Thursday, March 1, 2012

Utah women's college task force provides recommendations to governor

The Utah Women's College Task Force presented critical recommendations to Governor Gary Herbert on Feb. 21 at the Utah State Capitol. Recommendations included:

Process and Accountability
1. Enlist Key State Change Agents to Lead in Implementing Recommendations
2. Create a “Hub” for Continuing Efforts to Increase Women’s Completion of Postsecondary Certificates and Degrees
3. Develop and Fund a Long-Term Social Change Media Campaign to Create a “College-going Culture” in Utah

Big Gear Initiatives
4. Expand Guidance and Counseling and Advisement Resources to Create a College-Going Culture
5. Create Women-Focused Mentoring Programs
6. Implement Strategies for Retaining Existing Female Students through Certificate and Degree Completion
7. Create Additional Flexible Attendance and Credit Maintenance Options
8. Identify Increased Support for Campus-Based and Community-Based Women’s Resources that Support College Completion
9. Support Enrollment Growth Funding
10. Identify Additional Financial Support Focusing on New and Continuing Female Students

To read the entire report, click on the headline of this post.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Upcoming presentation on UWEP research findings

Dr. Susan R. Madsen will present the findings of the two-year Utah Women and Education Project (UWEP) to the American Association of University Women (AAUW) on March 24 at the Ogden Golf and Country Club.

Born out of the low college graduation rates of Utah women and the resulting statewide concern, UWEP was formed to investigate why Utah women have fallen behind the national average when it comes to college completion, and to identify ways through which women can be motivated to obtain higher educational degrees.

As the Project Director, Madsen led a research team of over 100 colleagues, students, advisory committee members, and community volunteers to assist in conducting the research and in leading change in the state. In addition, Madsen is the Orin R. Woodbury Professor of Leadership and Ethics in the Woodbury School of Business at Utah Valley University. Her personal research focuses primarily on women’s leadership development.

Madsen’s presentation “Women and Higher Education in Utah: Moving Forward!” will demonstrate the critical findings of UWEP’s research and offer recommendations as to how we can individually and collectively influence the young women of Utah to attend and graduate from college, and thereby allow them to access the numerous benefits that are the outcome of higher education.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Utah Women's College Task Force: meeting the needs of Utah women

On September 28, 2011, the Utah Women's College Task Force met for the first time in order to facilitate dialogue regarding the low degree attainment rate of Utah women compared to their national counterparts, and to ultimately increase the number of women attending and graduating from institutions of higher education in Utah.

Born out of the research of the Utah Women and Education Project, headed by Dr. Susan R. Madsen, this subcommittee it co-chaired by former Governor Olene Walker and the State Board of Regents Vice-Chair Bonnie Jean Beesley. The task force is made up of 24 Utah leaders from sectors such as business, education, religion, politics, and non-profit work.

A goal has been set by Governor Gary R. Herbert to have 66 percent of Utah's future workforce better prepared for their occupations through obtaining postsecondary certificates and degrees by the year 2020. Thus, in the spirit of this goal, the task force is charged with doing what it takes to get women to and through college.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Additional snapshots released

The research snapshots for January, February and March can be accessed at the UWEP website by clicking on the headline of this article. Each focuses on a different aspect of a young woman's college decision and offers the relevant findings from UWEP research.The snapshots are listed below:

No. 1: The Benefits of Higher Education for Women in Utah
No. 2: The Influence of a Father on a Daughter's College Decision
No. 3: The Influence of a Mother on a Daughter's College Decision
No. 4: The Influence of School Counselors and Administrators on a Young Woman's College Decision
No. 5: The Influence of Teachers on a Young Woman's College Decision
No. 6: The Influence of College Preparation Activities on a Young Woman's College Decision
No. 7: The Influence of School Activities and Leadership Roles on a Young Woman's College Decision
No. 8: The Influence of Finances on a Young Woman's College Decision
No. 9: The Influence of Aspirations on a Young Woman's College Decision

Monday, January 31, 2011

Newly released 'Research Snapshots'

UWEP researchers have been hard at work compiling concise and accessible "Research Snapshots" for the month of January.

