Although the Utah Valley Community College won't gain four-year status at the hands of the 1991 Legislature, President Kerry Romesburg says it's inevitable.
"There's no question that the movement has begun for a four-year college," Romesburg told the UVCC Institutional Council on Thursday night.The movement to create another four-year institution in Utah County was slowed somewhat this week when a caucus of 12 Utah County legislators killed two bills that would have forced the State Board of Regents to convert the two-year college to a four-year school for the 1993-94 school year.
Instead, the caucus submitted a resolution urging regents to establish a University Center at UVCC. The center would be the first step in resolving the need for selected four-year degree programs in the county.
The UVCC Institutional Council endorsed the resolution Thursday at its monthly meeting.
While Romesburg said UVCC will surely achieve four-year status in the next three to 10 years, "it may be that the University Center meets all of our needs."
Should the resolution be approved by the Utah Legislature, Romesburg said, the college will offer baccalaureate degrees in "high-demand" areas. He identified education, business administration, liberal arts and behavioral and social sciences as some of those fields.
"We picked those not because they're easy for us, but because that's where the demand seems to be," he said. Romesburg said surveys showed that high school students are most interested in the those areas.
Romesburg said he envisions UVCC having two divisions. On one level the college would remain as is. The emphasis would be on vocational education. Then there would be what he called the "senior college" in which four-year degrees would be offered.
Admission requirements and tuition costs would differ for the two divisions, he said. The current administrative structure would manage both divisions.
Romesburg said it will cost about $750,000 over the next three or four years to establish the University Center. He anticipates the Legislature will approve the funds this session.
The center concept has "almost no benefit" for the college, he said, but will be a plus for the community. UVCC faculty would teach in the four-year programs.
The baccalaureate programs would enhance Utah County residents' ability to attend a four-year institution, now hampered by restricted enrollment at Brigham Young University.
Romesburg said the college has the capacity to house 12,500 day students and converting to four-year status will cost "a lot less than people think."
"This may sound like an endorsement for a four-year college. My endorsement is for a University Center," Romesburg told the council members.
Council members plan to study the concept for six to eight months should the Legislature approve the resolution.