Phil Clegg, Assistant Dean of Students/Director of Student Leadership and Activities, met with USA TODAY Account Manager Shay Curtis, to discuss Utah Valley University’s Collegiate Readership Program, which was implemented in 2009
Clegg has been with Utah Valley University since 1997, experiencing first-hand the institution’s growth into a multi-faceted, regional state university on a mission to prepare professionally competent people of integrity who, as lifelong learners and leaders, serve as stewards of a globally interdependent community.
Shay Curtis: What are your primary goals for Utah Valley University’s Collegiate Readership Program?
Phil Clegg: We want students to have access to real-time information on a daily basis. Our core principles are to foster a serious, engaged and an inclusive student body that influences the communities where they work and live. Convenient access to an assortment of newspapers throughout campus conveys these principles to our students.
Curtis: Has the Collegiate Readership Program met the expectations of your institution?
Clegg: In a word, yes. Readership continues to grow year after year and faculty have become more involved as well. Some professors are requiring students to pick up papers for class. They track trends or discuss the controversial issues of the day. Currently, faculty and students are buzzing about the Secret Service investigation. This event has produced an opportunity for everyone to discuss ethical conduct, professionalism and oversight.
Curtis: How is the Collegiate Readership Program communicated to your faculty?
Clegg: Presentations about the Collegiate Readership Program are made to faculty before the academic year begins. The Collegiate Readership Program also offers faculty free, online subscriptions. Faculty can then easily incorporate newspapers into the classroom, introducing students to real world situations that embody the concepts and theories being taught.
Curtis: What has the students’ response been?
Clegg:I think students see the value of being well-informed about current events and how those events apply to their education more than ever before. Students who augment their education by tracking events and trends in their field of study offer potential employers a more well-rounded employee. In today’s job environment, this type of enhanced knowledge can give one a competitive edge.
Curtis: What have been the most noteworthy benefits of having the Collegiate Readership Program at Utah Valley University?
Clegg: We are excited about the upcoming presidential election and the role The Collegiate Readership Program will play. Civic responsibility is important and, to me, at the core of being a responsible and engaged citizen. Students should know their candidates and be well-versed on the issues. I look forward to faculty and administration fostering intelligent debates and for students to participate based on their own knowledgeable opinions.
Curtis: In general, what makes the Collegiate Readership Program successful at Utah Valley University?
Clegg: Faculty, staff and advisors come together to encourage students to become connected and involved. The educational environment is improved overall. Students are influenced to view their education as an ongoing experience rather than a static event.
Additionally, the speakers and service learning opportunities the Collegiate Readership Program provides all tie back to the classroom and what Utah Valley University hopes to achieve.
Curtis: How would you sum up the Collegiate Readership Program for other interested schools?
Clegg: It’s a big investment and a big opportunity. The Collegiate Readership Program brings students, faculty and administration together to work on a common goal. Students become united in their education, strengthening the student-faculty partnership. Critical thinking is promoted and then practiced. Ultimately, students realize learning is a lifelong endeavor.
Curtis: Any final thoughts?
Clegg: We plan to continue to spread the word about the Collegiate Readership Program to our students, staff and faculty. I think Utah Valley University will continue to make the most of this comprehensive program. I hope students will be inspired to access USA TODAY College to expand their college experience and that they’ll apply for the Collegiate Correspondent Program. We’re pleased with the momentum to-date and are looking forward to next year!
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