Regional Services

2nd Quarter 2009 Community Activities & Projects

Southern Utah University’s commitment to community and business engagement and development is clearly defined in its Regional Services mission statement:

SUU’s Regional Services role is to be a provider of premier educational opportunities both on and off campus; a partner and resource to businesses, communities and governments; a key driver and catalyst for regional economic growth; a source of artistic and cultural enrichment for the region’s residents; and to build regional pride and identity through outstanding sports and recreation programs. 

In fulfilling this regional mission, and attempting to bring the resources and expertise of the University and our numerous partners to bear throughout the region, the Office of Regional Services is currently engaged in the following activities and initiatives:

Economic Development

Business Resource Center
The new SUU Business Resource Center (SUBRC) is a “one-stop shop” where businesses and entrepreneurs can access a full array of business services and technical assistance. The BRC brings key business and entrepreneur assistance entities together under one roof.  These include the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Utah Science Technology and Research (USTAR) Outreach Center, Custom Fit Training, the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), and the Cedar City Chamber of Commerce. The SUBRC will also provide direct access to the resources and expertise of Southern Utah University’s School of Business and College of Computing, Integrated Engineering and Technology, along with access to other University programs and resources. The BRC also partners and works closely with local and regional community and economic development offices as well as private sector mentors and sources of business financing.  Regional Services is the catalyst for the new SUBRC, which opens its doors on Cedar City’s historic downtown Main Street in May 2009.

Entrepreneur Forums and County & Business Assistance
Regional Services and staff from the new SUU Business Resource Center are actively reaching out to the surrounding communities in southwest Utah to extend the services and resources of the Business Resource Center and the University to local businesses, entrepreneurs and economic development professionals.  Central to this effort:

  • in partnership with the Kanab (Kane County) Chamber of Commerce, Regional Services is sponsoring and funding the monthly Kanab Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur Forum
  • economic development planning with and technical assistance to Garfield County
  • Cedar City (Iron County) Business Expansion and Retention (“BEAR”) Program hosted by the SUBRC; and,
  • participating and cooperating across the region with local Chambers of Commerce, the Southwest Applied Technology College, Utah State University Cooperative Extension Services and Dixie State College of Utah.

Governor’s Rural Partnership Board
Regional Services has a dual role with the Governor’s Rural Partnership Board (GRPB) – both as a standing member and as staff support to the Board.  The GRPB identifies rural economic development policy priorities and makes annual recommendations to both the Governor and the Legislature.

Senator Bennett’s Rural Business Conference Co-Sponsor
SUU has been Senator Bennett’s co-sponsor for the annual Rural Business Conference and assisted in the planning and execution of the Conferences since their inception seven years ago.  Regional Services looks forward to continuing this beneficial partnership into the future.

State of Rural Utah Annual Presentation to the Legislature
Regional Services has hosted the Utah Legislature at the annual State of Rural Utah dinner and presentation for over 15 years.  The well-attended 2009 event was held February 3 in Salt Lake City.

Utah Rural Summit
For over 20 years the Utah Rural Summit has been the state’s premier forum for policy discussion and capacity building for rural leaders relative to community and economic development issues affecting rural Utah. The Summit features nationally-renowned speakers coupled with local implementation strategies to help rural communities succeed in the global economy.  This year’s Summit, with the theme of “Smart Strategies for Tough Times,” is scheduled for August 5-7 on the campus of Southern Utah University.  Regional Services is proud to host the Utah Rural Summit—where rural Utah meets!

Community Engagement, Planning, & Technical Assistance

Faculty Service Learning Committee
SUU’s Faculty Service-Learning Committee, chaired by Dr. Earl Mulderink, is focused on connecting SUU faculty and students with the community through such things as service learning, internships, and community faculty projects.  Regional Services, while not faculty, wholeheartedly supports this complementary campus committee and initiative.

Five County Association of Governments
Regional Services represents SUU as an ex-officio (non-voting) member of the Five County Association of Governments’ (FCAOG) Steering Committee, which meets monthly across the region.  FCAOG is comprised of the five southwest Utah counties of Beaver, Garfield, Iron, Kane and Washington Counties.  Regional Services also participates with the FCAOG Natural Resources Committee.

