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Your Letters

Mourning a Great Teacher

Thank you for the latest copy of the Continuum magazine. I certainly enjoyed the article on Dr. Mario Capecchi, and the other news items, etc. Your magazine is a little more intellectual and positive than the usual alumni magazines. I read it with anticipation, that there might be something in it that I can use in my classroom, etc.

What amazed me was that as I read the articles about superb teachers and the award winners, I asked myself, “I wonder what ever happened to J.D. Williams? ...” I have been wondering about that for a long time, since I tell my students that they all should have had a class from Williams. And then lo and behold, I turn to page 16 and very sadly read that Dr. Williams passed away on September 3. He obviously meant a great deal to me. I did not major in political science, though. I only took one of his courses. But the man was prepared at each lecture, and was so intellectual that you had to concentrate, concentrate! He made all of us better.

Please tell your administration to find another J.D. Williams, if they can. His type is very important to the fabric of our society and to the reputation of the university.

Dr. Russ Stubbles ex’68
South Dakota State University

More Diversity, Please

As someone working in the field of educational equity, I noticed the absence of images of people of color in the Continuum magazine. ...

I haven’t done any research on previous issues, so I hope that this is not a trend. In the new Winter 07-08 issue, I counted 94 facial images in the body of the magazine itself, and another 57 facial images in advertisements (not counting two large-group, very small shots where individual features were not distinguishable by skin tone).

Of these images, one faculty (Emeritus Yen-Ching Pao) and four student alumni board members could be counted as people of color. In the advertisements, seven of 57 images could be distinguished as not white.

Some diversity could be counted in the text, in the article about a female veterinarian (white), and in brief accolade articles, including AIDS research, the Bennion Service center (mentions underprivileged), a new religious studies track, the Office of Sustainability (social consciousness), and Confucius Institute. It seems that while the university may be broadening the programs to include more diversity, the magazine promotes the status quo through focusing on primarily male, white images.

Perhaps the university is just what is pictured, a primarily white male institution without much of an interest in recruiting and retaining students and faculty of color, or in promoting the image that diversity is welcome. That would be very sad. ...

Perhaps you would consider devoting an issue to the diversity initiatives currently happening within the university, and feature articles on programs and faculty that are seeking to support a global citizenship based on social justice and the strengths brought by its diverse community members. For example, I am very impressed with the School of Education, Culture and Society. You might want to highlight this very diverse faculty and program in a future issue. It might also be nice to see diverse alumni in the “Through the Years” section (which, in this current issue contained images of five white men and one white woman). I am sure that there are other examples of diversity programming at the U that could be highlighted.

Thank you for listening. I look forward to seeing changes in your publication in the future.

Deborah Esquibel Hunt PhD’93
Denver, Colorado

Managing Editor Linda Marion responds:

The editorial staff is keenly aware of the need to highlight stories and individuals that represent the diversity at the University of Utah—still a relatively small percentage of the faculty and student body, but increasing annually. Diversity is, in fact, one of the cornerstones of U of U President Michael Young’s vision for the University, which he outlined in his inaugural address. And Continuum magazine is assisting in those efforts by focusing on diversity at the U (people and programs) as often as possible.

As recent examples, we can point to Continuum’s Summer 2007 cover story, about University Neighborhood Partners’ Adelante Program, or the Spring 2007 feature “Medicine Women,” or the “And Finally” article in the Fall 2008 issue by Theresa Martinez, assistant vice president for academic outreach and associate professor of sociology, or Fall 2006’s “The Human Connection,” about the recruitment of foreign faculty, among many others (all of which are available at

And of course, the cover story in this issue focuses on the Center for American Indian Languages program and its efforts to preserve Native American languages.

As for “Through The Years,” we make a special effort to gather information on women and minority populations and to highlight their achievements as U of U alumni. However, we frequently find ourselves digging to fill the pages with greater variety. We encourage and welcome all alumni—regardless of race, gender, or any other factor—to send us their news.

We’re eager to hear from you. Please send letters to editor Jason Matthew Smith,, or to 201 Presidents Circle, Room 308, Salt Lake City, UT 84112.

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