Monday, March 17, 2008

The 5 things UVSC should do to really become a university

While the big transition from UVSC to UVU is just a few months away, one wonders if the name change will really transform the school. Here are The Pipeline's top five things we think the school could (and should) do to really become a university:

1. Live up to Global Engagement promise: With such a high percentage of returned LDS missionaries, UVU has one of the most bilingual college populations in the country. UVU should capitalize on this advantage by making foreign languages part of the core curriculum. Every student graduating from UVU should be encouraged to be proficient in another language.

But how do you get students to enroll in these time intensive classes? At BYU students can use language credits to satisfy math requirements. Imagine how many students would take 12 credits of a language in order to avoid passing Math 1050.

2. Tell Trades to go green or go home: This is an idea that The Pipeline has suggested before, so for full details click here. But basically we need to exercise some tough love when it comes to our trades program. With the MATC across the street already providing nearly redundant trades offerings, UVU should focus on programs that are worthy of the university name. Other schools have adapted to the burgeoning Green economy and are training their students to lead the way when it comes to responsible and sustainable construction and green automobile technology. Let the trades schools take care of traditional trades programming, UVU should be doing the work of a university and be pushing the limits of green research and development.

3. Do something amazing with the Wasatch Campus: UVU's Wasatch Campus in Heber City has been serving the surrounding community for a few years now. But most people would agree that enrollments have been disappointing. UVU should take advantage of the campus's unique location and turn the Wasatch Campus into a world renowned destination. Minutes from some of the world's best outdoor areas the Wasatch Campus could provide outstanding programming that students from all over the world would pay top dollar for. Hospitality management, recreation management, or even a top notch film school (with Sundance just down the road) would thrive in the location. It would take vision, and a lot of money, but it could very well put UVU on the map. Otherwise that special location will continue to languish.

4. When it comes to academics, focus on what you do best: There has been a lot of speculation as to what kind of graduate programs the newly minted University should offer. As many of you know, a graduate program in education begins this fall with advanced degrees in nursing and business to follow. These three areas will certainly address current market demands and will most likely be successful and valuable programs.

But UVU should also study some of the school's more unique undergraduate programs and look for ways to develop new highly specialized master's programs that focus on practicality and shy way from heavy research. We think the aviation department's unique position as one of the best online flight programs in the country could be a springboard for a unique graduate program that takes advantage of that web positioning. UVU also has one of the largest deaf populations outside of Gallaudet. This unique position could be a selling point when attracting students interested in furthering deaf studies at UVU. UVU also has an extremely high percentage of LDS students for a state school. Having that resource along with good academic freedom policies would provide an excellent environment for Mormon Cultural Studies. Why should Claremont University lead the Mormon academic movement?

5. Respect the past, Restore The Bunnell Pioneer Home We couldn't help sneaking this one in, as it is a pet project of The Pipeline. To learn more about efforts to reclaim and restore one of the campus's hidden treasures click here. No university is complete without a little culture, and we think transforming this 115-year-old farmhouse into a working student cafe will help UVU establish an identity and foster creative work and discussion.

So there it is. Five suggestions that would really help UVU earn the title of university. Please tell us what you think of our ideas? What do you think UVU needs?


Torben B said...

i think you're right on with all five points, actually. Also, we have a number of professors doing serious work in the field of Mormon academic studies. Why not utilize their skillz?

Grabloid said...

Agreed. Those 5 suggestions cover very broad and diverse ground. I back up all suggestions. Also, my friend Joey and I were discussing yesterday that Dining Services could use a lot of work, they are (in our opinion) charging way too much for food. Especially when you are handed a small bowl of pasta with tomato sauce (maybe worth 20 cents) and are charged $3.15 for it. Having a good cafeteria on campus is crucial, and turning a huge profit on students is almost antithetical to have a good lunch program owned/operated by the school. In general, food offered at UVSC needs a lot of work, there are hardly ANY vegetarian or vegan options, etc. One of you suggestions, The Bunnell Cafe could contribute to better food quality and diversity...while simultaneously creating a much need student culture. In general student culture and comfort is lacking at UVSC...what is more comfortable and culturally stimulating than gathering around well prepared food?

Scott Abbott said...

Pipeline for President!

Arthur said...

What about adding Men's Soccer as a sanctioned sport? No other school in the state has a men's team...and with a professional MLS team just up the road in Sandy, there would be opportunities for additional exposure for the school.

Vegor said...

I know you have a soft spot for soccer VW, but UVSC needs less sports, not more. I seriously debated putting "Get rid of Division I Athletics" on the top of the list, but I figured most Pipeline readers know my disdain for UVSC's Athletic Department.

UVU is not in a conference, is not eligible for post-season play, and has no travel partner. Without conference rivals they will be hard-pressed to build a loyal fan following. Time to cut bait and put all that money towards programs that really help the general student affordable health care!

No Arthur, soccer is not the answer. Dumping Div-I athletics and replacing them with a robust intramural program (like Ricks did when they made the jump to BYU-I) will invigorate activity on campus.

Thomas Merrill said...

To say that becuase our sports program is unproductive is to point out the obvious but also leaves out the more obvious: it is very young. UVU is widely considered to be one of the top independent schools and according to many should soon be picked up by a conference. There are many non-tangible benefits associated with athletics that engender schoold pride and give the school over all attention that benefits everybody, especially grad school applicants.

Vegor said...


It is true that UVSC is relatively young on the Division I scene, and that historically it takes decades to build good programs at the level. Which is exactly why UVSC should have never made the jump from JUCO to Division I in the first place. There is a reason why no school has ever tried this before. UVSC would have been much better off competing at the Division II level. Some might say that the jump was ambitious, I say it was irresponsible and arrogant.

This is not to say that UVSC's athletes haven't proven that they can compete at that level, but certainly our program as a whole struggles to keep up with other Division I schools in scholarships, fans, boosters, facilities, and overall recruiting.

I also question the assertion that athletics improves a school's overall reputation. This is often claimed, but is usually backed up by anecdotal evidence of how, "My brother-in-law got his job because his boss was a fan of his school's tennis program." Sports can increase a school's recognition but not necessarily their reputation.