Monday, January 22, 2007

A reality check for Trades at UVSC

The Deseret Morning News has milked yet another story out of the fact that UVSC pioneer Wilson Sorensen is displeased with the school's desires to become a university. This issue of the college's original mission and the realities of today cuts to the core of many of the internal rumblings on campus.

Old timers like Sorensen and others complain that the administration, "will eventually eliminate the trade and technical programs," and that "We'll completely lose our identity" as "Liberal Arts takes over."

But anyone who has spent time at UVSC in the past 15 years will tell you that it isn't Liberal Arts that is taking over Trades, it is Trades that has failed to adapt to the changing needs of students looking to stay competitive in an increasingly specialized work place. Some months ago The Pipeline spoke to an administrator at the Dean level who has practically grown up in the halls of UVSC. His father spent his entire working life in the school's Trades department. He said that the old guard has continually refused to update their programs to match the training indicative of a college campus. Efforts have been made by the administration to encourage those in the Trades to modernize curriculum, including offering NASCAR certification for the Auto Program.

It is the opinion of The Pipeline that the old guard of UVSC's Trade programs have refused modernization and as such have relegated themselves to increasing attrition. Sorensen is quite right...One day UVSC will no longer offer trade programs, but it is not Sederburg's fault, nor is it the influences of the Liberal Arts. The blame lays squarely at the feet of dinosaurs that refuse to evolve.

Take a look at a map of UVSC. The Sparks Automotive Building has the largest footprint of any building on campus (not the most square footage...but it does take up the most physical space). The Pipeline believes that all trades programs that don't offer curriculum that falls in line with a true university experience should move across I-15 to the MATC. Let's open up this valuable real estate to relevant programs with high student demand.

The college often romanticizes its Trade School past, pointing to it as evidence of their hard work ethic, a hands on approach to learning, and the nobility of blue collar sweat. They should be proud of the school's heritage. But that should not blind UVSC from its true mission...preparing today's young adults to be valuable workers, informed and involved citizens, and decent human beings. All of these skills can't be taught at the work bench. A comprehensive degree program is best suited to instill these values. Let the MATC fufill its mission of providing our community with trained trades people and technicians.

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