Dr. Utter works as ASU’s current Interim Vice Provost for Research and will join TWU July 1, as the new Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Dr. Utter said, “I like universities that are unique and distinct and the fact that TWU is the largest university in the United States primarily for women, that was attractive to me. To be at an institution that has a brand distinction like that and everything I’ve read about TWU shows a strong academic reputation so I was real impressed from that standpoint.”
After reading TWU’s new strategic plan and admiring the themes concerning women in leadership, veteran students, health academics and more Dr. Utter decided to apply for the position.
Dr. Utter explained, “I feel like we can develop goals around those themes that can easily impact a graduate or undergraduate student’s educational experience. Not only right away during their time at school, but also for many years to come and hopefully throughout their entire life span. So, I was real attracted to that strategic plan. I read many of those and [TWU]’s was one of the best I had read.”
Before becoming ASU’s Interim Vice Provost for Research Dr. Utter started working as a professor in 1995. In 2005, he was named the founding Director of the Office of Student Research. Dr. Utter claimed working as the Director of the Office of Student Research has been one of his greatest achievements. During his time as director, Dr. Utter saw roughly 5,000 students receive funding for research and saw the department’s annual budget rise from $30,000 to $200,000. Dr. Utter hopes to see TWU develop an even stronger desire for student and faculty research as well.
Dr. Utter said, “We want to hire faculty that can generate new knowledge and new discoveries and we also want to teach students how to do that. How to ask questions and how to answer those questions that have yet to be answered. To me that’s an important part of higher education and something I’m looking forward to in working with the folks at TWU.”
Goals concerning his work at TWU include finding new revenue streams and programs to bring to TWU competing for outstanding faculty and students, expanding faculty and student research, and finding ways to increase graduation rates and retention rates, but only after taking time to know the students and employees at TWU and their needs first.
Dr. Utter added, “I want to come in and spend time listening to faculty, listening to staff and listening to students. I’m going to have to spend quite a bit of time learning the culture of the university, being I am coming in from the outside.
“My very first goal is to spend time listening to and talking with constituents on campus.”