The three released this month include "The Benefits of Higher Education for Women in Utah", "The Influence of a Father on a Daughter's College Decision", and "The Influence of a Mother on a Daughter's College Decision".

Each of these can be viewed on the recently updated UWEP website, simply click on the headline above to be taken straight there. Additional "Research Snapshots" are in the works for the coming months, each of which will focus on a different aspect of the research results. To stay updated continue visiting our blog and website.

Monday, January 3, 2011

UWEP and engagement initiative intend to increase graduation rates

Courtesy of The Salt Lake Tribune

On Dec. 20 The Salt Lake Tribune highlighted UVU in its attempt to increase graduation rates through engaging students on and off campus.

UWEP was highlighted in the article for its efforts to encourage women in completing college degrees.It has also allowed students to become active in furthering this goal.

To read the full article click on the headline above.

U.S. student scores rank lower than other countries

On Dec. 7 NPR aired a discussion between host Melissa Block and Michael Davidson of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) regarding results from a recent test that compared the educational attainment of youth from the world's countries.

While U.S. students did well on the reading/writing portions, they ranked number 15 through 25 in the subjects of science, reading and math. According to PISA, Shanghai, Finland, Hong Kong, and Singapore were a few of the top achievers.

One factor that plays a role in the educational success of these other countries, particularly Finland, is the fact that they handpick instructors who displayed discipline and talent in their own educational pursuits. Essentially, people who are passionate about learning and passing on their knowledge to students.

A downfall in the U.S., according to Davidson, is the heavy impact of social disparity.

"Something like 20 percent of the performance differences that we see in the United States is attributed to the social background of the students," Davidson said.

To listen to or read the full discussion, click on the headline above.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

UWEP recieves criticism from skeptics

Click on the headline above to visit a site which criticizes UWEP and its mission. Considering the facts behind the project, what is your opinion? Voice it! We want to hear it!

UWEP Summit featured in Deseret News

Visit or click on the headline above to read a full article regarding the UWEP summit recently featured in the Deseret News.

UWEP highlighted by commissioner of higher education in Utah

Photo courtesy of William A. Sederburg

UWEP was recently spotlighted on "Bill’s Blog", the brainchild of Utah Commissioner of Higher Education William A. Sederburg.

He recalled the UWEP summit and introduced the topics covered, particularly the project's original findings.

Sederburg explained the collective goal to increase the degree attainment of Utah's adult population to 66 percent by 2020. Hence, there is a necessity to increase female degree obtainment.

Utah female college graduation rates have only dipped below the national average since 1993, whereas they previously exceeded the national average. An undeniable issue has developed, and UWEP has taken great strides in identifying and analyzing the problems within the puzzle.

Concerned with the mindset of Utah women, Sederburg highlighted the finding that women often plan to merely "[go] to college" rather than continue and complete a degree.

He also explained the finding that the women studied didn't seem to have much support from close friends, family and leaders. Although open dialogue about the possibilities for their future proved very influential for those who experienced it, most did not have this advantage.

The last result he introduced was the lack of financial support Utah women tend to receive for college. This presents a huge burden to young women and often makes the option of higher education seem nonexistent.

"While meeting the workforce needs of the state is important, it is also critical to help women achieve a better future. The Utah rate of divorce matches that of the nation (nearly 50%), our per capita income is almost 80% that of the national average. Thus on a personal level, we need to help women attend, and complete, institutions of higher education," urged Sederburg.

To read his full original blog post, click on the headline of this article.

Monday, November 15, 2010

UWEP Summit enormous success

The long-awaited summit was reached Nov. 12 and was met with substantial attendance, genuine enthusiasm and support.

