Becky Broadbent – Utah Tech University

Utah Tech GC gets organized with collaboration and transparency

While email makes sharing information more efficient, it doesn’t always keep it well organized.

Becky Broadbent noticed this when she joined Utah Tech University as general counsel in January 2020. The university had been managing contracts via email, and she wanted to implement a contract management system.

“I wanted something that would allow us to review, collaborate and share contracts in a more organized manner,” she says. “Using email was becoming too disjointed.”

Becky Broadbent | General Counsel | Utah Tech University

Becky Broadbent | General Counsel | Utah Tech University

Broadbent intended to explore options as soon as possible, but the COVID-19 pandemic and sweeping Title IX changes delayed her plans. Instead, her first year at the university was spent ensuring compliance with new regulations and helping keep students, faculty and staff safe.

In 2021, she revisited her plan. That summer, the legal team, led by Assistant General Counsel Brian Graf, began customizing the Thomson Reuters software HighQ, rolling it out to the university in January 2022.

“We’re able to use it for much more than contract management,” Broadbent says. “It allows us to focus on how we can be in sync with the university as a whole. When we do that, we are successful.”

Collaborative campus

Utah Tech University, located in St. George, is a polytechnic school with a student population of over 12,000. Students receive hands-on, individualized learning through industry partnerships and other active and applied learning opportunities, Broadbent says. Utah Tech also strives to be inclusive, she adds, leading to its name change from Dixie State University in July 2022.

“We have a very caring, welcoming campus and that’s evident in how we operate in our department,” she says.

Becky Broadbent | General Counsel | Utah Tech University

Her team routinely collaborates with other departments on campus, which is made easier with HighQ because it serves as both a workflow manager and a repository for contracts and legal documents. Attorneys in the legal department have licenses for the software and university clients can access the system for collaboration.

If staff or administrators need a new contract drawn up or reviewed, they access HighQ through a tab on the legal department’s website and submit a request. That feature, along with the others, has helped streamline contract creation and review, Broadbent says.

“I like that HighQ sends our team alerts and reminders and also allows us to communicate directly with clients,” she adds.

HighQ integrates with Outlook, so her team can upload emails directly to the platform and contain all client communications in one place.

Commencing the process

During the fall 2022 semester, Broadbent and her team began using HighQ for working on university policies, too.

She and Associate General Counsel Jared Rasband advise Utah Tech’s policy steering committee, so her office worked with the committee chairs and the IT department to migrate all policies and revisions to the software. Drafts used to be sent back and forth via email with redlines, which could get confusing, she says, but now all changes and communications can be seen in HighQ.

Becky Broadbent | General Counsel | Utah Tech University

“This enables us to have an even more open and transparent policy making process, with everyone involved in a policy’s development being able to comment on the policy,” Broadbent says. “It also makes it easier for us to provide legal review before moving a policy forward and ensures that everything is more integrated.”

As with contract management, stakeholders can use HighQ to view policies or request a policy change. When a new policy is being created or revised, staff and faculty can submit requests and receive responses through the system, which Broadbent says eliminates confusion and redundancies.

Soon, public record requests will be processed in HighQ, as well, and media outlets and the public will be able to submit them through the system via the legal department’s website. Utah Tech’s risk management team is also integrating some of its work with HighQ to make it easier to add certificates of insurance to contracts.

Every night, the software sends Broadbent a report detailing every contract and policy submitted and worked on that day.

“I can see how work is being distributed, ensuring that no one is being overloaded,” she says. “It’s also made me better prepared for meetings and gives me more insight into how the legal department is supporting the university.”

Balanced approach

As Utah Tech continues working through its second strategic plan, called Trailblazing Distinction, which is being implemented through 2025, Broadbent says it’s helpful to have this insight. She wants her team to support the university in implementing the plan as much as possible by preparing agreements and reviewing proposals as needed.

In leading her team, which includes four attorneys, Broadbent follows the university’s motto of “active learning. active life.” She gives them opportunities both to learn and grow professionally while encouraging rest and physical activity.

Becky Broadbent | General Counsel | Utah Tech University

“Working in the legal department can be taxing and a grind, so I encourage them to take breaks, use the university’s state-of-the-art Human Performance Center and take care of themselves,” she says.

Broadbent knows the need for this approach first-hand, having worked in private practice for over 20 years after earning her bachelor’s in political science from Boise State University and her J.D. from BYU Law. She went in-house in 2016 when she became associate general counsel at her undergraduate alma mater, BSU.

After nearly four years in higher education, she was drawn to Utah Tech, which is the most affordable public university in the state, by its people and mission. The goal, Broadbent says, is to better prepare more young people for careers within the region.

“It’s fun to work on a college campus because of the vibrancy students bring,” she says. “The impact of our work is seen in them every day.”

View this feature in the Vanguard Winter III 2023 Edition here.

Published on: January 13, 2023


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