Venture Course Opens Doors to Low Income Locals

Published: April 06, 2010 | Read Time: 2 minutes

Though many southern Utah residents have taken advantage of the close proximity of Southern Utah University and its educational resources, many more do not have the finances or social resources to obtain a formal college education.

This fall, a new door to the increasingly-necessary college education will be opened to many low-income individuals who have, until now, gone without.

Beginning in fall 2010, Southern Utah University will partner with the Utah Humanities Council (UHC) to offer the Venture course – a multi-disciplinary college course offered free of charge to low income adults in southern Utah.

According to the UHC, Venture is designed to “develop critical thinking, intellectual confidence and community engagement among people who typically are disconnected and uninvolved in their communities.”

The two-semester, eight-credit course will cover five areas of study: art history, philosophy, literature, American history and critical writing. Tuition for the course, as well as books, day care and transportation, will be provided at no cost to Venture students.

According to SUU Provost Bradley Cook, the University is proud to partner with the Utah Humanities Council on this important initiative. He explains, “The Venture program is a tremendous way to engage certain under-served populations. We hope that the program will inspire students who otherwise could not have considered a college education.”

The Venture program will be limited to 22-25 students and will be taught by five SUU faculty members.

Venture program eligibility is based upon the following requirements: 1) registrants must be 18 years or older, 2) registrants’ annual income must be considered low income by the state, 3) registrants must have a basic understanding of English, a desire to obtain a further education and a commitment to finish the two-semester course.

Applications are now being accepted for SUU’s Venture course; registration will be open until the course is filled. Applications may be completed online at or by contacting Lindsay Fullerton, SUU’s Venture coordinator: or 435-865-8610.

Directed by Jean Cheney, Associate Director at UHC, Venture has been offered since 2005, and now has three partners: Weber State University, Westminster College, and Southern Utah University. Venture has been made available to UHC through a five-year grant from Alternative Visions of the Chicago Community Trust.

Modeled after Earl Shorris’s 1995 Clemente Course in New York City, Utah’s Venture course is similar to other Clemente-style courses offered in 10 other U.S. states and many other countries.

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