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The Merak Star Project

SLCC's Strategic Planning Process

A Message from SLCC Leadership

We chose the Merak star as a metaphor for our strategic planning process that will take us through the year 2030. Merak, a navigational star used by travelers for hundreds of years, resides at the base of the Big Dipper constellation. By drawing an imaginary line from Merak through Dubhe, another star in the Big Dipper, you will arrive at Polaris, and know which way is north. This wayfinder star's blue light must traverse 80 light years through space before reaching Earth. Thus, the light emanating from Merak as SLCC first opened its doors in 1948 will finally arrive at our campus between 2028 and 2030, the final years of our developing strategic plan.

The Merak Star Committee was tasked with the following:

What is our legacy and institutional character?

Short description of the SLCC story that can serve as a foundation for the future.

What are the organizational capacities and strengths SLCC should build on for the future?

Top five organizational strengths for SLCC.

What larger external trends impact the SLCC future?

Top ten factors most likely to impact the future of SLCC over the next ten years.

How can SLCC meet our community's needs in ways competitors can't?

Differentiators to show students and potential students the value of attending SLCC.

The results from committee efforts provide the framework for a new strategic plan created to lead Salt Lake Community College into 2030.


Story

Shaping Lives, Connecting Communities: SLCC's Legacy and Future

1948

Salt Lake Area Vocational School opens its doors at 431 South 600 East. School Motto: "Learn to Earn – Learn to Live."

Salt Lake Community College Celebrates 75 Years of Inclusivity and Transformation

Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) has a rich tradition of transforming lives and strengthening communities. Initially established in 1948 to train returning WWII veterans, today, Salt Lake Community College is Utah's largest two-year college with 50,000 students, proudly educating the state's most diverse student body in eight areas of study at nine locations and online. Almost half of our students are first in their family to attend college, and over 21% are from Hispanic/Latinx communities. As we work toward becoming a Hispanic Serving Institution, we deepen our commitment to inclusive and transformative education.

1959

School is renamed the Salt Lake Trade Technical Institute.

Salt Lake Community College Prioritizes Students and their Educational Journey

Salt Lake Community College professors are passionate about sharing their expertise and nurturing students' academic success and growth. Students enjoy hands-on experiences, inside and outside the classroom, such as internships, undergraduate research, study abroad, and civically engaged classes that reinforce learning, develop critical thinking skills, and promote community engagement. The average class size is 19 students to one instructor.

We believe higher education should be available to everyone. We work hard to ensure SLCC is responsive to each student – attracting, retaining, and launching the next generation of leaders. Students choose SLCC at different stages in their lives, from concurrent enrollment to recent high school graduates to seasoned professionals.

While most enroll in SLCC to earn credit hours (around 70% of our graduates transfer to a 4-year institution), each year, we support 12,800 students who come to SLCC for not-for-credit training and technical education. We work with industry to develop and maintain curriculum that prepares students for high-wage, high-demand careers. We collaborate with employers to ensure our instructional labs meet or exceed industry standards. More than 85% of our students plan to stay in Utah to work and raise families, contributing to the state's vibrant economy and high quality of life.

1969

The school is granted full accreditation by the Northwest Association of Colleges and Universities.

Salt Lake Community College Works to Make Education Affordable for Everyone

Salt Lake Community College students juggle competing priorities as they pursue their education. More than 78% of students work while attending school, which makes affordability and flexibility top priorities for students and the college. We cultivate flexibility by offering eight areas of academic study, nine locations, online classes, and flexible schedules.

We proactively keep tuition and fees low and are deeply committed to removing the remaining financial barriers that keep students from enrolling and persisting at SLCC. We offer scholarships, provide on-campus student employment, help with financial aid applications, and support our faculty's open resource project, an alternative to costly textbooks, which saves students over $3.5 annually. Our comprehensive support is so deep that over 80% of SLCC graduates leave the institution with little or no student debt.

1972

Two-year associate degree in nursing is offered.

Salt Lake Community College is Committed to the Whole Student

We know it takes more than affordability and flexibility to support students in the 21st century. The word "community" is central to our name, and SLCC strives to be a positive force in our student's lives and the neighborhoods where we work, live, and thrive. At SLCC, we prioritize the well-being of our students and the health of our communities. We provide affordable childcare for students and employees and access to robust mental and physical health services and well-being resources. We also collaborate with government and nonprofit organizations to provide students and those living in the region with many free or low-cost resources, services, and cultural enrichment activities.

1987

Governor Norm Bangerter signs bill to create Salt Lake Community College.

Salt Lake Community College is Your Community College

As we proudly celebrate our 75th year, we draw strength from our long-standing reputation of collaboration, community, inclusivity, learning, and innovation. It is these core values that center our work for the next decade as we explore new ways to deepen our commitments to students and the communities we serve. Salt Lake Community College is more than just a college; it's a community that nurtures dreams, fosters innovation, and empowers futures. It's your Community College.

2023

College celebrates 75 years of supporting Utah's economy and helping students from all backgrounds achieve their dreams.


Talent &
Capacity

The Top Five Organizational Strengths for SLCC

Student-Centered and Holistic
We listen to our students needs and respond accordingly. Compared to other USHE institutions, our students face unique barriers and we are best equipped to support them.

Teaching Emphasis
Our faculty are here because teaching is their passion. The impact of our commitment to teaching and learning is evident in our small class sizes and attentiveness to the individual student.

Diversity and Belonging
We are the most diverse higher education institution in the state and our entire community benefits from the variety of experiences and perspectives we represent. We strive to be a place where students and employees can bring their whole selves and feel a sense of belonging.

Community Focus
We are accessible and centered in our communities. With campuses across the valley in strategic locations, we actively engage with residents and businesses to understand and cater to their evolving needs.

Our People
We are dedicated problem solvers who are flexible, adaptable, and committed to our values of equity, inclusivity, and delivering transformative educational experiences.


Differentiate & Compete

How can SLCC meet our community's needs in ways competitors can't?

Dedicated Faculty & Superior Teaching

At SLCC, teaching is what we do. Our faculty are here because they have a passion for the craft of teaching anda desire to see every student succeed. Our students benefit from personal access to faculty, a culture of mentorship, engaged learning, and undergraduate research.

Relevant Programs

Diversity & Inclusion

As Utah's most diverse higher education institution, we work to make students from all backgrounds feel welcome. More than half of our students are the first in their families to attend college, and we provide robust support to encourage success.

Accessibility

Credit for Prior Learning

We acknowledge what students bring by providing credit for experience and skills gained outside of the classroom.