Main Navigation

Home U Rising New campus in Herriman is a first for the U


In a first for the university, the U has partnered with Salt Lake Community College on a shared campus in Herriman, which will open this month. There's an open house at the Juniper Building this Friday, Aug. 4.

The partnership will accelerate the U's ability to serve transfer students and the growing southwest communities of the Salt Lake Valley. U Rising host Chris Nelson launches the U Rising podcast with guest Chase Hagood to talk about the new University of Utah Herriman Campus and collaborations with Salt Lake Community College.

Chase is the senior associate vice president for Academic Affairs and dean of undergraduate studies. He joined the U just over a year ago from the University of Georgia and is leading our efforts to provide students with an engaging, exceptional experience.

Subscribe to the U Rising podcast on your favorite streaming platform, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts. You can also access episodes of U Rising on our news website, linked here.


Chris Nelson: Welcome to U Rising, where we share stories about research, innovations and key initiatives taking place at the University of Utah. I'm Chris Nelson, host of this episode and chief university relations officer.

In a first for the U, we have partnered with Salt Lake Community College on a shared campus in Herriman, which will open this month. In fact, there's an open house at the Juniper Building this Friday.

The partnership will really accelerate our ability to serve transfer students and the growing southwest communities of the Salt Lake Valley. I'm thrilled to be launching the U Rising podcast with special guest Chase Hagood to talk about the new Herriman campus and collaborations with Salt Lake Community College.

Chase is the senior associate vice president for Academic Affairs and dean of undergraduate studies. He joined the U just over a year ago from the University of Georgia and is leading our efforts to provide students with an engaging, exceptional experience.

Welcome to U Rising, Chase.

Chase Hagood: Thanks so much, Chris. Happy to be here.

Chris Nelson: Yeah, thanks for joining us. So, this joint venture has been years in the making. Why is the U partnering on a campus in Herriman?

Chase Hagood: Well, Chris, I don't know how much time we have! There are a lot of really good reasons as to why we're partnering with Salt Lake Community College in Herriman. One, it builds on really just a phenomenal and, I like to say, one of the most impactful deep, sustainable partnerships in American higher education today.

         Chase Hagood

It builds on a partnership really between one of the largest community colleges in the United States and, as we like to say at the U, one of America's leading research universities.

We know that there are a lot of opportunities in the space between Salt Lake Community College and the University of Utah, building on a very strong history of a partnership together that serves our communities, students, the state and, in fact, the nation. In the southwest quadrant of the valley, we know that this is the fastest growing spaces in the Salt Lake Valley. We know that we have a lot of students who are interested in our 2+2 partnership with Salt Lake Community College, where students who may be of a traditional age or students who may be returning to the university or returning to Salt Lake Community College can take advantage of articulation agreements that really have stood the test of time and lay the groundwork for innovation, no doubt for years to come.

Chris Nelson: So this work doesn't just happen. And universities and community colleges, they're big, complicated organizations. So maybe give us the genesis of this, you know, getting these two institutions to talk and is this unique nationally?

Chase Hagood: In many ways, I think it is unique. I mean, we have a number of examples. As you know, the University of Utah joined the University Innovation Alliance last year. We have a number of examples to draw on from that Innovation Alliance.

I think it is unique, though, in the way in which the partnership functions and we have a lot to be grateful for and to be thankful for our predecessors. My predecessor for one, Martha Bradley Evans, I think the commitment that she had to student success and the commitment that she had to our partner. Certainly, President Huftalin and so many others, Clifton Sanders, those who have come before us, President Ruth Watkins. In many ways we have them to thank for, I think, investing deeply in the relationship between the two institutions.

In undergraduate studies, we like to say all of our decisions should be framed by putting students first. I see this partnership in that way. I think we, through that partnership and through that connection, are able to continue to put students first, both at Salt Lake Community College, knowing that many of those students, we hope all of those students, will make their way to the University of Utah. And Herriman is one example of, again, that long and storied kind of tradition between the two institutions.

Chris Nelson: So, I'm going to ask you in just a second about what students should expect, but I'm really interested, for those hardcore higher ed policy folks, give us some behind the scenes. What were the biggest challenges with these two schools coming together?

Chase Hagood: Well, you've got two institutions that have two very distinct missions. Salt Lake Community College, our good partner, is committed to access as are we. We are also, as a Research 1 institution and a member of the AAU, have a deep and abiding commitment to our research enterprise. Of course, U of U Health plays a critical part in that. From my perspective, we've got an equally deep and abiding commitment to teaching and instruction and student success.

