Jul 23, 2024  
2023-2024 General Catalog [Current] 
2023-2024 General Catalog [Current]

About Southern Utah University

Our Heritage

Throughout our history, Southern Utah University has evolved from a teacher training institution to a comprehensive regional university. From the time of its founding, SUU has placed students first by featuring personalized and participative classes, combined with competent, qualified and supportive faculty, staff, and administration. The university provides skill development opportunities, major academic specialties, outreach services, cultural and athletic activities, economic and business development resources, and regional archives. Capitalizing on our unique environment, Southern Utah University prepares its graduates to excel in careers and as citizens by emphasizing the following core values: Academic Excellence, Community and Social Responsibility, and Involvement and Personal Growth.

The University’s History 

Possessing a rich pioneer heritage, SUU has a unique history in American higher education. In 1897, Cedar City was notified it had been chosen as the site for the Branch Normal School, the first teacher training school in Southern Utah.

In September of 1897, the school opened its doors for the first time. However, only two months into the session, the Attorney General ruled that Cedar City was not complying with the provision stating that the school must be on land deeded to the state for educational purposes. If a building was not erected by the following September, the school would be lost. Winter had already set in, when on January 5, 1898, a group of townspeople trudged into the Cedar Mountains, setting out to do the impossible. Snow had obliterated the trail they had originally blazed and the wagons could not make it and were abandoned. It was in this phase of their march that an old sorrel horse proved so valuable. Placed at the front of the party, the horse walked steadily into the drifts, pushing and straining against the snow until it gave way. Then he would pause for a rest, sitting down on his haunches the way a dog does, heave a big sigh, and get up and start all over again. “Old Sorrel” was credited with being the savior of the expedition.

The people of Cedar City continued their work from January through July and in September of 1898, the building, now known as Old Main, was completed.

Today the campus comprises 133 acres, landscaped with fountains, tall spruce and pine trees, plazas, latticed walkways, and expansive lawns. Beyond campus, the University owns and operates a 1,032-acre farm in western Cedar Valley and a 2,629-acre ranch in Cedar Canyon. The ranch includes a Mountain Center for executive leadership and continuing education programs.

The University’s Ashcroft Observatory is located outside the lighted neighborhoods of Cedar City for better celestial viewing opportunities.

Because of their proximity and grandeur, Zion National Park and Cedar Breaks National Monument are claimed by students as part of the campus. Indeed, geological and life science field trips take advantage of these national treasures. The Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon National Parks lie close by for easy touring. The University’s skiing classroom is at 10,000-foot Brian Head Ski Area, less than an hour away.

A Tour of the Campus 

Campus facilities vary from the historical Old Main and Braithwaite Center building built in 1898 and 1899 to the Emma Eccles Jones Teacher Education Building, the Carter Carillon, and the J.L. Sorenson Physical Education Building that mark the northern edge of SUU’s campus. The Dixie Leavitt Business Building, South Hall, the Gerald R. Sherratt Library, and the Sharwan Smith Student Center are located in the center of campus, while the Science Center, the General Classroom Building, the Auditorium, the America First Credit Union Event Center, and the athletics facilities skirt the edges of the grounds. As the home of the Utah Shakespeare Festival, SUU also features one of the world’s most authentic Shakespearean stages and the Randall L. Jones Performing Arts Theatre.

Guided tours of the University are available by appointment. Please contact the SUU Admissions Welcome Center at (435) 586-7741 to schedule tours, or visit www.suu.edu/visit.html.

Our Mission 

Southern Utah University is a dynamic teaching and learning community that engages students in experiential education leading to personal growth, civic responsibility, and professional excellence.

Our Vision 

Southern Utah University will receive national recognition for its innovations in learning, student success, and providing the best educational experience in the intermountain west.

Our Core Themes


SUU explores diverse ideas, disciplines, skills, cultures, and places.


SUU creates intentional and transformative learning experiences.


SUU excels through a commitment to high‐quality outcomes and student achievement.

In order to fulfill its mission, SUU will:

Increase opportunities for the SUU learning community to explore complex problems and sense of purpose in the region, nation, and world.

