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Weber State Faculty & Staff


Economics Researchers Bring Policy Pitfalls to Light

While the pandemic and protests of 2020 brought great societal unrest, they also brought the opportunity for scholarly research, and economics faculty at Weber State took advantage and shared their expertise widely.

Laws banning price gouging aim to prevent exorbitant prices while increasing access to critical goods during a state of emergency, but research published by Gavin Roberts suggests these laws likely cause shortages, and undermine some of their own goals.

Roberts, who was also honored as one of Weber State’s Presidential Excellence Award winners for 2020, said, “We knew shortages caused by COVID would be a rare opportunity to look at the effects of laws banning price gouging because emergencies rarely happen in so many different places at the same time.”

His co-authored article, published in the Journal of Private Enterprise, was the basis of a number of local and national television and newspaper stories, where Roberts helped explain the economics behind laws that may seem counterintuitive.

Media also turned to Weber State experts to discuss more economic issues. Andrew Keinsley discussed unemployment, CARES funding, and recovery efforts with print, radio and television audiences.

Franc╠žois Giraud-Carrier’s co-authored article in the scholarly journal of Management Science found that government-mandated pollution regulation can benefit companies under certain circumstances. He spoke to the media regarding this finding that counters the common claim that all pollution regulations are burdensome and hurt businesses.

Jennifer Gnagey and her undergraduate research assistant have been delving into the history of housing discrimination in Ogden and Weber County. She is raising awareness about the project through interviews and presentations. “Numerous policies and practices in northern and western states were used to create and sustain racially segregated neighborhoods,” she said.

Wendy Fox-Kirk’s research focuses on corporate policies that proclaim a commitment to gender equity, but often mask practices that hinder women’s advancement at work and in society. Local and international journalists sought to learn more about Fox-Kirk’s co-authored article, “Genderwashing: The Myth of Equality,” published in Human Resource Development International.

“Organizations were talking about how they were improving things for women while at the same time allowing continued violence and discrimination against them for years,” Fox-Kirk explained.

During the pandemic, John Mukum Mbaku continued as an internationally recognized source on economic and political issues in Africa. As a Brookings Institution Nonresident Senior Fellow, Mbaku speaks regularly to the BBC, Aljazeera and other outlets. Most recently, he discussed the fragility in Chad and counterterrorism strategies in West Africa. For exceptional research, teaching and service in the humanities and social sciences, the Utah Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters honored him with the 2021 John and Olga Gardner Prize.

Although the topics are disparate, economics faculty say their research is conducted with the unified goal of shaping informed policy to help individuals for generations.

Communication Professor Earns Fulbright

Sarah Steimel, Weber State professor of communication, was selected as a 2020 Fulbright Specialist to conduct scholarly work in Belarus.

The planned project with Polotsk State University was designed to expand higher-education opportunities to more of the country’s citizens through quality online programs.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic prevented her travel.

She hopes for a future chance to research and teach as a Fulbright Scholar. Until then, she will continue to share her passion for online and international education with Weber State students as the director of the Master of Professional Communication program.

Steimel is the 12th Weber State Fulbright recipient since 1999.


Welcoming Two New Deans

Understanding, articulating and solving the great social issues of the day takes smart thinking and dedicated effort, and that’s what Weber State’s two newest deans say guide teaching and learning in their colleges.

Following national searches, Deborah Uman was selected as dean of the Telitha E. Lindquist College of Arts & Humanities, and Julie Rich as dean of the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences.

Uman holds a bachelor’s in English literature from Yale and her master’s and doctoral degrees in English literature from the University of Colorado at Boulder. At St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York, she chaired the Department of English. She also directed the women and gender studies program. As WSU’s dean since January 2021, she plans “to work together on a vision for the college that uses equity and inclusion as its guiding principles.”

Rich earned her undergraduate degree from Weber State and holds a doctorate from the University of Oxford in geography. Rich has served as interim dean since 2019 and helped the college develop new certificate programs and a Master of Social Work. “All of the challenges we face in the world deal with societal issues,” Rich said. “The importance of what we teach and learn in this college is critical. We are ready for the future.” 

WSU Professor Joins Exclusive Leadership Program

Nicola Corbin, associate professor of communication, is one of 35 professionals nationwide accepted to the American Association of State Colleges and Universities 2021 Emerging Leaders Program (ELP), a nine-month program offering higher education leadership skills, like managing budgets and staff, with a focus on equity, diversity and inclusion.

Recently, Weber State approved a new strategic plan prioritizing equity in university practices. In spring 2021, Corbin was selected as director of the Teaching and Learning Forum (TLF), which offers development opportunities for faculty. Corbin will begin her new role in January 2022, following a sabbatical leave. She hopes to use her ELP experiences to advance both the strategic plan’s equitable practices and TLF endeavors.

“I’m really interested in learning about ways to build and promote the TLF as the place that the faculty feel is their very own to grow and flourish,” she said.

The 2021 ELP is being held virtually through November.