Cory L. Duckworth is one of two finalists competing for the position of chancellor at the-soon-to-be campus of Utah State University College of Eastern Utah.
He brings to the table 25 years of higher education experience; 15 of those were involved in major decision making for several universities. He has held the position of chief advancement officer for four universities. A native of Magna, he was raised with the majority of his family working for Kennecott Copper.
He is a first generation college student and has a Bachelor of Arts from Utah State University. In addition he earned a Master of Arts from University of Utah as well as Juris Doctorate from University of Utah College of Law.
Some of his hobbies include hiking, camping in his travel trailer and playing racquetball. An outdoor enthusiast he is very interested in continuing the outdoor programs available at CEU.
During the student government section of his discussions on campus he addressed some concerns of the students including housing. If more students attend college in Price the residence halls will fill and the lack of rental properties in the community will become a big problem. Currently the vice-president of Academic Affairs at Utah Valley University he is experiencing having to work with private contractors to construct new buildings in an effort to keep up with the explosive growth of UVU.
Duckworth's outline for how he intends to lead the college started with his idea to develop the new USU-CEU culture. The new chancellor will take the reigns during the restructuring of administration, working firsthand with those administrators to better understand how to proceed with new appointments if necessary. Submitting dual reports was one concern raised by staff and faculty. Duckworth mentioned he has had to do this a number of times and wants the process to be smooth for faculty. Complete systems integration between the two institutions will be a long process.
"Getting it right the first time will reduce the headache in the long run," he said.
With CEU having a small campus and enrollment, that can work to the advantage of promoting the college. Small class sizes allow for more face time with instructors. One goal Duckworth has is to get faculty more involved in the recruitment process in an effort to increase enrollment. Having good programs here already and the new offerings of USU will be influential in drawing students to this campus.
Utah has some of the lowest tuition rates in the nation. Out of state tuition is on par with in-state rates in other areas. "Utah has an out of state tuition rate roughly 3.5 times the in-state rate. Here it's about $2,000 for a semester and out of state students will pay about $7,500. Go to a state like Michigan and their in-state rate is $7,500," he said.
With state money being pulled back from higher education the cost will ultimately come off of the students' backs. Receiving a world class education at a lower cost than other places is something that the college can take advantage of.
With tuition increases paid for by students the chancellor has to be the lead fundraiser on campus. Duckworth has experience fund raising, at one institution he had a goal of $24 million and met it three years later, exceeding the goal by seven million.
Trust is a big topic for Duckworth, trust between the community that growth for the college is something that will benefit the community as well. The college is the third largest employer in the area, Ann Evans of the Carbon County Chamber of Commerce said it would be unfortunate for the college to fold.
She also pointed out that over the last few years there has been a rift between the college and community. If Duckworth is appointed to the position he pledged to work towards the recognition and solution of the problems.
"It's time to move forward and look at things in a positive light. The decision has been made, now it's time to say okay what is the great opportunity that lies out there for us?" he questioned.
Duckworth noted that with the economy the way it is now it will be some time before Utah bounces back. "Utah has not been affected as dramatically as other states. It has also taken longer for Utah to feel the full force of the recession," he said.
"With that in mind it will be some time before Utah can climb out of the hole. Utah tends to lag behind the nation, it didn't hit as hard or fast and it will take longer to get out of it," he said. " think we have a couple more years before we get out. It's important for the chancellor to be able to come in and build the loyalty necessary to keep people here and make the decisions to keep this campus vibrant in this austere period of time."
Strong and stable enrollment is necessary for the success of USU-CEU. When the economy is bad enrollment declines.
He has worked with two universities experiencing sliding enrollment but was able to turn the trend around with the help of marketing professionals. "I have that experience and a sense of what it takes to accomplish that," he said.
Faculty and staff need to provide an incredible education experience that people want to be a part of. They need to realize they have a role to play in getting people to come here.
Getting everyone at the college to recruit and make it known that USU-CEU is focused on personal education is key according to Duckworth. Recruitment outside of Eastern Utah is key. Making USU-CEU's presence known is important in getting people to understand that they are serious about providing a positive place to receive an education. "If you don't have a lot of money for television, billboards and other advertising then you must focus on conversations. If we celebrate successes we have than more will come," he said.
He also added that the school needs to grow the local economy so when students graduate we don't ship them out. Duckworth was influential in starting Utah Summer Games in Cedar City.
That celebration brings in a lot of business to the area. The chancellor needs to understand not only CEU Price but also USU, and know the opportunities that are available and capitalize on them.
Trust is key, a lot of businesses fail because the trust isn't there. He hopes to establish relationships that bring resources to campus and benefit the community if he is chosen for the position.
"It's time to stop worrying about merging and focus on dreams and aspirations," he concluded.