  • Support student learning experiences beyond the traditional classroom setting.
  • Help students, faculty, and staff understand and appreciate varied perspectives and ideas.
  • Expand and support collaborative partnerships for learning.

Engage students, faculty, and staff in practices that lead to meaningful learning.

  • Provide students with the fundamentals of a modern Liberal Education.
  • Provide students with opportunities to design their own learning experiences, connect learning across disciplines, and apply learning to new contexts.
  • Optimize SUU’s educational, physical, technological, informational, financial, and human resources to maximize learning.

Foster intellectual and creative engagement within the SUU campus community.

  • Enhance student learning environments by integrating teaching, scholarly, and creative efforts.

Lead students, faculty, and staff to successful professional and educational outcomes.

  • Increase student retention and graduation rates.
  • Increase the number of students pursuing post‐graduate opportunities.
  • Support faculty and staff in achieving their professional and personal goals.

Prepare students for responsible citizenship in their communities and countries.

  • Involve students in practices that lead to higher participation rates in community service and democratic processes throughout their lives.

Help students develop lives of purpose, fulfillment, and wellness.

  • Develop students that are lifelong learners that live fulfilled lives.

SUU’s Academic Planning

SUU is committed to providing all of its students an exceptional educational experience. In June 2016, a comprehensive strategic plan was approved by the Board of Trustees. This new strategic plan was developed with input from all parts of the campus and community. The plan is designed to enhance the quality of an SUU student’s education by aligning academic programs with student support systems to help our graduates become fully engaged and productive members of society through a set of distinctive and personalized learning environments. For more detailed information about SUU’s new Strategic Plan, please go to www.suu.edu/future/final.html.

SUU’s Essential Learning Outcomes 

In order to help achieve the overall goals this Strategic Plan, SUU is actively participating in the Association of American Colleges & University (AAC&U) program known as the LEAP Initiative. LEAP stands for Liberal Education and America’s Promise. One of the central tenets of LEAP is the Essential Learning Outcomes (ELO). The ELOs have been developed to articulate what 21st century students need to know, understand, and be able to do upon completing their program of study at a college or university. The outcomes have been developed through work done with hundreds of colleges and universities across the nation to ascertain the important goals for student learning, and in consultation with the business community and employers, as well as analyzing the requirements of multiple accrediting agencies (business, nursing, engineering, and teacher education). The SUU Essential Learning Outcomes (ELO) are incorporated in numerous programs and classes offered at SUU. Additional program-specific learning outcomes are noted in the catalog information provided by the colleges/schools and the departments. The ELOs are also foundational to SUU’s General Education Program. For more information about the LEAP initiative see www.aacu.org/advocacy-liberal-education-0.

1.0  Civic Engagement

Students demonstrate that they possess the combination of knowledge, skills, values, and motivation to make a difference in the civic life of their community and to promote the enhancement of the quality of life in a community through both political and non-political processes.

2.0  Communication

Students develop and express ideas and will be able to do so in a variety of ways, namely in writing, by speaking, visually, kinesthetically, through design or aurally.

3.0  Creative Thinking

Students combine or synthesize existing ideas, images, or expertise in original ways, as well as think, react, and work in an imaginative way.

4.0  Critical Thinking

Students demonstrate disciplined processes of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.

5.0  Digital Literacy

Students strategically and responsibly employ appropriate technologies to explore, create, collaborate, and organize in a digital context.

6.0  Ethical Reasoning

Students describe and analyze positions on ethical issues, apply reasoning about right and wrong human conduct, demonstrate ethical decision-making skills, and demonstrate an evolving ethical self-identity.

7.0  Information Literacy

Students identify, locate, evaluate, attribute, and share information effectively and ethically.

8.0  Inquiry & Analysis

Inquiry: Students systematically explore issues, objects, or works through the collection and analysis of evidence that results in informed conclusions or judgments.

Analysis: Students break complex topics or issues into parts to gain a better understanding of them.

9.0  Intercultural Knowledge and Competence

Students demonstrate that they possess a set of cognitive, affective, and behavioral skills and characteristics that support effective and appropriate interaction in a variety of cultural contexts.

