2014 BEACONS OF EXCELLENCE AWARDS
Dr. Kurt Albertine is Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Neonatology, Adjunct
Professor of Internal Medicine, and Adjunct Professor of Neurobiology & Anatomy.
He has trained nearly 70 undergraduate students in his research
laboratory, where they learn whole-animal physiology and
neonatal intensive care through working with chronically-
ventilated preterm lambs. A student stated on his behalf,
“Dr. Albertine will bend over backwards for others success, especially his family of undergraduate students at the lab”. Another writes, “Kurt creates an environment for student development where the sky is the limit”. Of the undergraduates he has trained, 82% have matriculated to medical school. Dr. Albertine personifies what it means to be an educator. “I can attribute my success in becoming a physician and future researcher to Dr. Albertine’s guidance and experience. I am just thankful he was willing to invest his time and resources in me and I know that I am only one of many to come”.
Asian American Student's Association (AASA)
Since its inception in 1992, the Asian American Student Association (AASA) promotes
equity and social justice advocacy for underrepresented populations at the University
of Utah. AASA has become known as a powerhouse by actively collaborating with other
student organizations, serving on campus committees, to leading efforts for student
advocacy and social justice. AASA’s established programming not only acknowledges
the needs and uniqueness of each group but also ensures that each
voice is heard in unison. Indeed it is to no surprise that
students describe the group as a family and support system away from home. During the last few years, AASA has steadily grown from a small group to become one of the largest and most active student organizations on campus. Their efforts are fully noted in their high school recruitment efforts, bringing almost 300 high school students for their annual conference to the university campus. AASA is truly the embodiment of a Beacon of Excellence.
Rehabilitation and Wellness CEnter
Originally conceived by Dr. Ed Gappmaier, and currently under the direction of Drs. Lee Diibble, Jim Ballard, Heather Hayes, and Ed Gappmaier, the Rehabilitation and Wellness Clinic provides a rare opportunity for students from a multitude of backgrounds, educational levels, and colleges at the University of Utah to interact and learn while serving the community. Housed in the U’s Department of Physical Therapy in the College of Health, the Clinic provides community based physical activity programs, allowing adults with chronic health conditions to be active participants in their health and wellness in a supervised, compassionate, and caring environment. By operating outside the auspices of health insurance, students gain unique perspectives on the limitations of insurance reimbursement and the benefits of increasing self-efficacy by involving participants in their own preventative care. A family member of a patient states, “We saw first-hand just how people who really care can make a significant difference in the lives of many people”, while another nominee writes, “I watch, with pride as these students transform from shy, reticent college students into professional, student caregivers."
Peak Health & Fitness
The PEAK Health and Fitness Clinic was developed to provide services that enhance
the general health and fitness of the employees of the university and the community
and to prepare future health and exercise leaders. Housed in the College of Health,
PEAK provides workshops and seminars, health assessment and fitness testing, nutrition
continuing education opportunities. In addition, it offers
university employees a wide variety of classes including
boot camp, circuit training, indoor cycling, pilates, stretch and strengthen, total body fitness, walking for fitness, weight training, and yoga. PEAK services such as nutritional consultation, the bod pod, resting metabolic rate measurement, and personal training and fitness program development are also available at no cost to university employees through their wellness program. As a past student put it, “PEAK has given me opportunities like no other college experience I have had. It has given me the opportunity to learn and grow in my field in a non-competitive or nonjudgmental environment. I have found this to be some of the best preparation for my future thus far”.
Jim Agutter is an Assistant Professor of Architecture in the College of Architecture and Planning. He has taught within the College and in an Honor’s College Think Tank. His students comment that he helped them “create diverse and unique projects” in all of his classes through “engaged learning by the ways of community collaboration, onsite exposure to concepts and ideas, participatory and peer-evaluation strategies.” He is a mentor to many of these students and have helped many of them find their place at the University of Utah and within the design discipline. Jim is the Director of the Multidisciplinary Design Program and has transformed the program from a concept to an undergraduate major. He is responsible for assembling quality career line faculty who bring many industry connections into the new program. His research focuses on the application of design concepts to large scale, real-time environments. He holds seven patents for his work with his collaborators. At the University of Utah he is well known for bringing his design thinking concepts and applying them to student experience design, curricular development and healthcare innovation. His tireless work is recognized by his students, colleagues, administrators and alumni
Sanja Miscovic, an assistant professor in Metallurgical Engineering, is valued by
her students as an inspiring teacher and a supportive mentor. She finds ways to bring
current news into her classes and pushes students to engage outside the classroom.
For example, one student writes, “She
encouraged me…to start a student organization…to work on engineering projects in ‘zero-G’ environments.” Her students particularly praise her efforts to engage them in research. Another student says, “She motivated me to learn and develop as a young researcher.” Students praise her ability to make them think big and drive them to participate in seminars, conferences, and projects. Her willingness to invest in students both inside and outside of the classroom, her passion for the success of her students and her ‘high vision for her student's capabilities’ exemplifies the ideals envisioned in the Beacons of Excellence Award.