Historic Dual Enrollment Program Receives Final Approval

Published: February 11, 2019 | Read Time: 4 minutes

President Scott Wyatt and President Brennan Wood signing the Southern Utah University and Southwest Technical College Dual Enrollment PartnershipA historic partnership between Southern Utah University (SUU) and Southwest Technical College (STECH) received final approval to become one of the first dual enrollment programs of its kind in the nation.

Through the Dual Enrollment Program, participating students at STECH are simultaneously enrolled at SUU, and receive university credit at no cost in the following areas of study: Accounting, Agriculture, Art and Design, Business, Culinary Arts, Engineering Technology, Graphics and Media, Information Technology, and Nursing. Additional articulation agreements between the schools in Automotive Technology and Professional Truck Driving will also be available by the time the program begins in the fall of 2019. As a result of the new enrollment program, students pursuing a certification program at STECH can also choose to pursue an associate’s or bachelor’s degree at SUU, and they will have already earned a significant number of university credits toward that goal.

For students at SUU, the Dual Enrollment Program means they are admitted to STECH and entitled to enroll in certificate programs for which they earn SUU credit while paying the significantly lower tuition rate at the technical college. In addition to the cost savings, the very flexible schedule and a wide range of career-preparation and technical courses at STECH will allow SUU students to better utilize their time and broaden their career options.

“This is a proud moment for us,” said SUU President Scott L Wyatt. “I think this is one of the great moments in the history of SUU. Everything about this partnership speaks to our commitment to putting students first.”

The program received approval from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) and has received the attention of the Utah Legislature, Utah Governor Gary Herbert and other institutions across the nation for its innovation and student-focused agreement.

According to the NWCCU approval letter, “The unique nature of the agreement outlined in this document is that it proposes to dually enroll STECH students for credit at SUU, while both institutions remain as separate entities, maintaining operational and administrative independence. The advantages to this model are clear: students from STECH receive university credit not currently available to them, using the flexible, open entry scheduling model already in place, while paying the much lower STECH tuition rate.”

SUU Hospitality Professor Howard Hu teaching a culinary class in the dual enrollment program“Meanwhile, SUU students can also enroll in STECH courses for significantly lower tuition and fee costs, have access to instructional programs not currently offered at SUU (e.g., welding and culinary arts) and still receive university credit for their study at STECH. The benefits to students at both schools are significant, and the lack of a merger of the two institutions causes less consternation in the community,” according to NWCCU.

Steve Meredith, assistant to the president for planning and effectiveness at SUU coordinated the effort between the two schools, but he indicated it was truly a team effort. “Without the vision and leadership from President Wood and President Wyatt, along with a dedicated and highly experienced consultant in Gary Wixom, and the support of the academic affairs departments at both institutions, we never would have gotten it off the ground,” he said.

“In fact, if there are any real ‘heroes’ in the story, they must be the SUU and STECH faculty members, who looked beyond the cultural, operational, and procedural differences between our campuses, which were significant, and focused on the best possible academic pathways for students,” Meredith said. “I can honestly say that this student-centered focus permeated every meeting and discussion, and led us to innovative solutions. I believe that the resulting agreement reflects that focus.”

"We are grateful to President Wyatt and SUU for their determined collaboration in this monumental effort," stated STECH President Brennan M. Wood. "It has been amazing to witness administrators and faculty members placing students in priority over institutional and personal interests. This dual enrollment program provides higher education students with additional options to achieve success and gain greater opportunities."

SUU and STECH faculty have worked together to create pathways for students of both institutions to build their education based on both academic and skill-based learning, tuition needs and timing. For example, a theatre student at SUU can now take a welding class at STECH that is not available at SUU. Or, an out of state student can begin computer science courses at STECH’s tuition rates while they wait for Utah residency. Their credits in computer science will count toward a degree at SUU if they choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree there once they have established residency.

For more information about programs, articulation, tuition and frequently asked questions about the Southwest Technical College and Southern Utah University Dual Enrollment Program, visit the Dual Enrollment website.

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