‘We have great confidence in SUU’; Utah Legislature approves, funds 3-year bachelor degree program

A Southern Utah University graduate stands with a T Birds sign, date not specified, Cedar City, Utah | Photo courtesy of Southern Utah University, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY— Southern Utah University has announced that Gov. Gary Herbert and the Utah State Legislature have approved and funded a three-year bachelor’s degree pilot program, which is set to launch next year.

A Southern Utah University graduate holds a diploma, date not specified, Cedar City, Utah | Photo courtesy of Southern Utah University, St. George News/Cedar City News

According to a press release from SUU, the university received $3.8 million ongoing funding for the project and will be ready to begin the program in January 2020.

“SUU has earned a strong reputation in Utah for being an innovative university and has gained the trust of policymakers,” SUU President Scott Wyatt said in the release. “This initiative is a significant investment in SUU and our success in developing this program will benefit our students, community and employees, and may pave the way for other schools to follow our lead.”

The three-year degree is an optional program for students to accelerate the traditional undergraduate process and enter the workforce earlier while still gaining the professional, hands-on experiences needed for the job market. SUU administration, faculty and staff members are reviewing the current academic model and will make significant adjustments to ensure student success.

The three-year degree program will reduce barriers to graduation, making it easier for a student to save time and money. The program will include an adjustment to SUU’s academic calendar to accommodate three full semesters, plus a reasonable summer break. New structural changes will also include robust online offerings and summer classes.

“The legislature has been working with our higher education institutions to find innovative ways to allow students the opportunity to finish their education in a more timely manner, thus allowing them to enter the workforce sooner,” Sen. Evan Vickers of Cedar City said. “Southern Utah University’s three-year bachelor degree program certainly fits that criteria. We have great confidence in SUU, as well as their President, his leadership team, faculty and staff. We are eagerly anticipating the outcome and success of this program and hope to be able to replicate it in other state institutions.”

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