Dr. Patrick Clarke, former interim dean of the recently established University College, will move forward as the college’s first leader – the now official dean of SUU’s new academic college, created to support those students who have yet to declare a major in their undergraduate studies as well as those students working solely toward the completion of an associate’s degree.
And with a PhD in higher education relationships and years of experience in various campus positions that include academic advisor, hall director, assistant director of orientation and former director of SUU’s Student Support Center, there is no question Clarke will do a fantastic job leading a college that has been created to enhance the academic experience for SUU’s underclassmen.
Of Clarke’s appointment – that came after a nationwide and highly competitive search – SUU Provost Brad Cook said, “In the end, Dean Clarke’s unique set of experiences and skills make him the most qualified person for this position at this juncture in SUU's development.”
Moving forward as the College’s full-fledged leader, Clarke plans to focus on the academic areas that will complement SUU’s Academic Roadmap.
One of the immediate goals Clarke has set for himself and his colleagues is to assist in further developing experiential learning at all levels of study for SUU students. Experiential learning helps students access hands-on learning experiences outside of the classroom to enhance their education and comprehension through real-world application.
In addition to academic advising for those students whose work lies beyond a specific academic program, the University College also oversees career advising and development, employment placement, the first-year seminar, testing services, academic probation, tutoring, developmental math instruction and employer relations.
Though the College has created an obvious alliance between academics and student services, Clarke says there is still potential for such collaborations to grow.
“In the end, that is our ultimate goal – to enhance the experiences of students and enhance the services they receive in order to be successful,” he said.
Looking ahead, Clarke also plans to establish more uniformity across campus in the academic advising of students and the training academic advisors from every college and program receive.
Given his post is not over any one discipline, Clarke sees his position as unique, in that he is the only dean who is specifically charged to look more broadly at all academics and student support at SUU as a whole, rather than at just those services offered within in one college or program. He hopes to enhance what are already positive working relationships between the various colleges and programs, to ensure students have access and direction to the very best advisement and support to match their individual aspirations.
In response to earning this position Clarke says, “I want to stress how fortunate I feel to have been selected for this position and that I look forward to continuing my working relationships with talented, passionate faculty, staff and administrators.”
Congratulations and good luck to Dr. Patrick Clarke, dean of Southern Utah University’s new University College.