Arts & Humanities

USU History Professor Extends Stay in Blanding After Impressive Student Marks

By Marcus Jensen |

USU Associate Professor of History Danielle Ross.

BLANDING, Utah — Utah State University Blanding is pleased to announce the continued collaboration of the campus with USU Associate Professor of History Danielle Ross, who came to the campus in the fall 2023 semester to help teach history courses, along with other general education courses.

During the semester, administrators saw impressive results in the pass rates of students who were taught by Ross. The campus will now see Ross extend her stay at the campus for a second academic year.

During several previous semesters, USU administrators saw the troubling trend that many students were having difficulty in their history courses. Ross, who had previously presented at a conference on how to teach Native American students, heard about this trend and volunteered to transfer her office to USU Blanding, making the strategic decision to spend the 2023-24 academic year teaching in Blanding.

“When I look back at my own undergraduate years, so much of my success was made possible through mentorship relationships with professors and advisers,” Ross said. “It's these kinds of relationships that not only helped me succeed in the classroom but made me aware of other opportunities — internships, scholarships and grants, fieldwork opportunities. Getting to have opportunities like these leads to students establish further relationships and gain more experiences that will set them on the path to a career after they graduate.”

The move was driven by Ross’ dedication to working with rural and Indigenous students, demonstrating a commitment to fostering educational opportunities in diverse communities. Throughout her brief tenure at USU Blanding, Ross has worked to incorporate pedagogy and techniques that better resonate with Native American students.

The campus has seen a spike in passing grades in the classes that Ross is teaching. Ravi Gupta, head of the USU Department of History, expressed his admiration for Ross’s decision to help the students at USU Blanding.

“Dr. Ross is an outstanding faculty member,” Gupta said. “When she approached me about spending a year in Blanding to help USU Blanding students learn history, I was not surprised in the least. This is the kind of person she is — someone who cares passionately about students. We are very proud of the work she is doing.”

Ross has a profound love and is a global expert in tribal relations. With this expertise, Ross has brought vital insights to the challenges faced by tribal communities. Her commitment to inclusivity and understanding has made her an invaluable addition to the USU Blanding campus.

Students at USU Blanding have embraced Ross’s teaching style and have voiced appreciation for the support she provides for their academic growth and success. Her approach to teaching has resonated with students, leading to increased enrollment in history classes and improved academic performance.

“I am extremely grateful for Professor Ross,” said Kristian Olsen, senior associate vice president for USU Blanding. “Her impact on our students has been significant. Many of our students either didn't take a history class or struggled with the material. The students see her dedication and the excellence she brings to the classroom, which has resulted in far more students taking history and doing very well in her class.”

Due to the overwhelming success of the collaboration, Ross and USU Blanding have mutually agreed to extend her stay for a second academic year. Campus and university leaders, including Olsen and Gupta, are actively exploring opportunities to maintain Ross’s presence in Blanding on a long-term basis.

The ongoing collaboration between the main campus and Blanding exemplifies USU’s commitment to finding innovative ways to impact and provide high-quality academic opportunities for students all across the state of Utah.

Offering residential campus housing and dining, Utah State University Blanding gives students the personalized attention and small class sizes of a small-town college with the resources of a large university, all while providing award-winning education. With degree options ranging from associate to doctorate degrees, plus technical education offerings in Business, Technical Trades and Health Professions, USU Blanding offers programs that help fuel local economies and empower individuals and their communities. Learn more at


Marcus Jensen
News Coordinator
University Marketing and Communications


Kristian Olsen
Senior Associate Vice President
Utah State University Blanding & Moab


Statewide Campuses 340stories Student Success 297stories Diversity & Inclusion 251stories Teaching 151stories History 138stories Humanities 117stories

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