Five County Association of Governments’ Annual Human Services Public Forums
Regional Services is pleased to lend to this year’s FCAOG Annual Human Services Public Forums.  Held across the five southwest Utah counties, the public forums, for the first time, will utilize Regional Services’ interactive audience response polling system.  This PowerPoint-based audience response system allows anonymous “voting” and immediate calculation and projection of results.  This planning and public involvement tool is an exciting method to engage an audience and Regional Services is pleased to partner with FCAOG and support their Human Services Public Forums.

Iron County Natural Resource Management Specialist & Planning
Regional Services, during the summer of 2008, worked with the Iron County Commission and provided “seed” funding to hire a full-time Iron County Natural Resource (NR) Specialist.  Mike Worthen, the new Iron Co. NR Specialist, is responsible for developing and implementing an Iron County Resource Management Plan.  This is a nationally-significant effort to collaboratively and proactively address public lands planning and management issues from the local level utilizing a planning model developed by Regional Services personnel.  Regional Services is as an ex-officio member of the recently-appointed Iron County NR Council, and Regional Services staff provides technical assistance for the Iron County resource management planning initiative.

Iron Mission State Park and Iron Works Homestead
Regional Services is a proud sponsor of and planning team participant for the Six County Association of Governments’ (SCAOG) Annual Leadership Summit. This year’s Summit is scheduled for April 1 in Richfield. Regional Services is excited to be a part of the agenda both during a general session utilizing our interactive audience response polling system as well as moderating a break-out session panel of elected officials.

Six County Association of Governments’ Annual Leadership Summit
Regional Services represents SUU as a non-voting participant with the Iron Mission Museum Foundation board. In recent months, both the President’s Council and the Deans’ Council have toured the park and learned about the proposed Iron Works Homestead project and park expansion. These visits, along with the Foundation board participation, led to a donation by the University to assist in the restoration and reconstruction on park grounds of the historic Jensen Sawmill. An important component of SUU history, the Jensen sawmill was instrumental in milling wood in the late 1800s for SUU’s original and flagship building, Old Main. In March 2009, Regional Services staff also provided facilitation services for the Park’s “Name Change Focus Group.”

SUU Head Start
SUU is the sponsoring institution, with oversight provided by Regional Services, for the federal Head Start program in southern and central Utah, SUU Head Start is a federally-funded, community-governed, preschool program spanning 25,000 square miles in six southwestern Utah counties.  Well-trained, dedicated staff provides high quality education, including health, family and support services, to over 400 low income and/or at-risk Head Start families.

Utah Center for Rural Health
The Utah Center for Rural Health (Center), a program of Regional Services, is a community/campus partnership created to improve the health status of and access to health services for residents across rural Utah.  The Center provides leadership by linking academic, community, government, private and public resources to address healthcare issues. 

Zion Canyon Corridor Council (ZC3)
Regional Services is a member of the Zion Canyon Corridor Council (ZC3), a regional planning initiative striving to apply Principle 1 of the recently-completed Washington County Vision Dixie planning process: “Plan Regionally, Implement Locally.”  Regional Services is providing technical assistance and funding for corridor and community planning to the communities along State Route 9, the gateway to Zion National Park.  Currently, SUU is partnering with Utah State University’s Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning Program on an extensive corridor study that will provide alternative futures for growth, development and other critical elements identified by the Council.

Other Community Assistance
In the past six months, SUU has provided planning or other technical assistance in or to the communities of:

  • La Verkin, New Harmony, Rockville, Springdale, Virgin and St. George (Washington County)
  • Kanab (Kane County)
  • Beaver and Milford (Beaver County)
  • Escalante and Panguitch (Garfield County) and,
  • Cedar City (Iron County).

In this same timeframe, Regional Services has also worked with Beaver, Iron, Garfield, Kane and Washington County officials on local projects and initiatives.

Regional & Agency Partnerships

Bryce Canyon National Park Alliance for Education
Regional Services serves as the primary contact for SUU’s “Alliance for Education” with Bryce Canyon National Park, which was signed July 2006.  The Alliance establishes a cooperative and mutually beneficial working relationship that furthers the missions of both entities.

Cedar Breaks National Monument to National Park Initiative
Regional Services is participating with a local task force assessing the possibility of pursuing federal legislation to enlarge Cedar Breaks National Monument and designate it a National Park.

Colorado Plateau Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit
Regional Services represents SUU as a member of the Colorado Plateau Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit (CPCESU).  The CPCESU creates opportunities for research, education, and technical assistance to support stewardship of natural and cultural resources by federal agencies on the Colorado Plateau.  CPCESU ensures that the expertise of academic and non-governmental partners is made available to assist federal resource managers in accomplishing their agency missions. The federal partners allocate funding to a wide variety of projects and non-federal partners and support their research, education, and outreach missions.