10.0  Integrative Learning

Students make connections among ideas and experiences and can synthesize and transfer their learning to new, complex situations within and beyond the campus.

11.0  Knowledge of Human Cultures and the Physical and Natural World

Students demonstrate knowledge of human cultures and the physical and natural world through study in the fine arts, humanities, social and behavioral sciences, and life and physical sciences.

12.0  Lifelong Learning

Students demonstrate that they possess the skills and dispositions that are necessary for a self-sufficient learner to engage in purposeful, ongoing learning activities with the aim of improving knowledge, skills, and competence.

13.0  Problem Solving

Students design, evaluate, and implement strategies to answer open-ended questions or achieve a desired goal.

14.0  Quantitative Literacy

Students can understand and create sophisticated arguments supported by quantitative evidence and clearly communicate those arguments in a variety of formats (using words, tables, graphs, mathematical equations, etc., as appropriate).

15.0  Teamwork

Students demonstrate productive interaction with others (in or out of class) to complete assignments, tasks or projects.

Carnegie Foundation Community Engagement Classification 

Southern Utah University is one of approximately 360 higher education institutions in the United States to be recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a Community Engaged University. This classification acknowledges the university’s commitment to and demonstration of community involvement, with an aim of improving teaching and learning. According to the Carnegie Foundation, “community engagement describes collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity.” Community engagement can incorporate academic service learning, cooperative education, extension coursework, learning centers, volunteerism, experiential education, and other forms of outreach and partnerships. Unlike the Carnegie Foundation’s other classifications that rely on national data, this is an “elective” classification based on documentation and examples of institutionalized practices that demonstrate alignment among mission, culture, leadership, resources and practices. This national recognition, first awarded in 2010 to Southern Utah University and reaffirmed in 2015, will be retained at least until 2020. Community Engagement classification underscores and enhances Southern Utah University’s ongoing efforts to fulfill a wide range of institutional and community responsibilities.

Students and Faculty 

Each year, Southern Utah University enrolls more than 10,000 students in its academic, professional, and applied technology programs. Students come from all 29 counties in Utah, over 45 U.S. states, and over 60 foreign countries and territories. Of total enrollment, approximately 60% are women and 40% men. About 70% of all students live on campus or in apartments near the campus. The University attracts faculty who are dedicated to excellence in teaching, creative in generating new knowledge, and generous in using their expertise to solve society’s problems. The faculty recognize that high-quality teaching is their primary goal, giving students the opportunity to work with some of the finest and most caring professors in the state. In addition to helping students learn, Southern Utah University faculty assist business, industry, educational institutions, government agencies, and professional groups with educational programs in upgrading the knowledge and skills of employees.

Men’s/Women’s Intercollegiate Athletics

For both spectators and competitors, the athletic program offers a wide variety of opportunities to SUU students. SUU is a NCAA Division I institution and competes in the Western Athletic Conference. Men compete in basketball, golf, cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field, and football. Women compete in basketball, golf, soccer, softball, cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field, gymnastics, and volleyball. A full schedule of games and competitions is available on the SUU Athletics website.

SUU student-athletes enjoy excellent overall athletic facilities. The Eccles Coliseum includes fields for football and track and field with seating for 8,500 spectators. The Eccles Coliseum is also home to the athletic department administrative offices. Within the Coliseum complex is the Jay Dee Harris and Alice C. Harris Center, which houses the University’s intercollegiate women’s gymnastics program. The east side of the Harris Center is home to the Joe & Jean Lopour Athletic Academic Center, which provides academic services for student-athletes. Six tennis courts are located south of the Harris Center. East of the Coliseum is the soccer field and the Kathryn Berg softball park. The America First Credit Union Event Center, SUU’s combination special events center and classroom facility, houses 5,300 chair-back seats for basketball, gymnastics, and other sporting events. For information regarding sports eligibility and financial aid, please contact Christy Florence (Associate Athletic Director, Compliance) at (435) 586-7747 or christyflorence@suu.edu.