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Worlds Apart: Assessing Utah’s Urban-Rule Divide


The 2016 election put into sharp contrast the political and social divisions that exist between rural and urban areas in this country. Even here in Utah, we see marked

social, political, and policy divergence between areas of urban growth like Salt Lake and Utah counties, and rural areas of the state that are struggling to keep jobs and families in their communities.

Understanding the nature of this divide and determining what can be done to bridge the gap is ultimately the challenge for participants in this Praxis Lab. The first semester will begin with an investigation of the extent of the urban-rural divide. We will explore, among other things, the

differences and similarities between living and working Utah’s capital city and in rural Utah. This exploration will set the stage for the second semester, when students will identify aspects of this complex area of problems and policies they want to focus on and develop relevant and realistic proposals for how governments and nonprofits might address these issues. Once identified, students will develop their ideas to help bridge the divide between urban and rural Utah.

Join us for this timely exploration of this topic impacting our state and our entire nation!


Matthew Burbank – Associate Professor, Department of Political Science

Matthew Burbank is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science where he teaches courses on American politics, voting and elections, political parties, research design, and statistical analysis. Professor Burbank’s research focuses on political participation, political parties, and urban politics and policy. He has coauthored two books, Olympic Dreams: The Impact of Mega-events on Local Politics (Lynne Rienner, 2001) and Parties, Interest Groups, and Political Campaigns (2nd ed., Oxford University Press, 2012), and published journal articles and book chapters on topics such as voting on school vouchers in Utah, support for the Conservative Party in the UK, public opinion on medical research, and how and why cities pursue large scale events such as the Olympics.

Professor Burbank has been recognized for his teaching by the College of Social and Behavior’s Superior Teaching Award (2000) and ASUU’s Student Choice Teaching Award (2009). In addition to his classroom teaching, Professor Burbank serves as the director of undergraduate studies and the honors faculty advisor for the Department of Political Science. He also serves as a faculty advisor on survey research for the Kem Gardner Policy Institute.

Katherine Fife – Principal Consultant, Philanthropy Matters, LLC.

Katherine has worked in the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors for more than two decades. In 2016, Katherine founded the consulting firm, Philanthropy Matters, working with philanthropies of all types to help deploy their charitable resources in a more effective, efficient, and impactful manner.

Previously, Katherine served as the Director of Philanthropy for the Community Foundation of Utah, where she assisted hundreds of philanthropists with their charitable giving. Helping to deploy over $20 million into social good, Katherine has a comprehensive perspective on giving. In addition to working with donors of all types, Katherine has extensive experience working in the nonprofit sector, managing all aspects of a nonprofit organization, both on the programmatic side, as well as development and marketing. In addition to consulting, Katherine also served as the Director of Marketing and Development with Make-A-Wish Utah.

In a volunteer capacity, Katherine currently serves on the Planned Giving Advisory Council for Salt Lake Community College Foundation and is the Treasurer on the Advisory Board of the Sorenson Multi-Cultural Center. She also served as president of the Utah Society of Fund Raisers board of directors. Katherine earned her Master’s degree in family ecology from the University of Utah and her BA in sociology from Westminster College in Salt Lake. She is inspired by the opportunity to make positive change through partnerships with those who are committed to social good.

Final Report

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