CEU Vice President Sets Record Straight
|Kevin Walthers holds up the new College of Eastern Utah license plates that came out this past summer. Walthers suggests that the college can become more vibrant and better with the community supporting college events and by promoting the college to outsiders. |
Kevin Walthers dispells rumors and myths about future of Price campus
Kevin Walthers, the vice president of finance for the College of Eastern Utah, is on a mission.
He wants people to know that the myths running around town about the college aren't true.
"We aren't losing students, we don't have budget problems, and we aren't going to become part of Utah State University," he told a group of business people gathered for a Carbon Chamber of Commerce meeting last Thursday. "Oh and one more thing. We haven't lost touch with the community."
Walthers told the group that CEU is southeastern Utah's college and it will remain that way.
"In reality enrollment is up, the finances that were once not very good are much better now and we are responding to the community needs as they come up," he said.
He then addressed each of the myths individually.
"CEU's enrollment is primarily from southeastern Utah," he said. "Our two campus' presently enroll 75 percent of students from the area that are attending state colleges," he stated. "But in the entire area the number of high school students are falling so that translates into fewer students that are available to go to college. Our numbers match the high school senior decline almost perfectly.
"On the other hand we are working hard to get more students to come to CEU from other communities that don't have easy access to a full service college. We want those students to come here."
Walthers said the growth in Utah is along the Wasatch Front, yet many of the state universities and colleges there are not growing either. CEU is targeting students from places like Delta, Beaver and even Tooele to come to the campus.
According to Walthers CEU has the lowest tuition of any of the state colleges. He also said one of the things that would help CEU in terms of enrollment would be for students that are presently going to CEU to take "one more hour."
"A lot of students take 10 hours and pay the same as they would for 18 hours because of the way the tuition is structured," he said. "One more hour would help them and us."
As for finances, Walthers stated that CEU's finances are stable.
"We did have some financial challenges, but last year the state legislature was able to give us some money to change the situation with the dormitories on which we owed a great deal of money. I was glad to get rid of those mortgage payments."
He said that the college had been able to maximize their financial reporting tools, and that they will be certifying the "carry forward" balances as well as building reserves.
As for connecting with the community Walthers pointed out that the college has built many programs around the needs of the community and parts of the college like the Western Energy Training Center and the CEU Prehistoric Museum are important in many ways to the community from training through culture.
He said through various programs the college is trying to support local industry and hopes that that kind of work brings a reciprocal result.
"One of the things the citizens of the area can do is to support us in trying to build the new fine arts center which will replace the present music building and the Geary Theater," he said. "Those two buildings are considered hazardous by the state because of their instability and a new center would benefit all the people of the county."
Walthers said that the college is part of the community for many people but in the past there has been a culture of chronic complaining about what the college does or doesn't do.
"I ask that people go out of their way to focus on the positive aspects of the college," he said. "Support our events and promote the school. It will help the community."