Welcome came from UWEP Director Susan R. Madsen and UVU President Matthew Holland as people settled in their seats and prepared themselves for the newest results of the ongoing study.

William A. Sederburg, Utah commissioner of higher education, and Larry K. Shumway, state superintendent of public instruction gave the opening remarks.

The most current Utah demographics were highlighted by Pamela S. Perlich, senior research economist in the Utah Bureau of Economic and Business Research. This relevant information created the context for the work and mission of UWEP.

Following Perlich, Madsen and research partner Cheryl Hanewicz introduced the UWEP study results.

In a second session, the extensive results continued to be presented by Madsen, Hanewicz, Susan Thackeray and Doug Gardner. The information offered at the summit is substantial; the general information will be more widely available in future.

Keep updated with the blog to receive detailed information regarding original results of the UWEP.

UWEP featured in Salt Lake Tribune

The Salt Lake Tribune highlighted the UWEP on Nov. 12, explaining its relevant mission and introducing its then upcoming summit.

Trends such as younger marriages, earlier childbearing and higher number of children could threaten the competitive ability of Utah, pointed out SLTrib writer Brian Maffly.

Jody Farley, who dropped out of college at age 22 to help support her young family, is labeled an exception in the article since she eventually completed her bachelor’s degree in family and consumer studies at the University of Utah a quarter-century later. Most do not go back to obtain the degrees they left behind.

The article points out that in order for the board of regents to reach its goal of
increasing degree obtainment from 39 percent to 56 percent by 2020, women will need to come closer to the national trend.

Some general details are provided regarding UWEP research, including how studies were conducted and sample information.

To read the full article click on the headline above.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Summit highlighted in UVU Review

The upcoming Utah Women and Education Summit was featured in the Nov. 8 issue of the UVU Review.

The article explains that, while previously released information centered around existing literature, the summit will disseminate original findings that apply specifically to Utah women.

Not only will the summit address UWEP's research, it will also instigate dialogue regarding the transformation of research into action.

Additionally, the full-length research articles scheduled to be released this spring will involve the findings of original data and their implications.

To read the full article, click on the headline above or visit

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Utah Women and Education Summit

The Utah Women and Education Summit will be held on Friday, Nov. 12 from 8:30 a.m.- 1:30 p.m. at the Utah Valley University Sorensen Student Center (SC 206).

The UWEP will present its 2009-2010 research findings. The state-wide conference will also instigate necessary dialogue regarding the steps needed to transform research into action.

Anyone interested in the content of the summit is welcome to attend. Register for the summit on our website by clicking on the above headline.

Emphasizing the intrinsic value of education

Image courtesy of UVU Review

The UWEP was recently highlighted in the opinions section of the UVU Review. Author Celeste Rosenlof started off by explaining the decrease in female college completion compared to the nation, and continued by advocating the work of the UWEP and the importance of education for Utah women.

The need to remain competitive in today's economy concerned Rosenlof because educational attainment plays a large role in the hiring process, and if women are neglecting their education their chances of success will be dismal.

"What that means for married Utah women who stay at home is that in a case where they need a job, such as during an economic recession, their lack of education may make it more difficult to be competitive in their application for jobs, especially for jobs with more flexible hours and a decent salary or wage," Rosenlof said.

She explained that the more education a woman has, the more options will be presented to her. A larger pool of options, along with abundant access to various avenues of communication, can allow women to more readily work from home and simultaneously bridge the gap between work and family life.

Although many Utah women undoubtedly believe in an either/or system (either career or family life), Rosenlof claims that the two choices are not polar opposites.

"Education and family can coexist; in fact, they may be intrinsic to the success of one another," Rosenlof said.

She concludes by emphasizing that getting an education is extremely important, and is never a waste of time even if an individual doesn't end up having a career in their field of study. The knowledge they accumulate will be valuable in both career and family settings.

To view her full article, click on the above headline and be directed to