On a Mission: SUU’s New Directives Chart Impressive Course

Published: September 01, 2011 | Read Time: 4 minutes

At the start of another academic year, Southern Utah University now inherits a new mission statement that better reflects the University’s priorities moving forward.

At its heart, the new mission statement focuses on the very elements of the University that set SUU apart from any other, namely its personalized educational experience, community and surroundings.

According to SUU President Michael T. Benson, the new statement sets in stone the University’s aim to “fill a wholly unique niche within the Utah System of Higher Education.”

The Utah Board of Regents has officially designated Southern Utah University as the state’s first — and only — public liberal arts and sciences institution.

The newly adopted mission and vision statements set forth all that is to come as the University enhances the very institutional traits that have heretofore set it apart as uniquely valuable within the state. These core themes are academic excellence, involvement and personal growth, and community and social responsibility.

Said Benson, “Just as in the past, we will continue to focus on quality programs and the retention and graduation of our students,” adding, “We will also continue to foster a stimulating and open environment where our faculty and staff are given the resources they need to do their very best for their students.”

Provost Brad Cook, arbiter of all things academic on SUU’s campus, said the new mission statement “deepens SUU’s identity, differentiates the University from other institutions and maps out for us the realities of all that the future is asking of our students.”

Since arriving on campus in 2009, Cook has placed these very objectives as a top priority for SUU’s academics and said he recognized very early on that “SUU’s offerings truly are something unique and valuable in today’s academic and professional arenas.”
The University’s former mission statement was approved in 2005; since, much has changed, commented Dean O’Driscoll, vice president for University Relations and co-chair of the Mission Statement Steering Committee.

“We have welcomed new trustees, a new president and provost; created a new academic roadmap; and adapted to changes among sister institutions within the (USHE) during that time,” he said.

O’Driscoll said the University was well positioned and in need of a new underwriting directive that would focus on these changes and on “all that makes SUU a unique and special place to gain an education.”

Given SUU’s unique roll within the system of higher education, O’Driscoll said it was important to “clearly define all that SUU has to offer while also setting us apart from our competitors”.

Our Vision
Southern Utah University will be nationally recognized as a premier institution of learning known for enabling its students to honor thought in all its finest forms, achieve excellence in their chosen field, and create positive change in the world.

Our Mission
Southern Utah University, as our founders envisioned, is a dynamic teaching and learning community inspired by its unique natural surroundings. As Utah's designated public liberal arts and sciences university, SUU engages students in a personalized and rigorous experiential education, empowering them to be productive citizens, socially responsible leaders, high achievers and lifelong learners.

Our Core Themes
Academic Excellence:
With superior teaching and engaged learning as its foundation, academic excellence is the hallmark of Southern Utah University. Students are expected to meet the challenges of rigorous programs of study offered at SUU. Unique experiential education programs and dedicated faculty promote both critical and creative thinking and scholarly activity in a supportive learning environment. SUU is committed to sustaining an academic community that encourages students to develop their breadth and depth as scholars and global citizens. SUU supports faculty and staff development designed to respond to the changing demands of higher education and the needs of its students. Assessment of learning outcomes and continual improvement are key elements of the educational experience at SUU.

Involvement and Personal Growth:
Southern Utah University encourages student growth and development by providing opportunities and programs designed to broaden social and cultural perspectives through campus and community service, and outdoor, creative, and global engagement activities. The University affirms that active participation in well-designed experience-based programs provides a holistic educational experience and helps prepare students to become engaged members of society. SUU is committed to helping students become confident, creative, and adaptive life-long learners known for their service to the community.

Community and Social Responsibility:
Essential to the educational process is a sense of an academic community wherein collaboration, diversity, respect for all people, concern for the environment, civility, and shared governance are cultivated. SUU encourages the discussion and exploration of differing views while recognizing the cherished individual freedom to reach one’s own conclusions. Developing students into productive responsible citizens, both locally and globally, involves the thoughtful exploration and application of ethics and values and the acknowledgment of the responsibilities one has as a contributing citizen of the world.

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