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Dean of Engineering Receives Utah Governor’s Medal for Excellence

Dec. 17, 2015 – Utah State University’s College of Engineering Dean Christine Hailey was among ten state leaders recognized this week by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert for outstanding service in academia, education and industry.

Hailey will receive the Governor’s Medal for Excellence at a special gala event on Jan. 13 at Rio Tinto Stadium along with fellow recipients including three other faculty members from USU.

“The Governor’s Medals for Excellence in Science and Technology are awarded to residents and companies who have provided distinguished service or made significant contributions to Utah’s advanced scientific and technological knowledge, education and industry,” according to a statement from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

Chris Hailey

Hailey, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and an adjunct professor in engineering education, joined the USU engineering faculty in 1994 and was named dean in 2013.

She is director of the National Center for Engineering and Technology Education, an NSF-funded Center for Learning and Teaching. She is a member of the ADVANCE-US team, an NSF-funded program to address issues that impact female faculty's effectiveness and satisfaction in the four engineering and science colleges at Utah State. She also is a Co-PI on an NSF-funded project entitled "Learning Companions as Change Agents: Improving Girls' Self-Efficacy Beliefs in Learning Math."

Hailey has been instrumental in expanding academic programs and improving gender diversity, increasing the participation of women in engineering from 8 percent to 13 percent, and has increased involvement in the Women and Engineering Seminar from 10 students to more than 50. Hailey is also an advocate for expanding and improving engineering graduate programs at USU. She was responsible for the creation of a new doctorate program in aerospace engineering – the first in the state of Utah.

Hailey said she was honored by the recognition and says credit for the accolade belongs to her associates.

“The award really belongs to the College of Engineering,” she said. “When we talk about recruiting women and under-represented minorities and more graduate students, that effort takes an entire team of professionals. One person can’t accomplish everything we’ve done here. It’s a collective effort by faculty, advisors, department heads and staff.”

Putting the focus back on students, Hailey says she’s proud of the graduates who she has helped train and educate over the years, acknowledging that a degree in engineering can be a difficult undertaking.

“No pressure, no diamonds,” she quipped. “We truly care about the success of our students and we’ll continue to do everything it takes to help them along the way.”

Other USU recipients of the Governor’s Medal include Noelle Cockett, USU’s executive vice president and provost; Michelle Baker, professor of biology and project director of iUTAH; and Paul Hill, USU Extension professor in Washington County. The last time four faculty members from USU received Governor’s Medals was in 1988. The governor has awarded the medals since 1987.

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Media Contact:
Matt Jensen – College of Engineering – Utah State University
435-797-8170 | matthew.jensen@usu.edu | @EngineeringUSU