I think, you know, the challenges that present themselves often are operational in nature. We think about each of us have our own bursar's office. Each of us have our own registrar's office. Each of us have our own admissions criteria. Each of us have—I  mean, that list could go on and on and on. But instead of seeing those as challenges that would keep us apart, I've been really pleased both with the internal kind of working group here at the U as well as the internal working group at Salt Lake Community College that really, when charged about a year ago now to really get this work stood up and moving forward, led here at the University of Utah by Jason Taylor and Theresa Ashman, to think critically about the way that we set those differences aside and instead we focus on our similarities and we focus on our shared values.

We know that the two institutions have those, right? We are sister institutions in the Utah System of Higher Education. Historically, we have seen students make use of 2+2 articulations. What this process has allowed us to do is, again, say, well, where are those shared values located? Where do we have similar kinds of processes? Where can we look internally and say, we can actually improve some of our processes and make that pathway for students smoother through very different or perhaps overly complicated processes. How can we simplify some of those? And not all of those kind of lessons will be applied to Herriman. But I assure you and all the listeners that we are keeping a running list of where we should, in fact, be simplifying processes. We should, in fact, be putting students first and at the center all those kinds of operational elements that really does make a difference as students begin their journey, they make their way to the University of Utah and ultimately through and beyond the University of Utah.

Chris Nelson: So, let's talk about some examples. So maybe the traditional students, you know, 17-, 18-year-old who's a senior in high school deciding where they want to go to school. What’s the Herriman value proposition for them?

Chase Hagood: Well, I think what Herriman offers for that student, for the traditional student, let's say they live in the southwest quadrant of the valley, right? Let's say they live over in Daybreak or they live right there in the city of Herriman. We'll start, I wouldn't say small, but we're going to start with a limited set of offerings and in those offerings, students would be able to say, okay, I could start at Salt Lake Community College in either say, econ or family and community human development or perhaps psychology. I could start local. I could start closer to home. I don’t know if you've made that drive. I've made that drive now a couple of times between here on main campus and over to the Herriman campus. It is not a short drive, often exacerbated by traffic and everything else . . .

Chris Nelson: You can see the university from out there, you just can't get to it.

Chase Hagood: Get to it. Exactly. Exactly. So, in some ways, it's taking the University of Utah to where students are, to where learners may be. Here, it's in partnership with Salt Lake Community College. Again, one of our very best and strongest kind of partnerships that we have to date and thinking about, relying on, where our faculty and the faculty at Salt Lake Community College have historically worked so well together to make sure that if a student starts at Salt Lake Community College, all of the courses that they take, all the credit that they accumulate at Salt Lake Community College will transfer to the University of Utah to make sure that a student is on path to complete in a really timely way, but a way that works well for them.

So, what we're doing is calling on that strength of the partnership, deploying it in a new place, and we hope very much to learn a lot, right? We are a leading research university. We should, in fact, be learning more as we go into, what, our third century of existence? we should be learning more and more and more about how we actually become a better university for every kind of student so every student can have an exceptional educational experience.

Chris Nelson: So, to be clear, for a traditional student, you'd start at Salt Lake Community College and then, you know, transfer to the University of Utah on that campus, correct?

Chase Hagood: Correct.

Chris Nelson: And about 40% of our transfer students come from Salt Lake Community College. Is that right?

Chase Hagood: That's right, that's right.

Chris Nelson: Interesting. Alright. Let's take a non-traditional student, someone who's maybe been in the workforce, maybe they've had a little bit of college. What does that look like for them?

Chase Hagood: So, we know, we've had a lot of institutional research and a lot of data scientists taking a look at those populations. We know that there are a lot of students and potential learners living in the southwest quadrant of the Salt Lake Valley. In that population that you make mention of—students who have some college, but no degree—it’s really an important population here in the state of Utah, right, where so much of not only our performance funding relies on ensuring that students have access to higher education, but for folks who are perhaps mid-career, mid-profession and they need, in fact, that next either certificate or they need that next degree to be able to grow and develop professionally.

We want to make sure that we’re the university, in partnership with SLCC, who meets those needs for those students. We have specifically aligned degree programs with workforce needs that are specific and germane to the southwest quadrant of the valley, where we see industry and our partners in the private sector saying, “We need more individuals with these kinds of skills and competencies.”

That's exactly the kind of background work that we did, again, as a research institution, deploying individuals as well as systems and information that we would be able to work together, not only with Salt Lake Community College, but with the state of Utah to make sure that we are, in fact, serving through workforce needs, through the needs of students, through the needs of learners, as well as the needs of the institution.

Chris Nelson: Alright. So, you've mentioned this, but let's go over it again—some of the degrees that will be out there and then where you think we might be going in five, 10 years.

Chase Hagood: Right. Well, so the future is really, really bright. And that future began, well, it actually began a couple of years ago in terms of the Herriman campus. So, phased in over the next few years, so economics, family and community and human development, financial planning and counseling, psychology. Those four degrees are set to launch in fall of 2023.

