“I get a lot of enjoyment from helping USU-Moab grow into a great resource for locals to better their careers by furthering their education,” Hawks said. “Students need options when it comes to a college degree, especially in rural Utah, and we are working to meet their needs.”
Several years ago, Hawks began working with leaders at USU, the faculty and staff at USU-Moab, and Moab community leaders to create the higher education action team (HEAT), with the goal of “turning up the heat” on education in Moab. HEAT met regularly to get input from local businesses, school districts, and city and county officials to find out what degree programs were needed for Moab.
It’s thanks to this collaborative effort, Hawks said, that USU-Moab was able to offer such a high number of programs, resulting in a growing campus and the current need for a new campus. However, these programs weren’t solely created at USU-Moab, they were created with the help of USU’s statewide system, with the idea of growing higher education opportunities throughout rural Utah.
One request coming from a need in the community was a hospitality and tourism management program. Hawks and other faculty members got to work, and made USU-Moab the first USU campus that offered this program as a minor from the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business.
Another addition was recreation resource management. Originally, this degree was only available at the Logan campus, but it was clear the program was a good fit for Moab due to the surrounding landscape and national parks. Now, thanks to the efforts of Hawks and USU to bring this degree to Moab, it has become one of the most popular programs at USU-Moab.
More recently, USU-Moab and other USU campuses around the state are focusing on career and technical education (CTE) programs, which offer certifications in business, health, and technology fields, and can also be a starting block to earning a college degree. Hawks has also been instrumental in developing USU’s new master’s degree in public health. In addition to being a key player in creating this new graduate degree, Hawks now serves as a faculty member in the public health degree program.
“The amount of work that goes into bringing a new degree to a campus is extensive,” Hawks said. “Without the support and organization of USU’s statewide system, many of the degrees we now offer at USU-Moab would have never been possible.”