Clarity hard to find: Upcoming negotiations, newly appointed leader hopes to clear the air
William Sederburg, commissioner of higher education, has enlisted the expertise of Cory L. Duckworth, vice president of student affairs at Utah Valley University (UVU), to oversee the transition of the College of Eastern Utah (CEU) in becoming a comprehensive regional college of UtahState University (USU) next year.
At its July 17 meeting, the Utah Board of Regents he ruling body for Utah's public higher education system, endorsed a proposal to establish a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that outlines the detailed requirements for establishing CEU as a comprehensive regional college in southeastern Utah.
"Having worked closely with Cory, I am confident he has the right skills and demeanor to lead thediscussions as USU and CEU work through the many details of this transition," Sederburg said. "When I served as president at Ferris State University in Michigan, we faced a similar situation when Kendall College of Art and Design merged with our institution. Cory played a major role in working out the thorny merger issues."
The idea of a merger with Utah State has area residents concerned about how the change will affect the county, the economy, the job situation and certainly the students who will be going to the school in the future. Many on campus are nervous about their jobs and future. But for many that is nothing new since the looming changes have been bantered about for over two years.
Sederburg says Duckworth's expertise will be key in helping the schools to come together more smoothly.
"He understands the important business drivers behind this transition," Sederburg continued. "He reflects the Board's commitment to not only devise an efficient operational model, but also build upon the higher education services in southwestern Utah."
Duckworth will maintain his duties at UVU while serving as transition director. He has served as the Vice President of Student Affairs at UVU since 2003. He has also held several executive positions at Ferris State University (Michigan), St. Cloud State University (Minnesota), Minot State University (North Dakota), and Southern Utah University in Cedar City.
Brad King, presently the vice president of institutional development at CEU says he knows Duckworth and feels he was a good choice for the job.
"I have known his since he was at SUU and I quite like him," said King on Friday afternoon. "He is a very straight shooter and a good guy."
King said that the selection of Duckworth to help with the transition will help to bring a good outcome to the process.
About two weeks ago six adminstrators from each campus got together and decided to break the merging parts into six to seven areas on which they would have to deal. Now they will be having a couple of administrators from each school work on those areas together to help with working out the combination details.
King said that Duckworth will be in Price at least once a week, meeting with groups and working on plans until the details are worked out. Based on what was said during presentations this summer by the board of regents at CEU, those details pretty much have to be wrapped up before the Utah State legislature begins its regular session in January. At that point the regents will present the plan to merge the two schools to the lawmakers and it will be up to them to make a final decision on the move.
Duckworth earned a juris doctorate and master's degree in political science from the University of Utah. He earned a bachelor's degree in political science and psychology from Utah State University.