After 17 years, Dean Yells departs UVU

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David Yells’ role as the Dean of the College of Humanities and Social Services (HSS) at UVU has come to an end after accepting a position as academic vice president at Texas A&M Texarkana.

Before becoming Dean of the College of HSS, Yells started his journey at UVU as an assistant professor in behavioral science, nearly 17 years ago. Yells has also served as Dean of the of College of Behavioral Science.

“I’ve loved it. I’ve been here since 1999,” said Yells. “Every time I’ve had a job here, I’ve thought it was the greatest job in the world. That’s because of the great students we have and the great colleagues we have.”

Yells’ most memorable experiences at UVU include: calling a faculty candidate to tell them they have been hired and being able to speak at graduation every spring to share his thoughts on the graduating class.

People who have worked closely with Yells expressed they were sad about his departure but wished him success with his new job.

“We’re very very sad for the university and for the college. It’s a huge loss. But we’re very excited for him. This is such an amazing opportunity. If we have to lose him, we’re just really pleased that he’s going somewhere where they need him and his skills, and where he can really make a difference for the folks in Texas,” said Toni Harris, assistant dean for HSS. “We’re sad for us, but very happy for them.”

Stephen Whyte, professor and public relations emphasis coordinator at UVU, who has worked with Yells for eight years, says Yells was an excellent colleague but also a good friend.

“One thing I love about David is that he was always an advocate for everyone he was working with. An advocate for students to help them be successful. He was an advocate for faculty to help them be successful. He was a great representative of the college, but also a great representative for the whole university,” said Whyte.

Matthew Draper, professor of behavioral science at UVU, called working with Yells blissful.

“He is a very effective leader by recognizing the competence of his faculty and staff and not interfering when they exercise that competence,” said Draper.


Since Yells stepped down, Steven Clark will serve as Interim Dean as a search committee looks for a permanent replacement. Parker Fawson, dean of the School of Education at UVU, is currently the chair of the search committee and has worked closely with Yells in the past.
“The search committee will be constituted in the coming weeks and a search firm will be engaged to help find a successor to Dean Yells who can build effectively on the foundation he laid for the success of UVU students,” said Jeffrey E. Olson, Sr. vice president of academic affairs at UVU.