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Michael Petersen to leave UEN, will resume teaching at USU

Petersen was a pioneer in Utah distance learning.

Former College of Eastern Utah President Michael A. Petersen will resign as executive director and CEO of UEN, and take a six month sabbatical leave starting January 1, 2012. He will become a faculty member at Utah State University's Tooele campus next summer.

"Leading UEN into the 21st century is a high point in my 26-year career in higher education. UEN has grown to be a nationally-recognized leader in broadband connectivity for education. I'm grateful to have led the team that has now connected more than 1,380 locations in the state," said Petersen.

While at CEU in the 1990s, he spearheaded the drive to establish a distance learning network for the college that spanned the 19,000 square miles of southeastern Utah. He was a "teaching president" during his tenure at the college, adding classroom work to his responsibilities as president.

Throughout his decade-long tenure with UEN, Petersen has been a hands-on user of educational technology and has taught Political Science courses for Utah State and Weber State using UEN course management and interactive video tools. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the Ohio State University.

"Under Mike's leadership UEN transformed from a limited-capacity system to a high capacity, highly reliable fiber optics infrastructure for higher education and public education," said Dr. Gary Wixom, co-chair of the UEN Steering Committee and Assistant Commissioner in the Utah System of Higher Education. 

Petersen was instrumental in the adoption of Utah's course management system used daily by more than 170,000 students at Utah's state colleges and universities and the Utah Electronic High School.

"Thanks to Mike and his team, UEN is the envy of many other states. UEN connects all public schools, districts, colleges and universities and libraries. We couldn't do our job without UEN," said Brenda Hales, co-chair of the UEN Steering Committee and Associate Superintendent at the Utah State Office of Education. 

UEN reaches virtually every public school, charter school, college, applied technology college, university and public library in Utah. It serves more than 576,000 students in public education and more than 30,000 educators.

Petersen directed the replacement of obsolete and unreliable distance learning systems with a reliable and instructionally powerful interactive videoconferencing system that now connects more than 800 classrooms and desktops at high schools and colleges throughout Utah.

Prior to his appointment with UEN in 2001, he served as associate commissioner of the Utah System of Higher Education and president of the College of Eastern Utah (now USU Eastern). Petersen was born in Price, grew up in Ferron and now lives in Draper.

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