Now, beyond that, Chris, we know again what those needs are as we've done that kind of workforce alignment, degree alignment into the world of work. So, bachelor's degrees, building off associate degrees at SLCC. Again, these will fold out over the next three, four years, including things like accounting and information systems, elementary education, the list could go on and on, but again, where we see those 2+2 articulations that have been established for quite some time, how do we deploy those in new ways that align well with the needs of individuals, living and working in the southwest quadrant of the valley.

Chris Nelson: Is there anything about the facility you'd like to highlight?

Chase Hagood: There is, Chris. I think one of the most exciting things about it is it gives us an opportunity really to launch the first of what we're calling an Engage U center, which in some ways is like a 21st century welcome desk or a welcome center for students. But a spin on that, I think here for 2023, will be having individuals who are cross-trained across a number of different specialty areas to really answer any question that a student might have or immediately find the folks who have those answers.

So, we're thinking of things like pre-admissions, pre-financial aid, certainly academic advisors, college navigators, our colleagues from student affairs as well. Individuals who would be able then to say, well, this is why you should complete FAFSA and this is why in many ways you should think about what admissions might look like, why you perhaps start at SLCC, how you make that transition to the University of Utah and be able to get students the information they need really in real time in one place there on the Herriman campus.

Chris Nelson: Yeah. So, we want listeners to know there's an open house for the first building on the 90-acre Herriman campus, the Juniper Building we’re calling it, this Friday, Aug. 4, 2023, from 3:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and then a ribbon cutting on Monday, Aug. 7, 2023, at 9 a.m.

I'll tell you what, Chase, I was out there about a week ago, and it is cool to see that building coming together. It's really cool to see the Salt Lake Community College logo and the University of Utah logo together.

Chris Nelson: Now, I've got you here so I want to take advantage. You've got this fancy title, you're the dean of undergraduate studies. I think most people outside of higher ed probably don't know what that entails, combined with what I know one of your passions is, this partnership we have with the University Innovation Alliance. So, talk about what that means for the student considering the University of Utah, a student who's thinking about coming here. What does your shop do and what does this partnership with the UIA mean at a practical level?

Chase Hagood: That’s a really, really solid and good question, Chris. I would put it this way. I wake up in the morning and go to bed at night thinking about the role of higher education in the United States or in the world today. And part of the work that I do, most of the work that I do, is hoping, striving, aspiring to ensure that all of our systems and our policies and our curriculum and the way that we position ourselves and the way that we talk about ourselves as one of America's leading research universities, is to ensure that students can see themselves here.

Not only can they get here, but they can afford to be here. They can see their future selves on the other side of their time at the University of Utah. And so, in my role as a dean of undergraduate studies, it's ensuring that across undergraduate education, working with all of our colleges and schools, with our deans and our associate deans and our faculty, it's ensuring that, you know, that we're asking ourselves the hard questions about how are we doing and how can we do our work better? And are we, are we making good on our commitment that every student can have an exceptional educational experience?

Part of that work leads us into organizations like the University Innovation Alliance, where, you know, for the research side of the house, I think our membership in the AAU speaks to the really incredible things that are happening inside the research enterprise. I liken our membership in the University Innovation Alliance to that membership in the AAU, but on the student success side of the house, that our commitment is real, that it is tangible, that it speaks to every student, which is no simple thing, right?

It's pretty complex when you start thinking about what does it look like for 30,000 plus, soon to be 40,000 plus students making their way to, through and beyond the University of Utah, and that they have a quality and, yes, exceptional experience while they're here. It means we have to pay attention day in, day out to the kind of experience that we hope to provide for students, the opportunities for engagement, for belonging, for connection and in many ways, ownership, right, of the state's flagship institution. Especially if they're a student from here in Utah where they likely, you know, no matter where they're from, be it here in Salt Lake or if they're down in Hurricane and they say, you know, that's my university, the University of Utah has a special place for me and for my family be they first gen like me or, you know, their parents and grandparents went to the University of Utah, this university belongs to them. And it's in that relationship that I think undergraduate education really becomes real for students.

Chris Nelson: So, what would you say to an alumni who graduated, you know, maybe a couple of decades ago, and says, you know what, sink or swim, part of university learning is learning how to navigate a research university and big bureaucracy, that too much handholding is going on. How do you respond to that crowd?

Chase Hagood: So, I'm a first gen college graduate and I made my way up with my parents' support, no doubt, a lot of privilege that's inherent in my background. But I would say that I think that the notion of sink or swim comes from a, if we were to be honest with ourselves, it comes from a place of immense privilege. Put another way, you'll hear people, and this is me paraphrasing Dr. Martin Luther King, will hear people say things like, you should pull yourselves up by your own bootstraps. Well, that's all well and good except when you don't even have any boots. And so, I think the role, what's at heart of that question, really, Chris, at least for me, is the role of public higher education in the United States and what is the role of a public flagship in the United States.

