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Longtime Faculty Member Becomes UW Outreach School Dean

May 16, 2013
Susan Frye is the new dean of the UW Outreach School.

A longtime University of Wyoming faculty member, who has served in various leadership capacities and has a record of service around the state, has been named the next dean of UW’s Outreach School.

English Professor Susan Frye, who headed the Department of English and chaired UW’s Faculty Senate, will succeed Maggi Murdock upon Murdock’s return to regular faculty duties in the Department of Political Science at the start of fall semester 2013.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with the slate of candidates whom we interviewed, and I’m delighted that Susan is willing to take on a leadership role that is so pivotal to higher education in Wyoming,” says UW Provost Myron Allen, who announced Frye’s appointment this week.

Frye is an expert in Renaissance Studies and has written widely read books and numerous articles in this field. She came to UW in 1986 after receiving her Ph.D. at Stanford University. Her earlier education included an M.A. from the University of New Mexico and a B.A. from Smith College in Northampton, Mass.

During her time at UW, she has won numerous teaching awards, including the Ellbogen Award for Meritorious Classroom Teaching. She also has been recognized many times for her scholarly work, including through a fellowship at the Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif. In addition to her service as chair of the Faculty Senate and as head of the Department of English, she has spent this past academic year as a Fellow of the American Council on Education (ACE).

“Dean Murdock and the creative, hard-working administration, staff and faculty in Outreach provide both the human support and the technical support necessary to make distance education, the Casper campus and other statewide forms of education work for thousands of Wyoming's citizens,” Frye says. “Because of her exceptional service to the University of Wyoming and to the state, it will be a privilege to build on these successes.”

UW’s Outreach School includes numerous regional centers throughout Wyoming, Credit Programs, Technology Services, the UW/Casper College Center and Wyoming Public Media. In addition, UW’s International Programs Office has been incorporated under the Outreach School. Through the Outreach School, classes are delivered via distance technology to thousands of students across the state and around the world. The UW/CC Center offers 17 undergraduate and 13 graduate programs, with current enrollment of about 350 students. In all, nearly a quarter of all UW students register through the Outreach School.

Frye is among the many UW professors who’ve taught courses through the Outreach School, both to undergraduates and graduates. She also has extensive experience working with the state’s community colleges; serving on the task force that advised on the high school curriculum for the Hathaway Scholarship Program; connecting with high school teachers throughout the state; giving talks and leading book discussions in several communities; and teaching students in the Wyoming Summer High School Institute.

“I am deeply committed to our land-grant mission to provide all Wyoming citizens with educational opportunities and academic programs that meet the highest standards of excellence,” Frye says.

During her time as an ACE Fellow, Frye has spent considerable time studying distance learning technologies. She sees these evolving technologies as both a challenge and an opportunity for the Outreach School.

“The technology and expectations of distance education are changing rapidly in the nation and around the world,” she says. “We need to steer a steady course through these changes, making sure that we keep up with the times but that we retain a firm sense of our mission to provide affordable, accessible forms of high-quality education to Wyoming citizens as well as to people beyond our borders.”

Frye says her priorities, as she begins the job, are to connect with all of the Outreach School’s staff and faculty, and to speak with leaders across the state “in business and nonprofits, at community colleges, in communities generally, as well as on the Laramie campus in order to understand which outreach services are most effective and why.

“Outreach is a strong, successful organization because it has long stressed these forms of communication,” she says. “I look forward to working with these many stakeholders.”

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