The Interview USA
Utah Tech University
Vice President of Student Affairs

Del Beatty

Student safety is a matter that requires near-constant attention from Higher Education (HE) institutions. Creating a safe environment for students allows them to raise issues, seek support, and achieve academic success. But, for Del Beatty, Vice President (VP) of Student Affairs at Utah Tech University, safety isn’t just about keeping students out of harm’s way, it’s also about providing them holistic, emotional support through a sense of community on campus. 

Del took the time to chat with Luke James, Co-Host of The Interview, to share how his Student Affairs team plans and executes initiatives that make Utah Tech feel like home for its students. 

Del's Journey

Luke: Let’s start with an introduction to yourself… 

I’m Del Beatty, and I have over three decades of experience in HE across various institutions. I started at Southern Utah University, dealing mostly with student affairs, student leadership, and marketing and recruitment, before becoming Assistant Dean of Students. Then, I went to Utah State University Eastern for two years as the Dean of Students and Assistant VP. In 2008, I came to Dixie State University, which later became Utah Tech, as the Dean of Students and Assistant VP. About three years ago, I took on the VP role for our 14,000 students. 

Luke: How do you create a sense of inclusion and belonging for such a varied student body?

My doctoral work is centered around student success as a result of feeling socially connected to their institution, and I believe that if students know they’re accepted, seen, heard, and safe on campus, they’ll be more successful in their academic and social endeavors. Upon joining Utah Tech, I prioritized expanding our Multicultural and Diversity Centre (MCDC) to foster a sense of belonging across diverse student identities. However, we don’t just serve Black, Asian, Native American, Pacific Islander, and international students, we also serve LGBTQIA+, undocumented, and first-generation students, so identity isn’t always as simple as ethnic or cultural heritage. Let’s say a student likes to play chess – if they join the chess club, then they have a place to feel accepted and safe, so we renamed the MCDC as the Centre for Inclusion and Belonging (CIB) because no matter where our students feel they fit in, that’s where they belong.

We work hard to push our range of societies, and the student leaders in our Black Students’ Union, Hispanic Student Association, Pacific Islander Student Association, and many of our other groups and clubs receive additional scholarship money for their involvement. We’re also lucky to have an accredited and certified police department on campus, and we’re consistently ranked one of the safest campuses in America. That’s an important part of creating a sense of belonging because, when students know that we will endeavor to help and support them, they’re more likely to spend time on campus, make connections, collaborate with us, and build our inclusive community.

Luke: What are some other ways that you promote student safety on campus?

At Utah Tech, we appoint Dean of Students’ Designees across the university, in housing, athletics, and academic departments, who have the authority to sanction students, deal with student conduct and behavior, and support students who don’t feel safe. That gives our student body the knowledge that if they have an issue, then it will be dealt with appropriately with the full support of their school. We also have an ‘Ask the Dean’ function, a link that faculty, staff, students, and parents can use to send questions directly to the Dean of Students’ email, and we assign those questions to relevant personnel in her office who provide a response within 24 hours. We also created the Campus Assessment and Risk Evaluation (CARE) team, who meet every Tuesday with representatives from across the university, like the Dean of Students, the athletic department, academic faculty, campus police officers, human resources, and the housing office, to discuss issues facing students. They’re able to reach out to particular students who’ve raised issues, or develop broader action plans to deal with any campus safety matters. We also created the ‘Come and Get It’ program, so students can come and take leftover food after events for free, alongside our childcare programs, our free student pantry, and several other initiatives to keep students safe, not just physically but also emotionally and financially. 

Luke: How do you go about engaging the wider student body with your initiatives? 

We start fostering engagement during our onboarding process for new students, and that continues throughout freshman year with compulsory modules on our policies and initiatives. We also empower students to feel that they’re a valuable part of bigger conversations, and we do that through our Pizza and Politics nights at our Institute of Politics, where we have a panel of experts who engage in discussions about issues to cut across the political division that’s so prevalent in modern America. Another example is our ‘Let’s Taco Bout It’ events, where a panel of five students discuss issues such as gun safety or gay marriage, and that gives the broader student body a chance to ask questions, share their experiences, and get involved in discussions relevant to the issues facing them. The CIB also hosts weekly events like lectures and movies, as well as cultural exchange and education events like a Salsa Night, so when it comes time to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, students feel more inclined to participate. Underpinning all those initiatives is our partnership with professors who give extra credit to students who attend these events and write a reflection paper, so we can combine student engagement in our programs with engagement in their academic affairs.  

Luke: What is the best piece of advice you’ve received during your career?

I have two quotes from my mentor, the first being, “The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.” So, if you want to be successful, you’re going to have to put in the work. The second is, “People support what they help to create.” Instead of keeping planning to a limited group, form a committee of twenty individuals, the more the merrier, and have them each pick a role. When it comes to launching initiatives, those who were involved will tell their friends, their friends will bring their roommates, and your initiative will receive support simply by virtue of having several people involved in its creation. 

Curious to see what the future of training looks like?
Luke James
Luke works hand-in-hand with leaders and changemakers in our professional services markets. If you want to join the next series of The Interview, or just learn more about GoodCourse, then get in touch at

The future of training is here, are you ready for it?

Tired of chasing your learners to complete dull training? Let's speak today👇
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.