Southern Utah University’s Provost, Brad Cook, will be moving on from his position after the 2018-19 school year. Cook recently accepted the position as President at Snow College.
Cook has served as SUU’s Provost since 2009, working to provide students with the best education possible. He describes his job as being responsible for academic affairs.
“Academic affairs are all those things that relate to learning and teaching on the campus,” Cook explains.
This responsibility includes working with deans, department heads and faculty to improve curriculum, accreditation and classroom experiences.
In his time in Cedar City, Cook is thankful he was able to connect with every aspect of SUU.
“The best part is that SUU isn’t that large of a place, so I still get to interact with students,” Cook stated. “I still get a chance to teach but work with the students and our faculty. Our faculty is really terrific. They’re professionals. They care about students. And to watch them do incredible things in their classrooms on behalf of students, it has been the most gratifying thing to me.”
Cook has spent time working at prestigious universities and was able to compare SUU to institutions such as BYU and Oxford.
After completing his graduate work at Oxford, Cook was able to compare the Ivy League school to colleges closer to home such as BYU.
“Oxford is a different kind of university. It’s a very intense research institution and that’s quite different than BYU, which is a private, religious place. But it has less research intensive elements to it and more sort of teaching-centric.”
SUU is in another category by Cook’s terms.
“I like to say SUU is learning centric. We like to make a distinction between teaching and learning because they’re not always the same thing… So we ask our faculty to think about learning: are students really learning?”
SUU’s “learning centric” ideals have helped Cook increase the academic profile of the university. The attention SUU has received over the past 10 years has aided in the growth of the university.
“Students vote with their feet. Our student retention, student persistence, and graduation rates has climbed,” said Cook. “I think that the academic profile of the campus has really climbed and we can truly say that we offer one of the best educational experiences in the entire Intermountain West.”
His tenure at SUU has left Cook much to be proud of. The university’s international presence has grown, as evidenced by the 600 international students from almost 60 different countries. But Cook didn’t achieve this alone.
“There was nothing that I did individually,” Cook says. “Whatever success we had in academic affairs was a team effort. It was working with people of goodwill and professionalism to achieve some incredible things.”
Brad Cook will have his work at SUU remembered for years to Ayicome. Even though he is preparing to leave Cedar City in a few short months, he will always remember what it is like to be a Thunderbird.
“The best of SUU is still yet to come. Its future is bright. It’s on a good path, and once a T-Bird, always a T-Bird.”
Story by: Tomas D’Anella
Photo Courtesy: Tomas D’Anella