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UETN Board FAQ for New Members

Where can I find information about UETN’s services, organization, finances and goals?

About UETN

Where did UEN (now UETN) come from?

Experiments with distance learning via closed circuit TV were conceived at the University of Utah as early as 1956.  An analog microwave system started in 1978. The Utah Legislature formally established UEN as the statewide delivery system for education in Utah in 1989. Today high-speed fiber-optic technology has replaced most microwave, and UETN now connects all Utah school districts, schools and higher education institutions.

What is the relationship of UETN with the University of Utah?

UETN is a state-supported public/private partnership headquartered at the University of Utah. UETN achieves administrative efficiencies by sharing broadcast personnel and resources with KUED. It relies on University of Utah human resources, payroll, purchasing and other administrative functions.  Appropriations and grants flow through the U of U. UETN employees receive pay and benefits consistent with higher education employees at the U of U.  The CIO of the University of Utah/Utah System of Higher Education sits on the UETN Board, which is otherwise independent of the University of Utah.

What do UETN Board members do?

Prepare for meetings by reviewing materials provided in advance and attend meetings:  UETN prepares briefings and provides information on current issues through board meeting materials publicly available on the About UETN webpage. UETN then depends on board members to review the materials, solicit input from constituents and provide representative comments and recommendations through their meetings and interaction with UETN leadership.

Represent their constituencies:  Appointees represent the diverse interests of urban and rural schools, charters, research and teaching universities, health care providers, technologists, administrators, instructors and staff, etc.  A key understanding for new board members is that they represent stakeholders and issues that are relevant across the state.  They have a responsibility to be informed of the needs of their constituents broadly across the state rather than from a single profession, institution, district, clinic or hospital.

Represent needs and evaluate relative importance of those needs: Board members bring needs and opportunities to the attention of the board on behalf of their constituents. UETN staff members then use their professional expertise to determine how to best meet the needs and resolve the issues presented by the board.  UETN’s executive director determines the appropriate fit for various needs and projects within UETN’s mission and resources.

Provide high-level financial oversight and budget approval:  UETN’s conscientious accounting staff have earned praise from federal auditors for the carefully detailed and transparent use of funds they administer.  However, as in any government organization multiple checks and balances are necessary to maximize taxpayer investment.  Board members are responsible to become familiar with the top level of UETN’s income sources and expenses and to maintain confidence in UETN’s appropriate allocation of state and other funds within the organization.  They have a responsibility to exercise vigilance on behalf of their constituents and Utah citizens to ensure accountability and transparency in UETN’s budget reporting.  As with needs and priorities, board members’ can focus on oversight and approval, allowing UETN’s expert accounting and administrative staff to appropriately navigate internal and state purchasing processes and distribution of specific funds (i.e. grant monies).  UETN’s executive leadership team carries the responsibility to ensure that departments and projects are allocated the resources required to support stakeholders’ issues and expectations.

Represent and support UETN’s mission and priorities:  Because UETN depends upon state funding it is critical that Utah educators and citizens recognize the value we provide.  Board members represent a primary channel of communication with those whom UETN serves. Two-way communication is essential. UETN depends upon board members to ensure we meet constituent needs, but also to ensure that people are aware of the quality and value of services they receive from UETN.  Board members can help citizens and legislators throughout Utah recognize UETN as a critical source of education technology leadership and economic value.

From year to year we require board members to actively promote UETN’s interests in contact with law makers, and to assist UETN staff in conveying consistent, effective messaging of our accomplishments and needs throughout the legislative season.

From day to day, board members should serve as UETN advocates by sharing our accomplishments and raising awareness of our services with their professional and personal contacts.  UETN depends upon board members to both bring in suggestions and issues and also carry back important information, key initiatives and inspiring stories about what we do for education and telehealth in Utah.

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