CEU-USU merger/partnership talks in second phase

Posted Thursday, August 28, 2008 - 12:00am

The collaboration between Utah State University and the College of Eastern Utah continues as the process is in phase two of a three-phase plan. The 2008 legislature created House Bill 3 mandating a task force be created to study greater collaboration and cooperation between CEU and USU, including consideration of partnerships, alliances, or a merger, in order to increase the educational opportunities for citizens of Eastern Utah and maximize state resources.

The study was to include ways of protecting the traditional community college role including access to career and technical education currently provided by CEU.

Phase one was conducted from July 3-31 and titled the "issue identification." Study consultants from leadership positions at USU and CEU were named to identify the primary issues that should be examined to create a model for potential merger of the two institutions, or enhanced partnership between USU and CEU.

Phase two takes place between August 11 and September 12. It has two possibilities. One would develop ideas for a potential merger of USU and CEU. "It is intended that the elements of the model provide a conceptual framework for a potential merger, but not be construed or interpreted as created a specific agreement. In the event a merger is unattainable, the teams will develop possibilities for enhancing the partnership between USU and CEU to deliver higher education program to the students and residents of Southeast Utah," reported a document provided by the Board of Regents.

As part of phase two, CEU representatives from finance, faculty and employee plus students met with their counterparts at USU in Salt Lake City last week to discuss the issues that could be involved in the merger, alliance or partnership. The two colleges met in Salt Lake City last week to begin their talks.

Phase three takes place from September 15 through October 10. Community members and employees at USU and CEU will be provided an opportunity to respond to the ideas and model developed by study teams.

At the conclusion of phase three, the task force and the Utah Board of Regents will receive the study report and make its recommendations to the Executive Appropriations Committee of the Utah Legislature for any changes that require legislative action or funding.

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