Don't look to Salt Lake Community College as the next Utah school with ambitions of becoming a four-year college. Its president says that won't happen.
"No, we're not going to become a four-year institution," said Frank W. Budd, who became SLCC president two months ago. "A community college is not a junior institution trying to grow up to be a senior institution. We have an important and definite mission as a community college."Enrollment pressures, caused by an enrollment cap and tougher admission standards at Brigham Young University, have prompted legislators and Utah County residents to push for four-year status for Utah Valley Community College.
Budd said he's not critical of UVCC, which has different needs than SLCC, but if there is enrollment pressure in SaltLake County, the answer isn't a four-year SLCC. A more reasonable approach would be to increase the transfers to the University of Utah, he said.
"No one in the world does what the community college does. By changing to a four-year school we would change our personality, and some students who would have attended probably wouldn't attend SLCC as a four-year school," Budd said.
" . . . I'm sure that you could take it to the extreme and all of the community colleges could become four-year colleges and then someone would say, `What we need are some community colleges in this state.' "
Budd sees his presidency as strengthening SLCC in its multifaceted role as an open-access institution, which must meet the needs of both full-time and part-time students, many of whom have come back to school after an absence. As a community college, SLCC offers technological education, specific job training and retraining, and general education that allows transferability to another four-year school, the president said.
Among Budd's goals are:
- Development of a growth plan that won't duplicate expensive programs and buildings. At Riverside Community College, where he was vice president of academic services before coming to SLCC, Budd was heavily involved in growth planning. That school grew from 10,000 to 22,000 in the past decade.
- Hiring and retaining quality faculty. "They set the standards and environment." The president said he would prefer to hire a quality adjunct faculty member for an opening rather than "hiring the best of a sorry lot (of applicants)."
- Promotion of SLCC, including having college representative make more national presentations "to tell just how good we are." But promotion starts at home, and Budd wants to make certain SLCC's identity is strong on campus.
During his first week on campus, Budd noticed old signs proclaiming Utah Technical College at Salt Lake. He gave the college buildings and grounds department five days to remove them. "If we don't know who we are, no one else will," he said.
Budd also wants a well-maintained campus that reflects a pride in the college. A jogger who regularly runs the campus, Budd points out trouble spots to buildings and grounds.
- Periodic review of institutional programs to determine if they are necessary or need to be altered.
- Possible changes in administrative structure, which may prompt some administrative shuffling.