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UW’s Student Experience is Rising to New Heights

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By Ed Seidel 

We recently celebrated the completion of the University of Wyoming’s Science Initiative Building, a $100 million facility where our students and faculty will conduct important, collaborative research to address the grand challenges facing our state, nation and world. Among many cutting-edge features of the new building is a special active-learning classroom where, starting this fall, all of our introductory biology courses—and many others—will take place. It’s an amazing setting, embracing the latest science-teaching techniques that emphasize hands-on, project-based work instead of just listening to lectures—where students will experience significantly improved learning outcomes.

Just across the street is the Michael B. Enzi STEM Facility, which opened just a few years ago and where all of our undergraduate science lab classes are conducted. It’s a modern, first-class setting for students to get their feet wet in chemistry, life sciences and physics. And just down the street from there is our recently opened Engineering Education and Research Building, another $100 million facility that is one of the most advanced and collaborative engineering learning facilities in the nation.

These new buildings—and others on our campus—are truly an impressive testament to the commitment of Wyoming to provide world-class learning environments for students at the state’s land-grant, flagship research university. But what is happening and will happen inside the facilities is even more impressive. Our students, both undergraduate and graduate, are working with world-renowned scientists and scholars on a wide variety of projects that aim to make the world a better place—finding breakthroughs in the biological and physical sciences to improve human health and safety, protect the environment, diversify Wyoming’s economy and address many societal challenges.

These facilities and programs—which have been the focus of UW’s Tier-1 Engineering Initiative, Top-Tier Science Initiative and other efforts—have provided a strong foundation for even more improvements to the opportunities for students at Wyoming’s university. As I have noted previously in this space, our new School of Computing, Wyoming Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (WyCEI) and Wyoming Outdoor Recreation, Tourism and Hospitality Initiative (WORTH) are all about creating new opportunities for UW students to graduate with the skills and knowledge they need to have successful careers in our modern economy—and make a difference in the world.

Together, these programs and facilities will provide an unparalleled environment for all of our students—to learn, to carry out research and to have more impact in their careers.

The School of Computing will work with other academic units to instill digital literacy in students across all majors. It will give students opportunities to use computing to address real-world problems and find solutions in all aspects of human endeavor, from the humanities and social sciences to the physical and life sciences, in agriculture, engineering, education, business, health care and much more.

Likewise, WyCEI aims to instill the skills and knowledge necessary for our graduates to create their own businesses in all of those fields, finding their place in the new economy and stimulating new economic activity for Wyoming. WORTH focuses on one particular economic sector—outdoor recreation, tourism and hospitality—where we expect our graduates will make significant contributions to both sustain and diversity the state’s No. 2 industry.

As these new programs and initiatives roll out over the next few years, UW’s value proposition to students—already one of the most amazing in the country—will rise to an even higher level. Add in the improvements we are making to our advising and student success programs—including the new Saddle Up onboarding program for first-year students—and you have all of the ingredients for a truly exceptional educational experience.

We recently celebrated commencement for many of our students who completed their courses of study and are ready to move to the next phase of their lives. It’s one of my favorite times of the year, as it gives me the chance to speak with our graduating students to hear of their accomplishments, successes and aspirations in detail. We’re also holding a series of Admitted Student Days for our incoming first-year and new transfer students. They’ll be the first

to study in the Science Initiative Building, and many of them will see the rollout of the School of Computing, WyCEI, WORTH and other programs during their time on campus.

UW is truly a university on the move. It’s a great time to be a Cowboy or Cowgirl! 

Ed Seidel is the president of the University of Wyoming

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