The Utah College of Applied Technology (UCAT) is attempting to take over the Snow College’s technology programs in Richfield, and Utah State University (USU) shows interest in taking over the Snow College’s liberal arts programs in Richfield.
Currently, Snow College administrators are unsure as to what the full proposal is for a transition of the Richfield campus into the authority of other institutions. The state board of regents must approve all changes or Utah State Law must be changed by the Utah State Legislature.
USU President Stan L. Albrecht and Robert Brems, President of UCAT, have expressed interest in acquiring the Richfield campus without yet divulging reason or justification.
Steve Hood, the Vice President for Academic Affairs has expressed concern about the lack of communication and transparency coming from both institutions.
“We’ve been kept in the dark,” Hood said. “We would love for them to talk to directly to us and not have closed door meetings that we aren’t invited to. We feel that some of those who want to make the change are good people and for the most part want what’s right for Richfield. But from our standpoint, we feel that they haven’t got a full picture as to what is going on.”
It seems that the proposal originated with the Richfield Mayor, and other officials in a closed meeting with USU and UCAT. It is uncertain what spurred this movement. It may have been the recent growth and facilities of the Richfield campus. UCAT and USU may simply want to expand into an already successful campus. The specific reason has not been communicated to Snow College officials. However, some Richfield Campus staff have desired to resume programs that have been discontinued in recent years.
Mr. Hood, explains: “We cut those programs, in particular, because we felt it was not a virtue on our part to allow students to graduate from a program for which there were no jobs available.”
The Richfield campus has added 19 programs since 2012 and is projected to add 24 new programs in 2015, making it the fastest growing campus in the state.
Each state funded school is intended to service different areas and counties relative to their proximity. Utah Valley University is intended to service Utah County and Wasatch County, with the University of Utah along with Salt Lake Community College servicing Salt Lake County, and Utah State University servicing the Cache and Carbon counties.
Snow College services six counties in the central part of the state including: Juab, Millard, Piute, Sanpete, Sevier and Wayne counties, with two-college campuses located in both Ephraim and Richfield, enrolling 4,113 undergraduates. It is under Utah Code: Title 53B that the Richfield campus, servicing the Sevier and surrounding counties is statutorily assigned by state law.
In a recent “Snow College Faculty Senate Resolution: Relative to Discussed Changes for the Governance of Richfield Campus,” a resolution was passed and enacted by a unanimous vote.
The statement details the services that have been and continue to be rendered on the Richfield Campus, along with the benefits of both the Ephraim and Richfield campuses working together. It asserts that both campuses have been “interdependent” with regard to functionality and program offerings, as well as integration into the communities that they serve.
The resolution closes by stating: “Therefore, be it resolved by the Snow College Faculty Senate, that we are opposed, and resist attempts to divide or reassign the Richfield campus to any other institutions(s).”
Vice President Hood is in agreement as well stating, “We just want to be able to work with all of these folks as partners and to do what is right for Richfield. We think that what’s right for Richfield is to remain an inseparable part of Snow College.”