Laurens H. Smith
Vice President of Statewide Campuses
Dr. Laurens H. Smith became Vice President of Statewide Campuses in August of 2020 after serving as Interim Vice President there for approximately a year.
Larry has worked at Utah State in administrative roles since 2003, including Interim Dean of the School of Graduate Studies from 2004 to 2006. He served in the provost’s office for 12 years mostly as the executive senior vice provost but spent his final 19-months there as Interim Provost. He served as USU’s Interim Vice President for Research 2018-2019.
Smith’s academic background is in physiology and cell science. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology at Eastern Connecticut State College, a Master’s degree in physiology at the University of Kansas, and a Ph.D. in physiology at the University of Maryland. After several years of postdoctoral work at medical schools and research institutes, Smith began his faculty career at Idaho State University in 1989. During 14 years at ISU, he led efforts to improve the teaching and research environment in cell and molecular science and was founding director of the Molecular Research Core Facility. Larry has extensive expertise in curriculum development, enrollment management, and faculty policy.
Karen Hager Martinez
Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation Counseling
Karen Hager Martinez is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation Counseling. She coordinates the special education undergraduate program and developed and directs the Online Practical Teacher Training (OPTT) program. OPTT provides special education teacher training across the state. It was designed to collaborate with local districts, particularly rural districts, to provide a licensure route for paraprofessionals and associate (unlicensed) special education teachers. OPTT is currently training teachers in over half of the Utah school districts. She serves on the Board of Directors of the American Council on Rural Special Education and her program development and research interests include technology-enhanced teacher preparation and issues surrounding rural special educators.
School of Teacher Education and Leadership
After working in elementary schools for 17 years, Dr. Beth MacDonald earned her Ph.D. with a focus in mathematics education at Virginia Tech. As an Associate Professor at Utah State University, her research foci included: (1) young children’s subitizing related to their number development, (2) pre-service teachers’ pedagogical content development with fractions and (3) young children and in-service teachers’ reasoning with mathematics and STEM-oriented activities. Since 2010, she authored more than 30 refereed publications and shared more than 40 presentations. Currently, Beth examines children’s subitizing development related to their number development and children’s atypical number development (to determine precursors for learning disabilities). She enjoys learning alongside some of the youngest mathematics students, who surprise her continually with their unique perspectives.
Kinesiology and Health Science
Brennan Thompson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Science. Dr. Thompson received his bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from Weber State University followed by his master’s in Human Movement Science at Utah State University in 2008. He completed his doctoral degree at Oklahoma State University in Applied Exercise Physiology in 2013. Prior to returning to Utah State, Dr. Thompson was a faculty at Texas Tech University where he also co-directed the human performance and muscular assessment laboratories. He is the founder and director of the Neuromuscular Research Laboratory at USU. His research encompasses physiological- and performance-based aspects of neuromuscular function which includes elucidating physiological causes and effects of neuromuscular fatigue, adaptation responses and beneficial health outcomes of resistance training, and discovering optimal strategies to improve neuromuscular health and function in occupational and aging populations. He currently teaches graduate level research methods and neuromuscular physiology courses at USU.
Associate Professor, Associate Director for the Uintah Basin Campus
Human Development and Family Studies
David Law is a professor in Human Development and Family Studies, associate director for the Uintah Basin Campus, and oversees the Statewide Faculty-to-Student Mentoring Program. He teaches courses on marriage and family relations, and family life education. His research interests are in the areas of family life education, the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, and the impact of faculty-to-student mentoring on student success. He and his wife Shirlene enjoy running together and have completed 12 half-marathons. Their four children have all attended Utah State University.
Breanne K. Litts
Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences Department
Breanne K. Litts is an Assistant Professor in Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences and director of Learn Explore Design Lab at Utah State University. She investigates how people learn through making, designing, and producing at the intersection of physical and digital worlds. She conducts this work in collaboration with Indigenous communities, formal and out-of-school educators, and other community organizations. Together they examine how young people construct their identities through place and story, how to use technology to bring people together in cross-cultural contexts, and how people collaborate across disciplines, communities, and cultures. Specifically, they examine how to leverage place-based storytelling to engage young people in cultural and civic issues as well as computational and technological design practices. She has received internal and external funding to support this work including an NSF EAGER (AISL #1623404), an NSF Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award (#1943630), and a Spencer Foundation grant. Dr. Litts’ work appears in journals such as Teachers College Record, Harvard Educational Review, and Interactive Learning Environments.
Vice President Advancement/President of the USU Foundation
Matt White joined Utah State University in 2018 as the Vice President of Advancement and President of the USU Foundation. He is the chief fundraiser for the university, providing leadership and strategic direction for the university’s philanthropic endeavors. He leads the USU Foundation and provides direction to the USU Alumni Board, ensuring gratifying engagement experiences for USU’s stakeholders. He has worked in the fundraising field for over 17 years serving in various leadership roles. Matt received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Evansville, his master’s and Ph.D. from Saint Louis University in Higher Education and Administration and Public Policy.
Principal of the Edith Bowen Laboratory School
Nate grew up exploring the high plains of Laramie, Wyoming, and later the mountain streams of Cache Valley. His curiosity led to studying physics teaching and math education at Brigham Young University. While teaching, he completed a master's degree in physics pedagogy at Arizona State University. After an 8-year teaching career in high school physics and math, he coached teachers in the classroom for one year. Then, realizing he wanted to open a new school, Nate left Utah to study school development at Harvard University. After completing a second master's degree, he joined a team that opened the American International School of Utah—a K-12 charter school in Salt Lake City, Utah, that focused on blended and experiential learning. After four years there, Nate returned to Logan, Utah, to take a job as principal of the Edith Bowen Laboratory School and begin his PhD in Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences at Utah State University.
Head of the Department of Nursing
Dr. Carma Miller serves as Head of the Department of Nursing, a relatively young department at USU that is rapidly growing with undergraduate programs in 7 locations throughout the state of Utah: Blanding, Cedar City, Logan, Moab, Price Uintah Basin, and Tooele. Additionally, a completely online RN to BSN Completion program is offered.
Carma has been at Utah State University since 2018, and has been involved in nursing education and administration for 20 years in various roles. Prior to becoming an educator, she enjoyed a variety of roles as a nurse administrator and patient care. Carma received her Doctorate in Nursing Practice and Master of Public Health from the University of Utah, Masters in Health Care Systems Administration from Brigham Young University, and Bachelors of Nursing from Weber State University.
Raymond and Eloise Lillywhite Endowed Chair
Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education Department
Ronald Gillam, PhD holds the Raymond and Eloise Lillywhite Endowed Chair in Speech-Language Pathology at Utah State University. His research, which has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Education, primarily concerns information processing, the neurobiology of speech and language, and evidence-based practices for children with developmental language disorders. Dr. Gillam has published more than 130 peer reviewed articles and book chapters, and he has received numerous teaching and research awards, including the Robins Award for the Outstanding Researcher at Utah State University.
Assistant Professor, Assistant Director of the Mentoring and Encouraging Student Academic Success
Dr. Melissa Tehee is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. She earned dual degrees in Clinical Psychology, Policy, and Law (Ph.D./J.D.) with a certificate in Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy. She came to USU in 2015 to direct the American Indian Support Project, a program that has trained Native psychologists since 1986. Dr. Tehee is also the Assistant Director of the Mentoring and Encouraging Student Academic Success (MESAS) program for Native Students, a program funded by HHMI Inclusive Excellence. Her teaching and scholarship are focused on Cultural Competence and her service on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.