And part of that really speaks to upward social mobility. It speaks to the kind of society that we want to have and we want to leave our kiddos. It speaks to, not even in the future sense, the kind of society that we all want to live in together. And what's required of that, at least for me, and my own personal response to that question, is the kind of investment that we make in public higher education, that the return on that, the dividends or the ROI if you will on that, means we have an educated citizenry. I would say in response to this person who might say the sink or swim piece, you know, if we're doing our job right and students are doing their job right, they will arrive at the university, they will make their way through the university, they'll begin to see themselves and the world and themselves in the world in a different kind of way.

They're going, you know, to come into conflict with a whole host of ideas, right? And then they get to decide, what do I make of that idea? But, importantly, and this is where it really becomes true for the society that we want to have for our generation and then a future generation, we need people with the skills and competencies to be able to contest those ideas, make meaning and make facts come alive and say, yes, that makes sense or no, that doesn't make much sense to me as I read it, as I pick up the newspaper or I turn on the television.

Chris Nelson: Yeah. Well answered. And I think it's going to be a continuing conversation we have about the value of higher ed in this country. And thank you for your work in this field. We're  thrilled to have leaders like you at the University of Utah. Last question is where do you see this kind of work going in the next 15, 20 years for the University of Utah? Are we going to have more of these partnerships?

Chase Hagood:  I think we are. I think we definitely are. I think under President Randall's leadership as well as Provost Montoya, I think that the table is now being set for these kind of partnerships for not only within things like the University Innovation Alliance, but international partnerships, partnerships with the private sector, with industry. I think the way in which we open up that kind of conversation really speaks to the positionality of the University of Utah. And the way in which we think about, even the name of this podcast, U Rising. The University of Utah is, in fact, rising, I think to meet a number of both societal challenges within the state, but it's being perceived more and more so, I think rightly as, again, a leading research institution.

I'd like to say a leading research and innovation and student success institution, but I imagine that's too much for a banner, so we'll just leave it at a leading research university. But yeah, I think in that kind of environment, these kinds of partnerships and relationships, more and more folks are going to want to partner with the University of Utah for all the things that we've talked about here and more.

Chris Nelson: Yeah. I lied. One more last question. So, I believe you're a historian, academically.

Chase Hagood: I am.

Chris Nelson: What was your field of study?

Chase Hagood: So late 18th, early 19th century America.

Chris Nelson: Okay. And so at some point you made the shift into administration and undergraduate studies. What was that impetus that that moved you over?

Chase Hagood: Wow, that another really good question, Chris. So, I was on the tenure track and as a historian, I was very fortunate, I got my PhD in 2011 and I took an assistant professor position and I found my passion was truly in the connection that students make with not so much the specifics of history, but the way in which we as historians think about complex problems by looking at the past.

And not so much of how much of it is applicable in terms of how folks made the decisions in the past, but how is it that humans in the past grappled with hard choices. And about that second year in that position at a small college in South Georgia, folks at the University of Georgia, where I took my PhD, recruited me to come back because of a passion that I had for equipping faculty to have those kinds of conversations with their students, really, no matter their field.

So that was the first step into administration. A couple of years after doing that work in a Center for Teaching and Learning, in terms of faculty development, which was really enriching, I got to know parts of the university really I had no experience with.

I started missing students. I started missing the daily interactions with students and building programs and initiatives and services that spoke directly to students' needs. Again, not exclusively, but with a particular kind of passion for first gen, low income and minoritized students. So, my career path took me, fortunately, towards more student success and development work. Then after a couple of years in that post, again at the University of Georgia, not really on the market or anything, the University of Utah came calling and I said, well, I know Salt Lake City, it's a great place, the Olympics and so forth, as well as the U and things worked out. They worked out really, really well.

Chris Nelson: Well, Chase, thank you for your work and thanks for being our guest on U Rising.

Chase Hagood: Thanks so much, Chris. And I do want to encourage folks, open house Friday, August 4th. We'd love to see friends, family to come out. There's live music, food trucks, movies, all kinds of wonderful stuff. Come out, celebrate this new, new space for the University of Utah out in Herriman.

Chris Nelson: And get a photo in front of those two great logos together out there.

Chase Hagood: Indeed!

Chris Nelson: Listeners, that's it for today's episode of U Rising. Our executive producer is Brooke Adams, and our technical producer is Robert Nelson.

A few shoutouts. Dave Meikle of our marketing team created the U Rising cover art. Assistant Professor Elisabet Curbelo Gonzalez of the School of Music created our original theme music.

I hope you'll tune in next time when my co-host Julie Kiefer will be talking with Amanda Bakian and Deborah Bilder about how the demographics of those diagnosed with autism is changing.

I'm your host, Chris Nelson. Thank you for listening.