A presentation during the Carbon County Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Thursday served to update the community on the happenings at USU Eastern. Kevin Hurst, USUE Director of Students, gave the presentation to those in attendance.
Hurst has served in his current role since October of 2019, prior to which he spent seven years as the Director of TRIO – Student Support Service and later the Chief Student Affairs Officer at Zane State College in Zanesville, Ohio. As a Utah native, he desired to return home and found his place at USU Eastern, which he credited as the best institution of higher education in the country.
To begin, Hurst outlined the tri-mission approach at USU Eastern. This includes transfer education, such as an associate’s degree, which can be transferred to other institutions in the process of completing a higher degree. The university also offers a wide array of bachelor’s and graduate degrees. The final focus of the mission is career and technical education, also known as CTE.
Hurst then dove into the topic of COVID-19 and its impact on learning throughout the past year. When the 2020 spring semester was interrupted, professors, students and staff made the quick pivot to online learning. While some of this online learning continues to take place, the university is working to get students back in the classroom.
With the return to the classroom, the university has conducted weekly COVID-19 testing for students, faculty and staff, as well as waste water testing to ensure cleanliness and safety. And while classes carried on, albeit in an alternative way, many activities had to be cancelled or postponed.
One of the most impacted items at the university was athletics. Fall and winter sports were postponed, and now all teams are implementing an unusual spring season. Hurst took time to highlight these teams, including the USU Eastern volleyball team that has had its best season is school history. The rodeo team has the best bull rider in the country, and the men’s and women’s basketball teams made it to the quarterfinals in their respective tournaments. Other sports underway this spring are baseball, softball, and men’s and women’s soccer.
Hurst also spoke on academics at the university and the creation of new programs as well as additions to existing programs. One such program is the expanding aviation program at the Price campus, which will gain instruction on airport operations and drones. The university is also diving into the world of advanced manufacturing, most commonly known as 3D printing, with the help of Dustless Technologies and Merit 3D.
To conclude, Hurst highlighted the four-year biology program that is coming to the Price campus. This program will focus on pre-med requirements for those seeking careers in medicine.