Members of the University of Wyoming’s Board of Trustees are appointed by the governor to serve staggered six-year terms, but those representing campus constituencies during trustee discussions generally serve only one year.
With the closing of another academic year comes the end of their tenures and the arrival of new faces around the table of UW’s governing board.
In addition to the 12 trustees, the board hosts five ex-officio members — Gov. Matt Mead, UW President Laurie Nichols, Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow, Community College Commission Jim Rose and the current ASUW president — who attend the meetings personally or send representatives in their stead.
The trustees’ May meeting was a first for newly elected ASUW President Seth Jones, who replaced Ben Wetzel as both a representative of the student government and of the wider student body.
Vice President for Student Affairs Sean Blackburn introduced Jones and his vice president, Alex Mulhall, at the outset of the May meeting.
“Mr. Jones and Ms. Mulhall ran on a platform that included three things: inclusivity, student development and campus relations,” Blackburn said. “They worked extremely hard and ran a civil and persuasive campaign.”
Board President Dave True said trustees welcomed student input, adding Jones should feel comfortable sharing opinions with the rest of the board.
“We appreciate your willingness to step up,” True said. “I know it feels a probably overfull plate as it is, but we really do appreciate your willingness to serve and look forward to working with you.”
True also took the opportunity to thank Wetzel for his own contributions, which were never in short supply.
“I appreciate the perspectives you’ve shared willingly,” True said. “You’ve always had the right touch on providing your thoughts and perspectives and I appreciate that greatly.”
The board also sets aside space for the Faculty Senate chair and Staff Senate president, though the holders of these positions have no voting authority and are not included in executive sessions.
The staff and faculty representatives instead provide alternative perspectives from the different constituencies under the board’s governance. While new Faculty Senate chairs take office at the conclusion of the spring semester — just as ASUW presidents do — the terms of Staff Senate presidents line up with the fiscal, rather than academic, year.
By the time of the board’s meeting in July, new leadership for both faculty and staff will be gathered around the table and the board took time during its May meeting to welcome these new faces.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Kate Miller welcomed Donal O’Toole — the Faculty Senate chair-elect — while reflecting on the tenure of outgoing President and Professor of Civil Engineering Michael Barker.
“His specialty is steel bridges and bridge engineering — and I would say he certainly did a lot of bridge-building in the last year between Academic Affairs and Faculty Senate, Faculty Senate and faculty, Faculty Senate and the board,” Miller said.
Staff Senate President Rachel Stevens, who served two nonconsecutive terms, will relinquish her seat to Renee Ballard, an office associate from the Washakie Dining Center who is currently serving Staff Senate as a member-at-large on its executive team.
Vice President of Administration Bill Mai said Ballard would make positive contributions to the board once she joins in July.
“In the Staff Senate meetings that I’ve been at with her, she’s been fairly quiet and retired, always paying attention, always focused,” Mai said. “And I’m sure she will bring a lot to this table.”