According to an official press release from university officials, UVU’s senior vice president of Academic Affairs, Dr. Jeffery E. Olson, has announced his retirement following the 2018-2019 academic year.

Olson, who has been with the university for the past five years, not only played an instrumental part in UVU’s Academic Master Plan, but also served as interim university president following Matthew Holland’s departure in June 2018.

The university’s Academic Master Plan outlines various strategies and commitments intended to meet the educational needs of nearby counties. According to the press release, the plan “addresses credit and noncredit courses; high school concurrent enrollment and enrollment of traditional and nontraditional students; and one-year certificates, associate degrees, bachelor degrees, and graduate degrees and certificates.”

UVU Student Association (UVUSA) president Marc Reynolds, who  worked with Olson during his interim president role, said that he got to know him as a focused individual, and an all-around great person.

“Vice president Olson truly cares, and will continue to care about students long after he is gone,” Reynolds said. “He is a good, level-headed man who was never afraid to make the best decisions possible for UVU. He truly loved his job with all his heart.”

During his employ, Olson helped drive UVU’s mission of inclusivity and greater availability of higher education to minority, first-generation and nontraditional students. Olson also helped increase the university’s enrollment by 27 percent, from 31,331 to 39,931.

Under his leadership, the university also added 310 full-time faculty to its staff, taking the total to 730, and thereby reaching a university goal set in 2008, with 55 percent of classes being taught by full-time faculty.

According to an official UVU webpage, the university has launched an official search committee established to find Olson’s replacement. The search committee is comprised of various UVU officials, including Reynolds, Paul Thompson, UVU trustee and chair of the Academic Affairs committee of the trustees,  Anne Arendt, faculty senate policy advisor,  and Kyle Reyes, vice president of Student Affairs. Additionally, the new Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer, Belinda ‘Otukolo Saltiban, will act as the official search advocate on the committee.

Speaking on the task ahead, Reynolds said that while the job will be a difficult one, he looks forward to being a part of the committee.

“He [Olson] has a lot of experience; it will definitely be hard to replace him,” Reynolds said. “I look forward to being a part of furthering the innovation of the university.”

The individual selected for the position will work closely with President Astrid S. Tuminez, overseeing all administrative elements for Academic Affairs, and is expected to be chosen by June 2019.

Photo courtesy of UVU Marketing.

Vince Vides

News Editor