SUU’s New Provost Moves Forward with Confidence
August 14, 2009
The top question on the mind of Southern Utah University’s new Provost, Bradley Cook, elicits many possible answers. And yet, as Cook ponders “how to make an already great institution that much better,” the University’s new head of academic affairs is not rushing to pin down any one solution. Instead, he will observe, he will question, and he will listen.
In short, he’s doing his homework, and he is focused on meeting as many people and hearing about as many programs as he can. And judging by his box-strewn office, Cook seems to be solidly rooted in what he calls, “learning by immersion.”
Thus far, just one week into his tenure, Cook seems to like what he has seen – and that’s saying quite a lot considering this leader has, quite literally, seen the world.
Most recently, Provost Bradley Cook comes to SUU from the Abu Dhabi Women’s College near Dubai, where he served as the school’s director.
Though originally from Utah, Cook’s former position in the United Arab Emirates was not his first time abroad. He has spent time traveling and studying in many countries across the Middle East, earned his doctorate degree at Oxford University in Great Britain, and spent much of his childhood in Saudi Arabia, where his parents both worked as educators. And though he is not rushing to judgment, with experience in many different cultures and communities, Cook is already certain about one thing: “I want our students to come through the SUU experience more thoughtful, more creative and more imaginative about their world.”
In short, Cook says, “Though important, a university’s academics are not just about graduation rates and career placement. As educators, our charge is to encourage more productive, engaged citizens.”
Considering the University’s core values, “academic excellence, involvement and personal growth, and community and social responsibility,” which includes, “developing the student into productive, responsible citizens,” It would seem the University’s leaders made the right choice in appointing Cook as the point-man for such a task.
Beyond giving SUU’s students a more global perspective, Cook is moving forward with an eye towards success for both the University and for its students.
He states, “Though the current economy often challenges aspiration, we need to keep our eyes looking down the road. We won’t always be here and I think it’s important to have an ambitious plan in place for when things do get better.”
And in the meantime, Cook has already identified opportunities to “take what is distinctive and [SUU’s] strengths, and make them that much better.” He emphasizes, “This is not a fix-it job, and we have the luxury of moving forward with confidence from a very solid foundation.”