University Affairs

President Cantwell Holds Listening Sessions at USU Salt Lake Center

By Marcus Jensen |

USU Wasatch Region students participate with President Elizabeth Cantwell's transitional listening sessions. (Credit: Levi Sim/USU)

SALT LAKE CITY— As part of her promise to hold listening sessions for different segments of the Utah State University community, USU President Elizabeth Cantwell traveled to USU Salt Lake Center to host listening sessions with various campus and community members on February 27-28.

President Cantwell spent the afternoon of the 27th and the morning of the 28th hosting various sessions, each for different audiences and stakeholders. As part of these listening sessions, President Cantwell focused on the three questions she posed to the USU community when she initially announced her listening tour in August:

  1. What’s the greatest untapped opportunity that you think we have?
  2. What are the greatest risks that you worry will put us off course?
  3. What is the one thing you worry no one has had the confidence to tell me as your new president that you think I need to know?

Throughout each session, attendees were able to discuss and actively engage with questions about opportunities, challenges and institutional priorities and had the opportunity to provide insight, assist in the development of actionable strategies, and contribute to the advancement of university goals and vision. Cantwell will use all of the information gathered in these sessions to help understand where USU currently stands and how to help guide the university where it needs to go to thrive as a modern land-grant university over the next 50 years and beyond.

“Part of the reason to do something like this is to set up the capacity for me to learn, a little bit, about who we are and what we do,” Cantwell told students before their listening session began. “I’d like for us to learn a lot and have that sense, as a system, of who we are and where we think we should go.”

Cantwell first held a listening session for USU Salt Lake students, who conversed with the president about several items, including working with local industry and utilizing the campus’ prime location, more opportunities for research mentorship, giving students more degree options, and growing minority enrollment in par with state demographics.

“You are part of a generation of people who are piloting how we deliver value, not just education,” Cantwell told students. “You are doing amazing things.”

President Cantwell then held a session for faculty and staff. Here, the discussion included working with other universities to allow students to take certain classes at other institutions that will count toward a USU degree, creating and educating students about financial aid opportunities, utilizing locations better to serve the populous areas of the state, and creating a stronger culture of employee empowerment and institutional collaboration.

“Part of my goal as president is to empower us all to understand who we are and what we think and begin to think about our future and plan it together,” Cantwell told faculty and staff. “We are in this incredible change moment in higher education. And we have some amazing opportunities to really innovate as a system.”

Cantwell also highlighted that those who were not in attendance, or who did not ask their questions publicly, could still submit their answers and concerns online. This can be done by visiting

With locations in Salt Lake City, Orem, Park City and Heber, Utah State University’s Wasatch Region offers students the personalized attention and small class sizes of a small-town college with the resources of a large university. With degree options ranging from associate to doctorate degrees, plus technical education offerings, USU offers programs that help fuel local economies and empower individuals and their communities. Learn more at


Marcus Jensen
News Coordinator
University Marketing and Communications


Amanda DeRito
Associate VP of Strategic Communications
University Marketing and Communications


Statewide Campuses 358stories

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