Introducing Faces of Concurrent Enrollment

Introducing Faces of Concurrent Enrollment

"It was a very worthwhile effort, and I believe it still is," Gary Wixom, Former Dean of Continuing Education

Author: Makenzie Christensen


John Wooden famously said, “Good things take time, as they should. We shouldn’t expect good things to happen overnight. Actually, getting something too easily or too soon can cheapen the outcome.” The development of Utah Valley University’s Concurrent Enrollment didn’t happen overnight or even over a decade. It has been a culmination of many years of hard work, change, and great people putting in their whole effort to make the program what it is today. “It was a very worthwhile effort, and I believe it still is,” said former Utah Valley University (UVU) Dean of Continuing Education, Gary Wixom.

These worthwhile efforts have led to 16,000 students being enrolled this last school year, which makes UVU’s Concurrent Enrollment program the biggest in the state and the department at UVU with the biggest student population.

Concurrent Enrollment at UVU began officially in 1988 when the Utah Legislature created the Concurrent Enrollment program and set funding aside for it. Though, there was an unofficial beginning in 1980, with a small partnership between UVU and the school districts, where students had the opportunity to take classes offered through the University, but it wasn’t sanctioned by the school districts

The development of Concurrent Enrollment at UVU has been broken up into three phases: building, growth, and finetuning. The building phase began when the legislature got involved. Concurrent Enrollment was originally under the boundaries of the School of Continuing Education, making it under the supervision of the Dean of Continuing Education, who at the time was Dr. Gary Wixom. Dr. Wixom had the opportunity to see different directors of Concurrent Enrollment come and go and watch what they had to offer the program during their time of service.

This first phase of Concurrent Enrollment also consisted of trying to figure out how to get the buy-in from the school districts and encourage them to work with the university. Thankfully, there have been great administration, faculty, and instructors that have helped Concurrent Enrollment develop into what it now is.

The next phase of UVU Concurrent Enrollment was the growth phase. This growth included increasing the students enrolled as well as the faculty. Twenty years ago, the program had about 3,000 students enrolled in Concurrent Enrollment classes. Now two decades later, the program has grown to over 16,000 students enrolled in the previous school year. Making Concurrent Enrollment the biggest percentage of UVU’s student population. The staff at Concurrent Enrollment has also seen exponential growth. In 2004, there were only about nine people working for Concurrent Enrollment, compared to today, there are now 32 members of the Concurrent Enrollment staff.

Each member of the staff has a specific role and helps the program to function in a way that it couldn’t without them. This is what has brought Concurrent Enrollment to the third and current phase: finetuning. There are many goals of Concurrent Enrollment, and the biggest is to empower high school students to take a step forward in their future with high quality college courses. Another big portion of phase three, is improving the quality and access of the program.

“It should be a program for everyone.”

- Current Senior Director of Concurrent Enrollment, Spencer Childs

We at Concurrent Enrollment are now working to make these goals true for each student who desires to take a Concurrent Enrollment class. Concurrent Enrollment can be an opportunity for students to identify what educational or career pathways are of interest to them, and we want to make this opportunity accessible to all students. This would not be possible without each person who helps with Concurrent Enrollment, our directors, advisors, counselors, instructors, and more.

Stay with us as we introduce you to all of our Faces of Concurrent Enrollment, to each of our Wolverines who bleed green and love their jobs. It is a journey that will touch your heart as you have the opportunity to get to know each of them.

“It was a very worthwhile effort, and I believe it still is,” said former Utah Valley University (UVU) Dean of Continuing Education, Gary Wixom. Concurrent Enrollment has been and always will be a worthwhile effort for all of our Wolverines!