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Education

Michael Good Takes Over As Interim University Of Utah President

Photo of a sign that says "The University of Utah, Founded February 28, 1850."
Brian Albers/KUER
Dr. Michael Good, an anaesthesiologist and current head of the University of Utah Health, will take over as the U’s interim president in April.

The Utah System of Higher Education has appointed Dr. Michael Good to lead the University of Utah as its interim president.

Good came to the university in 2018. He currently serves as the CEO of University of Utah Health, dean of the medical school and senior vice president of health sciences at the U.

Chris Nelson, the U’s communications director, said with Good’s other responsibilities, and a deep bench of administrative support, his interim role will largely be as a liaison between the university and state leaders, as well as the chief spokesperson for the university.

He said typically, the head of health sciences doesn’t want to run the university. And since they can’t apply after taking on the temporary role, there’s precedent for selecting them in the interim role.

“Typically the progression to becoming a university president is usually not through that route,” Nelson said. “If the person wants to become president, typically you can't serve as the interim leader, then also apply for the job.”

Good is taking over as many key positions at the university faces an uncertain future. The school is not only losing its president come April, but Chief Safety Officer Marlon Lynch recently announced he was also leaving to take on a similar role at his alma mater, the University of Michigan.

The school’s police chief, Rodney Chatman, is also on leave as he is being investigated for what Nelson said were questions over his police officer certification. Chatman’s attorney, however, has alleged he’s being forced out over his attempts to investigate a former U police officer.

Devon Cantwell, a graduate student at the U and organizer with the campus safety group UnsafeU, said the university still has a long way to go to improve campus safety and its efforts to increase diversity and equity at the school.

But she called Good one of the school’s best options for interim president, in part because of the way he’s handled calls for diversity and equity at the medical school.

Following protests the murder of George Floyd last summer, student organizers with White Coats 4 Black Lives made several demands of the university, including creating a plan to increase diversity among admitted students and update policy on how to anonymously report incidents of racism and abuse.

Cantwell said the health sciences campus has proven receptive, which suggests Good is serious about those issues and responding to vulnerable communities.

“They just understand the need for more specific, urgent actions,” she said. “And I would assume that a lot of that has to do with what's happening from the top down.”

Good will officially take over in April. The Utah System of Higher Education is holding a series of panels this week and next to get public input on the presidential search. It is expected to choose a final candidate this fall.

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