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Message From The Chair - Bert Uchino, PhD

May 28, 2019

The spring marks the end of another very successful year for our department.  The highlight of our year being our 2019 graduating class.  During convocation, 12 of our students received their master’s degrees.  We also now have the pleasure of calling 11 of our students “Dr” after they received their doctoral degrees.  For these PhD graduates, it marks the end of an incredible educational journey and the beginning of life beyond the department as a scientist and educator.  I can tell you that they are off to a great start as many have secured strong academic jobs, teaching positions, and very competitive postdoctoral positions.  All the while, many of our graduate students have engaged in significant service in the community, including a graduate school preparation program for underrepresented students, outreach to rural high school students, and introducing middle-school girls to science and technology fields.  We are so proud of our graduate students and congratulate them for all their efforts and accomplishments this year!

We also had the opportunity at our departmental convocation to acknowledge a number of important awards, including the Clayton Award for Excellence in Research, Clayton Award for Excellence in Research on Underrepresented Populations, Kevin Hawley Memorial Award, B. Jack White Award, Nancy Patterson Klekas Outstanding Service Award, and Frederick T. Rhodewalt Award for Innovative Scholarship.  I wanted to sincerely thank all the families that have made such awards possible as they have supported truly outstanding scholars and research projects.

Our faculty again had a banner year for awards.  This year, faculty award winners included Jeanine Stefanucci (College Superior Teaching Award), Cecilia Wainryb (University of Utah Distinguished Teaching Award), and Lisa Diamond (Distinguished Creative and Scholarly Research Award).  Sheila Crowell was also awarded the Irwin Altman Outstanding Psychology Faculty Award.  Like Irv, she is truly a complete scholar who excels across all dimensions of scholarship.    

Finally, the department is saying goodbye to two very important members of our faculty who are retiring.  Frances Friedrich (Emeritus) is retiring after 34 years at the University of Utah.  She has truly made long-term contributions to our mission and was a source of great institutional wisdom and sage advice.  Oakley Gordon is retiring after an 18-year career at the University of Utah.  Oakley was a graduate of our program and we were fortunate to have him back as he was an innovative and outstanding instructor.  Their comments about their time here in the department and words of wisdom can be found on Fran's page and Oakley's page.  We are happy for both of them as they pursue the next chapters in their incredible academic and personal journeys. 

Lastly, this first year as Chair has been very busy but a time for personal growth.  I thank the staff who have really kept the department running seamlessly given my inexperience.  I am also grateful to the faculty and students who have been patient with me during this learning period.  I look forward to the upcoming academic year – but first things first – have a wonderful summer!

Last Updated: 7/8/19