW worried about losing research faculty

Dec 12, 2013
University of Wyoming

In making a request for pay hikes for University of Wyoming faculty and staff before the legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee, University Vice President for Research, Bill Gern, spent a considerable amount of time discussing some of the major research faculty who are leaving U-W. 

Gern says they have lost or are losing up to 20 key faculty members who are taking their research dollars with them.  He says recent budget cuts have made it difficult for the University to keep some of these faculty...and their departure has a major impact on U-W.

Senator suggests tuition hike for UW

Dec 12, 2013

After hearing the budget request from the University of Wyoming, a State Senator says it is time that U-W look at raising tuition to a much higher level. 

Senate Appropriations Chairman Eli Bebout says the cost of maintaining a high quality institution is substantial.  Bebout says U-W had to go through some difficult budget cuts and so it may be time that the University take steps to raise some of its own revenue.                  

Manasseh Franklin: Recipe for the Essence of Rootlessness

Dec 10, 2013

Manasseh Franklin is a Creative Nonfiction and Environment and Natural Resources MFA candidate. While she's proud of her east coast roots, she's happy to call the open spaces of the western states home.