A lone student gets in some quiet study time at the USU/CEU library.
July 1 came and went without fanfare, but the day marked a turning point in history for the College of Eastern Utah and the communities it serves. On Thursday, CEU officially became Utah State University/College of Eastern Utah.
As of now, it is going to be defined as a comprehensive regional college instead of a community college. The difference, according to statements made by higher education leaders over the twelve months, is more than semantic. What follows is a summary of those statements, as reported previously in the Sun Advocate.
First, there is the formal blending of historic strengths of both institutions. USU, as a land grant college, already has a presence in all 29 counties through its extension service. It has operated degree programs via distance learning from the Price CEU campus for years now. The Aggies are also a nationally-ranked research institution, offering opportunities for academic advancement through doctoral degrees and beyond in a wide range of disciplines.
As members of the USU system, those are the opportunities now open to CEU students.
CEU, on the other hand, has low tuition available for lower division courses. It also has established its own national reputation for exploration and research in paleontology and archaeology, occupies a 19,000 square mile open geology exhibit (just look around you), has a top-notch nursing program, and is recognized as a community asset from the Native American reservations in San Juan County to Price.
Those are the opportunities CEU offers the rest of the USU system.
Implementing the transition, which includes such nuts-and-bolts items as redesigning the school's Website, could take up to a year or longer.
Some things will remain the same. CEU's curriculum will continue to offer its technical career programs in such things as diesel mechanics, welding, mining and cosmetology. School colors and the golden eagle mascot will still be here. There are no big changes on the horizon for faculty, other than that tenured professors will become associate professors and nontenured faculty will become assistant professors. CEU faculty will be represented on the USU Faculty Senate.
The big change at the top of the administration is that the college will no longer have a president reporting to the Board of Regents. It now has a chancellor - a chief executive - who will report to the president of USU. Joe Peterson officially became the first chancellor of USU/CEU Thursday.
Dr. Peterson will oversee the transition process, and will also serve on the USU President's Executive Committee, the Regional Campus Council and the USU/CEU Regional Advisory Board. He is former vice president for instruction at Salt Lake Community College and is a native of this area. He was born in San Juan County and grew up in Carbon County, while his wife was born in Carbon and raised in San Juan.
"It feels like coming home," he said after his appointment in April.