Feature Stories


Driving down a winding canyon road on her way home from work, Summer Parks, a lift operator at Sundance Resort, felt her car shift as its tires hit the ice. With her vehicle sliding out of control, the Provo River on one side and oncoming traffic on the other, Parks knew a wreck was imminent if she did not regain control of the vehicle. She immediately pumped her brakes, putting into practice a maneuver she had learned that morning in a safe winter driving class safe winter driving course. The technique paid off, as Parks was able to negotiate the skid, recover and drive safely home. Safe Driving

The winter driving safety course Parks participated in earlier that day at Sundance had been presented by human resources students with the UVU Woodbury School of Business and as the above narrative illustrates, may have saved her life.

The training sessions are part of a new Woodbury School program to offer relevant human resources training to employees of local companies. UVU students benefit by practicing real-world situations as part of the business the curriculum.

"The UVU Woodbury School of Business is committed to partnering with the local business community to improve the quality of life in our area," said Norman Wright, dean of the Woodbury School. "By partnering with great local organizations like Sundance, we create professional opportunities for our students to enhance their management skills while making Utah a better place to live and work."

Sundance Resort is one of the four Utah businesses collaborating with UVU students on these engaged learning projects. Student teams are also partnering with professionals at 1-800 Contacts, Xactware and Aribex to update employee handbooks, develop social media policy and create custom training materials for human resource services, such as safe winter driving training.

"The program is a way for UVU to build strong community ties while producing outstanding graduates. A community will only support a university that supports its community," said Bernd Kupka, professor of human resources at the Woodbury School. "Students become productive professionals more quickly because of this experience."

With Sundance Resort, students in management training and development classes assessed, designed and produced training materials. They analyzed potential job hazards from observing ski lift operators, bell staff and housekeepers on-site and conducted training sessions, including the safe winter driving course.

"The cooperation between UVU and Sundance has been mutually beneficial," said Samantha Varga, human resources director at Sundance. "The students have an opportunity to apply the principles

learned at UVU in a professional setting while Sundance benefits from the research, enthusiasm and subjective point of view the students bring to the project."

Currently, UVU students in three business course sections are working on 17 separate projects for the four clients. In addition to gaining hands-on experience with profitable companies, students in the program can add these projects and results to their résumés.

"This program gives me a head start in my career," said LaRae Bellows, a Woodbury School student involved with the training at Sundance. "We learned concepts in the classroom and apply them to our projects with Sundance."

Partnerships like the one established between Sundance and the Woodbury School also give UVU graduates increased job-placement opportunities with local businesses.