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Laura Seitz, Deseret Morning News
President William A. Sederburg said Friday UVSC will continue meeting the community's needs as Utah County's population continues to rapidly grow.

While big changes are ahead for Utah Valley State College, some particular elements will remain intact as the school transitions to university status, said UVSC President William A. Sederburg.

He outlined UVSC's mission in a presentation to the State Board of Regents' Planning Committee Friday at Salt Lake Community College.

Sederburg stressed the importance of meeting the community's needs by keeping two-year students, as well as those in technical education.

UVSC will remain an open-enrollment school and a teaching institution.

The university mission is to "prepare professionally competent people of integrity who, as lifelong learners and leaders, serve as stewards of a globally interdependent community," he said.

Sederburg outlined several changes, including reducing the average teaching load and adding advisers. The plan includes, among other things, implementing graduate programs in education, nursing and business; having a digital library; identifying economic development as an element; designating multiple campuses; and offering 30 new four-year degrees.

UVSC aims to follow the Carnegie Foundation's classification of community engagement — a collaboration between higher education and the community for a mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources. Carnegie, based in Stanford, Calif., is an independent policy and research center.

As it becomes a university, UVSC's goal is to create "communities of engaged learners connected in meaningful ways to the world we live in while developing students of strong character and ethics," Sederburg said.

Sederburg also explained why it's important to keep some elements of the Orem college intact.

Second-year students make up about 70 percent of UVSC's enrollment. They are the feeder students for the four-year programs. There are also about 3,000 students in UVSC's career technical education programs.

Getting rid of these students would be the "worst economic decision we could do," Sederburg said.

UVSC is modeling Weber State University and its two-year programs in terms of getting students from point A to point B, he said. "They've done a wonderful job of balancing those activities," Sederburg said.

Further, he said, maintaining status as an open-enrollment school is a must. UVSC's open enrollment will continue to meet the community's needs, as the school remains versatile and offers a wider array of services.

Fall enrollment was 23,840. Sederburg says UVSC will keep meeting the needs of the community as Utah County's population continues to rapidly grow. Also a cohort of young people who will soon be college age.

"There is a tsunami of faces coming toward higher education," he said.

UVSC will be a major player in meeting educational needs, Sederburg said.

"The state needs to be prepared for funding those students and getting the facilities for them and really meet the demand," he said.

Regent James Jardine, chairman of the Planning Committee, agrees that UVSC should maintain its open-enrollment policy.

"I don't see them having an enrollment cap — at least any time in the near future — because their mission is to accommodate students in Utah County," said Jardine, in an interview after the committee meeting.

"We will just have to cross each of those difficult funding bridges as they come," Jardine said.

Sederburg said UVSC is experiencing growing pains. The school is trying to find offices for 90 new staff by July.

Among other challenges as UVSC becomes a university: 200,000 Web pages need to be translated to the new Web site: www.uvu.edu. And the revision of internal policies, such as faculty tenure, awaits to be aligned with the school's new mission, he said.

There are many other hurdles UVSC must clear, say UVSC bosses who attended Sederburg's presentation Friday.

Janette Hales Beckham, chairwoman of the UVSC Board of Trustees, said she feels the main challenge in the transition is "establishing our identity in the process of that change so it fits with what the state intends and also with what the local needs are."

UVSC received the green light to become a university from the legislature in March 2007. Regents finalized the institutional mission in December 2007.

The final $2 million of the requested $10 million ongoing transition project funding is expected to come from the 2008 state Legislature. An additional $35 million is from fundraising.

UVSC will officially become UVU with a celebration in July. This fall the school will welcome its first master's degree cohort in education.

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