Southern Utah University: Empowering Students with Unrivaled Learning Opportunities

Southern Utah University

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Southern Utah University is one of the eminent public universities in Utah. Located in Cedar City, Utah, the university started as Branch Normal School in 1897, the first teaching training school in Southern Utah. Over the span of more than 100 years, SUU’s name has been changed three times—Branch Agricultural College (1913), College of Southern Utah (1951), and Southern Utah State College (1969). The Southern Utah State College was given university status in 1991. With a student-first approach as a core value and the motto of ‘Learning Lives Forever,’ the school has grown into a prominent university serving over 12,000 students.

World-class, Hands-on Learning Opportunities

With more than 140 majors, minors, certificates, and graduate degrees across seven academic colleges, Southern Utah University provides world-class, hands-on learning opportunities where students gain professional experience before entering the job market. The academic colleges in the university are,

  • College of Health Sciences
  • College of Engineering and Computational Sciences
  • Beverley Taylor Sorenson College of Education & Human Development
  • College of Performing and Visual Arts
  • College of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Walter Maxwell Gibson College of Sciences
  • Dixie L. Leavitt School of Business

Popular programs taught through these colleges include Nursing/Pre-medical Studies, Aviation, Engineering, Business/Entrepreneurship, Outdoor Recreation, Psychology, and Theatre Arts.

Alongside, SUU provides academic opportunities to the students such as Community Engagement Center, Festival of Excellence, Honors Program, Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service, Southwest Tech Partnership, Study Abroad, Undergraduate Research, and a 3-year degree. The 3-year degree, in particular, is very beneficial for the students as it provides them a shortcut, speeding up the time to graduation. Apart from this, the university also provides academic resources such as Academic Advising, Career Center, Veteran Services, Center for Diversity and Inclusion, Testing Center, Tutoring Center, and Writing Center.

University of the Parks®

Southern Utah University is a caring campus where students come to explore their interests and prepare for meaningful careers and life experiences. SUU is widely designated as the University of Parks® due to its proximity to several outdoor recreational areas and its educational partnerships with the National Park Services. SUU’s safe, residential campus allows students to create lifelong friendships along with once-in-a-lifetime adventures in conjunction with innovative academic endeavors.

Student-focused Approach

SUU is a regional public institution that is disrupting the landscape of higher education with a ‘student-first approach’ thereby ensuring they have access to quality education for future success. The university is agile and can pivot and remove barriers from its students by finding innovative solutions to obsolete systems. As the most human university in Utah, students at SUU are a face and a name, not a number.

Small class sizes is another aspect that differentiates SUU from other universities. The student/faculty ratio at SUU is 19:1, enabling faculty members to provide individualized attention to each student. Due to this approach, SUU is continuing to grow leaps and bounds. The university has increased enrollment by 12.1% over the last year and presently has the largest number of students in its nearly 125 year history. SUU Thunderbirds (students) are passionate, outgoing, strong, and ready to meet the challenges.

Furthermore, SUU has more than 130 student clubs and organizations including,

  • Academic Clubs
  • Advocacy Clubs
  • Athletic Clubs
  • Cultural Clubs
  • Greek Clubs
  • Inter-collegiate Clubs
  • Occupational Clubs
  • Recreational & Leisure Clubs
  • Service Clubs and many more.

The university has 4 on-campus halls and hundreds of off-campus options for students. Moreover, it has 17 student spaces as well for recreation, leisure, and study. Moreover, SUUs residential campus keeps more than 90 percent of the students within walking distance, making it more convenient for them to stay inside the campus. Alongside this, the university also provides a plethora of career opportunities for the students. It has high job and graduate placement rates, with 93% medical, 86% dental, 100% pharmaceutical, 75% occupational therapy, 100% MAcc, 100% MBA and 95% aviation students successfully placed across the respective industries.

Ensuring Safety and Normalcy

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, SUU has been aggressive in ensuring the safety of the campus community, while also providing in-person classes for the fall semester. Presently, approximately 60% of the classes are in person, with hybrid options for students.  Prioritizing safety, masks are required inside all campus buildings and social distancing is encouraged.  Due to these precautions, the university has managed to keep the number of COVID cases in single digits each week during the fall semester.

Furthermore, SUU has also provided a remote learning option for students. Every classroom has a new camera system in place so that students can attend class live via Zoom if they are unable to attend the face-to-face session. Moreover, despite the pandemic, SUU’s Homecoming was celebrated knowing that connecting with the current students and alumni helps keep the thunderbird spirit alive. A drive-in movie night, a shoebox parade, outdoor socially-distanced yoga, and a virtual 5k race were some of the events SUU organized to provide students with fun/engaging social experiences.

A Full Host of Extra-curricular Activities

In a normal year not impacted by a pandemic, SUU offers a full host of extra-curricular activities such as major collegiate sports. SUU’s 15 athletic teams compete in Division 1 of the NCAA and are proud members of the Big Sky Conference. Moreover, it organizes hundreds of events each semester, dozens of opportunities such as access to more than 20 national parks, monuments, and recreation areas within a 5-hour drive, and year-round events such as music festivals, downtown block parties, and even a sheep parade.

Focusing on the Positive

The university has had to tighten its financial belt due to the pandemic. During the pandemic, it saw a slight increase in the number of students choosing a deferred enrollment. Some of its students also couldn’t afford to attain college during these uncertain times. However, SUU prefers to focus on the positive. The number of students pursuing online learning has doubled in a year. SUU’s online MBA program has also increased fourfold. Moreover, due to hundreds of available scholarships, affordable tuition rates, and no tuition or fee increases for the past two years, students at SUU end up graduating with 57% less debt than the national average.

The New Doctorate Program

SUU has recently announced to offer first doctorate-level program in its history. The program aims to prepare students to practice psychotherapy and psychological testing. “When our first doctorate program begins in the fall of 2022, it will be Southern Utah University’s 125th year of providing higher education in our region. That’s a significant achievement in our history,” says SUU President Scott L. Wyatt. This program will help solve a problem found in rural Utah and throughout the county – the availability of mental health practitioners.

This program will be the only Doctorate of Psychology (Psy.D.) program focusing on mental health offered in the State of Utah. It differs from the Ph.D. degree which places a greater emphasis on research rather than specifically training professionals for practical applications. Graduates of this program will provide greater access to mental health care, particularly in rural Utah. The faculties have been working towards this degree for many years and are prepared to deliver a high-quality curriculum. This new Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology will take five years to complete. This degree proposes to be a valuable addition to SUU’s widespread programs.

SUU is getting national recognition for its efforts in student success, job placement, and enrollment growth & retention. In the near future, it is projecting continued growth and will strive to capitalize on its innovative programming. The university promises to continue emphasizing its student-centered focus for years to come.

Southern Utah University

Read Full Magazine:- The 10 Most Admired Universities and Colleges to watch in 2020



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