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Retention Efforts are "Thriving"

Within a few weeks of starting her new job as retention advisor for the Jerry & Vickie Moyes College of Education, Natalie Struhs BS ’07, noticed that a professor had raised an attendance flag for a student in Starfish, a technology tool that supports student success by facilitating communication between faculty, students, advisors and support services. 

Struhs followed up. “When I called, the student said, ‘I mostly moved to Utah for the snow. It hadn’t snowed all winter, so when it finally did, I went to the mountains instead of class,’” Struhs said.  “The student laughed, and admittedly, so did I, but by the end of our conversation the student said, ‘Thanks for calling. I’ll prioritize class over snow. I guess professors really do miss me when I’m not there.’” 

The addition of retention advisors like Struhs and the implementation of new technology like Starfish is part of the Weber Thrives endeavor, which is aimed at growing enrollment and support, retaining students and, ultimately, seeing students graduate. 

In addition to addressing concerns like attendance, advisors reach out to students to assist with registration and academic advising, and to offer resources for financial aid, counseling, tutoring and more. 

“Students are glad to know we care so much,” Struhs said, “and, as for me, I’m glad to know that I can make a difference.”

WSU Online Celebrates 20 Years of Learning

In 1998, while most internet users were still getting a dial-up connection, Weber State faculty were leading out in online education. Twenty years later, WSU Online has helped thousands and thousands of students reach their educational goals.

What has made the program so successful? Faculty.

“It really comes down to demonstrating that faculty care,” said RC Callahan, senior instructional designer and training specialist of WSU Online’s eLearning Team. “Faculty who personalize instruction and help students apply content report the most success in online courses.”


It’s a formula the medical laboratory sciences (MLS) department has perfected, offering online education to more than 400 students per year. MLS students attend lectures online and are affiliated with a mentor who reviews lab competencies at a laboratory or hospital. It’s an intricate relationship, but it provides unique training for students, many of whom are already employed, to become more advanced in their careers. It also allows the MLS program to reach rural areas where higher education is less accessible.


WSU students can earn a fully online bachelor’s degree in MLS, health information management, health administrative services, radiologic sciences, professional sales or integrated studies. Criminal justice offers an online master’s degree,  and four associate’s degrees are also available online.


The number of online enrollments for fall 2017

As of fall 2017, WSU Online offered:

544courses in


Providing Support for the Underserved

In December 2017, Veronica Alcocer and her husband, Jose, became the proud owners of Sazón Hispano. Located on Washington Boulevard in Ogden, Sazón is a full-service restaurant that serves traditional fare from Veronica’s birthplace, Estado de Morelos in Zacatepec de Hidalgo, Mexico. “This has been my dream for a very long time,” Veronica said, tearfully.

Veronica spent years working, learning, struggling and working even harder to fulfill her goals. A single mother for most of that time, she found the help she needed at Weber State University’s Community Education Center. There, she participated in Legacy of Learning, a program that helps families get the skills they need to run a household, find a career and pursue education.

Today, Veronica is proud of her business, but she’s more proud of her son and daughter, who are now pursuing higher education at Weber State. “I’m excited for them,” she said. “I thought, ‘If they could just see me do it, they’d think they could do it, too.’”

In the fall of 2018, the Community Education Center will move from Harrison Boulevard to its new home at 26th Street and Monroe Boulevard in Ogden, a strategically selected location. “We want to go and meet the people in their communities,” said Luis Lopez, center director. “We want to remove barriers that have traditionally prevented people from accessing postsecondary education.”

In addition to Legacy of Learning, the center offers GED, English as a Second Language and computer literacy courses, as well as other programs to help people advance their education.

The new building will also house WSU’s Center for Community Engaged Learning, the Ogden Civic Action Network (OgdenCAN) and a preschool.

Keeping Weber Safe

For its work creating a dating violence prevention curriculum specific to the LGBTQ+ community, WSU’s Safe@Weber Violence Prevention Team won the 2018 Best Practice in Prevention Activities award from NASPA–Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

Safe@Weber is a campus-wide effort to support violence prevention and advocacy services  for students, faculty and staff.


