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Rich Etchberger: ‘His vision has given local, often non-traditional students a rout to professional careers.’

USU Uintah Basin’s Rich Etchberger:

Carnegie Professor of the Year Rich Etchberger, a wildlife science professor at Utah State University’s Uintah Basin campus (UBC) in Vernal, has been named the 2015 Carnegie Professor of the Year for the state of Utah. Etchberger, who created the wildlife science program at UBC when he arrived in 1995, was presented the award during a November ceremony in Washington D.C. “I motivate my students to grasp the opportunities to change their lives, to earn a degree and to contribute to their community,” Etchberger said. “I have been extremely fortunate to work with an amazing bunch of undergraduate students over the past 20 years.” 8 UTAHSTATE I WINTER 2016

Donna Barry

NEWS@USU

That dedication and focus on his students’ successes is one of the many reasons Etchberger took home the award that salutes the most outstanding undergraduate educators in the country. As one of only 35 in the nation to take home the award, Etchberger is the 14th honoree from USU. Etchberger’s passion for mentoring undergraduates, particularly nontraditional students, led him to begin his career in the Department of Wildland Resources in the S.J. & Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources at the UBC in the mid-1990s. It was here that he dedicated himself to inspiring his students to make an impact on natural resources and the economy at the small, rural campus located in the heart of Utah’s energy development corridor in northeastern Utah. “Dr. Etchberger pioneered a very hands-on wildlife science bachelor’s degree at the USU Uintah Basin campus,” said USU President Stan L. Albrecht. “His vision has given local, often nontraditional students a route to professional careers they would never have been able to achieve otherwise. Graduates from his program now dominate the Bureau of Land Management activities and policies in the Basin area, and he is responsible for balancing the Basin’s environmental health with its newfound economic growth.” Etchberger encourages student enthusiasm by having them try their hands at fieldwork during their first semester in the wildlife science program. Every class he teaches draws upon his research and students joining him on field projects learn to solve authentic questions, such as how to successfully reintroduce the blackfooted ferret into the Pariette Wetlands located in the Basin. “Part of Rich’s advantageous teaching style is his integration of using classroom teachings combined with in-the-field, hands-on instruction, often working side-by-side with a professional organization such as the Bureau of Land Management,” said Darren Williams,

Utah state magazine winter 2016  

The quarterly magazine for friends and alumni of Utah State University

Utah state magazine winter 2016  

The quarterly magazine for friends and alumni of Utah State University