National Park Service/SUU Shared Position
Regional Services and Cedar Breaks National Monument (NM) are partnering to fund and supervise this unique staff position.  The SUU Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative (IIC) Agency Coordinator is a National Park Service/Cedar Breaks NM, employee housed on campus with Regional Services.  The IIC Agency Coordinator serves as a liaison and link between SUU’s academic, outdoor and service programs, particularly the IIC, and the education and internship interests of the National Park Service as well as other state and federal resource management agencies in southern Utah, northern Arizona and eastern Nevada.

Regional Planner Project
Regional Services participates with the Utah Department of Community and Culture’s Regional Planner Project (RPP).  Funded by the Utah Permanent Community Impact Fund Board (PCIFB), the purpose of the RPP is to mitigate socio-economic impacts resulting from natural resource development on federal lands by providing for continuous quality planning throughout rural Utah.  PCIFB provides funds (state mineral lease monies) for participating regional Associations of Governments to commit a full-time planner, whose time and responsibilities will be dedicated solely to the core mission and goals of the PCIFB.

Southern Utah Planning Authorities Council
Created by a gubernatorial executive order in 1994, Regional Services serves as co-chair and provides staff support for the Southwest Utah Planning Authorities Council (SUPAC).  SUPAC is a forum for regional leaders—state & federal agencies, county and local government, tribes, higher education and the public—to address community, economic development, natural resource, public lands and other planning issues across southwest Utah.

SUU Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative
Regional Services’ newest program is the SUU Intergovernmental Internship Cooperative (IIC).  In cooperation with multiple state and federal natural resource and land management agencies throughout southwest Utah, the IIC places SUU student interns interested in agency career opportunities.  Cooperative partners include local units of the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service and the Utah Division of State Parks and Recreation.

SUU Mountain Ranch Resource Advisory Council
In the summer of 2008, Regional Services was given oversight authority for the University’s undeveloped Mountain Ranch.  The 2,800-acre forested property is along State Route 14 approximately 10 miles up Cedar Canyon.  The property surrounds the existing SUU Mountain Center, which is managed by SUU Conference Services.  Regional Services facilitates the newly-created Mountain Ranch Resource Advisory Council (RAC), which is developing the first-ever resource management plan (RMP) for the ranch.  Through the RAC and RMP planning process, numerous management opportunities and potential partners, both on campus and off, are being explored.  Exciting initiatives for the ranch and forest will occur as possibilities are assessed.

SUU Outdoor Initiative
In the fall of 2007, SUU instituted its Outdoor Initiative (OI), a long-overdue formal initiative to capitalize on SUU’s unique location while recognizing, enhancing and coordinating outdoor programs, activities and opportunities across the University.  Regional Services facilitated the OI Task Force that developed the OI Action Plan and   now serves as the point of contact for OI as well as manages the OI Fund.  SUU’s OI Vision is to be renowned for innovative learning experiences within our unique natural environment, providing world-class opportunities for outdoor education and recreation, and cultivating a life-long curiosity and appreciation for the land.

Utah Prairie Dog Recovery Implementation Program
Regional Services coordinates SUU’s participation with the Utah Prairie Dog Recovery Implementation Program (UPDRIP).  UPDRIP’s purpose is the establishment of a partnership effort to cooperatively implement the Utah Prairie Dog Recovery Plan while balancing and accommodating needs of the human population.  While not a voting member of the UPDRIP, SUU provides technical assistance and scientific expertise (through the College of Science) to the Program.  Currently, SUU is offering no-cost office space and other support services for the Program’s (soon-to-be-hired) first staff position.

Zion National Park Centennial Celebration
Regional Services represents SUU on the planning committee for the 2009 Zion National Park Centennial.  Numerous activities are planned for the year-long celebration including many from SUU faculty and staff.  Regional Services is coordinating these SUU projects and activities in recognition and celebration of Zion NP’s centennial.

Zion National Park & Zion Group Alliance for Education
As with the Bryce Canyon National Park Alliance for Education, Regional Services is the point of contact for the the Zion Group—including Zion NP, Cedar Breaks NM and Pipe Springs NM—Alliance for Education.  Signed in November 2008, the Zion Group Alliance for Education establishes a cooperative and mutually beneficial working relationship that furthers the missions of both entities.

Past Quarterly Updates