On a Quest for Kindness

Ogden local Mike McBride discovered one kind act makes a big difference.

Participating in Weber State’s Civility Quest Challenge, he received a card challenging him to clean up 10 pieces of trash in the community. While on a morning run, McBride followed the advice only to discover a neighbor’s lost tax documents, which he quickly returned to their relieved owner.

Last spring, Weber State teamed up with Ogden City and 25 local businesses for the challenge, where participants received one of many cards with instructions to perform a civility-based act before passing it on to others.

“Civility is the practice of giving of yourself to better the community,” said Teresa Martinez BS ’11, MHA ’14, WSU Center for Community Engaged Learning program coordinator.

Civility Quest, part of CCEL’s Community Engaged Learning Series, kicked off with events at WSU’s Stewart Bell Tower and Ogden’s Historic 25th Street on April 6 and culminated with a celebration at WSU Downtown on April 12.


The number of civility cards distributed over the course of the Civility Quest challenge.



The number of service hours contributed by WSU students


The number of students who logged community engagement hours


Value of service hours (calculated by Independent Sector)


The number of CCEL's community partners

Good Neighbors

Former Ogden City Council executive director Bill Cook is now the executive director of a network that has been created to strengthen a 10-by-10-block area of Ogden known as the east central neighborhood, which runs from 20th to 30th streets and Washington to Harrison boulevards. Of the 15,037 residents who live there, an estimated 30 percent live in poverty and face challenges involving education, housing and access to healthcare.

Cook says he’s often been asked, “Who can address all of the most challenging social issues of a community at the same time?”

His answer: OgdenCAN.

OgdenCAN stands for the Ogden Civic Action Network. In 2016, WSU took the initiative and invited Ogden City to co-author a civic action plan. The master plan combines the strength of seven anchor institutions to revitalize the neighborhood and help lift residents out of the cycle of intergenerational poverty.

For its efforts in creating the civic action plan, OgdenCAN was honored with the 2018 International Town & Gown Association (ITGA) Presidential Excellence Award.

OgdenCAN consists of seven anchor institutions:

  • Weber State University
  • Ogden City
  • Ogden Regional Medical Center
  • Ogden-Weber Technical College
  • Ogden School District
  • Weber-Morgan Health Department
  • Intermountain Healthcare’s McKay-Dee Hospital


Three professors, acclaimed for contributions to their disciplines of geography, economics and communication, were named Weber State University’s 2018 Brady Presidential Distinguished Professors.

Dan Bedford, geography professor and director of the Honors Program, is an expert in climate change education. He co-authored the book Climate Change: Examining the Facts, to refute falsehoods and misinformation as well as confirm the validity of other scientific assertions.

Bedford shared insights from his book as part of a collaborative massive open online course (MOOC) that hosted 23,000 students from 165 countries.

Working with Weber State students, Bedford also led a National Science Foundation-funded effort focused on a sustainable water future for the state.

Economics professor Therese Grijalva makes discovery and research a central part of a student’s college education. She sets a great example with 23 peer-reviewed journal articles, 900 research citations, four book chapters and presentations at more than 30 conferences.

Grijalva has mentored more than 70 undergraduate research projects that students have presented at national and international conferences.

Along with colleagues from other institutions, Grijalva conducted a comprehensive analysis for the Governor’s Office regarding the cost/benefits of state and federal public lands in Utah. 

Communication professor and department chair Sheree Josephson has been a pioneer in applying eye-tracking research to visual communication.

Josephson published the book Visualizing the Web: Evaluating Online Design from a Visual Communication Perspective, as well as more than 20 scholarly book chapters and journal articles. According to Google Scholar, her work has been cited in almost 500 published articles.

In her 25 years at Weber State, Josephson advised the student newspaper, The Signpost, for six years and helped establish and direct the successful Master of Professional Communication program.


New Student Affairs VP

Following a national search, Brett Perozzi was selected as Student Affairs vice president. He first came to the university in 2007 as associate vice president of Student Affairs. “I love the opportunities Weber State provides for our students,” Perozzi said. “I look forward to finding more ways to help them thrive and succeed.”