Ed Seidel, president of the University of Wyoming, emphasized the importance of innovation and collaboration at the university during the annual Wyoming Press Association conference Friday afternoon …
Ed Seidel, president of the University of Wyoming, emphasized the importance of innovation and collaboration at the university during the annual Wyoming Press Association conference Friday afternoon in Cheyenne.
His speech was in place of Gov. Mark Gordon, who was diagnosed with Covid earlier that day.
Seidel praised the small communities within the state as well as the communications and journalism department’s work connecting with these communities.
Seidel said that in anticipation of the growing focus on alternative energy, including nuclear power, UW has begun looking at ways to prepare students for these fields. He added that he and the university have been in regular contact with TerraPower, a nuclear energy company working on a project to build a new type of nuclear reactor in Kemmerer.
“What can we do to make Wyoming continue to meet the energy leader throughout the next future decades and we’re talking about the long term view here, nuclear power will be growing,” Seidel said. “So one of the things we’re working on is technician training for nuclear energy and this is something we’re doing with the community colleges.”
Seidel added that he has met with the head of the Nuclear Energy Commission in Washington. This year UW will also have a National Lab Day. The directors of the Department of Energy’s 17 national labs, Sen. John Barrasso and Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Katie Huff will be invited to visit the UW campus.
Seidel outlined other ways UW is looking to meet future needs, including those of the first class of high school graduates who did not finish their freshman year in a typical high school setting.
“We’re aware and we’re thinking hard about what kind of remedial training might be needed in order to bring students up. There was a lot of study now done on sort of second, third graders and what that did for them,” Seidel said. “And in particular, their STEM skills dropped really dramatically. And so there’s going to be a wave of students now from elementary school that are going to have to be catching up.”
In order to address a growing teacher shortage on the national level, Seidel said UW has been talking to schools and students about the career path and making it clear that the university is available for assistance. Scott Thomas, the dean of the College of Education, has been working on a new program that will help teachers graduate but continue to pursue education and professional mobility later in their careers.
For high school students approaching graduation as well as community college students looking for a next step, Seidel said UW is focusing on “doubling down on student success.” The university has focused on raising awareness and improving community college collaboration with UW.
“So there have been lots of stories about students who’ve tried to transfer from the community colleges and found that they weren’t quite either prepared or their graduate credits didn’t transfer,” Seidel said. “We’ve worked really hard to make sure that that’s not a problem anymore. I mean, there may be a few problems here and there, but we’re really committed to making sure we provide glide ramps into the university.”