SUU Launches Community Initiatives with New Office, Programs

Published: November 16, 2017 | Read Time: 3 minutes

melynda thorpe community outreachIn 2018, Southern Utah University is poised to launch a series of programs designed specifically for the community. Housed in SUU’s School of Integrative and Engaged Learning, the newly created Office of Community and Academic Enrichment (CAE) has been charged to reach out to community members by extending academic experiences beyond campus boundaries to local and regional communities.

“Our role at Southern Utah University has always been to extend our reach to our off-campus community,” SUU Provost Dr. Bradley Cook said. “We are in a unique position where we can draw on our on-campus experts to contribute to the continuing education for all residents, and the School of Integrative and Engaged Learning is continually making a concerted push to elevate the lives of others in our community.”

Five unique programs have been placed under the direction of new CAE Director Melynda Thorpe to provide cultural, intellectual and skill-based learning opportunities for the entire community through a variety of interactive outlets.

“Work hard, have fun and make a difference in your community — that has always been my motto,” CAE Director Melynda Thorpe said. “SUU has long relied on the strength and support of its local community. We feel that offering new and interesting courses designed specifically for members of the community is an important way to give back.”

Community Education: Classes begin Spring 2018 for the purpose of creating community partnerships and generating fun, cultural, educational opportunities and experiences for those who love to learn. Subjects including culinary arts, hiking southern Utah, outdoor photography, and blogging will be taught by local professionals for the purpose of increasing participant knowledge and developing new skills.

Community Professional Development: Also launching Spring 2018, participants will have opportunities to customize professional portfolios by earning an SUU Institutional Certificate. Classes are designed to increase marketability and teach new career-enhancing skills. Both community education and professional development courses will be offered throughout the year in a combination of boot camps, seminars, short-term classes and workshops, giving participants several options to fit their schedules.

Community on the Go: Safe, affordable travel for the community to international and domestic destinations. All trips are led by SUU faculty experts who share their expertise while touring with travelers in a group environment. Activities are flexible and designed using community feedback. Recent trips include Operation Overlord: The D-Day Experience, where travelers visited France and stood on the beaches of Normandy on Veterans Day, and Christmas in London. Trips in 2018 will include trekking to the Inca Empire of Peru in May, Halloween in Transylvania and Christmas in the Alps.

Summer University: This program will highlight Cedar City as a summer destination for travelers from other communities. Participants will be able to tour the area’s national parks, participate in SUU expert-led excursions, immerse themselves in Shakespeare Festival activities and on-campus educational experiences, and stay in student housing for affordable rates.

Community education classes, and the CAE office, evolved over time to provide a better quality of life for southern Utah residents, whether that be a social-based class, professional development, or the love to learn something new.

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