OREM — As it transitions to university status, Utah Valley State College is working toward creating a comfortable campus that can be a student's home away from home.

Right now 50 percent of UVSC students simply go to class and then hit the road. They don't participate in any activities, said Val Hale, UVSC vice president for university advancement.

"We should give them a better university experience," Hale said. "We need to do some things to keep them here and get them involved — participate in college life."

This is one of several goals UVSC will be working on in upcoming years.

The UVSC Board of Trustees unanimously approved, during its meeting Wednesday night, four guiding concepts for the next 10 years. They are: engaged academic culture; multidimensional university experience; sustainable institutional vitality; and dynamic university infrastructure.

Board member Dan Campbell said he has received input from parents who live outside the Provo/Orem area. They are concerned that UVSC create a more personal atmosphere for the students since there is no on-campus housing.

UVSC officials are talking with apartment owners about implementing "residential engagement coordinators," who would be comparable to residential advisers that universities have in their dorms, said Cory Duckworth, vice president of student affairs. These coordinators would create a student life atmosphere by organizing activities. They would also steer students to advisement resources at the college.

UVSC just implemented an Office of Student Involvement to create fun activities for students to develop friends and network. Duckworth said UVSC is looking at architectural plans to expand the student center and also to have a recreation center on campus for when funding becomes available.

"Right now there really isn't a place on campus for students to hang out," he said. Campbell said. "It seems that is a needed element."

Hale said these plans would also help with student retention.

In January 2008, UVSC President William A. Sederburg charged the Strategic Directions Advisory Committee to take the institution's planning process to the next level of strategic impact. The charge was to recommend guiding concepts that would help the institution align its resources in fulfilling its mission over the next 10 years.

"What do we want to be in 10 years? What do we want to be known for?" Hale said. "We looked at our mission statement and tried to tie in these concepts for the future."

While the four guiding concepts provide the institution with goals, UVSC officials stated there is also a need to identify specific strategic directions to provide the institution a focus for the 2008-09 planning and budgeting cycle.

The president's executive council has identified four strategic directions for the institution. They are engaged learning; community engagement; university student experience; and resource development and efficiencies.

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