In order to keep Utah competitive, leaders in Utah have created a significant goal: 66% of Utah’s population will have postsecondary degree by the year 2020. Essential to Utah’s success to this goal is to increase higher education enrollment and graduation rates across the state for men and women.
Utah has been known for its educated population. In fact, Utah has ranked high on the number of residents completing high school. However, the number of women in Utah completing a bachelor’s degree is concerning. Utah women’s attainment of bachelor’s degrees is behind that of men and women nationwide (25.5% for Utah women vs. 31.6% for Utah men, which is 2% less than their national peers). (Madsen, 2011)
At the University of Utah, the Women’s Enrollment Initiative aims to increase the number of women entering the University and completing their bachelor’s degrees.
By completing a bachelor’s degree, the research is very clear. A woman with a bachelor’s degree could do the following:
- Have a better job at higher pay and be less likely to be unemployed
- Create a healthier and happier lifestyle for herself and her family
- Develop critical thinking and decision-making-skills
- Be more likely to volunteer and contribute to her community
- Make more informed parenting choices and raise children who are college educated (Langston, 2009)
The Women’s Enrollment Initiative seeks to harness the power of business, educators, community members, and students to aggressively focus on increasing enrollment and completion rates for women and produce the college-educated population that is vital for our families, our communities, and the future of Utah.
My vision for the University of Utah is simple: To provide an environment where interested, well-prepared students have the opportunity to explore and grow; where faculty are supported and encouraged to discover, create, and innovate; and where hardworking staff can have lifelong and rewarding careers.
This vision leads to a set of intertwined priorities: We will build upon our existing commitment to strive for excellence together in all endeavors, embrace equity and diversity, create a sustainable future, and ensure affordable academic and health care programs. These priorities are the foundation for my other areas of emphasis, including: engaged student experiences at every stage of learning, strong support for research, creative work, and scholarship, and involving faculty and students in endeavors that will make a difference in this state, across the nation and the globe.