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Dick McGinity

Dick McGinity

Finding ways to prevent off-campus violence involving students and alcohol is one of the topics University of Wyoming administrators plan to discuss with state lawmakers in next year's legislative session, UW President Dick McGinity said.

University student Joseph McGowan, of Lander, was killed, and student Luke McConville, of Casper, was injured in two separate fights on Halloween, according to the university. Police said alcohol was involved in both incidents.

McGinity said the two incidents are fueling work to prevent similar events from happening in the future.

"There's a group on the campus called the A-Team, or Aware Team, and it's a mix of administrators and also city administrators, and that group has some work to do," he said. "We're at the early stage of looking beyond the campus."

The university also is looking to have a closer partnership with the Legislature to address four separate areas, he said.

The areas are faculty and staff compensation, the science initiative, transfer credits and the energy and engineering initiative.

The university has been looking to increase compensation to help fill positions and slow staff turnover, he said.

"The point is to enable us to get to a level of faculty compensations that are beginning to be more competitive than those competitor institutions that are trying to steal our best faculty and also get something for the staff," McGinity said.

The science initiative was a project set by the Legislature to examine the university's science programs and facilities, he said.

There is a group of scientists from the university and outside advisers involved in the project, McGinity said.

He said he expects the project to get some funding to continue planning.

The energy and engineering initiative has already had capital investment to build a new engineering building, and the focus now is on what research programs the building will be designed to accommodate, such as improving use of unconventional mineral reservoirs and creating advanced fuels or chemicals from coal and natural gas, McGinity said.

Another priority for UW during conversations with legislators is looking at improving the transferability of program credits from the state's community colleges to the university, he said.

"In terms of articulating courses and ensuring that courses transfer from the community college to the university, there's a lot of inconsistency in the way that gets done," he said. "(We're) really trying to focus on smoothing that process for students."

Other topics McGinity talked about include the role of research done at the university and work to benefit Wyoming.

"It is reasonable for the Legislature to expect, at least to some degree, the research that goes on at the university will have some direct benefit to the state in a fairly visible way," he said. "Not that the state needs to drive all the research."

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