Vol. 13. No. 4
Spring 2004



Dean of Students Stayner Landward

If “dean of students” is your title, your job description changes every day.

Just ask Stayner Landward BS’70 MS’73 PhD’80, the U’s current dean of students.

Lost students? (“I haven’t heard from my son in four days. Do you know where he is?”) Angry students? (“I’m failing economics because my professor doesn’t like me.”) Confused students? (“You mean there are deadlines for tuition payments?”

Ask the dean.

Thirty-two years at the U, the last seven as dean, have given Landward an invaluable institutional memory, a generally unflappable demeanor, and a studied perspective on how the student experience has changed over the years. “The stakes are higher now,” he says. “The competition is keener.”

Landward says several factors have increased the pressure University students face: higher tuition costs; more college graduates competing for jobs; more hours spent working, often to provide for a family; and the rise and fall of the economy (which affects the number of recruiters on campus).

“When I was a student [at the U], the focus was on college as an educational experience, which prevailed over future employment,” he says. Today, he notes, it’s harder to find a job in the desired field, so students come to campus already thinking about the workplace—and feeling the pressure.

For Landward himself, the campus morphed into the workplace years ago. He interned at the admissions office while pursuing a master’s in educational psychology, helping to develop the first academic advising center at the U. He eventually became director of academic advising, then director of admissions, and earned a doctorate in social work along the way. His academic area of emphasis—marriage and family counseling—has surely helped him deal with overloaded students.

But U of U students are still, well…students, exploring academic and social issues in a new, more diverse, setting. So Landward offers them the same advice he gives his own children: “Expose yourself to the diversity of thought and culture available here,” he says. “Be prepared and open to having your traditional thoughts and ideas challenged. If those beliefs are based on sound values, you’ll come 360 degrees back to them, but instead of borrowing them, as you were doing, they’ll be yours.”

He adds, “Be open to study-abroad possibilities. Get involved in extracurricular activities, whether it’s sports, service, religion, whatever. And look for leadership opportunities.”

In fact, Landward says that connecting students with those types of opportunities is central to the role of the dean’s office. “Most people think the dean’s job is to address disciplinary matters, but it’s really to be an advocate for community on campus,” Landward says. “I spend most of my time on campus advocacy and leadership issues—everything from diversity scholarships to Stop-the- Hate workshops. We want to create a community here.”

Still, crises and disciplinary issues also make their way to his office, everything from incidents of discrimination to financial problems to traumatic personal events. One of the hardest was the stabbing death of U theater student Amy Quinton in 1999. “It was very difficult,” he says, “but I’m glad that we could find ways to support her family,” including a special Commencement ceremony at which Quinton’s parents accepted her diploma.

Landward’s open-door policy means that a crisis—or a triumph—can walk in at any time, which, he says, is what being a student advocate is all about. “I love the satisfaction of dealing with challenging issues,” he says. “Our team really works to educate students. If you just clobber students, they only learn not to be caught. We want to work toward understanding, for a lifetime change.”


Interim President Lorris Betz

With the departure of J. Bernard Machen, now serving as president of the University of Florida, Dr. Lorris Betz was appointed interim president of the University of Utah, effective Jan. 1, 2004. Betz is currently the University’s senior vice president for health sciences, dean of the School of Medicine, and CEO of the University of Utah Health System. He will serve as interim president until a new president is appointed later in 2004.

Betz began at the University in 1999 and also holds faculty appointments in the Department of Pediatrics and the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy.

During the interim period, Dr. David J. Bjorkman, currently senior associate dean of the School of Medicine, will serve as the interim dean of the School of Medicine.


How has the U of U student experience changed? Or has it? Continuum asked former ASUU presidents what the campus was like in their day.

Earl Wunderli BA’56 JD’59 1956
Although we didn’t recognize it at the time, those were innocent days during the placid Eisenhower presidency. School spirit was cultivated with the whitewashing of the U, mud races during Hello Week, and green beanies for freshmen during Freshman Week. Fraternities and sororities dominated activities and got along reasonably well with their neighbors. We still had dances at Lagoon, dancing to the likes of Count Basie’s band. This was pre-Title IX, when we had men’s sports like wrestling but no women’s gymnastics. But we did beat the Y in both football and basketball. And we registered for classes by standing in line rather than online.

John Pingree BA’64
- That was the cusp of the Vietnam War, so there was the start of an antiwar feeling, but no rioting yet. I remember that the art department had an exhibit in the Union that showed female frontal nudity. I don’t think the students cared too much, but the downtown community came unglued. It was also the year that the Pi Kaps broke the color barrier. They pledged a Japanese American student from Davis County. The national traveling secretary objected, and it was brought to the national convention, with the chapter eventually getting agreement that they had a right to pledge whom they wanted. So, there were quiet controversies.

Randy Dryer BS’73 JD’76
1971 - It was a very exciting time. It was the height of the Vietnam War protest and an age of great social and political activism across the country. There were antiwar protests, a sit-in at the Park Building, and the Intercultural Center was burned down. Protesters were trying to close down the University. I called for a student vote about whether we should boycott class. We also organized “Participation ’70” to get students to go out to the Republican and Democratic mass meetings. That year, one-third of all delegates elected to the state Democratic convention were students, and about 20 percent of the Republican delegates were students.

Jacque Morgan King BS’89
1988 - The first thing I remember is the activity on campus related to the anti-apartheid movement. Students built mock shanties, which raised some eyebrows, but it was all part of a healthy debate. Second, I remember we had tuition increases, which no one wanted, but the student body presidents in the state worked with the regents to get some of the funds to go to the library. Third—and maybe this is because I was the second woman, and the first African American woman at the U to be president—I remember that there was more recognition of the notion of diversity, not just of color, but of politics, opinions, attitudes, and pastimes.

Tamara Taylor BA’95
1993 - Diversity was a really big issue for students, both here and nationally. A lot of that came out of the diversity requirement; there was a big push at the time to ratify that requirement, which happened the year after I left. The Rodney King incident happened during my tenure, so that was an impetus to talk about race relations on campus, and to ask questions about our recruiting policies and curriculum. We also realized we needed to acknowledge nontraditional students—those, for example, who worked, had kids, and were older. Student affairs offices started staying open later, we had more night classes, and we developed a child-care coordinating office.

Ben Lowe BS’03
2001 - The most memorable event of 2001 was the terrorist attack on Sept. 11. ASUU organized a candlelight vigil with speakers representing various university communities. I was impressed by the tremendous outpouring of support, as thousands of students and members of the local community gathered to pay respect to the victims and their families. The Olympics were the major event of 2002, as the University hosted two venues on campus. Because of the University’s transformation into an Olympic venue, students were asked to endure major disruptions in parking and class schedules. School was closed for three weeks, which allowed thousands of students to participate in the games as volunteers and employees.


William D. Cocorinis, 81, BS’57, longtime instructor of Modern Greek in the Dept. of Languages and Literature and a 1998 recipient of the Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award.

C. Robert Peterson, 71, celebrated baritone whose distinguished performing career included more than 100 productions with Pioneer Theatre Company.

Thomas G. Stockham Jr., 70, professor of electrical engineering and computer science (1968-1994) who helped create the computer science department and was internationally recognized for his work in digital recording.

Elizabeth Haglund, 89, who served the U for 29 years, first as executive director of public relations and later as special assistant to the president (Chase Peterson).


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