Ashley Larsen offers insight into problem-solving, Ombuds, UVU, higher education, and womanhood  

Reading Time: 2 minutes “I’m a high school dropout now with a master’s degree,” the Deputy Dean of Students in Student Development and Well-Being, Ashley Larsen says.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Ashley Larsen, the Deputy Dean of Students in Student Development and Well-Being, works in UVU’s Ombuds Office, “putting out fires and managing student crises.” She works on policies and special initiatives relating to student needs for support.  

“I am a problem solver, that’s kind of the bottom line,” Larsen said, which has helped her find success in her career. “There are ombuds all around the world and at the heart of it, they are mediators, they do conflict resolution.” 

Larsen was first involved with the Ombuds office when she was a UVU student, which motivated her to stay in student affairs. She describes her 14-year-old full-time professional relationship with Student Development and Well-Being as rewarding and fulfilling.  

“Education is a key to opportunity,” she said. “It’s enabled me to help others more, to be more mindful of other people, to be able to think more critically about what I can do to better my life what I can do to better other people’s lives.” Larsen’s graduate degree concentrates on standing up against inequality, injustice and oppression, which has “brought so much fulfillment and purpose to what I do.”  

Larsen was very worried about her ability to succeed in higher education when she was a young adult and took some time to decide her path. “But that decision on a whim to apply to UVU completely changed my life.” Learning of UVU’s open-enrollment policy from a friend was pivotal for her confidence in applying and succeeding in college. “I’m a high school dropout now with a master’s degree,” she said. 

As a single mom, Larsen said that she’s still figuring out how to achieve a perfect work/life balance. “I’ve kind of learned that self-care isn’t just taking care of yourself and finding balance is different for everyone,” she stated, noting that although sometimes she enjoys sleeping, or playing Animal Crossing with her son, she doesn’t have a specific way of practicing self-care.  

Larsen is grateful for the positive influences that have made her who she is. “Shout out to all the amazing women who have shaped me into who I am and continue to shape me.”  

One particularly important habit for Larsen is her ability to “leave work at work.” She explained that “it takes practice,” but she has set healthy boundaries. “It took me a while to not feel guilty about [waiting until the morning to answer some texts after work hours].” 

The Ombuds office is a resource available for UVU community members searching for help with a problem, complaint, or grievance. “We get a mixed bag because the whole point of Student Development and Well-Being is to help with student resources and services, but to also provide development opportunities,” said Larsen. Grade disputes, student/faculty disagreements, and roommate/landlord conflicts are among the common disputes brought into the office.  

The Ombuds office is located in room 212B of the Student Life and Wellness Building.