In an effort to better serve students in the largest department in Utah State University’s College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences (CAAS), and to advance career and technical education programs, particularly in southeastern Utah, CAAS Dean Ken White and USU President Noelle Cockett announced Wednesday that the School of Applied Sciences, Technology and Education (ASTE) will be divided. The change takes effect immediately.
Professor and Head of ASTE, Bruce Miller, will continue to lead programs in the Aviation, Career and Technical Education division, and Associate Professor and Associate Department Head Rebecca Lawver, has been appointed interim head of ASTE.
Under the new administrative structure, Lawver will oversee programs that train future secondary school teachers of family and consumer sciences, technology and engineering, agriculture, and business education.
She will also lead programs in outdoor product design and development, agricultural communication, agricultural machinery technology, and agricultural systems technology.
Miller will continue to lead aviation, general technology, technology systems, and an array of certificate, associate’s degree programs in career areas including automotive technology, building and construction management, heavy equipment and trucking operation, cosmetology, health professions, IT support and web development, welding, and general technology.
Many programs in the new division are offered at USU Eastern in Price, USU Blanding, and USU Moab.
The change supports President Cockett’s priorities of making post-secondary education accessible to underserved populations and communities across Utah and enhancing student success through experiential learning.
It also bolsters efforts to fulfill a 2019 mandate from the Utah Legislature that USU’s southeast campuses redefine career and technical education (CTE).
The senate bill also supports altering the tuition structure for CTE programs, and provides ongoing funding for new CTE programs in southeastern Utah.
ASTE currently has 1,432 students. Following the change, Lawver will oversee programs for 574 students: 510 undergraduate and 64 graduate students in ASTE.
The new division, under Miller, begins with 858 students – 852 undergraduates and six graduate students.
White told the department’s faculty and staff on the Logan campus that this change is a direct reflection of great faculty who are innovative and creating programs and opportunities that students need and want to be part of.
Miller has served as ASTE department head since 2004, and during his tenure the department has developed a number of new programs that serve students by focusing on areas of economic opportunity.
Miller earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanized agriculture and education from the University of Nebraska, and a Ph.D. in agricultural and Extension education at Iowa State University. He began his career at USU in 1991.
Lawver came to USU in 2010 as an assistant professor of agricultural education. Prior to that, she was an instructor at the University of Missouri and taught high school agriculture for nine years in Nebraska.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural leadership, education and communication and master’s degree in leadership education at the University of Nebraska, and a Ph.D. in agricultural education at the University of Missouri.
She has received numerous awards for outstanding teaching and mentoring, including the Western Regional American Association for Agricultural Educations’ Distinguished Teaching Award, the CAAS and USU Robins Awards Faculty Service Award, and the United States Department of Agriculture National Excellence in College and University Teaching Award.