In response to “Gov. Cox is replacing every member of the Utah Board of Higher Education” published on June 8, 2023, Gov. Spencer Cox has overlooked a key stakeholder in assembling the new Board of Higher Education: educators. The previous 18-member board had two former university faculty and administrators. The proposed 10-member board has none.

The success of any plan devised by the boards heavily depends on the implementation of policies by university and college professors and staff. The governor’s goal of “want(ing) Utah’s colleges and universities to be more aligned with workforce needs” is worthy, but has limited chances for success if the board does not include a representative of the professoriate. Preparing students for the workforce requires meticulous and intentional design of major curriculum, courses, learning assessments and activities, and extracurriculars (such as internships and honors societies). Professors’ training and experience equips them to align university curriculum with a board’s plan and to provide honest assessments of potential disconnects between the statewide vision and the realities of delivering public higher education.

Professors are the “boots on the ground” for the implementation of the state’s higher education policy, yet our perspective has no outlet in the new Board of Higher Education. Our insight and collaboration would greatly aid Cox’s vision for improved higher education in Utah.

Zoe Nemerever