By Kelsey Keener
CEDAR CITY–SUU President Scott L. Wyatt hosted his second community forum last week to continue the dialogue between SUU administrators and community members by answering questions and providing information freely.
Community members in attendance at the forum asked questions ranging from topics like parking and growth to retention and SUU’s partnership with Southwest Technical College.
Parking around the university was a main concern for many at the forum and several solutions were suggested, such as busing students from farther areas of town and building a parking structure. President Wyatt explained that a parking structure would cost $20,000 or more per parking stall and the university would have to charge students to use it in order to cover that cost, so it is not a feasible solution at this time. He added that the university is planning to construct another building on the west side of campus to encourage the use of the free parking lot near the football stadium and help shift more traffic away from the east side of campus.
President Wyatt provided an update on the recently-announced partnership with Southwest Technical College and said there are no plans to make STC part of SUU because it is easier and better for students to collaborate with the college as an individual entity. Currently, students can take classes at either SUU or STC and earn credit toward a certificate from STC or a degree from SUU. One major benefit of this partnership is that students pay the tuition of the establishment they receive instruction from, which makes higher education more financially feasible.
One community member raised the concern of grade inflation in relation to retention, and President Wyatt said attempts to increase retention at SUU will not lead to grade inflation. The primary reasoning he provided was that his observations lead to the understanding that schools with good retention are ones that have a largely positive reputation in the community and provide quality education. He added that the top reasons students choose to leave SUU do not include getting bad grades.
Another resident asked why the funds SUU recently received from state legislature did not go to the nursing program. President Wyatt explained that the funds SUU was awarded were for use in all five of the workforce programs at the university. The university chose to use those funds on the program that would provide the best benefit to the most students.
At the closing of the forum, President Wyatt thanked community members their attendance and caring about the things that affect the community and the university.
“Even though we sometimes disagree or struggle, one of the greatest things about this university is that it’s in a community that cares about the university and we appreciate that,” he said.